Thursday, June 08, 2006

Science Olympiad

Thanks for your help!!!! For those of you here for the first time I think you will agree this is a really neat event to participate in, My only complaint is that there wasn't Science Oly when I was in High School!

Results are
High School Wright Stuff:
1. Oak Ridge HS Tenn. 5,06.0
2. Chugial HS Alaska 4,41.4
3. Grand Haven HS Mich 4,32.6

Middle School Balloon Launch Glider
1. Lake Shore MS Mich 1,51.9
2. Chardon MS Ohio 1,50.0
3. Beardon MS TN 1,25.8

If you got a chance to examine the first place airplane in Wright Stuff, what a work of art! As close to perfection I have seen at this level of competition. Most impressive for our future leaders in America

Now down to business, I would like your inputs on things we could have done better, I'm Navy trained with a thick skin and I am more than happy for take your constructive criticisms as I know the spirit it is intended. Flame ON!

Once again Thanks for your help and I will come calling for your help next year. It will be the state championship most likely in April of 07

Science Olympiad

Thanks for your help!!!! For those of you here for the first time I think you will agree this is a really neat event to participate in, My only complaint is that there wasn't Science Oly when I was in High School!

Results are
High School Wright Stuff:
1. Oak Ridge HS Tenn. 5,06.0
2. Chugial HS Alaska 4,41.4
3. Grand Haven HS Mich 4,32.6

Middle School Balloon Launch Glider
1. Lake Shore MS Mich 1,51.9
2. Chardon MS Ohio 1,50.0
3. Beardon MS TN 1,25.8

If you got a chance to examine the first place airplane in Wright Stuff, what a work of art! As close to perfection I have seen at this level of competition. Most impressive for our future leaders in America

Now down to business, I would like your inputs on things we could have done better, I'm Navy trained with a thick skin and I am more than happy for take your constructive criticisms as I know the spirit it is intended. Flame ON!

Once again Thanks for your help and I will come calling for your help next year. It will be the state championship most likely in April of 07

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

B52 sound barrier

FW: Kentucky Airspace Bulletin

I am pushing this through from the AOPA, the president is visiting.


this message to advise pilots in and near Highland Heights, Kentucky,
that the FAA has issued a notam restricting flight in the area during
President Bush's planned visit on Friday, May 19.

There will be a large 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight
restriction (TFR) centered on the CVG VOR's 089-degree radial at 8.2
miles, extending up to Flight Level 180. It will be in effect from 2:55
p.m. local until 7:15 p.m. local on Friday. Also, there will be multiple
smaller 10-nm-radius GA no-fly zones in effect within the larger TFR
during that timeframe. See AOPA Online for the full text of the notam
along with a graphical depiction ( ).

The affected landing facilities are Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky
International (CVG), Cincinnati Municipal Airport Lunken Field (LUK),
Cincinnati-Blue Ash (ISZ), Clermont County (I69), Action Airpark (I38),
Cincinnati West (I67), Gene Snyder (K62), Butler County Regional (HAO),
and Lebanon-Warren County (I68).

Because TFR airspace frequently changes, AOPA strongly encourages pilots
to obtain a briefing and CHECK NOTAMS before every flight.
TFR violators will be intercepted and forced to land.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

aviation humor

Aviation ...... Note: For those that don't know, "The Sled" is the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane from the 1960's and still the fastest airplane.
In his book, "Sled Driver", SR-71 Blackbird pilot Brian Shul writes: "I'll always remember a certain radio exchange that occurred one day as Walt (my back-seater) and I were screaming across Southern California 13 miles high. We were monitoring various radio transmissions from other aircraft as we entered Los Angeles airspace. Though they didn't really control us, they did monitor our movement across their scope.

I heard a Cessna ask for a readout of its ground speed."90 knots" Center replied.

Moments later, a Twin Beech required the same. "120 knots," Center answered.

We weren't the only ones proud of our ground speed that day as almost instantly an F-18 smugly transmitted, "Ah, Center, Dusty 52 requests ground speed readout." There was a slight pause, then the response, "525 knots on the ground, Dusty."

Another silent pause, As I was thinking to myself how ripe a situation this was, I heard a familiar click of a radio transmission coming from my back-seater. It was at that precise moment I realized Walt and I had become a real crew, for we were both thinking in unison.

"Center, Aspen 20, you got a ground speed readout for us?" There was a longer than normal pause....

"Aspen, I show 1,742 knots" (That's about 2004.658 mph for those who don't know)

No further inquiries were heard on that frequency.

In another famous SR-71 story, Los Angeles Center reported receiving a request for clearance to FL 600 (60,000ft). The incredulous controller, with some disdain in his voice, asked, "How do you plan to get up to 60,000 feet?

The pilot (obviously a sled driver), responded, "We don't plan to go up to it; we plan to go down to it." He was cleared.

The pilot was sitting in his seat and pulled out a 38 revolver. He placed it on top of the instrument panel, and then asked the navigator, "Do you know what I use this for?"

The navigator replied timidly, "No, what's it for?"

The pilot responded, "I use this on navigators who get me lost!"

The navigator proceeded to pull out a .45 and place it on his chart table.

The pilot asked, "What's that for?"

"To be honest sir," the navigator replied, "I'll know we're lost before you will."

When Hillary Clinton visited Iraq last month the Army Blackhawk helicopter used to transport the Senator was given the call sign "broomstick one".
And they say the Army has no sense of humor!

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles!"
Delta 351:"Give us another hint! We have digital watches!"

One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the runway while a MD80 landed. The MD80 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the MD80 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?"

Our hero the Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with: "I made it out of MD80 parts. Another landing like that and I'll have enough parts for another one."


There's a story about the military pilot calling for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running "a bit peaked." Air Traffic Control told the fighter jock that he was number two behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down. "Ah," the pilot remarked, "the dreaded seven-engine approach."

