Thursday, 28 July 2016

Theresa May flies into Warsaw

While David Cameron flew into Warsaw during the last week of his premiership in a large Airbus A330 Voyager, new British prime minister Theresa May visited Bratislava and then Warsaw in a more modest aircraft, the BAe 146-100 CC.2 Statesman, operated by No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF. I watched in fly in from our garden.

In an era of increasingly homogenised aircraft (two engines, one under each low-mounted wing and a conventional tail), the sight of a plane with shoulder-mounted wings with two engines under each, and a T-tail is rare. A configuration which the modest BAe 146 shares with the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy and the Boeing C-17 Globemaster as well as the Ilyushin Il-76 'Candid'.

These planes in military guise have been fitted with anti-missile protection equipment, for use in Afghanistan, although the livery reflects that of a civilian airliner. The logo on the tail had me puzzled - shamrock? 100th anniversary of the Easter Uprising in Ireland, the post-horn reflecting somehow the strategic importance of Dublin's general post office in the fighting? But no - this January marked the 100th anniversary of the formation of No. 32 Squadron, as was then, the Royal Flying Corps. The shamrock-and-horn device is the squadron's logo.

Welcome to Warsaw, Mrs May - I hope talks with the Polish premier go well and both parties can claim success. Difficult topics, relating to trade and free movement. But with good will on both sides, I trust common sense will prevail.

[One year on - things look bleaker. On both sides.]

This time last year:
Announcing the start of the Radom railway line modernisation (not even half completed today!)

This three years ago:
In praise of the (Polish-built) Fiat 500 

This time four years ago:
Llanbedrog Beach and a farewell to North Wales

This time five years ago:
To the Polish seaside, by night train

This time six years ago:
Accounting for the past - 20 years on from PRL's fall

This time seven years ago:
An introduction to fine British cheefef

This time nine years ago:
Over the Peaks by bus

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