What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road

“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. Is a catchphrase used by drivers up and down the country. Is this a driver being careless and dangerous or did the driver genuinely not see you?

Car mirror and visibility

According to a report by John Sullivan of the RAF, the answer may have important repercussions for the way we train drivers and how as cyclists we stay safe on the roads.

John Sullivan is a Royal Air Force pilot with over 4,000 flight hours in his career, and a keen cyclist. He is a crash investigator and has contributed to multiple reports. Fighter pilots have to cope with speeds of over 1000 mph. Any crashes are closely analysed to extract lessons that can be of use.

Note: You can now download the original article by John Sullivan which includes further insights: Dropbox link.

Our eyes were not designed for driving

We are the result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. Our eyes, and the

more via>>  What an RAF pilot can teach us about being safe on the road.

The sky’s the limit for Simon Spencer-Bower who has just logged 20,000 hours …

I was pretty amazed this week to learn that my friend Simon Spencer-Bower has just logged 20,000 hours as a pilot. I knew a year or two ago he was first in the world to exceed 10,000 in a Robinson 22. This alone is quite an achievement!

I’ve flown with him a few times, including a very special time when times were hard in my life, when he took my son age 10, and I heli-sking on the Pisa Range with his children, and what really impressed me was how he took the time to shut down while waiting on us older lads, and when we got down to him there he was building a snowman with his daughter and my Dougal.

Here are a few photos of another day in the hills with him when I was helping he and his staff gather up the remains of a glider that had crashed a few days before [with fatalities] on a mountain side between Hawea and the Ahuriri Valley…

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Squirrel

Wanaka Helicopters Simon Spencer-Bower

Simon is an excellent photographer too… more>>

The Otago Daily Times also did an excellent feature on his achievement this week..

Wanaka Helicopters owner Simon Spencer-Bower is modest about his many aviation achievements, but even he could confess to being a little proud of his latest one – this week reaching 20,000 flying hours.

More via >> Otago Daily Times Online News

Minaret barge pusher boat out of Lake Wanaka for survey

Some years ago Wanaka local identity and business man Sir Tim Wallis commissioned a huge barge to be built to service his Minaret Station up the lake from the Wanaka Makarora highway [the popular tourist route and only road to Haast and the West Coast]. The barge and pusher boat were built and assembled near Wanaka on a gently sloping beach and boat launching area called Waterfall Creek. It was quite an event in more ways than one!

So when I heard recently the unit was being serviced there again I took a drive to check it out:

Minaret Station Barge Lake Wanaka

Minaret Station Barge Lake Wanaka

The local newspaper based in Dunedin, the Otago Daily Times did an article on it as well:

For the first time since its launch in Lake Wanaka almost 18 years ago, the pusher boat for the Minaret Station barge was taken out of the water this week to be surveyed.The 15m by 6m, 65-tonne vessel has attracted plenty of attention from the […]

more via >> Barge boat out of lake for survey | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

The Hobbit movie is already increasing New Zealand tourism

New Zealand tourism I read is currently getting a big boost with flight bookings as fans flock here for a taste of Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings.

A Lord of the Rings filming site, the Waiau River in Southland. Which drains a lot of the¬†eastern¬†side of Fiordland National Park home of the famous Milford Sound. This bridge also gives access to the Kepler Track…
Waiau River in Southland NZ

Waiau River in Southland New Zealand

And this in last week’s Otago Daily Times, is a little unusual..

Tolkien may have never wanted his Lord of the Rings trilogy illustrated but a discovery by Otago man Paul Tankard may give a glimpse into how he pictured his own fantasy […]

More via Images offer insight into Tolkiens mind | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand.

Serpentine Church

Think Like a Publisher

This article has some of the best advice I’ve read about publishing…

Serpentine Church History

The personal computer — and the dynamic duo of the Macintosh and LaserWriter in particular — revolutionized print publishing by making it easy to knock off a brochure, flyer, or newsletter. And the Internet extended our individual publishing capabilities even further, enabling anyone to send bulk email, start a blog, or set up a Web site. Heck, the combination of the Mac and the Internet is why TidBITS exists — without them, could a pair of 22-year-olds have started a publication that would reach tens of thousands of readers on a nearly non-existent budget?

Much has been said about how desktop publishing resulted in near-criminal uses of ransom note fonts, and similar criticisms have been heaped on amateurs putting up truly horrific Web sites. But thanks to clever programs and templates, it‚Äôs now easy for anyone to produce something that‚Äôs passably attractive. But that doesn‚Äôt mean that these publications ‚Äî for that‚Äôs what they are ‚Äî succeed at their primary goal of […]

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Andrew Pohl – New Zealand Cross Country Skier

A great post by my Snow Farm friend Andy Pohl..

Dec 13th 2012: Nor-am 2 and World Cup 15km Mass Start

So a lot has happened in the week and a half since I last updated everyone. ¬†Firstly I travelled to Silverstar Mountain Resort in British Columbia, about 7hours away from my base in Canmore. ¬†Silverstar and its partner Sovereign lakes nordic center is an amazing place to ski. ¬†The share amount of well-groomed trails there never ceases to amaze me, and to top it off they get a ton of snow. ¬†I travelled there for two races the first being a 15km classic mass start. ¬†I was keen to do well in this race […]

More via: Andrew Pohl РNew Zealand Cross Country Skier.

Marine reserve a must for Otago | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand has some stunning coastal areas and wild-life, but there seems little “official” appreciation of this treasure.

A Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) enjoying a view while a boat fishes recreationally in North Otago…
sea gull

Kekeno (New Zealand fur seal) are the most common seals in New Zealand waters. – a protected species – basking…
fur seal

A Red-billed Gull (Larus novaehollandiae scopulinus) rookery…IMG 4288 2

My friend Andrew Penniket a very skilled under water photographer and cinematography legend, and also a marine biologist has called for an end to the ”stalling” which he says is blocking the establishment of Otago marine reserves, and thus he got a mention in the local ODT newspaper – he’s “onto it”…

“When it comes to protecting our seas, Otago is the most backward region in New Zealand.

More via >> Marine reserve a must for Otago | Otago Daily Times Online News : Otago, South Island, New Zealand


Of the world’s 36 species of shag 12 are found in New Zealand and 8 of these are endemic, and I’m not sure which one this one is I photographed at Doctor’s Point Otago…

Cross Country Skier Andy Pohl Tracking Well Ahead of World Cup » Snow Sports New Zealand

One of my Snow Farm nordic skiing friends is off to a good start this nth. hemisphere winter. That’s Andy on the right…
IMG 6196

New Zealand cross country athlete Andrew Pohl has enjoyed a positive start to his season, racing at the Haywood NorAm in Canmore, Canada last weekend.

Andy finished 40th in the men’s open field in Saturday’s skate sprint race and 12th in the 15km Classic Mass Start on Sunday.

more via >> Cross Country Skier Andy Pohl Tracking Well Ahead of World Cup » Snow Sports New Zealand.