St. John’s, Newfoundland & More

Week 8


My First Air Ambulance Flight

Flight Aware screen landing 5-3This is a screen capture from the Flight Aware website, of my first flight as a member of the air ambulance team. The top map shows our route and the bottom chart shows our altitude and speed at given points along the way.

Our mission was to pick up a patient in Europe for transport back to the U.S. To get there we went from Brooksville, FL to St. John’s in Newfoundland, and then across the Atlantic Ocean eastward to Lisbon, Portugal.

On a flat map this route may seem to bend to the north, but when charted on a globe it is shown to be a direct or Great Circle route, the shortest distance between any two places on Earth.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about. . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Go to the Flight Aware website and select (from the choices at the top) Live Flight Tracking. Then click on Browse by Airport. You will then see all the planes that are airborne at that time. Show classmates, friends and/or family what you learned about the site.


Different Size  – Both Jets

I took this photo when we stopped for fuel in in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  Our air ambulance plane is in the foreground and in the background is a much larger aircraft. It appears to be a KC-10 Extender, a military plane used both as a transport and as air-to-air refueling tanker.

The grey paint scheme is often used by the military because this color reduces the plane’s visual signature in the sky and, in turn, increases the visual stealth of aircraft. In other words, it makes them harder to see by other opponent aircraft and ground forces.

Most modern commercial aircraft, including ours, are powered not by propellers but by jet engines. You can recognize them on sight by the large round air intakes on the tails and/or wings.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn about more  . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

  • A spokesman for Boeing has said that paint adds from 600-1,200 lbs of weight to an aircraft. If an average passenger weighs 150 lbs, how many passengers does that fuel represent?
  • Design your own color scheme for the airplane of your choice and share your creation by emailing a copy to


Sci Checks Out The Docks in St. John’s

Tech in St. John's 5-3-19While in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the twins and I took a quick run down to the harbor. Sci thought it was great fun to climb on the piles of ropes and nets used by the fishing boats.

Unfortunately, in 1992, due to overfishing and other natural factors, the Canadian government placed a ban on large-scale, commercial cod fishing in the area. It was a hard blow to the local fishing industry but focus shifted to other fish like haddock and Atlantic salmon and to shellfish, including scallop and lobster. Today the port is busy with cruise and container ships as well.

I hope that on a future visit, I’ll have time to take a boat to go whale, iceberg and/or seabird watching. Although I understand that it depends on the season, you can often see all of those from the shore.

Whenever possible, I like to visit Unesco World Heritage Sites and there are several on the island. Maybe next time I’ll get to see:

  • L’Anse aux Meadows – the 11th-century Viking site which is the oldest known European settlement in North America.
  • Mistaken Point – where exposed layers of rock reveal fossil evidence of the ancestors of most modern animal groups – when after almost three billion years of microbe-dominated evolution, life got big enough for their fossil remains to be seen.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Check online for webcams in other cities that we visit.


Labs & Newfies

As you have probably already guessed, some of my favorite things have four legs. It was interesting for me to find that Newfoundland Retrievers are one of the most popular breed of large dogs in Canada.

Closely related to Newfies are Labrador Retrievers, which originated in the nearby Canadian province of Labrador. The Lab is also extremely popular and has placed number one in the American Kennel Club’s registration lists for 18 consecutive years.

Statues of a Labrador Retriever and a Newfoundland Retriever are located in Harborside Park in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The one and one-half lifesize sculptures made from cast bronze over a steel framework are the work of artist Luben Boykov and were completed in 2003.

Sci & Tech say:  Learn more about . . .

Take the Sci/Tech Challenge:

Create a sculpture or drawing of your own pet or favorite animal and share your creation by emailing a photo to