29 January 2009
The real reason
OK. The secret’s out. The real reason I drive a cab is because I like aeroplanes. Looking at them, flying in them, reading about them.
And, being a cabbie means that not only do I get to hang out at Canberra airport where I can watch planes landing, taking off and cruising around looking for a parking slot, I can earn enough money to fly in them every now and then.
Canberra International Airport (otherwise known as CIA) is perhaps a little too grandly named for its primary function, which is being one end of seven domestic air routes, mostly to the other capital cities. There used to be an international service to Fiji some years ago, which operated during the winter months, but that got cancelled due to poor attendance. Every now and then the airport management makes optimistic noises about flights to Singapore or New Zealand or Hobart, but the truth is that with Sydney airport a couple of hours up the road, offering regular services to just about everywhere in the world, Canberra can’t compete.
However, every now and then we get some international flights. If Sydney airport is closed in by weather, we’ll get an occasional diversion, such as the time the London flight came in late at night and sat around on the tarmac for six hours before the exhausted passengers were finally released. Or there will be visiting heads of state in colorful official jets.
It’s always worth while looking over at the RAAF VIP Squadron base on the other side of the main runway. Yesterday, I spotted an aging DC-9 in United States Navy livery, and while I was snapping telephoto photographs through the heat haze, there was a tremendous noise and a USAF KC-10 tanker aircraft landed. Presumably they will fly back home together, because there is no way a DC-9 could make it back over the Pacific alone.
The other aircraft in the background of the photograph above is one of Australia’s VIP transports, a Boeing Business Jet used to fly the Prime Minister and his media staff around. I suspect that we’ve used the same aircraft livery consultant, or maybe we bought some surplus aeroplane paint from the Americans.