Posts Tagged ‘australia’

QANTAS Abandons S.F. for Texas – No More Qantas Rolls-Royce Ka-Booms over the 415 – SFO’s Airbus A380 Cargo Cult

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

How long has it been since three-star-rated former Mayor Gavin Newsom left office – has it been a week or two? Well, we’ll leave that to the judges and justices ‘n stuff, but, irregardless, it’s been long enough* for Qantas Airways Limited to announce that its abandoning the San Francisco Bay Area, g’night, mate.

Why? Well it’s ’cause they’ve been losing mad dollars on non-stop flights betwixt SFO and Cindy, Australia for donkey’s years. Enough is enough they figure, so future flights from Down Under will alight in Dallas, Texas. (Some Bay area travel(l)ers are not amused, not at all.)

Now, weren’t we due for superjumbo Airbus A380 double-decker service by now for those non-stop flights to Oz? Oh yes, but instead of getting that, we’re losing the non-stop, regular-jumbo Boeing 747-400 service we have now. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking how could this be, San Francisco is a “natural amphitheater,” a “world-class” city even. Well, not anymore, or at least SFO isn’t a “world-class” airport anymore.

However, there’s a silver lining. You see, them Rolls-Royce engines, those RB211′s and those Trents 500 and up, well they blow up sometimes, ka-boom! Call it an “uncontained failure” they do. And QANTAS well, that’s pretty much all they run these days, the Rolls-Royce. (Just look at Australia’s national flag, why not, for the reason.) So, less Qantas = less less RR = less ka-boom over our heads.

For example, check out this Qantas flight out of SFO just last summer. It had passed the Farallones with almost full tanks and then, kaboom, Rolls-Royce engine #4 exploded. Oh well. Everybody made it back safe tho. Check it on the YouTube.

Flight 74 getting a little sparky high above the deep briny – not what you want to see looking out your window. Time to dump your avgas and circle back to Millbrae:

Click to expand

I hear you, you’re saying that’s the old Rolls-Royce. But, you know, that Qantas A380 engine that blewed up just after leaving Singapore late last year, that’s the new RR – indeed, that was a fairly recent vintage Trent 900 engine that destroyed itself. Oh well. The Aussie A380s have been patched up and now Qantas is flying them as far as they want again, to Los Angeles among other places. But not very long after the flights started again, yet another Qantas Rolls Royce engine went kaboom - this one was a contained failure, so that’s some consolation, anyway. Check it:

“A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly. She said the latest incident involving Qantas jets and Rolls-Royce engines did not indicate any pattern of trouble. ”We certainly don’t view it that way at all,’ the spokeswoman said.”

O.K. fine. Whatever you say, lady.

Now with the SFO cargo cult. Leave us review:

“Cargo cult activity increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these in some Pacific islands observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”

See where I’m going here? Didn’t we just get done re-doing SFO so that we could handle five or six A380 superjumbos at a time? Hells yes! We saw a few test runs from aircraft with Airbus, Emirates and Qantas livery over the past few years.**

But those big metal birds didn’t come back.

No cargo for us.

So am I saying that it was a stupid idea for SFO to prepare for the Age of the Super Jumbo Jet? No, not really. I don’t know all the deets of how things costed out, and who knows, it wasn’t impossible that official San Francisco’s dream of somehow besting Los Angeles could have eventually worked out. But if you could have seen how proud SFO officials were of their A380-only, double decker jet bridges in the new International Terminal back in the day, well, you’d be thinking cargo cult too.

Who knows what the future will bring. International air travel will increase like gangbusters over the coming decade, so we’ll probably get some use out of those dusty double-decker jetways sooner or later. And maybe then Qantas will be back, with or without A380s. (The Q has abandoned us before, and we made do.) Or maybe Emirates will get a little more MPG from the non-Rolls-Royce, American-made GP7200 engines on their A380s so they’ll be able to make a non-stop superjumbo hop to the Bay Area from the Mid-East. Maybe.

(And maybe by that time SFO will be called Willie Lewis  Brown Jr. International Airport, I’m seriously, that’s what the other former Mayor of SF wants, he wants us to chuck the extremely well-known SFO moniker for WLB. Can you imagine?)

Anywho, if you want to go Sydney after May 2011, your only choice will be United Airlines. Now, that flight is on an old jet that the President of United says is “unacceptable,” but at least you don’t have to fly to Los Angeles on your way Down Under.

So long, Qantas.

*They waited a only a few days – what a joke!

