Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Rememberance



Memorial Day 2010...
Last weekend presented a unique opportunity to tour a World War Two vintage B-17 bomber, on static (and flying) display at one of the local airports.
Quite an astounding opportunity, considering over 10,000 were built (some 65-75 years ago)- I was told there are around 14 in flyable condition- but only a few are actually flown.

Driving home from work a late afternoon on the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, I noticed a rather large, rather slow airplane, deviating from the typical flight path of the airline crowd. I pulled over on the shoulder and watched, and it lumbered almost directly overhead: "Look- Up in the Sky- It's a Bird...(no)- It's a plane (well, yes)- it's a B-17 !" Asking around, I found it was the Liberty Belle, on tour. (Nine-month tour, it turns out- becoming a yearly event, since it's $3M restoration).

This particular aircraft was built too-late to participate in hostilities, and was delivered straight to the surplus holding area. "Honest Sam's Used (and Un-Used) Airplanes". Many were purchased for the full tanks of fuel which came with the purchase, and then parted out. This particular one became a test bed for Pratt and Whitney- a turboprop was mounted in the nose, where the plexiglass bombardier's window is on the original. Served as a test bed for 20 years, bought by a museum, stored, hit by tornado, stored, sold- restored ($3M), and has been flying (1,300 hours) since 2004.



While a wonderful static display, opportunity knocked, and plastic credit card answered the door- and for about $12/minute I was touring the countryside, about 1000 AGL, at 140 knots or so. Which, I reckon, almost exactly covered the av-gas bill- my small (REALLY small, in the big scheme of things) and humble contribution and thank you to those who flew in these machines decades ago.



Watching the fine machine taxi in and taxi out, and lumber over, I must say, it seemed rather quiet- sort of like a "squardon" of Harley Davidsons- with mufflers. (The muffler part seems to be increasingly rare, at least at squadron-level strengths). Once inside the beast, the sensations were a bit less...restrained.

Engine start was quite uneventful (the left engines were left running, and the right engines shut down, so pax could use the (right) rear door. The right engines seemed to start quite easily, and the left inboard was a bit smokey. From the 50-year old A&P training material, I vaguely remembered reviewing some regulation about how much oil reserve (gallons, or barrels- I can't remember which- but do remember thinking- "wow, that's a lot of oil") was required for large piston aircraft- I now have a bit more appreciation for that...

Taxi down wind was quite well, stimulating to the olfactory senses- good thing the war is over, or I woulda thought the bad guys were using chemical warefare- the air was thick with fumes of burned, and seemingly unburned, av-gas, plus a good measure of oil smoke thrown in.

At the departure end, a runup was performed- and the noise was- about what I anticipated- deafening, and delightful. The airplane shook some, but did not shudder.

Brake release, and the scenery slides by the open waist gunner station ports (actually, more like 3x4 foot frames) in the aft fuselage, where most of the 10 passengers are sitting on plywood benches, with seat belts. (Two or three were forward at various crew stations- the standard crew was 10- or 11 on some versions I think- here's a nifty interactive crew station diagram for "the real thing", circa WW2. For our "3 hour tour" (well, 30 minutes or so), only the pilot, copilot, and flight engineer were staffed by the aircraft organization- the rest of us were tourists.

The takeoff was so smooth (or the engines vibrations and smells were so strong:) that I literally could not tell when we had lifted off. The big fat tires, which I supposed were capable of rough field landings, no doubt helped.

Once at "cruising" altitude (the actual service ceiling was an an astounding 35K feet, thankfully, we putted around at less than 1/10 th of that), we were free to "move about the cabin"...and anywhere else we wanted to, except the ball turret on the belly. Which, I would have to say, is probably the last place I would ever want to be. The tail gunner's location was second least desirable, from the reactions of my fellow "tourists".



(The waist gunner's stations. Fairly roomy, at least when not wearing artic gear and oxygen apparatus. A family of five was commemorating their father/grandfather's service on a B-17 during the war, mom and dad dug it- the kids seemed a little nonplused- but were good sports about the ride).

It was interesting to see the flight deck- not nearly the mass of instruments and controls I expected.

(Not sure who our crew was- but a real B-24 navigator was invited to the flight deck for the duration of the earlier flight).

I belatedly realized most of the engine instruments would have been at the flight engineer's station...which for some reason didn't catch my attention. What DID catch my attention was the stack of radios- and I DO mean STACK- seemingly 3-4 feet high, a couple banks of them. Wow. I'm sure they must have been non-functional, but realistic of the equipment that would have been carried at the time.



The nose was equiped with a plexiglas bubble for the bombadier to use,
and what seemd to be a real Norden bombsight. I must confess, I was rather taken aback by it's inclusion- I had somehow thought it was still rather "secret"-ish. Guess not, in this world of GPS.

(Some of the reason I thought the Norden device might stil be classified: "Using the Norden, bombardiers could, in theory, drop their bombs within a 100-foot (30 m) circle from an altitude of well over 20,000 feet...".

Part of the reason why it's NOT still classified: "Bombing was computed by assessing the proportion of hits falling within 1,000 ft and 2,000 ft circles about an MPI (mean point of impact). To achieve a perfect strike, a bomber group would have to unload all its bombs within the 1,000 ft circle...Under perfect conditions only 50 percent of American bombs fell within a quarter of a mile of the target, and American flyers estimated that as many as 90 percent of bombs could miss their targets". Hmmm- that's sure to stir up some angst among "many veteran B-17 and B-24 bombardiers swore by the Norden".)


After everyone had clambered around- it really was neat to be able to check out the various crew stations while in-flight; I was a bit surprised just how much room there was- (particularly in the bombardier station- guess in an "operational scenerio" there were several guys down there- the waist gunner stations also seemed roomy, as if a dozen people could have ridden there), it was time to head home.

Landing was almost as smooth as takeoff- gentle sqeak of the mains, and a faint whiff of tire smoke. With the headwind, the engine smells didn't seem to intrude as much- given the thrill of the experience, not a big distraction anyway.


Thanks to everyone who flew and maintains this historical item. And especially to those who flew and maintained the originals , and the generations since with newer equipment.

184 comments:

Phil Bell said...

Considering the Norden bombsight- with an accuracy of 1000 feet, 2000 feet, 1/4 mile...I'm glad we have "precision" munitions to spare the civilian casualties.

It's hard to imagine the horror on the ground from the heavy bomber raids.

And, hard to imagine the horrors which precipitated the conflagration of WW2.

Phil Bell said...

About that 5/08 date...yeah, my VCR still blinked (until I got a DVD player anyway :).

(I have some video's that I'm trying to upload- trying to do a .mov to .mpg conversion- will post them on the "headline" page when available).

airsafetyman said...

"What would it take to drag something along the surface of a body of water, and pick-up the maximum volume of liquid in the shortest time, while maintaining maximum speed (velocity)."

You mean like the Canadair 215 and 415 water bombers?

gadfly said...

Safetyman . . . the Canadairs are excellent aircraft. But the thought was to keep the aircraft "off" the surface, to avoid hitting logs, etc., floating on or near the surface. Maybe it can be done . . . maybe not. But it might be worth consideration.

gadfly

KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...

Phil . . . Until recently, New Mexico had "drive through" liquor stores, for patrons who couldn't walk a straight line. They could buy a six-pack and be on their way down the wrong side of I-40 in no time.

But back to a water pickup: Remember Nate Saint's bucket drop pickup? (Circa 1955-57.) A J3 or other aircraft dropped a bucket on a long rope . . . circled while the bucket hung a few feet off the ground in a Equadorian jungle clearing . . . goods and messages were transferred up or down in this manner . . . the aircraft straightened out, the bucket lifted straight up, and was reeled in on the way back to base.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRZAwERwHVA

So a "no landing" pickup is entirely possible. For a water pickup, a pump is needed at the pickup point to push the liquid up into the aircraft. Maybe, put the pump in a boat, or stationary water supply, and pump into the pickup hose hanging from the aircraft. No lake needed! But is it practical? . . . 'Don't yet know!

gadfly

Baron95 said...

Another nail in the future coffin of portable GPS devices has been forged.

iPhone 4, now, in addition to, compass/flux sensor, accelerometers, etc, now has a FULL 3-axis GYROSCOPE, built in and a hugely fast processor, and a hugely high-def 960x640 screen, and more memory that 10 Garmin devices.

Obviously all that migrates in 6 months to iPad 2.

Can't wait for the aviation app. That is your whole LSA panel in the palm of your hand, plus a hugely useful IFR backup device.

That is Cool

Baron95 said...

Must be a bitch to be Nokia today.

Phineas A. Ferb said...

I was about to shut up already, but this idea with buckets is too good to pass up: Out-of-work fishermen could use this to refuel their small Zeppelins, while giving scenic rides over the Gulf to bp executives and government officials.

gadfly said...

So, let’s pretend that the power supply for the three axis gyroscopes has gone south . . . some “bad guy” has messed up the GPS signal system, there is an overcast right down to sea level . . . and it’s in the middle of the night. The ancient system called “Loran” is not available, nor to be trusted at the moment. And you are a mile or two off the coast of some folks that want you dead. What do you do . . . Oh, and there are serious winds and a North Pacific storm that has been in effect for the past few days . . . and the DRT (“Dead Reckoning Tracer”) puts you somewhere on the chart that looks like an inland lake . . . And did I mention that you’re on a submarine that has been submerged, or in conditions that haven’t allowed a “star fix” in about a week?

Now, if I were home, and disoriented in the middle of the night, I need only to put out a hand, until I touch a wall, etc., and within seconds I can find my way anywhere else in the house. Why? . . . because I designed and built the house, and know within inches each and every feature in the house.

How to apply this to a submarine or an aircraft . . . “lost in space”? What do I need! First, I need to know a map . . . four dimensions, if you will, as “time” must be included . . . of the features of everything in the sphere of my movement. Second, I need some method of “discovery” . . . it’s all there, but not yet fully understood nor how to detect it. Will that discovery be “sound”? . . . like the bat? Will that discovery be some electromagnetic response, like the shark? Will it be a better understanding and sensing of magnetic force fields? Will it be some other sense that we don’t yet understand? It may be some combination of all of the above.

And there is another key element that must be addressed: A reference point “outside” my field of reference, a feature that says, “This is the absolute standard!”

Years ago, I sat in meetings with engineers at GE . . . arguing for CAD files, rather than the huge “D” or “E” size drawings, that had numerous datum points . . . and required a PhD in “Trig” to understand. I argued for a single point of reference. It turned out to be a political argument . . . my protagonist was finally retired, and GE now uses complete “CAD” files . . . all referenced from a single “X-Y-Z” point in space . . . what a relief! (My little HP calculator was overworked to figure all this, from numerous reference points. And my brain was going to mush.)

Back to Baron’s talk about location in space. Funny thing . . . back when I turned sixteen, I got to work on instruments . . . they were “accelerometers”, for early ballistic missiles . . . yes, we had that sort of thing back in the early 1950's. What a great summer job, until I returned to finish out my last year of high-school.

Today, I can look at “Google Earth” and see our dog in the driveway of our house, the day the camera car drove by. Scary stuff! But with this sort of technology, which tells me the location and altitude of my front gate, will it be long before we can walk anywhere on the planet, and not know exactly our location.

gadfly

(Back then, when the charts showed us far inland, human judgement prevailed . . . we weren't many miles inland on the Kamchatka Pennisula, nor in Siberia . . . the "DRT" was wrong . . . we listened to the sounds of "fish", and knew where they would be . . . and followed them out into the open North Pacific. My grandkids are thankful.)

RonRoe said...

Gad,

The Germans had a chemical accelerometer for the V2 rocket, which controlled the burn time, and thus the ballistic trajectory. I know this because I once spoke with the German rocket scientist who had personally developed it.

gadfly said...

Phil . . . My dear friend and engineer, Ray Richmond, who died about three years ago, flew over Albuquerque in a B-17. Although I saw it go over the shop, I was unaware that he was "waving at me". But "back then", sixty years ago, the B-17s and B-24s were doing most of the heavy lifting. Late in the game, the B-29 got the glory.

'Glad that you had such a great experience.

gadfly

gadfly said...

RR . . . for the record, the accelerometer on which I worked consisted of two pivoted weights. Between the two weights were “piano wire” belts, as it were . . . if one weight moved forward, the other also moved forward, exactly the same amount . . . the “two” were locked together, as it were, one clockwise, the other counter-clockwise . . . hopefully, you can picture the kinematics. In other words, acceleration was independent of the rotation of the unit . . . two axis could be clearly defined, separate from each other. In other words, there was a mechanical/kinematic solution, to clearly define and separate two and three axis.

Back then, the signal was “analog’ . . . defined by a fine wire wrapped around a core, and polished by “rouge”, with a delicate “wiper”, to pick up the signal. One of my jobs was to “polish” that “potentiometer” . . . and I won’t go there just now. But at age sixteen, I was the fastest on the assembly line, and didn’t make many friends.

We had “dash pots”, cylinders with a piston and cylinder, lubricated by silicon grease . . . rated at “One million” viscosity, to dampen the movement of the weights, in all conditions . . . temperature, etc., so there was a reasonable set of conditions in all “attitudes” of the missile.

The entire accelerometer was housed in an aluminum can, about three inches in diameter, and three inches high . . . made by a company in Burbank called “Zero Can”. The wall thickness was about a sixteenth of an inch . . . later, the control allowed thicknesses of ten or fifteen thousandths of an inch . . . including coke cans and toothpaste tubes. Today, we take aluminum pop cans for granted . . . but back then, all that was “brand new”.

Back then, I worked with ball bearing races about a quarter inch in diameter . . . today, we have “hard drives” spinning billions of times, using some of that early technology.

Well . . . back to whatever it is that was being discussed. ‘Sorry for the side track.

gadfly

(If you wish to understand the future, you must have sound understanding of the past . . . how we got where we are.)

gadfly said...
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julius said...

phil,

some of the old birds still fly - and their babies(bombs) are still on duty (which became part of the bill the (grand)grandsons have to pay).

The B-17 or B-24 were designed in the late 30ths and had been in service for about 15(?) years.
What about the B-52, F-4 (Phantom), the F-15: for decades in service... and uptodate...?

I remember the Transalls in Bremen - slowly flying with step banks. When will the A400M replace them (if even...).

Current developments try to look into the future while experiencing that modern stuff of today is vintage in 3, 4 years (e. g. F22 versus F35).

Is it possible to go back (or forward) to faster development cycles and improved - faster - update cycles?

Julius

Black Tulip said...

Phil,

Thanks for the nice writeup on the B-17. Note: no separate flight engineer's panel on the B-17. He sat behind the pedestal, between the pilots, when not manning the upper turret.

cdinvb said...

Several years ago the Collings Foundation ran their B-17 through here in late winter. With one thing and another, weather and mechanical problems, the aircraft arrived a day late. I saw it fly over and headed to the airport. Where I was the only person viewing or touring the insides. I spent an hour thinking it all over, sitting and stading in the various stations, to no particular conclusion. But tried to imagine how my father who, as a naturalized citizen, could not be trusted around the Norden bombsight did't make it to the air over Germany. The consequence of which is that he became a supply sergeant who wrote off the airplanes that didn't come back at $375,000 each. And for which I am here today.

There is a vast literature both paper and electronic about these airplanes. I remember in particular one author remarking on the flight characteristics being such that they could and often were flown by young men who were very nearly children.

