Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Airplane that won the Cold War

That's a pretty impressive accolade! Where'd I get such a notion? By reading an article in the Smithsonian Air and Space magazine (July 2008), which perhaps put it even a bit more "enthusiastically", naming it one of the ten "Aircraft That Changed The World".

What secret military technology did this device conceal? Well, none. It was the "mission" it was flown on, also expounded upon by the Smithsonian some time earlier (June/July 2005 issue), "The Notorious Flight of Mathias Rust".

At the time, the general perception conveyed in the U.S. press, was this was an amusing stunt performed by a naive but somewhat unbalanced and delusional extremist.

(And, perhaps he was...Mathias Rust).

But to his credit, he had done some thinking (on things besides flight planning: 550 nm flight was at the far end of the Cessna's range): "To many Europeans, Mikhail Gorbachev’s ascendancy to the Soviet leadership in 1985 offered a glimmer of hope. Glasnost, his policy of transparency in government, and perestroika, economic reforms at home, were radical departures from the policies of his predecessors. So when the U.S.-Soviet summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986 ended without an arms reduction deal, Rust felt despair. He was particularly angered by Reagan’s reflexive mistrust of the Soviet Union, which Rust felt had blinded the president to the historic opportunity Gorbachev presented."

Reykjavik Summit, Oct 11-12, 1986.

With today, November 9, being the 20th anniversary of the nominal observation of the "fall of the Berlin Wall", I think the humble Cessna 172 deserves it's due credit.

From U.S. News and World Report, June 15, 1987:
"Mathias Rust surely had no thoughtof doing Mikhail Gorbachev a favor. But last week, Gorbachev was trying to turn what could have been humiliation into opportunity by undercutting the old military establishment and launching what may be the long-awaited mopup of opponents--military and civilian --who impede his reforms. Rust's tiny plane, which he had flown unscathed through vaunted Soviet air defenses, was still parked near Red Square when Gorbachev began firing and promoting military brass. His dismissal of Defense Minister Sergei Sokolov, 75, appeared only the first step in a purge of recalcitrant officers."

Gorbachev and glasnost: viewpoints from the Soviet Press by Isaac J. Tarasulo, Dec 1989):
"For two years Gorachev did not attempt to interfere with military personnel decisions. While military leaders supported Gorbachev's call for revitalizing the Soviet economy, they believed themselves exempt from these changes. Exempt, that is, until May 1987. On May 28, 1987, nineteen-year-old Mathias Rust landed his Cessna 172 in Red Square..."

NYTimes, June 1, 1987:
A Test for Gorbachev...
"The scalding public indictment of the military signaled that even the most revered and powerful institutions would be subject to open criticism...Since taking office in March 1985, Mr. Gorbachev has pressed to hold down growth in military spending and has pursued a number of foreign policy initiatives, including an 18-month moratorium on underground nuclear testing, that have troubled the military." (How's that go again, that we forced the Soviet Union to economic collapse with an arms spending race?)

"Tear Down This Wall". (Ronnie reads his lines, on June 12, 1987. He was in Germany to bolster support for Pershing II nuclear missile deployments in Europe).

Two weeks after the Cessna 172 landed.

Reagan ends his second term, on Jan 21, 1989.

"In May of 1989, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev visited West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Gorbachev told Kohl the Soviets would not block democratic reforms in Warsaw Pact nations".

In June 1989, the Polish elections legitmize Solidarity.

On August 23, 1989, Hungary removed its physical border defences with Austria, and in September more than 13,000 East German tourists in Hungary escaped to Austria.

The East German head of state Erich Honecker, from 1971 until 1989, is forced by his own Poltiburo to resign on October 18, 1989. (The big significance: "In 1961, Honecker, as the Central Committee secretary for security matters, was in charge of the building of the Berlin Wall.")

"East German government announced on November 9, 1989, after several weeks of civil unrest, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin."

"The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990."

What a wonderful moment in history, to be celebrated! It was amazing how fast Germany reunification happened- I remember estimates of the year 2020-2040. (Erich Honecker, The Party Leader in East Germany:"The Wall will be standing in 50 and even in 100 years, if the reasons for it are not yet removed." (Berlin, 19 January 1989).


Phil Bell said...

The German reunification was a stunning development, as was the general liberation of all of Europe and the Soviet republics.

There are still some despotic regimes- North Korea being the most publicized.

Seems like Cuba might do well in a few years too.

(Maybe we need to send a few 172's to our neighbor south of Florida. I think that would be a much preferred desination than North Korea, for just about any and every reason. I keep hoping China will foster "regime change" in North Korea and prevent an arms race in the Pacific, with South Korea and Japan principally- China doesn't win with that situation- nobody wins with that).

julius said...


thanks, that you remind us of the German reunification!

I think in those days the politians showed that the impossible thing is possible - if the elected, responsible, and commited people only do their jobs...
Is the reunification process finished? Not completely, it just takes some times and some people will never change their minds!

Perhaps Rust could only enter the Russian airspace because of the KAL007 disaster of 1983. It was just a small a/c - so what!
The military people made some exceptable decisions (Why should they show their full potential or kill a confused crew?) and some errors - but it was a severe mistake concerning their careers!

If the same thing happens today - in Washington (during Bush times) some people were heading to the bunkers... Cold War or New War?

Hopefully there will be times when F16s/Tornados or helis will friendly ask the confused pilots to leave these prohibited airspaces and there will be only minor tickets like for "wrong parking a car".


P.S.: More than 280 Mutangs have been produced...

gadfly said...


We're still out here buzzin' 'round.

'Last few days, much has and is happening to digest. And although some would imagine it to be "off topic", the present activities of those that "pretend" to represent us, are doing far more damage to the future of GA than can possibly be imagined. Eclipse is small potatoes, compared to the folks in Washington.


Shane Price said...


I'm afraid it's a bit of a vain hope for North Korea in the short term. The local situation (vastly oversimplified) is that China wants to 'horse trade' their support for N Korea for US support for Taiwan.

In many ways, the Korean War was Mao's way of expressing mainland (Communist) Chinese anger at American support for the defeated Nationalists who'd retreated across the (very narrow) channel to the island of Taiwan. To this day, they keep each other alert with the odd artillery exchange....

Enough PacRim history. What's going to happen to all the 172's when the SkyCatcher takes over?


gadfly said...


You mention “horse trading” with North Korea . . . and I bite my tongue for even bringing it up.

‘Thinking back more than half my lifetime, me thinks that “horse trading” may be the answer. Out here in the southwest, we have an overabundance of wild horses . . . and in the typical North Korean butcher shop, they have three grades of meat . . . “Win, Place, and Show”. (And don’t even ask about a Korean version of a “hot dog” . . . you truly don’t want that much information.) Me thinks you have just solved the problem of international trade between the “States” and “North Korea”. Watch! . . . you may be seeing a “Sam’s” or “Wal Mart Pyongyang Super Store” opening soon.

(That will be a classic ad . . . competing with the Budweiser Clydesdales . . . “Kim Jong-il”, promoting a “quarter-horse-burger and fries”, super-sized, at this coming Rose Bowl game in Pasadena . . . with a “flyover” of a fleet of Cessna 172's, pulling up in a complete loop over that first seriously tight-turn going east on Colorado Blvd., early in the morning over the parade, and then coming back later, over the “Bowl”, avoiding the Goodyear Blimp . . . and a final shot, through the glowing orange-red haze of a wonderful Southern California sunset far off to the west over “Santa Monica”, “Hollywood”, and that big blob of orange light, attempting to penetrate upward into the coastal fog. Already, a tear comes to my eyes, actually many tears . . . as I remember the “smog”, and the fragrance of the Pasadena/Glendale/Burbank freeway interchange . . . It all comes back as if in High Definition, and I am almost choked with the memories . . . mainly of the smog of the 1940's and fifties. As a true native of the Golden State, I don’t trust air I cannot see, nor ground that does not move on occasion. But that “horse thing” . . . that truly has great possibilities! The obvious question: What would Budweiser do to “top that”?! . . . talk about your “super sized”!)

Beedriver said...

I am afraid that the LSA's are doomed except for the ones that offer something unique.

You can buy an excellent used 172 or Cherokee for 1/2 of a LSA, it will have spare parts always available,most mechanics know how to fix them and they will carry four people and is legal to fly almost anywhere.

The only advantage of the LSA class is you do not need a real license to fly them and you don't need a medical.

Like the Eclipse, most of the LSA's are doomed to be expensive lawn ornaments in the future as they have no real use and most have a lot of unique parts only available from the original manufacturer.

there is a good article in Aviation Consumer on this problem this month.

gadfly said...


For the independently wealthy, you may be absolutely correct. I have an acquaintance . . . not close, but sharing in certain business, (and enough “bucks” to outclass almost everyone on the blog) . . . that can do anything he wishes. (He once was about to fly cross country in a biplane, upside down . . . and he has/had that ability . . . was talked out of it by medical vascular experts, because of the long-term physical problems that would have been “permanent”. He remains a highly skilled expert pilot/aircraft owner, second to no-one I have ever met. I continue to have the highest respect of this man’s ability as a pilot in almost any aircraft available to the general aviation world . . . bar none!)

But for the rest of us, it no longer matters about the medical requirements, etc., . . . wisdom (a strange word in today’s economy) dictates that a pilot needs to be the very best, the most qualified, excellent in physical condition, etc., . . . or he should be flying “Southworst”, or “United”, or “American”. As a certain little girl once said, “Toto, I don’t think this is Kansas . . .” any more. And indeed, it isn’t.

