Monthly Archives: April 2017

Better Lucky Than Good

By lex, on January 14th, 2009

Last Saturday morning I realized shortly before heading down to the airport that I couldn’t find my wallet. I was running late, and could only do a brief search. As a precaution I locked out my credit card account, and on Sunday I tossed the house looking for the wallet, even going back to the last store at which I remembered having used. The clerk at the store was sympathetic, but no – he hadn’t seen a thing.

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Santa Ana’s

By lex, on January 11th, 2009

We’d ten flights scheduled for the Vargas yesterday, split five apiece between myself and Earl-the-Pearl, not to mention four or five biplane rides and one hack in the warbird. Might be that folks are cashing in on gift cards, or it might be pent-up demand – December was very slow – but it was good to be back in the air again.

With all that “work” to do, I was up early. A cup of coffee in hand I let the dogs both greater and lesser out back right at sunrise, stiffening my resolve to face the morning chill. It’s not so much by the standards of folks living in places like Detroit and Rapid City I don’t think, but it does get into the low 50′s over night. Some times into the 40′s. I positively shiver.

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No Fanfare

By lex, on January 4th, 2009

Roy Boehm passed into the clearing at the end of the path Tuesday night. He was 84 years old.

Boehm had served his country in three wars, including service in the largest surface-only engagement of World War II, the Battle of Cape Esperance. His ship – the USS Duncan – took multiple hits from 6″ and 8″ guns before going under the waves. Although wounded by shrapnel in his head and body, he managed to save another shipmate before the ship went down. While in the ocean he was forced to fight sharks off for his own life. For 13 hours.

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Balanced Field Length

By lex, on December 18th, 2008

The pilots of single-engine aircraft are required to compute expected take-off distance using aircraft gross weight, temperature, pressure altitude, forecast winds and runway gradient, taking into account obstacle clearance at the departure end. It’s good to know that the runway you intend to use is long enough for the use you intend.

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By lex, on December 11th, 2008

TINS: Back in the days when real fighter pilots flew F-8′s, and their preferred weapon was the cannon, there was an airwing commander who fancied himself quite the critic of airmanship. While in overhead holding he espied a Crusader jock whose pattern work was not quite the thing.

As the F-8 pilot turned his go-fast for to land, CAG spoke up on Tower Freq: “Crusader off the 180, you were too wide abeam.”

To which our intrepid airman replied, in the best traditions of the service: “Bite my a**.”

In response to which the CAG replied, “I fully intend to.”

A short but exciting conversation ensued on the flight deck, in consequence of which the saucy jock was flown off the line, back to the P.I. for to cool his heels until such time as he could remember his manners.

The next day an Alpha Strike to a heavily defended target was briefed to the assembled throng. A daylight strike it was, and the chart showed a dense thicket of pins representing Triple-A tubes and SAM sites. The Intel Guy finished his pitch to a suddenly introspective strike package with the words, “It’s going to be hot work today. Sucks to be you. Any comments or questions?”

An F-8 pilot spoke up, asking, “Is there still time to tell CAG to bite our a**es?”

That’s what it took to get bounced off the line, during the Vietnam War. These days?


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North Texas Travelogue – Necessarily Abbreviated

By lex, on December 1st, 2008

You could fall blindfolded out of an aeroplane and land God-knows-where, but within the first five minutes or so you’d know you were in the Texas Republic. The place has a certain, confident sense of self that permeates everything, license plates, air waves, attitude. The Lone Star flag flies over pretty much everything, right up there alongside Old Glory, proud to partner, yielding nothing.

Although just as close culturally to Old Mexico as Southern California, North Texas eschews the pretty convention of Spanish names for its major arteries. People lived here, big men for a big country, and their names are everywhere remembered: I don’t know who Joe Pool was, but I don’t doubt that many a Texas schoolchild does, and people like George Hopper and Walter Stephenson, just to name two, left their names on the boulevards of the burrough of Midlothian as well. I even saw a George Bush highway and a John McCain Road.

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By lex, on November 9th, 2008

From Wikipedia:

48 (forty-eight) is the natural number following 47 and preceding 49. It is one third of a gross or four dozens.

Forty-eight is a double factorial of 6, a highly composite number. Like all other multiples of 6, it is a semiperfect number. 48 is the second 17-gonal number.

48 is the first number of the form (24.q) and is in abundance having an aliquot sum of 76. It is the lowest composite number to fall into the 41-aliquot tree having the 7 aliquot number sequence,(48, 76 , 64, 63, 41, 1, 0). 48 is highly abundant with an aliquot sum 158% higher than itself.

48 is the smallest number with exactly ten divisors.

There are 11 solutions to the equation φ(x) = 48, namely 65, 104, 105, 112, 130, 140, 144, 156, 168, 180 and 210. This is more than any integer below 48, making 48 a highly totient number.

Since the greatest prime factor of 482 + 1 = 2305 is 461, which is clearly more than 48 twice, 48 is a Størmer number.

48 is in base 10 a Harshad number. It has 24, 2, 12,and 4 as factors.

48 is the atomic number of cadmium.

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Log Book

By lex, on November 2nd, 2008

I have been forced away from the laptop to the study by SWMBO v3.0, and while awaiting the creaking and wheezing of the ancient G4 Mac as it updated itself to the very latest standards of system software, my restless eyes fell on my military flight log books, sitting there on a shelf, dusty and seemingly uncared for.

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By lex, on October 23rd, 2008

A lovely hour or two after work, and six others showed up. Kevin and Dave we knew in meatspace, but others were new to our physical acquaintance. Guinness was to be had quantities suitable to our status as a motorcycle commuter, which is to say one to the hour, the hours numbering two. One after another wandered over to the ancient mariner with graying hair, asking generally to those assembled whether there was anyone among us y-clept “Lex.”

Yes. Yes there was.

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Ups and Downs

By lex, on October 18th, 2008

Three flights today, and the weather was nearly perfect. The great blue bowl of sky permitting one or two low clouds to linger in solitude on the margins, just to make us grateful for the rest of it. Like the dark blot on a canvas that serves only to emphasize how very white the thing itself is. Because otherwise we might forget to notice.

The first flight was a father/stepson team bracketed by a generation on either side. Grandma as game as a lady of her years could possibly be, wives of the aforementioned gentlemen and two striking young ladies. The whole gaggle laughed and grinned through the briefing, so clearly in love with each other and entranced by the moment that you felt grateful to be a momentary part of it. Because love and joy are also beautiful things, even if sometimes they seem to stand out in relief to all the rest of what the world holds for us. Like that dark spot on the canvas, or the scudding clouds on the coast, only in reverse.

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