Saturday, 30 July 2011

Ahhh the fragrance but it is what is inside that counts

Have you ever been to your local airport, on a hot summers day to watch the frenetic activity on the apron as aircraft after aircraft are unloaded and despatched or perhaps you've been jawing in a old hanger long past it's best, telling tales about 'there I was upside down', when you catch on the air a something, a hint, a fragrance, the scent that stops you mid sentence ..... the delightful and unique smell of hot turbine exhaust gas - burnt Jet A-1 or Kerosene to the uninitiated. There is nothing, absolutely nothing quite like it to throw your mind back to dreamy boy-hood days of Viscounts & Heralds engines whining nose twitching as they spool up, glass landings on the

Jamuna (aka Brahmaputra) River alongside the Jibon Tari Floating Hospital, turbine gases wafting in the open window in the shimmering tropical heat or the sweaty unloading of life saving plumpey nuts to the creaking of a cooling exhaust in Southern Sudan.

Have you wondered what it is though that makes this mind transporting 'drug'. Well it is a rather expensive piece of kit, called a PT-6, this is a turbine engine bolted behind the prop, as shown below.
It operates to the very scientific formula of
                                 Turbine + Fuel = Noise + More Noise + Aircraft Movement  + Fragrance
A remarkable piece of very reliable equipment not so dissimilar to Frank Whittles prototype of some 74 years ago.
Funnily most people like to board a nice shiny aircraft and don't give much thought to what goes on on the inside, tis true to say that generally speaking if you look after the outside then probably you are also looking after the inside but actually in aviation it is what is on the inside that truly counts. We love our engineers as they are very thorough, picky and do a great job - no one wants an engineer to rush or take short-cuts. Actually what is on the inside is really important to the pilot and not just mechanically but what we carry....
You know though there was a man who was a great believer in the statement that it is, what goes on on the inside that really counts. 
I have recently just enjoyed a great book about this remarkable man written by Eugene Peterson and called The Message well worth a read.
So next time you catch the fragrance of those glorious exhaust fumes remember 
1.we cannot neglect what goes on inside of us either 
2.sometimes we need a spot of maintenance
3.we need to make sure that what we carry around with us on the inside is useful and perhaps jettison some of the junk!


  1. Very thought provoking, and accurate.

  2. I like it - worth to think about it - perfect
    God bless Peter