Your description of Eclipse as a lawn ornament is correct . . . and I did notice that you did not say, “lawn dart”. The kids should be able to play on something that was put there by “truck”, and not flown in under its own power.

It will take some time for the present/former owners to own up to reality . . . but that’s not my problem. The safety record, so far, is mixed . . . yet without fatality. Hopefully, it will remain that.

‘Wonder what happened to that little girl, who’s “Daddy” overshot the runway, and thanks to some bushes/trees didn’t become a “freeway fatality”? That’s the stuff that either makes or breaks the success of safety records. What was the name of that airport? . . . Brandy Wine? . . . something like that! For an old “*” . . . sometimes my mind works “just fine” . . . and no matter what you think, “logically”, you must never, ever, remove the human factor . . . even the little girl, sitting with her Daddy, by a completely scrapped Eclipse jet, having come within a few feet of being hit by an “eighteen wheeler” on a freeway, no less. Now what’s the odds of being hit by an diesel truck?

Or what’s the odds of being hit by the evening rush Chicago rush-hour traffic, if you cant’ get stopped at the south end of “Midway”, . . . or where-ever!

What’s that company? . . . “JustBrakes”? . . . if I were “on the board” at Eclipse, I’d suggest a permanent contract with these folks . . . a volume discount, to keep the evening Chicago commuters safe from possible collisions. And as I listen to these “all night radio talk shows”, I hear ads for Michelin’s “double -wides” for trucks. They’re made for higher economy . . . a ‘half mile per gallon’ or so . . . wouldn’t do much for the Eclipse in overall range, but might contribute heavily to a more defined “end of travel” (as it were), at the final destination . . . say at Midway or Brandywine.

You get the picture . . . Eclipse is a disaster waiting/about to happen. In the beginning, Eclipse had some unique things going for it . . . but behind the green curtain, those of us with some understanding of metallurgy, manufacturing, aerodynamics, electronics/computer science, structural testing, management/training of employees, etc., etc., . . . even down to the use of “fillers”, to cover up defects under the paint job . . . figured that things were not all well and good in Albuquerque at the west end of ABQ.

gadfly said...

Early on, I stated that if I were a “customer”, I would insist on a clean aluminum skin . . . no paint, etc., to be able to easily see each and every defect on a “walk-a-round” inspection. That sort of statement is easily ignored . . . but it remains on record.

The “Eclipse” story is not over, nor will some of us allow it to be. It remains a minimally airworthy aircraft, possibly dangerous to those who continue to own and fly it.

My own father invented one of the most life-saving inertia restraint systems of aviation, and beyond that, the very system that controls the ailerons, rudder, elevators, and even the throttles, on many aircraft flying today. Safety and quality were paramount to him . . . and they are to me, as well.


(A fellow blogger contacted me about the old Sikorsky “Jolly Green Giant” heliocapeter . . . something about a restoration of that magnificent old bird . . . the first aircraft that used my Dad’s “inertia restraint system”. The first lives saved were in the Swiss Alps, the summer after my “Daddy” died of a massive pulmonary thrombosis heart attack. All the crew in that big Sikorsky walked away . . . thanks to a man that put quality and excellence ahead of his own interests. Today, walk up into the cockpit of almost any jet airliner . . . examine the five point buckle, and the inertia restraint system behind the seats, and you will see my Dad’s “handiwork”, the design first sketched out on the back of a church bulletin, while he and I sat listening to a message from the Word of God, in the very church that he, and three others under his supervision, built, on Glenoaks Blvd., in Burbank, California. The church is owned by others . . . not the same . . . but the building remains after a half century, a testimony to the care and quality of a man that would consider nothing than to do the best that God allowed.

gadfly said...

Maybe in the days ahead, the old “gadfly” can relate some things about the “old school” . . . and if you are wise, you’ll pay attention. (And, no, . . . I have no silly thoughts of grandeur . . . I’ve been “put down” many times, and know my own fallibility. In fact, if you knew me, like I know me, you would not associate with me.) I don’t really have anything to gain by all this, but I truly would like to see you, and others do like we used to do down at “Fifteenth Street” along Newport, in Southern California . . . get on the leading edge of one of those waves, and ride it right up onto the sand. We weren’t in the class of those that came in on the massive breakers of the “North Shore” of Oahu, from December into the next few months, but back in Southern California . . . we had our moments, and it was “enough”. The point being . . . whatever you do, do it honestly, and to the best of your ability. Could I preach a sermon from the Bible? . . . Sure could, and would enjoy every moment of bringing a person into an understanding of the subject matter. But since I can’t really go there, I would encourage each and every one who reads these comments, get in there, ask every question, and demand an answer. Settle for nothing less.

Back to the “Eclipse jet” . . . too little was believed . . . too little was asked . . . far to little was required to be confirmed. Many folks were fooled . . . confused . . . overwhelmed . . . taken in to a complete state-controlled . . . no, change that . . . state perpetrated “come-on”. I am not a legal type . . . and know not what to call it, except to say that dishonesty was fully shown from the “get-go” . . . and the people from the governor on down were already known by their former behavior. This entire thing is most tiring. It’s frustrating and sad to see the gullible deceived, and at the same time, being unable to help them see the obvious.

That young man, with “Eclipse” on his shirt, was so pleased . . . he had the world by the tail . . . he and his family told me of his dreams . . . and legally, I could not tell him, there at McDonald’s on Central, near Juan Tabo and the I40 freeway . . . his days were running short, and his dreams were about to become a nightmare.

Well, the nightmare has ended . . . that young man, and his small family, are now the victims of extremely uncaring and dishonest men. And for them, I truly hurt!


BassMaster said...

Gad I share with you the hope that the fleet retains it's present safety record. While it's common to use aero filler under paint...would anyone like to guess why the vor antennae on the vert were reset early on to have a positive aoa relative to the wing and stab? Your mention of aerodynamics drew me to remember that one.

Phil Bell said...

Hi Julius,
"Perhaps Rust could only enter the Russian airspace because of the KAL007 disaster of 1983..."

I thought the same thing, and had composed, but later, cut this out of the "headline" post:

No doubt the Soviets wre a bit more circumspect about shooting things down, after the international rebuke involving Korean Airlines flight KAL007
("In 1983, Cold War tensions had escalated because of several factors. These included the United States's Strategic Defense Initiative, its planned deployment of Pershing II missiles in Europe in March and April, and FleetEx '83, the largest fleet exercise held to date in the North Pacific.[37][38] Aircraft from USS Midway and USS Enterprise repeatedly overflew Soviet military installations in the Kurile Islands during FleetEx '83, resulting in the dismissal or reprimanding of Soviet military officials who had been unable to shoot them down. On the Soviet side, Operation RYAN was expanded. Lastly, there was a heightened alert around the Kamchatka Peninsula when KAL 007 was in the vicinity, because of a Soviet missile test that was scheduled for the same day. The missile test was the reason that a United States Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft was patrolling off the peninsula.").

gadfly said...

Bassmaster . . . I plead ignorance about your references to the "VOR" (Visual Omni Range?), etc. My last work on high impedance transmission lines was when I re-designed and made (using my "crew") some spark triggers for Sandia Labs, to correct a one nano-second "miss-match" down to 200 pico-seconds (something to do with a weapons device . . . we never know what we're doing) . . . the group leader said it couldn't be done, but a thousand repeats proved the fix correct. And it was a long time previous to that, that I had any significant imput on RF transmission lines, etc., or "wave guides" . . . all in the distant past. (Whoops . . . there was another set of things I designed and built for Lawrence-Livermore Labs, but that's another story . . . had to do with certain "co-ax" type stuff, when certain things get damaged . . . what is the change in impedance, etc. That was fun . . . brass, copper, coined depressions in Teflon, in a circle divided in seven equal sectors. Almost forgot that one . . . )

Concerning "body filler", I would not sign off on anything on a structural component, if it could cover up any crack, defect, corrosion, or whatever . . . on an aircraft skin. Even on a non-structural fairing, I would not want my initials . . . even on a repair.

A long, long time ago, if I were doing a "pre-flight" prior to take-off, I want to see at a glance each and every glorious square inch of the aircraft for which I'm responsible, to "get there and back" in one piece.

And as we learned early on (from some from Eclipse), it was said that all screws, etc., were to be covered smooth. Now, if that were true (and I have nothing but "hearsay"), how in the world could an "A&P" do a 25, 33, or 100 hour inspection, without removing screws from inspection covers . . . and messing up a "pretty" paint job. That remains, to me, a total mystery . . . and I wish right now I had a dollar for every #10-32Phillips screw I ever removed, to look back in a wing, a fuselage, or tail section, six to the average cover.

But then, I was somewhat of a nut about safety, and doing a complete inspection . . . back in ancient times.


Phil Bell said...

What I HADN'T intended to include, was information on Able Archer 83.

It is a chilling assessment.

Phil Bell said...

Hi Shane,
"China wants to 'horse trade' their support for N Korea for US support for Taiwan."

Thanks for the interesting information regarding the European view of the China-North Korea-Taiwan situation. That goes a long way in explaining China's seemingly counterproductive (non)-involvement.

I was in Ithaca NY at the time of the incident involving the disgusting posturing and shameful national timidity surrounding then-Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's return visit to his Alma Mater, Cornell University, AT THE UNIVERSITY'S REQUEST. "Cornell University asked a distinguished graduate to address an alumni gathering...")

