Tuesday, July 31, 2012

80'000 Kilometers and going

There is a new Photo Gallery on-line. Ever since I left the house of my friends in New Jersey in October 2010, I have taken a picture, just a straight shot out of the windshield, when the odometer hit another one thousand kilometers. 

No matter whether night or day...

...dry or...


...wet or...

...rainy. Just every 1'000 k's I hit the shutter, by now 80 times and hopefully there will be many more pictures to enlarge the gallery.

Enjoy it!

Where everything is bigger...

...it might need a couple of more photo galleries as well. Slowly but surely I am working up all those pictures of my trip. Not complete yet but slowly but surely getting fed, there are three photo galleries for the US's second biggest State, Texas:

...and Texas, where...

...everything's bigger.

And HERE is a link to the complete list of photo galleries. Enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Airport La Sabana

Yesterday I was touring Costa Rica's capital, San Jose, with my bike. Part of that little tour included the Parque Metropolitano in La Sabana. At its eastern entrance sits this building, today housing a museum, that caught my attention. I did not visit the art museum, as I was more into a little excersise yesterday than into arts. Nevertheless. As I was cycling back to my hotel, yes, I am living in a hotel right now, my house, home as well as my car, all the three are in Service at Toyota here in San Jose right now, I had to think more about that actually pretty building, the tower, was it a jail? But for a jail all was almost too beautiful and all the doors and windows way too large. So when back I started reading about it. And yes, as I thought for a minute, it was an airport terminal and tower. What seems to be right in the city center and makes the biggest recreational park of San Jose today, was Costa Rica's second and it's first international airport.  

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr
Today the building presents itself totally restored but fortunately it doesn't look much different than in the 1950ies, when it still operated. This view is airside, my picture shows the terminal building from the city's side.

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

Even on a stamp the Airport of La Sabana showed up.

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

This is a view out of one of the arches of the terminal building.

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

Even before the terminal  building in the pictures above was built...

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

...La Sabana was an airfield, at the time far out of the city.

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

Douglas DC-3 in front of the tower of La Sabana International Airport.

Photo Source: dgac.go.cr

A TACA DC-3 on the tarmac at La Sabana Aiport.

Today the park is room for the largest sports arena of the country as well...

...as many soccer fields, which are extensivly used, especially on a Sunday. The park also has several ponds for fishing or recreation, many trees and biking, jogging and walking trails.

That was, what actually was fueling my thoughts about that building, what is an old airframe doing in the back yard of an art museum? 

The airport la Sabana was closed in 1955, some sources say in 1957. 1957 was also the year when the airport in Alajuela opened, still in operation and one of two international civil airports of Cost Rica.

Aviation - No Excuses!

You should have checked the tire pressure...

...that went wrong somehow...

...and what exactly happend when you were supposed to check the engine oil level?

All because you have been distracted by the Captains Uniform.

Yes, Uniform standards are a little more relaxed in this tropical countries, you do not really need to wear a tie. 

Uniform or not, should you be interested in Aviation, you might enjoy the freshly fed Photo Gallery "For Avaition Nuts". Over 700 Aviation related pictures I have taken on my trip in North and Central America.

Have fun!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dornier Do X Look- Alike

Check out my German blog to see the Do X look-alike I have met in Texas.

If you'd like to see a B-747 look-alike, click here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Employee Parking

Apparently at Mercedes-Benz in San Jose, Costa Rica they know what's good.

Panama Canal in Numbers

1914: Ancon, a frighter is the first vessel that crosses the canal.

82 kilometers: The length of the canal.

26 meters is the total hights each ship is being rised with the locks and lowered again before sailing into Ocean waters again. Lago Gatún is 26 meters over sea level.

6'300: The number of graves that were dug out while the French took a first attempt on building the canal

9'000 permanent employees find work today at the canal. 

36 Cents is the lowest price ever paid for a crossing of the Panama Canal, MS Richard Halliburton registered with a weight of 1/13 of a ton, equal to about 70 kilograms. Halliburton was the first and only person who crossed the canal swimming. There was no system in place to register anything else than a vessel, therefore Halliburton had to register as "MS Richard Halliburton"

USD 437'000: The highest paid toll to cross the canal

24 + 1: Everyday 24 slots are available to cross the canal, they can be booked up to one year ahead, the 25th slot is auctioned out every day.

USD 220'300: The highest ever paid auctioned out price. In 2006 a vessel bypassed 90 waiting ships just to cross before the canal was closed for 7 days for maintenance. It's regular toll at the time would have been only USD 13'430.

15'000: The approximative number of ships to cross the canal ever year.

USD 5.52 billion: The estimated cost for the canal expansion project currently under way

USD 2.3 billion: Amount of foreign loans Panama took for the project.

580 Horse Power: The BHP that each Muli, the towing locomotives have to pull and manoeuvre the vessels through the locks.

Combined 4'640 BHP pull and monoeuvre the largest vessels through the locks since 8 of those locomotives are used to manoeuvre the biggest ships through the locks.

14 km: The length of the Culebra Cut, the area where the canal cuts through the rocks and shale of the isthmian mountains.

52 million gallons of fresh water are released into the ocean with every crossing. The fresh water comes from the man made Lago Gatún which is fed by Rio Chagres.

3 locks: The canal includes a total of three locks, the Miraflores (two steps) and the San Pedro (one step) locks on the Pacific side and 1 three step lock, the Gatún locks at the Atlantic side.

88 sluice gates and a total of 250 valves control the water needed to operate the locks. No pumps.

45° is the angle that the towing locomotives climb when moving from one lock chamber to the next.

300 pilots are employed to guide the vessels through the system.

36 tugs work in the system to pull and push the vessels through the locks and the Culebra cut.

100 locomotives are working in the three locks of the canal

305 meters is the length of each lock chamber.

33.5 meters is the width of each lock chamber.

26 meters depth of the chambers

294.13 meters is the maximum lenghts that a vessel can have that is built to Panamax specifications. It's width can not be more than 32.4 meters

12.04 meters maximum tropical fresh water draft is allowed according to Panamax specs.

61 centimeters is the remaining space at each side wall when a Panamax vessels manoeuvres through the locks.

60 centimeters is the remaining space when the vessels sail out of and over the treshold of the locks and its gates.

August 15, 2014 is when the new larger locks which will operate parallel to the existing ones should open, and it is the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal.

You can see a lot more pictures of the Panama Canal as well as of Panama HERE

Or you can read a more detailed story in German on my German blog.