A student became lost during a solo cross-country flight. While attempting to locate the aircraft on radar, ATC asked, "What was your last known position?"

Student: "When I was number one for takeoff."

Taxiing down the tarmac, the 757 abruptly stopped, turned around and returned to the gate. After an hour-long wait, it finally took off. A concerned passenger asked the flight attendant, "What was the problem?"

"The pilot was bothered by a noise he heard in the engine," explained the flight attendant," and it took us a while to find a new pilot."

"Flight 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees." "But Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?" "Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?

forwarded by t sparks

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Global Hawk Picture

A pic of the Global Hawk UAV that returned from the war zone on Monday under its own power. (Iraq to Edwards AFB in CA) - Not transported via C5 or C17..... Notice the mission paintings on the fuselage. It's actually over 250 missions.... (and I would suppose 25 air medals).

That's a long way for a remotely-piloted aircraft. Think of the technology (and the required quality of the data link to fly it remotely). Not only that but the pilot controlled it from a nice warm control panel at Edwards AFB.

thanks R. Costello
click on picture for larger version

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

FW: AOPA ePilot -- Indiana Airspace Bulletin

AOPA ePilot Special Airspace Bulletin March 22, 2006

A special notice to AOPA members in the central Indiana area


message to advise pilots in and near Indianapolis, Indiana, that the FAA
has issued a notam restricting flight in the area during President
Bush's planned visit on Friday, March 24.

There will be a large 30-nautical-mile-radius temporary flight
restriction (TFR) centered on the VHP VOR's 108-degree radial at
9.5 miles, extending up to Flight Level 180. It will be in effect from
12:55 p.m. local until 4:10 p.m. local on Friday. Also, there will be
multiple smaller 10-nm-radius GA no-fly zones in effect within the
larger TFR during that timeframe. See AOPA Online for the full text of
the notam along with a graphical depiction ( ).

The affected landing facilities are Indianapolis Downtown Heliport
(8A4), Indianapolis International (IND), Eagle Creek Airpark (EYE),
Post-Air (7L8), Greenwood Municipal (HFY), Indianapolis Metropolitan
(UMP), Mount Comfort (MQJ), Hendricks County-Gordon Graham Field (2R2),
Indianapolis Executive (TYQ), Westfield (I72), Noblesville (I80), Boone
County (6I4), Shelbyville Municipal (GEZ), Pope Field (GFD), Franklin
Flying Field (3FK), Sheridan (5I4), Pam's Place (78I), and Putnam County

Because TFR airspace frequently changes, AOPA strongly encourages pilots
to obtain a briefing and CHECK NOTAMS before every flight.
TFR violators will be intercepted and forced to land.


* If you have additional questions about TFRs or any other *
* airspace or aviation matter, contact our AOPA Pilot Information *
* Center at 800/USA-AOPA. You can also reach us via e-mail *
* ( ). *

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

a wild ride submitted by r costello

Among professional aviators, there's a well-worn saying : Flying is simply hours of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror. But I don't recall too many periods of boredom during my 30-year career with Lockheed - - most of which was spent as a test pilot.By far, the most memorable flight occurred on Jan. 25, 1966. Jim Zwayer, a Lockheed flight-test specialist, and I were evaluating systems on an SR-71 Blackbird test from Edwards. We also were investigating procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located further aft than normal, reducing the Blackbird's longitudinal stability.

We took off from Edwards at 11:20 a.m. and completed the mission's first leg without incident. After refueling from a KC-135 tanker, we turned eastbound, accelerated to a Mach 3.2-cruise speed and climbed to 78,000 ft., our initial cruise-climb altitude.

Several minutes into cruise, the right engine inlet's automatic control system malfunctioned, requiring a switch to manual control. The SR-71's inlet configuration was automatically adjusted during supersonic flight to decelerate airflow in the duct, slowing it to subsonic speed before reaching the engine's face. This was accomplished by the inlet's center-body spike translating aft, and by modulating the inlet's forward bypass doors.

Normally, these actions were scheduled automatically as a function of Mach number, positioning the normal shock wave ( where air flow becomes subsonic ) inside the inlet to ensure optimum engine performance. Without proper scheduling, disturbances insidehe inlet could result in the shock wave being expelled forward -- a phenomenon known as an " inlet unstart. "

That causes an instantaneous loss of engine thrust, explosive banging noises and violent yawing of the aircraft--like being in a train wreck. Unstarts were not uncommon at that time in the SR-71's development, but a properly functioning system would recapture the shock wave and restore normal operation.

On the planned test profile, we entered a programmed 35-deg. bank turn to the right. An immediate unstart occurred on the right engine, forcing the aircraft to roll further right and start to pitch up. I jammed the control stick as far left and forward as it would go.
No response. I instantly knew we were in for a wild ride.

I attempted to tell Jim what was happening and to stay with theairplane until we reached a lower speed and altitude. I didn't think the chances of surviving an ejection at Mach 3.18 and 78,800 ft. were very good. However, g-forces built up so rapidly that my words came out garbled and unintelligible, as confirmed later by the cockpit voice recorder.

The cumulative effects of system malfunctions, reduced longitudinal stability, increased angle-of-attack in the turn, supersonic speed, high altitude and other factors imposed forces on the airframe that exceeded flight control authority and the Stability Augmentation System's ability to restore control.

Everything seemed to unfold in slow motion. I learned later the time from event onset to catastrophic departure from controlled flight was only 2-3 seconds. Still trying to communicate with Jim, I blacked out, succumbing to extremely high g-forces. Then the SR-71 . . literally . . disintegrated around us.

