Friday, May 25, 2018

Mississauga Rattlin'

Not to be confused with a Massasauga Rattler,though the perpetrators are snakes of a different kind, but we're talking about Mississauga. Mississauga the city that is a subunit of the Greater Toronto Area which was rattled in a bombing of an Indian restaurant last night.

The Detroit News: 15 wounded in Canadian restaurant explosion

An explosion caused by an “improvised explosive device” ripped through an Indian restaurant in a mall in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, wounding 15 people, Canadian police said.

Police said Friday two suspects with their faces covered to conceal their identity entered the Bombay Bhel restaurant late Thursday, dropped the device and fled.

The police are being awfully quick to note there is no indication of terrorism as a possible reason for the attack, which given the time of year and the target may be a bit of wishful thinking:

“There is no indication that this is a terrorism act. There is no indication that this is a hate crime at this time. We haven’t ruled anything out as we start our investigation,” said Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans.

It's too early to tell if this was terrorism, a hate crime, or some other kind of criminal act. Hopefully answers will come out, and soon, and hopefully the two scumbags who did it are caught in a most rapid and satisfying fashion.

St. Mary's Fair Preview

Orchard Lake St. MAry's The largest annual school fair in the country, again opens tonight for a Memorial Day weekend of fun, rides, food, fund raising and tradition.

So yesterday at dusk we did a preview walk through the fair grounds. It was rather deserted, which is a contrast to how it will be teeming with people starting tonight and through the weekend.

There was no problem getting in we were allowed to wander around the grounds and it was interesting walking by all the rides that sat silently waiting for their time to entertain the masses to come.

It was neat to walk around without the hustle and bustle and being surrounded by tons of people. After walking around the grounds, we walked on back out, and I expect the Fair will be a great success when it opens this year as it was in all prior years.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Flying On A Thursday

This morning was absolutely beautiful as far as flying weather goes - winds light and variable, ceiling starting at 12,000 feet, unlimited visibility.

So I did some work in the morning and then left the office and headed to the airport for an early lunchtime flight.

A lot of other pilots had the same idea as Pontiac was pretty busy with lots of planes in the pattern or heading to the practice area.

Flying N3553M, I took off and headed to the north to Lapeer to get some airspace to myself.

About 12 miles away I could easily see Lapeer Airport.

Lapeer airport is to the right side rear in the picture.

One plane landed there before me and then I did a very nice landing on Runway 18, then did a taxi back on Alpha to take off again on 18 and head to the prctice area.

In the practice area I first did a radio call on the DCT frequency ad found 5 other planes were also in the area, so we each made sure we had distance and altitude separation. I then did some clearing turns and followed them up with slow flight, power off and power on stalls and steep turns. Not too shabby. I finally did a nice decent power on stall - the secret is to crank back on the yoke as soon as you add power so you can actually stall. Steep turns were nice as well.

Then a little sight seeing - Fly over Lake Orion and See the løveli lakes! (No Moose were spotted during the taking of this picture):

Then back to Pontiac to do some pattern work. First I was instructed to call a right base at 2 miles but as I got closer they sent me out to a 3 mile final, which was no problem. A nice landing and then it was taxi back, hold short while another plane came in to land, and then line up and wait to do it again.

I then did four more patterns and landings and called it an excellent time.

1.6 and 6 landings.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Showing Up Is Oftimes Half The Battle

Failing to show up by contrast causes you to lose, and lose badly, and can make other people lose too.

Yes, it's another call from a potential and unlikely-to-actually-retain-me client.

Apparently she had put up a bail bond for her boyfriend. Yes, you can see where this is going already, can't you?

Boyfriend however has decided he doesn't want to go to jail.

The pre-sentencing report apparently does show that he is indeed going to jail for his offense, but he didn't want to go just yet, and decided to skip his sentencing hearing. This decision makes the court distinctly unhappy.

This of course triggers forfeiture of his bond, so the 10% cash she put down is going bye-bye, and the court has scheduled a show cause for next week for her to show up to pay the remaining and quite significant 90%.

There are things that can be done to fix this, but the most important requirement is he has to turn himself in or be apprehended before the show cause to make this work.

