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Recent climate change in perspective

Much as people who advocate multiculturalism do so because they neither know anything about nor care to learn anything about cultural difference, the people who are most strident about anthropogenic climate change neither know nothing about nor care to learn anything about climate science. “Caring” they can manage; the work of learning, not so much.

— “Settled science.” Ghost of a Flea, 14 December 2009.

The Flea’s post links to another site’s video, which is itself a compilation of graphs by Anthony Watt (of Watts Up With That?), created from Greenland ice core data collected by NOAA in 2000.  Here is an animated GIF showing the crux of the matter.

noaa_gisp2_icecore_anim3

Click on the image to see a higher-resolution version of the GIF, if desired.

This is why climate science needs more hard science, and less agenda-tinged argumentation from authority.

Category: That all men may know His works  Tags: ,  Comments off

Double Exposure

Writer/photographer David Arnold has launched himself on a one-man crusade to revisit and photograph glaciers in Alaska and Switzerland that were previously photographed from the air by legendary explorer Bradford Washburn some seventy years ago.  These photographs are part of a travelling exhibit (and website) called Double Exposure, aimed at providing a visual record of AGW-induced climate change.

I include these photos not as any endorsement for or against AGW theory, but simply because the visual record of our evolving planet is striking in its own right.

The Matternhorn on August 16th, 1960, 0900 CEST (left) and August 18th, 2005, 0910 CEST (right). Source: Double Exposure

The Matternhorn on August 16th, 1960, 0900 CEST (left) and August 18th, 2005, 0910 CEST (right). Source: Double Exposure

Twenty Mile Glacier on August 8th, 1938, noon AKDT (left) and on August 10th, 2007, 1106 AKDT (right). Source: Double Explosure

Twenty Mile Glacier on August 8th, 1938, noon AKDT (left) and on August 10th, 2007, 1106 AKDT (right). Source: Double Explosure

Hugh Miller Glacier on August 12th, 1940, 1517 AKDT (left) and on June 12th, 2005, 1117 AKDT (right). Source: Double Exposure

Hugh Miller Glacier on August 12th, 1940, 1517 AKDT (left) and on June 12th, 2005, 1117 AKDT (right). Source: Double Exposure

I try to avoid wading into the unwinnable theological arguments of climate change because it often seems as if there are only two positions:  1) it’s all our fault and unless you give up everything and live in a yurt on the outskirts of Ulan Bator, Earth will be transformed into a toxic, hostile mess; or 2) nothing is warming up except for the knots in the knickers of filthy hippies, now cut down another acre of rainforest so we can rotisserie this polar bear cub the old-fashioned way.

My sense is that certainly, some parts of the planet are warming; but whether or not humans are the primary causal factor is something science can not yet answer definitively.  It is safe to say that we have a long way to go before we can, with any certainty, isolate from our calculations the effects of other influential factors—not least of which is that enormous fusion reactor eight light-minutes away, producing the energy equivalent of 90 billion megatons of TNT exploding every single second.

Humans have a very mixed record at trying to craft “natural” solutions to problems with the local flora and fauna (think intentionally-introduced invasive species), so I am naturally wary of anyone at this imperfectly understood stage of the game who thinks they’ve got a bulletproof plan that needs to be implemented worldwide.

So while I would hesitate to endorse all of the “solutions” espoused by Mr. Arnold, I do nonetheless find something admirable in the effort to track the changes to the landscape.  Our landscape is changing, and preserving some of it virtually (for posterity) is something I can approve of, even if I’m not 100% on board with the motivating premise.

Somebody who is a lot more motivated than me could attempt to do the same, from a non-aerial perspective, with the mountain and glacier photographs of Byron Harmon.

Crowfoot Glacier c1906-1924 by Byron Harmon (top) and in Sept. 2006 by Flickr user purplou78.

Crowfoot Glacier c1906-1934 by Byron Harmon (top) and in Sept. 2006 by Flickr user purplou78.

Robson Glacier c1906-1924 by Byron Harmon (top), and c2006 by Flickr user brilang (bottom).

Robson Glacier c1906-1934 by Byron Harmon (top), and c2006 by Flickr user brilang (bottom).

Thursday’s thunderstorm from the Flight Deck

20090820-PHC_1300_1, originally uploaded by Paul Chan – Canada.

