c9: (Contrails)
This weekend I happened to be near Parc Downsview Park with some time to kill, and I decided to try and find the Canadian Air & Space Museum, as I had never been. In fact, I didn't even know it existed until it hit the news a couple months ago, when its landlord (the federal government) served them with an eviction notice. Apparently their site is slated for redevelopment as a 4-pad hockey rink.

Members and volunteers at the museum are understandably upset about this. Hurting for funding and volunteers, and now losing their home, they're fighting back with letters to decision-making politicians and influencers, a petition, and an information campaign to help people realize what's happening. They even got some help from Harrison Ford! One challenge: they compete, in a sense, with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, plus other aeronautical museums out in western and Atlantic Canada on and off military bases. All of these museums have amazing stuff to offer and funding needs, so it's very hard to figure out whether they all should be kept.

Avro Arrow, Canadair Regional Jet 700-series, and de Havilland Beaver

One thing the Canadian Air & Space Museum has that none of the others have is an historic building at 65 Carl Hall Road that hosted some amazing elements of Canadian aerospace history. It's the original 1929 home of de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd -- maker of the Dash-8 and many many more incredible aircraft. This building and others beside it (long gone now) were home to warplane and engine design and assembly, even satellites were built here. The Downsview site was hugely important in Canada's war efforts (and therefore Britain's too), and the building itself is really in good shape due to good construction. Sadly, the museum's funding is almost nonexistent -- over $100k behind in rent, for example, though the situation was improving when the eviction notice came. When I drove up there was an engine part sitting outside in the rain - a big problem for any museum that has more history to display than it has space to store.

I can't say for sure that I believe that building should be saved. It would be easiest for the museum, and Downsview has a LOT of space -- surely a hockey rink could be located across the parking lot, for example. Being forced out would result in the loss of several amazing pieces of history that would be damaged in the move, and if no storage could be located who knows what could happen to the many one-of-a-kind mid-restoration aircraft? It's scary to contemplate the death of a museum.

If a new location and sufficient storage space, and stable funding, were to be found, then I'd be OK with them changing locations. The building holds great meaning, but if the choice is die a slow death there or potentially grow and find new visitors elsewhere... it's all awful timing since the new York University subway extension will have its first new subway station only a couple hundred metres away. So many potential visitors! But that makes the land worth even more as something else of course.

Without official heritage designation, 65 Carl Hall Road is at risk. The locks have been changed, and a lockbox sits on the front door, but there are still volunteers and staff inside maintaining the museum. When I found it Sunday morning I tried the door just in case it was open. It wasn't, but a volunteer quickly ran to the door and let me in. He explained that the museum was closed to the general public by order of the landlord, but that members were still welcome... would I like to become a member? It took be about 3 nanoseconds to decide that I would like that very much indeed.

The gift shop helped me with my heavy wallet...

I'm so glad I went. I spent over two hours wandering the museum, photographing as much as I could. I knew that the chances of getting back to the museum soon, or ever, were slim. My photographs and captions can be viewed in this Facebook gallery. Sorry, non-Facebookers, but it appears to be accessible to all even logged out.

All photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151021988855593.767591.610245592&type=1&l=3e576d5ff0

I highly recommend a visit. Buy your membership online, throw in a small donation maybe, and head up there soon! TTC bus route 101 will take you right there from Downsview (soon to be Sheppard West) station. Let me know if you want somebody geeky to join you - I'll clear my calendar!
c9: (Earth)
I'm kinda pleased with how my cover letter turned out, so I thought I would share. Try to find the cutesy thing I did to amuse myself, since I figure this is my last involvement with the Canadian Space Agency. (answer at end)

All my life I've wanted to be involved in the space program. As a child in British Columbia my room was plastered with space shuttles, rockets, planets, and stars. I was forced to leave one wall blank white just so my mother wouldn't feel claustrophobic entering my room.

