Stray Trons


By lex, on March 21st, 2009

Your correspondent considers that whole taildragger endorsement to be unfinished bidness. I don’t like starting things and not finishing, even if – like the master’s thesis from hell – it takes a hideously extended time.

But sitting there on the runway with the spinner stopped in a 65-HP Champ that really wasn’t up to the task of moving the combined bulk of two grandsons of Ireland – one very tall, the other compensating for a relative disadvantage in height by a certain, shall we say, avoirdupois – was off-putting. Perhaps I shoved the throttle up more rapidly than the carburetor could handle on the go. Perhaps. But the same thing might have happened given a bail out from a bad approach or landing, or a runway incursion, or a tower-directed go around, or any number of easily imagined incidents calling for full power rather than its opposite. Any one of which could have injured more than our pride, like.

Tailspin Tom has dredged up a relic from the past that details a love/hate relationship with the Champ that almost – but has not quite – convinced me to get back in the fray.

I’m still thinking “Citabria.”

By the way, that thesis? The department chair wrote to say that it was the “best written thesis” he had ever read. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

I knew that this whole blogging gig had a pay-off.

Speaking of which, a hat tip to Sonar Senior for his generous donation to the “keeping the Irish down” fund.

In Britain, parents who had fought to preserve the life of a baby boy born with significant medical issues have lost their fight with the government to preserve the child’s life. The boy died yesterday at 1008 after doctors pulled the plug on his breathing support.

Makes perfect economic sense, really. Hard to justify using taxpayer dollars when the child would have remained a drain on society as long as he breathed.

Still, if you don’t find a little chilling the concept of your own government deciding for you whether or not your economic contribution to society is a net positive or negative, you are not easily chilled.

Got summoned to Montgomery on Thursday afternoon for to tear the skies assunder in a 150-HP Varga 2150. With a young man from Dallas in the trunk, and his father occupying the adjacent machine, similarly situated behind Bronco, the tricksy beast. He has a way of going high at the first turn that runs deeply counter-intuitive to all that your host had learned pushing fast metal around in two-circle fights above corner airspeed in full grunt. It oughtn’t to work, but somehow it does. Summat to do with a mere 500 feet of altitude to work with between our starting altitude and the hard deck, an aircraft that one cannot in all decency describe as “over-powered” and a forty knot band between best turn airspeed and accelerated stall.

We have learned painfully that it will not do, old shoe, to leave him too high above us at the second merge. One must do what what can to clamber up and meet him, hanging on the prop, forcing a vertical overshoot and then using radial g to bend the machine around to our advantage. All of which takes time and patience, and requires a very good deal of out-of-plane maneuvering.

In consequence of which the first two fights took practically forever, but ended up with the young man situated behind me in a position of decided advantage over his dear ol’ da.

On the third hack I had some vague notions of easing the power back a bit, for to let the geezer get his licks in when your man in the back mentioned apologetically that he was feeling a little off and wouldn’t it be splendid if he took the machine for a little straight and level time?

It would. On account of all the dreary spewing up that the alternative would inevitably invoke.

So, we called a knock it off and lazily went in search of the ever-retreating horizon for a time. When we both felt better and turned back south, it was only to learn that his pops had waited a beat too long to inform Bronco of a growing apperception that his own innards had become disarranged. “Join on us,” was the guidance issued, and so we did, only to find Bronco’s guest in steady, intimate discourse with the little white bag.

So it was 2 to 0 in the young man’s favor before a second serving of lunch was tasted.

Which I thought was rubbing it in.

Had an interesting discussion yesterday with some engineers about the information assurance benefits of cyphertext routing vs. the simplicity a plaintext core, various encryption gear at varying locations (the Internet being full of Chinese), dynamic addressing at the third layer of the OSI stack and the onerous packet burden of encryption on communications paths of lesser volume. And, you know, the old comsec vs. transec thing. The frightening thing being that I understood pretty much all of it.

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are –

A geek.

Keep this up, and I’ll be earning my pay.

Have a great weekend!

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying

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