"Rusty Bits"

“Rusty Bits”; small stories, impressions and whatever may come to my mind…


Lászlo Ede Almásy - a Biography

A lot has already been written about L.A. Almásy. Here a small biography which is free from myth and legend but as complete as possible:

28.07.2013 17:13 | Kuno Gross

2013 / 05 A Flight to North Africa

After a long time of planning 12 May was set as the day for “Take Off” to North Africa. The Antonov AN-2 was well maintained and prepared and the flight plans approved. But… at midday the decision had to be taken to cancel the flight for today: The weather did not allow us to cross the Alps. A new approach was taken on Monday and the clouds were just high enough to let us cross the pass of St. Gotthard. Down the Ticino valley, passing northern Italy and then to the Island of Corsica where we stayed for the night at the southern port of Bonifacio.
The next day we flew over Sardinia and then had to cross the Mediterranean Sea. We landed at Tunis-Carthage International Airport where we received our precious AVGAS 100 from the Tunisian Army. The weather became bad for us again – strong southern winds prevented a normal flight to Tozeur which we finally reached in the evening.

At Tozeur we placed our aircraft between two Iraqi Airlines Boeing B747 which stand parked at Tozeur since 1991. The next day we left for a tour to the desert in four Toyota Landcruisers. At the first day we experienced a sandwind which limited the sight but left us a good impression on how the desert can be. The second day, the weather was much better and the drive back to Tozeur a buit quicker. Since we were back early, there was a good chance to pay a visit to the Mos Isley Spacecraft Station as most people know it from the movie Star Wars which was partly filmed in Tunisia.

Before we could start the flight back to Tunis we had to obtain some fuel – too much of it was consumed on the flight to Tozeur due to the very strong winds. About a hundred liters of of car fuel were finally filled into our aircraft and this time the weather was with us. We reached Tunis in time and the ground crew there and also the Tunisian Army were very quick. We crossed the Mediterranean again, then Sardinia and stayed for the night at Bonifacio as we did on the flight to the South. The next day, the weather was once more against us – this time on the southern side of the Alps. The pass of St. Gotthard was not to be crossed due to low hanging clouds but the Lukmanierpass seemed to be free and we took our chance. We were received by bright sunshine in the north of Switzerland and concluded our exciting adventure in the restaurant of Flugplatz Birrfeld in the later afternoon.

We were in the air for 22 hours for this fascinating trip!

19.05.2013 14:20 | Kuno Gross

Russian Cars & Trucks

Not that I would think that it fits into herem by 100% but I thought that it may be interesting for some of you to see some older Russian vehicles here as well. I have just spend some days in Armenia and was really surprised about how much “old iron” is still around there.

To start with, here the famous UAZ 452. Its production begun in 1965 and you can still get them “fresh from the factory” today – after 48 years of production. Quite remarkable, if you compare with today's cars where the new model is out already after 2 to 4 years…

We have here these models of the UAZ 452: UAZ 2206 Minibus and UAZ 3303:

The GAZ 69 was produced from 1953 to 1972. To me it is one of the best looking Russian vehicles ever built. The one I found on the route from Yerevan to Garni had got a “homemade” hard top:

The GAZ 69 production had been transferred to another manufacturer, UAZ, already in 1954 but the old designation was kept since it was already widely known. In 1972, the successor was introduced: The UAZ 469. The UAZ 469 was produced until the 1990ies and is now replaced by the UAZ Hunter.

Here the UAZ 469 and and a ZIL 133 truck with crane in the background:

3'380'000 ZIL 130 trucks were produced from 1962 until 1994. It is therefore still a very common sight in all Countries of the former Soviet Union. But production did not stop – since 1995 the same truck is produced by the manufacturer UamZ under the designation UamZ-43140. I have to admit that I cannot differentiate the two…

Looking pretty similar as the ZIL-130: The GAZ 53 truck. The truck was introduced in 1961 and manufactured until 1993. The only obvious difference to its counterpart is the front grille… even the painting, blue cabin and white front is similar. It could also be a GAZ 52. and actually the real rare vehicle can be seen in the back of the truck: The ErAZ-762 delivery van which was produced in Armenia from 1966 on until 1994.

There is also a bus-version of the GAZ 53:

Now a personal car – the GAZ M21 Volga. Here the version which was built between 1961 and 1972:

Another Volga-version was the GAZ 24 which was built between 1968 and 1972:

A PAZ 672 bus, fueled by gas instead of diesel or benzine:

I have not seen many KrAZ 256 heavy trucks (with early type front wheels):

Two more. A ZIL 130 belonging to a civil defense organization next to one of the famous LADA. And a SAURER from Switzerland…

Now my favorite: The GAZ 51. Its development started already in 1937 but the serial production was only taken up after WW2 in 1946. Until the end of the production in 1975, nearly 3,5 millions of these trucks were produced:

01.05.2013 11:26 | Kuno Gross

Oldtimers in Cairo

I don’t know if there are a lot of old cars in Cairo. One may get this impression since it is not really a rare view to come across an old vehicle in this city. However, one should not forget that Cairo is just huge and that there is a countless number of cars jamming the roads each day. I presume that the number of old cars compared to the total number of vehicles in the traffic is not higher than at other places in the world. What I could not manage to find out is why some cars were parked on the roadside many years (maybe even decades) ago and obviously just forgotten – but never removed despite the fact that parking space is very precious in Cairo.

[From top left to down right]

  • Mercedes W110 (1961 – 1968)
  • Unknown
  • UAZ 3303 (UAZ452D) “Golovastik” (1965 – ongoing production)
  • Ford Prefect (1949 – 1953)
  • Fiat 2300 (1961 – 1968)

If somebody could identify the two cars where I don't know the types – please drop me a note.

22.03.2013 20:13 | Kuno Gross