"Beijing's protests were unusually fierce. Foreign Minister Qian Qichen summoned the U.S. Ambassador, J. Stapleton Roy, for a diplomatic dressing down. As Defense Minister Chi Haotian's scheduled visit this month to the U.S. was postponed, the People's Daily thundered, 'We demand that the American government rescind this wrongful decision.' Speculation about reprisals was the buzz of both capitals. Possible countermeasures discussed range from China's cancellation of Boeing jetliner purchases to the still unlikely option of closing the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, capital of the hinterland province Sichuan and a doorway to restless Tibet".

In the end, the US permited him to visit, essentially "if he kept out of sight".

The Shame and Disgrace of Craven Greed.

This was just 5-plus years after Tiananmen Square Massacre. (NOT just "protests", thank you very much).

Phil Bell said...

Regarding those Cessna 162's (aka Skycatcher).
I don't think their sales will hurt the 172 sales too much- payloads are different- 490 lbs for the 162, versus 830 lbs for the 172, and 2-ish seats versus 3-4-ish seats.
It does look like the 162 might take some sales away from ofther LSA contenders though- "which has a backlog of 1,000 orders".

Cessna CEO's Wife Gets First Skycatcher.

? Seems like our "hypothetical" "Mary" might taking pilot lessons after all...(You go, girl!)

gadfly said...

Phil . . . True story . . . Time, just past midnight, late summer, 1958, August?.

The last crowded bus had just left Honolulu, and many of us were left stranded in town, and had to be back to the “boat” (sub) before roll-call at 0800 hours. About five of us hired a cab, and started out on Nimitz Highway. The southwestern sky lit up totally bright . . . and before long, a giant red ball appeared above the horizon . . . finally disappearing, leaving for a time, a glowing ring . . . about ten times the diameter of the sun. At that time, we were all on edge . . . the “height” of the Cold War. We expected a shock-wave at any moment . . . it looked like a nuclear device had been set off just past “EWA”. Nothing happened!

We got back to Pearl . . . reported back aboard the sub . . . and it wasn’t until the next morning we learned that the “brains” from Sandia and Los Alamos had set off a nuclear device with a rocket about sixty miles or so above Johnston Island, “WITHOUT INFORMING THE MILITARY”.


(There are few things more strange than seeing what appears to be "the sun", rising in the west at about one in the morning, ten times its normal size. But that night, that's what we saw.)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Gadfly,
I wish everyone had your attention to detail (and commitment to excellence), when doing preflights.

(It sounds like it is a long tradition in your family- I'm sure extra pride (not the "puffy" kind) was taken with the church- and surely an extra-satisfying experience, particularly as it is standing after these many years).

Btw, why was the circle divided into seven segments?? (Curiously, I can't find any method on-line for doing it geometrically- thanks! .)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Beedriver,
I've been perplexed too, why people would spend $100K+ on a LSA, when they can buy a great 150 for $30K-ish. Some folks that have lost their medical, or perhaps don't know any better and are intimidated by what seems to be more challenging requirements for a regular PPL.

gadfly said...


There was a certain amount of space in the area that was to be "bombarded" . . . and seven units fit "just right". Each little copper enclosure had a precision copper "wedge" that pressed against a thin slice of Teflon, into which we coined a precision depression, representing the various "gaps" that might be rendered, if a solid shield cable, was "kinked" (bent), and straightened back out. Each of the seven boxes had no air-gaps, except for the space "coined" into the Teflon. At the end of each box, was attached a 300ohm connector, similar (but smaller) to what is used on a video camera. And besides, it was "fun" to do a circle with seven segments instead of a more mundane six or eight . . . who would do "seven" but a nutcase inventor like "yours truly".


(The experiment was a success and yielded good data. Lawrence-Livermore had the only facility for the experiments. All parts (except for the Teflon) were precision machined on the Mitsubishi Wirecut-EDM. The project also taught us much about "cold flow" of Teflon, and what can be accomplished by "coining" with precision dies.)

Phil Bell said...

Hi BassMaster,
"would anyone like to guess why the vor antennae on the vert were reset early on to have a positive aoa relative to the wing and stab?"

Beats me-(?) But here's some shots- it's a little hard to tell, but it looks like the first two (that didn't come out quite right) look different than the last pix.


N503EA, pix 1

It looks tilted up here

Phil Bell said...

Hi Gadfly,
Thanks! (Sounds like you are an artist as much as an inventor!). And well designed and machined metalwork (and, well teflon-work too) are a joy to behold.

Some more checking, and I am disappointed to report, "It is impossible to construct a heptagon with compass and straightedge only."
Bummer- but here are some approximations: Heptagons.

gadfly said...

Well, Phil, with a decent 3D CAD system, at 14 point double precision, dividing a round object into seven is as easy as typing in "7". And "voila"! The accuracy of the program is far beyond the plus or minus one ten thousandth inch of the machined surfaces. The Teflon blanks (top, with coined depression, bottom, and all-round nest) were "blanked" on our 100watt CO2 laser. The electrode nested in the center was Sterling silver, being the better conductor than copper with a zero clearance lead soldered in a slot at the end, sort of like a rectangular ping-pong paddle. The leads fanned out from the circle, with the boxes within the target area.


(But in the old days, it would have been dividers and blue or red Dykem.)

BassMaster said...

Pic 3 is the one. The first 2 are not changed. The planes were running out of nose down trim when loaded towards the aft cg range so they used what would normaly never be thought of as a control surface to help. And guess what? It helped. Quite thoughtful but no body will ever own up to the reason for their positive aoa. Don't believe any docs exist either...but there was a season that had a floor crew repositioning antennae already installed on aircraft just before the aero mods came about. Always found that interesting.

Yes gad the paint is thick and when a panel is removed by someone unfamiliar the result is a long day drilling out many screws due to striped heads. Paint must be removed from fasteners prior to attempting maintenance. Of course if said paint is not replaced you end up with something resembling, well...a dayjet plane.

gadfly said...

Bassmaster . . . drilling out screws on a “finished aircraft” is one scary thing to consider. And now that we’re focused on inspection covers, etc., let’s consider what might/should be done, once there is opportunity to look inside the aircraft.

If I were in charge, I’d have my crew all over each and every Eclipse . . . and here’s where I would look the closest:

1. Along each and every “stir fried” seam, both inside and outside the skin. (We learned from Eclipse that sections of skin had long rectangular seams, “friction stir welded” . . . complete with a short video of their setup.) If direct visual access is not possible, I’d have a high-pixel digital camera on a pole, taking closeup pictures of every inch of “weld”, and put it on computer hard disk, and then study it carefully on a hi-res monitor. I’d do the same, both directly, and with a camera, over the entire outer skin, looking for tell-tale signs of stress or cracking in the paint in all critical areas.

2. Also, repeat the same in every area where the “skin” was “thinned” by chem-milling. Remember, that was an early boast by Eclipse, how they were selectively “lightening” the skin. The edge of every chem-milled area will be subject to a stress point/line, where the outer layer of the skin has been removed . . . like stripping off the outer layer of a sheet of plywood, in selected areas, and expecting a uniform flex of the remaining material.


(When the famous ship, the Queen Mary on display in Long Beach, California, was inspected, it was discovered that the massive funnels had corroded through the steel around each base, but that the countless layers of paint from many years was still supporting the “stacks”. Paint covers a multitude of sins. Paint is paint . . . and corrosion/stress cracks are easy to cover up with pretty makeup.)

michal said...

Kudos to Shane for recalling the historical events of 1989. I grew up in Poland but in 89 was already a US citizen. Yes, those were unbelievable times, my parents never even dreamed that things like that would be possible during their lifetime. I flew to Berlin in 1991 to see what was left from the Berlin Wall - only a small piece remained including a plaque for the last person killed during the attempt of crossing it (a month or two before the wall fell), then I took train Berlin-Warsaw - that was my first trip back to Poland after I left it (illegally) in 1975.

gadfly said...


A long, long time ago, a “Polack” came to our shop with his American sponsor, looking for work. We had nothing at the time. Six months later, he came back . . . offering to work for nothing, if we would train him (he knew little or nothing about machining) . . . but we said we would use him “part time”. Well, he never did work “part time”, but Andrzej soon learned everything we taught him, and went far beyond that.

Over the years, he has become one of the most highly skilled machinists in Albuquerque, bar none. About three years ago, it was a sad day when due to the nonsense in Santa Fe and Washington that business took turns that required us to let go our entire staff. Andrzej was a casualty of that move.

In the early days, while “Andrew” (as the locals called him . . . Andrzej was too much for most to pronounce), I would tell him a “joke” . . . he would think it over . . . making the adjustments in translation, and I would hear him in the next room, over on the “Tree” vertical milling machine, or programming the Wirecut-EDM . . . beginning to laugh as he sorted out the joke. There was seldom a dull moment with Andrzej.

One cannot underestimate the value that the “Polack” added to our little company . . . he was family. He grew up in Warsaw . . . I’ve seen his home on “Google Earth” . . . and the path he followed to get to school. He and his wife and two children escaped through Germany back before the fall of the “wall”. And I remember the day that he gained US citizenship. Today he’s one of those terrible American property owners, that knows what it means to work, and send his two kids to college, and on to greater things. We were privileged to have a part in all that.

Once, we sent him on a business trip to Chicago (and a few other places), and told him of certain Polish restaurants in Chicago . . . you’d thought he’d died and gone to heaven. He hadn’t realized how many Poles lived in Chicago.

