31 October 2005

January 1964

You may remember I once took a crack at being an auto mechanic.
I'm glad I did.
From that experience, I have a good basic knowledge of how cars work,
and I have an idea when a mechanic
is trying to sell me "headlight oil".

My interest was sparked by Willy.
Willy was a born mechanic.
Two years my senior, he had worked at the Service Station where I worked until he graduated from High School. He then went to work as a mechanic for a trucking company.

Willy and I hung out together a lot.
We called ourselves "The Old Dads".......don't ask me why.
We both loved drag racing.
We decided we would buy an old V8 powered car,
remove and rebuild the engine, and take it racing.

After a little searching, we found a 1955 Ford 2-door sedan
within our price range.
It was rusted out and at least three colors....an ugly car,
but appearances didn't matter to us.
This would be an ongoing project.

That Fall and Winter, as our budget allowed, we took the engine apart,
had it cleaned up, and put it back together.
I say we.......but Willy directed all the work.
He knew exactly what he wanted to do.
We bored the cylinders, then picked the lightest pistons we could afford
and sent them and their matching connecting rods and fasteners to be balanced.

We wanted to race the car in it's "stock" class, so we installed a stock camshaft.
We re-jetted the carburetor and put on bigger exhaust manifolds to make the engine breathe more air.

The car had an automatic transmission.
We removed that and put a standard tranny in it's place.

By Spring, the car was back together, running like a Swiss watch.

When this car left the Ford factory in 1955
the red-line on the engine was 4,500 R.P.M..
We bought and installed a new "Sun" tachometer, and it indicated our balancing worked wonders.......
our engine would spin to 7,000 R.P.M., pulling hard all the way!

We replaced the original 15-inch tires with a huge set of 14-inchers
to lower the final gear ratio for drag racing and put as much rubber on the road as possible.

If you've seen the movie, "American Graffiti", you've gotten a sense of what life was like for kids of my generation. We had a 1/4 mile drag strip marked off on one of the country roads, and we used it frequently.

We would cruise the local drive-in restaurants to see if anyone wanted to try their luck against this old, beat up Ford.

One night, "Bob", a guy from a neighboring town driving a '59 Ford
decided he wanted a piece of The Old Dads and their patchwork Ford.
Bob's nice '59 Ford had a much larger engine in it.........352 cubic inches,
compared to our little bored-out 272.
But the '59 was a bigger, heavier car, so it wasn't too far out of our class.

Mind you, these races were for bragging rights only........no pink slips involved.
Few would have been interested in it, but no one wanted to be beaten by this ugly old junker!

At the end of the race we were a couple car lengths ahead of Bob.....
We had beaten him badly enough that he didn't return to cruise around the restaurant that evening.

I'll never forget that night, because of Bob!
Who was Bob, and why is the memory of outrunning him such a big deal all these years later?

"Bob" was Bob Glidden.
In a few years, he was seldom beaten.......
NHRA National Pro Stock Champion in 1973,
'74, '78, '79, '85, '86, '87, and '88!

But that night in the Winter of '64,
Willy's fabulous, junky old '55 Ford
and "The Old Dads"
sent Bob home licking his wounds!

27 October 2005

Investing Inertia

In a previous post, I tried to motivate some of you to move "off the dime" and get started in an investing program.
Einstein is said to have called compound interest the "8th wonder of the world". Time is critical to successful investing.

One of my readers,
  • Infinitegtr
  • took me to task. He is an Attorney, obviously bright, and in that capacity has seen some shenanigans that scare him about allowing shysters to manipulate his money. He certainly knows more about that side of the investing equation than I do.

    But my post was as simple as I could make it.......too simplistic for my virtual friend. He's right when he posts at his blog that to really be successful investing, you should first get your debts under control. If you have family, it can also be argued that you should have an adequate term life insurance policy in place before dedicating any money to an investment. (I recommend shopping online for the best deal here too. I sold insurance for a while, and may blog on this later.)