**Man, what a load this was:

“Sensitive to the politically charged nature of outsourcing and offshoring, the Airbus chairman for North America, Allan McArtor, said 50 percent of the A380′s components are being made in the United States. McArtor hailed the new aircraft as quieter and more fuel efficient than wide-body jetliners of the past. Final assembly of the plane will be done in Toulouse, with the first test flights scheduled for next year.”

50% American content? Absolutely not. There’s a bit of American content in A380′s (some of them have more and some less) but it ain’t nowhere near 50% and there’s no way it could have been 50%. Airbus is run by the Euros – why would they go out of their way to employ Americans?

“G’Day Airbus!  Qantas A380 Arrives at SFO

Qantas' A380 arrives at the International Terminal“On January 14, 2009, SFO welcomed Qantas Airways’ new A380 as it arrived from Sydney – the first Airbus A380 to bring scheduled passengers to SFO. The aircraft’s arrival was celebrated with a party at its gate in the International Terminal.   Sponsored by Tourism Australia, the party featured Australian music, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a kangaroo.

The International Terminal, which opened in December 2000, was specifically designed to easily handle the arrivals and departures of large capacity airplanes such as the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

SFO’s International Terminal, with the country’s only built-in A380-ready gates, is the future for comfortable and convenient international air travel,” said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “We welcome visitors from our sister city, Sydney, and look forward to offering regularly scheduled Airbus flights and connections for all of our international visitors.”

The International Terminal features five gates that can be used by the A380 – three with double loading bridges and two with triple loading bridges. SFO was the first airport in the United States to offer triple loading bridges. The third loading bridge extends to the A380’s top deck, which allows the aircraft’s 500-plus passengers to be conveniently and directly loaded or off-loaded from the gate to the aircraft in 40 minutes – approximately the same time it takes to load a 747-400. Moreover, SFO can accommodate a rapid turnaround for the Airbus. SFO is the only airport in the United States with such a high level of built-in readiness.

Qantas currently offers daily nonstop service between SFO and Sydney on its 747-400 aircraft. The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

Here’s What You Do: Go See “Animal Kingdom” at the Red Vic on Haight Tonight

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Boy, you people really stayed away from this movie when it was released earlier this year. Oh well.

Anyway, the Red Vic is showing it today, so there you go.

This one is oppressive. Each of its 122 minutes is bleak, but you got to love the beginning (the first five minutes especially), the ending, and everything inbetwixt.

Well then, here’s the consensus: “With confident pacing, a smart script, and a top-notch cast, Animal Kingdom represents the best the Australian film industry has to offer.”

O.K. then. But now let’s hear from those who don’t like/love AK.

Here are the three people so far who didn’t cotton to Animal Kingdom:

Moving Pictures magazine. Granted, no one could miss the King of the Jungle lion metaphor. Maybe it’s a bit heavy-handed, but the movie only spends about 2% of its time on it and I liked the scene with the still photos of masked robbers and the one depicting the Outback as African savannah. And those rifles you saw were actually handguns.

The Village Voice. All right, but they’re his uncles, not his cousins. Pay attention, dude.

Slant magazine. So, if you didn’t like the “laughably operatic slow-mo and portentous orchestral music” I can see how that could ruin this picture for you, but I didn’t find it laughable at all. And, by the way, where’s your Sundance Grand Jury Award, pal? O.K then.

Anyway, everybody else in the world thinks this film is excellent.

You Got to Go See Animal Kingdom, that New Crime Family Film from Australia – Opens Friday

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Boy, this one is oppressive. Each of its 122 minutes is bleak, but you got to love the beginning (the first five minutes especially), the ending, and everything inbetwixt.

So stop reading and make plans:

Opening in August 20:

Metreon and Clay [Perhaps your last chance to see a movie here as it's closing down at the end of August] in San Francisco
Shattuck in Berkeley

Opening in August 27:

Sequoia in Mill Valley
Cinearts in Palo Alto
Century 5 in Pleasant Hill
Santana Row in San Jose

Oh, that’s not enough to get you to buy your tickets today?

Well then , here’s the consensus: “With confident pacing, a smart script, and a top-notch cast, Animal Kingdom represents the best the Australian film industry has to offer.”

O.K. then. But now let’s hear from those who don’t like/love AK.

Here are the three people so far who didn’t cotton to Animal Kingdom:

Moving Pictures magazine. Granted, no one could miss the King of the Jungle lion metaphor. Maybe it’s a bit heavy-handed, but the movie only spends about 2% of its time on it and I liked the scene with the still photos of masked robbers and the one depicting the Outback as African savannah. And those rifles you saw were actually handguns.

The Village Voice. All right, but they’re his uncles, not his cousins. Pay attention, dude.

Slant magazine. So, if you didn’t like the “laughably operatic slow-mo and portentous orchestral music” I can see how that could ruin this picture for you, but I didn’t find it laughable at all. And, by the way, where’s your Sundance Grand Jury Award, pal? O.K then.

Anyway, everybody else in the world thinks this film is excellent.

You will too.

David de Rothschild’s Somewhat Flaky Plastiki Expedition Finally Makes it to Australia

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Well, he and his Plastiki crew finally made it, all the way from Sausalito, California to Cindy, Australia. Let’s hear it for “heteronormative postmodern causeo-European hubris,” or something like that.

With some major repairs along the way and a friendly tow down the east coast of Oz, he eventually got the job done so you got to hand it to him.

Check the site, check the blog, check the Flickr.

As seen yesterday down under, in a darling little harbour:

via drexplore

All the way to the bottom, Davy. You made it!

Je vous lève le chapeau, Mr. de Rothschild.

The San Francisco Chronicle Covers the Heck Out of Miss Universe Australia 2010

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

How many photos do you think our San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate (San Francisco’s Online Newspaper) recently devoted to the topic of Miss Universe Australia 2010? Well, take a look here at 21(!)  high heels ‘n bikini-type shots.

Here’s the bulk of the copy:

“The 30 women were judged across three sections: evening-wear, question-and-answer and, of course, swimwear.”

Swimwear, “of course!” Of 19 action verbs in the captions, “parade(s)” led the pack – it was used 17 times. Throw in a “poses” and a “strikes a pose” and then all’s that left to do is wait for the Pulitzer Committee to call with instructions for the awards ceremony.

Let’s round things out and give you an even two dozen. The mise-en-scene, down under:

Oh no, high voltage electronics and hot tubs don’t mix, ladies:

And plunging necklines, as expected, sort of:

What should we expect next – 75 shots from Miss Universe Upper Volta 2010? Something like that.

What has SFGate become, the Huffington Post?

Plastiki Approaching Island of Kiritimati After 35 Days Asea – Oprah Impressed

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Here’s the update: Plastiki voyage leader David de Rothschild and crew are heading straight towards the northern Line Islands at a pace slower than walking.

Appears as if they’re slowly making a bee-line to tiny Teraina, Kiribati (aka Washington Island). Or Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) – that’s in the area as well. big old (bigger than San Francisco anyway) Kiritimati (aka Christmas Island)

Be sure to check out the action at Oprah.com.

DdR at the CAS last year:

Anyway, they said they would try for the Lines, and it looks like they’ll make it.

Stay tuned….

Catching Up With the Voyage of the Plastiki – Landfall Near Hawaii Expected Soon

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I don’t know, if Plastiki voyage leader David de Rothschild really were such a self-centered douchebag” “media hound, wouldn’t he be heading towards one of the Hawaiian islands, like Oahu or the Big One? (Numerous reports have stated that Hawaii is on the itinerary.) You know, there’d be a huge reception for him and his crew in ‘Lulu, with a concomitant media circus ‘n stuff.

But it appears as if the Plastiki is heading towards the nearby, not-all-that-populated Line Islands. So credit David for that, anyway.

See? San Francisco is off the map way up near the top right corner of your PC screen and the Hawaiian island chain is in the upper left corner of the graphic:

And do I blame him for skirting around the North Pacific Garbage Patch? Not really, for three reasons.

1. All them exposed two-litre bottles in the Plastiki’s hull make it the slowest pig on the high seas. And depending on conditions, that place isn’t the easiest to navigate through, so lots of extra time would be needed.

2. Garbage patch trekking’s been done already, by similar voyages; and

3. You can’t actually see the Garbage Patch – it looks like any other part of the Pacific. So, unless you are equipped for studying it, the whole place is kind of banal.

Anywho, I’m curious to see where this venture ends up. I’m quite confident this Andersonian craft  is seaworthy enough to make it all the way to Cindy, Australia, but how it gets there - that should be interesting.

The Plastiki plods along while the haters (“heteronormative postmodern causeo-European hubris”) hate. I’m thinking it’s still possible for David to beat the haters and win this one.

We’ll see.