Good memories . . . and my introduction and education to Polish logic, beyond the “RPN” HP calculator . . . the only way to do math.


michal said...

gadfly - I imagine there are not many Poles in New Mexico so you must have won a lottery ticket meeting one.. he, he. I love NM, regularly vacation in Ruidoso area with my wife and .. big dog. Aaaaa... RPN, love it .. my old HP-28S (they don't make anything equivalent these days??) to this day is my constant companion, at one time I had a whole RNAV navigation program written for it - it would do VOR triangulation and instantly tell you your position and course to fly, it would even calculate winds aloft. It had a 'database' with VORs. At that time it was far more advanced than anything you could get on a typical pilot's calculator. I wrote the whole thing.

gadfly said...

michal . . . for the great unwashed, the term "Reverse Polish Notation" appears to be a racial "put down". But I trained my four kids right, and gave each of them HP calclulators with RPN base. And frankly, to this day, I cannot figure out how others use the regular calculators. As they say, RPN has no "equal" . . . and only an RPN user knows what that means. Congrats on writing software programs for RPN. And no joke, with "our Polack", we did, indeed, hit the jackpot.

Did I ever tell you the story about the fish . . . the "Kowalkski"? . . . combination of the "Kokanee" salmon, the "Walleye", and the "Muski" . . . survives, multiplies, fights when caught . . . but haven't yet learned to "swim"!

Andrzej likes it.


KnotMPH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gadfly said...

Ka-not . . . if there were a law against stupidity, the halls of congress would be empty, and the prisons would be more full than they already are. It's easier to sweep up "mercury" on a tile floor with a "whisk broom and a gravy ladle".

Open the door to the cockpit, and let the "customers" . . . er, passengers keep an eye open for the nodding head of the pilot or hanky panky with a stewardess . . . er, "flight attendant of the female persuasion". The lawmakers are busy with their own extracurricular activities . . . leave them alone . . . remember the "waitress sandwiches" of a certain senator?

Everybody wants a "law" . . . but free enterprise, and the nation, seem to move forward during those brief recesses, when congress goes on vacation.

OK . . . no open door? . . . Make it out of Lexan (Poly-carbonate) . . . and all will be well. You see, the solution is often "so cheap and simple" . . . but then it doesn't involve the government, and will probably never be used . . . you can't tax it.


(On second thought . . . a seat with a clear view of the flight crew might be considered a "perk" . . . and put "First Class" back a few rows.)

Floating Cloud said...

Phil said:
Seems like our "hypothetical" "Mary" might be taking pilot lessons after all...(You go, girl!)
Cessna CEO's Wife Gets First Skycatcher.

Oh dear, now you all know my identity! My full name is Mary Rose. When my husband first showed me the Skycatcher mockup at Oshkosh in 2007, I knew that was the aircraft I wanted to learn to fly. I couldn't be more excited to own the first Skycatcher! The Skycatcher is only for my training wings, because I was really hoping for a Citation Mustang right off the bat, but as my hubby suggested, I need to start small and work my way up. And UP I will go! (As soon as I get my private pilots license, believe me, he will be getting me a Mustang too.) I am so excited to fly my own jet to visit my friends in Ireland. I’ll soon be there, Shane! If Eclipse hadn’t of botched things up so thoroughly I never would have had this chance to have my very own personal VLJ in the sky, and not only that, one in every color! Thanks Eclipse, you’re a girl’s VBF!


gadfly said...

And don't knock "First Class" . . . they pay far more than "fair" for the privilege of sipping "red" or "white" . . . while the rest enjoy an inexpensive form of travel that is extremely "cheap", considering all alternatives.

Once, in Boston, I remember coming down plenty early I-95 through some "gopher hole" being dug under "Bean Town" . . . yet getting stuck in traffic before the "tunnel" to Logan . . . I drove into Hertz, gave them the keys (ignoring their commands to sign something) . . . hopped on the bus and got to the exit gate two minutes before the aircraft was to exit the gate. I ran up the "down escalator", actually I was totally "lost" . . . found myself at the desk, handed the girl my bag . . . and as I made my way to my seat, I heard behind me, "Sorry Mr. "x", but the standby seat has been taken." I settled into my seat . . . 2D or whatever, and soon fell asleep, until lunch was served, on a long and hard business trip . . . back to ABQ. My fare paid for at least three of the folks in the cabin behind me, maybe more . . . I knew that, but didn't regret it nor consider it some sort of discrimination . . . I had worked extremely hard for the privilege, and paid my dues, full price. A short nap, a pleasant dinner, and soon, after picking up my car in the parking lot, I drove up I-40 and then "14", and home . . . the customer, the airline, . . . and myself, had a profitable day. It was enough!


No honest businessman finds it dishonest to pay for service rendered . . . but for the government to add on to that further taxes, and added requirements . . . when will they learn . . . they'll never learn . . . not one in a hundred has ever in their lives had their own business, and haven't a clue what it takes to make an honest days income, let alone a "profit".

Shane Price said...

Floating Cloud,

I know that EAC were blamed for many things, but I don't think the Mustang was one of them. I think we're all pretty much agreed that Cessna was always going to do an 'entry level' business jet, which is how the market really sees these starter jets anyway.

Please feel free to visit, except around Christmas. I always leave Ireland at that time, to teach the Alps who really is boss. Been trying for more than 40 years, but for some reason these mountains will not cry 'uncle'.


Not just my perspective. The Koreans were shooting at each other today, this time at sea. The Chinese could cut them off at any time, but seem happy to keep the pin (just about) in the grenade.

At least for now.


Lots of Polish in Ireland now, something I could never have predicted when grow up here. They remind me in many ways of the young Irish people of my generation who had to emigrate to find work and a better future.

Back to matters 'critical'....

Someone was kind enough to email me Vern's by now 'standard' resignation letter, which (true to form) blames everyone else for the what's not going right, this time at the EAA.

He must need more time not to fly the Eclipse. You know, the one he no longer has....

Basically, its a long winded rant against what are now his former board members for not doing this that and the other thing, and basically rehashing all the usual complaints about his fellow man.

Poor old Vern. No matter where he turns, the people around him always let him down.

You'd think he'd have spotted a pattern by now, wouldn't you?


Beedriver said...

I am not surprised that mistakes like the NW flight happen. With something like 6000 commercial aircraft in the air at any time something will happen once in a while no matter how much we legislate against it.

The two NW pilots deserve what they get because they did not pay attention to what they were doing. however we should not be surprised that it happens. in fact with humans being involved it is amazing that flying is as safe as it is.

It is incomprehensible that now that some people want to legislate to prevent this. the present rules prohibit not paying attention to piloting an airplane now. how will a law stop human behavior?

The US used to believe in personal responsibility now every thing needs a law. what happened to doing your job well or getting fired.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I want to, wait for it, provide kudos to Vern Raburn.

His resignation letter from the EAA BoD was spot on its criticism, well written, and I believe heartfelt.

To coin a phrase, EAA is the sickman of sport aviation.

It is time for the Poberezny family to be removed from EAA - I still recall the sale of Paul I, the EAA's P-51 under very 'unusual' circumstances, and the last EAA BoD conflict, about 20 years ago, essentially before Vern joined the BoD.

Vern's commentary on Airventure and EAA being a 'facade for a family run business' is priceless in its' simplicity and accuracy.

Good on ya' Vern.

There, I said it.

Orville said...


What do you know about the sale of Paul I? I know it's still in the museum at this point - so I'm unclear as to who was the seller and who was the buyer?

I agree with you 100% that Vern got it right this time.


julius said...


It is incomprehensible that now that some people want to legislate to prevent this.

some politians dream of getting their "own" acts!
When is the next election?

The TSA will get another important task, which will increase the security of the aviation...blah, blah..blah!


P. S.: TSA officer: "According to the "xxx"-act I must check your luaggage, Captain!"..."You say you need the PC? Ok, then I must check every executable code on the PC and its removeable devices for compliance with the "xxx"-act! It will take two hours and you will have to pay 200$ for this special service. Stay with me! Your flight can wait!"

Beedriver said...

The EAA has gotten away from its roots. the warbird flyers get free gas, free cars and all kinds of stuff as I understand. I understand the volunteers now even have to pay for their admission. The EAA is trying to suck every dollar out of the poor experimental airplane builder in order to pay the fat cats.

I do not mind the older Pobernzy benefiting from the organization as he built the organization and well deserved his rewards. I have been in that position and I know well what a thankless job it is to start and grow an organization. however the rest of the fat cats should remember who is the foundation of the EAA.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Looks like Vern's rant has some good point, IMHO... seems to have the meat of it:


julius said...


Looks like Vern's rant has some good point, IMHO...

yes, but it sounds a little bit strange: commitment to the idea of the EAA and responsibility to the members of the EAA!!!

But what about his time with EAC?
Did he expect tough questions by "his" board members? The Nimbus and the Dayjet deals - still strange!
The conjet story - was the budget accepted by the board?

Some plaintiffs will empeach the credibility of his statements. Are there other, real reasons for his resignation?


Orville said...


I'm sure there are multiple reasons for the resignation - but what Vern has to say is - in my opinion - quite true.

I love lurking on the whole Eclipse topic, but typically have to just be a listener, because I don't know enough. However, this (EAA) is a topic I actually know something about.

Shane Price said...

Vern may have a specific point, or three, about the EAA board.


How come, when the wheels and wagon part company, it's never, ever his fault?

That is what I was getting at. Here is yet another example of Vern blaming everyone else. Come on, he was an active EAA board member for 17 years but none of the problems are his responsibility?

The whole episode speaks to his serial inability to manage. He was there, at the centre of all the issues, but was unable (or unwilling) to improve matters.


The Negativist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Negativist said...

The timing of Vern's "announcement" seems more than a little suspect (as usual) given it was on the heels of multiple lawsuits filed related to EAC. One imagines the conversation went something like this...

Vern: "I resign!"