The Canadian Space Agency sits at the intersection of three things I hold very dear to my heart: space, Canada, and the importance of space sciences to understanding the world around us. The opportunity to become a part of this incredible enterprise is one that I could not pass by, and one which I know in my heart I would stop at nothing to help make it successful.

I know that CSA needs strong scientists to ensure that missions are a success, and I have followed the achievements of our previous astronaut candidates with interest. But I worry that CSA also requires communicators, and this is where I would excel within the team. We are surrounded today by strong conflict around climate science, evolutionary science, peak oil, and many other game-changing events for our civilization, but our decision-makers do not have the scientific backgrounds required to separate fact from fiction. CSA and its partner agencies around the world help with that endeavour, and astronauts form a large part of the public face of that effort.

As a Canadian astronaut, I would work tirelessly to bring both the excitement of discovery and the potential for innovation to the public. I work with students every day in my adult education classes and I love nothing more than to see their faces light up with the thrill of understanding technology and learning to better their careers and their lives. Science has brought us incredible improvements in our way or life and our ability to learn about our planet and our universe, and that thrill is needed more than ever as we confront new and greater challenges to our health and the health of our home.

I see my role as being a challenger to the status quo. While governments and corporations each seek answers by looking inward and by reacting, our scientific exploration must look outward and must by nature travel in unexpected directions. Our astronauts are not just cogs in the mission machine, matching this component to this module. In fact, our astronauts are the human face on the CSA budget, the excitement on the scientific journal article, and the inspiration for thousands of Canadian children to pay attention to science and bring their own accomplishments to our country.

To this end, I bring extensive teaching, team management, and communications experience to your team. I am trained and certified in teaching, communications, and team management (see resume for details). I regularly have to transcend language barriers, bias and prejudice, and learner competency levels to ensure requirements are achieved, deadlines are met, and clients are happy with their classroom experience. My experience with defusing conflict and ensuring clarity of communication can only add to the success of CSA and my team.

Not only can I teach, but even more importantly I can learn. As a technical trainer, I am regularly called upon to learn new technologies even before general release of the product, and then effectively design and deliver training to a highly technical audience with specific timelines and requirements. My client evaluations show success in this endeavour, with satisfaction scores averaging over 95%.

From watching Marc Garneau on Challenger and Roberta Bondar on Discovery making Canadian history, to seeing Steve MacLean on Atlantis and Dave Williams on Endeavour continuing Canada’s and humanity’s achievements, I have dreamed of bringing anything and everything I have to the Canadian Space Agency and the Canadian Astronaut Corps. I look forward to seeing further successes for CSA, and I hope to one day be a part of making them happen.

Sincerely,

Cameron MacLeod


If you spot an error, then I'm screwed, because it's due at 9pm eastern and I'm going to be out of the house until after that. God, I hope there's nothing stupid in there. :-)


* I included all the different Space Shuttle names in my text in non-space contexts. The only one I couldn't do without it being awkward was Atlantis, so I included it by name in my final paragraph.
c9: (Earth)
The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is recruiting two new Canadian astronauts. I applied (along with over 5000 others) and I reached the second stage! (this was not too tricky)

Stage two however is a little bit harder. Especially with a crappy GPA and no orbital mechanics experience. *sigh*

At least I can try to regain some ground with my cover letter. But what can I say that beats a super-Physics PhD who's also a pilot? (no stealing, [livejournal.com profile] primary_suspect!)

1337

Jun. 6th, 2008 06:36 pm
c9: (Contrails)
Since January 1st, I've flown 62,237 km (38,672 miles). Of those, 35,249 km were "status" miles with Air Canada. 35,000 being the magic number to reach Air Canada's Aeroplan "Elite" status. Woo!

So now I'm sitting in the Maple Leaf Lounge at Edmonton's airport, and it is just comically extravagant. This is not the sort of thing that makes me think airlines are in it for the long haul, but it is certainly enjoyable.