San Francisco Uses Horrible Commerical to Dis LAX – “I Wanna Go Through SFO!”

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I don’t think that the people at LAX are going to fight back against this horrible video from the people at SFO by making a similarly lame commercial attacking SFO. ’Cause, you know, LAX is too big for that. But maybe the few international fliers (perhaps a dozen or two so far) who’ve seen the purportedly humorous vid will maybe begin to think that maybe there’s something wrong with the “Bad Airport” in Los Angeles and then they’ll be more likely to come up to our neck of the woods on their way to some other U.S. destination.

Of course, if foggy San Mateo County is having one of its foggy days, there’s a chance that, due to SFO’s substandard runway separation, any given transpacific flight coming into SFO will divert to Los Angeles anyway. 

Coming into SFO from Australasia on a tiny Airbus A320 series – perhaps they used aerial refueling? (Fuzzed-out vertical stabilizer in original.) (Beautiful(?) sulphur yellow skies in original.) 

This happy fellow here doesn’t have a choice on which California airport he can go to as QANTAS Airbus A380′s only go to LAX. Oh well.

And the upcoming Fly Girls featuring Virgin America will be based in Los Angeles despite the fact that Virgin America is based at SFO. Oh well.

But at least all the white people in the high school AV club spends a day at the airport style video are one step closer to getting their SAG cards. (Seriously, there are like twenty people featured, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, and they’re all white with one lone exception. Looks more like Sea-Tac than SFO…)

Anyway, who knows, maybe this smarmy production will take off, you know, virally.

Nevertheless, We Are Lessened For It.

On behalf of San Francisco, I would like to apologize to all who reside in Los Angeles County. We just lost our heads, we’ll try to make it up to you all.

FlavorPill.com Needs an American Editor in Australia – A $400 per Week Working Holiday

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Let’s review here - Tourism Queenland’s recent Best Job in the World promotion had some bloke getting paid $100k to be a caretaker on an Australian island. The whole thing was quite popular worldwide and some people figure that it got the Australian tourism industry eight figures worth of free advertising all told. (Or course, if you wanted to be considered seriously, it really helped to be young and cute, just like in the real world.)

All right. Today, comes now FlavorPill.com to offer you another job down under. They want you to apply by February 15th, 2010 to be their new part-time online editor in Melbourne (it’s near Cindy, I think) starting September 1, 2010. They’ll pick up your airfare and they’ll put you up for 12 days but it’ll be up to you to live on $400 a week for a year or whatever.

And, oh yes, you’ll need to qualify for a Working Holidays in Australia visa and that means you’ll need to be between 18 and 30 years old. So you have to be kind of young, but nobody will care what you look like. Bonus.

Just think, this could be you with a cute attentive beach kangaroo:

And this is how you’ll look surfing down under with your cute, attentive boyfriend:

This is something betwixt the best and worst jobs in the world. Keep that in mind as before you become one of the world’s highest-paid part-time bloggers (as you struggle to afford a daily cup of coffee.)

Its you:

Come Out and Live, Play and Work in Australia as the New Flavorpill Melbourne Editor! Flavorpill Announces Job Opportunity for a Young American; Visa Program and Travel Deals Available for Others Wanting to Work and Play in Australia

Los Angeles, CA – (February 9, 2010)  Thanks to a visa program and some great travel deals available on Australia.com/workandplay, Flavorpill, an online source for culture, events and current news in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and London, is getting ready to launch Flavorpill Melbourne! There’s just one thing missing: an editor.

Americans ages 18-30 can apply for the Managing Editor position at http://flavorpill.com/australia/submit.html. Just tell why you deserve the position and what experience you have with writing, editing and social media. The deadline for entries is February 15, 2010.

“The ability to go to Australia for up to 12 months, get a job and experience our unique and diverse adventures through the Work and Holiday Visa program makes the opportunity with Flavorpill’s new Melbourne newsletter a dream job. This is a great way to add to one’s resume by joining the locals and getting off the beaten path,” said Tourism Australia Vice President Americas Daryl Hudson.

More deets, after the jump.

(more…)

The Pig-Nosed Turtles of Golden Gate Park Really Do Have Piggy Noses

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Here’s what you do – you go over to Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, somewhere near Heron Island, and start up your pig call. Soooo-weeeee! And soon you’ll see pig-nosed turtles, weighing up to 30 pounds.

Like this ugly customer. Click to expand.

GO8F8492 copy

Do some people abandon pets at Golden Gate Park?

Yes, some people do.