First commercial flight lands on remote St Helena

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As seen from inside the cabin, the first ever commercial flight lands at St Helena AirportImage copyright
AFP

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As seen from inside the cabin, the first ever commercial flight lands at St Helena Airport

The first scheduled commercial airline service to the remote British island of St Helena in the south Atlantic has touched down safely.

The virgin flight, an SA Airlink service from South Africa, ends the island’s long-standing reliance on a ship which sailed every three weeks.

It is hoped that the service, funded by the UK, will boost tourism and help make St Helena more self-sufficient.

But British media have dubbed it “the most useless airport in the world”.

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PA

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The opening of the airport was delayed by problems with wind

Built with £285m ($380m) of funding from the UK Department for International Development (Dfid), the airport should have opened in 2016, but dangerous wind conditions delayed the launch.

After further trials this summer, the weekly service between Johannesburg and St Helena was passed as safe.

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AFP

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One observer said the aircraft made a “perfect landing”

St Helena had for decades been one of the world’s most inaccessible locations, served only by a rare ship service from South Africa.

It is chiefly known as the island to which French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his defeat in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and where died.

The Embraer E190-100IGW aircraft took off from Johannesburg on Saturday morning, carrying 78 passengers. It reached St Helena in the afternoon after stopping in the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

“I for one am getting really excited about the new chapter in St Helena’s history,” said St Helena governor Lisa Phillips.

  • Population 4,255

  • Area 122 sq km (47 sq miles)

  • Major language English

  • Major religion Christianity

  • Currency St Helena Pound (equal to British pound)

  • Economy Agriculture, fishing concessions and tourism

BBC

Previously travel to and from the tiny island, with its population of just 4,255, was only possible on the RMS St Helena, which took around six days to complete the journey from South Africa.

The ship’s final voyage is scheduled for February.

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Media captionA one-off commercial flight makes a wobbly landing in 2016

St Helena relies on British aid of £52m a year and officials hope increased tourism will make it more self-sufficient.

“This is an important moment in St Helena’s route to self-sufficiency,” a Dfid spokeswoman said.

“It will boost its tourism industry, creating the opportunity to increase its revenues, and will bring other benefits such as quicker access to healthcare for those living on the island.”

According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, the island’s diverse geology and wildlife, such as the whales that gather off its coast, may appeal to visitors.

But “more flights will have to be added if the airport is to be deemed a success – and not an expensive white elephant”, the report said.

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It’s the 70th Anniversary of the First Supersonic Flight

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Supersonic flight—it conjures up ideas of speed, luxury, the future. But the very first flight to break the sound barrier occurred 70 years ago this week. Since then, we’ve seen the development and demise of the Concorde, and today’s flyers are stuck traveling at boring subsonic cruise speeds of around 600 miles per hour. A trip from LA to New York takes an agonizing five and a half hours.

But don’t despair. There are companies and agencies working to bring back the supersonic age.

Boom Technology, based in Denver, Colorado, is building a jet that could fly around 50 people at Mach 2.2, or 1,452 mph, more than twice the speed of sound. Nevada’s Aerion Corporation is making a pointy-nosed business jet, good for Mach 1.5. Both want to make their first deliveries by 2023.

NASA and Lockheed Martin are working on a Low Boom Flight Demonstrator to show that the thundering sound that shadowed the Concorde—and prevented flights over land—can be minimized. That plane may one day get an X designation, labeling it as the latest in a long line of experimental aircraft. It’s a fitting callback to the very first X plane.

On October 14th, famed test pilot Chuck Yeager climbed into the low slung cockpit of the Bell X-1. Compared to the planes that came before it, the aircraft looked more like a streamlined, neon orange bullet with wings. That was deliberate. Aerodynamic engineers knew bullets were fast and stable in flight, but they had struggled to make a plane that could do the same at around Mach 1, or the speed of sound in air. The sound barrier was a real, impenetrable blockade, and trying to smash through it had cost several test pilots their lives.