From that point, I was just along for the ride. And my next recollection was a hazy thought that I was having a bad dream. Maybe I'll wake up and get out of this mess, I mused. Gradually regaining consciousness, I realized this was no dream; it had really happened. That also was disturbing, because . . I COULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED . . what had just happened. I must be dead. Since I didn't feel bad - - just a detached sense of euphoria - - I decided being dead wasn't so bad after all. As full awareness took hold, I realized I was not dead. But somehow I had separated from the airplane. I had no idea how this could have happened; I hadn't initiated an ejection. The sound of rushing air and what sounded like straps flapping in the wind confirmed I was falling, but I couldn't see anything. My pressure suit's face plate had frozen over and I wasstaring at a layer of ice. The pressure suit was inflated, so I knew an emergency oxygen cylinder in the seat kit attached to my parachute harness was functioning. It not only supplied breathing oxygen, but also pressurized the suit, preventing my blood from boiling at extremely high altitudes. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but the suit's pressurization had also provided physical protection from intense buffeting and g-forces. That inflated suit had become my own escape capsule.

My next concern was about stability and tumbling. Air density at high altitude is insufficient to resist a body's tumbling motions, and centrifugal forces high enough to cause physical injury could develop quickly. For that reason, the SR-71's parachute system was designed to automatically deploy a small-diameter stabilizing chute shortly after ejection and seat separation. Since I had not intentionally activated the ejection system--and assuming all automatic functions depended on a proper ejection sequence--it occurred to me the stabilizing chute may not have deployed.

However, I quickly determined I was falling vertically and not tumbling. The little chute must have deployed and was doing its job. Next concern: the main parachute, which was designed to open automatically at 15,000 ft. Again I had no assurance the automatic-opening function would work.

I couldn't ascertain my altitude because I still couldn't see through the iced-up faceplate. There was no way to know how long I had been blacked-out or how far I had fallen. I felt for the manual-activation D-ring on my chute harness, but with the suit inflated and my hands numbed by cold, I couldn't locate it. I decided I'd better open the faceplate, try to estimate my height above the ground, then locate that "D" ring. Just as I reached for the faceplate, I felt the reassuring sudden deceleration of main-chute deployment.

I raised the frozen faceplate and discovered its uplatch was broken. Using one hand to hold that plate up, I saw I was descending through a clear, winter sky with unlimited visibility. I was greatly relieved to see Jim's parachute coming down about a quarter of a mile away. I didn't think either of us could have survived the aircraft's breakup, so seeing Jim had also escaped lifted my spirits incredibly.

I could also see burning wreckage on the ground a few miles from where we would land. The terrain didn't look at all inviting--a desolate, high plateau dotted with patches of snow and no signs of habitation.

I tried to rotate the parachute and look in other directions. But with one hand devoted to keeping the face plate up and both hands numb from high-altitude, subfreezing temperatures, I couldn't manipulate the risers enough to turn. Before the breakup, we'd started a turn in the New Mexico-Colorado-Oklahoma-Texas border region. The SR-71 had a turning radius of about 100 mi. at that speed and altitude, so I wasn't even sure what state we were going to land in. But, because it was about 3:00 p.m., I was certain we would be spending the night out here.

At about 300 ft. above the ground, I yanked the seat kit's release handle and made sure it was still tied to me by a long lanyard. Releasing the heavy kit ensured I wouldn't land with it attached to my derriere, which could break a leg or cause other injuries. I then tried to recall what survival items were in that kit, as well as techniques I had been taught in survival training.

Looking down, I was startled to see a fairly large animal--perhaps an antelope--directly under me. Evidently, it was just as startled as I was because it literally took off in a cloud of dust.

My first-ever parachute landing was pretty smooth. I landed on fairly soft ground, managing to avoid rocks, cacti and antelopes. My chute was still billowing in the wind, though. I struggled to collapse it with one hand, holding the still-frozen faceplate up with the other.

" Can I help you ? " a voice said.

Was I hearing things? I must be hallucinating. Then I looked up and saw a guy walking toward me, wearing a cowboy hat. A helicopter was idling a short distance behind him. If I had been at Edwards and told the search-and-rescue unit that I was going to bail out over the Rogers Dry Lake at a particular time of day, a crew couldn't have gotten to me as fast as that cowboy-pilot had.

The gentleman was Albert Mitchell, Jr., owner of a huge cattle ranch in northeastern New Mexico. I had landed about 1.5 mi. from his ranch house--and from a hangar for his two-place Hughes helicopter. Amazed to see him, I replied I was having a little trouble with my chute. He walked over and collapsed the canopy, anchoring it with several rocks. He had seen Jim and me floating down and had radioed the New Mexico Highway Patrol, the Air Force and the nearest hospital.

Extracting myself from the parachute harness, I discovered the source of those flapping-strap noises heard on the way down. My seat belt and shoulder harness were still draped around me, attached and latched. The lap belt had been shredded on each side of my hips, where the straps had fed through knurled adjustment rollers. The shoulder harness had shredded in a similar manner across my back. The ejection seat had never left the airplane; I had been ripped out of it by the extreme forces, seat belt and shoulder harness still fastened.

I also noted that one of the two lines that supplied oxygen to my pressure suit had come loose, and the other was barely hanging on. If that second line had become detached at high altitude, the deflated pressure suit wouldn't have provided any protection. I knew an oxygen supply was critical for breathing and suit-pressurization, but didn't appreciate how much physical protection an inflated pressure suit could provide. That the suit could withstand forces sufficient to disintegrate an airplane and shred heavy nylon seat belts, yet leave me with only a few bruises and minor whiplash was impressive. I truly appreciated having my own little escape capsule.

After helping me with the chute, Mitchell said he'd check on Jim. He climbed into his helicopter, flew a short distance away and returned about 10 min. later with devastating news: Jim was dead. Apparently, he had suffered a broken neck during the aircraft's disintegration and was killed instantly.

