Wednesday, July 27, 2022

When is A Recession Not A Recession ?

On the telescreens, almost all figures of production are grossly exaggerated or simply fabricated to indicate an ever-growing economy, even during times when the reality is the opposite.”   G. Orwell, 1984

Nota Bene Democrats, 1984 is not supposed to be a how-to guide, so quit using it as one, dammit.

Then one looks at a dictionary:

Why yes, two consecutive quarters of falling real GDP constitutes a recession after all.

Although I halfway expect the dictionary definition of recession to change shortly in order to  better suit the needs of progressives much as how both racism and female have had their meanings changed recently.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Another Case Of VFR Into IMC With Sadly Predictable Results

Flying as a VFR pilot into IMC conditions is still one of the top killers of pilots, most especially if you're not instrument rated. On July 15, it killed a pilot and his passenger.

The Detroit Free Press: NTSB: Pilot of crashed airplane in west Michigan was not instrument-rated.

The pilot of this accident was indeed not rated for instrument flight, and he took off in conditions I wouldn't even try to take off in even with an instrument rating.

Two commercial pilots at the airport observed the departure, the report said: One reported that the ceiling at the time was no higher than 100 feet and the other said the plane entered "instrument meteorological conditions" as it crossed a road about 1,300 feet past the departure end of the runway.

The pilot likely had a bad case of get-there-itis and didn't want to wait for the weather to clear.

Yes, while under Part 91 you can legally takeoff IFR in 0/0 conditions but it's really not recommended to do so. 

100 feet AGL is not much better than 0/0 and not good takeoff weather as it doesn't leave you an out to safely and legally return to the airport if something bad occurs.  It's below the visibility needed for non-precision and precision approaches both.  Oceana has RNAV approaches, but 100 feet is way below minimums for it.  

If you're not instrument rated don't try and fly instrument conditions, especially don't try to fly in very bad instrument conditions.  

Instrument flying really is different from VFR flying and it's likely not going to work out how you would prefer it to go.

The C-17: When A Lot Of Stuff Absolutley Positively Has To Be Delivered Anywhere, Anytime

When you need a lot of stuff delivered around the globe, you use a C-17.

Selfridge featured a demonstration of the capabilities of the C-17 Globemaster III.

A four-engine transport par excellence, the Globemaster demonstrated a hot takeoff and with a roar of all its engines it up in less than 2,500 feet and climbing.

Turns out its also pretty darn maneuverable for a plane that size.

It made some pretty tight turns and was very photogenic.

It then came in for a landing and demonstrated a minimum distance landing as well.


It came to a stop show center and then taxi'id off the runway, 

Quite an impressive and nimble display for such a large aircraft.

The C-17 can carry 170,900 lbs of cargo and the aircraft has even been known to carry a whale to its destination.

Friday, July 22, 2022

A Perfect (A-) 10

Selfridge didn't just showcase their A-10 squadron, the 107th Red Devils only on the ground, although they did have an impressive ground display of multiple A-10s:

They also showcased the gun that the A-10 was built around.

You could enter the ready area where the planes are prepared for their sorties:

You did, however, have to cross this rather serious warning and red line to do so:

It was very neat to get to see the A-10s up close, in their native environment, including a demo of their tactical load-outs.

The A-10s did not stay on the ground however.

They also took to the air, with four of them airborne at once, and demonstrated the A-10s impressive low-level maneuverability.


The A-10s then performed a 4-ship mock ground support mission, complete with full radio communication with a JTAC controller running the simulated mission.  Basically pairs with good separation between aircraft would engage the target and approached from different directions.

This was impressive to see, especially as the squadron had deployed to Afghanistan and seen extensive missions providing ground support to troops in contact combat there.

 To finish it off, they formed up with a KC-135 Tanker to perform a refueling demonstration.

Simply an awesome display of A-10s in flight, and you don't get to see formations of A-10s flying at many airshows, much less doing a simulated combat mission.  Generally they're static on the ground.  

