Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
For those not familiar, the movie "The Final Countdown" was a story about the aircraft carrier Nimitz time traveling back to December 7th, 1941 and then having the opportunity with it's carrier air wing to prevent the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor from happening. The attraction to many an airplane nut was the fantastic footage of F-14's attacking "Zeros". Especially the scene where they received permission to "splash" the Zeros..."I say again splash the Zeros". Just writing about it makes me recall how cool watching that was.
Anyway urban legend has it that a lot of the stuff done for Hollywood was a bit beyond what the Navy would consider "safe", and many of the participants to include the squadron commander were rumored to have been punished. I wondered if there was anything to be found on the internets about this and began a search.
What I found was much more rewarding and a trip down a different memory lane. People ask all the time how I decided I wanted to fly military aircraft. If I always wanted to be a pilot.
As a child I lived about four blocks from the Heart of Texas Coliseum, home of the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo. Every first week of October the fair rolled into town and with it back then came the military static displays. All manner of tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery and coolest of all helicopters...especially that AH-1 Cobra. Add to that the fact that Waco had an Air Force base that just closed down (James Connally AFB) and there were the husks of several old USAF fighters sitting on the fairground that I would see every day going to school. I still remember the looming silver bodies of the F-86D, F-89 Scorpion and the T-33 T-Bird that stood guard just up the street from my house. Finally, the fact that we lived on the final approach to one of the runways at the Waco airport meant I got an almost daily dose of aviation.
I remember every OCT riding my bike as fast as I could make it go trying to get up the street to see the "birds" before they landed. I would get there and be transfixed by the site of a helicopter landing in a field...snapping pictures with my Kodak Instamatic camera, so I could then draw them later.
It was odd that I ended up being an aviator given that neither of my parents would even get into an airplane much less fly anywhere in their lives. I remember asking my mother if she would even let me fly her...her not answering was my answer.
Given all that, I can understand and appreciate even more this essay by Bill Whittle over at Eject! Eject! Eject!
Here is a portion...you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing.
Sometimes, even when you are very young, something happens in your life that is so profound, so astonishing and so big that you just know everything has changed and you will never be who you were again. I had one such experience at age 5, and I was to have another eleven years later.
I grew up in Bermuda. My father was a hotel manager, so I grew up in the most perfect corner of Bermuda. I would go to Warwick Academy and sing God Save the Queen in my blazer and school tie. Usually we'd take the bus home, but when mom picked us up, we'd wriggle into bathing suits in the back seat and go snorkeling for a few hours. This was pretty much every day. And, like just about everyone else at that age, at that time, I had decided that my future would consist of being a railroad engineer, or a fireman, or a cowboy ' that would be a Daniel Boone, coonskin cap, Winchester rifle and buckskin kind of cowboy, not the garden-variety pretty-boy kind with the chaps and the showy chrome six-shooters. I considered them a little too precious for real work, even at that age.
I didn't know it then, but I would have traded all of that for a father with a nine-to-five job selling insurance, because the price of such a life was a dad who lived his job. Most dads lived their jobs in those days. It's just that mine had a full day of work to do, and then a full night of entertaining as well.
So I was just happy to be spending time with my dad as we sat in the bleachers at Kindley Air Force Base, down at the other end of the island. A two hour wait in the sun is interminable at that age, but finally, six men in blue jumpsuits appeared, and walked down the flight line like robots. People applauded politely. I did too. Didn't seem worth a two-hour wait, though'
They climbed into their silver jets with the red, white and blue stripes and the numbers on the tails. I found out later that they were F-100 Super Sabers ' really glorious airplanes, sleek and muscular. Down came the canopies in unison. Then they started the engines.
They taxied to the end of the runway, took off in a roar, and disappeared out over the turquoise and green reefs. Spectacular! Great show! Not sure it was worth two hours, and that one guy down there won't stop talking'
Launched on May 25th, 1953'powerful symbol of the American Indian'never missed a show due to maintenance problems, blah blah blah...
