28 July 2005
Islamic terrorists blowing themselves up expect to be met in heaven by 72 virgins.
Seems odd, from a religion that considers women property, and in fundamentalist form only allows their women to show their eyes.
(And in an Afghani Burkha, not even that!)
I have a question that has previously been asked, but I've not seen answered:
If the murderer is an Islamic female, what awaits her in heaven?
(Maybe total isolation from Chauvinist Males?)
Click "comments" and educate me, please!
27 July 2005
So far, weapons used by terrorists in these places have been conventional.
Here is the scenario that causes me to lose sleep at night:
Extremists in Pakistan have made several attempts to kill President Musharraf.
Pakistan has demonstrated the ability to detonate nuclear weapons.
Extremists will continue to try to eliminate Musharraf as a moderating influence in Pakistan.
If they succeed in assassinating him, they can take control of a government with a proven nuclear arsenal, and technologists with the ability to use those weapons.
India and Pakistan have, on several occasions, come to blows in their conflict over who owns Kashmir.
Will Islamic extremists use those weapons to settle the argument with India, OR.........
Will they try to sneak those weapons into New York or Baltimore harbor?
Can we sit and wait for them to make that decision?
26 July 2005
Coming out of the infield onto what would be the "short chute" between turns two and one on the Oval, (Formula One goes the opposite direction on the track from the Indy 500), the Formula One cars enter the fastest section of track on their schedule.
Michelin has had two catastrophic tire failures, both on left rear tires on this extremely fast part of the track.
Fearful one of their drivers would be injured or killed, three days before the race they petitioned their sanctioning body to allow them to bring tires from France that would better withstand the pressures the tires were being subjected to.
This is against F1 rules, and was rejected.
They then requested that a chicane be built midway in this section in order to slow the cars' top speeds and alleviate their problem.
This was viewed as exactly what it was: an admission that Bridgestone had come better prepared to face the conditions of the U.S. Grand Prix than had Michelin.
What followed may have ruined the future of F1 in the U.S. and may in fact impact Formula One as a whole in the near future:
The Michelin equipped cars gridded, were started and made the warmup lap, and then headed into the pits.........they didn't race!
Over 20 cars were supposed to participate in this race, and only 6- Bridgestone shodded cars actually started.
Fans that had spent BIG BUCKS to watch this event were rightfully disappointed and infuriated.
Some, shamefully, threw soft drink cups and other trash onto the track.
Michelin has a huge black eye, and is desperately trying to figure out how to overcome this PR nightmare. There is some talk they may actually purchase ALL the tickets for next years' race and find a way to allow the true enthusiasts of the race to attend free. I hope this comes to pass.......it would do a lot to make dissatisfied fans forget about the chaos this year.
I'm still undecided about F1. The cars are just unbelievable.......accelerating to 100 m.p.h. in less than 3 seconds, and stopping even faster than that! "G Forces" the drivers are subjected to can actually burst blood vessels in their eyes!
Aerodynamically, they are ahead of aircraft manufacturers in some ways!
But most tracks they race on allow very little passing.......once a driver takes the lead it is VERY difficult to pass him.
The races themselves can sometimes be boring as watching grass grow.
But if you've never watched one of these races, you might want to tune in just to get a view of the technology employed here.
Think of this:
These engines, manufactured by Honda, Toyota, Ferrari, Renault, BMW, and Mercedes, ALL turn at higher than 18,000 R.P.M.!
18,000 R.P.M. means the pistons in these engines are going up and down in the cylinder THREE HUNDRED TIMES PER SECOND!
Can you get your mind around that?
The near future of F1 is important, and decisions made in the next year may very well determine the viability of the series.
I'd like to see it survive, and will be watching with interest.
18 July 2005
Land in a helicopter, and you'll draw a crowd!
Heck, I've been around them over 37 years, and I still stand and watch with a smile when one takes to the air!
The folks that call to take lessons are almost always interesting.