The A-10s in flight were a crowd favorite - not only did they put on one heckuva demonstration of skill in their awesome aircraft but they're our hometown heroes, based right out of Selfridge.

That was an incredible demonstration by Selfridge's A-10s.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Detroit News Poll Shows Gun Owners In Favor Of Something That Is Already The Law

The Detroit News: Most Michigan Republican voters support restrictions on gun purchases, News poll finds

Yes, the poll finds Michigan gun owners are in favor of something that is already the law in Michigan and indeed the United States:  

About 91% said they support background checks for an individual purchasing a gun

Yes they already support it what is already in place.  Background checks are already the law as an instant background check -- the NICS check which is done for purchases for firearms purchased from any dealer in Michigan (yes, and contrary to popular and wrong belief, even at gun shows or when you go to pickup a firearm you bought online). In addition in Michigan to buy a handgun there's also already a background check even if you buy from a private seller or via your concealed carry permit and you already went through a background check for that.

So gun owners support something that is already the law.  Big news there.

Quite the push poll, but even with that, they still found majority of Republicans were against a ban on "assault weapons" so there's some hope.  That only 57% were against such a ridiculous ban is, however,  an indication that much more education needs to be done among even Republican gun owners, especially those referred to as Fudds.

As to the red flag law support, the devil as always is in the details and the polls are famously short in what exactly the details might be.  Most red flag laws are quite simply awful in terms of lack of appropriate due process as well as the threshold for triggering such, not to mention a lack of penalties for false applications. Red flag laws also tend not to work as all they do is remove the weapons a potential killer has now without interdicting the potential killer and leaving the allegedly dangerous person free to roam and go forth, to acquire other weapons and still go kill people.  Not exactly an effective measure and rather open to abuse and they have already been abused.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

No One Could Have Seen That Coming, Oh Wait . . .

The Mercury News: Uvalde killer earned ominous nickname: ‘school shooter’ 

That's what most people would call a "clue".

This is especially so as he was being called that for months before he attacked the school.

ABC News: Texas school shooter left trail of ominous warning signs

The Uvalde, Texas, gunman gave off so many warning signs that he was obsessed with violence and notoriety in the months leading up to the attack that teens who knew him began calling him “school shooter.”

. . .

A state investigative report that highlighted law enforcement's bungled response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School has also provided the most in-depth account to date about missed red flags and possible motivations surrounding 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Despite many warning signs, he still managed to legally amass more than $5,000 in guns, ammunition and gear in the weeks leading up to the killings.

Read the entire ABC news article and be amazed at how many clear signs the killer was giving off and yet nothing was done.

Yet again, another "known wolf" giving off clear signs of violent intent and mental illness with a propensity for violence towards others and again nothing was done.

Heck, for 77 minutes as the shooting went on, nothing effective was done either. 

The insanely bungled and inept, if not beyond grossly negligent, police response cost lives.  But so too did the abject failure to act after so damn many clear indications were made by the killer before he acted.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Fun With The Federal Government

I'm trying to renew my NEXUS membership.

NEXUS is about the best traveler program you can get - all the benefits of TSA PRE, Global Entry, SENTRI, and using the NEXUS line at the US-Canada border - and it's cheaper than all the others, too.

Only downside is renewal is required, and part of the renewal requires an in-person interview, they also apparently now offer Zoom interviews, but there's a problem with that too.  

The major problem is there are no interview slots available, at all.  

As in none.

Per the system there won't even be a Zoom interview available for at least a year if not more.  

Personally, I can't plan my schedule out a year in advance as I don't know when a court might schedule something, family issues may arise, etc. 

The one in-person location in all the USA that offers an in-person interview is in Minnesota on the border with Canada, even as multiple application centers in Michigan are supposed to be available but none even have a single opening.

