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  • Clarke Wallace

I have a friend, New Zealand-born Graeme Mears, whose side line is building and flying model planes. Many with 12-foot wingspans. So big he had to take them apart to get them out of his basement workshop.


“I’ve had an avid interest in aviation all my life,” he said, “and have been involved at various levels as a serious ‘buff’.”


Graeme would make his own parts, metal or whatever. Each finished product would turn out to be a work of art.]


These days he has a different sort of flight plan. He bought an aircraft simulator and the necessary hardware that goes with it. Yoke, rudder pedals and throttle quadrant, among other parts. He wondered if his computer was powerful enough to handle this sophisticated software. It worked fine.


He started this simulated adventure flying a hardy Cessna 172. His favourite now among others is a King-Air twin turbo prop C90.


Where does Graeme fly these days? Anywhere in the world! One of his favourites is Lukla International Airport in Nepal. Deemed one of the most dangerous places to land in the world.


“It’s runway is surrounded by steep maintains,” he says, “with no clear approach. It takes a lot of work to land without killing yourself.”


He flies into other difficult airstrips. If making a bad decision on landing, he watches his plane crash and burst into flames.


Author’s comment: It’s fascinating to think there’s a good friend who ‘flies’ such planes as the Boeing 747, but admits he’s not good at this type of aircraft. A steep learning curve. Too complicated as well, with all those switches and knobs.

  • Clarke Wallace

Something has been troubling me lately. It is how we have been treating our oceans by literally scooping billions of sea creatures and fish from those waters for our own use.


A Saturday feature in the Globe and Mail, dated 13 June, had this headline:

‘We need a sea change in our views on ocean lawlessness’


Written by author Laura Trethewey, she begins with her scathing remarks how President Donald Trump announced the opening of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine Monument off the coast of New England to commercial fishing.


The president’s announcement, she writes, ‘holds up the historic status quo of freedom at sea as the oceans teeter on the outright collapse’.


And this quote from Ms. Trethewey: “…former president Barak Obama protected three canyons and four underwater mountains from commercial fishing,” to have Trump ‘gutting the few marine protections that exists serves no one’.


You see the results of how we are treating our oceans, my words, when watching huge trawlers on television hauling in enormous catches that weigh in the tons. You witness rules being broken on the TV series Whale Wars when the hard-line animal-rights group Sea Shepherd exposed Japanese fishermen harvesting whales for, quote, ‘research purposes’.


And this a sidebar to the article: ‘From dumping to plundering to colonizing, the ocean has always been a place of Wild-West law-breaking’.


Author’s comment: How long can we strip our oceans of its sea life and ignore what we are not leaving future generations? When you read that 26 billion tonnes of fish is landed illegally each year and more than 30 per cent of fish stocks are on the verge of collapse, that’s a shocker!

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