- free newspapers and magazines (not just to read, to take with you)
- free salad, soups, snacks
- free pop, water, juice, cappuccinos
- free alcohol (beer, wine, spirits)
- Added: pre-rimmed Bloody Caesar glasses
- free internet and TV
- comfy chairs
- announcements about the flights relevant to people in the lounge, such as "don't bother getting up, they still have to deplane, we'll warn you when it's time"

They welcomed me at the front desk and happily explained how it all works when I said that I just got Elite for the first time, and were all "congratulations!" and so forth. They also gave me a piece of paper that proves I'm Elite until my new Aeroplan card arrives.

God, it's so bourgeois. I feel a little like I should go volunteer at a homeless shelter as penance.

Here's a fun set of stats from FlightMemory: (for all flights in 2008 plus any flights I could remember for 1999 onward... does not include regular domestic flight until 2007)



Update: Edmonton has been hit by a large thunderstorm, and the airport is "experiencing a red alert situation" so no flights are going in or out due to the weather. Guess it's a good thing I'm here in the lounge then.
c9: (Contrails)
Judging by the current trend in oil prices, your cheap airfares are about to disappear for good. Salon's Ask The Pilot has more.

In short: jet fuel costs more than anything else airlines pay for, and it's way past the feasible business model range. Jet fuel was 86 cents per gallon in 2003, but is around $6 today. Let's say you fly a 767 with 300 seats across the Atlantic on a 5-hour flight. That plane could burn 50,000 pounds of jet fuel, or almost 8000 gallons. At the current $6/gallon, that's $160 per passenger. One way. Then the airline has to pay for the plane, the crew, the landing fees, and food, the toilet paper, and so on and so on. (note: all specs approximate)

I'm glad I'm earning lots of points this year, because I sure won't be next year.

Note: numbers updated based on different estimates I found.

Another note: I found more numbers here, so I think the numbers could be as high as $400 per person, one way, in the above example.

Trapped

Apr. 26th, 2008 11:19 am
c9: (streetcar)
Last night I flew from Calgary to Toronto, arriving slightly late at 11:20pm.

At 11:25pm I boarded the express bus from the airport to the subway.

Halfway to the subway the driver announced they were going on strike.

In fifteen minutes.

He told us we would make the last subway going east.

We didn't.

Hundreds of people stranded on the edge of western Toronto. Not many cabs.

*That* could have been an interesting night.

A few friends decided that I better be rescued, so they zoomed out and did so. Yay for rescues! I would have been OK to walk, but man I would have been tired.

For your reference: the potential route.

Today we have no transit. Toronto is eerily quiet.
c9: (Contrails)
Today's trip from Calgary to Toronto so popular that Air Canada "changed the equipment" -- swapped in a bigger plane. Bigger by 50% actually -- they replaced the Airbus 320 with a Boeing 767-200. I looked up the fin number (618) on Air Canada's site to learn a bit more about the plane, and turns out that it's one of the oldest 767s in the fleet!

Here it is when it first joined Air Canada: (check out the ancient livery!)


...and here it is today: (two paint jobs and 18+ years later)


I also learned that it doesn't have the upgraded Air Canada interior, with personal TVs and power plugs for everyone. In fact, it has zero power plugs anywhere (rare these days except on WestJet) and probably has the awful old projection TV at the front of the cabin and that's it. Ugh.

I plan to charge up my laptop battery and hopefully have enough juice to keep myself entertained for four hours.

Pray for Mojo.