Rather frustrating.  But they've given a message that by renewing you get an automatic extension for 2 years after the expiry date on the card, so I expect it will take 2 years for them to sort this out and open up some appointments,

In addition, I'm having fun dealing with USCIS's computer system on an immigration matter that I'm doing pro bono (more on that later). 

When you log in, it wants a two factor authentication, so it send you a one-time code to your phone.  You enter the code and voila:

Isn't that great?   There is nothing else on the screen but that message.

Kinda the Schrödinger's cat school of authentication - you're both valid and invalid at the same time.

Figured out after awhile the trick how to proceed from that screen, which was not intuitive at all. But I was able to do what needed to be done.  In short I truly was both valid and invalid until I figured out how to proceed from that quantum state.

The Problem With Having A Positive Result

Abby got a call from her boyfriend that he had a positive test for Covid.

She then got tested, and the results are she is positive and has no symptoms.

We then get tested as after all, we've been hanging around doing family things around the house, going shopping together, etc.

I get the results back.

I'm positive with no symptoms.  Abby remains positive with no symptoms as well.

But, somehow, Tash is negative, which is strange since Abby was close by her doing stuff around the house together and breathing on her like crazy. If anything, Tash should be positive at this point.

So that's just great as I get to quarantine and no jitsu or other people-ly activities for the next few days.

Well, I get to work from home for a bit.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Flying - There We Have It

 At long last, it is done.

I am now an instrument-rated pilot.

The short of it:

 I came, I flew some approaches, I passed.

The long of it:

Happily, the winds were at 190-200 so we would do the west approaches almost as planned.

He threw a bit of a kink in it by doing it in slightly different order of KVLL first, then the KPTK Localizer Backcourse 27L and finally the RNAV 9, rhater than having the localizer last.

Further kink was Pontiac had Runway 27L shut down for some unknown reason, so that could complicate things.

Did the preflight, takeoff briefing, forgot to say it was a no-smoking flight, which apparently you're supposed to say even if no one around smokes.

Then got flight following, took off from 27R and immediately was told to start heading southeastwards even before hitting 1,500 MSL, which is non-standard, to make room for further departures.

Then contacted Detroit approach and did the KVLL RNAV 10-28 (the same as the RNAV 9-27 but finally updated in the charts to relfect the new runway markings).  Did a good entry but got blown a bit in the hold turn by the wimds and need to compensate more for that.

Then did the circle well, had the landing assured, and practically touched the runway before he told me to go missed.

Pontiac then opened Runway 27L which made things a bit simpler.

Then I got up on the missed and contacted Detorit Approach, who began to vector us for the Backcourse.  Then the examiner turned off the G5s and I was left with a turn coordinator, compass. and GPS box to act as DME and provide course headings.  

Kinda early to turn it off.  I had the backup NAV already turned and immediately identified the localizer.  Got established, did the approach, started the timer at the final approach fix and descended right to minimums and then went missed at the appropriate time on the timer.

Then up and the controller started to vector us first for a more direct RNAV 27L approach and then changed his mind and sent us out to KUHNA.

That's when the examiner took the controls and said we're goign to do some unusual attitudes.  So I had to put my head on my chest with eyes closed as he really wrung the airplane out until he said:


I then got my head up, saw the instruments and immediately corrected for a downward left turning unusual attitude - power back as gravity doesn't need the help, level the wings, gently get back to straight and level, add power back in, and return to original altitude.

Then more head on chest and getting really wrung out.


This time it was an upward facing altitude complete with a turn.

Recovery is full power, push forward on yoke,  level wings, and return to original altitude.

Then back towards KUHNA for the RNAV 27L approach.  My brain was still sloshing inside my head from the unusual attitude work, so it felt a little rough for a bit.  I then got everything stabilized and rode it like rails all the way down and landed the plane, taxi'd to the ramp, shut the plane down,  and then he said:

"Well, you're an instrument pilot now, so you can finish putting away the plane yourself and I'm going inside to get started on the paperwork".

I had passed.