Captain Doug Morris is an A320 pilot for Air Canada, and he is the author of an interesting and informative blog called From the Flight Deck (which is also, and not coincidentally, the title of his book).  He has posted some interesting details from his travels on Thursday, including the effect of the weather on airport operations:

Flight 1040 (DEN-YYZ)

We knew those thunderstorms in western Ontario may be an issue on the return flight. The TAF was calling for a 30% chance for our arrival. We were holding YUL (Montreal) as an alternate and we were tankering three tonnes of extra fuel. Flight dispatch has a program, which determines whether buying cheaper fuel is worth carrying. Pilots like tankering fuel because nowadays fuel calculations are done with a “sharpened pencil.”

While enroute a SIGMET is issued stating a solid line of TSTMS tops to 55,000 feet is now observed in Western Ontario with possible GR (hail) and FC (Funnel cloud). I had to remind the F/O of the acronym FC. The amended TAF timed the thunderstorms to be either over the airport or passed to the east for our arrival. A datalink from dispatch confirmed the thunderstorms have passed and the Toronto airport is open for business. However, I knew things would be backed up on the ground because of the “red alert.” That’s when all ground personnel (rampies, fuelers, marshallers) walk off the site and everything comes to a grinding halt. Sure enough after landing we are told to taxi to the CDF (Central Deice Facility) and wait. I make an announcement for the passengers on the right hand side to look out and they will see 30 other airplanes waiting for a gate. Chaos. It turned out, several tornadoes had spawned. A B777 reported a funnel cloud to the north while on final approach.

Flight 470  YYZ-YOW (Ottawa)

Things at the airport had gone off the rails. The inbound Tokyo flight (B777) diverted to the small airport of YXU (London, Ontario). Many others diverted to BUF (Buffalo).  We get our flight plan after clearing customs and everything is showing on sked for us. Hmmm? I guess as I get older I get a little more cynical. We go to our gate only to find the outbound flight has not departed and there isn’t even an airplane for the posted outbound Edmonton flight. We call flight dispatch, they don’t know.  We talk to STOC (Station Operations Control), they don’t know and passengers ask us what’s going on and you guessed it, we don’t know.

— Morris, Doug.  “CYYZ (Toronto) goes off the rails – again.”  From the Flight Deck, 21 August 2009.

There’s more.  Whether you’re an aviation enthusiast or not, it’s worth reading just to understand how bad weather creates chaos for the crews, not just the passengers.

Category: Aeronautics  Tags: ,  Comments off

Toronto “Tornado”

A severe thunderstorm's shelf cloud slowly engulfs the city.  August 20th, 2009.  From Janine Massey's Flickr photostream.

A severe thunderstorm's shelf cloud slowly engulfs the city. August 20th, 2009. From Janine Massey's Flickr photostream.

On August 20th, a severe thunderstorm passed through the city, and north of us it spawned a tornado (around Highway 7 and Martin Grove Road). There were a few other tornadoes too, one in Windsor, and another in Durham which unfortunately went on to kill an 11-year-old boy at a day camp.  There are a lot of myths and half-truths that surround tornadoes, gleaned from movies or decades of folk wisdom.  It can be tempting for Torontonians—who generally think of themselves as an island of tranquillity free of severe weather—to overreact a little.

The fact is, though, that Canada is second only to the United States as the favourite touchdown spot of tornadoes (roughly 70-80 per year—NRCan‘s stats say 70, EnvCan‘s stats say 80), and of the ten worst Canadian tornadoes, Ontario can lay claim to four (see here and scroll down for “Canada’s Worst Tornadoes”).

Although our true “Tornado Alley” lies along an axis from Sarnia to London, Toronto happens to be right on the edge of an area that gets 2.5 to 4.9 tornadoes (per 10,000 km2) every year. So they are not exactly scarce to this part of Ontario.

Map of the Annual Number of Tornadoes in Canada.  Source: Natural Resources Canada

Map of the Annual Number of Tornadoes in Canada. Source: Natural Resources Canada

One thing you will see a lot of—especially on YouTube—is people shooting the shelf cloud or wall cloud and labelling it a tornado, presumably because its large, low-hanging semi-circular shape  vaguely resembles a good-sized town-wrecking tornado.  This video (with a hat tip to neighbour Joey de Villa) is a prime example.  I initially misidentified it as a wall cloud, but on further reflection realised it is merely the shelf cloud, as it is too close to the storm’s leading edge.  The shelf cloud (which can be semi-circular) trails the storm’s gust front, pushed outward by inflow of warm air and the outflow of cool air from the storm cell.  You can tell it is the shelf cloud because a) it is very close to the storm’s front edge, and b) there is no rotation.