    But Infgtr misses the thrust of my post. In fact, with his arguments, he makes my point. Inertia is the reason many of my contemporaries reach the point in their lives where they can see retirement around the corner, yet they cannot contemplate retiring because for one reason or another they didn't pull the trigger.

    (I need to repeat the joke.......)
    An old, devout Jewish man, Abe, prays to the Lord......"Lord, I have been a faithful servant. Now in my old age, please help me win the lottery."
    The numbers appear, and Abe doesn't win.
    The next week, he prays again, "Lord, I've been a devout Jew all my life. Let me be a lottery winner, so I can be comfortable in my last years."
    And again he doesn't win.
    The next week he prays again, and doesn't win.
    Finally he prays, "Lord, what must I do to get your attention and move you to help me?"
    And the Lord says, "Abe, you need to help me a little here. BUY A TICKET!"

    My challenge to you, in essence, is to buy a ticket!

    Excuses: "I have plenty of time to do that later."
    "It's too complicated for me."
    "There are bad people in that business that want to steal my money."
    "Right now I need to buy a 3bedroom, 4bathroom house for me, my wife, and my kid."
    And on, and on.

    Look. My recommendation was for you to get off your butt, be an adult, do some study, and get started. I still think that's good advice.

    Rehashing, if you can find a Mutual Fund with expenses less than 1% per year, that continues to earn 8% per year or more, (and I recommended one), do you care if there are expenses hidden in the fine print?
    Aren't results what are important to us?

    As I pointed out in comments to my post, experts in the financial industry are fooled every now and then. As a novice in such things, I think the only way to succeed in this game is to educate yourself to the extent you can, and take precautions to protect yourself however you can against being cheated.

    But you can always find an excuse to procastrinate, if that is what you want. And remember that "Can't", or "Won't", succeeds only under strange circumstances.

    Is the financial industry complex?
    Can you and I truly know what is going on there?
    Probably not.
    Can we take precautions and still end up on the winning end of the stick?
    If we can't, let's all vote Democrat and hope for true socialism immediately!

    Inertia is a killer in many ways.
    It stops people from taking care of their own health.
    It stops people with great ideas from starting new businesses, or patenting an idea that could make the rest of their lives comfortable.
    It stops them from taking steps that would keep them from having to worry about whether Social Security will be solvent when they are 66 1/2 years old.

    Educate yourself. Go read Infgtr's posts. But after reading, I would hope you understand that if you're not devoting the kind of time Infgtr is devoting to the subject, you need to protect yourself in some fundamental ways. My argument was, and is, that a solidly performing Mutual Fund with low expenses is best for innocents like you and me.

    Because Inertia will destroy whatever dreams you may have about how you want to live when you reach the Autumn of your life.

    "Buy a ticket, Abe!"

    26 October 2005

    Oyster Perpetual

    Rolex watches are fine timepieces.

    I hated mine.

    I went to Viet Nam with a Timex self-wind on my wrist.
    Younger folk know the name Timex,
    but I may need to explain "self-wind".

    The watch had a pendular weight in it that would move as you moved.
    The weight was attached to the mainspring, so that just by moving your wrist, you wound the watch.
    You never had to do it manually......it "self-wound".

    But there was no prestige in owning a Timex.
    One of my pinochle playing buddies came home from his R&R with a new Rolex GMT.
    It was fabulous looking, and as he strutted around with it, I began to wonder if it would be nice to have something more "elite" than my little Timex.

    When I went on my R&R, I bought myself a Rolex Submariner.
    I think I paid $150 for it.

    I hated that watch from the outset.
    The "Oyster Perpetual" thing is Rolex's trademarked name for the case
    in which the watch is built. It makes their watches extremely strong.

    But it also makes them very tall from backplate to crystal.
    Mine continually caught on jackets and long sleeve shirts.
    It had a stainless steel band that was difficult to adjust to my wrist.
    It had to be manually wound!
    And believe it or not, it didn't keep time as well as my Timex.