EAA: "You're still here?"

Also find it funny how a Captain Zoom "story" ostensibly about Pasahow's resignation, only devotes one of 19 paragraphs to him. The rest is all-Raburn, all the time.

Speaking of which... Phil, has Zoom threatened you yet with legal action over e.d.t's audacity to post a link to an Aero-News story on this blog? That's a rite of passage I think Shane is very familiar with.

Phil Bell said...

Hi The_Negativist,
Say What ??

Phil Bell said...

You cracked me up!
(Reminded me of Black_Tulip and Gadfly's posts!)
Glad to know you're (really) getting some "air time" in Cessnas- hope you can hop in the left seat sometime soon!

gadfly said...

Orville . . . that makes at least two of us that don't know what's going on. And "Phil" you're trying two hard . . . I'm old enough to remember when the first issue of "Mad" was being circulated around high school.

But regardless, I still want to hear from those who are looking at the inner and outer skin of the little birds . . . and are serious about examining for stress cracks and possible corrosion, especially with the "Dayjet" fleet. Me thinks that "stress cracks" will first show up along the "chem milled" boundaries . . . and much later in areas near the "stir fried" seams.

But time will tell . . . if A&P's, etc., are truly serious in their inspections.


(Screw heads filled with paint on inspection covers? . . . give me a break . . . that's beyond sanity!)

WhyTech said...

"but what Vern has to say is - in my opinion - quite true."

I have long felt tha EAA is pretty much an old-boy network at the executive/board level - very much an "in-crowd" and the rest of the membership. Nothing wrong with this if that's what they want, and not unexpected with the founding family still very much at the center of power. Probably pretty cool if one is a member of the in-crowd. This does raise issues of what come next when the founders are gone. Usually a painful transition, and not always successful.

Phil Bell said...

Hi Shane,
Those North Koreans sure have a thing with boats...

Phil Bell said...

Sorry Gadfly- ships!

gadfly said...


The old definition was that a "ship" could carry a boat, but a boat could not carry a ship. But from the beginning, submariners have referred to a submarine as a "boat" . . . and probably will remain the term of endearment.

gadfly ("diesel boats forever")

Floating Cloud said...

From what I gather from "prior" sources, the fully loaded paint factory at Eclipse authorized by the Peg Meister calling the shots to Vern was the breaking point of those such as Peter Reed and the rest of the "rats" ahem "company" who skedaddled ship once they knew the boom was about to come down -- right before it did. Not surprised there are multiple layers of paint on the airplane to cover a myriad of sloppiness problems, err - structural mistakes. That would be the classic equivilent of using “art restoration” to sell a fake.

Orville said...


I'm certainly not absolving Vern of any responsibility regarding what's going on at EAA, NAFI, TBO-NAFI (now SAFE), etc.

The place is a mess - and Vern's observations are - again in my opinion - correct. But also just the tip of the iceberg.


Absolutely an old boys club - old boys who never grew up - enjoy flying to the board meetings - but never really do anything other than blame others.

It'll be interesting to watch.

WhyTech said...

"old boys who never grew up - enjoy flying to the board meetings "

My experience with similar organizations is that the board is mostly ornamental, with the role of reaffirmimg the wisdom of the founders and creating an appearance of rational management. It seems to me that the board at EAA has no real fiduciary responsibility to the membership as might be the case in a corporate setting where shareholders have an economic stake in the business. The members pay a relatively token amount of dues ($35?) and receive in return a nice magazine and a few services. A reasonable return on the "investment." The execs/board get around 300 airplanes to play with, a way to write off substantial personal expenses, in some cases, fat salaries to do what many would pay to do, and bragging rights. A really good deal! Nothing wrong with this in my opinion as long as everyone is happy with the bargain. Members can easily opt out by not re-upping next year if they dont like it, and have lost very little.

I had the opportunity to attend a "VIP Day" at EAA several years ago as the guest of a friend who was then a large contributor. Two days of wining and dining with the founders, and playing with neat airplanes. Made me want to be an old boy!

WhyTech said...

"Vern: "I resign!"

EAA: "You're still here?"

The kiss & tell nature of Vern's remarks certainly suggest that he was "invited" to resign. Not a class act on Vern's part.

baron95 said...

Beedriver said...
The US used to believe in personal responsibility now every thing needs a law... what happened to doing your job well or getting fired.


baron95 said...

Julius said...

P. S.: TSA officer: "According to the "xxx"-act I must check your luaggage, Captain!"..."You say you need the PC? Ok, then I must check every executable code on the PC and its removeable devices for compliance with the "xxx"-act! It will take two hours and you will have to pay 200$ for this special service. Stay with me! Your flight can wait!"


Julius, reality is much worse than your attempt at humor. Are you aware that our Chief, the Obaminator, just aprpoved new rules that gives our border/immigration agents rights to search AND RETAIN any laptop, computer, digital camera, electronic file?

Customer price proposals, pictures of you and your girlfriend on vacation are now fair game for our border agents - If only North Korea had thought of that!!!!

julius said...


Are you aware that our Chief, the Obaminator, just aprpoved new rules that gives our border/immigration agents rights to search AND RETAIN any laptop, computer, digital camera, electronic file?

isn't that standard use since the Bushynator invented the department of home land security and blew up the TSA?

Two years ago I heard that once and a while the border officers take laptops - au revoir! For private use?

Remember the pitot tube "monkey" -
and the reaction of the TSA!!!
But where are people who want to check dirty clothes...? They aren't police officers but must search for "criminal passengers" using their behaviours?

Two, three years ago I read, that some secret service people joint this organisation - that's just safer than in Iran, Pakistan etc.
And some of these gentlemen had a nice CV...

You have not an ID card (with a number) but now you may get a redress number and everything is ok when passing TSA borders....

Security or lack of it is inherent to the social system. Even prisons are not safe systems.


P.S.: Not a joke: Some EU politians believed that paxs must not know which parts must not be taken in the hand baggage. Terrorists might have these parts with them and could be caught that way...."Unfortunaley" some paxs "tested" this concept...

baron95 said...

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have made a series of moves to open up business aviation in the country. In her report, Wood says a $4,400 fee for each flight plan has been eliminated and a combined total of 23 percent in taxes and import duties has been reduced to a single tax of six percent on business aircraft effective in January.

Can you tell which country is moving in the right direction?

Amazing, how a Communist country has to teach the USA about capitalism, lower taxes and fees to spur economic activity.

baron95 said...

But, not to be outdone....

Alan Mulally has been named Man of the Year by Automobile magazine, for decisively guiding Ford to the position it is now, the only large American publicly owned automobile company, to have avoided bankruptcy and the wipe out of shareholder value.

And, his former employer announced that the side of body modes on Dreamliner one are complete. The mods on static airframe and Dreamliner 2 will be done in the coming days. First flight "on track" for late 2009, still as predicted by a member of Shane's blog. ;)

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Sorry to spoil the fun with facts, but Obama didn't take office until January of THIS year.

Washington Post- August 01, 2008.

"Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

"Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."

I expect you will correctly redirect your indignation to the appropriate administration. ??

bill e. goat said...

"Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have made a series of moves to open up business aviation in the country. In her report, Wood says a $4,400 fee for each flight plan has been eliminated and a combined total of 23 percent in taxes and import duties has been reduced to a single tax of six percent on business aircraft effective in January. Can you tell which country is moving in the right direction? Amazing, how a Communist country has to teach the USA about capitalism, lower taxes and fees to spur economic activity."

I would suspect if we were to sell F-22s, nuclear submarines, and supercomputers to China, they might also agree to only a 6 percent tax on them, as well.

China has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by encouraging importing business jets- it is in their national best interest.

I suspect they have no import duty on rope, either.

Maybe it's time we started thinking of our national best interest too.

If there is something we should learn from China- it is long term planning, not short term profit.

bill e. goat said...

I am happy Boeing might fly the 787, despite management flubs, not unions, not Washington state employees. (I'm still not sure they will, but figure it will be by the end of Feb, maybe sooner. It would seem they could do a lot with even a structurally restricted airplane, flight control development, ECS work, avionics debugging, navigation and communication checkouts, etc. flutter and envelope expansion and performance testing, no- but still, a lot of other things, so it would seem even some crude cobbled up patch work would do for now- do the big rework later, after a few other flight test articles are flying).

Regarding Alan Mulally and Ford, I'm curious what you would attribute to Mulally and Ford versus GM and Chrysler.

bill e. goat said...

The Negativist,
Vern: "I resign!"

EAA: "You're still here?"

ZOTY Award !!

(Zinger of the Year!)

Beats me about the EAA- seems like they've done a lot of good. The concessions for giveaways to the warbird crowd is pricy, but probably a "business decision" that draws enough extra crowd to be worth it.

On the other hand, it would be nice if it was less a "show" and more a "convention", for oh, say, Experimental Aircraft, without the glitz for the general public.

(But I confess, I enjoy the glitz too. But- I would go to the Experimental Convention instead of the Glitz-a-thon, if I had a choice. But the general public probably would not).

julius said...

bill e.goat,

Regarding Alan Mulally and Ford, I'm curious what you would attribute to Mulally and Ford versus GM and Chrysler.

didn't Ford ask for some govermmental money before Chrysler and GM?
Mulally had the better team and he managed to cut the costs.

Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed.

I think that's part of the self service mentality of secret service agencies - "It's because of the War against Terrorism".
The only good thing is they didn't enlarge this policy to travelers...

IANAL,I think taking parts from travelers without any reason is not covered by any US-laws and contradicts to constitutional rights.

