While you’d imagine that with an almost limitless sky, collisions between aircraft should be almost impossible, the reality is that nothing is shorter than a straight line, and as such the skies are filled with a sort of invisible highways, pre-established flight paths between airports that all aircraft have to follow to get from point A to B in the most efficient, quick manner, this is why the following accidents managed to take place:
Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision
On 12 November 1996 over the village of Charkhi Dadri, to the west of New Delhi, India, two commercial aircraft, Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763, a Boeing 747-100B, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, a Ilyushin Il-76TD, collided in the approach path of Delhi’s airport, a narrow flight path used to both departures and arrivals, where a combination of pilot error on behalf of the Kazakh aircraft, lack of a modern radar in Delhi, and the airports extremely congested approach path lead to the loss of 349 people on board both planes, becoming the third deadliest aviation accident in history.
Dniprodzerzhynsk mid-air collision
On 11 August 1979 over Ukraine, near the city formerly named Dniprodzerzhynsk, two Tupolev Tu-134A’s on scheduled domestic passenger flights, and both operated by Aeroflot, Aeroflot 65816 and Aeroflot 65735, collided while on cruise flight after an overworked and understaffed air traffic control made a series of communication and direction mistakes, ultimately culminating in a break down of communication and the subsequent crash, killing all 178 people on board both airliners.
Zagreb mid-air collision
On 10 September 1976, British Airways Flight 476, a Hawker Siddeley Trident, collided mid-air near Zagreb, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), with Inex-Adria Aviopromet Flight 550, a Douglas DC-9. The collision was the result of a procedural error on the part of Zagreb air traffic controllers, a combination of bad coordination and use of improper radio language, leading to the loss of all 176 people on board both planes.
All Nippon Airways Flight 58
On 30 July 1971, a Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) Mitsubishi F-86F Sabre fighter jet collided with an All Nippon Airways Boeing 727-200 airliner, causing both aircraft to crash. All 162 occupants of the airliner were killed, while the Sabre pilot, a trainee with the JASDF, ejected before the collision and survived. The crash occurred after the fighter pilot,
Technical Sergeant Yoshimi Ichikawa , which was practicing air combat maneuvers with his instructor in another Sabre, failed to monitor the air traffic around him, until his instructor realized the impending collision and ordered him to break away from the airliner, an order that came too late.
Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 1103
On 22 December 1992, a Libyan Arab Airlines Boeing 727-200 took off from Benina International Airport near Benghazi on a domestic flight to Tripoli International Airport. At an altitude of 3,500 ft (1,067 m) during the aircraft’s approach to Tripoli airport, the aircraft disintegrated after allegely colliding with a Libyan Air Force’s MiG-23, resulting in the death of all 157 passengers and crew on the airliner, while the 2-man crew of the MiG ejected.
This one, while still being classified as a mid-air collision, but after the fall of Gaddafi, the military pilot involved claims the airliner was ordered shot down by Gaddafi himself, in an attempt to show the west the consequences of the embargo imposed on Libya after the bombing of Pan Am flight 103.
Gol Transportes Aéreos Flight 1907
On 29 September 2006, a Gol Transportes Aeréos Boeing 737-800 collided in midair with an Embraer Legacy 600 business jet over the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. All 154 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 737 died when the aircraft broke up in midair and crashed into an area of dense jungle, while the Embraer Legacy, despite sustaining serious damage to its left wing and tail, landed safely with its seven occupants uninjured. The accident was caused by errors committed both by air traffic controllers, further compounded by lack of radar coverage over the area of collision, and by the American pilots on the delivery flight of the Embraer Legacy, whom failed to turn on their anti-collision system or TCAS, being unfamiliar with their brand-new aircraft.
Well, since today was Sunday, I decided to finally give a good clean up to my man child toys small vehicles collection, as I’m a lazy bastard that lets it collects too much dust for weeks at a time.
And since they’re all bright and shinny, I decided to share it with you guys, my pride and joy that has been slowing growing for the past 10 years, so, without further ado, here they are!
Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde - Air France
Airbus A330-200 - Avianca
Airbus A330-300 - Swiss International Air Lines
Airbus A340-300 - Iberia
Airbus A340-300 - TAP Portugal
Airbus A380 - Prototype
ATR-42 - Avianca
AgustaWestland AW101 - Royal Canadian Air Force
Avro Lancaster - Royal Air Force
AgustaWestland AW109 - US Coast Guard
Bell 207 Jet Ranger - Los Angeles Police Department
Bell 412 - Corpo Forestale dello stato
Boeing 737-400 - Lufthansa
Boeing 737-700 -
Gol Transportes Aéreos
Boeing 737-800 - Aires Colombia
Boeing 737-800 -
Gol Transportes Aéreos (different scale)
Boeing 737-800 - Varig
Boeing 747-400 - Royal Air Maroc
Boeing 767-200 - LAN
Boeing 777-200 - American Airlines
Being 777-200 - Singapore Airlines (different scale)
Boeing 777-300 - Japan Airlines
Boeing AH-64 Apache - US Army
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress - USAAF
Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet - US Navy
Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knight - USMC
CANT Z.506 Airone - Regia Aeronautica
Dassault Mirage V - Colombian Air Force (made from three 7.62mm bullets)
Douglas Commercial DC-7 -
Embraer E190 - TACA
Embraer E195 - AirEuropa
Eurocopter EC135 - German Army
Eurofighter Typhoon - Luftwaffe
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II - US Air Force
Fokker 50 - Aer Lingus
Fokker 50 - Avianca
Fokker Dr.I - Luftstreitkräfte (Red Baron)
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon - Royal Netherlands Air Force
Grumman F-14 Tomcat - US Navy
Grumman F-14 Tomcat - US Navy (different scale and wing angle)
Hawker Hurricane - Royal Air Force
Junkers Ju-87G Stuka - Luftwaffe
Lockheed C-130H Hercules - US Coast Guard
Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird - US Air Force
McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II - USMC
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 - Northwest Airlines
McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II - US Navy
Messerschmitt Bf 109 - Luftwaffe
Mikoyan MiG-29 - Russian Air Force
Mitsubishi A6M Zero - Japanese Navy
Mil Mi-17 - Soviet Air Force
Mil Mi-25 - Iraqi Air Force
North American P-51 Mustang - USAAF
Panavia Tornado - Luftwaffe
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk - US Army
Sikorsky SH-60 Sea Hawk - US Navy
Supermarine Spitfire - Royal Air Force
Yakovlev Yak-3 - Soviet Air Force.
Tanks and Armor
Krupp Protze and
3.7 cm Pak 36
M2 Bradley (I had bought a T-72, but the seller sent that one by mistake)
Marder III Ausf. H,
Panzer IV Ausf. G
Panzer VI Tiger Ausf. E
Sd.Kfz. 7/2 armored cab version
In the following years, I want to add soviet airliners (I’ve had my eye for a while on a Herpa Wings Tu-154M), Vietnam-era helicopters, trijets, at least one biplane (the fokker’s a triplane), british turboprops, allied WWII armor and more AT guns, but that will be when I’m back in Colombia, as I can’t indulge in this hobby as much as used to, as most came from the time I worked a full-time job, where more often than not I ended up eating only spaghetti and canned bologna sauce for weeks at at time after overspending in one of these, mostly the helicopters and tanks (all worth it!).
I had a bit more, but two movings and a car crash destroyed them.
‘Any teas, coffees, panini, snacks?’ asked one of the flight attendants, smiling wide, holding onto a trolley filled with plastic bags and paper cups. She wore her chestnut-brown hair tied in bun at the back of her head. Her skin was tanned and flawless, her English sprinkled with a mild Spanish accent. A long apron covered her pale yellow shirt and ocean blue skirt.
I shook my head and she moved the mini-bar one row past me. It would be at least an hour before they come back with perfumes and those damn lottery tickets.
Blessed with a window seat, I stared at the vivid azure of the sky above the clouds for a minute before getting back to tapping on my phone. With my wife’s head rested on my shoulder, I was trying not to move too much. She’s fast asleep and I didn’t want to wake her up. The crammed seats sure didn’t make that any easier.
Our plane would be landing at Mallorca in an hour and 40 minutes and that made me nervous. I was meant to be done by now so why the hell was I still working? For the third time I selected the whole last paragraph and deleted it without any idea what to write instead. I was stuck.
This is the story of the first draft of my first novel.
It all started back in December 2015. I’m one of those people who like to take at least a week off around Christmas. But besides celebrating the holidays, I don’t usually do much. As the year comes to an end, I sit back and reflect. I want to see what I’ve missed before it all gets flushed down the drain of history.
I did a lot of disorganised writing in 2015. This year, I wanted to start something new; something with a purpose. I had a hazy story idea in my mind, way too complex for a short story but not developed enough to become a novel. So I though I’d do an online serial: 26 chapters published bi-weekly over the whole year, 3000 words per chapter. If people liked it — great, no big deal if they didn’t. It’d be free on the internet.