Hey, thought the five-year-old, the jets are gone, show's over, let's get out of the heat...
But behind my back were six of America's most powerful fighter aircraft and the best pilots on the planet, not a hundred feet above the water and racing toward the rear of our bleachers at nearly seven hundred miles an hour ' just under the speed of sound. And I mean just under.
So when I looked down at this man in the blue jumpsuit, I couldn't hear them coming, because they were only a few feet behind their own roar. And when he said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, the United States Air Force---' something caught my eye at what seemed like a few feet above my head. I saw a blur of silver and red, white and blue, and that's about all I had time for, because the man shouted into his microphone the word '---THUNDERBIRDS!" and that's when the sound hit.
And that was about all she wrote for little Billy. I was pretty much done after that...
Read the rest HERE
Labels: Memory Lane
How Would You Like To Have This One Hanging Up In Your Living Room?
To see this and other military art head on over to The Military Art Gallery.
Best Explanation of the Press Ever...
Via The Daily Gut
So yesterday during an ideas meeting, a staffer pitched a story about Sarah Palin, focusing on how little we know about her time in college. My blood pressure spiked, because naturally her history – or lack thereof – is far less murkier than Barack Obama's. But it didn't seem to matter, because no matter what you have against the man, it just doesn't stick.
Seriously, the man isn't a presidential candidate – he's a really hot chick.
You know what I mean, right?
You know how when a friend starts dating some girl – let's say a stripper with top of the line implants and a truly remarkable skill involving the projection of ping pong balls – he overlooks everything else. She could be spreading chlamydia like a Jehovah Witness unloading a case of Watchtowers, and it won't matter. Blinded by her beauty, he lets her get away with everything, until your buddy is left broken and broke – riddled with disease, sleeping in your garage and convinced a mob boyfriend wants him dead.
I'm not saying Barack is anywhere near that bad. I'm just saying that when it comes to the media, he possesses that impenetrable force field that every hot chick has – and no matter what you say or do to convince obsessed fans otherwise – it won't work. Face it: if you found out that your new girlfriend, who happened to be Megan Fox - worked with Acorn, hung around with Ayers, and used to do coke back in college – would you care?
Of course you wouldn't! It's Megan Fox!!!
Congratulations: you're now the New York Times.
Of course it's funny, he's paid the big bucks by Fox (the network not the woman...she probably has a restraining order on him) to be funny...I try to be for free and as an added bonus for you the taxpayer I sometimes defend this country, so you get what you pay for.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
You're Doing It Wrong...
What else do the socialists want to regulate, money spent on clothes during a campaign?
Is that all you've got? They spent $150K on her clothes? That's it? That's all you've got to say? Oh yeah and she hunts moose and she's stoopid...thanks for that erudite discussion on things.
In this post excerpted from Knowledge Is Power, Pantsuit maker to the stars, Susanna Chung Forest tells us, why buy your clothes when designers will give you their ugly crap for free?
Susanna Chung Forest, who designed Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits says it would be unusual for a candidate as famous as Sarah Palin to need to buy clothes. ...
“Why do you need to pay for it?” Forest told CBS News from her boutique Susanna Beverly Hills saying that most designers would offer to clothe a candidate for free. “It’s an honor, you are going to design for someone who could be the president of the United States,"…
Senator Clinton’s custom made pantsuits from Forest were worth about $6,350 a piece retail.
To see the difference money well spent and a few hours in the gym will make please go here.
H/T Neptunus Lex
To quote him..."I'll take door number two."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Someone Call The Zoo...
Spell Check Isn't Just For Computers Anymore
Girl Friday, 24 OCT 08
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I Can Name That Tune In One Note
Sorta Makes You Glad Disco Is Dead
Monday, October 20, 2008
I See Your Flying Sharks And I Raise You...
Word To The Wise...
Who the hell puts bears on horseback? It is awesome though!