Back to some a/cs.
Boeing tries to produce the impression that everything might be ok - but Boeing didn't say anything about the state of the critical tests...

Airbus would be lucky to hear something. The A350 isn't tested - which mistakes will be repeated in bdespite of Boeing's experiences?


P.S.: How much time will it take to cure the Guitmo disease and it's metastases?

baron95 said...

bill e. goat said...
Sorry to spoil the fun with facts, but Obama didn't take office until January of THIS year.
Exactly. And it was on August 27th, 2009 that the Obama Administration formalized, via two DHS Directives, the electronic device confiscation policy.

Note - I have no loss love for Bush, and god knows our country has been misguided for quite some time in some areas. And yes, the un-announced practice, started under Bush. The Chief, just took his "careful consideration time (9-months)" then formalized the practice into directives that actually provide cover for the US agents to act without fear of consequence.

Here is some text from the left that you may "trust":
"The Obama administration disclosed on August 27 that it will carry on Bush administration policies that allowed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seize and search international travelers' laptop computers, cellular phones, cameras, and other electronic devices, even in the absence of suspicion of criminal activity.

Two DHS directives made public Thursday formalize operational practices established by the Bush administration to carry out searches of the personal digital instruments of travelers, US citizens or not, passing across US borders. By proclaiming that agents can confiscate any digital device that may contain "information," even without suspicion of criminal activity, the directives amount to an open repudiation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. "

But you can just get a long list of articles from all major publications, saying basically the same thing vi a google:

baron95 said...

bill e. goat said...


Regarding Alan Mulally and Ford, I'm curious what you would attribute to Mulally and Ford versus GM and Chrysler.

Very Simple.

Market Valuation of (old) GM and Chrysler = ZERO.

Market Valuation of Ford = US$27B.

Anyone that had GM stock got wiped out. Any one (private) that invested in Chrysler got wiped out.

Anyone that invested in Ford, retained US$27B in equity (and rising).

Additionally, Ford is gaining market share, focused on core brands, and making "some" money. you think that came about by accident?

In 2006, when he came in, Alan, borrowed all he could, to build a cash cushion, and invest in new models. He sold non core distractions like Aston and Jag and LR and now Volvo. He basically shut down Mercury, forced dealer consolidation (getting rid of virtually all independent Lincoln-Mercury dealers), renegotiated debt and UAW contracts ahead of the other two, and outside Bankruptcy.

Dude - other than pee liquid gold the guy could not possibly have done any better.

And when he started doing it in 2006, it was far from obvious, that that was the right thing to do.

Now, the Ford line up is still rather dull, and may suffer in better times. So work remains. But his 2006-2009 performance has been off-the charts compared to his peers.

baron95 said...


I used to be very fearful and weary of China. I still think we need to be absolutely prepared to take them down at will, if needed, when needed.

But, I'm extremely excited about the US-China symbiosis. I really think that the US-China trade, insulated by our linked and right-valued currencies, our design(US)-build(china)-service(both)-invest(US) model, will leave the rest of the overvalued, high reg, high-price world behind.

The EU is despairing about this prospect. I was in Chile and Brazil last week and it was amazing. Brazilian president was on TV saying he will do ALL HE CAN to devalue his currency vis-a-vis the US$ and the Yuan. Incredible. The EU is sounding the same wining bells.

If we play this right, we can link the US economy even more to the 9%/yr growth of the Chinese economy.

The good thing is. I think Obama gets it.

airsafetyman said...

"But, I'm extremely excited about the US-China symbiosis."

Right. Its alays great to pal around with a police state dictatorship. We must however be on constant guard against the godless commies in Cuba, lest they overthrow our country.

airsafetyman said...

I was wondering how Cessna got the "Skycatcher" certified if it is built in China. But, of course, is is a LSA so it doesn't have to have an FAA Type Certificate! Just as well after the farce in ABQ with the Eclipse TC and PC.

baron95 said...

Damn right.

A pragmatic regime is a safe regime.

A fanatic nonsensical one, is the one you have to watch out for.

Though Cuba impoverished itself into irrelevance.

julius said...


China is going to fly to the moon. The rest of the world is not interested or has no money. Do you think this China is willing to be only the producer and not the designer?
They will want to control the business...
And there is also India...

Oh, there is an example: US and China - the skycatcher and back to aviation again!

Anyhow, now Boeing believes that everything is ready for the big tests. Hopefully Boeing will pass these tests and the 787 is in the air in December 2009.


P.S.: I forgot Levorno IBM's PCs...
(Design mostly US,but the rest..)

airsafetyman said...

"A pragmatic regime is a safe regime."

Unless you happen to live there, and are the one standing in front of the tank.

As for Cuba, the Europeans and Canadians seem to like to go there on vacation, their universal medical care is quite good. Not an ideal country by any means but, all in all, much more "pragmatic" than China.

BTDT said...

In answer to some comments about EAA and the Warbird show.

All of the regular performers in the airshow are given gas, free motel room and a free rental car.

The Warbirds are considered "performers" for their portion of the show. But they get ONLY fuel and none of the other benefits.

The discision has always been about them getting all kinds of perks and why they are part of the show in the first place.

EAA is a money machine. If the local "townies" want to come and see the Warbirds fly and on certain days see the pyro display then EAA will be glad to take their money.

baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...
Unless you happen to live there, and are the one standing in front of the tank.
Damn right again.

A - I don't live there.

B - If I did, I would not be stupid enough to stand in front of a 40ton tank.

C - If I hypothetically did, A & B, I'd be prepared to be run over.

Now - please go to an US army base and see what would happen if you stood in front of an M1-A. Note: results may vary, make sure you have a will or at least are prepared to be "gone" for a while.

gadfly said...

Until you’ve actually been in a situation where someone . . . say, directly overhead . . . has the “means” and the “motivation” to put an end to your life, and all others with you, it’s easy to “hypothesize” about what you would, or wouldn’t do. And then consider that the conditions may take place over many hours . . . or maybe a day or two, and time is running out . . . "O2" is dropping to 16%, and CO2 is rising towards 2 1/2 %, it’s interesting what values a person puts on their own life, and those of others . . . maybe “shipmates”, etc., and the only means of escape is anything but certain. And there is no witness to report your brave last minutes . . . or hours.

But that is not to put down the bold stand that the Chinese man displayed on that wonderful day. That Chinese man did the right thing, and sent a message that is still being read.

The real heros in this world are helpless folks that, through no fault of their own, and never looking for trouble, are being tormented and wounded day and night . . . for months and years for causes far beyond silly political reasons.


airsafetyman said...


The point is that we are happily doing business with China that is brutal toward its' citizens, while at the same time ensuring the hardship and degregration of Cuba's people, including children, by enforcing an absurd embargo that has done nobody any good since 1962. Why? So a parade of political whores like George Bush can get the Florida electorial vote and get their miserable ass in the White House.

gadfly said...

A “gadfly” is an irritating insect, of unknown specie . . . that buzzes around . . . well let’s simply quote from the “Merriam-Webster” dictionary (2nd definition) . . . “A person who stimulates or annoys especially by persistent criticism”. That’s me!

“Way back”, a couple or more blog-sites, I have been harping on possible problems related to the “stir fried” welding, etc., and other issues that may or may not be a problem, in quality control, and overall safety of the little jet . . . among other things. (‘Always want to keep the door wide open to those possible “other things” . . . pesky little things those “gadflies”.)

It seems to me that it is way past time for someone to have carefully examined the transition areas around the “chem milled” areas, and the “stir fried” welding zones, and made their findings known, either to confirm that “all is well on the Western Front”, or “Houston, we have a problem!”

This, and previous blog-sites, have covered just about every subject known to man, and a few beyond . . . yet the basic quality issues that should be discussed (except for the “glass cockpit”, etc.), have for the most part, been put on the back burner, or put out in the back barn . . . take your choice.

Hey, folks . . . that horse out in the “back barn” needs water and oats . . . and the mechanical safety issues of the “little jet” haven’t been fed, since . . . who knows when.

This “bird” was put into production to transform the general aviation industry every which way from Saturday . . . or with Eclipse, “Tuesday”. It’s past time to look at it, in every direction, to see if Vern’s baby is truly unique . . . safe to fly, breaking into new frontiers of manufacturing excellence, etc., . . . and either deserves to go on living, or needs to quietly pass into the footnotes of history alongside “Dr. Samuel Pierpont Langley’s” (1834-1906) “Aerodrome”. It was said “back then”, that if Dr. Langley had launched his craft, “the other side up”, it would have flown . . . but unfortunately, the “EDO Float” had not yet been invented . . . and the Hudson River was the only place to “land”. Maybe we could say the “Aerodrome” was a plane ahead of its time . . . and technology had yet to catch up with the brilliance of an “over funded” genius. Ah yes, history does, indeed, repeat itself. (And one wonders about “steam powered” aircraft . . . we await with bated breath.)

Well, there ‘tis! You “A&P’s” out there have a responsibility, to get in there “real close” with LED flashlights . . . looking at the backside of stir-fried seams . . . and the borders around “chem milled” areas . . . and report your findings. What do you see? . . . any “hairline” cracks in the aluminum? . . . and how ‘bout on that beautiful white paint on the outer skin . . . have you taken a “real close look” lately? When you sign off the inspection report, it’s your name on the line . . . “been there, done that” . . . do a good thorough job. Prove that the little bird it worthy of its claims, or get this thing off the street.


(The world is waiting to know . . . the “hype” doesn’t cut it.)

baron95 said...

Right again ASM.

As I said, Cuba is irrelevant. We should end the embargo, trade with them, etc.

But politics is politics.

