I thought, as it has been a while, that I should do a ‘Meet the Team’ type post. The last time I did one of these was in 2017 and a lot has changed since then. I restarted my profiles in both Euro Truck and American Truck Simulator back in May 2019, so my current fleets have been built up in the past 20 months. Looking back and seeing when I restarted, I’m amazed how far I’ve come in both games over such a short period of time. In Euro Truck I’ve reached the Level 114 with the title of ‘Divine Champion’ – quite how that would go down as an epithet in a trucker cafe I’m not sure 😉 In American Truck I’m only a ‘Legend’, but divinity calls and I’ll soon cross the threshold of level 100 there too! During the building of my companies in each game some trucks become favourites and others fall by the wayside – left in the hands of employees (I rarely sell a truck). So, the trucks I’m going to talk about in these Meet the Team posts are the ones that have survived the sifting process to become permanent members of my personal fleet.

In this post I think we’ll deal with the Euro Truck heavy-haul team. That is fairly straight forward but defining what counts as heavy-haul requires a brief discussion. So lets start with the first of the team – ‘Renzo’…

…a Euro6 DAF XF with a 530HP engine. Renzo was bought specifically for hauling construction plant during the rebuilding of the Genova Bridge and got named after its architect Renzo Piano. Although part of the heavy-haul team, with a 530HP engine Renzo is also at home on heavier general cargoes like the tanker of diesel fuel on delivery in the image. And that’s where the lines become blurred. I have another DAF called Lady Galadriel, who you will meet in another post. She shares the same engine but is a member of the general cargo fleet. The difference? – Gearbox and differential ratios and chassis arrangement – 6×4 for Renzo vs 6×2.

Actually I have 3 other DAF’s that all fall in the general cargo category. Some of my longer suffering readers will remember a time when I wouldn’t have a DAF in the fleet. A special event set up by SCS Software with DAF changed that – now they stand alongside MAN as my personal favourite truck types. Anyway, on with our heavy-haul team 🙂

Speaking of MAN, meet Charlie…

…Charlie has a 540HP engine – which again means general cargoes can also be taken when necessary. Charlie was bought during the recent Christmas Event at a time when I was doing my bit to clear off jobs in Italy. I tweeted that we were busy doing the Italian Job and thus this truck took its name from the character Charlie Croker, played by Michael Caine in the movie.

A note on pronounciation at this point – My company is French, so Charlie should be pronounced in a French manner – Shar-lee. Next up is Vincent, so repeat after me… Van-Son-te

Vincent takes the name of the character played by Jean Reno in the film Ronin and is the only Volvo in the fleet…

…This truck was a rush of blood to the head – I was debating a 640HP MAN but thought “I haven’t driven a Volvo for ages!” Company lore is that Vincent was a secondhand truck loaned from the Limoges Volvo dealer in an effort to gain our custom. I was so pleased with the truck that I decided to keep it. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a new one too in the future? Vincent has a 700HP engine, making hauling of the largest loads easy, but fuel efficiency is relatively poor so definitely not for use on general cargoes unless there is no choice!

Next time I’ll cover our American Truck heavy-haul team… Keep the shiny side up! 🙂

I’ve chosen this shot for Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge…

The River Thames seen from London Bridge. Tug Ionia pushes a barge load of sand up river on the incoming tide. In the background stands the Tower of London with walls that did their share of ‘retaining’ – ie: keeping political prisoners in 😉

I think that counts for river, water, old building, walls, and hauling sand for industrial 🙂

Catch up with Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge Here.

It’s a freezing morning out there today with a glistening layer of frost on the cars. We have a forecast for snow later moving in from the south west and despite the still dark outside, I can see the veil of high cloud that precedes the weather front gradually hiding the stars as it moves slowly east. All of which is at odds with the current aircraft traffic pattern – aircraft are using the easterly runway at Heathrow. A quick check on the LHR weather reveals that there is an easterly breeze below the advancing clouds. So the cold air from the east is pushing under the warmer air from the south west, forcing it upwards, which will probably result in precipitation at some stage later today.

Although it was dark when I started writing this, it is still possible to record inbound aircraft that pass over my garden, not least because they form an orderly queue! British Airways G-ZBKR was first sighting for today, inbound from Manama, Bahrain. Following closely behind was Virgin’s G-VNYL from Islamabad, Pakistan. It was slightly lighter when the first unusual flight of the day passed over. This was Azur Air’s Boeing 767, VP-BRA. More of a mystery to this one – inbound from Krasnoyarsk in Russia, it appears to be a positioning flight rather than a passenger service. If you want to see images of these aircraft, open up the Jetphotos website and search for the registration.

The wind direction prevents me from seeing any inbound flights from the US and Canada this morning as they will have a straight-in approach to runway 09. The weather affects what I can see from home quite a bit. Ignoring the localised cloud base which can mean that nothing is visible some days, even global weather can have a significant affect on my spotting. The Polar Jet Stream moves in latitude, driven by changes in heating by the Sun and other factors like Ocean temperature. Commonly during the summer months it is further north and transatlantic traffic comes in via Bovingdon and passes over me on the way to intercepting the glideslope for runway 27. In the last few weeks the Jet Stream has been more to the south and this results in those transatlantic flights taking a southern circuit to approach Heathrow’s runway 27, so I haven’t been getting my early morning United, American and Air Canada flights anyway.

In a previous ‘Watcher’ post I mentioned the disappearance of passenger Boeing 747’s from the skies as airlines cut their costs in the face a huge fall in passenger numbers. Most have gone into storage and I doubt that many will return to the skies though some will be converted to freighters. Long haul passenger flights will almost certainly become exclusively twin-jet operations using the likes of Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 aircraft. It’s not just the Boeing 747 that has been disappearing. The Airbus A380 is also going out of service with most of its operators and production is due to cease this year. However, Emirates are still flying their A380’s into London Heathrow, here’s A6-EOT turning from Lambourne to take up a vector to intercept the glideslope for runway 27…

…I estimate it’s overhead Chigwell – that’s over 10 miles from me and gives some idea of the size of these behemoths of the skies. It’s worth looking up the Airbus A380 on Wikipedia to read about the design concept and how changes in the way airlines operate have killed it. Also slowly disappearing is the Airbus A340 – once a very economic option for long haul, it too has been overtaken by the twin-jet revolution. Lufthansa was the largest operator of the type with 62. Their fleet has shrunk to 24 and the airline is upcycling one of its withdrawn aircraft as aluminium luggage tags! I was lucky enough to see D-AIGV pass high overhead just last Friday, inbound to Frankfurt from San Francisco.

Northolt has been relatively quiet recently but I did get to photo French biz-jet F-HBZA, a Cessna 550 Citation II as it passed overhead…

Anyway, it’s now light outside and it’s time to go feed aviators of the feathered variety 🙂