Thanks for the pix. I think I'll wear my Mighty Eighth cap today. And encourage those in the Savannah, Georgia area to stop by the museum there and learn a bit more about the Eighth. A few of the guys who flew still come in and work as volunteers and are well worth meeting.

flightwriter said...

Thank you for the write-up, Phil. I was fortunate to fly on the Collings Foundation's B-17 ("Nine-O-Nine") on an April flight from ABQ to SDL. It was an illuminating experience.

My grandfather -- who I never met -- was a navigator on B-17s over Europe in late 1944-early 1945. During the flight to Scottsdale, I tried to imagine what he must have felt... and I couldn't.

There's no way I could comprehend the experiences of a bomber crew during wartime, by flying over western New Mexico. And I have men like my grandfather to thank for that.

I'm happy to note during the team's two-day visit to Albuquerque, the crowds touring the B-17, B-24 and TP-51 looked healthy. Not sure how many flights they sold, though.

gadfly said...

Thinking back . . . the technical instructor, Bob Rich, at Moody Airport, where I got my “A&P” ticket, had been a pilot on a B-17 during the war . . . he never once spoke of that time.

Before that, aboard our “sub”, one of my best friends, Chief Petty Officer “Wert”, was a torpedoman, in some serious encounters with the Japanese . . . in all our times together on “liberty”, in Japan, not once did he mention what he had done. (I learned after his death that he had a most remarkable war record, but he didn’t maintain the slightest animosity toward the Japanese . . . we spent many hours touring Tokyo, and Atami, Japan, . . . taking pictures and interacting with our new Japanese friends. Chief Wert was a kind man, and an excellent submariner, highly respected.)

Another friend, sailor, who served aboard the USS Hoel DD 533 . . . and many years later, George and Mary Poulos came to our wedding in Chicago . . . the “Hoel” sank in late 1944 under heavy attack. George held up a shipmate for over forty-eight hours on a small raft, until rescued. The shipmate had his liver hanging out in the sea-water . . . which probably preserved his liver. Many years later, George learned that his shipmate survived . . . and was happily married with a family and living in San Francisco. George never once showed any bad attitude toward the Japanese . . . treated the events as the normal thing to do at the time, and continued with his life after the war, raising two fine sons, Chris and Greg.

But he did one major thing . . . changing his name to “Poulos”, from “Apostalopoulos” . . . since no-one in Chicago could spell his name.

The heros of the big war are difficult to find. They did what needed to be done, and rarely spoke of what they considered to be “normal”, at the time.

gadfly

(To show the character of Chief Wert . . . at the end of a long day, hiking all over the hills of Atami . . . he remarked that he was getting a remarkable number of photos from the roll of film in his 35mm camera . . . he found he didn’t have any film in his camera. He simply laughed at himself for his forgetfulness. But that was a great day, sight-seeing in one of the best small towns in Japan.)

julius said...

Gadfly,

heroes

perhaps a lot of these people didn't or do not speak as it was a very tough, bad experience and they had been or are traumatized.
What about those who had to fight or fought in Vietnam or Iraq?

I think while being with the army a lot of people understand one but outside this "ghetto" there is another world with other rules...

My parents didn't tell me a lot about their experiences of WWII although my mother worked as a nurse and my father was an infantry soldier. He decided to surrender to the US forces (better than the Russians).

Julius

gadfly said...

julius . . . To even approach this subject I hesitate, but feel an obligation to make a comment or two. Over the years I have had some excellent friends . . . and some of them escaped to the West, during the closing hours of the war. One friend remembers the trip “west”, while being “strafed” by British fighter aircraft, ripping through their train cars . . . and her Mother getting off the train at a stop, burying a hand-gun in a hole in the forest, for fear of being found with a weapon when they surrendered to the Allies. Her Father, who also escaped, had been an engineer at Peenemunde, working on the “V” weapons. Yes . . . they were traumatized . . . discovering that they were not members of the supreme race. She still struggles with the deception . . . although her parents are now, long dead, after coming to experience the freedom of living in the US of A . . . and enjoying a quiet life in Chicago. It’s a mystery to me that she thinks that we should copy that system of “long ago”, adopting the socialist system being promoted in Washington.

Another friend, whose brother died on the Russian front . . . he and I argue over everything . . . he owns much property in Germany, being the only survivor of his family. But he’s spent far more time living in California, and in a sense is more a native of the Golden State than I, who was born in California. To my knowledge, he doesn’t vote . . . for which I’m thankful. The “trauma” was experienced by his older brother, whom he never really knew, and his parents and aunts . . . !

Yet, another friend (mentioned on an earlier blog) was a true “Nazi” . . . and he and I became good friends. His escape to the West was extremely traumatic . . . so, Yes, he also was terribly traumatized by the war. (He made his way through Canada . . . and finally into the US of A. Even in our common machine-shop, he was traumatized . . . and one day he had an operation . . . I visited him in the hospital in Orange County, California . . . gave him three books by C. S. Lewis, “The Trilogy”, and from then on we were the closest of friends. But he never overcame his “trauma”, having been terribly deceived so early in his life.

The trauma that you mention seems to be a common thread throughout those that were deceived early on in their experience, to believe a lie, and then when the lie was fully exposed, they were not able to “cope” with the truth.

On the other hand, those that had a good cause, could go through terrible things, come out stronger in the end, and not only survive, but went on to successful lives, with healthy minds and good attitudes.

Yes . . . I’ve had the privilege to know a few on both sides . . . and count “both” as my friends. But some went through those experiences with success . . . and some, even to this day, I have to say that they are losers . . . for whatever reason. Their fault? . . . someone else’s fault? . . . it’s not my place to say, but losers, never-the-less, and yet even now, they could become winners.

gadfly

(And a final note: 'Don't want a war?, Don't start one with the US of A . . . You may not like the outcome!)

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...
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airsafetyman said...

Gee Gad,

Guess my uncle is a "loser". He enlisted at 17 as a Marine in WWII and was wounded and "shell-shocked" on Iwo Jima. He never fully-recovered. They call it post-traumatic stress syndrome today, Gad. And then there is my neighbor who was a sniper in Vietnam. He takes a fist-full of medicine just to get through the day. Another loser. They really need to get right and channel Ronald Reagan who sat out WWII in Hollywood? Or maybe Dick Cheney who impregnated his hideous wife to get his fifth draft deferment and avoid Vietnam altogether? Now those two are winners!

airsafetyman said...

Just to be clear Gad, my loser uncle was awarded the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart. Guess the United States Marine Corps didn't realize what a wimp loser he was because of his after-the-fact mental reaction to hand-to-hand combat.

gadfly said...

safetyman . . . 'Sorry you missunderstood my comments. There were/are two or three personal friends, that fought against us on the other side, came over here to escape their former system, and now want to change our system into the one from which they fled. Please don't read anything else into it. They remain my friends, but they continue to want others to do for them what they need to do for themselves.

gadfly

Baron95 said...

LOL - I can't believe it. CNN is running non-stop interviews about dropping a nuke to shut down the Gulf Oil well. They showed footage of the Russians stopping a leak with nukes - did it successfully 4 times.

Don't forget that I hold the intellectual property for that idea - published here, on this very blog.

Go Nukes. Go Nukes.

Phineas A. Ferb said...

Wouldn't that make the Russians owners of intellectual property?

My idea of mile-high pile of stuff is safe - I bet no one did it before :)

Baron95 said...

Nope. Because the Russian did it on land and they don't subscribe to our IP protection rules.

I own the nuke IP for deep water wells ;_

julius said...

baron95,

your nuke also would be the "first time"...
Which departments/agencies would have to approve this aproach - another 6 months... or immmediately if the heads of the agencies belong to the "drill, baby drill.." league or have the competance of the "Katrina" guy!

But which insurance company would accept that at affordable costs?

Julius

P.S.: Look at the BBC documentation about the "trials" to stop the oil spill...
Are the US administrations or BP really interested in to know how much oil is leaking?

Baron95 said...

Hey Julius,

I'm for the nuke solution, just because Nukes are so cool - like giant fireworks.

The answer to your question is that the by Executive Order from Obama, the commander on the scene (currently a Coast Guard Officer) will be given tactical control of the well (he already has), and inserting the Nuke. The Nuke will be release from active inventory or (more likely) DOE.

This is my plan, if both of the relief wells fail to intercept and control the main well at the planned (300m IIRC) depth under the seabed, then we use one of the relief wells to inset the small tactical nuke then we pour cement down the well and detonate the Nuke.

The Nuke is sized so at the detonation depth there is no material or radiation escape. This is proven science from all the underground tests we've done over and over again.

julius said...

Baron95,

Nukes

the relief drillings will result in pipes of 20 inches of diameter.
Are there appropriate devices which will lock the "old" pipe while maintaining the integrity of the BOW and the pipe (for some 100 yards)? What do you know about the sediments and material below the BOP?

Anyhow if the BOP fails in 150 or 5000 ft below under sea it's a mess...and relief drillings are needed!

Julius

Baron95 said...

Nuke first, ask question later ;)

Phineas A. Ferb said...

Send Chuck Norris down there. As soon as the well sees him, it will choke itself.

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...

There are reports that since the "oil leak", dihydrogen monoxide has been detected throughout the Gulf of Mexico . . . even drifting out into the Atlantic. In fact, all of the oceans are now filled with the stuff.

How many people have to die before this substance is eliminated from lakes and rivers . . . and places where it was once safe to swim on our planet?!

It has even been identified in the drinking water in New York.

What can a person do? . . . Maybe learn to swim, or wear a life-vest . . . or don't attempt to breath "water".

gadfly

(It's crazy to maintain sanity in this world . . . you'd go nuts!)

gadfly said...

At my age, you'd think I could spell "Hydrogen"!

gadfly

For those in "Rio Linda" (in my native home state) . . . Dihydrogen Monoxide (H2O) is not all that un-common as found in water . . . in fact, it's more than a trace element. Try it sometime . . . you might even become addicted to it.

Bottom line: If you don't understand what you are reading, or the far-reaching implications, don't start coming up with simplistic solutions, or conclusions. Diarhea of the mouth or brain is not a pleasant thing to observe, at either end . . . of the argument.

Earlier in this very blogsite, the consensus was that fixing the leak was not a simple thing. And for politicians to think that a simple fiat can fix the problem . . . that says far more about the politician than a complete resume.

My comments won't invoke agreement, nor did I expect it. But all this impacts aviation in major ways, and "GA" may be decades in recovery, if at all.

RonRoe said...

For more on Dihydrogen Monoxide in all of its deadly forms, see:

http://dhmo.org

Note that this site includes an MSDS for DHMO, required reading for anyone who works with this chemical compound.

gadfly said...

At a certain time in the afternoon, my brain says “enough already” . . . no more designing/engineering for today . . . the “grey cells” need a rest, so let’s do something fun for an hour or so. So, I typed in “oil spills worst” . . . and was presented with a dozen “worst spills”.

Now, I’m not in any position to make any judgement calls, but it would appear that the “media” is making all of our judgement calls, on our behalf, regardless of facts that have yet to be discovered and revealed. Someone long ago said the figures don’t lie, but liars always figure. ‘Seems that is as true today as it was long ago.

Something I learned long ago . . . and again in the submarine service . . . never panic in an emergency situation. Do what you know to do . . . don’t ever start turning valves, flipping switches, etc., . . . until you’ve carefully thought it through, and understand the extended results of your action. I’m alive today, because of these principles. I earned my “Dolphins” from hard work and understanding, of many things . . . and even today, those lessons are ingrained into my very being.

Years later, my flight instructor was critical of my “lack of flipping switches”, etc., to find out what would happen if I did “this or that” . . . thinking that I was lacking in curiosity . . . but having survived a few extremely long patrols (and some rather extreme experiences), was not about to flip switches without knowing the consequences. Maybe it takes a different mind-set to be a submariner than to be a pilot. I got to do both, but the two are opposites in many, many ways.

A pilot flips a switch, something bad happens . . . and maybe only he suffers the bad result. A submariner flips a switch, or opens a wrong valve, and 84 other men die from a wrong decision.

There was a sign posted one time in our sub: In emergency, everyone forward run aft . . . everyone aft run forward . . . everyone midships (control room), jump up and down and scream. And if you find an un-detonated bomb . . . shake it . . . maybe the fuse is stuck! Joke? . . . seems that the general population, or at least the “media”, thinks this is explicit instructions in an emergency.

Today, even in TV ads . . . the camera jerks one way and another, in less than a second . . . violating the earlier rule of video editing, “holding steady for three seconds” minimum and five seconds max. Nothing allows understanding . . . confusion reigns, with heavy drum-beats in the background. The media has figured that most people can no longer “reason”, and creation of confusion promotes mind control. Well, they’re right . . . it does!

That’s how I catch the big goldfish in my ponds . . . create confusion, using two nets, and I’ll get the big ones every time. Goldfish . . . people . . . it’s amazing what you learn with the “one”, to apply to the “other”.

Gain understanding of what’s going on . . . and you’ll better cope with the mind control that is in progress.

gadfly

(Old principles applied with new technologies . . . nothing has changed, only the methods.)

(And pay close attention to RonRoe's referenced websites . . . excellent resources, should a person wish to avoid drowning, or making the coffee too weak, "for the wife", tomorrow morning.

You didn't ask, but I'll share it anyway. A good marriage involves using just the right amount of "Dihydrogen Monoxide" combined with the proper amount of coffee in a Farberware pot, poured fresh in a fine China cup, each and every morning . . . served while said "wife" is still in bed . . . and then "refilled" two or three times, to keep the coffee . . . and marriage "hot" . . . as long as it's possible to climb up and down the stairs, day after day. Hey, there's many unmentioned benefits, for even someone my age. Abraham was how old when he married Keturah, after Sarah's death? . . . and fathered even more children? . . . Seems that even back then, love knows no age limit for either partner.)

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

Let’s see if I got this right! The “oil leak” is not “An Inconvenient Truth” . . . but a “Convenient Diversion”.

The battle may be won in November, but lost by the actions of “lame ducks”, between then and January.

And the cost of the “cleanup*” will be paid by the consumers of almost everything that we use, but blamed on the ones who produce the products that we need.

gadfly

*cleanup . . . not the oil spill . . . the natural course of events and nature will take care of all that in due time, but the taxes and freedoms lost to the politicos, etc., for generations to come.

gadfly said...

Think back for a moment . . . Not so long ago, on this and earlier websites, we discussed major problems of "stir-fried" welding, lack of life-cycle testing, and even the unlimited use of the color-copier and the coke machines out at the long defunct "Eclipse Aviation" bird factory.

gadfly

('Just to give a little perspective . . . and Bill Richardson is still out and about, free as a bird. Some things never change, while some things change in extreme ways, without much warning . . . unless you had been paying attention.)

gadfly said...

Barney Fife . . . Where are you when we need you?

Don Knotts (1924-2006) was a man who could have “saved the day” in our present crisis. ‘Just think of it! The “Incredible Mr. Limpet” (1964) could have plugged that leak (with a few politicians) in no time, flat.

Even Barney’s ever present but never fired “bullet” did more good than what we see from our present leadership.

In fact, even as a member of the “Apple Dumpling Gang” (1975), teamed up with Tim Conway, the two of them could have cleaned up most of the oil spill by now.

Shucks . . . Tim Conway’s “Siamese twin elephants” could have done as much about sucking up the oil slick as the barges that aren’t allowed to operate, due to the administration’s restrictions, etc., and concern about “life jackets”, etc.