I don't care one way or another because they are irrelevant.

Getting the relationship right with China is critical to our future.

They are helping us put a lid on inflation, so we can keep ZERO interest rate for a lot longer. They are helping us put a lid on unreasonable wage and work rules.

Now we need to play smart and keep high value design, manufacturing and services here in the US, without being protectionist.

There is a right balance there.

I think Obama gets it, like Clinton did.

Anyway - I'm glad that China is opening up Biz Av - that will benefit American companies and China alike.

BassMaster said...

Gad I won't let my guys touch an ea500. Were perfectly happy with not having any ink in one of their logbooks. I must say that there are more pressing issues than the friction stir or chem milling both of which are proven in the space arenas. While friction stir on a space shuttle tank dosent see the same environment as an aircraft I will say that in speaking with various space program inspectors and managers, they are extremely happy with the quality. Boeing enough to go forward and invest in tooling to friction weld radialy around the delta rockets.

There are problems that will appear soon enough. Lots of their engineers went to Honda. Some of the best and some of the worst. Same with floor folks.

Too late now. To expensive to make it right now. Let's just continue to wish ea pax and pilots best wishes. Regulatory agencies are obviously going to be rective on this deal. Even owners are afraid of being proactive since they don't want anymore ADs. MX personel at ea shops will hopefuly make the right choices even if it comes to losing their jobs over it.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Baron said,
Now we need to play smart and keep high value design, manufacturing and services here in the US, without being protectionist.

Well, I disagree with this; some protectionism is needed. I'm sick to my stomach with the Govt doing all it can to prop-up markets, but yet our economy is still a mess:
The Real Estate Market ($8K credit)
The Automobile Market (by not letting GM go into a real bankruptcy and get DIP financing thru the credit market)
The Energy Market(s)
The Labor Market (yeah, I know, a Necessary Evil)
The Health Insurance Market
The Education Market (state univ)
and the real big one,

With regard to "high value design, manufacturing, and services," what does that look like today? GE is shutting down its Albuquerque plant while Pratt & Wittney is closing another plant in CT, if memory serves. Corporate America got what it wanted: Labor is now an interchangeable commodity where a lower priced engineer in India can replace a higher priced American engineer. Thanks to IT and technology, lots of brain work can be sent out of the country.

When Manufacturing -- as a "Sector" of our economy -- is at like 10 or 11% of our total GDP, I fail to understand why our Govt still trys to deflate the dollar in order to increase exports when most of us work in Service Sector jobs!!!. The manufacturing isn't done here anymore, and to a large extent, most of the engineering isn't done here anymore either! So why not start *some* neo-Mercantilist policies favoring domestic production for domestic consumption?

The (real) answer, IMHO, is that ANY / ALL manufacturing is looked down on as dirty and low class. Someone hiding behind the Wizzard of Oz curtain is thinking that it's better for China to make all our disposable consumer goods so America's sons and daughters don't ever have to work in a glum factory. No, some get to go to war in order to ensure the price of gas stays around $2.50/gallon...

I still think a factory making clothes for Wal-Mart stores could still be profitable in the USA, even if paying an average of $10/hr to all the workers. Instead, we have eliminated those factories for call centers that pay $10/hr. So now there is no where else for all the surplus labor to go since Govt played favorites and picked the winners and losers. If Govt leaders looked at our economy as a diverse Ecosystem, they would plant seeds for ALL biz types to thrive, especially ones that hire high-wage employees: when an engineer from GM is laid-off, where is she to go if Ford and Chrysler are also laying off people? How can we ensure their ability to find another job AT THE SAME SALARY (ceteris paribus) without being protectionist? What does that do to our tax base when a $100k engineer has to accept a job only paying $50k? Won't those decisions (not to offer Protectionist policies) affect the next generation of college students, if they see that an Engineering career lacks the **wage** stability the previous generation of engineers enjoyed???!

I'm in the middle of reading the book The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and A New Way Forward by Bruce Bartlett. So that's why my blood is boiling!!


Beedriver said...

I am for competition and let the best company win but when I must compete in my manufacturing company with foreign countries that have no social security, no workers compensation, no pollution regulations pay no health care and give government support to companies, then I think the US should charge import duties in order to level the playing field.

When ever we run up against unfair competition then I am very protectionist.

yes we might love to pay the lowest prices at Walmart however eventually when the low paying jobs do not pay enough for a living wage then I am going to need to take care of the people who cant pay for their emergency room visit or pay to feed the American workers that can't get a job because unfair competition overseas forces American companies to move production overseas or go out of business.

julius said...


social and ecological dumping had been or are on the agenda of the WTO.
Even China is aware that somehing is out of balance if/when the Yellow River doesn't reach the sea. But other developed states still do not want or cannot learn from mistakes been made some years before (e. g. Australia).


China is not waiting for super computers made in US . China has designed and built the first one, partly based on US parts (Intel CPU, AMD GPU).
"If Tianhe had been operational for the most recent Top 500 list, it would have ranked as the world's fourth-most powerful supercomputer." "Tianhe also could be ranked as the world's fifth-greenest supercomputer on the Green500 List, which is compiled by researchers at Virginia Tech to rank the world's most energy-efficient supercomputers." In a next step the INTEL resp. AMD parts will be replaced by Chinese products.

Floating Cloud said...

I never intend to infer that the Mustang would not have existed without the EAC (I know you all have had that discussion), but rather the lack of competition from the failed Eclipse only further enhanced Cessna sales. Lucky Mary Rose!

BTW, nothing would make me happier than to visit you one day (but not at Christmas). In the meantime, go get your mountain. It awaits you.

Isn't EAC a microcosm of the greater world at large? Is that not why it continues to hold our interest? Does the US have any edge in business competition any where at all any more?

I agree with you and know from a horse’s mouth that the paint factor on the Eclipse airplanes is HUGE and covering real problems and no one is really paying attention -- until it may be too late. And I hope and pray not, as I am sure you are too.

You did spur me on to make a Mary story (too perfect an opportunity to not and I'll always be happy to make your day). The one thing that really bugs me – if (Mary) Rose saw the prototype for the Skycatcher in 2007 then why, with all her resources, did she wait to learn to fly until now ? What a bunch of malarkey…I’d learn to fly in one of those Cessna 172s that young Mathias Rust flew to Red Square if given the opportunity. In fact, that was the same kind of airplane I was in just the other day.

Floating Cloud

PS I miss Black Tulip stories too.

Black Tulip said...

I know one the candidates for EAA president and volunteered as a reference. He is eminently qualified. He made it through the headhunter gauntlet but ran into the Poberezny Mafia. If the EAA were a public company it would be swamped with proxy fights and shareholder litigation.

julius said...

Floating Cloud,

the C172 (s or less!) has one big advantage compared to the other GA a/cs: One can open the window(s) and take airal photoes without "a plastic filter" and the wings resp. whells are minor problems!


WhyTech said...

"If the EAA were a public company it would be swamped with proxy fights and shareholder litigation."

Well, maybe. But recall that EAA members are not shareholders in the corporate sense and do not have the rights that shareholders have. This plus the fact that EAA is a private entity comprised of consenting adults (for the most part) means that they can do it however they please.

airsafetyman said...

"Does the US have any edge in business competition any where at all any more? "

In only a very few companies that still have a reputation for integrity: Merck in pharmeceuticals, USAA in insurance, and Proctor and Gamble in consumer goods. Not one in aviation that I can think of, certainly not Beech, Cessna, Piper, Cirrus, Teledyne or Lycoming. Or Bell. Or Boeing. Maybe Pratt and Whitney?

baron95 said...

eclipse_deep_throat said...
With regard to "high value design, manufacturing, and services," what does that look like today?

Hi EDT - Nice post - lots of interesting questions.

You should know that every modern economy in the planet, has somewhere between 65% and 100% in services. In Brazil it is 67%, in the US it is 75-80% depending on how you measure, in Monoca, Luxemburg, etc (the highest per capta incomes in the world) it is near 100%.

So don't feel overly impressed by 80% services. A heavily manufacturing modern economy will be in the 70-75% range (e.g. Germany).

So there is *A LOT* of manufacturing happening in the US. And *A LOT* of agriculture. Don't get misguided by "80% services". Germany and Japan are 75%, THe BRICS are in the 60-70% range. So we are only slightly tilted towards services, compared to other economies.

Beedriver said...
but when I must compete in my manufacturing company with foreign countries that have no social security, no workers compensation, no pollution regulations pay no health care and give government support to companies, then I think the US should charge import duties in order to level the playing field.

Protectionism is never the answer. The current trade treaty's already offer some mechanisms to safeguard against subsidies, etc. But you need to let different countries pursue different paths - that is how winners emerge. Let Europe compete with a strong social network and very high taxes. Let China compete with little of it. And let the US compete somewhere in between.

Do you really want the EU to impose tariffs against the US because we don't have government provided health insurance? Or because not all of our states have mandated unionization?

I hardly think that is the answer.

Even within the US, let the states compete. Let high-tax, high-regulation, high-union Michigan compete against low-tax, low-reg, right-to-work South Carolina for auto-manufacturing jobs. Lets see who wins. Let the winners prosper and the losers adapt.

baron95 said...

"Does the US have any edge in business competition any where at all any more? "

S E R I O U S L Y ? ! ? ! ? !

So, Apple enters the phone market from scratch and in 2 years is collecting an estimated 25-30% of the global PROFITS in mobile phones. And you are not impressed by it?

And Google in its brief existence walks away with the lion's share of global advertising.

And Intel and AMD dominate microprocessors to virtually 100% market share.