When the fireworks launched on New Year’s Eve, I had a basic outline. Many questions and not enough answers. It took one more week of agonising and a number of revisions before I started writing. The story arc was nowhere near ready, but if I were to hit the deadline for the first instalment, I had to dive in.
I wrote the first 500 words on 10 January, another 500 on the 11th and 500 more on the 12th. The words added up and when the deadline was due, I had enough for not one but two instalments. I stayed up late, scrolling through the draft, cup of coffee in hand, struggling to keep my eyes open. The copy was raw and the story too.
How can I do this without knowing exactly what happens next? I thought.
The more I wrote, the more precious the story became to me. The fear of putting something out there that I couldn’t fix later became real. I went to bed without publishing either of the chapters that night.
The next morning, I filed everything I wrote so far in a folder called CHAPTER 1. I set my goal to 80,000 and suddenly, I was writing a novel. The math was pretty simple. Inspired by my previous daily successes — if I wrote 500 words a day, I’d be done by 18 June. That sounded like a plan.
The transition from a pastime activity into a major project put an abrupt end to my epic writing streak. I produced no words on that day or the one after. The resistance had crept on me from behind, unwelcome and unexpected. When I started caring whether it was shit, everything got a lot more difficult.
With mixed success over the following month, I stopped to re-work the outline. Two weeks later I scrapped four of the seven chapters I had written so far and started over, making a promise to myself that this time I’d stick with it till the end. Oh, well.
Wake up, try to write, go to work, try to write, go to bed — my next few months in a nutshell. I moved the novel forward as a snail moves its house; it was slow and frustrating. The thing got heavier and heavier as I filled the manuscript with imperfection.
June arrived earlier than expected. I had just finished chapter 12 and the manuscript sat at around 55,000 words, whooping 25k short of the target. That sucked and I didn’t want to write another word ever again. My writing sessions went on an on, if I wrote anything at all. Four hours in, 117 words done — less than a half a word per minute. I quite literally dragged myself through chapters 13 and 14 until I couldn’t possibly carry on with this excruciating endeavour any longer.
I stopped writing completely in July, 14 chapters and 62,000 words into the manuscript. I barely passed the midpoint and keeping up the same pace, I’d be stuck with this project till Christmas at least.
The problem with first drafts is that they give you the benefit of the doubt. When you quit mid-draft, you’ll never get to see how bad your story really is. Your work goes into a folder of wishful thinking. You could make it awesome if you wanted to, but not now. Failing to finish is very different from finishing and failing. You don’t get to face the reality and never learn from your mistakes.
I had failed to finish too many times before. This time, I wouldn’t have it.
Even in January, I wasn’t naive enough to think that I’d finish by June. But I wanted to get the book done before the beginning of September when I booked my holidays — in exactly 39 days. Out of curiosity, I worked out what would it take to finish the book by then. The calculator showed me a number I didn’t like one bit: just over 1,000 words every day for the entire month.
My daily output at the time averaged at 150 painful words. Doing this for a couple of days? Maybe. But thinking that I could keep writing over seven times that for 40 days straight was an absolutely ludicrous idea.
Luckily, a part of me that I still don’t quite understand said, 'Fuck it. Let’s do this.’
I was in for some serious hustle, every single day, no exceptions. Slip one and miss it. I woke up early and stayed up late, drunk coffee by the litre, adding cans of Red Bull when that would no longer do.
And 39 days later, I found myself three quarters into a flight from London to Palma de Mallorca, still working. The words were stubbornly refusing to leave my head. I saw sea already beneath us. It was exactly the same colour as the flight attendant’s apron. There were three ships floating at the surface, each the size of a grain of sand. The rocky north coast of the island emerged out of the blue shortly after. I forced my eyes away from the beauty, took a deep breath and woke my phone up again.
Bullshit, I’m not stuck. I know how to do this, I thought. I hammered out the last two paragraphs of chapter 26 as the crew wrapped up the perfume trolley and got the cabin ready for landing.
The Boeing 737-800 touched down and my novel was done. 39 days, 44,000 words. The most productive writing streak of my entire life. Commitment and hard work made all the difference.
The whole manuscript is 26 chapters and 109,475 words long. I overshoot the target quite a bit. I can always delete some stuff.
When we disembarked into the heat of late afternoon, I felt calm and relieved. Eight long months of grappling against the resistance came to an end. I was happy; really happy. But it was an entirely different kind of happiness than I had imagined I’d feel when I wrote the first page in January.
Writing the first draft is only one step on the journey from an idea to a finished book. Now that I’ve got all the ingredients in a pot, it’s time to step away and let it brew.
And when the time comes, I can’t wait to start editing.
Thanks for your support; I’ll keep you guys posted.