Leap of Faith

Ryanair FR4102 at Rome Ciampino

Ryanair FR4102 at Rome Ciampino

I imagine thats what the crew of Ryanairs FR4102 flight had on the 10th November, when they ‘arrived’ at Romes Ciampino airport. Reading various comments on the interweb I think of all the Microsoft  Bird Control Unit officers, (you know on the add on Microsoft FS98 that no-one buys),  who must be now polishing their Purdy Over and Under 410’s and their ‘Scarecrows’,  I can see em lining up at the threshold pointing their Scarecrow at a flock of Lapwings and drawling those immortal Bird scaring lines …

‘This is a ten second recording of a Lapwing in distress’ “Did I play six seconds or only five? I’ve forgotten in all this excitement but this is a 98 Scarecrow Bioacoustics Premier 1500, the most powerful birdscarer in the world, it will blow your ears clean off and you have to ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky?”

The Lapwings, dense and arrogant bastards that they are, will pay cock all attention to the sound, acoustics experts and Spinal Tap fans will note this system is so powerful that they can’t even be @rsed to number it, see sound level below …


Cut to highly technical interview on the shitepump …
BBC Bint: So this is what you use? Is it very loud? As loud as a small child?
BCU: Well, it’s louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most BCU’s, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on max here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on max on your scarer. Where can you go from there? Where?
BBC Bint: I don’t know.
BCU: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
BBC Bint: Put it up to max.
BCU: Max. Exactly. One louder.
BBC Bint: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make max be the top number and make that a little louder?
BCU: [pause] These go to max.


One of our wisest keyboard BCU officers declared of Roman starlings that:

‘I was surprised to see enormous flocks of Starlings winging about above the city in a completely unpredictable fashion.’ 

No doubt raising eyebrows amongst twitchers worldwide that Starlings, by inference, will fly in a predictable fashion, presumably if you pay em enough and offer a prime time slot with Bill oddie or Kate Humble on Autumn watch. ( My guess is Kates slot would get the thumbs up every time …).

Another commented

‘I am no expert in the dynamics of bird flattening, but those splats seem rather big for starlings !’ 

It’s a cracking opener though, warning the reader that they’re likely to be exposed to an uninformed opinion on a technical subject. Perhaps if he’d spent some time throwing Starlings at 150mph at solid objects, or hammering them to a table top, he’d be better placed to advise us on the structural strength of the Sturnus Vulgaris, or of the fluid dynamics of their contents when applied with ‘force’ to one of Mr Boeings finest. Obviously he’s never dropped a bottle of milk … (NB. Readers, please don’t try ‘Starling nailing’ at home, I’m in enough shite for the Free Bird post).

Then another eager poster suggests:

Does Italy have a bird control policy in place, around the airports? If they did, perhaps this incident may have been averted. Just a thought…’

The first thought that occurs is that the bloke is seriously trying to suggest you can control a bird, he almost certainly spends too much time at the PC, alone. Even Berg knows that you need more than Trill and Ouzo. Well if he’d read some of the preceeding 16 pages, it appears that in Rome Starlings are allowed to fly in an unpredictable fashion in the city, (just like their drivers really), so can you imagine trying to teach or encourage Starlings, least of all Italian  Starlings to conform to anything? even with Kates slot on offer …


Reading such informed ramblings leaves me with a very definite reminder of one of the finest pieces of political drivel ever heard since I was on holiday at the time:

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
Yes, a Boeing 737 had a bird strike on landing.

We also know
There are known unknowns.

That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
Yes, what actually happened.

But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.
That’ll be a good reason for an investigation then.

For the record I don’t think that Ciampino’s BCU will be found wanting, having actually spent time with them. Some Italian regional and national Government policy departments may well need to hide the Swiss cheese though…

And I do hope that nice Mr O’leary takes the crew fer a pint at the very least, they dun good!

2 Responses to “Leap of Faith”

  1. I think you should read the article here below:

    Avionews – WAPA
    News Date: 2008-11-13 03:33 pm
    Category: Civil Aviation

    Questions on the Ryanair emergency landing in Ciampino: was the airport’s certification in order?
    Rome, Italy – According to the certification Team in 2005 the airport “Had not legitimacy”

    The emergency landing carried out by Ryanair Boeing B-737, which met with a cloud of birds while approaching to Rome’s airport, put attention of the whole aeronautical world on some serious questions.
    The first question is the reason why the airplane skidded off, so that a main semi-landing gear is sunk, even though the ICAO rules indicate that also the auxiliary lateral bands to the main runway are supporting.
    The second question, on which no one has expressed doubts, is relating to the causes that provoked the block of the airplane in the end of the runway. Had the airplane brake damages? Was the Ciampino’s runway too short for that airplane? Or was the runway’s inclination out rule? Did the reverse work? And how much fuel the airplane had onboard?
    Several people thought to speed up the transit operation Ryanair implemented the “Multy Stages refuelling”, that is the airplane has the fuel necessary also for the return flight.
    In this situation it would be necessary a longer runway for the landing and would justify the slowness in the Boeing aircraft removal due to the necessity “To empty it” in advance with the consequent riskiness of the operation, considered the proximity of houses.
    All questions come from a fundamental consideration, that is the bird-strike during the landing does not presume neither the skid off nor the necessity to stop the airplane at the end of the runway, with the danger to finish on a very busy street.
    But are we sure that there is not something else? The high risk that population have taken should be established by Magistracy.
    Probably the end of a skein lives in a little sentence put as overture in an ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) report of 2005:
    “The airport has not structural legitimacy, for which Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), Rome Airports Management Company, has presented a risk-assessment report, and the evaluation is under examination by ENAC”.

  2. norvenmunky Says:

    This of course is utter bollox as anyone with a scrap of common sense or knowledge reading it will deduce immediately from pretty much the first line.

    ”According to the certification Team in 2005 the airport “Had not legitimacy”

    So the airport has been operating illegally for three years then since 2005?

    Stefania, 2/10 must try harder and supply supporting documentation, not the valpollicella soaked ramblings of some roman scribbler. Please note the fuel tankering policy and ground refuelling is unlikely to be a significant factor in any birdstrike, what is more important however, is if you allow Bird Control Units to operate effectively, or whether you tie their hands behind their back. Italys legislators seem to prefer the latter approach …

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