Tornadoes spawn from something known as a mesocyclone (or more colloquially a “wall cloud“).  The wall cloud is the visible manifestation of a large, rapidly rotating updraft, and it is this spinning updraft which may eventually form a tornado.  The wall cloud of a mesocyclone does rotate slowly, but mesocyclones do not typically form at the leading edge of the storm; they tend to be located in the right rear side of supercells (see also: hook echo).  This later video (again with a hat tip to Joey) may be just such a wall cloud; although the cameraman is under the humourous misapprehension that it is a tornado itself, and that his life is in danger.

One other common misapprehension is that green skies are indicative of tornadic conditions.  As this Scientific American article states, there is no definitive correlation between sky colour and the presence of tornadoes:

Threatening green skies during a thunderstorm also proved entirely independent of the type of severe weather that came with it. Gallagher measured hailstorms where the dominant wavelength of light was green as well as hailstorms where it was the typical gray-blue color of thunderstorms. Tornado-producing storms proved similarly divorced from any particular sky color, other than dark.

Researchers remain undecided about the exact mechanisms that cause the sky to appear green in certain thunderstorms, but most point to the liquid water content in the air. The moisture particles are so small that they can bend the light and alter its appearance to the observer. These water droplets absorb red light, making the scattered light appear blue. If this blue scattered light is set against an environment heavy in red light—during sunset for instance—and a dark gray thunderstorm cloud, the net effect can make the sky appear faintly green. In fact, green thunderstorms are most commonly reported in the late afternoon and evening, according to Beasley.

— Knight, Meredith.  “Fact or Fiction?: If the Sky Is Green, Run for Cover—A Tornado Is Coming.Scientific American, 14 June 2007. [Emphasis is mine]

You will not be surprised to learn that Thursday’s thunderstorm, which featured green skies, occurred in the late afternoon.  Where green skies may have predictive powers, though, is in heralding the arrival of severe weather.  They may not be a good indicator of tornadoes, but they typically do indicate that you are going to get a serious thunderstorm.

It is also not unusual to think that thunderstorms that do inflict significant property damage had some undetected tornadic activity.  This is not so.  The gust front at a storm’s outflow boundary can contain very high winds, and these will advance several kilometres in front of the storm itself.  If your area suffers a microburst, this can also create tornado-like damage without the presence of any funnel cloud or visible phenomena.

Finally, it is important to pay attention to the nomenclature that your local forecasters give to the storm.  While many of us may think of “severe” as just another adjective, in the parlance of forecasters it actually carries a very specific meaning.  A “severe thunderstorm” is one whose wind gusts (or peak wind speed) have been clocked at 50 kts (93 kph) or greater.  These winds in and of themselves can do significant property damage, whether or not a tornado shows up.  Thursday’s storm was, no surprise, tagged as severe.  Remember that when the weather office declares a severe storm warning, they are expecting 50kt/93kph (or greater) winds, and the gusts can get an awful lot faster than that.  It is no picnic.

Even hundreds of miles away, a storm can give you a bad day

With Air France 447’s experience in heavy weather front of mind, it’s important to recall that aircraft at cruise altitudes are not normally put in peril by a storm front along their route of travel.  They tend to be most dangerous to aircraft that are in the takeoff or landing phase, when the aircraft are travelling the slowest and aircrews have the greatest amount of workload.  An Air Force C-130 narrowly avoided a Colgan 3407-like stall on approach through quick recognition and fast action by the aircrew.

“We were on our initial approach into Al Asad,” said Capt. Andrew Gillis, a 737th EAS C-130 aircraft commander and native of San Jose, Calif. “We were the third aircraft to go in. No one else reported any issues. In the middle of our approach, it started getting real rocky, and our air speed indicator ended up bouncing up and down plus or minus 20 knots.”

Falling back on countless hours of training and simulations, Captain Gillis advanced the throttles to max power to break off the descent and go around again. There was only one problem.

We had absolutely max power from the airplane,” Captain Gillis said. “There’s a specific escape maneuver, and we were in the process of doing that maneuver, but the airplane was still sinking.


— Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher.  “Quick recognition, action saves C-130 aircrew, soldiers“, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs, June 3rd, 2009.

Ouch.  Throttles firewalled at 1,800 feet AGL, and still going down; not a good situation to be in.  What is really remarkable is that between problem detection and problem resolution, the aircraft lost just 800 feet of altitude despite being in a remarkably perilous situation for over seven miles. And 1800 feet is not a lot of room to play with when we’re talking about a stall or high sink rate situation.  It is a good thing the crew diagnosed the situation so rapidly and took corrective action.

Even more interesting, the high winds they encountered were actually caused by a large storm front several hundred miles away.

With the winds making a safe landing impossible, the crew headed for home, enduring another 30 minutes of intense turbulence. 1st Lt. Jeff Stanek, the aircraft’s navigator, said the wind shear and turbulence were caused by a massive storm front hundreds of miles away.

“There was a huge storm front the size of California that moved over Turkey,” said the native of Marlboro, Md. “And it moved faster than anticipated. We were clear of the actual storm, but the gust front in front of the storm is what we hit.”

Bravo zulu to the whole aircrew; you guys saved 45 passengers (as well as yourselves).

Air France 447

An Airbus A330-200, flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris with 228 people aboard, vanished over the North Atlantic just after crossing the equator.  It’s always a tragedy when something like this happens.

Some people, including an Air France spokesman, ruled out terrorism and initially speculated that the mishap was due to lightning, which is so fatuous and misleading as to verge on intentional falsehood.

An A330 flying at a cruising altitude of FL350 or 35,000 feet has a pretty good idea of where the bad weather can be found.  First of all, it is flying above all but the highest cirrus (and cumulonimbus) clouds, so the lightning-producing convection activity of tall, anvil-topped cumulonimbus clouds stands out like a beacon.  Even when they are surrounded by other clouds, a line of thunderheads tend to be obvious and easy to spot with the naked eye.  And the A330 has weather radar, naturally, which does a good job of spotting clouds, convection and lightning activity within the storm that the Mark I eyeball might miss.

In order to even have a shot at being lost due to lightning, the pilots would have to have ignored their weather radar (or turned it off), ignored the evidence of their own eyes, and decided to fly into convective storms without trying to “thread the needle” and find a way around the worst of it.  Ignoring passenger safety and comfort along the way.  And that is not even considering the many backup systems available to the aircraft and pilots should lightning happen to fry something.

They may well have gone down due to the inherent risks involved in flying heavy at high altitudes, meaning that the aircraft had less margin of error between cruise speed and minimum safe manoeuvring speed. In the convective turbulence of a thunderstorm, you can lose a lot of airspeed due to the buffeting of the weather, and that may all add up to a rapid and unexpected departure from controlled flight.

But the only way that lightning could down an A330 and cause structural failure too fast for pilots to react is by de-bonding one of its composite empennages or flight control surfaces.  Or in layman’s terms, putting so much voltage into the carbon/epoxy vertical and horizontal stabilizers that they vaporise or explode, leaving the aircraft with no way to control its attitude or altitude.  This scenario is possible, but not overly likely, as A330s (as well as every other type of airliner with composite structures) get hit by lightning on a fairly regular basis—on average once every 3 years—without their rudders or elevators going kaboom.

This is not to say that terrorism is the answer.  But the true cause occurred so suddenly that the aircrew had no time to issue any distress calls, and the resulting condition put such stress upon the airframe that, according to ACARS automated telemetry, it came apart on the way down.

UPDATE: I should point out that a lot depends on how far apart those ten ACARS error messages were transmitted.  If the electrical failure came first, followed by the remainder several minutes later, it is reasonable to suppose a lightning strike occurred and took out some vital system (perhaps the plane’s radar, as supposed by Miles O’Brien in this Reuters post).

If all ten failures occurred within a very short time period, with no significant delay between them, then something catastrophic happened at altitude and took the plane apart.

UPDATE 022105Z JUNE 2009: Interesting unconfirmed details from the Aviation Herald website (via commenter Tailspin at Neptunus Lex).

New information provided by sources within Air France suggests, that the ACARS messages of system failures started to arrive at 02:10Z indicating, that the autopilot had disengaged and the fly by wire system had changed to alternate law. Between 02:11Z and 02:13Z a flurry of messages regarding ADIRU and ISIS faults arrived, at 02:13Z PRIM 1 and SEC 1 faults were indicated, at 02:14Z the last message received was an advisory regarding cabin vertical speed. That sequence of messages could not be independently verified.