Mitchell said his ranch foreman would soon arrive to watch over Jim's body until the authorities arrived. I asked to see Jim and, after verifying there was nothing more that could be done, agreed to let Mitchell fly me to the Tucumcari hospital, about 60 mi. to the south.

I have vivid memories of that helicopter flight, as well. I didn't know much about rotorcraft, but I knew a lot about "red lines," and Mitchell kept the airspeed at or above red line all the way. The little helicopter vibrated and shook a lot more than I thought it should have. I tried to reassure the cowboy-pilot I was feeling OK; there was no need to rush. But since he'd notified the hospital staff that we were inbound, he insisted we get there as soon as possible. I couldn't help but think how ironic it would be to have survived one disaster only to be done in by the helicopter that had come to my rescue.

However, we made it to the hospital safely--and quickly. Soon, I was able to contact Lockheed's flight test office at Edwards. The test team there had been notified initially about the loss of radio and radar contact, then told the aircraft had been lost. They also knew what our flight conditions had been at the time, and assumed no one could have survived. I explained what had happened, describing in fairly accurate detail the flight conditions prior to breakup.

The next day, our flight profile was duplicated on the SR-71 flight simulator at Beale AFB, Calif. The outcome was identical. Steps were immediately taken to prevent a recurrence of our accident. Testing at a CG aft of normal limits was discontinued, and trim-drag issues were subsequently resolved via aerodynamic means. The inlet control system was continuously improved and, with subsequent development of the Digital Automatic Flight and Inlet Control System, inlet unstarts became rare.

Investigation of our accident revealed that the nose section of the aircraft had broken off aft of the rear cockpit and crashed about 10 mi. from the main wreckage. Parts were scattered over an area approximately 15 mi. long and 10 mi. wide. Extremely high air loads and g-forces, both positive and negative, had literally ripped Jim and me from the airplane. Unbelievably good luck is the only explanation for my escaping relatively unscathed from that disintegrating aircraft.

Two weeks after the accident, I was back in an SR-71, flying the first sortie on a brand-new bird at Lockheed's Palmdale, Calif., assembly and test facility. It was my first flight since the accident, so a flight test engineer in the back seat was probably a little apprehensive about my state of mind and confidence. As we roared down the runway and lifted off, I heard an anxious voice over the intercom. " Bill ! Bill ! Are you there ? " " Yeah, George. What's the matter? " " Thank God ! I thought you might have left. " The rear cockpit of the SR-71 has no forward visibility--only a small window on each side--and George couldn't see me. A big red light on the master-warning panel in the rear cockpit had illuminated just as we rotated, stating : " Pilot Ejected." Fortunately, the cause was a misadjusted micro switch, not my departure.

Bill Weaver flight-tested all models of the Mach-2 F-104 Starfighter and the entire family of Mach 3+ Blackbirds--the A-12, YF-12 and SR-71. He subsequently was assigned to Lockheed's L-1011 project as an engineering test pilot, became the company's chief pilot. He later retired as Division Manager of Commercial Flying Operations. He still flies Orbital Sciences Corp.'s L-1011, which has been modified to carry the Pegasus satellite-launch vehicle . And as an FAA Designated Engineering Representative Flight Test Pilot, he's also involved in various aircraft-modification projects, conducting certification flight tests. Aviation Week Contrails Section [ abridged ], date unknown

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Osprey Visit

The Marines brought an Osprey KBMG so the folks at Crane could see it. The Osprey is scheduled to go into service in 07.

Getting ready to leave on Saturday, the pilot was inside getting his flight plan ready, the crew took the covers off the rotor intakes.

The most impressive thing about the plane when you are standing next to it, apart from the rotors, is the size. 24 fully equipped troops can fit inside.

The rotors fold up for quick transport anywere in the world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

LSO's and landing T Sparks

A long winded discussions on the role the LSO plays in landing on the carrier. After 900+ they have saved my bacon more than once.

All the best,


The Lords of Landing

"Right for lineup...don't go low...a little power...." At sea, the last word belongs to...

by Peter Garrison

The A-6E Intruder bomber thunders past the USS Abraham Lincoln's starboard side and rolls into a nearly vertical left bank. Condensation flickers above its swept wings like white fire; its airspeed bleeds rapidly from 300 knots to 150 under the drag of the five-G turn. In the cockpit, the inflatable G-suit snaps tightly around Lieutenant Brian Kasperbauer's legs. His eyes dart from the dancing blur of black instruments to the horizon beyond.

Parallel to the aircraft carrier, Kasperbauer rolls level. Check speed, dirty up with gear and flaps, double-check tailhook down. Twice he lifts himself slightly from his seat, twisting, adjusting his posture and the feel of the seat pad on his thighs--the nervous gesture with which he habitually begins each pass at the boat.

On the landing signal officer's platform near the carrier's stern, the hook spotter examines the A-6 through binoculars. Meanwhile, an F/A-18 Hornet is on short final, a swift imperturbable projectile. Ropes of vapor stream from its wingtips like an illustrator's speed-strokes. It roars by the platform and traps, the LSOs genuflecting to see which wire it caught. "532, gear and hook down," calls the hook spotter, and the phone talker shouts "Foul deck!" Lieutenant James "Snapper" Knapp, the controlling LSO, turns to the bookwriter. "A little long in the groove," he shouts over the din of the deck. "Stopped rate of descent in the middle, a little high in close, OK 4-wire."

"532, Intruder, ball, 5.6," Kasperbauer radios, confirming his identity, his sighting of the glideslope indicator, and his fuel level.

"Roger ball."