Labels: Daily Motivation
Sunday, October 19, 2008
A Jet Going Really Fast
Fed up with schedule delays and soaring costs, the Defense Department late Thursday axed the Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter program that was to provide a replacement for the service’s ageing OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The Army’s contract with Bell-Textron was valued at more than $6 billion for some 500 new lightly armed scout aircraft. The Army’s Kiowa Warriors have seen heavy use in Iraq and are valued among aviators for their exceptional maneuverability at low altitudes.
In a press release, John Young, the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer said, “Rather than continue this program, I have decided that the best course of action is to provide the Army with an opportunity to define a coherent, disciplined Kiowa Warrior helicopter replacement program, and to obtain more rigorous contract terms for its development.”
The ARH was originally projected to cost $8.56 million per aircraft with delivery to begin next year. DoD now estimates the helicopter will cost $14.48 million per copy and the initial delivery date had slipped to 2013.
Shocking I say, shocking!
Has the Army ever handled the acqusition of a helicopter well?
Labels: Army Stuff
Awsomely Bad TV, Jack of All Trades
I know! It's called a paycheck. In my old neighborhood, this came on Sunday nights right after Cleopatra 2525...boy there's a double feature for ya'.
Labels: Old TV
DEAR ABBY: Our 17-year-old twin son and daughter met with military recruiters who came to their school and made the military sound exciting and glamorous. They are now saying that after they graduate next year, they want to join the military instead of going to college. They have even put up military posters in their rooms that they received from the recruiters.
My husband and I are horrified. We cannot stand the thought of them going off to war, and do not believe that war is the answer to the world's problems. It will be a year, and hopefully the novelty of the idea will wear off by then. However, I don't want to take a chance. How can I counter the idea? -- CLEVELAND MOM
I understand Cleveland Mom's concern with sending her kids off to war...that is an entirely natural response to having ones children possibly put into harms way. On the other hand Cleveland Mom, tell this crap about "war not being the answer" to the free people in Europe. Tell your kids to read a book, like the "Longest Day" or "We Were Soldiers...". There's a lot worse things in the world a kid could aspire to than being a soldier.
I suppose defending your nation is something best left to others or only worth doing when there is little to no risk involved. It seems her kids got some spunk from somewhere, maybe it was Dad's side of the family.
To see Abby's punk ass reply go HERE
H/T Blackfive...who really needs the traffic, so please go over there...it's much more interesting than this site.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Yes He Is...
Friday, October 17, 2008
Girl Friday, 17 OCT 08
Awsomely Bad TV
I don't know if anyone remembers this TV show but somehow it came up in conversation at work today...Cleopatra 2525
A group of people sat in a room and decided, yeah this is a good idea for a TV show...a
Labels: Old TV
Thursday, October 09, 2008|
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Flying Subs? Doesn't Anyone Remember Anything?!?
Via The Danger Room
This article from The Register
DARPA seeks Special Forces submersible aeroplane
Wet doesn't have to mean slow any more
By Lewis Page •
Posted in Government, 6th October 2008 14:58 GMT
Say what you like about the US military's technology planners, they don't flinch from a challenge. The latest ploy out of the American warboffinry machine is nothing less than an aircraft which can fly underwater.
The upcoming aerosubmarine plan was announced on Friday, under the rather uninspiring name "Submersible Aircraft". The idea, few regular readers will be surprised to hear, comes from DARPA* - the Pentagon wingnut-tech bureau, which is plainly looking to take the concept of flying below the radar literally to a whole new level...
Love the smart ass tone of the British author. Just for that, you limey prick we're going to make a flying sub and you won't be allowed to use it...so there.
That's What She Said...
Welcome to Dallas...
From the Fort Worth Star Telegram
Phillips grew testy following a line of questioning about how the Cowboys "stunk" the rest of the game after taking a 17-0 second-quarter lead.
Phillips walked away from the podium after the news conference and was overheard saying "you stink" in the direction of the columnist who had asked the question.
Phillips later said he was just reciting the words that were thrown at him and not aiming them at anybody in particular.