The whole Aviation Herald post is worth checking out, lots of good information there, including airway routes and infrared weather images.

UPDATE 040909Z JUNE 2009: Reuters is reporting that the debris field included a large fuel/oil slick on the ocean surface, which in the estimation of the Brazilian Defence Minister rules out a fire or explosion.  That is pure nonsense.

I’d say it indicates that one of the wings came down more or less intact, and that’s about it.  If both wings and their tanks had come apart at cruise, the fuel would probably not be a large 20km-long slick; it would be many smaller droplets spread out over a large area.  I also don’t see how the presence of the slick would rule out, for example, a fire in the cockpit (a la Swissair 111) or detonation of an explosive near the rear pressure bulkhead, which could cause separation of the vertical or horizontal stabilisers (a la Japan Air Lines 123) and render the aircraft uncontrollable.

The A330-200 has a few variants, one with a center fuel tank and one without.  Tanks common to both variants would be inner and outer wing tanks, wingtip vent tanks, and a trim tank in the horizontal stabilisers.  Tank location diagram can be found here.

None of this is proof that a fire or an explosion did occur, but neither is it wise of the politicians to rule out such a possibility while the most significant data and materials lie on the ocean floor.

UPDATE 060404Z JUNE 2009: So basically everything you have heard about AF447 from the media is wrong.  Except that the plane was flying from Rio to Paris, didn’t make it to the destination, and 228 people died.  They are now saying that the 20km-long oil slick came from a ship, not the aircraft.  And a wooden pallet reported to be payload from the aircraft is not actually from the aircraft, either.  Well done, fellas.

UPDATE 101146Z JUNE 2009: Reader Ghost of a flea emailed this article which contains an interesting nugget of information:

Unease over the A330 was strengthened by charges from the Alter pilots’ union that Air France had covered up problems with the airspeed instruments. It emerged this week that the airline advised pilots on November 6 last year that there had been “a significant number of incidents” in which false speed readings had upset the automated flight system — in the manner that appears to have happened on Flight 447.

These incidents, from which the crew were able to recover, occurred at cruising altitude, said the two-page circular. As a result of the false readings — apparently caused by ice clogging up the pitot tubes — the automatic pilot disconnected. The data from the doomed Airbus last week reported the same sequence, but the pilots were unable to regain control. A parallel is being drawn with an incident last October in which a Qantas A330 dived inexplicably under the command of its flight system, seriously injuring several passengers. James Healy Pratt, a lawyer with Stewart Law, a London firm handling the Qantas incident, said that the sequence of events was the same, with fluctuating airspeed indications apparently causing the auto-pilot to disconnect.

— Charles Bremner.  “Air France pilots told not to fly Airbus jets after Brazil crash“, London Times, June 10th, 2009.

UPDATE 151221Z JUNE 2009: No explosion, but an in-flight structural failure.

Post mortems carried out on 16 of the first 50 bodies found floating in the sea reportedly have no trace of burn marks or smoke, supporting the theory that the accident was not the result of a blast.

…Although an explosion is unlikely, investigators believe flight AF 447 broke up in the air because of the location of victims’ bodies found in the water.

Two trails of bodies were discovered, more than 50 miles apart, which suggests the jet broke up before impact.

They had no water in the lungs – which would have indicated drowning.

— Henry Samuel.  “Bodies of Air France flight 447 victims show no signs of mid-air explosion“, London Telegraph, June 15th, 2009.

Intuition, a little too late

In media accounts of the Colgan 3407 cockpit voice recording, there is this little snippet that is both tragic and ironic:

Seven minutes later, [Captain Marvin] Renslow complained of the ice that was forming on the plane’s windshield and wings.

“That’s the most I’ve seen … most ice I’ve seen on the leading edges in a long time,” Renslow said.

A moment later, the co-pilot, Rebecca Lynn Shaw, complained of her own inexperience.

“I’ve never seen icing conditions,” she said. “I’ve never de-iced. I’ve never seen any. I’ve never experienced any of that. I don’t want to have to experience that and make those kinds of calls. You know I’d ‘ve freaked out. I’d have like seen this much ice and thought oh my gosh we were going to crash.”

