Posted on May 23, 2006
Begging your forgiveness but it’s been a beastly long day, so it has, with a trip out to the Boeing (and I had to look that word up, it not seeming quite right setting there on the screen, dripping with with interior vowels, all regardless) Company, for to see the production line of the wing section and aft fuselage of the F/A-22 “strike” fighter for the USAF, and the the 787 for the rest of yez. Was a little surprised to find that only one wing test article was to be made for destruction of the 787, lovely machine though it might well be.
And why was I surprised, gentle reader? On account of the fact that wings can be destroyed by fatigue on the one hand, and overload on t’other. Fatigue being the thing that happens when you worry at a coat hanger until it breaks in half, and overload being what happens when Mongo pulls hanger brusquely apart.
Hard to understand how they’ll test just the one wing, though. Because a wing that’s tested to failure by overload has skipped a bunch of fatigue steps along the ways, while a wing that has been fatigued to failure might go ahead and skip by the overload test, that being moot. These being separate tests, like. Was assured that all would be well, children. Walk into the light.
Have to hand it to the locals, thought. Found myself earlier today at North Marginal Way East, South. Or maybe it was East South Marginal Way North. Or some other equally implausible, placidly offered street sign. As though anyone could, at any point, deem it acceptable to have three points of the compass boxed on one, uni-directional street.
Also! Was treated by a brief by the P-8 program somebody or t’other, a retired Navy captain – and you know how they can be – who earnestly strove to inform us that it was the Best. Thing. Ever. It could do this against submarines, and that against surface ships, and a third thing entirely when it came to focused ISR – all you need to know about ISR, gentle reader, is that it is a good thing, especially when focused, and helps to kill the nation’s enemies. It could also tank and receive fuel, he admitted: Cheerfully!
Could it not also pass gas, asked your correspondent? Sadly aware that the tactical Navy has mortgaged its strategic refueling capabilities upon the altar of USAF kindness.
It could not. Tanking apparently being thought too low a thing for P-3 folks and their progeny to do, by those who grew up flying P-3’s, and cashing per diemchecks. Tanking? they might cry. Very like scullery work. Call the Air Force, etc. Give ‘em a heads up. They’ll sort you out.
Except, ah, em – The Air Force, while it may be many things, is not structurally built to ensure the continued relevance of naval aviation, is it precious? Got their ownfish to fry, haven’t they? Jointness or no.
Need gas to get to the fight? Take a ticket, Navy. We’ll get back to you.
And all of this before you even concede how hard it is for a USAF program manager to allocate real money into the tanker program, fighters being so very much more teh sex. But which, let’s face it: Sans tankers, we’re all out of the fight; Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force together.
Anyways, after that was the Fluke Corp, which makes damn fine digital multi-meters for all of your essential multi-meter applications. In a lovely, trade wear combination of yellow holsters and grey faces. Of which they were inordinately proud.
Me? I do not often use a multi-meter.
Afterward? Etta’s on a recommendation, kindly delivered, sincerely appreciated, but to the tune of no few duckets, the Copper River Salmon being both lovely in degustation, and expensive in delivery. Anyone who feels like helping me to buy supper (and keeping me out of dutch with the boss) is welcome to throw a fin or so at the tip-jar. I’d do it for you, if you’d maybe have written fifty-odd chapters of a naval aviation story.
I ordinarily wouldn’t bleg, but it’s two nights in a row now I’ve been buying, and Questions Will Be Asked at some point.
After! Cocktails at Kell’s, which lives up to it’s reputation (which is that it’s Irish, and a pub – you should have such a reputation). And afterwards nightcap at Joey’s. Which explains the strange, disconnected, uneven quality of all of this.
So, off with yez. It’s the M-word-soft corporation tomorrow, and I’ll need all my wits about me. Followed by the Red Hook brewery, which, I suspect, will require slightly less magnificence. So, karma, taken as a whole.