So the engineers came up with smart fixes, without the benefit of modern computer modeling to figure out what was going on. The Bell X-1 had a radical new “all flying tail” that allowed Yeager to maintain control as the air compressed ahead of his plane, drastically increasing drag. (This is still standard on supersonic military jets today.) It also has thin wings and a sharply pointed nose to help it slice through the air. As he fired the final two chambers of the rocket powered plane, Yeager finally pushed through that sound barrier, to a speed of Mach 1.06, making him the fastest man on Earth, which you can watch in the video above.

The public didn’t find out about the record-breaking flight for several months, but Yeager and the Bell X-1 are now recognized for their groundbreaking role in making supersonic flight routine—in military aircraft anyway. The rest of the traveling public may not have long to wait to take advantage of their achievements too.

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Flight Travel Deals – 9 Tips For Traveling on the Cheap

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Flight travel deals are out there, but not many travel industry insiders are offering them up, without you first asking about them. So, if you want to get the best flight travel deals, you are going to have to do some research on your own. This article will go a long way toward helping get you started in that direction. The following basic tips are available to anyone (i.e., they don’t require “insider connections” to achieve good results).

1) Book in advance. So basic and well known, I almost feel guilty offering it as a tip. Nonetheless, it can save you big money. Reserve your flight a month in advance, optimize your discount. Reserve your flight the week before, expect to pay premium prices.

2) Don’t fly during regular business hours. Airline flight is a supply-and-demand business. If you insist on flying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. – when available seats are at their minimum – then plan on paying higher prices. Flying “the red-eye” – when LOTS of seats are available – can greatly lower the cost of your ticket.

3) Check the prices for flying out of/into an alternate airport. Sometimes, you’ll get a better deal by driving to a larger, metropolitan area, rather than insisting on a flight departing from your local “community” airport. On the other hand, Los Angelenos, for example, know that driving to one of the smaller airports – NOT known as LAX – can save them mucho dinero.

4) Ask the airline to adjust the price of your ticket to reflect the current price they are charging – IF, that is, prices have gone down since you booked your ticket. Few people do this – or even KNOW about this – but the airlines will adjust the price if you ask them to. Just don’t expect them to do it without your prompting them first.

5) Don’t park your car at the airport, if possible. Parking fees amass quickly – and might even offset all of the savings you managed to get through your other money-saving efforts. I once took a trip to Hawaii when I was fresh out of high-school (about 30 years ago…gulp!), and upon returning to Denver after two weeks, the cost of parking the car for all of that time came to over $100, leaving the four of us who went on the trip arriving home with nothing but coins in our pockets and fumes in the gas tank by the time we completed our 300-mile car ride home from the airport. Obviously, not parking at the airport isn’t always an option. So, at the very least, consider the cost of parking your car in your budgeting plans.

6) Try to fly “off-season.” Granted, flying to Hawaii for the Christmas holiday sounds very appealing when your home is under several feet of snow, but flying there in the summer can be much cheaper. I, for one, found Hawaii in July to be very enjoyable – especially with that extra cash for Mai-Tais on the beach.

7) Check into package deals. Sometimes you can save a lot of money by purchasing a package deal, where you buy your flight, your motel room, and possibly even a rental car all in one “package deal.” You might even get some extras thrown in, like a luau (in Hawaii), or a Broadway show (in New York City).

8) Bulk discounts. Sometimes organizations or communities arrange trips for their members, saving each individual some cash in the deal. Senior communities commonly do this with trips to Las Vegas, for example.

9) Check with the aggregators. These outfits – aggregators – will compare multiple airlines and travel agencies, at once – finding you the best deal from all the places they dig around into. Of course, an aggregator can’t possibly check ALL travel outlets, so try a few aggregators, and then try going directly through the airline that the aggregators deemed cheapest. You may find that the “going direct” to the airline of your choosing might reap better discounts for you, through frequent-flier programs, and such – not to mention allowing you to bypass the travel agency fees (minimal though they are).

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Source by Sam Knotts