Lockdown Voices Number 9 CLOUD
Updated: Apr 23
There are few people with a better bird’s eye view of the world right now like cargo pilots.
Astronauts might be a little higher up and looking down on us from the ISS but for a more grounded view of the effects of Covid-19, I am taking a look at Aidan Gallagher’s Facebook posts which show a serious departure from the world we once knew and took for granted.
Yes, planes are grounded and passengers too but at the same time, we have never needed some Made-in-China manufacturing and supplies as we do right now. This Lockdown Voice is a look through empty airport hubs, grounded crews and monitors than have been delayed indefinitely.
They say that travel broadens the mind and I imagine that people flying Jumbo Jets, have enjoyed seeing the world through their airlines and with a spectacular view as they get from A to B.
Getting around is no longer possible for many of us on Lockdown but commercial pilots are very much in demand and while Aidan is from my hometown, I first met him at one of the annual European People’s Festivals. Athlone represents Ireland in the European sport and culture competition but you would be surprised how small the world can be sometimes.
A pilot friend travelling from Spain once asked me where I was from in Ireland and I said, “It’s a big town in the middle of the country but you would probably never have heard of it, it’s called Athlone.”
His next question was, “Do you know Aidan Gallagher?”
I couldn’t believe he knew someone from my town and then he told me that Aidan was his co-pilot. Yes, a Boeing 747/8 is one of the largest planes in the world but sometimes it's a small world when we live in a jet-set age and this story demonstrates just how small the world really is and how interconnected we all are.
Covid-19 could change how we see travel and transportation but I'm guessing large cargo planes are in serious demand right now.
As I said before, Captain Gallagher captains one of the world’s biggest planes and the world is desperately waiting on important logistics and supplies from pilots, ground crews and everyone working in the supply chain system from manufacturing to the delivery driver knocking on my door.
The 747-8 is an enormous Jumbo Jet and a pricey one at that but despite its size, it can still cruise
just under the sound barrier at 988 KM/H or roughly 600 miles per hour.
There might not be many planes in the skies at the moment but we are all eagerly awaiting what’s in them when they arrive. His Facebook post shows the empty environment where thousands of tourists used to wander around looking to collect their baggage or find their connecting flight. He is probably just seeing empty terminals with thousands of unmanned kiosks and desks where people once worked selling coffee, newspapers, weighing baggage and renting cars.
Arguably the largest plane in the world, the world's largest aircraft includes two leviathans that never made production. The prototype Spruce Goose by Howard Hughes which you can see in the Martin Scorsese film, The Aviator had longer wings and the enormous Antonov which you might recognise from the disaster film 2012 is simply gigantic but only one such Antonov of that size exists in the world which only leaves the Jumbo competing against its European rival, the Airbus 380.
The Boeing debuted in the late 60s and has been perfected over five decades meaning that even the
Airbus 380 “Super Jumbo” is still no match for “The Queen of the Skies.”
Stay Safe, Stay at Home but when you can, fly supplies.
In his Facebook album called Ghost Travelling, Captain Gallagher added some details about where the photographs were taken and how busy these places usually are. Wherever you and however you are adjusting to this historical time. Please share your bird's eye view of where you are too.
BAGGAGE CLAIMS: I am looking for my bag, it's the only bag coming off the plane. Thank you.
I think Aidan had posted that some car parks are being taken over as parking spaces for planes.
MONITORING THE SITUATIONS: Aidan posted an image of these empty screens.
WELL, THAT DIDN'T ESCALATE THINGS: An unused travelator and empty airports.
ANYONE TO DECLARE? I guess they don't have to ask if you are there for business or pleasure.
BOEING 747/8: Picture sourced from Wikipedia
HERCULES H4: Better remembered as the Spruce Goose filmed on only known test flight
ANTONOV 225 TO THE RESCUE: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8217089/China-sends-worlds-biggest-plane-Poland-packed-PPE-mask-diplomacy.html?fbclid=IwAR3aO32q_9oSfOUNf-6Jdw7sTCqxv4RU0vKP9MSXsKSt4Mh-OXzOh_qtYU8