Disney usually carried the ridiculous to the sublime . . . but what’s being handed down from “DC” is a couple orders of magnitude beyond anything that “Walt” could have ever dreamed. Make that three orders of magnitude . . . I had overlooked the new national debt. Maybe it’s four magnitudes . . . squared zeros don’t seem to matter any more! And whoever saw a square zero?

gadfly

(Perspective: Back a long, long time ago . . . we’d go down to Santa Monica and play in the surf. At the end of the day, our feet were covered with black gobs of “tar”. A few more hours in the surf and our parents wouldn’t have needed to buy us shoes. It was the normal seepage of oil from the huge oil reserves under the ocean. California Indians had the same problem . . . hundreds of years ago.

After the oil was pumped out at “Signal Hill” , etc., the oil no longer seeps out, like back then. Today, there is little, if any evidence of oil in the sand . . . although it had been happening for millennia before we got there. In the year 1910, a century ago, 77 million barrels of oil was pumped out of the “Signal Hill” oil field. Think of it . . . a hundred years ago, that amount of oil was coming out of the ground in a tiny section of real estate near Los Angeles. Even when I was a kid . . . the entire hill looked like a giant swarm of “grass hoppers”, feeding on the hill. And now, all that is gone . . . and the real estate in that area for a home costs more than most folks can imagine. And don’t worry . . . your feet won’t pick up a drop of “sweet crude” in the surf, most or all is long gone.)

(One other bit of controversy: Who came up with the term “fossil fuel”? Is it really the remains of dinosaurs and old grass clippings? . . . Maybe! . . . and Maybe not! There are planets in our own system that have huge amounts of methane, etc., . . . and even the evolutionists don’t think it came from “space alien dinosaurs”, etc. Yes, God created it . . . that’s a given, but how did He do it? Rotten dinosaur flesh and dead tree trunks on distant planets? . . . I think not! How then did we get our “fossil fuel”? Think on it!)

gadfly said...

One of the attendants down at "La Brea Tar Pits" in Los Angeles was asked by a tourist "How old is this Saber Tooth Tiger skeleton?" And the Attendant said, "Two million and six years!" The tourist said, "How sure are you of that age?" "Well", says the attendant, "when I came here I was told it was two million years old, and I've been here for six years!"

There is no substitute for simple logic . . . except that most of it seems to have been used up a long time ago.

gadfly

(And common sense is no longer common . . . and maybe it never was! 'Makes you think that maybe you shouldn't put your trust in things, or Persons, that don't last, or don't have a proven track record.)

gadfly said...

The fun part of any discussion along these lines is that the “sand box” is billions of years old, from side to side, and end to end . . . and as deep as you wish. The one that created it all is still “farther out”. I like big sand boxes . . . maybe that’s why I have liked the ocean . . . and submarines, etc. ‘Like someone said just the other day . . . put down your peg in any direction and at any distance of time, etc., and there’s another coming to meet you, from the other side.

Having said all that, think on those last thoughts! There was a time that some folks thought of flying to the “Moon” . . . and today we might think, “How could anyone even think such a thing possible?!” Well, here we are, thinking of “fossil fuels”, and that sort of thing. It appears, from what we’ve learned in the past fifty or sixty years, that the entire universe is just under fourteen billion years old. The evolutionists don’t like that number, and one of their number, “Fred Hoyle”, called it the “Big Bang” . . . in disgust, because it didn’t give him enough time for evolution. At the other extreme, some folks liked that term because they could use it to promote a universe only a few thousand years old . . . but whatever . . . we’ll stay away from both extremes.

But back to the basic question: What is the origin of what we call “fossil fuel”? This is nothing new . . . better minds than mine have pondered this, and don’t agree with the present “consensus” (when there is a consensus, history has usually proven the consensus “wrong”). So, the question remains: From whence doth that strange odor originate? . . . and No, don’t blame it on “Taco Bell”! . . . nor the science lab down the hall . . . nor the submarine crew lining up for the next meal in the “after battery”, having had plenty of steak and eggs for the last meal (actually the last sixty meals) with no veggies. Mixed with diesel fuel . . . Ah yes, many memories of what we did back then to keep you all safe during the “Cold War”!

Well, you all think some on this one . . . from whence cometh all that fossil fuel? And maybe you could go on to the next logical step (God does nothing by accident), what purpose does petroleum serve? Strange question? . . . Virtually everything else we discover serves a purpose . . . tectonic plate movement (earthquakes, etc., recycling necessary elements for human and all life). . . volcanoes . . . on and on and on!

As a Southern Californian by birth, and a submariner, I say I don’t trust land that doesn’t shake, now and then, air I cannot see, and a ship that can’t sink and come up again in the future.

Maybe we can pick this up later . . . or now and then. Life and discovery of this unique world in which we live is exciting . . . Almost every day, I find something else on which to focus, be amazed, and yet not so amazed, at the universe in which I live. Some of you, as I have, have seen the sky above blending to dark “indigo”, while looking below at rainbows that are complete circles . . . and once, I dove below the surface, looking back at the sub that I called home, and deep below the ocean went to that same “indigo” blue/black . . . and then had to come up for air . . . swim a hundred yards or more, climb up on the port diving plane, and look back at the grey shark that missed our “luncheon engagement” by a few seconds. I would not have missed that wonderful experience for anything.

And flying? . . . Fantastic! Not only to observe from a distance, but to have traveled through two elements . . . air and water . . . to see what my God has made.

gadfly

(Are we having fun yet? . . . I am, 'hope you are!)

(Oh . . . the shark? . . . He [or she] didn't do all that well . . . a round or two from the shipmate on "shark watch" with an "M1" rifle interrupted the luncheon, from up on the bridge. We watched to see if it would float to the surface, but disappeared into the deep ocean, somewhere southeast of Japan.)

gadfly said...

Oh . . . one other thing! The “oldest grandson called” to wish his Grandma ‘happy birthday’, and said, among other things, he’s been assigned to a “Boomer” up in Washington . . . grandson like grandpa . . . out for many months at a time, mostly submerged. And in port, he can go hunting up in the Washington wilderness.

gadfly

(There’s something to be said about all this . . . submariners and pilots are independent types . . . neither walks in step with the “norm”. Oh, I didn’t mention . . . he’s working on his pilot’s license, enjoying the fun of being on his own, whether under water, flying over New England, or above the Washington wilderness.)

(And what’s a “Boomer”? . . . It’s a great big thing that goes under water, can’t even get into most ports . . . stays at sea for months at a time . . . has more nuclear energy aboard than was dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki . . . and is the only way to enjoy an ocean voyage. Oh yeh! . . . and can do some serious damage to the bad guys if push comes to shove.)

gadfly said...

Now, take the earlier comments a step or two further. All energy on the earth comes from nuclear fusion or fission . . . all of it. We have two primary sources, the sun and deep in the earth. Radiation from either source (directly from the sun, or indirectly from within the earth) is the raw energy to make everything else move . . . winds, tides, water-cycle, etc., etc., . . . combining or taking apart mostly oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen, easily observed in animal and plant life. The easiest of these to store and use are some form of hydrogen and carbon, adding or removing oxygen. Other than nuclear reactors (fission), the easiest to store and use are forms of petroleum.

The long held belief is that oil and coal deposits are all from pre-historic plant and animal life. Some folks, smarter than I, do not believe this, but have long held that these deposits are “on going” systems, fueled by heat inside the earth, and the byproduct of some yet-to-be discovered bacteria or other processes not yet understood, nor observed, directly. Hydro-carbons are not unique to the earth, only the animal and plant life that efficiently transforms the compounds, while receiving the basic energy from the sun or other nuclear sources.

At least it’s worth a “look-see”, as then petroleum in some forms may yet prove to be a renewable resource, and possibly not difficult to replicate.

In any case, even the original theories are, so far, nothing more than hypothetical proposals without much to prove them, one way or ‘tother. Even all coal deposits are not entirely understood.

‘How ‘bout a “petroleum farm”, that doesn’t require the huge waste to produce the final product, like the ridiculous conversion of corn into alcohol, which actually makes your car less efficient, and makes you pay for the privilege of using an inefficient fuel in the process.

Whichever system you use, the earth doesn’t use up the carbon/hydrogen/oxygen . . . mankind, at best, only “recycles” these elements, (often with animal and plant life) which temporarily stores “nuclear energy” from outside man’s very thin environment.

gadfly

julius said...

gadfly,

energy

that's quite simple - like in real life: One has to pay for it!

The units are time, energy coming from the sun per space space, and space if one only uses the biosphare!

If one digs a little bit, see above - "farming" means/ includes time, space, and energy (sun or geothermal).

How much time does one need to collect the petroleum PB et. al. have spread in the gulf - much less than to create it!

How much energy (and space and time!) is needed to "collect" and store the byproducts of fisson or fusion energy?

Your idea of farming petroleum is fantastic: I go into my garden and put a further hole into a tree and get some gallons of petroleum (instead of drops of rubber like in Bras)...

Too nice to be tue - in my life!

Better back to engeneering: Making possible thing possible! And this is - too often - nearly impossible!

Julius

gadfly said...

julius

The conversion process has already taken place, as you have said . . . but the question remains as to how it happened. Maybe it was "dead animals and vegetation", but maybe something else is/was going on. The first step is to find out . . . and then go on to future possibilities.

gadfly

julius said...

gadfly,

The first step is to find out . . . and then go on to future possibilities.

that's true!

What is crude oil, how old is it....?
Is the associated drill waste always radioactive?
Lots of questions and nothing about the Memorial Day!

The first step is to find out - Joe Barton was really fast...
What about the eleven souls...

Julius

gadfly said...

julius

Yes . . . the eleven souls are extremely important . . . and so are about 60 million others over a few decades in the US of A, alone.

But I'd be in deep doo-doo if I went down the political road of things like "Joe Barton" and folks that don't seem to have a clue about this oil leak thing.

So, on this blogsite, I'll stick to the half-life of Carbon 14 (less than 6,000 years, by the way . . . and not much good to measure things older than 60,000 years), and the half-life of Hydrogen (what was it . . . 12 years? . . . something of that sort . . . with all those fancy names . . . protium, deuterium, tritium, quadrium, and on and on . . . a speech writer for Bob Hope, or even Jay Leno, could have a field day with these names, if the audiences were all "geeks") . . . and how to take carbon and hydrogen, put them together . . . introduce oxygen, to take them apart and re-combine them . . . make a big hot fuss in the process to make things go 'round to produce electricity . . . store it now and then for more convenient times . . . etc.

Hey! . . . You know what? . . . I think I just invented "crude oil" or "gasoline" or "kerosene" or something like that.

'Maybe we better get busy and use what we've got, so the free market system can get on with that thing they do so nicely, while we scratch our heads and think about things more practical than big propellers on the landscape.

'Funny thing . . . Ted Kennedy didn't want that stuff in his back yard, and come to think of it, I agree with his thinking on the matter.

Another funny thing . . . the best location for all those "wind turbines" would be on the exhaust vents over the senate and house buildings . . . there is no such thing as a "half life" with them, they go on and on with no sign of loss. And they can store all that energy in the "Congressional Record", or in the "Library of Congress". Problem is, there always seems to be a "leak" in the system, . . . it all gets out to the "Press", and there is nothing left to show for all that effort.

gadfly

(As most of you know, the "Albuquerque Dukes" farm team for the Dodgers became the "Isotopes" . . . and my only comment ever since is "Get a half-life!" Now now! . . . I can hear your thinking, and those are not nice geek thoughts! 'Just leave it at that . . . and think of something to say about the Eclipse . . . good/bad/anything!

"Where Oh Where, Has our little bird gone?

Oh where? Oh Where can it be?

With its range cut short, and its deliveries cut long,

Oh where? Oh where can it be?"

'Look at the time!

'See you at the yacht race!)

gadfly said...

julius . . . My sincere apologies to you . . . I've used you as what we call over here, the "straight man" . . . and you've done a wonderful job.

Unfortunately, the salary is zero.

Or in the not too distant future, any number you wish, at the rate that our government is printing the stuff (. . . and I thought the green folks were concerned about the waste of trees for paper).

But there is a caveat . . . ink takes "carbon" and as we all know, "carbon" is something evil, so in the not too distant future, printing money will no longer be allowed.

But you have my sincere thanks for filling in, when needed most.

Now, to see how I have been miss-understood by someone.

gadfly

('Just keep those letters coming!)

julius said...

gadfly,

we need carbon - there is no question!

"Drill, Baby, drill" - perhaps Obama didn't say that but his team (Salazar, Birnbaum) acted acordingly.
The exploration plan for BP's well was granted a "categorical exclusion" from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in April 2009!

Emanuel should have spent some time on MMS and its new director.

Little dogs always bark when bigger dogs are coming across or the owner isn't at home...


Hey, nice yachts - no politics but sports!

Julius

P.S.: Crude oil, (shale) gas, are no good neighbours. But we need that stuff or believe that we need it.

gadfly said...

julius . . . Not only do we need carbon, we "are" carbon, or at least 18% carbon by weight, second only to oxygen. And trees are also 20% carbon, by weight. Trees thrive on carbon (CO2), and return the oxygen (O2) into the air, which we in turn convert back to CO2, to supply the trees.

Basically, life is hydrocarbons in motion, powered by nuclear fusion (the "Sun").

And Al Gore finds that an "inconvient truth" . . . second only to what his wife recently found out.

gadfly

(On that other little matter, what's with the Eclipse fleet these days . . . Anyone know?)

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...
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airsafetyman said...

"Maybe we better get busy and use what we've got, so the free market system can get on with that thing they do so nicely,"

Would that be the wonderful free-market system of oil companies who have 1,500 rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico without even the first hint of a credible response to an oil spill like the one going on now? Sort of like an airliner crashing at Dulles on landing and as it slides down the runway on fire there are no crash and fire trucks in the fire houses, no trained rescue and fire personnel, no medical triage plans, no crash response plans at all. No, that would be "government" and "government" is bad. Unless its an airport authority fire/rescue worker hauling you out of a burning airplane? Or maybe somebody who knows what they are doing severely cracking down on out-of-control oil companies like BP?

julius said...

airsafetyman,

very hmmm ... excellent comparison.

Unfortunately the so responsible oil community intends to drill north of Alaska.

T. Hayward seems to make good his promises - but there also is a long list of fines for BP.


Back to birds which like crude oil or its derivates:
M(&M) is making some PR work indicating that money is not the limiting factor to restart the fpj production. Typically - an interviewer didn't any questions about AVIO NG 1.6 or 1.7! Furthermore there are already 25 engeneers working for EAI...

Julius

gadfly said...

julius . . . our friend is concerned about the politics. So take your “25 engeneers” working on the little jet, multiply it by any number you wish, and even add some more, and you have an approximate picture of how our president is handling the oil spill, and "veto" any attmept at solving the problem in the immediate future.

But leaving all that, back when things were “serious”, and things had to be done in record time, it was not done by the “many”, but by the “few”, in the minimum of time. Bureaucrats being what they are, by nature, didn’t have enough time to mess up the works, although they did their "best" . . . and things got done in “record time”, in spite of the bureaucrats.

(For perspective, WWII essentially began in 1939 [or even push it back a couple years, in China], and was over in late 1945 . . . I remember V-J Day . . . six or eight years, depending on your math.)