In the debrief he noted I was very methodical, had great procedures, and had excellent radio work.  He stated he threw a lot of stuff at me and I kept my cool and just got everything done.

Yep, finally, I am now an instrument-rated pilot.

That's 1.2; 3 approaches; 1 hold; and an instrument rating!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

A Nest Of Hornets

Selfridge played host to a nest of hornets this last weekend on the flight line.


There were Canadian Hornets in demonstration livery:


US Navy Hornets represented by a EA-18 Growler from Electronic Attack Squadron VAQ-131.:

And the rare US Air Force Hornet:


Up until this weekend I did not realize the Air Force had the Hornet in inventory. They do.  Yes, the US Air Force operates the Growler as part of the 390th Electronic Combat Squadron.

Unfortunately, both Canadian CF-18 Hornets were down-checked and unable to fly at the show due to maintenance issues.

But we did get to see the Growlers fly as they left Selfridge at noon.

They then formed up and did a loud and fast flyby.

Then they headed back to base.

Given the Super Hornet's popularity due to it's featured role in Top Gun: Maverick, the extra and unscheduled flyby was appreciated by the crowd.  

The Skyraider Roars At Selfridge

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider took to the skies at the Selfridge Air Show.

To say it's a big and powerful beast of a prop plane is an understatement.

Even on the tarmac, it exudes an air of power and menace just waiting to be unleashed.

It can certainly could carry a lot of ordnance on its ground attack missions. With 15 external hardpoints with a carrying capacity of 8,000 lb, it could bring a lot of bombs, rockets and other armaments on its missions.

The name of this particular Skyraider is Bad news, and it sure brought bad news to anyone who stood in opposition to its mission on the ground.


The Skyraider was in service from 1946 to the early 80s with reamrkable service in boththe Korean and Vietnam wars. The aircraft also served in the South Vietnamese Air Force, with the French in Algeria and Chad, in the Royal Navy, and even were put into service by the Swedes.

It's 18 cylinder radial engine carried it through the skies rather effortlessly, if loudly.

It put on quite an impressive demonstration.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

77 Minutes

77 minutes.

That's how long five fully armed and armored police officers were inside the Uvalde School in a hallway outside the door where the killer was located, and yet failed to even try to enter or engage the shooter, or even go as far as to try to open the door, even as shooting was still going on inside the classroom and innocents were dying.

Even after a second series of shots are fired, they wait another half an hour and still do not enter the room - which was unlocked.

Those police officers failed to do anything at all except stand around, check their phones, and apply hand sanitizer - as hand sanitizer is always an important part of any ongoing counter-killer operations.

It took a Border Patrol Tactical team to finally go past them enter and neutralize the a-hole, long after the damage was done.

No, the  police have no duty to protect you.  You sure as heck are on your own, even when police are within arms length or closer and could render aid but choose to not do so.

The tin foil hat crowd should have a field day with this video, in that there's a decent argument to be made that the Democrats in charge of the response may have decided that once the school shooter was in the school, the police might as well be stood down to let him rack up a decent score to increase the horror to push for more gun control?

But, let's not assume malice in the clear face of abject stupidity and complete incompetence. 

It appears the Uvalde School Police Chief totally lost the plot and ordered his police not to engage the killer - even after they were inside, in numbers, and more than well-equipped complete with ballistic shields.  This is contrary to absolutely everything that has been known about how to handle school spree killers since Columbine. He's now saying he didn't know he was in charge when he issued those stand down orders.  The mind doth boggle at that, not to mention the claim that they were delayed by the door being locked when it has been shown the door in fact was not locked.

77 minutes.

77 minutes is nicely outside the "Golden Hour" for trauma care. How many kids bled out or died from what otherwise would have been survivable injuries, or will now suffer form injuries that would have been less severe had the police decided to act as actual police officers?

Uvalde should put to rest, once and for all, the progressive's claims that you don't need a gun to protect yourself because "the police will protect you".  