The Intruder rolls out in the groove. Now the normal smoothness of flight is replaced by a series of sharp jolts. With small, swift control movements Kasperbauer--call sign "Ghost," both for the "Kasper" and for his prematurely gray hair--juggles the luminous amber ball on the port deck edge whose alignment with a row of green lights tells him he's on glidepath. The sound of the two turbojet engines continually jinks up and down. Fifteen seconds. The ship is large already; the landing area looks wider than long. The Hornet is just turning off the far end of the angled deck. No distraction! Meatball--lineup--angle of attack... Kasperbauer doesn't wait for the ball to tell him what to do, but nudges it just to the top edge of center, where he can best see it move. There he plays it, cat-and-mouse, mastering rather than following it, with swift firm motions of the stick. He's flying in expanded time: Fifteen seconds take as long as a minute of normal life.

"Foul deck!" calls the phone talker. "Foul deck!"

Snapper holds his arm aloft, a signal to the air boss, chief controller of flight operations, that he knows the deck is obstructed. He can hear the fluctuating engines of the Intruder as the gray blip, seemingly motionless in the sky half a mile away, slowly grows.

"Clear deck! Gear set, 380, Intruder!" The arresting gear is set for the 38,000-pound aircraft; the deck is ready. Snapper lowers his arm and glances at the televised image from the deck centerline camera. He squeezes the press-to-talk button on the telephone handset he holds to his left ear.

"Right for lineup."

The quiet voice floats in the center of Ghost's head. A tiny correction; he had allowed himself to drift a few feet to the left of centerline. Five seconds to go. The most difficult seconds: he is nearing the narrow end of the funnel, where deviations in the path of the 19-ton jet are measured in inches. The deck is rising on a swell as he descends. He's at the ramp--the aft end of the flight deck is already behind him--he seems headed for a point far down the deck--a quick correction for lineup, wing down, wing up, just a few degrees in a split second--the deck is coming up--the headset voice soft but with a warning crescendo: "pow-WERRRR"--and the wheels squash onto the deck. He feels the blips as they roll over the three-wire and the four-wire, and as his left hand--Trap!--pushes thrust up to full power, the airplane slows and a massive force, gentle at first but building fast, drags his torso forward.

Snapper turns to the bookwriter. "Pitching deck. A little high all the way, a little lined up left in the middle, OK 3." The next jet, an F-14, is already in the groove.

Ghost and Snapper: their contact is brief, impersonal, almost wordless. Like dancers or athletes, they know each other intimately through the discipline of a shared expertise. Between them they achieve, with a reliability that makes them appear routine, things that are in fact nearly miraculous.

Flying jets onto an aircraft carrier requires, in addition to certain natural aptitudes, intense training and constant practice. The pilot must control speed, attitude, and position with microscopic vigilance. At the aft end of the flight deck--"at the ramp," in the carrier pilot's jargon--the window through which the arresting hook must pass to catch the target third wire is only two feet high. An airplane weighing 20 or 30 tons and spanning 20 yards must reach that narrow slot at precisely the right rate of descent and attitude. The hook dangling from the airplane's tail is supposed to clear the ramp by at least 10 feet; but the ramp itself, in heavy seas, may be rising and falling 15 feet and sashaying side to side in a figure-eight as well. And all the elements--speed, attitude, height--are linked. A change in one causes changes in the others. Carrier landings resemble those games in which you try to roll one ball bearing into its well without allowing others to roll out of theirs.

The lightest penalty for imprecision is humiliation. The gravest is sudden and violent death.

Technically difficult as they are, however, day landings in calm seas, once you've got the knack, are pure fun; Navy pilots would trap and shoot all day if they could. But night landings are different. Any night landing can turn into a struggle with vertigo, illusion, and terror. A pilot's heart can pound harder when he's making a night pass than it does when he's dodging surface-to-air missiles or dogfighting. Night allows no mistakes. It replaces the familiar and inviting deck--"where the food is"--with a shifting trapezoid of faint lights outlining a blacker hole punched in a black sea. The pilot hurls himself at that hole, trying not to flinch at the "deck rush" that floods his peripheral vision as he crosses the ramp and the blackness around him suddenly resolves itself into the carrier.

Commander Chris Nutter, a veteran of 700 traps and the executive officer of VFA-137, an F/A-18 squadron on the Constellation, tries to convey to non-pilot friends the sensations of the night landing: "Imagine that you're in a car without headlights going 150 miles an hour down a narrow dark road toward a one-car garage illuminated by a single light bulb. If you get through the garage door, your car will stop automatically. And the garage is moving around. That's what the night landing is like."

The pilot does not run this gauntlet alone. He has a partner, another pilot on the deck who watches him and guides him home: the quiet voice in the headset, the landing signal officer. Surprisingly, the LSO can judge the path of an approaching airplane, even in fog and darkness, better than the pilot can. This fact of carrier life came to light in 1922, when Kenneth Whiting, a commander aboard the Langley, the Navy's first carrier, grabbed the hats of two sailors and ran out onto the deck to wave them at a pilot making an ugly approach. The role that Whiting's impulse created quickly became an institution.

Today everyone calls the LSO "Paddles" and his job "waving," but the words are anachronistic. Until the 1950s, when the optical glideslope was introduced in the U.S. fleet, the LSO had stood at the stern, sometimes clad in fluorescent overalls, illuminated at night with ultraviolet light, waving two paddles like be-ribboned tennis rackets at the approaching airplanes. He was a human glideslope, signalling pilots right or left, higher or lower, faster or slower. His gestures were a mixture of semaphore and mimicry of the approaching airplane. Both arms up, for instance, meant "You're high, come down." When the airplane was in position to land safely, the LSO would lower his left arm and jackknife his right across his chest--the "cut" signal--and the pilot would chop the power and drop the nose slightly to put the airplane into the wires.

