Monthly Archives: January 2014

Letters From a WWI Jenny Pilot | Military Aviation | Air & Space Magazine

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US Army Buys Linux-Powered Rifles For Evaluation

As I have become older I have been astounded at the extent technology has come into things we have always thought were developed as far as capable.

Scuba diving equipment, bicycles, cars….all have been greatly improved by technology. Yesterday I was watching a video about some guys who took their 1967 Camaro back from Los Angeles to St Louis to an auto show, installed over 3 days a 700 hp Chevy engine at the convention, and then drove it back to Los Angles while getting 17 mpg.

The extent of how much automotive technology has changed was emphasized when our car club was invited to a talk by one of the 7 gold medal winners of an international competition for   Team USA .

Among the sample questions he showed on the PowerPoint display – not one had to do with camshaft timing, pistons, or ignition timing. They all had to do with networks, and how all the networks should communicate.

Anyway, my friend-the-super-programmer emailed me this post this morning about a linux-powered rifle the Army is evaluating. Linux is the language – really a rewritten version of Unix – that for all intents and purposes is running the Internet and the world wide web. Plus you are seeing it in some unexpected applications and hardware – from automotive components to…..rifle scopes.

This rifle scope can, just like a missile system, tell the shooter how to hold the rifle and when to pull the trigger.

As the writer asks though, one wonders how it would hold up under actual battle conditions.

Details and video here.


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Cutaway Thursday: Grumman A-6E TRAM Intruder

An airplane I’ve been learning a lot about lately.


Head on over to the Intruder Association to learn more.


Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Airplanes, History, Naval Aviation, Navy

Travels To The Central Coast Part 2

Among The Joshua Trees

As advertised, here they are.

Cambria, Cayucos with the pier and the players on the sidewalk in Pismo Beach.


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A Time-Honored Naval Avaitor’s Tradition

A few days ago I got my new Smithsonian Air & Space magazine and found a rather funny article. It was written by a Navy Reservist, about the time he and his crew of a rather well-used PC3 Orion were invited to the Ft Worth Air show.

I got the feeling in this article that if the Air Force and their entries were the “establishment” with their nice new C17s and AWACs, this oil-stained Orion and her crew were the pirates. Continue reading


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Will and Rocky

Will and Rocky. Two names I haven’t thought about in many, many years. The ice and snow that most of us are experiencing this winter brought back memories of a snowy icy flight made long ago.

We went to Milwaukee, I remember that part, and my logbooks confirm that the trip was sometime in March some forty years ago. If either of the two that are in this narrative are still around, good on you. I’m glad you lasted into this century.

A bit of a background for this tale, we were in a TC-4C, a heavily modified two engine turboprop executive transport saddled with an A-6 nose on the front end and a passenger compartment turned into a flying classroom for new A-6 Bombardier/Navigators. Flying an A-6 and instructing a new guy in the right seat is the definition of task saturation, and aside from the fact that lots of A-6 pilots weren’t nearly as savvy about the ‘trons and things that dominate the B/N’s side of the jet, it was not a good use of precious flight hours. So the Navy came up with the TC-4C Academe (we called it the Tic 4), the classroom in the back of the transport, complete with an entire A-6 cockpit. Continue reading


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Cutaway Thursday: Chance-Vought OS-2U Kingfisher

Today I’m headed to the National Naval Aviation Museum so in that vein:


More about her here.



Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Airplanes, Good Stuff, Naval Aviation, Navy

The storm approaches

Ever wonder what the air traffic is doing when a major thunderstorm is approaching an airport? Wonder no more, watch what happens in Memphis, Tn to the inbound purple fleet as a mean thunderstorm sweeps in from the north.
Each little airplane could be a 727/A310/A300/MD-10/MD-11.
Watch the last ones in to the south bug out for Little Rock and more fuel as the storm closes the airport.

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Warbird Restoration

There’s a great article about restoring old warbirds in this month’s issue of Air Force Magazine.  Here are the lede grafs and a screen-shot of one of the article’s accompanying pics:


The scarcity of some World War II airframes today drives a small industry that can take what can only be described as airplane DNA and deliver a restored, flying aircraft. Restoration technology now makes it feasible to resurrect historic aircraft from little more than dented scraps of metal.

A striking example of this artistry is one Curtiss P-40C Tomahawk that survived a crash landing in 1942 to emerge as an award-winning restoration indistinguishable from the day it rolled off the Curtiss assembly line in 1941. The restoration shunned the iconic, but now ubiquitous, “Flying Tiger” shark’s mouth paint scheme to create instead a rugged-looking US Army Air Corps fighter of the type that rose to meet Japanese warplanes over Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

The Tomahawk’s odyssey began when it was earmarked for the British Royal Air Force and then transferred to the Soviet Union in December 1941. Identified with the RAF number AK295, it was technically a Tomahawk IIB—essentially equivalent to the USAAC’s P-40C.

The text version of the article is here but I recommend reading the PDF version for the photos.


Filed under Air Force, History, Other Stuff

COFFEE FILTERS: Amazing Things They Are!

Among The Joshua Trees


Better than paper towels
Who knew! And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Tree for $1.00, even the large ones.

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome… Coffee filters are lint-free so they’ll leave windows sparkling.

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

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