By Land, By Air

Monday, May 16, 2005

I take it back. its only fair....

So, Dave is NOT crazy.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Comedian Dave Chappelle wants to set things straight: "I'm not crazy, I'm not smoking crack," he tells Time magazine in an interview more than a week after his hit Comedy Central show was suspended and the rumors started to fly.

My bad.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Chapter 240's Increasingly Famous Pancake Breakfast

EAA Chapter 240 at New Garden Aviation will host a pancake breakfast tomorrow at the hanger on the hill. These events go from 8a.m to noon, and draw folks by air and by car from all over. Lots of people from other local EAA chapters fly in to get some breakfast and support a fellow chapter. Even more come by car to check out the airplanes, meet some local pilots, or just to enjoy the morning and the food. Aircraft of many types fly-in to these events and can be viewed on the flight-line. Breakfast consists of pancakes, eggs, sausage, coffee/tea, OJ....all for $5, and its always great food. If you are in the neghborhood, (Kennet/Toughkenemon area) stop in and say hi. Ill be there all day with my family and friends. Weather looks good...Pictures to follow....

Also catch pancake breakfasts on these dates:

Saturday May 14th
Sunday June 12th
Saturday July 23rd
Saturday September 10th
June 12th also being the day of the always great New Garden Air Show.
Directions to N57 here.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Im Crazy, Biatch!

NEW YORK - Comedy Central star Dave Chappelle has checked himself into a mental health facility in South Africa, the magazine Entertainment Weekly reported on Wednesday.

Get well soon, Biatch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A pilot and a student pilot were taken into custody Wednesday after their plane flew within three miles of the White House around noon, prompting evacuations there, at the Capitol and at the Supreme Court, officials said.

I wont go into much detail...story is linked above, and its all OVER the TV.

Blundering into restricted airspace is avoidable.

I wont pass judgement on these folks yet. Circumstances arent out. But id be willing to bet they either didnt know where they were, or they didnt plan this flight properly. No comunication was established, so they werent on the right radio frequency. That in itself shows a severe lack of the required steps to take to fly even near this area. let alone in it. Ill tell you this with all certainty. Starting a day like today by launching into beautiful blue skys and light winds is among the best feelings I know. However, being flanked by armed F-16's and a UH-60 Blackhawk, and then being cuffed on the runway, and temporarily bringing the United States government to an evacuation induced halt would bring an end to all that fun real, real quick.

These guys took off from Smoketown. I have been there on several occasions myself, as pilots from my airfield, about 50 miles away, find cheaper aviation fuel there than they can at N57.
The aircraft apparently belongs to a flying club there. It remains to be seen when the will get their airplane back, but I did see it being checked by bomb dogs on it should be cleared soon.

When you are heading out on a trip from point A to point B, you would usually file a flight plan, or you would request a "standard breifing". Both can be done via telephone. With the flight plan, you would advise a flight service rep of your departure point, estimated time en route, expected route, and destination. When you reach the other end and land safely, you would then close your flight plan. If you dont close the plan, and you forget, a flag will go up that you never closed your plan, and the search for you and your plane will begin by land, air and telephone.

A standard breifing consists of advising the flight service rep of your departure point, and destination point, among other info such as aircraft type, expected speed, altitude, etc...

In both of these cases, the flight service rep will then read back all pertanant information to your flight, including weather in the area, cloud cover, visibility, information regarding the airport you are heading to, such as runway closures or repairs, or navigation equipment under repair or broken......and NOTAM's, (or Notice to airmen). These include restricted airspace. Heading South from PA, they would always tell you about DC's airspace, and the ADIZ. (air defense identification zone). Inside of this area, all aircraft will be required to be operating on a flight plan, transmitting a discrete transponder code, and be in communication with air traffic control.

Ive posted an aviation map image of DC's restriced airspace and the ADIZ below. As you can see, if you have a map or a GPS, and you should have at least a map, its glaringly obvious where you dont want to be.

Why do I bore you with all this info? Just to prove a point. Todays incident is completely avoidable, and there are few instances I can think of that could excuse it. I do feel for this pilot, however,...because they may just clip his wings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rubbin' is Racin'.

Being a follower of the NASCAR championship series for the past 10 years or so, Ive seen alot of good races, and alot of good wrecks. None, however, were sweeter than this.

My favorite race car driver has always been Rusty Wallace. When I started watching racing, it seemed like Wallace and Dale Earnhardt were racing each other for the win every week. Back then I just thought Rusty had the cooler car, and thus, I cheered for him. here we are 10 years later, and he remains the guy id like to see win on Sunday. So, I was thrilled when I saw this.

Rusty is retiring from racing at the end of the year, so Tony Danza....everyones favorite TV nanny, and Italian stereo-type poster boy, had Wallace on his show and decided it would be cute to race the Winston Cup champion in Go-karts....

NEW YORK - Tony Danza got quite a scare when he and NASCAR star Rusty Wallace were racing go-karts during the taping of a segment for the nationally syndicated "The Tony Danza Show."
Danza was leading as they entered the final lap on West 66th Street Monday morning, the show said. After Wallace gave Danza's vehicle a little "bump and run," the 54-year-old talk-show host lost control of his go-kart, which flipped over. Wallace, who rushed to Danza's side after the crash, said, "I thought I killed ya," to which Danza responded, "Yeah ... just before you retire, `I killed Tony Danza.'"

Good ol' Rusty. Still knows how to use that front bumper on all those deserving, after all these years.

Video is now available of the flippin' Danza HERE. Joy!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Stuff Submarine.....

A 147 page report released by the Navy & US Pacific Fleet on Saturday stated "If San Francisco's leaders and watch teams had complied with requisite procedures and exercised prudent navigation practices, the grounding would most likely have been avoided,"

The accidental grounding of this Los Angeles class attack sub occurred about 360 miles southeast of Guam this past January. An undersea mountain had not been factored into the ships course, and the nuclear submarine hit it at a depth of 525 feet. The resulting damage is below...taken soon after SSN 711 limped back to Guam. 1 man was killed, 29 injured.

The damage to the San Francisco was estimated at $88 million, and the submarine remains in dry dock in Apra Harbor under repair. The submarine commander has been reassigned, Navy speak for "career ends here", and reprimanded. Six crew members were disciplined.
Twenty-four-year-old Machinist Mate 2nd Class Joseph Ashley, of Ohio, suffered fatal head injuries in the crash.
Ashley's father says the commander apologized to the family, who say they have forgiven him.

Truth is, despite this young sailors death, things could have been alot worse. The ship was able to make it to the surface, and make it home. That isnt always the case, and the addition to the nuclear reactors aboard these subs, a collision can be the begining of a much greater disaster. I have almost finsished 'Blind Mans Bluff', a collection declassified tales of cold war submarine covert operations. From collisions with Russian submarines, which occured on more occasions than either nation would like to admit, to probable on-board torpedo malfunctions that killed the entire crew of the USS Scorpion, submarine history, like all military history has its nightmare stories. I highly recommend the book. You can get it here.

On a lighter note,

A PC game taking up alot of my time recently, involving, you guessed it, submarines...

Enigma: Rising Tide FUN!!!

A screenshot from the game......

In the coming months, I hope to visit the USS TORSK (SS-423) in Baltimore Harbor, USS LING (SS 297) at the New Jersey Naval Museum, Hackensack, New Jersey, and the USS BECUNA (SS 319), at the Independence Seaport, Philadelphia, PA. Ill be sure to post pictures....

Fritz and the chopper.

Fritz from Southern DE blog, Sneaking Suspicions was lucky enough to get a chopper ride on a beautiful clear day over slower lower. He included some great pictures he took here. Looks like a blast.

His site is a great read at all times. Ive also included his May 4th blog entry below. A situation I wasnt aware of. Thanks, Fritz, for bringing it to my attention....