But it won't. They'll still keep claiming it knowing that it is beyond question an abjectly false statement.  

You're unfortunately very much on your own and waiting passively for police to respond in a life or death situation can no longer be considered a viable option, and it never was.

Those five Uvalde Police officers, and their chief need to, at the very least, resign for their abject failure to do their moral, even as it was not their legal, duty that day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Flying IFR - Lesson 59 - A Pre-Checkride With Possibilities

So I pre-flighted N8570F and got ready for today's lesson.  Wind was out of the West gusting at 290-320 around 13-20 knots.

The problem with deciding what we were going to do today is the winds for Friday are forecast to be out of the East.

This means the examiner will not do the route he had originally selected on the day of my oral and discontinued checkride.

The problem is also this:  The VOR at Flint is down for maintenance and will be down until August 12.

The examiner has also not done an instrument checkride with winds out of the East since the VOR dropped on June 21. The upside is this takes out of play the Lapeer VOR-A approach which sucks rocks so that's a good thing.

So it is a bit of an open question as to what he might do for this ride, as he used to use the VOR 18 or 36 with a circle  to land at Flint, do an ILS at Flint and then back to Pontiac for a Partial Panel RNAV or ILS/Localizer approach.

So we tried to prepare for the unexpected by doing the unexpected with the wind out of the west rather than east.

Since the clouds were low around Flint we filed IFR.

Planned a route to 9G2 (Lapeer) to do the RNAV 27 circle to 9 (again there is no actual circle there but the examiner simulates one), then to Flint for the RNAV 18 Circle to 27 and then back to Pontiac for then RNAV 27L and the Localizer Backcourse 27L.

Lapeer comes up pretty quickly after takeoff and we got passed quickly by Detroit Approach to great lakes Approach, but by then we were practically at the initial approach fix.  We got clearance to do the approach and then remain in Flint's Class C and head on 300 degrees to do the Flint approach.

Oh, and we went into IMC conditions as we headed to Lapeer. 

This time I stayed solidly on the instruments, decided the world outside did not exist (in a cloud it really doesn't anyways) and did a good job of controlling the plane.

Did the approach at Lapeer, did a really good circle to 9, and as we had a heckuva tailwind only went lowish on final but had the runway made if I wanted it, and then went missed.

Then went and did the Flint RNAV 18 to 27, into IMC again, then popped out and did another really good circle and went missed.

Then back to Pontiac with an nice tailwind and a bit of bouncing around, with winds swaying from 280-300 and back and forth, and went for the RNAV 27L which went really well, and the Localizer Backcourse which also went really well and did a nice landing to finish it off.

Overall, I'd say it was a very positive flight and I feel ready.

Let's hope for good weather flying conditions, and preferably calm winds from the west on Friday, but I'm confident I can handle whatever he might try to throw at me if winds are from the east as well.

That's 1.8, with .5 actual, 1.0 simulated, 4 approaches, and a very nice landing.

More People Whose Takeoffs In A Plane Do Not Equal Their Landings In A Plane

To open the show after the lunch break, the US Army Golden Knights demonstrated why they are one of, if not THE, best parachute teams in the world.

First they dropped in a paratrooper with streaming the US Army flag.


The Golden Knights were not content with merely demonstrating how your landings can fail to equal your takeoffs.  

They decided to demonstrate how your landings via parachute can fail to equal the number of parachutes you started with.

They did this by deliberately fouling a chute and cutting it away.

Step One: Foul up a perfectly good chute:

Step Two: Cut off the main chute and watch it floating away:

Step Three: Deploy the reserve chute.

He landed faster using his reserve rather than the main chute, due to it being a smaller size, and quite likely also due to the additional weight from carrying a couple big brass ones.

He then nonchalantly landed right on the mark like it was just another day at the office.

Next was a jump of two jumpers who deployed the chutes together while staying connected almost all the way to the ground.