Much of the personal touch was lost with the introduction of the optical glideslope. In the old days LSOs tended to be conspicuous characters, often outlandishly dressed (or, in World War II in the Pacific, hardly dressed at all). One found his way into fiction: James Michener's big Texan, Beer Barrel, in The Bridges at Toko-ri. "Beer Barrel is my shepherd, I shall not crash," the pilots intone. Beer Barrel smuggles beer onto the ship in his golf bags. He waves drunk.

Beer Barrel is a caricature, but he embodies an insight into the relationship between pilots and LSOs. His alcoholism is a metaphor for the irrational and uncanny quality of his perceptions--his "zen." In fact, when the LSO was still waving paddles the job demanded a sort of unconsciousness. "There is not enough time to mentally analyze the situation and then give a signal," a World War II LSO wrote. "Most of the time you don't even know what signals you're giving." The pilots still sense that today. When you're flying at unyielding steel at 130 knots, trying to spear that tiny garage in the dark, you want the LSO to be more than a mere rational being. You want him to be a magician. You want him to be infallible.

Most LSOs are pilots, and most are junior officers; only a few--the carrier air group LSOs, of whom there are only two or three per ship--have many years in the job behind them. Most LSOs volunteer for the position; when there is a shortage of volunteers, a few are assigned to it because they seem to possess the right mix of flying skill and personality. The position is in many ways untempting. LSOs work long hours exposed to cold, wind, and wet, often far into the night. The mess is closed by the time they finish. And the responsibility is greater than in any other job open to a junior officer. Finally--and for many pilots this is the key objection--LSOs generally get to fly less than their squadron mates do.

Those who do volunteer for the job are people who are attracted to rather than repelled by responsibility. The seriousness of it draws them, as does the opportunity to be a conspicuous and central figure on the ship, one of a small and elite fraternity. They like the "coolness" of the position, the visibility, and the fact that of all the anonymous and interchangeable myrmidons on a carrier, they are among the few who personally matter.

LSOs need to be above-average ball fliers themselves. Not that it makes any difference to their eye; non-pilots could be LSOs, and a few have been, especially during World War II, when LSOs were chronically in short supply. Retired Captain Monroe "Hawk" Smith, a former F-14 pilot and chief of staff of the naval air force's Atlantic fleet, puts it nicely: "You don't have to be a dog to judge a dog show." But it's really a matter of credibility. Pilots unhappy with their grades shouldn't be able to console themselves by thinking: What does he know? He's never done it!

Every LSO attends classes at the LSO school in Oceana, Virginia, at least once. It's run by Philadelphia-bred Lieutenant Commander Tom Quinn, a big man with a comic gift and an ear for aphorisms. "LSOs aren't gods," goes one of his favorites, "they just have god-like qualities." Each lecture begins with an off-color joke--obligatory in Navy schools--and between lectures the classroom TV runs tapes of mishaps: a deckhand being sucked into an A-6's engine inlet (he miraculously emerges, somewhat the worse for wear), a Tomcat hitting the ramp and exploding, an A-3 making a faulty barricade arrest that causes seven men to die. As a three-day class for veteran LSOs ends, Quinn, whose waving days are over, says, "I envy you so much, but I'm so glad I don't have to go on that platform again because I've seen things that would turn you white."

Most of a new LSO's training takes place not in school, however, but on the platform. He is sent up with a white flotation vest with "LSO" or "Paddles" stencilled on the back; he supplies his own dark glasses and, preferably, a funny-looking wool cap. He watches approaches...and watches approaches...and watches approaches. At first they all look alike. Then, like eyes slowly growing accustomed to darkness, his perceptions sharpen. He begins to see the tiny undulations of the airplane with respect to the horizon, even a horizon marked only by the single light on a destroyer swallowed in fog three-quarters of a mile away. He learns to listen for the power changes, the sibilant whine of turbojets and the hoot of the S-3 Viking's turbofan engines, and he measures their magnitude, frequency, and timeliness. His eye learns to gauge an airplane's speed and attitude by minute signs: the wedge of fin peeping above a wing that tells him the airplane is too flat, or the bit of sky between wing and stabilizer that says "nose too high."

He learns the infinite variations of the approach and the quirks of the airplanes and their pilots (although it's an adage of LSO impartiality, not always observed, that you wave the tailhook, not the pilot). He anticipates the influence of the winds on the "burble," the eddying of the air around the aft end of the carrier's tower, or island, through which pilots fly close to the ramp; the "moth effect" that draws pilots to the left, toward the ball, because they concentrate on it rather than the deck; the tendency to "settle on the ball call" at night, because pilots feel that they're too high when they come off instruments and first see the ball. And the quirks of the airplanes: the tendency of the A-6 and EA-6B to settle on lineup corrections; the F-14's slow power response and its susceptibility to hook-skip bolters (failure to trap because the hook bounces over the wires) when the pilot corrects for a slightly high approach; the S-3's vulnerability to the burble, especially with starboard winds; the critical importance of lineup for the big-span E-2C Hawkeyes.

Armed with an encyclopedia of miscellaneous knowledge, the LSO waves an increasing variety of aircraft under a widening range of conditions; eventually, most likely at the end of his second cruise as LSO, he earns the "wing qual" that permits him to wave every type of aircraft in the wing, day or night. By the time he earns his wing qual, he has seen thousands of passes. His memory is well stocked with worst nights. Carriers recover airplanes under unbelievable weather--on nights of fog, rain, or snow, with ceilings of 200 feet, visibilities of a quarter or half a mile, in which airplanes materialize at the stern only five or 10 seconds before they trap; and in seas on which the deck dances to a wild, syncopated tune. These are the nights when, after the recovery, the pilots sink into the tattered seats in the ready rooms with the deepest sense of shared relief, and for a change receive the LSO's visit with more affection than sarcasm.