Boxes Day

Dec. 26th, 2007 07:49 pm
c9: (Banging my Head)
I remember when I used to type crap into this journal all the time. I also remember when all my friends didn't regularly post the exact same phrase in their journals. *dramatic sigh, etc*

Updates:
  • Still healthy. I went to the internal medicine specialist clinic a couple weeks ago and they poked and prodded, and then decided on more blood work and a CT scan. In fact they misdiagnosed something** it seems, at least according to my regular doctor. I hope they find something to explain the weirdness, and I also hope it's incredibly minor. "Eat more broccoli," they'll say. "No," I'll reply. They asked me to track my temperature each day over the holidays too, so I bought a digital thermometer to do so. I'm very consistently between 35.3 and 36.7 degrees. (I check before and after sleeping, so my body is kinda shut down at the time.
  • Still working for the back-medication-sounding company**. Moving out of recruitment and desk work a bit in 2008, back to teaching more. Somewhere between 50% and 75% seems to be the thought of my boss, but somewhere between 40% and 60% is my plan. Lot of benefits, including better compensation (to be determined) and plans to work with the IT team on internal programming and testing projects. Could lead to some fun stuff and a completely different area. Biggest benefit: getting to play with exciting new technology*** again. Should all happen in February or so. This company has a habit of dragging things out****, so who knows.
  • Christmas has been fun. My parents are taking [profile] 1_2_ready_go  and me to Hawai'i January 9th, so we planned to skip their house for the holidays and just do New Brunswick. We flew to Saint John on Sunday, and flew back this morning. Quick trip! Nice to get down there though, as I haven't seen Vin's family in a couple years. My mom is a little insistent about us visiting though, I think because of my health, so we're going to head up there on Saturday for the night. Another quick trip, but at least the travel time is shorter.
  • Bizarreness Bulletin: We will be in Hawai'i January 9-18*****. I recently learned that my boss, our Toronto Branch Manager, and some local friends will be there at that time too. A little creepy. 
* just a rash
** according to Sarah
*** also Vista, unfortunately
**** research our press releases for a depressolarious laugh
***** Kona for six nights (staying here) and Honolulu for two nights (staying here). Just for the shopping in American dollars. I know!
c9: (transit)
  1. I still love this icon. If you live in Toronto or use our streetcars, check out www.mynewstreetcar.ca to sound off on what you want to see in the new ones!
  2. Vincent is sick with strep throat, as am I. However, he's brand new to it, whereas I'm on day four of antibiotics. Learn more about strep throat from the medical experts of wikipedia!
  3. I'm flying to Winnipeg today for a 2-day class. Back Wednesday. I hope my husband will be OK, I feel guilty leaving him home sick.
  4. I just opened a new bank account for the money I'm collecting for our family reunion. *Another* plastic card to carry around. Woo!
  5. While I'm waiting for my flight, having free internet would be wonderful, but neither YYZ nor YWG have free internet. Grrr.

Busy Day

Jun. 3rd, 2007 08:50 pm
c9: (Contrails)
I'm in Victoria! Only until Wednesday morning, but it's very exciting to be back where I lived from age 3-10. I recognized a few things on the drive in from the airport, but really only the downtown core is familiar. I spent most of my youth in my old neighbourhood, which I may not get a chance to visit, but we'll see.

Today started at 0730 as I got ready to leave. I was already packed for the most part, but I wanted to ensure I wasn't late for my flight. In Toronto, I find it easier to take the TTC to the airport. It takes the same amount of time, but is carbon-guilt-free and free-free too with my Metropass. Normally the TTC runs from before 5:30am to after 1:00am, but Sunday mornings the subways don't start until 9am. I figured that was fine for my 11am flight -- it's only 45 mins by TTC to the airport, especially when there's no traffic. But when I arrived at the bus stop at 9am, the next bus wasn't for 20 minutes, and I needed to travel 7 minutes by bus, 5 minutes by subway, visit my office for a minute, then 25 more minutes on the subway, and 20 minutes by bus to finally reach the airport.

(It sounds like a crazy process, but it's actually not. And remember: free, plus the same amount of time. Woo!)