And today, we’ve been in this war . . . not since 2001, but back to much earlier days when presidents and politicians didn’t have enough guts to do what should have been done. Oh yes, it goes back before the “fair haired one with the prescribed drug induced tan” was thought to be the King of Camelot (a post humous version of the story invented by the press). I just read, again, in an exhaustive history book of the naval war in WWII, about a “PT” boat, with a couple of the crew asleep on the deck, and others not doing their job . . . run over by a Japanese destroyer . . . and the “buyout” of the Daddy, to make his son a hero, instead of facing court’s marshal, etc. OK, he “goofed” . . . and even said so (But his “Daddy” insisted on making him the hero). But we see how history takes some rather strange twists and turns, and people of understanding are not “heard”, until too late.

Kennedy then did some good things, for which we can be thankful, but we can see how the history lessons are manipulated to make the story come out with a different ending in the “press”.)

Today, there is the attitude that if you throw enough engineers and personnel into a problem, guarantee a comfortable wage, supply some massive amount of funds, the problem will somehow be solved. And the “private sector” is the enemy, and only the “government” is the all-wise-one, and will solve all problems.

Well, you all work with that philosophy and see how far it takes you. But right about now, from where I sit, it appears that the “goose that lays the golden egg” has just about run out of eggs, and is beginning to show severe signs of starvation. And now I’m told that the government is not getting enough of our food supply, and the “goose” is going to have to learn to eat less, while producing more.

gadfly

(Problem is that I’m old enough to remember, and have worked with some of the geniuses of an earlier time, when success had no guarantees, and a “few” made things happen, simply because they “could”, and it was the right thing to do.

And then, we were told, that a college degree would solve all problems . . . and then it was the government that could save us . . . and we’re seeing, now, our own nation “catching up” (going in the opposite direction, if you will) with some of the thinking of the countries that we supported and helped, “back when”. Problem being, those same nations are coming back the other way, not so sure about their former direction . . . while we haven’t figured it out, so it seems.

In the mean time, how do you like your “pelican”, deep fried? . . . or “grilled”, . . . seems they’re all “pre-basted”, and ready for the grill.

Seems that Paul Harvey explained it long ago, “If the government does something for you, that you could have done for yourself, it’s like getting a blood transfusion from your left arm into your right arm, and spilling half of it in the process.” I would add that somehow the “blood type” is changed in the process. At this rate, the patient is not on the recovery list.)

airsafetyman said...

"In the mean time, how do you like your “pelican”, deep fried? . . . or “grilled”, . . . seems they’re all “pre-basted”, and ready for the grill."

You are making no sense at all. The disaster in the Gulf was caused by the MMS letting BP get away with shortcuts right and left and not mandating that they follow the industries best practices. BP's recent oil pipeline rupture in Alaska was caused by their knowingly deferring maintenance on the pipeline. They knew very well what condition it was in. BP's Texas City oil refinery explosion, that also resulted in great loss of life, was caused by BP's cutting corners and skimping on maintenance. The thread running through these three examples is what happens when government oversight is corrupted and not allowed to do its job. Sort of like the head of the FAA overriding her employees and awarding the Type Certificate to a fatally-flawed Eclipse airplane. Or of Southwest and American Airlines playing fast and loose with AD Notes - an getting caught by FAA inspectors who blew the whistle IN SPITE OF their senior managers being corrupted.

gadfly said...

safetyman . . . all the regulations in the world will not keep business nor government honest. Neither will an efficient operation be run by the government.

We're witnessing the corruption that often occurs at both ends, and all the money in the world will not fix the mess. In fact, it may be making it much worse.

Individuals, throughout the system, must be "accountable" to the people being served. "Power" tends to corrupt, especially when self-discipline does not exist.

gadfly

Floating Cloud said...

Gadfly:

In your world all humans would be good and smart and no oversight would be necessary. I wish it were so, but it is not.

At the same time, you are being so contridictory to everything it is ridiculous. It WAS after all under Obama's administration that the "rules" for BP oil drilling were "relaxed" so to speak. Would that not be EXACTLY what you are trying to prove here?

ASM, has perfectly reasonable and smart comments. If you hadn't been so busy usurping the blog would you not have considered his points as perfectly valid?

Floating Cloud

PS B95, if you are still out there, I am sorry to report upon my recent return, that there is NO FBS in Cancun and therefore no XRF limbo. Darn!

gadfly said...

FC . . . You might have noticed that I was not contradicting the safetyman, but building on what he said and expanding it further. And you also seem to carrry on much the same thoughts.

However, it would seem that the discussion has been re-started (after much silence), and now you and others may take it from here.

gadfly

Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gadfly:

For whatever reason, I chose to lash out at you rather than deal with the grief that my Dad passed away while enroute to reach him from Mexico last Wednesday.

In the airplane (not a S80 thank goodness)I looked out upon the clouds covering the oily Gulf of Mexico and dozed off for a few moments and I awoke feeling my father's spirit pass through me, with all sorts of wonderful chidhood images coming to me in a second. I looked out at the clouds in somewhat of a stuper, and I knew he was gone. My sister informed me when I got home that he had passed.

For some reason, I contacted the old Eclipse boyfriend. I went through his Father's death, funeral, open casket, children family in UT and felt compelled to let him know that I now better understand what he went through too. We are ALL human.

Forgiveness and love are the corner stones of my life. I don't need a sermon, Sir Gadfly, but simple understanding goes, oh, such a long way.

Flying has so much more meaning to me than it ever did -- thanks to the great "Aviation Critic and Enthusiast," in the sky.

Floating Cloud

gadfly said...

FC . . . Losing loved ones is seldom easy, and I empathize with you in that.

My own Father, who was also my best friend, died at age 44, as I was about to leave on a long patrol on the sub. My wife’s Father died just three months before our marriage, and her Mother died a year and a half later . . . both relatively young. She got to see and hold her first grandson, even if only for a brief time. That was many years ago, but the loss doesn’t go away, even as the sorrow somewhat fades.

In the last three years, I have also lost two of my three closest friends, other than my immediate family . . . and I find myself the oldest of my own family. Some of these folks I’ll meet again and have everlasting fellowship with them.

Two weeks ago, we shared grief with another friend, whose wife just passed away . . . he’s going through a tough time . . . came by the shop last week . . . he just needed to know that he still has common ordinary friends, to stop in “whenever” to share whatever is on his mind . . . not looking for sympathy . . . sometimes to just sit and share a cup of coffee with someone else that has had similar experiences.

No sermons!

Thank you for sharing with us this tragic loss in your own life. No one fully understands your own loss, but we do understand the basics. And yet I stumble for the right words.

gadfly

RonRoe said...

FC,

I never understood grief until I experienced it myself. My heart goes out to you. Time will heal the wounds, but you'll always bear the scars.

Gadfly, your best post ever.

Baron95 said...

I see we are still stuck on gulf oil discussions.

On that count, there are NO, and I repeat NO federal regulations that will motivate the oil companies to be safe, that compare with the prospects of a $20B+ loss at BP and a $10B loss at Exxon due to oil spills.

So, yes, it is the free market, that is keeping drilling relatively spill-free, not regulations.

Similarly, it is not FARs, but insurance companies, liability law suit prospects and the like that are keeping aviation save.

The FARs say that a private pilot with no type rating can flay a King Air 200 at 35K ft. Insurance companies are the ones that putting the meaningful controls, requiring sim training, recurrent training, IFR rating, currency, and meaningful experience.

Similarly, cars are safer, not because of the stupid federal 30MPH head on crash into a wall, but because of the private insurance institute off set crash tests at 35MPH, their roll-over tests, their roof strength test, an the normal competition between manufacturers.

This blind belief that federal regulations are the answer is laughable, at the very least.

airsafetyman said...

Well Baron, where was BP's insurance company after the Texas City explosion, after the Alaska Pipeline blowout? In the Gulf disaster BP was drilling on US federal terrority and employing US citizens, eleven of which are now dead. $20 billion will not begin to touch the disaster they have caused and no amount of money can restore a husband or father who was killed. To maintain that a company like BP can continue to blow things up and kill people as long as they can get insurance is weird to say the least.

airsafetyman said...

I just remembered, BP did not have insurance on the well that just blew in the Gulf, they thought it was too expensive so they were "self-insured", another term for "stupid". Maybe the insurance was expensive after Texas City and Alaska and maybe the insurance companies aren't too dumb after all. All the more reason for effective government oversight.

julius said...

baron95,


BP was not be impressed by $.5B fines and it can pay more then $20B for "repairing" the damages. But what about the partners of the well? Are they able to pay their 35% percentage (if they also might be made accountable for the spill)?


Are oil or gas industries examples for effective regulations or any regulations? Best practice is ignoring environmental impact!


If one sticks to regulations of the 19th century (why not? Or...) the blind believe is laughable.

Regulations are neither good nor bad - it depends on the contents.
Look at food contents declarations - free market means no or not comparable declarationen!
What about the PM? Where to look for stall speeds etc.?


Julius




P. S.
Obama was lucky that T. Hayward signed a blank cheque and did not act like Exxon in Alaska....

gadfly said...

The man says ". . . we're here to stay . . ." (although the training has all gone to Florida).

So, to see what's going on with the little "Eclipse", take a "look-see" at the following:

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?printable=1&contentBlockId=d54ea297-e75c-48ff-8608-10f7aeb932a7

In fact, take a look at this one, first:

http://www.aero-tv.net/index.cfm?videoid=229e40a2-59c6-4487-885b-576f1f558100

When a dog wags its tail, and then bites you, you may not wish to pet the dog a second time. But who knows . . . this truly seems to be a different pooch.

The interview is worth a look, and may, indeed, be a different dog.

gadfly

(Hey . . . even I'm impressed! But then, I don't have a dog in the fight. I also like cats, but I learned to never give a cat a second chance . . . and have the scars to prove it. But dogs? . . . they're almost people, at times.)

gadfly said...

'Just one more thing, thinking of "FC's" comment ". . . Forgiveness and love are the corner stones of my life. I don't need a sermon . . .", when the first group of Eclipse left the Albuquerque manufacturing community somewhat in ruins, I do not remember the slightest apology, etc., . . . but then, maybe I missed that one.

It isn't about making mistakes. Someone said something about hurting most the ones you love, most. But true character is how you come back, seeking to make things right, regardless of personal cost.

There's an application in the business world as well. 'Didn't mean to get caught making a sermon, but there it is.

gadfly

(And the "unforgiven cat" [with apologies to Clint Eastwood, who was a "pussy cat" in that famous film, compared to the feline in my arms] mentioned earlier, we took in that beast, soon to be an orphan of one of our kid's friends. I got it as far as our back door . . . it saw our dogs . . . turned into the proverbial "Tasmanian Devil", a chain saw in my arms at full throttle . . . I let go of that demon . . . last seen heading south through the woods in our back yard at near the speed of sound, while I returned to opening the back door and grabbing something to stop the bleeding. Tonight, after twenty some years, I can still trace the scars in my right hand. I don't believe even the "coyotes" or "owls" could swallow that critter.

But I have been privileged to have been "on staff" to other cats, and they is the strangest of all people.)

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Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...

All the more reason for effective government oversight.

-------------------

Effective government oversight!!!!

Wow!!!!

--------------

Lets see, of all the large financial institutions, ONLY the two with the largest amount of gvmt oversight (Fannie and Freddie) are hopeless in repaying the $200B injected into them.

AIG (insurance) GM/Chrysler/GMAC (auto-related) are unlikely to pay the whole thing.

But all the other large financial institutions have repaid or capitalized all or most of the emergency loans.

Fedex, UPS = incredibly efficient, safe and productive companies.

US Mail (lots of oversight) = not so much.

I could go on and on. Government oversight never adds to safety and usually has the opposite effect.

----------------

Question. What was the largest fine/judgment/consent decree ever imposed on a US company for violating a regulation?

Answer: A rounding error from what BP and Exxon will be paying.

So 11 people died at the rig. Tragic and sad indeed.

But on the same day thousands of workers died by falling from construction sites, crashing their delivery trucks, caught in farm equipment, etc. Why is that different?

You can't legislate 100% of the risk out of any activity.

The US Airforce now and then will dump a jet on an urban neighborhood or lose a nuke in the mud. Airliners will now and then crash. Surgeons will now and then kill their patients due to a mistake. Tractor-trailers will jacknife and take out children in cars. Oil rigs will now and them explode. You will now and then crash your car.

That is just the nature of life.

You know - even in fairy tales, people still die.

Why doesn't Obama close down every construction time every time there is a building collapse? Why not stop all interstate trucking everytime there is a tractor-trailer skid?

As the Federal Judge said, the U.S. Gvmt had absolutely no reason to make all drilling stop.

If you fly 1,000,000 flights, a few of them will crash - guaranteed. If you drill 10,000 wells, some of them will leak. Guaranteed. It is neither good nor bad. It is just the way it is.

The risk of reputation damage, jury awards, etc to American Airlines and BP is what insures that crashes and explosions are as rare as they are. Regulations are only helpful in the sense that they help instruct juries and the press to gross faults by companies.

julius said...

baron95,

As the Federal Judge said, the U.S. Gvmt had absolutely no reason to make all drilling stop.


This absolutely wrong!!!
This is just too short and out of contents! The US administration used the wrong reasons! The judge simply cristized that and did not say that there is no reason to stop the drilling!

Perhaps the MMS has a tool box which prevents drillings which end up in oeconomic and oecological catastophies which much must be paid by innocent bystanders!

Did the FAA or Boeing ground all 767 because of the problems with one or two pylons?

But what about the MD10 which lost one engine in ... Chicago(?)?
I am not sure if there was any "grounding of a/cs" etc.

Julius

P. S.: If the insurance companies (and the lawyers) only decide was is black and what is white (there are no accepted regulations)
then it's just a question of money, time and good luck to get one's right and perhaps some money.
It took two decades to get the Exxon Valdez case "unsettled"!
There is still crude oil which must be collected by Alaskan state agencies!

airsafetyman said...

"If you drill 10,000 wells, some of them will leak. Guaranteed. It is neither good nor bad. It is just the way it is."

Baron, you never address the relevant issues. BP used a type of pipe that is rarely used anymore in the Gulf because it was cheaper. They did not center the inner pipe properly with spacers. They did not test the cement properly (against the advice of the subcontractor they hired to do the cementing job). They did not use the heavier drilling "mud" at a critical point in the process, opting for water instead. And on and on. A drilling disaster for this company (to go along with their refinery and pipeline disasters) was a near certainty, if not this well then the next one down the line.

According to you BP should be allowed to go back in the Gulf and drill another deep well using these exact same procedures because "stuff" happens?

Baron95 said...

That is just it ASM.

First, I doubt that the "causes" of this are that black and white known.

But I'll guarantee, that from the BP board to shareholders on down, everyone is focused on the company to avoid another financial disaster like this.

There is NO, I repeat NO regulation that can be imposed, that will make the BP board work any harder to prevent another incident.

I understand that stop drilling and new regulations are necessary to make people feel better.

Just like it was necessary to vilify Goldman Sachs and to file a ridiculous tangential civil suit against them.

So long as mature, intelligent people know that these are just for show and won't make things "safer" that is fine by me.

Floating Cloud said...

Thank you Gadfly and RR for kind words and condolences.

On a much lighter note ran across this spoof on BP disaster and it sounded vaguely familiar...

ATM vs B95

Floating Cloud said...

Correction:

That would be "ASM vs B95"

airsafetyman said...

