Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Olympics Free

I must remember to take a telephoto lens with me today as I run past the edge of the Olympic village and prohibited zone, this afternoon, at Stratford. Not close enough to have the battery of surface-to-air missiles take an interest but enough to see the scale of the operation, which is, I understand also drawing police, as well as other resources out of Thanet for the duration of the Games.

I could see Weymouth basking in the bright summer sunshine from a distance yesterday. That's where the yachting is being held, with the added attraction of a large wall, I'm told, across the seafront to prevent the public seeing the spectacle unless they pay. This also has an aerial exclusion zone, although why a terrorist might consider a kamikaze raid on a yacht race is anyone's guess. In fact, from where I sit,  it's really much more about keeping me out, I suspect, as I frequently spend time over the beach there in the summer. A large part of the Games security is about keeping the Olympic sponsors happy and preventing the risk of ambush marketing. I even get a mention in the secondary Parliamentary legislation that prevents me flying, which is a rare privilege that doesn't earn a medal of any colour!

The Olympic airspace security process has improved visibly over the last week after the fiasco of its opening days. They now have enough controllers on duty to deal with the workload and my own flight plans have been accepted quite quickly, with the authorisation code pushed directly by SMS to my phone. This I have to give the controller on first contact to avoid the attention of any marauding RAF Typhoons.

Manston is supposed to become quite busy in the days ahead with some heads of state from less well-know nations, likely parking their jets there. The premier league of Presidents and Prime Ministers, will probably be in to Stansted or Northolt.

I'm off to Birmingham, which is presently Olympics-free, until they block of part of Coventry next week.

Have a nice day!

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