Category Archives: Uncategorized

Airplane v Car

By lex, on August 30th, 2011

Airplane FTW:

Three people were injured when a small plane crashed into the back of their car near Napa County Airport Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Beechcraft A36 Bonanza lost engine power and crash landed on state Highway 29 near Airport Boulevard where it rear-ended a 2007 Infiniti around 12:35 p.m., CHP and Federal Aviation Administration officials said.

The driver of the Infiniti and the two passengers suffered minor injuries and were taken to Queen of the Valley Medical Center for treatment, CHP Officer John Short said. The two people in the white four-seater plane were uninjured, FAA Operations Officer Bruce Nelson said.

Beech: Built tough.

The pilot, who flew from Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe, was planning to land at Napa County Airport before the power breakdown, Nelson said.

He said that engine power failures could be attributed to a number of factors, including something as simple as not having enough fuel in the tank.

Yup. That would definitely do it.

FWIW, a highway makes an excellent off-airport landing site, so long as that airport is nowhere in Sandy Eggo county. Just about all of the airplanes I fly locally have engine out glide speeds that are slower than the traffic below. Rather that worrying about hitting someone on an engine out approach, I’m more concerned about being rear-ended.

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Test Pilot

By lex, on August 24th, 2011

What do you call a pilot who loads his aircraft outside its weight and balance limit? One answer is “test pilot”.

Another is “convict“:

The investigation began in September 2005, after a Bombardier Challenger CL-600-1A11 jet that was carrying too much fuel failed to take off at Teterboro, skidded through an airport fence, and ran into a warehouse, injuring 11 people in the airplane and 3 on the ground. The captain on that flight is among those facing charges. The court found that Vieira and his co-conspirators falsified flight logs by indicating that certain flights were private flights instead of charter flights, to conceal Part 135 violations such as pilot qualifications and rest requirements. On more than two dozen occasions, Vieira altered the weight and balance graphs for the jet that crashed at Teterboro by changing the weight and center of gravity printed on those graphs. Vieira and his co-conspirators altered the graphs so pilots could top off the fuel tanks with discounted fuel in order to save money, although it would exceed the maximum forward COG limits.

It’s hard to make any money in the charter industry. Harder still to make it from prison.

In other news, we are whole and safe after yesterday’s temblor, whose epicenter was half way between Richmond and Charlottesville, the shakings of which apparently were felt as far north as Manhattan and down into South Carolina. Hardly seemed possible that I could have flown from California to Virginia to experience an earthquake, but there it is.

Hurricane coming this weekend, so I’m back to Sandy Eggo on Thursday evening, a few days early. If a plague of locusts come, it’s time to move to physical gold, and up the ammo stocks.


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The Basis Of Morality

In light of the evil we recently witnessed, undoubtedly in the coming days and weeks the newsroom “pundits” will attempt to explain the actions of  Stephen Paddock. Personally as I have become older I have come to believe that there are people that are possessed by evil – evil not being some abstract thing, but real.

Undoubtedly that is not a belief shared by all. In my opinion, attempting to explain every basis for human depravity is futile, but there are those who think every human action can be quantitatively rationalized.

The thought popped into my head today that Lex wrote an essay on the basis of morality. He couldn’t answer it, but he did give us a basis for thought.

It’s worth a read and some thought. And if any of you would like to discuss it in a way Lex would have liked, as he asked then we can discuss it now.


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Manufacturer’s Recommendation

By lex, on August 4th, 2011

The idea of the Lancair IV-P is very attractive to the go-fast set: It’s (relatively) inexpensive to build and operate for a pressurized, high performance piston single. With the Continental TSIO-550B under the cowl grunting out 350HP, the plane will carry four real people over a thousand miles in around four and a half hours, averaging 325 MPH at 24,000 feet and 22 gallons per hour.

You can just about see the pride of ownership in this model.

The builder had the foresight to place two batteries on the ignition system for redundancy. Sadly, he wired both to a common bus bar before branching the current into discrete 5 amp automotive fuses. It worked for a while:

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Square Grouper

By lex, on August 1st, 2011

I sort of miss Key West. It was great flying, great airspace, multiple aircraft types in the stable and all air combat, all the time. The squadron personnel were top notch, the fishing, diving and bugging (lobster fishing) were fantastic. Cerulean seas, and so on.

The locals were generally friendly, but some were a little… quirky.

The 45th Fleet Adversary squadron is gone, but some things don’t change: *

A 54-year-old Merritt Island man in town to fish with his brother died in a Miami hospital Thursday after ingesting a “square” grouper, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

Thomas Swindal and his brother, Kenneth, were trolling in 200 feet of water off Fiesta Key at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday when they found a floating package believed to contain a kilogram of cocaine, sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Becky Herrin said.

Square grouper is a popular Florida Keys’ nickname for packaged drugs found floating.

The brothers put the package in a bait well and kept fishing, but Kenneth Swindal told deputies he later saw his brother open it and snort whatever was inside, Herrin said.

About an hour and a half later, Thomas Swindal reportedly began to act strangely, running around the boat, throwing things into the water, including their means of communication, a cellphone and VHF radio. He reportedly picked up knives, a pair of pliers and a gaff, and removed the engine cover, which fell overboard and sank, the release states. He then gaffed the engine and damaged it, leaving the boat adrift, Herrin said.

His brother then threw all the sharp objects overboard, along with the package, which authorities did not recover, Herrin said.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission rendered assistance, but the man could not be saved. The FWC’s Officer Bobby Dube – such a name – went out on a limb and said, “We felt (the fisherman’s death) was drug-related. He was acting crazy and going berserk when officers arrived. He was tearing up stuff.“

I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet.

** Original Link Gone; had to be changed – Ed 

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Pillow Talk

By lex, on July 29th, 2011

I was getting some cash at the ATM in Liberty Station here in San Diego earlier in the week. Noted six young men in non-military clothing, t-shirts and baggy shorts. Sailors, I thought – it’s a Navy town. Short haircuts, but not buzzed. Obviously superb athletes, with limbs and legs formed for functional tasks rather than show. SEALs, I thought to myself. From NAVBASE Coronado. No mistaking them. One or two together is maybe a pair of workout fanatics. Six is part of a team.

That might be changing soon:

The top commander of U.S. special operations says he thinks it’s time for women to go into combat as Navy SEALS.

A Navy SEAL himself, Admiral Eric T. Olson said at the opening session of the 2011 Aspen Security Forum that he would like to see female SEALs in combat roles.

“As soon as policy permits it, we’ll be ready to go down that road,” said Olson.

He added that being a SEAL is not just about physical strength. “I don’t think the idea is to select G.I. Jane and put her through SEAL training, but there are a number of things that a man and a woman can do together that two guys can’t,” said Olson. “I don’t think it’s as important that they can do a lot of push-ups. I think it’s much more important what they’re made of and whether or not they have the courage and the intellectual agility to do that.”

If you don’t do SEAL training, you’re not a SEAL.

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How To Be An Effective Leader


Photo by James K. McCann

Most of us can say that when we have come across great leaders we can’t readily  identify the “why” but the “what”. In the military the thought occurred to me that all of this is compressed – the good ones and the bad ones are more readily apparent and in a shorter time.

And in this post, Marine Commandant Joe Dunford talking to some US Naval Academy Midshipmen identifies it succinctly:

“With regard to leadership, with the midshipmen over here, you know, it’s clearly something that you can’t wrap up in 30 seconds. But I guess what I would say to you is as you make the transition – and I think a number of you are making it this year – I think you probably have been told many times, and I’ll just remind you – it’s no longer about you.” 

H/T to David Foster of

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