The gannet was observed carefully constructing a nest for his chosen mate, grooming her chilly, concrete feathers, and chatting to her – one-sided – year after year after year.
This sounds remarkably like my efforts in Madison nightclub in Newcastle, every Monday (student night) between 1992 and 1995. We’ve all been there, mate.
Sadly, Nigel died alone, although there is hope in the fact that three real-life, flesh and blood, absolutely not concrete gannets arrived on Mana Island just before Nigel shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the choir invisible.
This was during an ETOPS test on the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 TEN engine.
I had to look up what ETOPS meant, and found that it was “Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards”. Basically, it refers to the distance that a twin (or more) engined plane is allowed to go from an airport that it can safely land at, in case of engine failure. As with many of these sorts of things, it’s actually rather more complicated than it would seem to need to be.
Still, as long as the people in charge know what’s going on, I suppose…
Regulators closely watch the ETOPS performance of both type certificate holders and their affiliated airlines. Any technical incidents during an ETOPS flight must be recorded. From the data collected, the reliability of the particular airframe-engine combination is measured and statistics published. The figures must be within limits of type certifications. Of course, the figures required for ETOPS-180 will always be more stringent than ETOPS-120.
Pfft. Of course…
Unsatisfactory figures would lead to a downgrade, or worse, suspension of ETOPS capabilities either for the type certificate holder or the airline.