"But I'll guarantee, that from the BP board to shareholders on down, everyone is focused on the company to avoid another financial disaster like this."

Where was BP's board after the Texas City refinery explosion and loss of life? Where was BP's board after the Alaska Pipeline blowout? If BP's board was going to institute a safety culture why had they not done so? Were they waiting for refinery explosion #2 or pipeline explosion #2? This is not a "financial disaster"; that is the least of it. Eleven people killed and who knows what damage to the Gulf, not to mention the destruction of a way of life for thousands upon thousands of people.

This is a story of typical corporate hubris and arrogance. BP borrowed a lot of money and expanded by buying up other companies. To help pay the loan they fired a LOT of experienced, senior petroleum engineers from the companies they just purchased; engineers who actually knew what they were doing. The result is ongoing in the Gulf.

Floating Cloud said...

Amen, ASM.

airsafetyman said...

Floating Cloud,

Thanks for the link; it was hilarious.

On another note according to the local newspaper in Vero Beach Piper is having a one week shutdown in August because of weak demand. Employees will NOT be able to use accrued vacation time but will have to absorb the hit. Piper has no money for vacation pay? Guess the Sultan of Brunei cannot fund his harem and Piper at the same time.

gadfly said...

Ah yes . . . a bit of all right! And that American bloke, the one in the White House . . . keeping all the heavy cleanup equipment in reserve in case a real disaster should occur. Absolutely brilliant!

gadfly

gadfly said...

History often hinges on minor things, such as . . . What would have been the outcome if Custer had known that “Sitting Bull” had set his watch to “Daylight Saving Time”? And you could blame all that on Benjamin Franklin, etc., who invented the thing.

The old lady was asked what she thought of Daylight Saving Time. She thought for a moment . . . said it was “OK . . . but that extra daylight almost killed her roses!”

It’s easy to place blame, but not so easy to get busy and make things right.

gadfly

Floating Cloud said...

ASM:

Oh really? Is that an across the board Piper employee furlough or just the cream gets the one week cut? I hope the Sultan has the sense to see that you can't get cream out of skim milk or jets out of thin air.

Makes Eclipse Aerospace look pretty darn smart right now -- by being so conservative in their approach. And there's nothing like an all American airplane. View Gadfly's link reposted here:
Eclipse makes progress

FC

julius said...

gadfly,

It’s easy to place blame, but not so easy to get busy and make things right.


But what about Boeing and its Dreamliner:
Not easy at all - now Boeing stopped the test flights!
And BP:
Rig worker: Fault fout earlier

A worker on the Deepwater Horizon tells Panorama's Hilary Andersson that a key part of the rig's spill prevention equipment was broken weeks before the rig exploded.

Tyrone Benton, who is now suing BP and Transocean, said both were informed of the leak in the safety device. BP's Tony Hayward has told Congress that he has seen no evidence that safety was compromised in order to save money.

Panorama: BP - In Deep Water, BBC One, Monday, 21 June at 8.30BST.


So it is all about ethics - in some countries one is adviced not to to throw any stuff into the sea!
Small shops will become TU if there are problems with "ethics" -
bigger companies will have to pay - at least most times (there are lots of laywers, PR professinals, and time!).

Julius

P.S.: It is interesting to see that Tony H. had someone to back him (his CoB) - but Barack O.?
A President never gets dirty fingers or deals with "dirty stuff"! Isn't that the task of the Secrataries or the next lower levels?...

KnotMPH said...
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airsafetyman said...

"Odd how these entrepreneurs (risk takers) are never the ones to get maimed or killed by operations they shepherd. Never."

We are supposed to be impressed by the fact that they went to Oxford or Cambridge and go Rowing at Henley (or whatever). BP will find some dead engineer on the rig who caved to pressure to short-cut the procedures in the first place to take the blame.

airsafetyman said...

"Is that an across the board Piper employee furlough or just the cream gets the one week cut?"

Cloudster, The TCPalm (local Vero Beach newspaper) sez it's a one-time deal for everyone except the people designing the PiperJet and a few people shipping out parts to customers. Stay tuned.

gadfly said...

What would the day be like if the “gadfly” didn’t put his foot in his mouth!

So, here goes:

One of you, “Julius”, I think, mentioned something about the Boeing “Dreamliner” and problems . . . so I looked it up. Yep, something to do with “outsourcing” . . . and no surprise, horizontal stabilizer attachment and something about “shims”. Shims are spacers used to make up for inaccurate space fillers, when things are not as precise as designed. At one time, “shims” were the expected part of most assemblies . . . but that was a long time ago, back when I was young. Well, maybe everything at Everett, Washington, is under control . . . we’ll just have to watch and wonder. Ah, the joys of outsourcing a brand new product, even before you’ve worked out the “bugs’.

A few weeks . . . or months ago, an engineer came by the shop, wanting us to machine a contour map, so as to explain to the “technologically challenged” types the layout of some sort of electrical transfer station being built out on the “West Mesa” of Albuquerque. In the conversation, we learned that there was concern about terrorists being able to fire a rifle, etc., into the complex, and the contour map would show that the design prevented a straight shot into the complex, yada, yada, yada . . . etc., and so forth. The discussion went to “transformers”, etc., the extremely “big stuff” that is normally supplied by “GE”, etc. The transformer(s) are coming from China . . . and we asked “Why?” The answer was that “GE” production is all going to Iran, and the only other source was “China”.

Hey . . . I’m only the messenger . . . you folks figure it out. Maybe Generous Electric has a good explanation!

There was a time when I considered GE to be an American company . . . but that was a long time ago, before “Jack Welch”. (And yes, we’ve had dealings with them, up close and personal.)

Of late on the blog, bad things have been said about vulture capitalists . . . but I’m here to tell you that all you’ve heard is absolutely . . . true. Well, not all . . . but some. A venture capitalist is often the last resort for someone with a great idea that seeks to obtain funding to move forward. In my experience, I connected with honest folks, and a certain medical device went forward to good success. But that is a rare experience. Most “venture” or “vulture” capitalists expect immediate results, and about a 33% return on investment (just for starters), and usually have no understanding of the technology involved.

Back to Boeing . . . the “gadfly” thinks they are in over their head in truly understanding this new thing they’ve designed and sold. They’ve done a good thing, but (in my opinion) gone about it in the wrong way. Get it right, first . . . and then, and only then, farm it out to others over a long time. They might make it . . . and I hope they do, but they don’t seem to know enough about their new baby, just yet, to allow others to produce it. That little “horizontal stabilizer” that “helps” control the aircraft . . . Where in the world did that come from? Somewhere, there is a disconnect between those that need to know . . . and those that don’t have a clue.

But there it is . . . the comments of the day from your favorite “gadfly”.

gadfly

(Hey, I’m always in trouble . . . tell me something I don’t know!)

gadfly said...

What would the day be like if the “gadfly” didn’t put his foot in his mouth!

So, here goes:

One of you, “Julius”, I think, mentioned something about the Boeing “Dreamliner” and problems . . . so I looked it up. Yep, something to do with “outsourcing” . . . and no surprise, horizontal stabilizer attachment and something about “shims”. Shims are spacers used to make up for inaccurate space fillers, when things are not as precise as designed. At one time, “shims” were the expected part of most assemblies . . . but that was a long time ago, back when I was young. Well, maybe everything at Everett, Washington, is under control . . . we’ll just have to watch and wonder. Ah, the joys of outsourcing a brand new product, even before you’ve worked out the “bugs’.

A few weeks . . . or months ago, an engineer came by the shop, wanting us to machine a contour map, so as to explain to the “technologically challenged” types the layout of some sort of electrical transfer station being built out on the “West Mesa” of Albuquerque. In the conversation, we learned that there was concern about terrorists being able to fire a rifle, etc., into the complex, and the contour map would show that the design prevented a straight shot into the complex, yada, yada, yada . . . etc., and so forth. The discussion went to “transformers”, etc., the extremely “big stuff” that is normally supplied by “GE”, etc. The transformer(s) are coming from China . . . and we asked “Why?” The answer was that “GE” production is all going to Iran, and the only other source was “China”.

Hey . . . I’m only the messenger . . . you folks figure it out. Maybe Generous Electric has a good explanation!

There was a time when I considered GE to be an American company . . . but that was a long time ago, before “Jack Welch”. (And yes, we’ve had dealings with them, up close and personal.)

Of late on the blog, bad things have been said about vulture capitalists . . . but I’m here to tell you that all you’ve heard is absolutely . . . true. Well, not all . . . but some. A venture capitalist is often the last resort for someone with a great idea that seeks to obtain funding to move forward. In my experience, I connected with honest folks, and a certain medical device went forward to good success. But that is a rare experience. Most “venture” or “vulture” capitalists expect immediate results, and about a 33% return on investment (just for starters), and usually have no understanding of the technology involved.

Back to Boeing . . . the “gadfly” thinks they are in over their head in truly understanding this new thing they’ve designed and sold. They’ve done a good thing, but (in my opinion) gone about it in the wrong way. Get it right, first . . . and then, and only then, farm it out to others over a long time. They might make it . . . and I hope they do, but they don’t seem to know enough about their new baby, just yet, to allow others to produce it. That little “horizontal stabilizer” that “helps” control the aircraft . . . Where in the world did that come from? Somewhere, there is a disconnect between those that need to know . . . and those that don’t have a clue.

But there it is . . . the comments of the day from your favorite “gadfly”.

gadfly

(Hey, I’m always in trouble . . . tell me something I don’t know!)

(Thanks, FC, for re-posting that link . . . it was a good thing to help give balance to the blogsite, right?)

(And the contour map with the Chinese trashformer . . . er, transformer instead of GE's? . . . we didn't get the job. 'Guess it wouldn't have mattered . . . if the terrorists got the GE transformer, they probably don't care about what happens on the Albuquerque "West Mesa". Do you have any idea how big that thing is? . . . and how it must be delivered over interstate highways?)

RonRoe said...

gadfly,

I hope Whytech will chime in, since he eats lunch with VC's every day.

However, I think you're a bit off base about venture capital. Sure they have their share of idiots, like every other occupation, but the handful that I've met couldn't be more different from your description.

First of all, no self-respecting VC will invest in a business he doesn't understand. In fact, during due diligence, as they come to understand your business, the questions they ask will help you to understand your own company in ways you never anticipated.

Second, they don't expect immediate results. The standard period between an investment and the "liquidity event" is 5 - 7 years.

Finally, it would be a poor investment if they only got a 33% return on their money. Tell you what, why don't you loan me $100,000 for seven years, and I'll pay you back $133,000. That's less than 5% a year, without any compounding. I can do better than that in the bond market with a lot less risk.

The remaining shareholders in a business hope that the VC guys make 1000% on their investment, because that means that the other shareholders will also make 1000% or more when they sell their stock.

Baron95 said...

I get a kick out of people who think they can legislate accidents from happening.

Accidents will always happen. Individuals, corporations, governments, societies will always make mistakes.

When you make a mistake driving your car, you bend some metal. When you make a mistake in a bombing target you take out the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia. When you make a mistake flying an AA 757 on approach you hit the Andean Mountains. When you make a mistake piloting an oil tanker you dump oil all over the bay, when you make a mistake choosing your leader you cause the Holocaust, when you make a mistake policing you pump 37 bullets into an unarmed law abiding person, when you make a mistake drilling you cause a blow out.

Nothing new there. It is just how it is. When you mess around big things the mistakes are a little louder.

We shouldn't stop driving or having a military or police or voting or drilling for oil because we are afraid of mistakes.

That is just plain silly, and all those who exploit these incidents are the ones that have no scruples.

The real tragedy here?

If the US, Al Gore et al, had devoted 1/10th of what we have devoted to "global warming err climate change" to preparing for the INEVITABLE high magnitude oil spills, we'd be in much better shape.

There is no getting around it. We have to prepare for these low probability, but high impact events.

Be it 9/11, Katrina, BP Spill.

Just like banks pay premium to FDIC insurance to cover the unavoidable collapses, oil companies need to pay into a Federal fund to cove the unavoidable accidents.

Trying to pretend that regulation can prevent another spill is silly.

Baron95 said...

On an aviation technical note....What key aviation component that traditionally cost around $250,000.00 and could only be used on Airliners and high end biz jets, are now almost standard on GA planes and consumer electronics and has a cost of $2.50 - that is right two dollars and fifty cents?

Answer

gadfly said...

RR . . . The 33% was for a year into the project, or some other number the reflects the fact that most "ventures" are dead end and that the "VCs" are taking most of the risk. Or, the "VC" sometimes wants total control within a short time. This is nothing new . . . and I could give you a great example going back almost a century, where the original owner was forced out of the operation, for whatever reason.

And another going back sixty years.

In the "high tech" business, I have not observed the generous and well informed types that you mention as often as the opposite. However, I'm glad to know that the well informed VC's are out there, somewhere, with a generous and/or fair attitude toward the one with the original ideas.

And many times the opposite is true that the VC's see more than the original inventor, and use his ignorance to their advantage, without fair compensation to the inventor. And that, I have seen, more times than I would wish.

But, whatever, the comments are more to stir up discussion and further contemplation on the subject, than a final statement of fact.

Thanks for your response.

gadfly

Phineas A. Ferb said...

Baron,

9/11, Katrina flood, and BP oil spill *could have been prevented*, as opposed to events we have no control over. Prevention has always been better than cure. I'm not saying legislation will stop all accidents from happening, but if at least some of them - it's worth it.

julius said...

baron95,

if RR was right in stating that blocking the pipe behind the BOP was impossible because of insufficient fixing of the well upstream of the BOP then the oil spill was just a question of weather!

Thanks to "deregulate" Lousiana and MMS there was no "danger" for BP!

But unfortunately there wasn't enough Corexit to keep the oil down under the surface.

BP in US takes what it can get - that's why BP in US is as it is now and perhaps in other "deregulate" areas.

Even the simple risk management failed: If this unsafe well (first time so deep, etc.!) fails how much oil will leave the well before it can be blocked by relief drillings (first time so deep!)?How much Corexit will be needed? But perhaps someone was expecting that T. H. will state: BP is innocent and blah blah...(will not pay) and must only pay some $ 10 millions!

What about Exxon, Shell,...are they much better in preventing oil spills?

There is no black and white - but:
If your neighbour (not BP) spills once and awhile a gallon oil in his garden - not very nice, if your car dealer does the same - but some gallons evry week - then one get nervous. IF BP (professional in oil business) spills some hundred millions, then it is an incident like a normal storm or history?????


Julius

P.S.: The Obama administration is now looking for support from other countries - Exxon, Shell, etc. cannot help?

airsafetyman said...

In saying that the government has no business regulating and/or shutting down unsafe operations you make no sense at all.

Its like saying that a drunk going down the Interstate on the wrong side of the highway at 90 miles an hour shouldn't be bothered by the State Police (in fact, you shouldn't even HAVE any State Police) because the "free market" will take care of it and besides anyone hurt can always sue.

Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...

In saying that the government has no business regulating and/or shutting down unsafe operations you make no sense at all.

-----------------

I never said that. By all means. Shut down all unsafe operations. Don't shut down *ALL* operations to placate your political base.

airsafetyman said...

"I never said that. By all means. Shut down all unsafe operations. Don't shut down *ALL* operations to placate your political base."

And don't cave in to pressure and NOT shut down unsafe operations because they make donations to politicians?