And Microsoft/Apple/Red Hat dominate desktop O.S. to virtually 100% market share.

We produce Virginia-class subs, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, F-22s/F-35s which are untoucheable weapons systems, and you are not impressed.

We produce artery stents, Statins and Viagra and change the sexual dynamics of 1/3 of the population, and you are still not impressed?

We have the most productive agriculture in the world, we produce bio-engineered seeds that require less water, less pesticides and you are not impressed?

We have over 90% of the profits in the movie and music business in the world - you are not impressed?

We have 50% of commercial airliner, 80% of biz aviation, 90% of avionics, and you are not impressed.

Goldman Sachs makes $16B in profits in the middle of a financial calamity and you are not impressed?

Seriously - where do you guys get off that doom and gloom?

We have the most productive, competitive, innovative economy on the planet, by far.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Baron said,
Seriously - where do you guys get off that doom and gloom?
We have the most productive, competitive, innovative economy on the planet, by far.

My God, Baron, what Kool-Aid are you drinking ....and where can I get some?

Sure, we have a $14 trillion economy (according to the most recent episode of McLaughlin Group) but we also have a 10.2% unemployment rate; if only the unemployed could get dividend checks from their Goldman Sacks stocks, all would be right in the world! IMHO, most working-class Americans (like me) are working paycheck to paycheck. After the debauchery of Eclipse Aviation, I have the 'stability' of a State Govt job, but my Governor just put thru budget cuts and a mandatory 5-day furlough. I either accept it or quit and go somewhere else. But where else can I go? So I accept the 5-day unpaid vacation and I alter my spending (read: consumption) accordingly. And the macro-economy suffers with all the money 4000+ State employees don't spend at local stores, buying goods and services that would have contributed taxs to the State coffers. This is a vicious cycle when Biz, Consumers, AND Govt all make cuts at the same time.

Aside from the Department of Defense, where can all this extra labor go? Who is going to hire 15 million surplus labor workers, many of who I bet have Master's degrees? By definition, they are expensive so it will take some time for the market to clear. Or we dig up Keynes and try to "reinflate" our economy to the prior price level...

We have fallen into a Keynesian liquidity trap because there is no real credit out there, even when they are subsidized by the free money (0.001% interest) charged at the Federal Reserve discount window.

We have experienced a massive destruction of wealth: from Q4 2007, net household wealth fell from $64.3 TRILLION to $51.5 trillion in Q4 2008 (per the Bartlett book). Perhaps it was just paper wealth, but don't you see that will have a dramatic affect on psychology. Considering that income inequality is one of the 'pernicious' consequenses of a Capitalistic system, do you really think that reduction in net household wealth is a nice "normally distributed" bell curve? Actually, I think we'd tend to expect it to be skewed-right, to hit the higher income class harder. But the middle class types that live paycheck to paycheck are the one's that are having a hard time replacing lost cash flow... at the same time they see their 401K paper wealth tank. Or in some cases, they have to tap into their 401k now because their unemployment $$$ has run out.

The real problem is that Govt can't afford to prime the pump any longer, especially when its been using borrowed money for 40 years to do it. And that is why I see more doom and gloom, because it is a Perfect Storm of at least five things happening in 2010:
1. The $8K tax credits for 1st time home buyers has to end by March or April 2010 which will cause all homebuilder and appliance maker stocks to tank by June or August 2010, when they can't hide non-existent demand anymore,
2. Obama will be forced (finally) to pull troops out of Afganistan to save $$$ and political street-cred for those running for re-election,
3. Obama will be forced to sign whatever health care bill Congress delivers in order to save face, regardless of its cost.
4. The Bush tax cuts already have a sunset provision and will be allowed to expire in 2010, so taxes on a select few will be increasing!!!
5. The Dems are almost CERTAIN to lose House seats (all 435 House seats are up for election in Nov 2010). IF unemployment is still > 9% in Nov 2010, I predict the Dems lose control of Congress completely! If that happens, Congress will cut Govt spending in FY 2011 and 2012...


PS - Baron, pass me some popcorn!!! This is gonna make 2012 look like a fun ride at Disneyland!! A Perfect Storm, indeed. And I just love disaster movies (Everybody Dies, part VII), and sequels are even better!!!

WhyTech said...

"IMHO, most working-class Americans (like me) are working paycheck to paycheck. "

Sorry, but this is a personal choice. If you dont like it, make another choice.

julius said...


We have the most productive, competitive, innovative economy on the planet, by far.

Did you look at the balance sheet?

That's something you have to keep in mind. And there are other factors...


WhyTech said...

"We have the most productive, competitive, innovative economy on the planet, by far."

Great post. The only thing I would change is the last two words, from "by far" to "so far."

bill e. goat said...

I busted out laughing with your movie idea ("Everybody Dies Part xx").

I admire Baron for being a good sport, and his "enthusiasm" about his viewpoints.

I agree 100 (actually, about 200%) with the comments about outsourcing jobs, and concede Baron's point about -some- areas of US superiority. While proud of US companies accomplishments, it is disheartening to see facilities 9and jobs) offshored, when the same work -could- be performed in the US, and the only reason it's not is low cost labor overseas. Witness Intel Corp's web page:

"How many factories do you have worldwide, where are they located and what percentage of your workforce do they employ?
Intel has 15 wafer fabs in production worldwide at nine locations. Fab production sites within the United States are located in Chandler, Ariz.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Hudson, Mass.; Rio Rancho, N.M.; and Hillsboro, Ore.; and outside the United States in Leixlip, Ireland; Jerusalem, Israel; and Kiryal Gat, Israel. Two new fabs are under construction at existing sites in Arizona and Israel.

"The company has six assembly and test sites worldwide and is building a seventh, all of them outside the U.S. Assembly and test sites outside the United States are located in Shanghai, China; Chengdu, China; San Jose, Costa Rica; Kulim, Malaysia; Penang, Malaysia; and Cavite, Philippines. An assembly and testing site in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is under construction. There is one testing facility and one assembly development facility inside the U.S.

"About half of Intel’s total workforce is involved in production or production services."

Same mixed bag with the iPhone. A great deal of US content, but I see no reason it's not 100% local, other than profit margins for Apple with lower cost labor.

(It dawns on me a large percentage of this HP computer I'm using right now are probably assembled in China too...)

The US does great at inventing things, probably the best in the world. But not everybody is an engineer or scientist. (Or a stockholder in Intel or Apple or Mircrosoft). There are advantages for corporate profits to use cheaper foreign labor. But not to the public at large. And I would say, just the opposite.

Julius points out the Chinese supercomputer (built at The National University of Defense Technology- just an odd coinicidence, I'm sure...); think they'd build that without the electronics technology gleened by being an assembly site for US corporations?

bill e. goat said...

"Sorry, but this is a personal choice. If you don't like it, make another choice."

I agree completely- it's time to for a public awakening and -finally- holding Washington politicians accountable for allowing:

1) jobs to be off-shored,

2) encouraging low-cost illegal immigrant labor,

3) corporations (and individuals) using off-shore tax havens to evade taxes.

Chronic underemployment IS a result of the policies we've been dumbed down into accepting as "necessary"- I say it's time to change the policies, and if necessary, the people who created them.

(I think EDT is doing a great job of "soldiering on" in this tough economy, especially in NM. I can't imagine anyone more tech savvy and entrepreneurial than Gadfly, and even he reports it's tough sledding out there right now).

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

"We have the most productive, competitive, innovative economy on the planet, by far."

Perhaps someone should correct those silly boys and girls at the CIA.

Especially about the "by far" bit. If we condsider "by far" to be, say, 25%, there are 20-25 countrys within- or exceeding- the per capita GDP of the USA.

(Ireland is about 3 percent behind. But they don't count- after all, who lives in Ireland!

Through in per capita national and private debt, health care expenses, the cost of education, and hours worked (Ireland works 15% less, most of Europe works 20% less- I think out could say "by far" less)- I'd say we still have great cause to be thankful with our situation, but "by far" superiority is a gross overstatement with comparison to the the top half of first-world nations.

And what is particularly frustrating, I see our situation eroding, rather than strengthening, in comparions to other countries. (We're still infinitely more blessed than 85-90% of the world though- but ask why, and it's because of the blessings we inherited, from nature and from the political thought of our forefathers. (Up to the 1980's anyway). Regarding decline, then ask why we are willfully and/or ignorantly allowing those blessing to be squandered for near-term gain).

Floating Cloud said...

Julius said:

"the C172 (s or less!) has one big advantage compared to the other GA a/cs: One can open the window(s) and take airal photoes without "a plastic filter" and the wings resp. whells are minor problems!"

And that open window option could also come in handy in case one needs to swoop down and ask for directions! (In the true spirit of the Spirit of St. Louis!)

I am also one of those NM state workers, but I escaped the mandatory furlough - this time. Like you I am very grateful for my paycheck even though I may be living "paycheck to paycheck." Many Americans do not even have THAT choice at all - Mr. Whytech. And the only real choice is the social one that Bill e. Goat suggests.

I am glad I am a card carrying USAA member for over twenty years since it got on your list of successful US companies that maintain integrity.

You are always so enamored with the superficial and the fake that it never ceases to amaze me.

Floating Cloud

airshogun said...

What B95 writes in the last post is quite persuasive and down to the point.
While no one should look other way to the social and economic problems pervading in the US and elsewhere, those great achievement enumerated are just a tip of the iceberg and when you think about it gives us all an added perspective and positive impact on finding way out. The post strikes a chord with the President’s now trite slogan “Yes, we can.” somewhat.


Phil Bell said...

New headline post is up!