Flying Good Samaritans
My recent experience with helicopter pilots also included an introduction to a volunteer service that deserves wide support.
Angel Flight America is a charitable organization of pilots and their aircraft. They provide free flight services to folks who need help being transported long distances for surgery, or for other critical medical needs, including transporting organs intended for transplants.
The group is now seeking legislative help to amend the Federal Good Samaritan laws.
The latest version of the Volunteer Pilot Organization Protection Act was introduced in Congress on April 27. Here’s how one sponsor, Congresswoman
Thelma Drake (R-VA), describes the bill:
The legislation would amend the Good Samaritan Act to provide necessary liability protections in the area of charitable medical air transportation. It would also protect volunteer pilot organizations, their boards and small paid staff and non-flying volunteers from liability should there be an accident. It requires the pilot be fully insured and does not protect the pilot if they are negligent. Instead, it addresses frivolous lawsuits.
A friend of mine, Neil Kaye, MD, is a helicopter pilot/owner and an active member of Angel Flight. In a recent email he gave a very practical reason for the legislation:
Currently, as pilots, we are facing insurance premium increases of up to 25,000/year if we don't get this protection. Many pilots will be unable to afford that coverage and will then not be able to provide this volunteer service. We need to protect good Samaritan volunteers.
I join Neil and his fellow volunteer pilots in asking you to contact your Congressional representatives to ask for their votes in favor of this legislation. In addition, if you’re a blogger reading this, please pass the word to your own audience.
Thanks very much!

Friday, May 06, 2005

What NOT to do...

ALBRIGHTSVILLE, Pa. - A group of campers said a bear dragged a woman into the woods, clawed her and bit her, then covered her with brush and left. Feeney was camping on the eastern edge of Hickory Run State Park with Brian Scollon, 19, and Robert Brennan, 21. They bought some food, stored it in a tent, and went fishing. Feeney returned to the camp, found the bear in the tent and ran back to the others with the bear chasing her. The three then fled. Park officials said it was the first attack by a bear in Hickory Run's history.
With all due sympathy to the folks who had this scary experience....(all are OK....)
Going camping alot, if theres one thing I know its what to do if you come across a black bear. Ive come face to facewith bear 3 times in Virginia and never had a problem. These folks are an example of what NOT to do.
-Food in tent.
You never keep food in the tent. I would think that would be obvious. The bear is following the scent of food. And when you wake up with him poking his head into the tent, it wont be pleasant. Food should always be stowed away and hung in a tree about 60-100 yards from the campsite. You find a nice strong branch on a tree, one which will hold the weight, and toss a rope over, a good distance from the trunk (ever seen a bear climb a tree? phew!) and hoist it up out of reach of a bear standing on his back legs. (you can also "bear proof" food.)
Truth is, you shouldnt even cook within 100 yards of the campsite, and you should change out of the clothes you were wearing when you made the food before you go to sleep. Someday when im camping among the grizzly bears, ill heed this advice...but I admit to breaking those two rules many times....
-Running away.
Bad idea. As wonderful as Bears are, they are not too bright. You run, they run. They have poor eye sight. If you stand still, they might not even see you. If they do see you, you need to make yourself BIG by raising your hands up in the air, and start making some serious noise. Thats always done the trick for me. Avoid eye contact, and never run. Its a last resort. And never drop your pack if you have one on. If you were to be attacked, you could roll onto your stomach, and the pack will add some much needed protection at that point...
Im glad these folks are okay...but its possible that just a little bit of knowledge of how to handle a bear, in bear country no less, could have saved them the trouble. The one thing Miss Feeney did right? Once the bear had her, she didnt move. Playing dead is said to cause the bear to lose interest. Thankfully, I havent had to test that theory myself. Bear are as afraid of you as you are of them....usually they only attack for one of three reasons...they want food, they are defending cubs, or you ran. Its pretty easy to narrow the odds.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Missing F-18's

F/A-18 Hornet

(CNN) -- A search is under way for the pilots of two Marine Corps F/A-18 jets that were lost Monday while flying in support of the war in Iraq, Navy officials said.

Navy officials said they believe the jets collided with each other in bad weather during a routine mission.

The crew of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson lost contact with the planes about 10:10 p.m. (2:10 p.m. ET), a U.S. military statement said.

"There was no indication of hostile fire in the area at the time contact was lost," the military statement said.

Bad news. Its so rare that these guys, especially those picked to fly the U.S' finest multi-role fighter, have accidents. My initial hunch was a mid air collison due to lack of enemy fire, and bad weather...looks like the Navy and the Marines will be ready to confirm that soon...

You can bet that not only are they looking for the downed crew, they are also looking to find whats left of the 35 million dollar aircraft, and recover or destroy it. We dont let that stuff lie on the bottom of the ocean or on land for anyone to comprise the technology onboard...

The USS Carl Vinson: Nuclear-powered Nimitz-Class carrier, the largest warships in the world.

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