That, and rampant incompetence at the higher levels, is the main problem with the SEC, past versions of the FAA under that hideous woman, the department of Homeland Security, and increasingly, the NTSB. It doesn't have to always be that way, and in the past, it normally WASN'T that way with government agencies.

Baron95 said...

Hi ASM, the issue is not the agencies per se.

The issue is that finance, oil exploration, pharmaceuticals, telecom, etc have grown incredibly complex and competitive for ANY central form of effective control.

It is all nice and fine to regulate telecom services when the only service is phone calls using wireline and blackphones.

It is all nice and fine to regulate finance when the only services are pass book checking accounts and paper-based stock transactions.

It is all nice and fine to regulate land-based oil exploration by a couple of companies (e.g. standard oil).

No one. And I truly mean no one. Can possibly control modern global finance and all the products and competition in that market place.

And it is very tough to monitor an oil well outside US borders in 5,000 ft of water, using crew and equipment from a dozen companies, including foreign ones, etc.

These activities do NOT lend themselves to pontification by Congress or the president or by simple measures that voters can understand.

ANY new financial or oil exploration that comes out of congress will have *AT BEST* a negligible/marginal impact, in preventing the next oil spill.

And I am *SURE* you know it. You may feel better not admitting it and pretending govmt regulations will take care of it, but I'm sure deep down you know the truth.

Me? I trust completely in the fact that smart execs from Exxon and BP and Shell will be doing their best to avoid the $20B+ liability of a spill.

And so I shall sleep like a baby tonight ;)

But you,....hummmm..... I don't know. You are relying on a politician or bureaucrat, with no personal risk/reward, to come up with the magic answer.

The tooth fairy may not come.

But law suits and higher insurance premiums are a sure bet.

airtaximan said...

funny position... sleeping well knowing the global marketplace is so complex, no one can regulate it for safety... and yet, you feel like everythings alright with a CEO in charge of that same complex difficult to regulate system...

as you state:

"No one. And I truly mean no one. Can possibly control modern global finance and all the products and competition in that market place.

And it is very tough to monitor an oil well outside US borders in 5,000 ft of water, using crew and equipment from a dozen companies, including foreign ones, etc."

The profit motive might make a CEO think twice about certain decisions, especially with a short term profits mentality... that can impact safety. But throw prison into the mix...

Yes, still touch to regulate, but I find it difficult to understand how adding prison and over sight does not mitigate risk, and if you sleep like a baby with the system as is, knowing its really tenuous... this does not give me a strong sense of comfort, my friend.

How is ECLIPSE 2.0?

Baron95 said...

Hey ATM. I am pretty cool with it.

We are quite capable of dealing with hurricanes, and 911 and wars and oil spills.

And yes, CEOs will take risks for short term profits. And yes boards will insist on risk management. And there will be mistakes and things will fail.

And I am quite comfortable with all that.

I live in the safest town I can. I buy the safest car I can. I fly the safest planes/airlines I can. I buy appropriate insurance. Etc. But I am still quite comfortable, that, in life, stuff happens.

I don't lose sleep over it. Nor do I yearn for gvmt paternalistic protections.

If you think about it, an oil spill 50 miles from shore is a mundane event. It is not life threatening. It is at best (as far as humans are concerned) an economical inconvenience to be recovered by suing the responsible parties.

How about we focus on say making cars 10% safer which would save around 4,000 American lives and some 40,000 American injuries a year over time?

And given that shrimp, crawfish, etc are all high cholesterol items, for all I know, the BP spill may actually be saving American lives by taking a lot of high fat items off the table.

airtaximan said...

"I live in the safest town I can. I buy the safest car I can. I fly the safest planes/airlines I can. I buy appropriate insurance..."

All heavily regulated.

Glad you feel safe.

airtaximan said...

"And given that shrimp, crawfish, etc are all high cholesterol items, for all I know, the BP spill may actually be saving American lives by taking a lot of high fat items off the table."

strange comment, as I would expect in YOUR world, you would be able to make the best decisions possible by yourself, and of course avoid the risk of cholesterol foods... without anything near a massive oil spill to modify your behavior.

airsafetyman said...

"No one. And I truly mean no one. Can possibly control modern global finance and all the products and competition in that market place.

And it is very tough to monitor an oil well outside US borders in 5,000 ft of water, using crew and equipment from a dozen companies, including foreign ones, etc."

Well, Canadian banks came out of the world-wide financial debacle smelling like roses BECAUSE Canada has effective regulations that prevented the kind of 'mortgage-bundling and sell it off to a greater fool' farce that went on with Citigroup and all the other idiots that were leveraged out 40 to 1. Not over burdensome regulation. Just effective regulation by people who know what they are doing. Had the US had the same regulations and effective people the financial debacle likely would never have happened

In the same vein had MMS been staffed with experienced oil workers who had already had one career in the industry they wouold have insisted in using a different kind of pipe, of properly cementing the well, of using a cement log to test the process, of using drilling "mud" in lieu of water at a critical juncture. This is not overly complicated and beyond anyone's control. A very good estimation of what most likely happened was made very soon after the accident. All indications to date are that it could have been prevented.

I am not for government regulation more than necessary. The whole concept, for example, of "Homeland Security" frightens me. Every time Janet Napalatino (spell) opens her mouth she makes a fool out of herself. She is over the Coast Guard and she wouldn't know a Coast Guard Cutter from a Coast Guard helicopter. Her predecessor, Michael Chertof, was even worse. That fear-monger eased himself into a job with a firm that makes body scanners, so now he can lobby the people he used to supervise. How unethical can you get.

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly,

What do you hear about Eclipse Aerospace? Has the little bird been 'born again'? I hear them on the radio occasionally but the sky still has not been darkened.

gadfly said...

BT . . . Strange you should ask.

Having been "beat up" so many times of late, I promised myself I would lie low for the indefinite future.

In answer to your question, like "Schultz", "I know nothing!"

Yes . . . I'm as curious as you. And "Yes" the "Obama" currency is still on the "fridge" . . . at least one of them.

So few understand the present agenda . . . until it will be too late . . . and I'm not speaking of the "Eclipse".

Oil spills . . . leaks, whatever! It's a side show and diversion of things soon to come.

gadfly

('Glad you called!)

StuckInNM said...

This morning my job took me near the Sunport. As I drove south on I-25 near Stadium (sorry, I refuse to acknowledge "Cesar Chavez" or his boulevard) a woman in a Chrysler 300 cut me off in traffic. She then proceeded to whip her bloated Fiasler sedan through traffic, at least 10 over the limited in AM rush hour traffic, like she owned the road.

She got off at the Sunport exit, as did I. She also pulled onto University, and then the Access Road that takes you by the tattered remnants of Eclipse (including the paint hangar that usurped the once-awesome viewing area).

I didn't follow her past there... but after my business was done I did my traditional loop through the Atlantic and Cutter FBO parking lots. On a whim, I also drove by Eclipse Aerospace HQ... and there in the front row, was Ms. Knievel's blinged-out Mopar POS.

I'm not sure what that means... but I think it does mean something. Though the Wedge may be gone, his sense of entitlement lives on.

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly,

Save your three dollar bill as two very important dates are coming up... November 2, 2010 and January 21, 2013.

gadfly said...

Dark Blossom

Recently our family has increased by a sweet little thing, . . . according to the paper work, “born” in Prescott, 13 May 2010, at 7 rounds, 13 ounces . . . we call her “Elsie Pea”. Her pictures are all over the internet.

(And it was my wife that broke the news.)

gadfly

(My understanding is that her “siblings” are up for adoption . . . and they’re all from Arizona.)

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

Here’s all I know about the little bird for this week:

http://regulations.justia.com/view/185218/


And the following:

“July 9, 2010, Coral Springs, FL – The producers of Today In America are pleased to announce that Eclipse Aerospace will be featured in an upcoming episode as part of the show’s series on Business Without Borders.
The economic downturn of the last couple of years has seen the development and rollout of new technology stall for lack of funding and, in some cases, the collapse of the parent company. This is what happened to the Eclipse 500 Light Jet. In an Albuquerque hanger, sits rows of Eclipse aircraft, in various stages of completion ― simply abandoned like some mysterious archeological site.
In September 2009, Eclipse Aerospace, Inc. purchased the tangible assets and the intellectual property rights (e.g. designs, patents, tradename, trademark, copyright, etc.) of the former Eclipse Aviation Corporation. EAI immediately restarted selected operations in order to provide parts, services and support to the 260 “orphaned” owners of Eclipse 500 aircraft who had no visible means of support.
“The Eclipse 500 Jet is an affordable and attractive solution for organizations who desire to enjoy the benefits of jet travel without the high cost burden of traditional ownership and balance sheet implications,” says Mason Holland, Chairman and CEO, Eclipse Aerospace. “The Eclipse 500 Jet is the only twin engine jet on the market today priced in the 2-3 million dollar price range.”
EAI is presently developing plans to restart production of the now fully engineered Eclipse 500 Jet aircraft which announcement is forthcoming.
For more information, please visit www.eclipseaerospace.net ”

gadfly

That part caught my eye . . . “simply abandoned like some mysterious archeological site.” Somehow, that seems to describe most of New Mexico.

Next door in Arizona, they seem to have it together . . . what with the “Phoenix” that may yet “rise from the ashes” . . . we, in New Mexico, remain as an “archeological site” . . . OK, “archeological dig”, with politicians who haven’t a clue, attempting to tax the dead, while digging up bones and artifacts.

At least the sunsets are beautiful, if you stand up “real high” on what used to be the former “Eclipse”, and ignore the remains.

Floating Cloud said...

StnNM says:

"On a whim, I also drove by Eclipse Aerospace HQ... and there in the front row, was Ms. Knievel's blinged-out Mopar POS."

Dearest StnNM:

Geez Louise, would ya’ get out of my way?!! Can't you see I am busy getting to my hanger! No one waits for me honey! And as the stars tell me, my Total Eclipse is PURE bling at 2-3 mil. Fashion comes and goes but I tell you this Eclipse Green Thing is going to be the new trend!

Mary


Dear Gadfly:

Congrats GGP! After my Dad’s service earlier this week the news of a new baby is always good!

You are confusing me, however, I thought you were hopeful as I am for Eclipse Areospace. That’s okay if not, as you can explain further…

FC


ASM:

Regulations within reason and ethics ARE important I so agree. I recently had to remind my dear(divorced) Mother in Denver that in the 21st century, “there is no common sense.” That fact is not very easy to accept as I also hope for civility, but it does help one to know that the world is not, nor ever will be what it used to be, and move on.

B95 woefully reminds us of this fact all the time. (Thanks sweetie;).

I am a child of the 70s making me a good mediator between the ages.

The Cloudster, (just hangin')

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly,

Congratulations on the new family offspring. Recently had my 22 month old grandson in my lap while flying a Phenom 100 at 28,000 feet. He apparently is a born pilot who wanted to hand fly the aircraft... as evidenced by his pushing the red button on the yoke and disconnecting the autopilot. He now has a logbook with an entry for his first dual instruction.

gadfly said...

Do you folks know of an outstanding family of high caliber in Prescott, AZ?

Do a Google search for "Elsie Pea" . . . you just might be surprised . . . and then re-read my earlier comments, again.

Yes, at 7 rounds, 13 ounces, she's a sweet little thing!

gadfly

(Our oldest grandson flies at every opportunity (Cessna's), but will be spending many months under water on a "Boomer" out of Bangor, WA.)

julius said...

Gadfly,

cangrats GGP!

While M&M indicated that there might be the chance that they might tell someting about a possible concept of restarting the production Cessana's parent company CEO already announced that there will be news - quite soon.

To be honest there is nothing wrong if M&M will need one year (or even more) for stabilizing the spare part chain and the MRO processes.
What about the new CEO, who should prepare and present the production restart concept of the fpj(+?)! AVIO NG 1.5 or 1.7 are outdated and the fjp is still a tiny bird!

Julius

RonRoe said...

FC et al,

Gadfly is referring to a handgun, not a grandson. The Sturm Ruger Lightweight Compact Pistol, or "Ruger LCP", fires a .380 ACP round.

The pistol's empty weight is 9.4 oz. Perhaps Gad is talking about the loaded weight at 13 oz?

The magazine holds six rounds, so with a round in the chamber, it can hold seven rounds.

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly,

Nice looking piece. I've got my .303 British-Enfield ready here in case of revolution.

Floating Cloud said...

Oh that is too funny! Sorry folks, didn't realize exactly what a bundle of joy Sir Gadfly was talking about! Elsie Pea!!!

On the flip side, while recently pondering over whether to get a dog and how to introduce a dog to my eleven year old cat, Gatsby (who thinks he is a dog) my mannicurist said, "Oh honey, dogs are too much work, get a gun!"

Last night, my first night back in ABQ, and awoken at 3:00 am by voices outside, I honestly started to really consider it. Have to learn how to shoot, but that could be fun? Right?

FC

gadfly said...

RR and BT

'Some nice things about "Elsie Pea":

Made in USA . . . Made in Arizona . . . Extremely well engineered and highest quality.

And it's a bit easier to carry than the "Enfield". You hardly know you have it unless you need it in an instant . . . hopefully, never.

gadfly

(FC . . . comments/quotes about Eclipse were the latest news on the internet. If they make it, they make it . . . but they left a few lasting scars on Albuquerque.)

gadfly said...

Yes, FC . . . shooting can be much fun! I taught our four kids beginning when they were about five years old, and now each is teaching their kids good shooting habits. And like flying, learn safety early, and from experts.

gadfly

julius said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
julius said...

Gadfly,

"seven rounds".... funny kid...
Sorry!

I should have noticed it...

I did my civil service at the former "BGS" (now "Bundespolizei") when there was the border to the former DDR. So I got some training on how to handle a pistol on an old fashioned shooting range - but not how to use it in houses or at home or when moving ... So I do not own a weapon and hopefully will never need one!

Back to the link: EAI needs some work - and not every fpj has been "updated" to AVIO NG 1.5!
And what about FIKI?

The owners of the AVIO fpjs will be pleased to get a bill of approx. $250K..."with best wishes from the wedge and M"!

Ohhh... it is just a proposal ...and which agency/owner/person informed the FAA ...about these old facts which were ignored by the "SPECIAL CERTIFICATION REVIEW
Eclipse Aviation Corporation
Model EA500 Airplane" of 2008-09-12?


Julius

P.S.: In Germany it is very difficult to get a permit for "carrying" a weapon. If one is a member of of a shooting club one may get a permit to "own" a weapon. Then one must transport the waepon and the amunition in separate boxes from home to the sooting range etc.
In UK it is much more difficult to get a weapon - legally.

airsafetyman said...

The Eclipse web site sez they have opened a "Platinum" (no less) service center in Istanbul, Turkey. The dude in charge is reported on the website as saying their technicians are "certified" to service the aircraft in accordance with FAA and European Safety Agency Standards (EASA).

Sure they are! The fact that Turkey is not one of the 27 members countries of the EU and governed by EASA, or one of the three other countries (Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland) that have an agreement with EASA should not deter anyone!

The happy BS just never stops.

gadfly said...

This is to no one in particular . . . ‘just some general thoughts concerning Eclipse, past, present, and future.

Sometime back, we observed the earlier fiasco . . . and a long list of almost everything to be avoided in management, manufacturing, etc. From the very beginning some of those things were grossly obvious . . . but let’s not beat a dead horse.