Come on Wade, you grew up around here try that stuff on someone who will actually buy it. People in Dallas know your team is better than that, you've told them that. People in Dallas know sloppy play when they see it. Don't try to turn it around and blame the messenger.
And then there's Romo...
Asked about his growing habit of committing turnovers, Romo said, "I am pretty sure we won the game.
"It’s not always the prettiest win. But we did win. I am sorry that I am not sorry that we won."
Romo also blamed the local media for nitpicking too much and holding the Cowboys to Super Bowl standards in September.
Boo freckin hoo Tony, you play for the Dallas Cowboys expectations run high. In the 70's and 80's they had a run of playoff appearances longer than your career. Ask Don Meridith, Craig Morton, Roger Staubach, Danny White and Troy Aikman about expectations.
People in Texas aren't football ignorant and when the quarterback does some of the things Romo has done they are going to ask questions.
He was directly responsible for the Bengals getting back into that game on Sunday and he doesn't expect people to ask about his performance?
Sorry you're not the king Tony...get used to it.
It occurs to me that what these guys are seeking is unconditional love...that is what your families are for. We the viewing public, the people who buy tickets, who purchase gear and all other assorted Dallas Cowboys paraphernalia are your extended bosses. If you don't succeed you will be fired. What people see and what bothers them is a pattern of under-performance. To expect unconditional love when you are underperforming, especially when you have a recent history of under-performance when it's all on the line is troubling to say the least. So Mr. Romo, get back to work and STFU.
Labels: Dallas Cowboys
Monday, October 06, 2008
So Who's This Chuck Yeager Guy They Are Talking About?
October 5, 2008
Press protected Chuck Yeager after fabled flight under city bridge
Nothing on the radio. Not a word in the newspaper. Not even a picture to prove it. But 60 years later, it remains one of the most fabled events in Charleston's history.
By Sandy Wells
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nothing on the radio. Not a word in the newspaper. Not even a picture to prove it.
But 60 years later, it remains one of the most fabled events in Charleston's history.
"It was known only to those of us who saw it, and through word-of-mouth later on," said Neil Boggs, a Clay County native and retired NBC correspondent.
Nobody talked about it on the record for years, he said. "Tens of thousands of people saw it. They knew it was done by one of them, for one of them, and they joined in a conspiracy of silence."...
...The F-80 jet appeared out of nowhere.
Bill Kelley, 14, stood midway down the riverbank steps at Brooks Street. The eventual WSAZ photographer had a camera even then. He forgot to bring it.
"Frank Knight had just announced that Capt. Chuck Yeager was going to fly over," Kelley said. "I didn't see a plane in the sky. I looked east, below the horizon, about where the Capitol is, and I saw a plane.
"I actually had to look down to see it. That's how low it was. I thought, 'Oh, my goodness!'"
He watched that jet fly right under the South Side Bridge.
The jet did a victory roll and roared out of sight.
For the rest of the story please go to the Charleston Gazette website
Yeah baby! Today, if they caught you doing anything of that sort they would monkey stomp your ass...or at the very least rip your lips off.
I have a Chuck Yeager story of sorts. I was attending the Edwards AFB air show, not sure of the year, but Chuck Yeager took the podium after opening the show by "breaking the sound barrier" by flying over the field in the back seat of an F-15 at Mach 1 plus. I don't remember much about what he said other than the profane reminder to the assembled crowd not to drink and god damned drive. I guess when you're a living legend like that you can pretty much get away with anything short of child rape or murder.
"Mommy that man said a bad word."
"Don't worry honey, he's just a crazy old fighter pilot."
"Mommy isn't that a redundant statement?"
(Yeah I know, in my world little kids know words like redundant and are shocked when someone says "god damn". It's a beautiful place my world. :))
Doesn't Anyone Remember Anything?
This POST at Wired Magazine's Danger Room tells the story of the USAF launching a High Speed Anti Radiation Missile (HARM) (it's a missile used to defeat surface to air missile guidance radars) from a drone F-4.
