Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Websites Listed in My Favorite Bathroom Book (Part 6)

It's time for me to look at another website in my favorite bathroom book.

Today I'm going to be looking at King Leopold Air.  They provide small plane tours of the Kimberley area of Australia.

That sounds fun. I'd probably be scared, though, but maybe less scared than I'd be in a hot air balloon. I feel better being high up in the sky when I'm fully enclosed.

I wonder why that is. I think people have died in hot air balloons; but has anyone died from falling out of the balloon?

Well, yes they have. I just googled and found a video of someone falling. The website says they survived, though. That's a relief.  I don't think they were super high yet. But still.

And I'm seeing other articles about falls.

In the scheme of things, riding on a hot air balloon is probably fairly safe. I'm guessing most people survive the experience. But for me, just thinking about it makes me nervous. So risk or no risk, I'd probably skip it.

As for small planes, years ago I rode on a few corporate jets. I survived the experience. I don't think it's too dangerous, but I did feel less secure on the small planes than on the big ones.  My reasoning was probably irrational. I think it was along the lines of pilots being more careful with bigger planes because there were more lives at risk. And I imagined there were more regulations. Like a commercial airliner wouldn't be allowed to go up in bad weather. I had this idea that with small planes, the pilot will risk everyone's lives so the important people could get to their important places on time.

Now I'm looking at this website, and if I'm understanding it right, they actually back up my past beliefs about small planes being more dangerous.  They say, 85% of all small plane accidents are due to pilot error, generally the pilot's lack of good judgment in knowing their limitations. In comparison, for large airlines, only 37% are caused by pilot error.  That being said, the reasoning behind accidents doesn't matter that much. A crash is a crash.  But the website also says that in 2005, there were 2,339 small airline crashes and 39 large airline crashes. It's statistics from the FAA, so I'm guessing that's America only.

This other website has statistics as well that make me think larger planes are safer.  They have number of fatalities for a million flight hours. That's a lot of flying time!

Anyway....it's 4.04 for airliners and 22.43 for private planes. At least I think it's private planes. The chart says General Aviation (Private Part 91). Although they also have commuter planes on the chart. Maybe those would be chartered flights? And maybe the Private Part 91 would be people owning their own airplanes and flying them.

Still, though. The commuter flight fatality rate is still higher than the airline one. Their number is 12.24 fatalities in a million flight hours.

I feel kind of validated knowing my irrational fears weren't completely irrational.

I feel safer on bigger planes, and there are facts to back up my feelings of security.

Does this mean I would never go on a small plane?

No. I'm not an expert on statistics, but I'm guessing the risk of getting killed is still pretty small.

It's like being scared to go to Dallas because of Ebola, but in reality the real danger is the drive to Dallas.

Shit. I meant to write a small introduction to my post about King Leopold Air, and I rambled on and on.

Sorry about that.

I'm going to start looking at the website now.

Their about page says the company began in 1992.  In the beginning, they were based out of a pastoral station near the King Leopold Ranges.  Now decades later, their head office is at Broome International Airport. They have operational bases at Derby and Cape Leveque.

What do they mean by operational base? Is that where the planes take off?

I'm going to skip searching for the answer to that question. It might come to me as I explore their website more.

The airplanes they use are called Cessna 210 and Cessna 206. Each plane usually has five seats, and everyone gets a window seat.

Lord Wiki says Cessna planes are made by a corporation in Kansas.

This page has a list of their scenic flights.  Outside of the fear factor, I'm wondering if I'd like it. I sort of feel I wouldn't. I don't often get thrilled by the whole bird's eye view thing.  On the other hand, I do like looking out of airplane windows. It's fun seeing everything so small.  I'm really contradicting myself here.

I guess I like bird's eye view, but it's not in a that's-so-beautiful-it-takes-my-breath-away mode.  It's more like I think it's fun to see everything miniaturized.  And now that I think of it, the experience happens at the end of the flight where I'm getting bored and am eager for some type of entertainment. Plus, some of my enjoyment probably comes from my eagerness and relief for the flight to be over.

I don't really enjoy visiting tall buildings and looking out the window. It's boring to me. So maybe I'd find flights around the Kimberley boring as well.

I'm looking at the first tour. It's called Buccaneer Explorer.

It's $540 per person for a 4.5 hour tour. The flight time is 2.6 hours.  So you have about an hour where you're not on the plane.  If I'm understanding things right, the non-plane time is beach time.

The plane takes off from Broome. If it was up to me, I'd just stay in Broome and go to the Beach there.

The tour would make sense, though, for someone who is really into The Kimberley and wants to see as many important Kimberley places as possible.

And it also makes sense for people who LIKE seeing things from the sky.

There are also people who are big fans of planes, so that in itself would be a big thrill for them.

I'm not going to go over every tour. I'm glancing at each one quickly—getting a general sense of it all.

For someone who doesn't have a lot of money to spend, but would like the experience of flying in the area; there's a 25 minute tour for $110.  You travel around Broome.

If someone has a lot of money to spare, there's a full day tour for $980. It takes you to a lot of places in the Kimberley. It's an 11 hour tour. About 5 of those hours are in the air.

I think that would make more sense to me. I wouldn't want to fly around just to fly around. I'd want to actually go places and experience them.

There are certain places in Australia, I wouldn't mind seeing but it would be a pain traveling to them. So if I was super wealthy and could afford a plane, I wouldn't mind having it help me jump around. For example, I might like a tour that visits Cooper Pedy, Mungo National Park, Uluru, and Broken Hill.  I don't think I'd want to do it all in one day. But what if there was a four day tour that flew you to all those places? I might appreciate that.

Maybe my lack of enthusiasm for King Leopold Air comes from the fact that I don't have a lot of passion for the Kimberley.  Because of Bran Nue Dae, I have had desires to go to Broome. But that's it. I would be fine flying to Broome and just staying there for awhile. I wouldn't need a plane to take me to other places in the area.

What I should do is learn more about The Kimberley.  I'm going to look at Google Images for all the places the $980 tour flies over.

Before I do that....I just read about the $980 tour more closely, because I was wondering what people do when not flying. For part of the time, you take a boat cruise. I wouldn't want to go from a plane ride to a boat ride. That's so much sitting.

Or maybe it's a boat where you can walk around and stuff.

Now I'm on Google Images. I'm going to stick to mentioning the images that appeal to me.

I like this. It's called the Horizontal Waterfalls.  I like it mildly, though. For now, it's not screaming at me that I need to visit.

I've looked at most of the places. They're lovely, but I don't think I'd need to see all of them. I mean I wouldn't have a checklist.

I imagine some people do, though. They have a list of things they want to see in The Kimberley and the plane would help them achieve that.

King Leopold Air also has Charter flights. This would be helpful for people who want to go from point a to point b in a short period of time.

They give examples of people who might need their charter flights. One of their examples is photographers. I can imagine that. There are those photographers who do books filled with a variety of places in Australia. If they had the money, taking charter flights would be very helpful. They could go where they want go to with less hassle.  And they could also take photos from the air.

Now I'm looking at their FAQ page. They talk about baggage allowances. You can take up to 8 kilograms (17 pounds) with you. That sounds like a lot. How much do you need for a day trip? Well, if you're Tim you probably need more than that. He has all this fancy photography equipment now. It probably weights 17 pounds, or even more than that.

King Leopold Air says that they do NOT fly if the weather is bad. That's reassuring to me.

Before I end this post, I want to look at some photos of The Kimberley. Alasdair Milne has an album on Flickr for The Kimberley and then also one specifically for Broome.

Alasdair Milne has an awesome time-lapse film of Cable Beach. Almost all time-lapse films are awesome, but this one is even more awesome because it includes camels.

That big famous Boab tree is in The Kimberley. I didn't know that.  I wonder if any of the charter flights get you close to the tree.

I'm looking at all these cliffs and beautiful bodies of water.  For a moment, I thought I'd want to be there, down below, part of it all. I wouldn't want to be watching from above.  But then I remembered the crocodiles and thought, maybe I'd feel safer in a plane.

I just looked at Alasdair Milne's Broome album, and all those pictures are also in The Kimberley album.  I guess it's good for people who are interested in Broome, but don't have a desire to see other parts of The Kimberley.

Anyway...I think I shall end this here.