There is a new group . . . who or what they are, I have no knowledge. But placing the blame of the past on the present group is a diversion and extra load they don’t need nor deserve . . . yet! They stepped up and paid their dues . . . more money than I have seen in a five or ten year period, and maybe they need some time to get things sorted out.

‘Having been in some rather difficult situations, myself . . . some were even illegal on the part of my superiors, which didn’t make my job as manager any easier . . . I was (then) blamed for the actions of others. One day, I resigned, and my boss said, “You can’t quit . . . you’re fired!” That was a great day . . . my crew understood for the first time that the blame at been aimed at the wrong person . . . and it was my ex-boss that served time in a federal gated community. (Much later, when he got out, I was of minor help to him . . . a brilliant man who chose to do things illegally, when he could have done it right, from the start.)

Bottom line here is than most of us don’t know all the facts . . . but the “new crew” deserve a little slack, to see if they can get it all sorted out. And none of them answer to the “critics”, no matter how brilliant our comments and suggestions.

The basic design, in my opinion, still has some serious problems. But let’s not confuse “design” with “business ethics”.

gadfly

airsafetyman said...

Gad,

Nope, they had their free ride with the jobs for free rent scam or whatever it was. Not to mention their efforts to keep suppliers from selling parts to FBOs trying to keep the airplanes flying. They are implying their shop in Istanbul, Turkey, is subject to EASA oversight, which is total BS. Let them open a shop in Cologne, Germany, which is EASA headquarters, if they want to say they are EASA compliant.

Floating Cloud said...

ASM:

Yeah, whatever happened to THAT deal -- jobs for free rent? (In fact I think I was the one who brought up that issue on the blog a while back.)

Perhaps I was starting to have hope for Eclipse Aerospace on the off chance that they could succeed here in ABQ AND create jobs, but if they think Europe is going to offer them something more -- and they are there right along with Piper, then they are really foolish in Turkey.

Is this a case of once a cad always a cad? I really wanted to believe in Eclipse again. Shoot. Oh shoot, where's me gun? ELSIE!!!

gadfly said...

Safetyman . . . Good point!

Some folks within the system can be blinded to dishonesty in their own company, and need time to sort out their own involvement. More often than not, it's not black and white, but various shades of grey . . . and responsibility.

gadfly

airsafetyman said...

On the same website Eclipse brags as to how the prices will be the same in Turkey or the states, implying that this is a really good deal for the customer. Having visited maintenance shops in Istanbul I know the mechanics are paid much, much, less than US mechanics. Why didn't the website just come out and say: "You've got a turkey so come to Turkey! Our margins are much greater!". They must think their customers are total idiots.

Baron95 said...

gadfly said...
'Some nice things about "Elsie Pea":
. . . Extremely well engineered and highest quality.
--------------------------

Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!

It is not - it is crap!!!! Absolute Crap.

Want a compact pistol made in ths USA, look elsewhere. Try Kahr PM9 or PM40 - not the most reliable in the world, but after you feed 200-300 rds through one, and replace what brakes (great factory support, by the way), then it will mostly work. And they have usable calibers. Not that .380 crap that, at best, will just piss off the bad guys.

Of course, if you conceal something a bit fatter, the Glock 23 is the ticket. Never a failure in over 2,000 rds though that thing. Well engineered, safe, reliable. A bit fat to carry, but hey.

Seriously. I'm shocked that someone would say the LCP is well engineered.

Baron95 said...

meant breaks.

Floating Cloud said...

My sister, who right after a divorce ten years ago or so was at home alone with three small children in a house on the outskirts of Canyon City, Colorado (not far from a fed pen), highly recomends a shotgun, which she loaded every night and unloaded every morning -- children in the house and all. "You can't miss with a shotgun," she says. And I believe her.

FC
Or get a dog, she says....

gadfly said...

B95 . . . You know what? Even those "artificial tires" that they put in a Mercedes SUV can get you home, provided you are NOT using the Mercedes SUV as an SUV. Can you believe it? . . . a "mini" tire for a spare on a German SUV? 'Guess "off the road" in kraut-land means it isn't the "Autobahn".

And you're right about the Kahr being a fine little gun . . . a quarter pound heavier than the "Elsie Pea", firing the same size lead. And if your budget (double the cost of our little Elsie) and the "pocket load" on the seams in your pants pocket can handle the extra weight . . . and you can fire a couple hundred rounds on the range to "break it in",. . . then the Kahr is a fine selection. And if you can spend an eight or ten hour day, day in and day out, with an extra quarter pound in your pocket, then why not upgrade to a "real" small cannon.

Shucks, I've got an entire stable of willing hand-guns with serious slam-power. But if it takes a shot in the "knee caps", or worse, what's the point. I want "stopping power", not "revenge power".

Safetyman's ".303 Enfield" is another choice . . . or how bout a ".458 Winchester Magnum" for that matter . . . 'never know when a "Rhino" or a "Rogue Elephant" might come knocking on your door, unexpected like.

This morning, I put three snakes out of their livelihood of eating my fish, with three shots from a hand-held 4.5mm pellet pistol . . . one pellet each. (The neighbors get rather un-easy if I were to use serious stuff.)

And I'm not too worried about hitting a target the size of a coffee cup at ten paces . . . even on a bad day . . . and that's with a "blind spot" in my right eye from looking at a partial eclipse, back in the fifth grade.

"Elsie Pea" is a sweet little thing . . . and she's come to stay.

And to the "Cloud" . . . shot guns are rather messy . . . and not all they're cracked up to be. And there is nothing more "un-safe" than an unloaded gun. My kids from the very beginning were taught that all guns are always loaded, and to treat them as such.

Little "Elsie" is a fine example of excellent engineering, designed to meet the need at a reasonable price.

We're not talking about "Phillip Patek" watches to make "Rollex" look like a "Cracker-Jack" prize, in comparison. We're talking about designing something to meet a need, at the appropriate price. And it's made in Arizona . . . and I support Arizona. So there!

gadfly

(And speaking of a "partial eclipse" . . . seems that the present "partial Eclipse" is nothing new. That one back in about 1947 just about caused me to miss being in the Submarine Service . . . for sure, it wiped me out of flight training to be a Navy carrier pilot, and officer's candidate school. But then, I learned to shoot a pistol better than a rifle, even though I shoot from the right, and aim from the left.

And those snakes aren't too happy about my abilities.)

(One other thing . . . Check it out: Back in April, the Governor of Texas shot a coyote, the animal type, that was threatening him, and his dog, in a stand-off. He used his "Elsie Pea" with the laser sight . . . and Ruger issued 1,000 "Coyote Specials" to two dealers in Texas, in his honor. That's the stuff I like to hear.)

julius said...

gadfly,

'Guess "off the road" in kraut-land means it isn't the "Autobahn".

That's true - driving a SUV with max. 60mph is boring and real stress!
Who needs mini tires for spare?
One inflates something to seal the tire or better - one calls for service...Dirty hands do not fit to a real SUV!

Julius


P.S.: Driving real "off road" is no fun - I think very few SUVs are used off road!

gadfly said...

Julius . . . We use our Lexus RX300 SUV to drive on some of our land (no roads) and often in deep snow where "All Wheel Drive" is absolutely required. Much of the area is in a "cell phone dead area", even if there were someone to call to fix a flat. The little toy spare tire would be of no use.

Driving a "max" of 60mph in a SUV? . . . Where did that number come from?

Driving "off road" might not be fun for some, but it sure beats walking miles in sub freezing snow, in the dark. And in our family, a third or more of the vehicles are "all wheel" or four-wheel drive, and constantly used "off road".

Which reminds me of the little jet, again. It isn't FIKI that would concern me so much as flying into 'Unknown' icing (Surprise!), and having a serious system to get back out.

gadfly

('Talk about toy tires and brakes!)

gadfly said...

Bad news from Albuquerque, just minutes ago, not far from our own shop:

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police say six people are dead and four others are hospitalized in a shooting at an Albuquerque fiber optics manufacturer.

Authorities say one of the dead was believed to be the gunman at the shooting on Monday at the campus of Emcore Corp.

Police Chief Ray Schultz says the shooter was a former Emcore employee. Schultz says the incident was a domestic violence workplace shooting.

Chaos unfolded at the facility as the gunman opened fire, sending employees fleeing for cover as police locked down the entire neighborhood.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Police say six people are dead and four others are hospitalized in a shooting at an Albuquerque fiber optics manufacturer.

Authorities say one of the dead was believed to be the gunman at the shooting on Monday at the campus of Emcore Corp.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved."

julius said...

gadfly,

Driving a "max" of 60mph in a SUV? . . . Where did that number come from?


that's for off road or better "off the Autobahn" (SUVs!)..
Max. speed is 100 kmh or 60mph on normal roads in Germany.

Sure, in NM there is a different situation compared to Germany (sub 500m).

Naturally, it is always better to drive than to walk...

BTW: A normally maintained gravel road is not "off road" for me.

Off road at night over snow - that's really tough.
I never dared to drive into water (ford) without checking it - and not at night! It's better to go 30m than to walk 15km!


Julius

gadfly said...

Julius . . . Who among us over here would not like to enjoy the beauties of Germany, Bavaria, and all those places out of a Richard Wagner opera from the “Ring Cycle”! We can only dream of such things . . . the castles built by the “dream king” (Ludwig II, that almost bankrupted Austria . . . Maybe we have his “progeny” right now) . . . the “Walkyrie” carrying the dying into “Valhalla”, etc., etc.

There are, indeed, places in California that resemble such scenes (west of Mono Lake, and just south of Sonora Pass . . . when the first snow comes in the fall, there is nothing so beautiful as when the clouds close the skies, and there is no mistake that winter is about to descend . . . and one fully expects to see “die Walkyrie” coming down from Valhalla . . . with a full orchestra playing with the might of an evening at the Bayreuth Festival.
And even in New Mexico, there are places that can only be compared to images expressed in the full sixteen plus hours of “Der Ring des Nibulungen”. Goose Lake, just south of “Red River, NM” at 3,480 meters altitude is one of those places.
But out our way, there is still the idea that we need to be equipped to survive without the benefits of a “bureaucracy” . . . or some central nanny government.
A few weeks ago, on our way to my dearest friend’s funeral in Reserve, NM, only the tracks of an earlier vehicle identified the road through the trees . . . the snow was deep, as evening settled. We finally came out of the mountain pass . . . the “Lexus” RX300 did everything we expected . . . yet, my knuckles were white with anticipation. As long as we could see the deep tracks in the snow, we knew we were not “off the road” . . . and before things got dark, we came to our destination. That, by the way, is about two hundred miles from Albuquerque . . . past the giant “VLR” (Very Large Array radio
telescopes) . . . and directly south of Datil, a “hiccup” in the fork in the highway.

Now, since we’re suppose to be discussing the “little jet” . . . think for a moment about what it can do. There is no way to fly into “Reserve, NM” under the conditions that we experienced . . . and that is precisely where there is a definite need. A helicopter flew in from Mesa, AZ, . . . in an attempt to save my friend, but he didn’t get to help in time. The one airport, just west of Reserve, was deep in snow . . . up to eight feet in places.

The little jet is not meant to contribute to the solution of the above problem . . . but there remains a need for such transportation. Maybe there is no answer . . . and maybe there is!
gadfly

(And that part about driving into water (ford) . . . it doesn’t matter if you check it. An arroyo in New Mexico can go from “dry” to many feet deep in seconds . . . no sane person will attempt it.)

(The shooting in Albuquerque from earlier . . . the story is changing as we speak. Three dead, four injured . . . Go figure! Bottom line, don’t believe anything you hear or read . . . until a year later, and even then remain skeptical. I wonder what it would be like if reporters were required to learn to “count” . . . and double check their answers? Probably nothing would change . . . there remain lawyers.)

Baron95 said...

Sorry Gadfly, but a .380ACP from a very short barrel like the LCP is substantially below the minimum acceptable performance for a defensive round.

The Kahr PM9 is thinner and only slightly heavier, and has ballistics performance that is three times as effective. That is the minimum.

The Kahr PM40 (broken in) is better still. It will fit comfortably in my pants pocket or waist band all day.

FC - your friend must not know that violent crime and home break-ins are more prevalent during the day (7AM-10PM) than overnight ours. Still, she can use her unloaded shotgun as a club, I suppose.

gadfly said...

Well, Baron . . . at least I can scare them with the loud noise . . . as I scream bloody murder!

gadfly

(Some dogs like Alpo . . . some don't!)

Black Tulip said...

Anybody here fly airplanes?

gadfly said...

BT . . . It would appear that "Total Eclipse" is a good name for the little bird. It seems to have totally disappeared.

gadfly

(Even Phil, our host, seems to have gone to a far country.)

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

Early on we commented that we had too little information concerning the "oil leak". Recently, we've come to understand that the pressure in the well is in the range of 9,000 psi . . . minus the water pressure (2,000 psi), yields a value of 7,000 psig . . . and we can appreciate some of the problems faced by BP and the others in coming up with a "fix".

This afternoon, there seems to be fix in place . . . at least for the moment.

Regardless of all the political comments, etc., this is an important day in learning how to deal with such problems. 'Giving credit where credit is due, someone or "some one's" in the system, are doing good things, to solve these serious problems. Sometimes the learning process comes at a high price for the moment, yet yields great returns in the future.

No . . . it's not over, yet, but the learning curve is moving in the right direction. And I thank God for giving us brains, and the ability to reason out solutions to difficult problems.

Now, if folks would use their "noodles" for the more important problems that we face in these difficult times.

gadfly

(Somewhere it's said, "They are without excuse!")

gadfly said...

The question has been asked (by the “Dark Blossom of the Netherlands”): “Anybody here fly airplanes?”

And I’d like to “warp” the thought a little (with apologies to the Black Tulip) to a question of “Anybody here design airplanes?”

Reaching “way back”, we were presented with a little jet, that would “sip fuel”, transport . . . what was it? . . . six people, over a thousand miles, at great speeds, in comfort, etc., . . . and be so popular that the skies would almost be darkened by their very existence, and cost under a million dollars.

Well, we were presented with something a little less exciting . . . and there’s no use in going over the obituary, just now. But suffice it to say, there were some hard lessons . . . and I would like to say, “learned” . . . but I’ve learned that the lessons were not learned . . . and will be repeated by the gullible, right up to the end of time.

A day or so, ago, I was reminded by a search on another subject of a comment made by a “Michael Behe”, Ph.D., (again, on another subject, close to my prime interest), . . . boiled down to the simple phrase, “Irreducible Complexity”.

The little jet seems to have gone beyond that into “unlimited” complexity.

Bottom line: Had the design of the little jet focused on a single target, we would not be talking about something in the past. Unfortunately, the design seemed closer to a shotgun approach (I’m being kind here, as in the back of my mind a more accurate picture is the ancient “blunderbuss”).

In my own designs, I have attempted to focus on a single goal . . . and then, when appropriate, expand into other areas, after the first goal was achieved. And, strangely, that approach worked quite well.

Well, maybe we can pick up this thread later . . . my wife has arrived at the shop and I need to move on to other things. But think about it! “Irreducible Complexity” . . . what does it take to produce a product or device to accomplish the minimum requirements ? That’s the bottom line, below which, there is no solution. And above that line, there is great opportunity . . . but begin at the “bottom line” and do it well before you move on to the next level.

gadfly

julius said...