In the article they said:
Armed Predator and Reaper drones have become the primary weapons in the fight against Pakistani militants. But they can be pricey; the Reapers come in at around a hundred million dollars each. Which is why the Air Force is working on a cheaper option: killer zombies.
That reminded me of something I had read a few years ago about the Ryan Firebee family of drones...
Attack and Multimission RPVs: BGM-34A/B/C
In the late 1960s, the Navy studied the possibility to convert the BQM-34A Firebee target drone to a remote-controlled anti-ship missile. In several test flights, BQM-34As equipped with a TV system in the nose, were successfully flown by remote "pilots" watching the TV image. Precision low-level flight above the sea was made possible by the Ryan-developed RALACS (Radar Altimeter Low Altitude Control System). In September 1971, successful tests of Model 248 missiles (called "BQM/SSM") against ship targets showed the validity of the basic concept, but the project was terminated due to lack of funding.
In the same year, the USAF showed interest in a development of the Firebee I to be used for enemy air-defense suppression, because of the high loss rate in these missions. In March 1971, Teledyne Ryan received a contract to convert four Model 147S drones to BGM-34A (Model 234) configuration. Like the Navy's BQM/SSM, the BGM-34A was piloted by an operator watching a TV image transmitted from the drone's nose. In tests during 1971/72, the BGM-34As successfully launched AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles and electro-optically guided glide bombs against simulated SAM sites. Interestingly, almost 30 years later a firing of an AGM-114 Hellfire missile by an MQ-1L Predator UAV was much hyped as a breakthrough in armed UAV technology.
Following the successful BGM-34A tests, Teledyne Ryan developed the BGM-34B (Model 234A) operational strike RPV. This featured the higher-rated J69-T-41A engine, a modified tail, larger control surfaces, and improved operational capabilities. Eight BGM-34Bs were built, and tested in 1973/74. The tests included the modification of some of the drones with a new nose containing a LLLTV (Low Light Level Television) camera and a laser designator, to act as a "pathfinder" for weapon-carrying RPVs.
Yeah, you read that right it said late 1960's and then tested in the early to mid 70's. For those of you scoring at home that's over 30 years ago. The USAF lost interest in UAVs, and drones for much of anything other than targets in the intervening years. And now what's old is new again...only a lot more expensive.
In November 1974, the USAF had three different versions of Firebee combat RPVs in various development states: the AQM-34M reconnaissance drone, the AQM-34V ECM drone, and the BGM-34B strike RPV. It was decided to develop a single multi-mission RPV variant, designated BGM-34C (Teledyne Ryan Model 259), combing the capabilities of the three versions. Five YAQM-34Us were converted to BGM-34Cs, and these were flight-tested between September 1976 and April 1978. There were three exchangable nose sections for the BGM-34C, optimized for the reconnaissance, ECM, and strike roles. Although the tests were considered successful, no funds were approved for follow-on orders for production vehicles. This was at least in part caused by the general view of some Air Force officials, who saw the RPVs as a "competition" to the conventional manned aircraft.
Surprise, surprise. And now here we sit with the USAF saying they can't buy enough planes and the ones they have are too old...with not enough money to go around. Yeah, hindsight is 20/20, but at least some people saw this one coming.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Remember This Cat Norris...
Friday, October 03, 2008
Girl Friday, 3 OCT 07
Today's Girl may not be familiar to many Americans, she goes by the name Alizee and by all appearances she's French.
How you may ask did I come to know of the existence of this young woman. Well for once our S2 (Military Intelligence) shop was doing it's job in Iraq and found this video (see below) of this young lady.
It seemed every time I went into the briefing area during the night shift (usually around 0200 or so) they were showing this video on the big screen. I remember asking CPT Wright (the OIC) what is she singing about? They had no idea as nobody spoke French, and nobody cared. That's what 15 months in Iraq will do to ya'. She's definitely a lovely girl.
She also has a Wikipedia page.
CPT Wright wherever you are, this one's for you.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Did I ever tell you how much I dislike cats?
That cat better hope Chuck Norris doesn't hear about him bogarting his shtick.