The LSO platform is a small rectangle protruding from the port side of the ship by the first arresting cable, bathed by turns in the hot eye-smarting fumes of jets at full power and the deeply chilling ocean wind. It's traditionally been unfurnished, but that's changing: On the Constellation, a resourceful LSO managed to get approval for the addition of a bench using the novel argument that VIPs, who are frequently guests on the platform during carrier qualifications, might get tired of standing. A windbreak shields the platform, and two of its edges drop off into a net, where everybody is supposed to jump if an airplane hits the ramp. At the aft edge of the platform is a black box containing communication equipment, a TV screen that shows the image from the centerline camera buried in the flight deck, and devices for reporting the type, distance, and speed of the approaching aircraft, the speed and direction of the wind over the deck, and the magnitude of the ship's motions.

Attached to the console by a long cable is the "pickle," a black handle with two switches. One of them operates the waveoff lights: red lights flanking the meatball that tell the pilot to abandon the approach. The pickle switch is the LSO's last resort for keeping pilots off the ramp.

There's usually a small crowd on the platform. At the very least there will be two LSOs: the controlling LSO, who is junior, and the backup LSO, often a carrier air group LSO or team leader, who stands behind him. Other junior LSOs on their first cruise in the job may be present to gain experience. One of them may serve as bookwriter: he takes down the controlling LSO's comments about each pass in a small notebook. There are also two enlisted men: a hook spotter and a phone talker.

Their routine is simple and endlessly repeated. The LSOs hold the pickles overhead as the approaching airplane enters the "groove," the final three-quarter-mile of the pass. This is a signal to the air boss, high in the island, that they know that the deck is "foul," not ready to receive an airplane. When the deck goes clear, a red light on the deck edge turns green, one or two voices on the platform call out "Clear deck!" and the LSOs lower the pickles to their sides.

After the initial "Roger ball," the controlling LSO's communications with the pilot are usually sparse, but the more trouble the pilot is having, the more the LSO will talk to him. Early in the approach, his calls are informative or advisory; close to the ramp, they become imperative: The pilot must obey them immediately. The most imperative of all calls is "Waveoff!" Thus, the pilot's traditional final authority over his flight is shared, in a carrier approach, by the LSO.

After an airplane traps, the book writer records the LSO's comments--and, if the pass was "colorful," the LSOs exchange witty remarks about it--and the next airplane appears in the groove.

When he senses a pilot is having problems, the LSO starts with what they call "phone sex" or "sugar talk," a patter of brief encouraging remarks mixed with subtle guidance. A lot of talk--"liplocking the guy"--is discouraged; pilots can stop flying the airplane, just waiting for the next instruction from the LSO. But an even, sympathetic voice makes a great difference to an unnerved pilot.

Almost every pilot at one time or another has a problem getting aboard. He makes pass after pass, five or six of them, until everyone else in his sortie has landed. He goes to the tanker, which is the only other airplane still aloft. Then the carrier air group LSO comes on. He steadies the pilot with brief, calm remarks, and when the airplane is at the ramp he uses his "buffalo call." Each experienced LSO has his buffalo call, the utterance he uses to keep the pilot from flinching from the deck at the last moment. The phrase itself doesn't matter--it can be as simple as "Don't climb" or "Don't go any higher"--but there's an art in its use, a precise tone and timing that is part of the virtuosity of a good LSO, and it brings the pilot into the wires.

When the deck is pitching severely or if the optical glideslope is not working, the LSO calls for the MOVLAS--manually operated visual landing aid system. The MOVLAS is a surrogate for the meatball, in a way a throwback to the man-to-man days of the paddles. The LSO controls the airplane through a chain of command worthy of Rube Goldberg. He senses a deviation and moves the MOVLAS accordingly. The pilot sees the MOVLAS and adjusts as though it were the meatball, and the LSO feels--ideally--that by moving his hand on the MOVLAS controller he moved the airplane. The MOVLAS gives the LSO the ability to target any wire, and to anticipate the movements of the deck; he can also exaggerate his movements, so that deviations seem larger to the pilot than they are, if he wants the pilot to react more vigorously. The pilot becomes his robot, the approach almost a virtual reality game.

After all the aircraft in a sortie have trapped, the LSOs go down to the carrier air group LSO office, a tiny narrow gray room below decks near the platform. A couple of them confer over the pass book. "Wait, I've got two 301s. Was there a 201?" "Yeah, he came after the Hornet that boltered." One man hunches at the keyboard of a desktop computer, keying in the records of a previous recovery. Overhead in the corner, a movie airs on the TV. Conversation lags and attention turns to the screen as a woman emerges from a shower. "Hi honey, I'm home!" a young lieutenant cheerfully calls to her.

Then three of the LSOs are off to hunt the pilots down in the ready rooms, the parachute lofts, and the maintenance control rooms where they report gripes about the equipment. The LSOs are now no longer controllers but teachers, and their manner may be magisterial or comradely. The debriefing takes 30 seconds. There's a technique; they learn it at LSO school. Hold the grade book so the pilot can't see it. Never start the debriefing with "okay." Make eye contact. Speak clearly and firmly. Review the book with other LSOs before you talk to the pilots: Don't critique one pilot for another pilot's mistakes. If you have to fake it, at least know what wire the pilot caught, because the pilot will probably know that. Never undercut another LSO. Sense the receptive moment for advice. Preface criticism with a compliment. Don't vacillate. And never, no matter how much a pilot argues, change a grade.

Most pilots are attentive, nodding as the LSO reels off his description of the pass. They murmur thanks, or sometimes a gibe--"Where's your guide dog today, Paddles?"--or an explanation of a mistake, or a simple "Thanks for keepin' me off the ramp." Then the little knot of LSOs is striding off to a ready room at the other end of the ship.