BT,
787
for me there was no question that the first 787 revenue flight will take place in the 1the Q/2011. But now?
The flight test team had so much time to plan and check everything again and again. Fancher's explanation are not convincing.
What means "early 2010"??? May, June 2010?

fpj

Is the proposed AD the last chance to get some money to pay the current staff level?
Anyhow, M&M may keep in limbo the future of EAI but then there will be no investors and top staff will look for other opportunities.
Maybe Oshkosh will be used as the news platform... a new CEO...


Julius

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airtaximan said...

In my opinion, the design was an attempt to leverage development stage technologies that were not really ready for prime time... and THAT's the main reason it failed to hit a big market. Even when "forward priced" to a really, really low sales price. An unattainable and unrealistic low price.

One of the the biggest questions has been, leverage the tech, for "what"?

a- a new aircraft that would revolutionize the transportation system
b- capital from the tech guys into aviation based on a tenuous promise

Hind sight is always clearer than foresight. I'd like to think VErn was genuine in hi belief the offer of a sub-$1mm twin jet was "real"... I know he knew his order book numbers were BS.

It would be fun to think "what if" he offered the plane at realistic pricing, based on a small early adopter market and grew the biz from there?

Iphone: $500 to begin with, a few months later, rebate of $200 and new lower price, within a year a higher monthly bill and very low phone "price"...

If Vern said he was doing LRIP type rates 50 a year... imagine the premium he could have extracted from someone like Ken... imagine the resid value effect? Imagine the investment community reaction to a lower risk business model, and finally imagine planning for a higher cost and lower production, and the effect on the stalled program that evetually came? The overhead and all the cost associated with planning for higher rate, etc would have been avoided...

Imagine some of the design choices (like engines) not relying mostly on lower cost - perhaps PW would have been the intial choice, maybe the FJ33?

Imagine the boom when dayjet announced their business model and order (for 100-200 planes) and their ability to leverage a higher "retail" price and their "discount" for the fleet order?

I believe there are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned from EAC...

In my opinion, Vern should have been selling either a low cost product or a high tech product. not both. The design decisions would have been much more focused and so would the pricing stratgey if he elected to focus on either one and not both. A lower cost focus would have resulted in a slightly larger jet, with more proven systems, and a quicker path to market and a better plane for transport, IMO.

His ideas are more suited for a tech-guy looking at the tech, and perhaps a nicer interior and fit and finish would have extracted a considerable premium, and helped build a strong "quality" brand that could have migrated to various models leveraging the technology and appealing to more segments... and eventually, maybe a lower priced version based on dayjet type projections, with a sparse interior, and more robust taxi-like features.

hmmm...

julius said...

airtaximan,

the fpj was price oriented not customer oriented.
How did a "cheap" jet look like? The wedge added some own time consuming spices - and the dish became less "cheap" than anticipated - he left the "cheap" path!
... Then he believed that he had to invent some customers ... TU...

EAC never sold a fpj neither according to specs nor according to real costs.

The only postive aspect was that there was an investor who sacked the responsible person - the wedge!

There are lots of less expensive cars or a/cs - are they cash cows?
Are they sold in big numbers?


Julius

gadfly said...

This morning, while coming into the parking lot at 9:45AM, I heard and saw a little bird heading west from ABQ . . . probably at about 8,000 feet (3,000 feet above ground). So, at least one of the little fat birds is still flying.

Which brings me to my point. By the time the little jet was being sold, it was about 1,200 pounds overweight, homing in on three tons, mtow.

Now, that's OK for some, but as I recall, the brakes and landing gear (including tires, and attach points for "main gear" inside a wet wing) had never been brought up to the new weight.

The engines were increased in thrust . . . wing tanks were added, but the "legs and feet" remained like a fat lady in high-heeled shoes.

And then on 2008-07-31, Eclipse 500 N333MY dropped off the end of the runway (OQN) with pilot and young daughter aboard. And, yes . . . it was pilot error, for sure.

But does anyone else remember the pictures of the remains (of N333MY) in the hangar, with gear penetrating through the upper skin of the wing(s)?

That sort of thing should give a person "pause" . . . a gear collapse coming right through a "wet" wing. Maybe/evidently, the wing tanks are not in that area, but me thinks this is not a good sign.

The fact that it took the fire department "foam" to stop the engines is a side event, but interesting.

What ever happened to the airframe of N333MY? . . . was it hussled off somewhere and reduced to scrap? . . . or does it still exist, to be studied, and used to learn something?

Seems to me that a good company would keep that artifact, to learn and build a better product. If the company wished to hide something, they would get rid of the thing, as fast as possible.

My search on the internet comes up "dry".

gadfly

(And that's part of what I'm driving at, when you begin a "new something" . . . go for "Irreducible Complexity" and build from there. The first generation of E500's went outside that envelope, and to my knowledge haven't gone back to the starting line. All the new electronics, etc., although good, are bandaids to a flawed beginning.)

gadfly said...

On a somewhat different subject, but related to aircraft design, etc., it would appear that Boeing's problems are far from over.

Somewhere (I saved it on my home computer, but not available to me at the moment), was something about the comparison of crash testing of the "777" and the "787", etc., with cross sectional diagrams of the passenger compartment. It's difficult to glean accurate information on the internet, but I'll venture the following: Boeing "may" (and I emphasize the word) be relying too heavily on the structural strength of carbon fibers, alone, in everything from passenger compartment floor structure, to wing and stabilizer spars.

Earlier I had mentioned some things I learned "long ago" (before many of you were born) that using Nylon fibers in plastic composites would prevent sudden catastrophic failure, when glass or graphite filaments suddenly fail. Today, we have Nylon, and "Kevlar" (aramid fibers), and probably an entirely new family of filaments, that "stretch" much, before final failure. To include such in the composite, whether a wing spar or the flooring in the passenger compartment offers a certain amount of "forgiveness" in the structure. Yes, there is a slight weight penalty, but well worth it.

Anyway, remember that maybe you read it here, first . . . should the subject come up in the future.

gadfly

(And when that vertical stabilizer snapped off the "Airbus" out of Boston, some time back . . . had the designers used this sort of thing, there would have not been a sudden catastrophic failure of the vertical tail, etc., etc. A partial tail is a whole lot better than no tail.)

gadfly said...

“Let’s talk!” . . . who was that? . . . Phyllis Diller? . . . What a strange person to pronounce a good thing.

Whatever . . . since there seems to be a lack of traffic on this blogsite at the moment, we’ll continue.

As an inventor/designer/etc., I have over time developed certain philosophies, that seem to work well, where-ever they are applied. Some folks do not agree. So, to remove the “impasse” . . . what to do?!

Many years ago, I bought a book, “Handbook of Marxism” to understand the minds of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin . . . $5 well spent. I put myself in the shoes of a young student, with “open mind”, to understand the mind-set . . . and learned much. So when Obama says something, today, about what he’s going to do, I believe him . . . and know what he means, because at one time in my life, I opened my mind to understand his mind set.

All this should not come as a shock to anyone who’s done their homework! The “man” said certain things, and immediately, I connected . . . because I carefully studied it all with open mind, to understand such things.

Now, many are in a tizzy . . . but bare with me. To understand another person, and their philosophy, whether it be concerning aircraft design, or God, or politics, or . . . name any subject on the planet . . .you must be willing to “empathize” with the other person . . . in other words, “come over to their side”, even for a moment . . . to understand some things that maybe you didn’t see from “your side of the stream”.

No, it’s not easy . . . and violates a prime component of modern (and ancient) thinking: Pride! The very thought that maybe “I don’t have the final answer, maybe!” scares the socks off most folks. But if I “do” have the final answer, or maybe a “better” answer, will only be strengthened in the process of empathizing with my “opponent”.

Now, I’ve been properly admonished to not preach, and to not “thump my Bible”, so I’m not about to start, here. But it’s fun to take on the hard problems . . . deal with them “face to face”, and in the process, come over to the opposite side, to better understand the problem . . . and get down to deal with folks where they actually live.

On a “Cop” show, a night or two ago, they were showing the Albuquerque “cops” . . . and there was a little old woman . . . had been attacked or robbed or something (I got into it late) . . . and the cop came and carefully took care of her, and her pet “parrots”, etc., . . . comforted her . . . and treated her with great respect, as if she were his own mother. I thought, “What a great thing!” And even the midst of our sometimes “arguing”, we need to come around on the other side, to see things from a different perspective. It’s not about “putting down the opponent”, but bringing both sides up to a winning objective, if at all possible. Sometimes that’s not possible, but remains as the goal.

gadfly

(Did you know that “cops” comes from “coppers”, the men who wore uniforms with “copper buttons”? . . . and now you know . . . there will be a quiz next Friday!)

airtaximan said...

"But if I “do” have the final answer, or maybe a “better” answer, will only be strengthened in the process of empathizing with my “opponent”."

The search for the "final answer" should be limited to a gmae show, IMO.

The "better answer" is either personal/subject to opinion or subject to improvement. The definition of improvement in most things is "personal or subject to opinion"... IMO

Either you have actually seen or spoken to G-D, or your beliefs are "personal".

Either way is fine for me. Just important that we all know how uncertain most everything is.

You can be certain in your belief, and become uncertain, just as one day you were probably uncertain, before.

True empathy is a tough thing to even believe... you would have to "really" be in someone elses place, and all things considered, this is practically impossible.

Sympathy is a different animal.
Like the difference between knowing and believing.

Its not so much the effect the differenc has on you, as the effect it has on the other, that makes all the difference.

In My Opinion, of course.
PS. you might be able to substitute Affect for Effect, and obtain a similiar yet stronger meaning...

gadfly said...

Taximan . . . at least someone is listening. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

'True empathy is a tough thing to even believe... you would have to "really" be in someone elses place, and all things considered, this is practically impossible."

You got that one right, my friend. Most folks don't know the difference between "empathy" and "sympathy".

True "empathy" is not possible in most cases, but may be approached (or even exceeded in some cases). Let's leave that alone, for the moment, along with "affect" and "effect", or we'll lose the others.

However the reference to a "game show" (as I deduced from your comments) is a bit far out. You also made an interesting comment, " "personal or subject to opinion"... Maybe every pilot should have a plaque with that opinion, placed right over his head, to read, if he loses all his instruments, etc.

A long time ago, I came to realize who loved me, who were my parents, and who is my God and Savior. Nothing in the past six or seven decades has given me the slightest doubt as to these firm facts.

And with that, I better bring it to a close . . . or someone will claim I'm "preaching", etc.

gadfly

(There's a song that begins, "I love to tell the story . . . etc., the very theme of my life, and that of my Dad, and my Grandpa, etc., . . . all this other stuff doesn't count for much.)

gadfly said...

Earlier, I said "Phyllis Diller" . . . and that didn't set right. It was "Joan Rivers" that made the comment, "Let's talk!"

Either way, one was funny . . . the other made the statement.

And we "talked"!

Maybe Phyllis Diller personifies how some of us see ourselves, and we are forced to laugh at what might be something over which to cry.

It matters little . . . we are loved by One, and that is what matters.

gadfly

RonRoe said...

gad,

You're right, it was Joan Rivers, but she actually said, "Can we talk?"

Floating Cloud said...

Dear Sir Gadfly:

Compassion is a far greater stretch of the mind than empathy (one who has experienced) or sympathy (having common feelings of loss), but true compassion has imagination. I feel compassion towards the ants that built their nests with so much vigor but are so easily destroyed by the unknowing foot of another.

I have not empathy for EAC because I never built an airplane, nor do I have sympathy because I do not have a common feeling of emotion for what was lost, but I do have compassion for what was and what could have been, and may still be for all of GA. Markets and economies will always fluctuate, but the world of transportation and communication has only just begun…

B95:
FYI, I have American mahogany weaving batten at my bedside – an ancient weapon of women that’s hard as rock yet wieldy with two sharp edges either side… twice as good as the butt of a shotgun, if needed. (Just in case you were worried about me.) ;)

julius said...

Back to the birds:
Epic is still alive with new Pr and a new owner (a new team?).
A Mr. King bougth the IP etc. (I think not Don King - because of his IT background). Perhaps Gunner will tell something more.
Someone invested some money in(to) Lancair - will see what happens.

Julius

P.S.: Even the two young White Storks (at the end of my garden) postponed their first (revenue) flight. After 64 day they should leave the hangar hmmm nest. But they still get their fuel in the hangar...
They already got their call sign!
Delays, delays where ever you look in aviation!

Black Tulip said...

Julius,

What is the nature of the proposed AD for the Eclipse 500?

julius said...

BT,

Gadfly showed a link to a document - see somewhere above, which describes this AD NPRM (the correct wording).
Here is the link to the document:

AD NPRM for fpj
(You find it under FAA AD ...!)

It simply requests the upgrade to at least AVIO NG 1.5 for every fpj.

But perhaps you remember the "SPECIAL CERTIFICATION REVIEW
Eclipse Aviation Corporation
Model EA500 Airplane" of Sep. 2008
and the discussions about known safety issues! Even AVIO NG 1.3 is unsafe!

Julius

RonRoe said...

Julius,

The AD you cite gives two means of compliance -- upgrading to AvioNG 1.3, OR upgrading to AvioNG 1.5. The estimated cost for upgrading to 1.3 is under $2,000.

I didn't find any mention of AvioNG 1.3 in the Special Certification Review you mentioned. The conclusion was:

"The team did not identify any unsafe condition needing immediate attention within the areas reviewed."

I'd be grateful if you could explain how the AD requires an upgrade to 1.5, and how the SCR said that 1.3 was unsafe, since that's not how I read these two documents.

julius said...

RonRoe,

I was refering to
"We estimate the following costs to do the proposed avionics upgrade to AVIO NG + 1.5 configuration:
Labor cost Parts cost Total cost per airplane
198 work-hours × $85 per hour = $16,830 $233,120 $249,950
".
Why this proposal to move to AVIO NG 1.5 ("Compliance section" - just zero fpj effected)?

I agree, this does not mean that AVIO NG 1.3 is unsafe after proposed electronic flight instrument system 1.3 software update - thanks for your hint!


The "SPECIAL CERTIFICATION REVIEW
" didn't find any major problems ("The team did not identify any unsafe condition needing immediate attention within the areas
reviewed. Exec. Summary)
and there aren't too many problems (SDRs) since the end of 2008 which might request this change (to an AD NPRM) - strange!

Anyhow this is just a proposal of an AD (and not the final AD) - EAI is also invited to comment it and may find less expensive solutions for their customers!

Julius

Floating Cloud said...

Optimism goes a long way...

dreamliner

airtaximan said...

A proposed Airworthiness Directive for Eclipse 500s would require changes to the electronic flight information system and the airplane flight manuals. The proposed AD stems from reports of uncommanded changes to the communications radio frequency, altitude preselect and/or transponder codes. The FAA said the AD would “correct faulty integration of hardware and software” on Eclipse very light jets.

airsafetyman said...

The proposed AD gives the owner a choice: update the software to 1.3 standard for an estimated per airplane cost of $770 to $1,650, or go to AVIO NG 1.5 for a unit cost of $249,950.

Phil Bell said...

New "headline" post is up!

Ricky Johnson said...
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Ricky Johnson said...
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Jimmy Hazard said...
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Ricky Johnson said...
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Ricky Johnson said...
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Jimmy Hazard said...


Very interesting. If you have paid the penalty abatement irs
, we can get them back for you. Head over to refundproject.com or call us at: 888-659-0588.

Ricky Johnson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ricky Johnson said...






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Jimmy Hazard said...


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Ricky Johnson said...



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