    Eventually, I took the thing off and threw it in my jewelry box.

    10 years later I took a SCUBA diving class.
    At the end of the class, we had to do an "open water" dive
    to receive our diver's certifications.
    I thought of my Rolex......"waterproof to 330 meters." Perfect!

    I retrieved it from my jewelry box and wore it on the dive.
    It leaked and quit working.
    I was so frustrated with it, I almost threw it away.
    But......back in my jewelry box it went.

    One late night in 1990 I was listening
    to an AM radio station out of Houston, Texas.
    A jeweler there was offering to buy old Rolex's in any shape, and broadcast an 800 telephone number you could call to get a quote on what they would pay.

    I called.
    They offered $250.
    I sent the watch, and they sent the check.
    I was glad to get rid of the thing!

    I just checked to see what a Rolex Submariner is selling for today.
    I couldn't believe it!
    The lowest price I could find: $1750.00.

    What's on my wrist now?
    A Timex, of course. (Keeps great time too!)

    25 October 2005

    They're called "Choppers"

    I'm pretty sure
  • this
  • is a fake.

    This is a Robinson R44 helicopter.
    The rotor on this machine is almost 11 feet in the air,
    and does not droop like the rotor on a Bell JetRanger
    does as it slows after shutdown.
    The guy would have to be 8 feet tall for this to actually happen.

    Nevertheless, the video is pretty effective in making it's point.

    24 October 2005

    Stay Healthy, Avoid Hospitals!

  • This didn't surprise me, once I had thought about it.

  • But I bet it's true at home, too!

    Thanks to:
  • You Big Mouth, You
  • Learning "Blog"

    Obviously I'm not talking about "Blog", the language of Neanderthals.
    But I have been very tentative about learning how to Blog effectively.

    Slowly but surely, I'm exploring and experimenting with options
    and functions that are available to me through Blogger.
    Pretty exciting stuff, some of it.

    Yesterday, in addition to learning how to post photos,
    I added a site meter to Pitchpull.
    If you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can see the icon that shows this blog is being monitored.
    Actually, Big Bubba and I had attempted to add the meter several weeks back, but we didn't push the right button at some point in the process, and not only didn't the icon appear, but I started getting activity reports from Site Meter that said I had zero visits, which obviously was mistaken because folks were leaving comments.

    But I was careful and pushed all the right buttons this time,
    so there it is.
    And what interesting info is available there!
    By clicking the icon at the bottom of the page, I find that someone from the South of Australia has visited my site!
    (I Loved my visit to Australia in '69!)

    It tells you who stopped by, when they were here, what browser they used, and how long they stayed. (And yes, ANYONE can click and tell who is checking in on my site.)

    As my Birmingham buddy Jim once said, it tells ya "more than you need to know about Penguins!"

    23 October 2005

    Row Vs. Wade:

    OOOOhhhhhh.....terrible pun!
    Couldn't help myself!

    If you haven't seen it, the Political Teen has the
  • Video
  • First Photo Post

    I love this picture.
    Spectacular, huh?
    Took a while to find it so I could show you.

    22 October 2005

    "Time" Foolery

    Twice a year, "Sun Glare" becomes a hazard for
    those of us that live West of our workplace......
    driving into the rising sun in the morning
    and again as it slips toward the horizon in the evening.

    In my case, working straight nights, it's reversed........
    I live East of my workplace.
    Thank God for sun visors and sunglasses!

    Next weekend, with a few exceptions around the U.S.,
    we will go through our strange ritual of changing our clocks to "save daylight".

    How do we make more daylight by fiddling with a clock?

    I hate this exercise in stupidity.
    There are eleventy-two digital and analog clocks in our house that need changing in order to save daylight! The analogs aren't so bad, but the digitals.........

    I always seem to be the one working the night in October when we
    "Fall back", and work an hour for which I am not paid.
    Oddly enough, I NEVER seem to work the evening shift where we
    "Spring Forward" and get paid for 12 hours after only working 11.

    When my parents were living on the lake, I could never remember whether they were an hour ahead or an hour behind me.
    It always took me a while to figure if it was a good time to telephone.

    For years I've been promoting an idea that would surely make the world a simpler place to live:

    ZULU time for everyone!
    (Zulu time is Greenwich Mean Time. It's based on the 24 hour clock, and is used by the military and most aviators.)

    No more re-setting clocks.
    No more confusion about calling your loved ones..
    Make an appointment for 2300 Zulu,
    and everyone knows what time you'll be shaking hands!
    "Call me at 2400 hours" indicates the same time,
    no matter where you are on the face of the earth!

    If your employer wants to"save daylight",
    management can just change the time you are to show up at work from say,
    1400 Zulu to 1300 Zulu........no changing clocks to keep it straight in everyone's mind!

    So far, my idea hasn't taken off.

    So it's time for leadership and drastic action........
    I hereby announce my candidacy for "King of the World"!

    Vote For Greybeard!

    If elected, I promise to be a benevolent King.
    And the first thing I will do is stop this lunacy of changing clocks twice a year!

    Then I promise to do something about
  • Gilbert Gottfried
  • 20 October 2005

    Harriet Miers

    I've avoided commenting on the Harriet Miers nomination because there is too much screaming going on about it already. The woman hasn't even had a chance to plead her case!

    Quite honestly though, I feel pretty much the same way as I did when "Arnold" was running for Governator of Caleeforneeah......

    As John Lennon so aptly said, "Can't get much worse!"

    The present court is responsible for the Kelo decision.
    Can she do much worse than that?

    19 October 2005

    Horses and Motorcycles

    I've owned 6 motorcycles in my life.
    If you love to ride motorcycles, you just accept the fact that they are dangerous.....
    It's part of the mystique......."living on the edge".

    The standing joke in the EMS industry is:
    "What's another term for a motorcycle rider?"

    "Organ Donor".

    I've been to some horrible scenes involving motorcycles.
    One, a 19 year old that was running from police,
    fell at high speed in a curve.
    While my crew was tending to him in the ambulance, another ambulance crewmember approached the helicopter and handed me a BIG trash bag. It was VERY heavy.
    Over the din of the helicopter he shouted, " IT'S HIS LEG!"
    (The kid later died of blood loss.)

    I've got some interesting news for you though....
    I think horses are more dangerous than motorcycles.

    I'm now in my 20th year of flying a helicopter ambulance, and in that time I have carried FAR more people hurt by horses than by bikes.

    I once went to pick up a 12 year old boy who while participating in a rodeo, had fallen from his horse but got his foot caught in the stirrup, and the horse ran for several minutes dragging the poor youngster around in front of horrified spectators.
    With terrible closed-head injuries, he died before we could load him aboard the helicopter.

    Friday night we picked up another one........a 39 year old guy whose horse bucked him off, then rolled over him. His injuries:
    Broken pelvis.
    Broken leg.
    Dissected urethra.
    He'll live, but for a while may wish he hadn't.

    The horse is okay.
    His wife already has a buyer for it.

    16 October 2005

    Bicycle Blogging, Too

  • Here's
  • an attitude I'd like to see generally accepted,
    for a number of reasons.

    Gotta buy myself a basket!

    Thanks to
  • Cold Fury

  • (where he is also bicycle blogging!)

    15 October 2005

    "Investing 100" and Greybeard University

    At the start, let me emphasize........
    I'm NO financial planner.
    (And no, I don't play one on TV either.)

    There are probably several folks reading this post that know a boatload more than I do about investing.
    I know just enough, maybe, to be dangerous.
    But for some reason, my meager knowledge has sort of made me the "go to" guy
    at my company when co-workers have questions about their retirement plans.
    I titled this post "Investing 100", because what I'm about to convey is "bonehead" information, intended to incite some of you "foot draggers"
    to do some homework yourself, and then ACT on it!

    In 1968,
    Ole Prairie Dog and I were learning to fly helicopters in Savannah, GA..
    (Horrible duty, by the way.)
    At the end of each flying day we'd come back to the company area to find a kindly looking retired Lt. Colonel loitering around,
    chatting with our classmates.
    He sold Mutual Funds from a Fund Family called "Keystone"

    We were all facing a year of flying in Viet Nam,
    and all I wanted to do with my money was have a good time.
    Investing was pretty low on my priority list.

    But he tweaked my curiosity.......
    what the heck was a Mutual Fund?
    How did they work?

    I did some research and bought my first shares of a Mutual Fund in 1970.

    I was a licensed broker and sold Mutual Funds from 1974 to '76.

    When our "Big Bubba" turned 20,
    I challenged him to get started investing.
    With my guidance, (and his money), he put $2,000 in a
    Roth IRA using Vanguard's "S&P 500 Index Fund".
    (I like the Vanguard Family because of their low fees.)

    He has continued to invest $2,000 per year in that Fund.
    If he continues to invest at that rate,
    and the stock market continues to perform as it has historically,
    he'll be able to retire when he is still a VERY young man.
    I'm proud of him for having the
    discipline I didn't have at his age.

    Let me share two interesting investing stories:

    Identical twins, Uno and Dos, celebrate their 20th birthday.

    Uno starts a Roth IRA.
    He puts $2,000 a year in a Mutual Fund that has historically grown 8% annually.

    Brother Dos says, "Nah, I want to buy a new Harley,
    and next year I want a new bass boat.
    I'm young, and there's plenty of time to invest later."

    Uno continues to squirrel away $2,000 per year for 10 years.
    At that point, Uno STOPS putting money in his IRA.

    Now, at age 30, Brother Dos decides
    it's time to get serious about investing.
    He opens an IRA account with the same Fund as his twin.
    Assuming he continues adding $2,000 per year, and the Fund continues to earn 8% annually,
    at what point will his account value exceed that of his brother's?

    My second illustration, similar to the first, will help answer that question.......
    Find a Fund or other investment that averages 8% per year interest.
    Add $50 a month to that Fund for 10 years.
    At that point, stop your monthly deposit,
    and start withdrawing $50 per month.
    At what point will the Fund be totally depleted?

    The answer to both questions?


    In the first example, Uno's investment is earning considerably more than $2,000 per year when Dos begins to add $2,000 per year to his new IRA.
    Dos can add 2-Grand a year for infinity, and he will NEVER catch up!

    In the second illustration, after 10 years the Fund will be earning,
    by my quick calculations, $87.63 per month in interest,
    so withdrawing $50 a month will allow the principal in the Fund to continue
    to grow at a pretty healthy rate.

    Historical returns for the overall Stock Market
    are above 8% per year.

    Do your homework.
    Find an investment you can be comfortable with.
    Get started now!

    (If you have access to a company 403(b), 401(k), or 457,
    it makes NO SENSE to not AT LEAST contribute to those accounts at the minimum contribution necessary to take advantage of company matching funds........a 100% per year return on that money!!!)

    And as both my illustrations show, time is critical.......
    sooner is MUCH better than later!

    If all this is still confusing, let me recommend the book:
    "The Wealthy Barber" by David Chilton.
    It's a quick, easy, enjoyable read,
    and will answer most of your investing questions.

    (I wish someone had shared this with me when I was 20!)

    Update: 23 October

    Wow, this got out of hand in a flash!

    Read the comments.
    My intent was to provide some VERY basic investing examples and prod some slackers into doing a little study on their own before setting cautiously off on a journey to improve their lives.
    I started the post with the "I'm no expert" disclaimer.
    Notice also the investment I have started my son in: An S&P 500 Fund that does virtually no stirring, and therefore has extremely low fees.
    For that reason, most all of Big Bubba's money stays at work.
    That's the path I will continue to take until I see a better way.

    Infgtr has extraordinary credentials.
    What I glean from his comments is that if you aren't gonna retire shortly,
    you'd better be looking for ways to hide your money, and invest it in more complicated vehicles than I recommended.
    If that is true, I'm more out of touch than I could have imagined.
    I'm fearful of a scenario where you have to be an attorney to be sure you have efficiently hidden your money from Big Brother and other meanies.

    Has it really come to that?

    12 October 2005

    Bicycle Blogging

    Is my experience normal?

    Where I grew up, kids rode bicycles everywhere.
    I had one, my sister had one.
    When mine was broken, I rode (and broke) hers!

    I had a paper route. The route covered about two miles.......four miles round trip.
    I rode that route 7 Days a week, then used the bike to ride to play baseball, football, or basketball with friends.

    My folks had agreed to buy me a new bike.
    Nothing but a "Schwinn" bicycle would do........
    the quality of other bikes
    had been such a disappointment.

    We went to the bike shop and got brochures on
    the different models that were available.
    A model called the "Phantom" immediately caught my eye!
    This bike was called a "middleweight" at the time.
    English style commuter bikes with their skinny little tires and three-speed gearshifts were being imported by this time, and the Phantom was a compromise between those and the "Balloon Tire Bombers" that had been produced up to the early 50's.
    It had no gearshift........one speed. It had a "knee action" suspension on the front, and a coaster brake, (the kind where you push the pedal backwards for braking action.)
    It had a horn in the tank. The horn was a pain in the butt because it needed batteries all the time. The horn got wet when it rained, and quit working in short order.
    My Phantom was Candy Apple Red.

    When I see pictures of the Phantom now, it reminds me a lot of Pee Wee Herman's bike in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."

    It was cool!
    I remember it cost $70, which was a ton of money circa 1957.
    My Dad was hesitant to spend that kind of money.
    Mom was in my corner........she argued that I used the bike on my paper route, and besides, it was what I wanted and it would be nice to give me something I wanted so badly.

    Dad gave in.

    Fast Forward to 1981.
    When I first met Sara Jean here in our little town, I rode a bike for exercise and errands. I had mapped out an 11 mile course that I rode daily, weather permitting.
    By this time I was riding a bike with more speeds than I knew how to use. You shifted gears with two little levers at the center of the handlebars. I never learned to use the shifter well, but I did learn to downshift a couple gears to make it easier going uphill.

    I actually got to the point where I had "runner's high" from riding every day!
    When I'd miss my ride, my body didn't feel normal.

    Then "Big Bubba" was born, and life got complicated with a job or two.
    I quit riding.
    I hung the bike from hooks in the garage, and watched as, over the years, the tires decayed and the frame rusted.

    When he was old enough, I bought Big Bubba a 10-speed bike.
    He rode a little, but not like his Old Man when I was his age.
    I rode Big Bubba's bike now and then, and liked the feeling.

    Forward again to today:
    I've been studying bikes for awhile.
    They're amazing.
    You can easily spend $4,000 for "Lance Armstrong" bikes with frames made of exotic materials that weigh 12 pounds!
    $700 buys a recumbent bicycle so you can sleep while you ride.

    But something else caught my eye:
    Last week, for less than $200, I bought a 21-speed
    "Mountain Bike" with a front disc brake, front and rear suspension, quick-release front wheel,
    and shifters on each hand grip.
    (Is it possible to compare this bike to the $70 Schwinn Phantom my Dad bought in 1959?)

    I'm now back to riding my 11 mile course every-other-day.
    25 years ago, I could do it in 35 minutes.
    Now it takes me an hour.
    (Let's see.......11 miles ridden in one hour would be what......
    11 m.p.h. average, right?)

    I'm gonna work on getting the speed up, but not to the point where I don't enjoy the ride.
    The idea is to work off the calories, and get back to the point where chicks whistle at my legs!

    Gimme a little while!

    10 October 2005


    Just in case you needed something to fret about today:

    The earthquake in Kashmir may be a watershed event.

    Half of Pakistan's citizens think Osama Bin Laden is the moral opposite of William Jefferson Clinton.
    That half of Pakistan has already made at least three credible attempts to help Musharraf assume ambient temperature.

    I've been listening to interviews of Pakistani citizens on the BBC.
    The "Beeb" is portraying Musharraf's response to these events as less than satisfactory.

    He has a political nightmare on his hands........
    he needs to be visible, personally directing the emergency response to this catastrophe.
    But he knows he'd likely be a target at every turn.........

    The U.S. attacked Iraq because we suspected they MIGHT have Weapons of Mass Destruction at their disposal.
    What should be our response if the Nuclear capable Pakistani government falls into the hands of radical Islamists?

    We live in "interesting" times!

    07 October 2005

    Where Eagles Fly

    Over at


    Mike left a comment about flying with me over the Illinois River valley,
    seeing the remarkable recovery that has been made by our Bald Eagle population.

    In January and February,
    breeding pairs can be spotted every 50 feet or so in trees alongside the river where there is open water.

    In trees with no leaves, a three foot tall bird perched on a limb sticks out like a sore thumb!

    Before my Dad passed away, my folks lived on lakefront property in Southern Indiana. High in a tree in the hills above their home, my Dad noticed a breeding pair of Eagles in a big nest, and called the Department of Natural Resources folks to insure they were aware of the birds.
    The very next day, and for several days thereafter, a helicopter circled the nest.

    When the pair of chicks hatched, the DNR folks came out for a closer look.
    Dad accompanied them on the hike up the hill, and took pictures as they scaled the tree and lowered the eaglets to the ground.

    I was surprised to learn that Eagle parents put up NO FIGHT AT ALL against this raid on their nest........
    they flew off a short distance and watched quietly as the Conservationists weighed, measured, and took blood samples from their offspring!

    Also surprising was how docile the hatchlings were while being stuck, poked, and prodded!
    My previous perception was that our National symbol would have been pretty aggressive in protecting itself, and more so its' young!

    Over the next several years, Dad and Mom took great pleasure in watching this pair of Eagles raise several families in that same nest.

    I'm thrilled to watch the birds soaring over the river in January in large numbers...........
    acrobatically jousting with one another.......
    six foot wingspan and oh-so-obvious white head and tail on the mature birds!

    It's also gratifying that some Government programs work.
    The protection of our "endangered" Bald Eagle certainly has!

    04 October 2005

    The Chinook Cha-Cha

    Different Helicopters
    come with different types of Rotor Systems:
    Fully Articulated,
    and hybrids of the above.

    As you might expect,
    each of these systems has advantages and disadvantages.

    The U.S. Army's big Chinook
    has a fully articulated rotor system.
    This rotor can be compared
    to the connection of your arm to your shoulder.......
    the individual rotors can move fore and aft,
    up and down, all at the same time,
    similar to your arms moving independently.

    The fully articulated system is a complicated one,
    with MANY moving parts,
    but when properly balanced and tracked,
    it provides a "Cadillac on the boulevard" ride.

    One of the disadvantages of this system
    is that if you shock it with a hard bump on landing or takeoff,
    the rotor can get dramatically out of balance,
    and that unbalanced condition can amplify and worsen catastrophically.



    show two views of the same helicopter experiencing
    this phenomenon,
    called "Ground Resonance".

    I assume the fact that the helicopter is restrained on a test bed
    with two detailed videos of the incident
    is an indication this was an Army test.
    Notice the puffs of smoke from the engines,
    indicating they have been shut down
    as the Ground Resonance begins to destroy the airframe.

    I have no information on what this test was analyzing,
    or if Ground Resonance was expected.

    I'd like to know more.