He doesn't want to turn himself in just yet apparently because he has a family event he'd rather not miss coming up in a week or so.

Now, had he communicated with the court about this instead of skipping the sentencing hearing, the court likely would have granted him some time to go to the event and all would be well. Instead, now he's looking instead to get thrown in jail immediately the minute any officer happens to come across him, and my bet is they will be looking for him at the event as they're not dumb, and his girlfriend is about to lose lots of money.

I advised her that she does need an attorney for the process to try to prevent her bond being forfeited and a major requirement to have a shot at getting the bond money back is the boyfriend needs to turn himself in before that hearing next week happens. My bet is I won't be retained, he won't turn himself in, and she will be paying thousands of dollars to the court or will be joining him in jail.

This is why you don't lend money on behalf of, or to, known criminals, your chance of getting it back is rather slim.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Now That Was A Close Call!

Matt Hall in 2010 demonstrated some very skillful stall recovery:

A recovery like that shows why he's a top-notch aerobatic pilot and air racer.

Talk about pushing the envelope, going beyond it, and still managing to salvage a situation that would have ended in disaster for probably any other pilot.

Do not try that at your home airport kids.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Volleyball Sportsmanship: Going In With The Odds Massively Against You, But Putting In 100% Effort Anyways

Sports often is a opportunity for a character building exercise.

Leah began playing volleyball 6 months ago and fell in love with the sport. She joined a local travel team (not as high-rated as a travel team) for those that care about such things) and has been working hard.

Yesterday was her second tournament ever. This made for a romantic anniversary of watching her at the tournament in a stifling hot arena in uncomfortable portable chairs for over 8 hours, but you do what you gotta do.

The problem is she should be in the Under 12 category for competition, but her local team lacks enough players so they have a couple 13 year olds on the team, making the team classified in the Under 14 category, which means her competition can be as old as 13 and 11 months old with a lot more growth as well as playing time and experience.

To say the odds were stacked against her team is an understatement. In short, the expectation was they would be massacred on the court.

The teams they played against were composed of players typically a full head taller than they were, and some of them were taller than that. Also her team was only assembled in April and some of the opponents teams had been formed and playing together for years.

For example in terms of size, her team in blue, the opponent in black:

Or her team in blue, another opposing team in red:

You could tell the other teams knew more what they were doing and had some definite playing patterns and sequences that our team didn't have.

On top of that, they had no substitutes as two of the girls had quit after April and one other had broken her leg, so there would be no rotations unlike the other teams that could rotate in fresh players.

So against all that, they assembled on the court ready to play.

While they lost game after game, it was not the anticipated massacre.

They made the opposing teams work for every point and often lost by as close a score as 23-25 or even 25-27.

There were some tears of frustration from some of the girls, and some were crying as they made mistakes that cost points or even a game. Yes, unlike baseball, there is crying in volleyball.

But, Leah was very supportive of her teammates and acted as a peacemaker even after one of the other girls snarkily criticized her on a play.

Yes, they all made mistakes, but they all made up, supported each other, and kept playing. Most people would have given up and forfeited after such a losing streak against impossible odds, but these kids kept at it and never quit.

Then, having not won a game, they were seeded near the bottom for the final stages of the tournament.

They then won their first game in the tourney, lost the second and then won the third game of the set to get out of the basement of the tournament.

Moving on in the tournament, they had two more close-fought games and while they were beat by their opponents both times, each game was very close and they had nothing to be ashamed of.

They placed 12th out of 14 teams, which was, to be frank, far better than anticipated given the sheer disparities in size, strength, and experience seen on the courts.

It was a good lesson in sportsmanship and having resilience and tenacity in the face of impossible odds. You may not even have a chance at winning, but you don't give up and keep on fighting anyways and make the other team work for every point and don't give an inch. I think that attitude will serve her well in life.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Twenty-Two Years Ago Today

It was on this date 22 years ago that two kids got married.

Since then they've managed to move up in the world, finish school (though not the student loans...yet), develop careers, and to this day continue to raise two amazing children.

Yes, my marriage with Tash has now made it for twenty-two years and is still going, which is rather incredible when I stop and think about it.

