March at Medlánky

The weather through March was truly enjoyable here in the South Moravian region of the Czech Republic. Needless to say, such weather is very welcoming to flying activities.

As I live a short walk from Brno’s Medlánky airport, I visit it regularly. The lovely March weather created a notable uptick in activity there and I’m happy to share some of the month’s action with you here:

In Light of Recent Events

Czech and Ukrainian flags together in Brno, Czech Republic.

It takes a fair bit to make me political. Recent events in Ukraine have managed to put me in such a frame of mind.

In the most general of senses, the vileness of the attack on Ukraine and the regime that’s carrying it out are more than enough to justify global outrage. However, it also hits me from a very personal direction and I can’t be silent about it.

Since the outbreak of attacks against Ukraine, my mind’s been bouncing back and forth between the tragedy currently unfolding and memories of growing up on the Canadian prairies, an area that’s been heavily influenced by over two centuries of Ukrainian immigration. There is nowhere you can go on the Canadian prairies and not see some sign of Ukrainian influence, perhaps in a place name on a road sign or a distinctive domed Ukrainian Orthodox church seemingly in the middle of nowhere in the vastness of the prairies. From a young age, my life has been affected in one way or another by people of Ukrainian heritage who were proud to share it; teachers, schoolmates, friends and many others have had some influence in shaping the person I am today. I have received the gifts of education and friendship from Ukrainians and now it looks like the time to give back may be here. There’s lots of Ukrainians in the Czech Republic and the country fully expects refugees. I will definitely be looking for opportunities to help where I can.

Using my websites will serve as a start to what I can do. Hopefully, I can encourage you to look into what you can do from wherever in the world you may come to my websites from.

Help at Home

If you are among my Czech based readership, the following links will take you to the websites of charities and other groups that have already set up programs to help Ukrainians:

ADRA CZ monitors current events at the border and in cooperation with ADRA Ukraine now wants to help distribute vouchers for food and hygiene supplies. Financial assistance will be aimed at direct assistance to residents affected by conflict.

Care.cz together with the global network CARE is working intensively to solve the situation in the country. In accordance with her humanitarian mission, she is preparing opportunities to help civilians who found themselves in the middle of the war. Currently dealing with a proven partner organization on a specific form of help on the spot and immediately releases resources from its reserves and announces a collection for aid of Ukraine.

Člověk v Tísní – People in Need has released a million crowns for quick help to Ukraine, people can contribute to the collection SOS Ukraine. If the military escalates, it will inevitably cause a big wave of refugees. People in Need in Ukraine closely monitors the situation in Ukraine and prepares various scenarios on how to provide refugees with the fastest possible humanitarian aid.

Český Červený Kříž – Czech Red Cross delivered at the beginning of February on 14. a shipment of humanitarian aid intended for the sick and wounded in Ukraine. Now he is sending out further assistance – it should be additional vehicles, surgical sets, tents, carriers, navigation and other material for the operation of medical teams of the Ukrainian Red Cross worth about 10 miles. Kč. Donors help contribute to a special account for Ukraine.

Diakonie – Diaconia in response to the attack of the Russian army in Ukraine, announces a public fundraiser to support people affected by armed conflict. The proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to support refugees and internally displaced residents as a result of conflict and to help vulnerable groups.

Charita – Caritas in cooperation with Caritas Ukraine for immediate assistance to the residents of Ukraine affected by the war focus on providing basic supplies such as water, food, hygiene supplies or shelter Eish. A part of the intervention is also providing psychological assistance. The proceeds of the fundraiser will help the people affected by the war provide basic life needs.

Lékaři bez Hranic – Doctors Without Borders in Ukraine provide health care and humanitarian assistance to residents affected by long-term conflict and patients suffering from tuberculosis. They provide help to everyone regardless of their origin or political preference.

Help Around the World

If you are not among my Czech Based readership and do not have a local branch of any of the above mentioned organizations, please reach out to the nearest Ukrainian cultural organization you may have to you for advice on what you can do to help:

Australian Federation of Ukraianian Organizations

Ukrainian Canadian Congress

Ukrainian Institute in London

Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain

Association of Ukrainians in Portugal

Ukrainian World Congress

Ukrainian Association of South Africa

Ukrainians in Ireland

A Word To Russians and Those of Russian Heritage

If you are Russian, or of Russian heritage, and can speak out against the attack on Ukraine without worry of retribution against yourself or family and friends you may have in Russia, please speak out.

If there was ever a time for the world to see that not all Russians agree with Vladimir Putin and his policies, including the attack on Ukraine, that time is now. Be clear and be visible about it.

The world at large needs to see you speak out. Ukraine needs to see you speak out. Perhaps, most of all, Russia needs to see you speak out.

2022 – Year of the Tiger

Normally, I would not mark the Lunar New Year. However, 2022 is a bit different as it is the Year of the Tiger.

Tigers are a very common motif for air force squadrons the world over. In particular is the NATO Tiger Association; a group of squadrons from the air forces of NATO nations that are bound together by having tigers in their unit heraldry.

To bring in the Lunar New Year of 2022, I’m happy to share with you a selection of pictures I’ve taken of NATO military aircraft from “Tiger” squadrons. Mostly, they are Czech air force machines, but there are also Austrian, Belgian, Hungarian and Slovak jets in the mix:

Notes from the other side

Cover image of “Culture Smart Czech Republic” (Kuperard Publishers)

A Book on the Way With My Name on it!

Some followers of Pickled Wings may also be aware of my other website, Beyond Prague, where I write about various aspects of living in the Czech Republic.

In Autmn of 2018, I was contacted by an editor of UK based Kuperard Publishers who told me they had seen the Beyond Prague website and liked the content and writing style. They offered me the opportunity to write the second edition of the Czech Republic volume of their “Culture Smart!” series of books. I’d never imagined writing a book in my life, but I didn’t say no to the chance.

Three years later, the writing and editing are done and the book has gone to the press. The realease date for the paperback edition is January of 2022 with the eBook edition to be releasesed in February of 2022. The book is available for pre-order here:

https://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/europe/czech.php?fbclid=IwAR3Uplklre0_yHq185K1SonViKWtTxwuONs1rVSZwbDsJdRNfAW2bsK0iok

The purpose of the “Culture Smart!” books is to help reduce culture shock for people about to visit the various countries in the series.

Anyone who has ever visited the Czech Republic knows what a rewarding experience it can be.

If you’ve never visited the country, but are thinking about it, I hope you’ll consider buying this book and that it will be helpful to you.

NATO Days, 2021

September 18 and 19 of 2021 saw the return of the annual NATO Days public exhibition at Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Due to COVID concerns, the 2020 edition of the event was not open to the public and was televised instead. While COVID concerns kept this year’s edition smaller than some in the past, it was great to be able to go out there again.

In the spirit of quality over quantity, the 2021 edition of the event saw some first time visitors in the form of a Lockheed F-35 Lightning II fighter, and Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi role Tanker Transport) and the DC-3 Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

I attended on the Saturday. The weather was overcast most of the day and made photography a challenge. However, I got some decent images from the day. Here’s a look: