In Memory of CAPT Carroll “Lex” LeFon, and the Wonderful Community He Fostered

Welcome. The idea was floated that a ‘talk amongst yourselves’ blog would be a good addition to for the Non-Facebook Crowd. Here it is.


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A-10 Hawg’s New Role As a Storm Chasing Aircraft.

This A-10 is undergoing conversion to a storm chasing aircraft.

This A-10 is undergoing conversion into a storm chasing aircraft.

As retirement looms for the USAF’s A-10 Hawg, the National Science Foundation and Zivko Aeronautics have teamed up in a $13 million dollar project to convert one aircraft into a platform to deploy sensors in thunderstorms.

A computer server system will be installed where the weapons system used to be. The system will use sensors on the wings to detect things like wind speed, pressure and movement of a storm. The information is then sent to researchers working on the ground.

“So they’ll get real time, first-hand knowledge of whatever it is they want to sample,” Schneider said.

The A-10 will be equipped to release small sensors into the storm, similar to what was done in the movie “Twister”. The only difference is the sensors will be released from above the storm instead of below it.

“We’re actually going to drop ours out of the wing tips and the wheel pods,” said Schneider.

Learn more from the video in the article above.

From the National Science Foundation:

Since the retirement of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) T-28 in 2005, the storm research community has been without means of obtaining in-situ measurements of storm properties.  In 2010 the National Science Foundation (NSF) took steps to remedy this.  The Foundation decided to sponsor the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, to requisition a Fairchild A-10 from the US Air Force.   A year later, the USAF agreed to lend a mothballed A-10 to the US Navy, to be regenerated, reinforced for storm penetration, instrumented for scientific research, and operated by CIRPAS in collaboration with scientists at SDSMT.

The A-10 is a rugged aircraft deisgned to take a lot of punishment from the battlefield. That same strength will be of value when doing the storm research. From Popular Mechanics:

“Conventional research aircraft avoid these severe storms, so they’re basically outside looking in,” meteorologist and veteran storm-chaser Joshua Wurman of the Center for Severe Weather Research in Boulder, Colo, tells PM. “We want to study the worst weather, but we’re trying to keep the [plane] outside the worst weather. With the A-10, we don’t have that limitation.”

A couple of the Thunderbolt’s targets will be supercell thunderstorms, which birth tornadoes, and mesoscale convective systems, giant storm clusters that can produce thunder and lightning, pounding hail, and damaging winds. Ground-based radar systems can track wind and precipitation in these systems fairly well from a distance. But to understand how temperature and humidity contribute to tornado formation, for example, researchers need to get at the heart of the storm.

The A-10 started off as a platform designed to save lives on the battelfield. It’s an interesting twist the A-10 will now be saving civilian lives in the US.

Git Sum!

Git Sum!

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The 707 is 60 this year….

How many of you remember your first ride in a 707? For me it was 1962 – going back to West Virginia. I was on a TWA flight. I can remember asking the pilot how much it cost – it was the astronomical sum of $7 million.

Here’s a nice write up.


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Precise Flying

This was sent to me by my Air Force friend….


It happened in Germany in 1965, in Germany.  I was a new brand-new USAF co-pilot . Therefore I thought I knew, everything there was to know . . about ‘ zooming ‘ around in an airplane.

 And I was frustrated by pilots . . like my Aircraft Commander.

     He was one of those by-the-numbers types, no class, no imagination, and no ” feel ” for really zipping around.  A pilot who knows that he’s the ‘ real deal ‘ needs only to be ‘ in tune  ‘ with ‘ that airplane ‘ neath his hands and feet.

     So what if your flight altitude is a little bit off?  So what if the glideslope indicator is showing that you’re off a few hairs from having a picture-perfect relationship with its indices?

 If it feels okay ‘ round your ‘ bones ‘. . hey man . . just do it.

     Every time he let me make an approach, even in VFR conditions, he demanded perfection.  Not the slightest deviation would he allow.  ” If you can’t stick those needles like they’ve been painted on those dials . . when there’s no threat to deal with . . you surely will not be able do it when a ‘ pucker factor situation occurs,” he told me. 

 Then told me again.

 Over . . and over.

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Sometimes All You Can Do Is Laugh Part Deux

A lot of times, I think the only thing that has gotten me through this life is a sense of humor.

I have liked to work on cars since I ….well, had a car, a 1967 Chevy Camaro – in 1969. Had a 327 – Corvette high compression heads and an “executive” option of which 6,000 were made.

Wish I still had that car.

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Niece’s Wedding


Big Family Event last weekend. The reason for lack of posting…….It was great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Originally posted on Among The Joshua Trees:

Ashlee Luque, My Niece became Mrs. Michael Quick on 20 July 2014.

Family and Friends came from Near and Far to Celebrate.

Mrs. ORPO made the cake and it was awesome!


L-R. Eldest Son, Daughter in Law, Niece Ashlee


The Cake under Construction


Missus ORPO, Her Sister, Son Pat, Daughter in Law Diane


The Groom


Niece Stephanie with the Ring Bearer, Grand Nephew Austin Nicolas


Brother in Law Hector and The Bride


Missus ORPO and The Daugher in Law


Eldest Son and His Bride


Mother and Son


ORPO and My Bride of 31 years, Mrs. ORPO


Father Daughter Dance


Mother and Son Dance


Cutting The Cake


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Learning A Bit About The Consolidated PBY

WW2 aviation enthusiast Jim Slattery has a wonderful restoration of this iconic WW2 classic. I learned a few things. 

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Only the 2nd Time I Have Heard of This…


Landing an aircraft successfully, with the wings retracted. The only other time that I am aware of was around 1968 with an F8. This article mentioned that it had happened a couple of times before (with an F8).

The Lexicans are a diverse group with a vast access to knowledge, and one of them on the F/B page got the history of this Phantom. A H/T to him!

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