Certainly it has been an amazing time together, almost half our lives at this point, and it has certainly been the better half.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Meeting The Only Pilot Who Successfully Stopped A Hijacking In-Flight

Last night I attended a presentation featuring Uri Bar-Lev.

Who is Uri Bar-Lev You ask?

Well, as the title of this post would suggest, he's the only pilot who has so far prevented a hijacking in flight.

Now 87 years old, Bar-Lev gave a great recounting of the events on September 6, 1970.

Sharing the stage with him was a passenger (left) who was a teenager on that flight, who gave a recounting of his experiences during the attempted hijacking.

Bar-Lev fought as a 16-year-old in the War of Independence and then in 1950 learned to fly, with the PT-17 Stearman as his first aircraft. After a stint in the Israeli Air Force, he went on to fly with El Al, Israel's Airline.

The 70's were quite a time for aircraft related terrorism. Bar-Lev noted that during his flying career with El Al, his planes had been the subject of 5 attempted bombings, and one attempted RPG attack, all in addition to the September 6 hijacking attempt.

The IATA's policy on hijackings in those days were the crew were to hold their passenger's safety as paramount and not resist the terrorists. This policy only changed some 30 years later.

On September 9, 1970 while preparing to leave from Amsterdam to New York, Bar-Lev and the crew of Flight 219, a Boeing 707, were alerted to two discrepancies - four passengers had shown up with tickets to be picked up. Two had passports from Senegal- that were in sequential order, but were to be seated separately and had acted as if they did not know each other. They were not allowed to board, and went on to successfully hijack Pan Am Flight 93.

The other two, a man and a woman on Honduran passports were "searched" by the Amsterdam police who did a rather cursory and insufficient job of it. Leila Khaled and Patrick Argüello had easily smuggled a handgun and two grenades on board. Khaled was a member of the PFLP and Argüello was a Sandinista. Terrorism had a very international and leftist flavor in those days.

As the pane reached 28,000 feet, the terrorists announced the hijacking, advanced on the locked cockpit door and pointed a gun at one of the cabin crew, demanding entry to the cockpit.

Uri Bar-Lev decided he wasn't going to let them hijack his plane. He had a sky-marshal in the cockpit with him, and told him to hang on.

Bar-Lev then put the plane into a diving maneuver, immediately dropping rapidly from 28,000 to 10,000 feet.

The maneuver caused Khaled to fall and pass out and she was apprehended by the second sky marshal on board, and the dive also disoriented Argüello who was immediately engaged by the sky marshal who left the cockpit as soon as Bar-Lev pulled out of the dive. Argüello before being killed managed to hit one of the cabin crew multiple times, seriously wounding him. Captain Bar-Lev decided to immediately land in London to get medical treatment for the crew member.

While these days Bar-Lev and his crew and sky marshals would receive a heroes' welcome for such a feat, in those days they feared being arrested by the British for shooting the terrorists. This was not an unfounded fear.

Just a short while before, in 1969 an Israeli air marshal named Mordechai Rachamim had engaged a group of terrorists attacking an El Al plane and killing the first officer in Zurich. After he jumped out of the airplane door under fire, he apprehended three of the terrorists and killed the fourth, he was arrested and the Swiss authorities put him on trial for manslaughter. Yes, really.

So Bar-Lev decided he didn't want his sky marshals arrested and speaking on the El Al internal frequency, had an EL Al plane aout to leave London hold on the tarmac. The sky marshals exited his plane by the rear maintenance door and boarded the other plane in the confusion, and were given tickets showing they were proper passengers. With no other evidence to the contrary, the British had to let them go. Bar-Lev and the other crew were questioned by the Brits, especially as all other planes that day had been successfully hijacked, but then they were released and returned to Israel.

As for Leila Khaled, she is still alive and a member of the PFLP and feted to this day by the left as a celebrated terrorist, including being a guest of honor in Japan invited by Japanese leftists commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Lod Airport massacre by the Japanese Red Army Faction.

Yep, leftist international idiots still abound today.

Bar-Lev has retired from El Al and lives with his family in Israel today.

Since Captain Bar-Lev's quick thinking and heroic actions, and the lessons learned from them, not a single El Al aircraft has been hijacked since.

It was a great experience, hearing from a rather humble hero first-hand, and a great honor to meet him in person.