They disconnected seconds away from landing and each made a perfect landing.

The final jumper carried the Michigan flag to earth.

That was one heckuva impressive display of skill, precision, and daring by the Golden Knights.

People Whose Takeoffs In A Plane Do Not Equal Their Landings In A Plane

When is it that your number of takeoffs in  a plane do not equal your landiongs in a plane, but the plane still lands just fine?  It's when you jump out of a perfectly good working aircraft.

The Selfridge Air Show opened with a performance from The Misty Blues.

The Misty Blues are an all-female parachute team from Michigan, 

They opened the show by parachuting in during the playing of the national anthem with the American flag.

Soon followed by the Canadian anthem and flag for our neighbors also attending and watching the show.

Both jumpers landed on their marks with precision. The rest of the team then landed with their own streamers matching their parachute coloration.

An impressive opening to the show.

Monday, July 11, 2022

A Trio of Trainers At The Selfridge Open House

Three Trainers were featured at the air show (there were some others and we'll get to them later.)

These three are special as all three were in active service at Selfridge through the years,

First to fly was the first aircraft that operated from Selfridge Field, back before it was an Air National guard base and literally had a field for a runway.

The Curtis JN04 Jenny:


The Curtis JN-4 Jenny was how America learned to fly, with 95% of all US pilots in World War One having trained in a JN-4 Jenny.

With a max speed of 75 mph, and cruising at a sprightly 60 miles per hour, this aircraft trained America's pilots to fight in the air in the Great War. Over 6,000 were manufactured to teach pilots how to fly.

After World War 1, thousands of JN-4s were sold off on the surplus market and pilots coming home from the war spread aviation far and wide with them across America and the golden age of barnstorming was born.

JN-4s in flying condition are now extremely rare.

The Jenny opened the show as the first aircraft flying at Selfridge this year to mark the 100 years of the base as an airfield.

The T-6 Texan. 

This bird as the T-6 Texan trained America's pilots for World War Two, and as the Harvard it trained the pilots of the British Commonwealth as well.  Over 15,000 T-6s of all models were built to serve the needs of the Allies' growing air arms.

This T-6 is in colors commemorating the Tuskegee Airmen, who trained and learned to fly in the T-6 before moving on to the P-51 Mustang. 

The 332nd fighter group (The Tuskegee Airmen) served at Selfridge in 1943.

The third trainer was the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star.  

The trainer for the jet age.  

Developed from the United State's first jet fighter, the P-80, the T-33 was a long-serving two-seat sub-sonic trainer with the US armed forces.  Nicknamed the "Ace Maker",  the plane trained the majority of Korean War jet fighter  aces.

The T-33 has a top speed of 600 mph or 520 knots.

The T-33 was in service with the USA from 1948 to 1997, though phased out of front-line triangle service in the 1970s.  The last user of the T-33, the Bolivian Air Force retired its T-33s in 2017 - after 44 years of service in their Air Force and 69 years after the type was introduced. A total of 6,557 T-33 were produced by Lockhhed, Canadair, and Kawasaki.

All three trainers had served at Selfridge and all three were very successful as training aircraft in their respective eras.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Selfridge Open House And Air Show 2022

After many cancellations due to Covid,  Selfridge Air National Guard Base opened up this weekend to the public for it's 100 Year Anniversary Open House and air show.

To say it was an awesome show would be an understatement.

One of the highlights was the flight demonstration put on by the very last F-100 Super Sabre in the world that is in flying condition:

Many more pics to follow. 

Oh, and the 10,000 steps I took at the air show may have proven to be a tad ambitious.

Saturday, July 09, 2022

Leaves Of Three, Let it Be - Or Don't Let It Be

Walking along the side of my house and saw this:

Yep, poison ivy is back, and quite a bit of it in fact.  Seems to have come in from the neighbor's patch.

Application of appropriate chemical warfare materials for Round 2 of the Battle of the Poison Ivy Patch will commence shortly.