So I started walking, and realized I didn't want to walk with my luggage, plus it would take too long and I'd be late getting to the airport. Ideally, I wanted to be there at 10am for my standard one hour check-in. I was already checked-in over the web, but still.  I ended up catching a cab to the office, getting my paperwork, and then entering the TTC at that point. I was quite worried about timing, since it was 9:30 when I entered the TTC, and the damn subway didn't show up for another six minutes. But I knew that I wasn't checking any bags and I could run, it would just be frustrating. When I reached the last subway stop, where the bus leaves for the airport, there was one right there, and in the Sunday morning non-traffic, it lived up to its name ("192 Airport Rocket") and got there in like 7 minutes. It took another 5-6 to get to my terminal, but still.

I made my flight with plenty of time to spare. When I got on the plane (aisle seat, so as always I tried to board dead last to avoid the standing in line garbage) my seat was occupied. I pointed it out, and the guy realized he'd chosen 20D instead of 20C. I didn't care, so I offered to take his seat. It helped that he was freakin' hot. I would have taken any seat he offered me, you might say. Something about his face was very familiar too, like he looks like a hockey player or someone I went to university with. Not sure. I spent an unhealthy amount of the fight staring at him, which I hope didn't make him uncomfortable. Well, maybe in the pants.

The plane had an overflowing sink before takeoff, so we didn't actually push back from the gate for about 25 minutes so they could clean that up. I was worried, since I only had about 45 minutes in Vancouver to catch my connecting flight to Victoria. As it turned out they made up all the lost time in flight, so I had lots of time in Vancouver to wander around.  When I boarded my little tiny Dash-8 to get from Vancouver to Victoria, there wasn't anybody in my seat. (back of hand to forehead) Désolé!  However, a few minutes later who should board but my four-point-five-hours-of-low-grade-lust secret boyfriend, 20C. He sat way back in the plane with his friends though, darn it.

A flight from Vancouver to Victoria, for those who haven't had the joy, is a thing to behold. Twelve minutes, at an altitude of 4000 feet. Basically, enough altitude to get over the coastal mountains and dodge the float planes. The flight is so quick that the flight attendant doesn't even walk around -- he just sat and read the paper. He probably got three pages read before the double-ding of descent began.

(That sounds like a title for a horrible pulp novel. The Double Ding of Descent. Or maybe The Hardy Boys and the Doubly-Dinged Descent.)

The cab from the airport was freakin' $50! But my cab driver's name was Kam, which amused me. I arrived around supper time eastern, or mid-afternoon local. I went for a walk to confirm the location of the class tomorrow, and then went to find some dinner. I found some, but it proved disappointing: mediocre fish&chips (with the chips replaced with awful AWFUL caesar salad). And now here I am in the hotel, trying to choose the correct time to go to sleep to not get jetlagged too much. I fly home in sixty hours, so I don't want to be dead to the world.

There's some sort of bizarre fashion show about to happen on top of the parking garage right outside my window. This may inhibit my sleeping plans. (Update: Added link I just found. I say bizarre because it's on a parking garage, not in any form of judgement on the event itself of course.)

---

I just thought up an awesome LJ-browser plugin idea. If someone wants to create this, please credit me for inventing it but you can have the money. No wait, I want the money too.  Anyway, the idea is this: click a toolbar button, and your browser offers to create links to Wikipedia for all the significant nouns in your post. I'm not sure how it could figure out which ones to choose, and offering a list of 417 would be way too many. Hmmm.
c9: (Contrails)
I just booked some promo fares on Porter Airlines, Canada's coolest airline. Woohoo!  They fly out of Toronto Island, which is about 25 minutes by public transit from us (and even closer when we leave from work), compared to an hour (or worse) with Pearson (Canada's busiest airport).

We're heading from Toronto to Halifax for the second weekend in August for the family reunion. The reunion is actually in PEI, but the chance to fly Porter for cheap was worth it, since to fly cheap we'd be heading for either Halifax or Moncton anyway, and renting a car anyway.

Exciting!
c9: (Contrails)
On my flight from Montréal -- whose airport has gotten more than a little depressed of late -- to Charlottetown -- whose airport gives a bit of a chuckle to frequent international travelers, I'd wager -- a curious sight could be seen.

Once above the clouds, with the sun shining on us from the right, I could see a circular rainbow (actually three complete cycles of the light spectrum) on the clouds opposite the sun. I hypothesize that the plane was causing a slight diffraction of the sunlight, which was pretily projected on the clouds below and to the left of us.

But why? I don't completely grasp what the plane was doing, and why it didn't simply project a shadow.

I'm also not convinced that it was projected, since of course rainbows are really the moisture in the air, but clouds are moisture too. Damn the many facets and layers of science! Damn them!

I'm sitting in seat 1A on a CRJ-100. Not the funnest plane around. I always put my winter coat in my checked bag too, so I get to walk to and from the plane in my short-sleeve shirt. Woo!
c9: (Earth)
I'm flying to Charlottetown for work in January. I just learned that I can cancel out the carbon emissions of my flights for about $4.22 CDN.

I wonder if I could expense that.

(how to go carbon-neutral)

Bad Seats

Oct. 19th, 2006 02:45 pm
c9: (Contrails)
If I tried really hard, I might be able to find worse seats. But maybe not.


GTAA

Aug. 24th, 2006 06:26 pm
c9: (Contrails)

Huge News



Lester B. Pearson International Airport's LINK Train is operational!

It was originally not going to be operational until 2007. But it launched July 6th. And I was at the airport twice and didn't ride it! Argh! It's so stupid but I want to go to the airport this weekend and ride it even though we're not flying anywhere. I'm a little bit nuts.
c9: (Contrails)
  • I flew home from Winnipeg on one of Air Canada's new Embraer 190 jets. Awesome. USB ports in the seats for some reason, in-seat touch-screen TV/movie/games/music/news, and very sleek and modern styling inside.
  • But ashtrays everywhere.
  • Also very loud in row 24.
  • And my noise-cancelling headphones had been accidentally switched on at some point during my trip, so the battery was dead when I tried to use them on the plane.
Finally, for the bored, a joke:
Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing on Iraq. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!" His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands. Finally, President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"
Thanks very much, I'm here all week. Try the fish.
c9: (sleepy)
Those darn pilots -- always thinking of themselves instead of my likelihood of flying in a shiny new jet.

Air Canada pilots scuttle Boeing deal.

I suppose part of me is happy, as reduce/reuse/recycle applies even to airplanes.

787

Jun. 15th, 2005 12:16 pm
c9: (milk)
This is where I should be talking about the Boeing 787, since this is my 787th post. But since that aircraft will not actually be in service until 2008, and 2010 in Canada[1], I am choosing to vary things a bit.

The top five results for 787 on Google are:
  • Boeing 787 (formerly the 7E7 Dreamliner (ack ack ack))

  • Area Code 787 (Puerto Rico)
  • Experiment 787 at the AGS. E787 is a rare kaon decay experiment in the C4
    beamline (LESB III) at the AGS.
  • Pace Bus: Route 787 - Naperville Midday, Wheelchair Accessible.
  • Cancer Drugs To Watch - In early trials, the PTK-787 compound shrunk tumors in 15 of 28 colon cancer patients when combined with chemotherapy.
787 is a prime number.

The 21st result returned by Google has this title: Boy Scout Troop 787 Flushing

[1] God, it's already 2005 and we haven't even been to Jupiter yet. How on earth will we be able to get to Europa in five years?

777

Jun. 10th, 2005 09:09 am
c9: (Default)
The Boeing 777 isn't that interesting. It's new (well, only ten years old, compared to the 767 (23 years in service) and 747 (35 years in service), its two neighbours in the Boeing lineup), has fly-by-wire instead of hydraulics running throughout the plane to control everything, and the fuselage is perfectly circular. Wooo.

One trivia item: it shares Section 41 of the fuselage with the 767, as shown in this diagram. Weird.

(BTW, I look these things up, very little of it is in my head. But yes, I am still a freak.)

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