Conventional wisdom is that whirlybirds are not safe, so anyone that shows up to learn to fly one is, by definition, someone willing to take a few risks with their life in order to learn something new!
(Motorcycle riders fall into the same category, and I love that crowd too!)
A new student had been referred to me by a mutual friend.
I'll call him "Don".
"Don" showed up for the lesson in a Jaguar Vanden Plas.
Car nut that I am, I took note, but said nothing. The Jag was more expensive than your everyday Chevy/Ford, but on an hour drive on the interstate, you're likely to see one. No big deal.
After I have tortured my new students for about 20 minutes trying to hover the impossible contraption, I love to take them on a "relaxation flight" around the area to include a fly-by of their property.
When we started to orbit Don's house, I noticed, outside his garage:
A mid-60's Mustang,
A late 70's Corvette,
An old Model "B" Ford,
And a couple other un-identifiable vehicles.
"Hey Don, who owns all the cars?"
"I do. I'm a collector."
"Oh? What else do you own?"
"Let's see. A 427 Cobra replica, a Ferrari Testarossa, a Viper, a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud convertible, and about 20 or so others in various states of rehab."
Don had found a "niche" business that was poorly run, bought it cheap, then turned it into a multi-million dollar operation. He was a smart cookie, and loved to use his money to buy toys of all kinds.
At the end of the lesson I challenged him:
"I love cars. Drive something different to each lesson and let me drool over it!"
And he did. Over the next few days he brought........the Rolls, the Ferrari, (Red, of course!), and the Viper.
But then he knocked me out! Through the gate came a new,
bright LEMON YELLOW Lamborghini Countach!
$250,000 on four wheels!
And did I drool?
Rolling exotic artwork......
It was bigger than I imagined from pictures, (although the Ferrari was too).
He opened the engine compartment and I was amazed........the firing order for the 12 cylinder engine was displayed prominently on the intake manifold, and seemed to stretch from Topeka, Kansas, to Cleveland, Ohio!
And the kicker? He tossed me the keys!
"Go see what ya think!"
But I wasn't gonna refuse a once-in-a-lifetime chance!
It's a big, incredibly expensive go-kart!
As you would expect......rough riding,
with terrible visibility to the rear and sides.
But that engine!
Six speeds available, and I couldn't get any higher than third gear without breaking every speed limit in the country!
It'd be a great second car!
I recommend you buy one!
(Then call me!)
I'll never forget driving it.
If you're interested in the travails of a new helicopter student,
Rubberducky is goin' through a lot of the stuff I have written about,
and you can follow and comment on his progress. Give him a look!
THIS SEED HAS BEEN TREATED WITH:
Metalaxyl (N-(2,6-Dimethylphenyl)-N (methoxyacetyl) Alanine Methyl Ester .75 Ounces per cwt
Uhhh.........looks like the ingredients in some of the Ice Cream I've bought in the past!
Should I be concerned?
She wrote to tell me how comforting it was that I had received email thoughts and prayers from several of you.......I'll let her say it in her own words:
I would also like to thank those who have asked about our welfare.
I have found that any acknowlegment of our trauma is soothing. Even some people who live here, but had no damage from Ivan or Dennis, have no clue what a trial it has been. They can still drive around, see the not so small remnants of damage and debris, and say the stupidest things. Most of us are changed, forever, I'm afraid, and I have trouble wrapping my brain around how people who have suffered much worse in their lives go on as well as they do.
I guess I'm pretty wimpy, and us wimps need our strokes from you caring folks.....
Greybeard's MUCH younger sister.
MUCH younger, better lookin', smarter,
you know the routine!
13 July 2005
Of course, these are interesting and exciting........you don't call the helicopter unless someone is in a life-or-death, (or loss of limb), situation.
But think what has happened by the time the phone rings to get us on the way:
The accident happens. Someone sees or hears it and calls the police, or an ambulance service.
These folks sometimes make an initial assessment of the situation over the phone and call our dispatchers to put us on standby. Dispatch calls us, and, providing the weather is flyable, tells us the location and nature of the accident.
While we are on standby, First Responders arrive on the scene.
Think of what they have to do......
People are in pain, bleeding.......possibly crying out.
Dust may still be in the air. Fuel and other fluids may make footing treacherous.
The road may be covered with other debris from the accident......
( we responded last week to an overturned pickup truck that had a bed full of construction equipment spread over 1/8th mile of two lanes of interstate highway!)
EMS needs to insure their own safety. If the accident is in the path of traffic, police need to be on scene to control approaching cars.
Of course, care providers need to wear gloves, eye protection, and other equipment as necessary as individual situations require.
How many victims and how serious? Do more ambulances/helicopters need to be called?
Our helicopters are set up to carry only one patient at a time, so if two or more people have life-threatening injuries, more helicopters will have to be launched.
Victims need to be quickly assessed for the extent of their injuries to see if the helicopter needs to be launched, or if the standby can be cancelled. They are protected from further injury. Initial care is provided.
Think of the responsibility we load on these people!
We frequently do public relations flights to meet and train EMS providers in outlying communities. We are treated like royalty when we show up at these affairs........dramatically arriving in a multi-million dollar machine, dressed in our fancy/schmancy flight suits!
I'm always a little uncomfortable at these events.......
By the time we arrive on scene, 90% of the work is done! Area secured for our landing..........obstacles identified and pointed out to us so we aren't surprised on our landing approach. Patients assessed and initial work done for us to get them on their way to the Trauma Center..........some EMS personnel even know enough to try to give us wind direction for landing!
They make it easy for us. We get the attention.......arriving in noisy, dramatic style. But I know who the true heroes are in these situations........and they don't get nearly enough credit (or compensation) for the extraordinary things they do.
Please remember these folks in your thoughts and prayers.
They truly are "Unsung Heroes"!
Sis's home survived just fine, as did Mom's facility. Both were temporarily without power, but that is now also restored.
There are pockets in the community that suffered from winds strong enough to do serious damage. Tornadoes? It doesn't matter if it was straight line winds or tornadoes, the damage in some areas is very serious and individual families have suffered greatly. Restoration of power in those areas may take several days or even weeks.
Imagine 95 degrees and the inability to even get yourself a glass of ice water!
We are now watching the approach of Emily. Right now it looks as if she will track farther West.......putting us in the uncomfortable position of being glad someone else will suffer her consequences!
It may be a really long, hot summer!
12 July 2005
Jesse's skin is a very dark brown color.
I was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
My skin is kind of beige.
(Jesse's better lookin'. I've always envied my brother in that department!)
My brother Jesse gets a leg up on government jobs because he can claim African American ancestry.
I think it's pretty dog-gone unfair that he has that advantage over me!
One of our brothers, Dr. Richard Leakey has determined Ethiopia is the "cradle of humankind".
So although brother Jesse was born in South Carolina, and I was born in Indiana, both our ancestors were born in the area of the Horn of Africa.
Yours were too!
I can sure use the extra points on the government application!
10 July 2005
Those that WERE saying "There was no connection between Iraq and 9/11" are now saying, "Nevermind"!
From "The Weekly Standard":
"Indeed, more than two years after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein was ousted, there is much we do not know about the relationship beteween Iraq and al Qaeda. We do know, however, that there was one. We know about this relationship not from Bush administration assertions but from internal Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) documents recovered in Iraq after the war--documents that have been authenticated by a U.S. intelligence community long hostile to the very idea that any such relationship exists."
Here's the link for the whole article:
Now, what about those WMD's?
The answering machine did it's thing, and then I heard,
"This is your sister and I need to talk to ya."
She sounded stressed..........
Sis lives in Pensacola.
Dennis was comin' to call.
Our Dad died two years ago.
Mother had a minor stroke about a year later. Her eyesight was adversely affected by the stroke, so living by herself became an impossibility. Since Sara Jean and I have always hoped to retire in the Florida Panhandle, Sis and I made the decision that moving Mom to Pensacola would be a great idea!
When Ivan came to call last year, the wonderful facility Mom lives in suffered only minor cosmetic damage.
But he blew the roof off Sis's home.
She and her hubby have been living in a motor home in her driveway since, supervising the workers rebuilding her home.
They were within weeks of having the work complete.
We picked up the phone.
My sister, having gotten to the end of her rope and tied a knot, began to cry.........
"I need you to come down and get Mom. I'm workin' a shift tonight, and we are loading up the camper and buggin' out tomorrow with the critters."
It's an 11 hour drive for us. We started down Thursday morning, spent the night with Mom, then headed back North Friday morning.
22 hours driving in 48 hours! Whew!
It's comforting to have Mother and her cat here. It's comforting to know my sister is safe, well East of the storm track.
Now we wait to see if Sis has a roof.......and a home.
And we are doing some re-thinking about the idea of retiring in the panhandle.
I don't want to be a target for Ivan, Dennis, and their ilk every year!
09 July 2005
06 July 2005
The bad guys stayed out of the rubber trees.......Michelin paid them "protection" to insure the trees were not damaged.
But they were damn close........in triple canopy jungle within site of the beautiful rows of rubber trees.
J.T. from Chicago, (the "Can Chickens Fly?") guy, was my Aircraft Commander.
I had just about gotten over my ill-fated orientation ride.
We had determined where the bad guys were in relation to the good guys, and had warned the good guys to keep their heads down, because quite honestly, we just weren't that accurate shooting the 2.75 inch FFAR, (Folding Fin Aerial Rockets) out of the old Charley model Hueys!
We started our first gun run. I laid down a good spray out of the mini-guns, then J.T. fired a couple rockets, then more mini-gun, then another pair of rockets. We started our "break" away from the enemy, when we felt the aircraft "settle" about an inch.
I looked at J.T., and he looked at me. Neither of us said anything for a moment.
It really didn't sound like we got hit by a .30 cal. round.
No caution or warning lights.......
instruments all in the normal operating range.
But at that time J.T. did something that probably saved four lives......he VERY GINGERLY banked the old Charley away from the enemy position.
He turned to me and asked,"You felt that too?"
"I sure did. Groundfire?"
"I'm not sure."
He keyed the microphone and transmitted, "Two....", (our wing man), "we're breaking off for the firebase to take a look at this aircraft.......we may have taken a round."
The number two aircraft acknowledged, and followed us to the firebase.
We landed, and four of us........J.T., myself, the crewchief and gunner all went over the aircraft with a fine-toothed comb.
No bullet holes.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
We all took another detailed look at the machine.
We had just about made the decision it was our imagination, when the crewchief said, "let me take a look up in the "Hell Hole."
The "Hell Hole" was a hole in the fuselage accessible from underneath the Huey........it granted access to the bottom of the main rotor gearbox. It was a pain to crawl under the aircraft and go up in the Hell Hole!
From the bowels of the aircraft we heard him say, "AH HA!"
When he crawled out, he had a shiny, half-moon shaped piece of metal in his hand, resembling a silver dollar cut in half, about a half inch or so thick.
"Bottom half of the Lift Link attachment."
The "Lift Link" is a dog-bone shaped piece of aluminum alloy, about a foot long, with a hole in the top and a hole in the bottom. The top hole attaches to the main rotor gearbox, and the bottom hole attaches to the airframe.
Our Lift Link was broken!
The Lift Link is part of the helicopter "lifting system". When the main rotor lifts the helicopter, the Lift Link is carrying 90% of the weight of the machine.
Had J.T. not decided to abort the gun mission and turned for another gun run, when we tried to pull out of the gradual dive of the attack, the main rotor and transmission would have separated from the aircraft, giving the fuselage the aerodynamic quality of a brick!
The four of us would have had an exciting ride for a few seconds!
Investigation revealed the Lift Link had been "Murphy'ed"......
it was installed upside-down.
Installing it upside-down meant the torque values were wrong on the attachments, and the lower one, which should have been attached at the top, had been overtorqued, cracking the Link.
I had been involved in two potentially fatal incidents in two months, and was beginning to think I was cursed.........10 months to go in Viet Nam! What else was in store for me?
Obviously, I learned what to look for to determine proper installation of the Lift Link. I never took off again without checking to insure it was bolted in correctly.
I'll always believe there was Divine intervention that made J.T. fly that aircraft like he was handling eggs, and guided the crewchief to take that look in the "Hell Hole"!
Weather is important to anyone that aviates.
In my opinion, being a weatherman puts you in a group that is paid well for being wrong about as often as you are right!
Great improvements have been made in the way we get weather information..........just not in forecasting!
Weather forecasters are EXCELLENT in predicting weather 5 hours out. They are FAIR at predicting it 12 hours out. Beyond that, we are in "Dartboard" territory!
Last night is a good example........
At our EMS base, we have the latest weather improvement: a "Meteorologix" terminal we can go to and look at radar returns, satellite views, terminal forecasts, and current surface analysis for any airport that reports these things.
Where we used to have to call the Flight Service Station and talk with a forecaster in order to determine whether we could take a flight, we can now find the information we need right on our desktop.
Last night, forecasters were predicting marginal VFR (flyable, but not pretty), weather all night long.
I dutifully report this fact to the dispatchers, so they know if I need to do a detailed weather check each time they dispatch us.
Two hours after I told them I'd be able to take any flight, I went outside to see low scuddy clouds overhead. I went back inside to check the current conditions:
800 feet Broken, 5 miles visibility, temperature 22, dewpoint 22.
The 800 foot Broken is the problem here, followed by the 22/22 temperature-dewpoint readings. Our night limitations are 1000' ceilings for cross-country flights. We are also limited to better than 3 miles visibility, so the 5 mile reading was fine, but the 22/22 reading meant the vis. was likely to degrade as the night progressed and got cooler.
Another old aviation "saw":
"It's better to be on the ground wishing you were airborne, than to be airborne wishing you were on the ground."
I went to the phone and called dispatch.........."we are now Yellow for weather".
I went to bed at Midnight, knowing that it was unlikely I would fly the rest of the night.
E.M.S. means "Earns Money Sleeping"!
The forecasters were wrong on the forecast.
I got paid last night for checking the inside of my eyelids!
04 July 2005
The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes shows that CNN must not have been paying attention (and that CNN is not the only one). In fact, Thomas Kean, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, stated during a press conference that "there was no question in our minds that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda." Moreover, his Commission's report detailed several "friendly contacts" between Iraq and al Qaeda, and concluded only that there was no proof of Iraqi involvement in al Qaeda terrorist attacks against American interests. Hayes goes on to detail additional connections.
How does the MSM get away with this?
Answer: A percentage of the population WANTS to believe!
You can read the whole thing,
(and access the rest of their stuff, 'cause it's bloggy good!),
It's BY FAR the nicest car I have ever owned........loaded with all the stuff that comes on a luxury car.
But there was an odd disappointment about it..........
When we decided we needed a new car, we really had no idea what brand or model we wanted, but the idea was exciting........a new car!
We started looking at what was available. Sara Jean would see a car she liked, and we would discuss the pros and cons of buying one like it.
Thinking about it and planning the purchase gave us something to look forward to together!
Then she saw a car she loved, and when I saw it, I also loved the look of it. But it was too expensive for our budget at the time.
So we postponed our purchase and continued saving to build up our down payment, and continued dreaming about purchasing something nicer than we had ever owned.
When the car was safely in the garage and the dream realized, the anticipation of buying it was gone. It was odd how I missed the "looking forward" to that purchase.
I thought of the rich and super-rich, and how they NEVER get to have that feeling of anticipation........the feel of having to work hard to be able to purchase something nice.......something that will make your life better.......something you can be proud of!
When Bill Gates wants to purchase a Ferrari, all he has to do is open his checkbook and write the check. There is no dream........no anticipation.
Because oddly, for me, the fantasy of buying the car was more fun than actually owning it!
Do ya think that's weird?
03 July 2005
Last post we were on downwind leg.........800' above the ground and hover Manifold Pressure applied.
When we can look back at a 45 degree angle at our intended point of landing, we start a descending, decelerating turn of 90 degrees......base leg.
On base leg, we hope to descend to 400 feet above the ground and slow the helicopter to 60 knots.
Continue on base leg and approach the path you took to takeoff......then make another 90 degree turn to line yourself up on your final approach course.
Now we are on final......400 feet above the ground, indicating 60 knots. When we reach a point where we can see that our angle to our intended point of landing is 10-12 degrees, (our "normal approach sight picture"), we lower the collective in order to maintain that angle to our landing spot.
From this point on, the approach is done visually, paying almost no attention to the airspeed indicator and altimeter. We maintain our angle of approach with the Collective and try to maintain "the apparent speed of a man walking briskly across the ground" with the Cyclic.
Continue to slow the helicopter as you descend, maintaining the speed of an apparent brisk walk, until the helicopter reaches five feet above the ground. At this point, bring the helicopter to a hover, maintaining hover altitude with the Collective, heading with the Pedals, and position over the ground with the Cyclic.
In my opinion, next to hovering, the normal approach is the most difficult thing to learn to do in the helicopter. To accomplish it, we must go from a relatively high power setting....cruise flight, to a relatively low power setting........descending and decelerating for landing, to the regime that requires the MOST power the helicopter uses: hovering.
Changing power settings requires coordinating the pedals, remember? So you are mighty busy during the normal approach to landing!
Students have problems with the power application/pedal coordination during the last 50 or so feet of the approach.....it takes a while to get accustomed to the big power changes that need to be made to bring the helicopter to a hover at the intended point of landing!
This is a lot to digest, I know! Oddly, hovering, which is harder to do, is easier to describe.
Students will learn to land the helicopter fairly rapidly, although at first it won't be a pretty thing to watch..........learning to make the large power changes in such a short time frame.
So there you have it........posts for learning to hover, takeoff, traffic pattern circuit, and landing.
It's a challenging task, but a satisfying one to learn.
My students almost always walk away from the first few lessons with sweaty armpits, and post-flight smiles on their faces!
02 July 2005
The entire State shuts down the night of the State Championship game!
We adopted the town we live in now because in many ways, the atmosphere here is similar to where I grew up. (And the town I grew up in has changed so much, I couldn't stand to live there!)
But Pro Sports are king here, and I don't understand why.
It's normal to have someone start a conversation with you by saying, "how 'bout them "Sparrows"?
To me, the "Sparrows" are just another big business. I haven't checked their roster lately, but the last time I looked, the "Sparrows" had a Japanese pitcher, a Santa Domingan shortstop, and a catcher from Outer Slobovia!
What do I have in common with these folks, and why should I get emotionally involved with them?
Why do they play the game? Could it be the $1,500,000 average salary these fellas are being paid?
Someone may as well start the conversation with me by asking, "How 'bout that General Electric.......ain't they somethin'?"
Now, High School ball is a different story.
If you're involved, you know the players and their families from top to bottom. A kid might even be on the field because of advice, or some other form of support you gave him/her.
And he/she is on the playing field for one reason: the love of the game.
Granted, some may also hope to help defray College costs with a scholarship, or maybe even one day be paid the big bucks to play for the "Sparrows", but most kids know that's just a dream. The work they devote to the game shows loyalty to the team and the school.
When I'm asked "how 'bout them 'Sparrows'?, my answer is generally "Why should I care?"
I've never gotten a satisfactory answer to the question.
Am I missing something?