Monthly Archives: October 2017

Ejection seats I have known

By lex, on July 25th, 2004

I’ve never had to eject from an airplane (If fingers could stutter, mine just did. I hesitated mightily on that sentence – the superstitious impulse to knock wood right now is hard to overcome – even though I’m probably out of the ejection seat aircraft business forever).

But I’ve spent a fair amount of time sitting on top of a real e-ticket ride, forty pounds of pull away. The ejection seat is sometimes called “the final flight control” – when everything else fails, you’ve still got that.


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The Things You See

By lex, on November 22nd, 2011

Son Number One is back in Sandy Eggo, for to share the upcoming Thanksgiving festivities – my favorite holiday – with his clan. He went hence from Chez Lex to the local Flight Standards District Office, having completed his military competency test, to receive his civil ratings: Commercial & Instrument; Single Engine Land/Rotary Wing. Which is one more rating than I’ll ever get. Old dogs and new tricks, and those things go down. They go down. It’s the complexity in it.

A flight school classmate from Whiting Field joined him there at Montgomery Field. The FSDO at Pensacola apparently charges $90 for providing naval aviators their civilian ratings, which is odd for a government servant on full-time salary, whose paid work it is to service the certification requirements of airmen. I get that an FAA-certified examiner, who is not a government employee, charges for his time. I do not grok a civil servant playing the fiddle on the backs of recently winged naval aviators.

But anyway.

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Running Out of Bugs

By lex, on November 23rd, 2011

The WaPo reports that the war on al Qaeda is essentially down to two targets:

The leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network, once expansive enough to supervise the plot for Sept. 11, 2001, have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.

Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining “high-value” targets of the CIA’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, although lower-level fighters and other insurgent groups remain a focus of Predator surveillance and strikes.

Al-Qaeda’s contraction comes amid indications that the group has considered relocating in recent years but that it ruled out other destinations as either unreachable or offering no greater security than their missile-pocked territory in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.

Should make it easier to concentrate resources and finish the job.

When you’ve got your boot in your enemy’s neck, the important thing is to keep pushing.


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CNET’s Latest Challenge

By lex, on November 15th, 2011

The Chief of Naval Education and Training has a new challenge aboard the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier – toilet training:

It may seem like a trivial inconvenience in the scheme of things, but it’s become routine enough that some sailors aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush say it’s affecting their morale, their health and their job performance: Since the ship left for its maiden combat deployment in May, its toilet system has suffered outages so frequently that crew members sometimes can’t find a single working commode.

Over the weekend, the mother of one Bush sailor became so upset by her son’s repeated reports of widespread toilet outages that she blasted a news release about it to reporters across the country.

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Golf Outing

By lex, on November 14th, 2011

Few things are as uninteresting to the non-golfer – or to the avid golfer, for that matter – than the details of someone else’s day on the links. I will spare you, therefore, the story of my thunderous drives, precision wedges and deft putting strokes, the ones that took me to the relatively pedestrian score of 84 (with two penalty strokes on 17 for an out-of-b0unds tee shot that veered wildly left and I’m practically certain that a flaw in the wind took it).

Not even going to mention it.

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Close Out

By lex, on November 12th, 2011

Something of a hectic day, yesterday. I’d filed my flight plan from Scott AFB to Newport News by 0630, and noted with a jaundiced eye that while the low clouds and rain had subsided, the frontal passage had left my destination whipped by strong winds, from 310 at 18 knots gusting to 28. The “long” runway at KPHF is 8000 feet long, which is the shortest runway I’ve landed the Kfir on so far. Throw in a crosswind component at precisely the operating limit with external stores, and it promised to be sporty.

It was, in the event.

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By lex, on November 14th, 2011

With Veteran’s Day in the rear-view mirror, and Thanksgiving coming up on us rapidly, my thoughts turned late last night to how history will deal with the current zeitgeist in American politics.

In Kabul, in Bagram, and outside Baghdad, among other places, a generation of 20-somethings many ten thousands strong live in vile conditions, having pledged to defend their country.

In Zuccotti Park, NY, in Oakland, LA and DC, among other places, a generation of 20-somethings a few hundred strong live in vile conditions, having pledged to upend their country.

Today’s media – who write the first draft of history – are spending a great deal more time covering the latter than the former. Which makes a kind of sense, I suppose: The media, like the Occupy Wall Street set, are largely white, college educated and left-leaning. The Occupy Afghanistan set, by contrast, is diverse, well-trained but not credentialed, and have no particular politics that you can pin on them.

The country we will be, fifty years hence, will largely be defined by how history’s second draft is written.

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