Moments later, the crew lowered the plane’s flaps and landing gear, and the plane quickly encountered trouble.

— Jerry Zremski.  ” Pilot: ‘Most icing I’ve seen’; Co-pilot: ‘I’ve never de-iced.’ “, Buffalo News, May 12th, 2009.

Maybe sometimes it’s best to go with your gut reaction.

A Cautionary Tale

While reading some of the updated news about Colgan Air 3407, I was reminded of a harrowing incident recounted on an aviation blog.  I include it here not as prognostication on what happened to Colgan 3407, but as a reminder that when flying into inclement weather, it is critical that the aircrew work together professionally and keep flight safety front of mind at all times.

runny_vortilons[The captain] has spoken to the boss, and they have decided that we will continue on and get back to our base. That means at least 1.5 hours in the ice, instead of the 30 min we have just completed. I am not happy about this, and we get into a screaming match in front of everyone. Classy. Eventually I give in and get into the plane. Though I am NOT happy about it. It is my leg to fly, but I refuse, stating that since my input was not required while making the decision to do this leg, I will not fly. I am a passenger. What else can I do, besides stay there, alone, cold, with no where to go.

We take off.

We start picking up ice.

Lots of ice.

We change altitude.

Still more ice.

We are now unable to maintain altitude.

Descend.

The captain comments that it ‘doesnt’ look as bad as the last leg’. I point out that we have an ever lower airspeed that before, and are using a higher power setting on the engines. In fact, we are at max power.

We are now drifting down towards the ground, the windshield caked in ice so bad we can barely see out. The ice on the wings extends back a foot and a half back from the boots. I feel ill imagining what the tail is looking like. We are inching closer and closer to a tail stall, I can just feel it.

— Anonymous pilot, “The Night of Ice“, Sulako’s Blog, April 8th, 2008.

Read the whole thing.  That particular aircrew is lucky to be alive.

Image “Runny Vortilons” from Fiveholer’s Flickr stream.

RELATED: Neptunus Lex presciently points to a 1998 NASA video describing the tailplane icing phenomenon.

Snow Day!

Snowstorm in High Park, Dec. 19th, 2008

Snowstorm in High Park, Dec. 19th, 2008

About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

— A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad, 1896.

There is something about a heavy snowfall that awakens my inner eight-year-old.  I want to boot down a gigantic hill on an old-school toboggan.  Or build a snow fort big enough to accomodate twenty people.

In lieu of that, though, I couldn’t resist taking the Nikon for a stroll through High Park earlier today.  Pics are in this Flickr set.

Category: Diversions  Tags: ,  Comments off

Porter Airlines

Random observations from the flight:

No surly flight attendants.  Air Canada, take note.  Also, dig those pillbox hats.

It’s quiet. On the DH4 (Dash 8-Q400), I would estimate there’s about a 60-70% reduction in engine / airflow noise compared to the original DH1 (Dash 8-100).  You can actually carry on a conversation at normal volume, which would be unthinkable in its predecessors.  The only downside is that if there are crying/screaming brats on your flight, you will be able to hear them quite clearly, too.

Stupid BlackBerry tricks: I have no idea why the BlackBerry’s camera is trying to tell me that the aircraft is a many-tentacled Japanese manga monster.  Contrary to the image (below, on the left), the fuselage is not spontaneously growing another set of propeller blades and those are not prop-tentacles snaking their way out into the slipstream.

Beside it (below, on the right) is the six-bladed composite Dowty propeller as seen via a real camera, with absolutely no tentacle-porn content.

img00007 dsc_0006

Incidentally, Dowty Propellers has a long and honourable history as a British manufacturer of prop blades and parts.  It is now a component of GE Aviation.

Porter’s in-flight meal box. Contains one turkey-and-swiss sandwich on whole-wheat submarine-style bread, one roundel of Mini Babybel cheese, one piece of Melba toast, and one double chocolate chip cookie.  Libation options include soft drinks, water, or wine.  Note that drinks are served in actual glasses, not disposable plastic cups.

Contrast that with Air Canada Jazz’ usual snack option of stale pretzels, a soft drink, and no booze and no cheese.

dsc_0007 img00010

What the hell is all this white stuff doing on the ground already?  When I left Toronto, it was the beginning of our rainy season and indigenous beachcombers had just finished harvesting mangoes from the tropical rainforests along the Don River.

Trip time: about 45 minutes.