Every pass gets a grade, roughly similar to those you got in grammar school. Apparently, somebody high up decided that too much praise is bad, so the best you can do is "OK." A perfect pass (preferably flown under adverse conditions--say, with an engine out) gets an OK underlined, to distinguish it from an unadorned OK, or, somewhat worse, an OK in parentheses which means "fair." If you mess up badly enough you get a "gash"--a diagonal slash through the little grade-box, meaning a below average pass, a D. At the bottom of the list is a cut, your school's F, meaning "gross deviations inside the waveoff window." The basic distinction is really between safe passes and unsafe passes; a cut is an unsafe pass.

Squadrons record the grades on the "greenie board" in the ready room, so called because OK passes get green dots. At the end of the cruise the pilots with the best grades make the top 10 and get shoulder patches to sew onto their flightsuits. But grades are really just a spur to the pilots--highly competitive, Type A personalities, they will be quick to tell you. They bolster their competition with a steady traffic of bets whose common currency is alcohol. "Rat's last one was a fair. He owes me a Sam Adams." (Pay-ups must wait until shore leave or the end of deployment; alcohol is not allowed aboard U.S. Navy ships.)

The grades don't go beyond the ready room and the carrier air group LSO office, where they're added to a computer database that's used to spot trends. Everyone knows that you can be a good pilot and not a top-notch ball flier, just as you can be a good basketball player with a low free-throw percentage. But if it weren't for the grades, just getting aboard would be enough, and a faultless pass to a three wire would be no different from a bumpy ride to a one or a four. Pilots would get lazy. They would cut the meatball some slack. Eventually, some would hit the ramp.

Most LSOs leave the job after three or four years. When they hang up their paddles they say goodbye to the icy wet nights on the platform, to the monotony of field carrier landing practice and the tension of night carrier qualifications, to the fear for the pilot who's on his fourth or fifth pass and still can't get aboard. Goodbye to the exhausting nights when each action, each word or omission of a word, each reaction or failure to react could mean a pilot's life.

They should be glad. But most of them retire from waving with regret. At the end of the worst nights--nights when terms like "comrade," "protector," or even "savior" did not adequately express the relationship of the LSO and his pilots--they trudged from the platform drained, but with a sense of relief and accomplishment that nothing else could match. They have played a starring role on that platform, and they know that nothing in their future is likely to equal it.

Originally published in Air & Space/Smithsonian, April/May 1995. Copyright 1995, Smithsonian Institution. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 13, 2006

note from Peter Zabriskie

Notes: As a past member of extrordinaire EAA 650: HELLO from LAS VEGAS, AREA 51, and Clark Co. Nevaada HOME of the UNITED STATES AIRFORCE THUNDERBIRDS. Long time no see. Except last July when a few of us bumped together infront of Steve Johnsons beautiful Staggerwing. I was very touched to learn that a tree dedicated to my brother Rick was planted there at the airport. He is greatful I am sure. IN THE NEWS: I have started flying instruction again. My instructor is Steve Krueger a man who reminds me of Steve Johnson. I take instruction in his Bellanca tri-tail. He also flys for FEDEX in Panama, Fokker 49(?). and instructs around the country. So I am at present cracking the books. Work here for me is loading and unloading Airbus A300's and 310's for Fedex at MacCarren Airport, as well as Cessna 208's if the crew is short. I have taken it in my head that I would like to secure a Sonerai airplane to build hours in after I finish my flight training. With quite some research it is!
a plane I believe I can fly and maintain on a budget. With many flying and a established group of pilots and builders, one here in town, to draw on. I think it is a good choice. TO THE POINT: to fund all this, my wife Chris and I, own an acre of property in Nye Co. NV.. The town is called Pahrump, ryhmes with hump. It is 60 miles west of Las Vegas in a beautiful high desert, with snow cap mountain views. TRUTH it is hot!! in summer. But the quiet is deafening. And if you love horses this is a great place. The not quite international airport is a dirt strip, not uncommon around here. Anyone interested in purchasing can email or snail mail me. I know you may not all beat the doors down, but if we can sell this with out the realtor we can pay off all our debt and I may get a small plane. God Bless you all. Pete & Chris Zabriskie. EAA 0470533

email the eaa650 mailbox for contact info, as publishing this will cover Pete up in junk mail -tcp

Monday, February 06, 2006

note From Jason

Hello everyone,

I hope you all are doing well and keeping busy. Some I have had recent contact with and are familiar with my flying career, and some have not heard all the specifics in this ongoing saga.

Just a quick note to recap: Interviewed with Pinnacle Airlines, a Northwest Airlines regional carrier based in Memphis, on Dec 21. Was hired for a First Officers job on Dec. 22 flying their Canadair Regional Jet (50 passenger). Started training on Jan 16, 06' and have been here in Memphis since then, and will be for likely another 4 weeks.

I have found the people I am training with are well-qualified, professional, and the captains very cordial to us 'low-time' guys and gals. We routinely see the chief pilot and the V.P's of one thing or another from headquarters, which adjoins the training center. Our instructor has a wealth of experience flying for numerous carriers and freighters.

The first week was basic stuff with how the company operates, but in extreme detail. Test over that. Then came HAZMAT, Security, and Emergency stuff. Tests over all those too. We are basically in week three and ended our first week of Systems. Gotta say it is not even remotely close to a Cessna! The systems on the CRJ are not real complicated, but there is just a ton of information about it. Add in Limitations (have to be memorized) and emergency 'memory items' (28 procedures to be done/recited from memory), and it gets to be a handful. The days are long, but I am having a ball with it. Likely will fly the simulator in about 2-3 weeks, which will be a welcome activity. I do not recall, since I have been a pilot, having not flown in excess of 10 days, so I am getting jumpy to go.

For a great website to look at the jet, go to '' and do a search for 'