As the Olympics get underway in the UK it seems there are signs of the games to be seen everywhere one looks – particularly on a journey that takes in London’s City and Heathrow airports.
Landing to the west at LCY and, in the distance, the 2.5 sq km Olympic Park and its new Olympic Stadium gleam in a rare patch of sunlight over east London.
Turning on extended finals to LCY near Thurrock, Essex
Two cruise ships, the Braemar and Gemini, have been brought in as temporary floating accommodation for thousands of bus drivers for the Olympics. The vessels are anchored at Newham Dockside, just across from the runway at LCY.
The Braemar pictured behind British Airways’ A318 G-EUNB being readied for the flight to New York’s JFK with a fuel stop at Shannon.
At Heathrow the following day, preparing to leave for the U.S, BA’s specially painted A319, G-EUPC “The Firefly” trundled past and departed to the west. Given this distinctive paint scheme for the Olympics, ‘Papa Charlie’s first task was to fly to Athens and collect the Olympic flame from Greece. Although naked flames are not permitted on commercial aircraft, the flame was not extinguished during the flight but was carried in a Davy safety lamp (as used by miners before electric light). The Torch, inside the lamp, was carried in a special cradle strapped to a seat and fed with enough smoke-free fuel to keep it going during the flight.
Since bringing the Torch to the U.K, The Firefly has been busy ferrying the flame around the British Isles, visiting various destinations including the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man – all using the call sign BA2012.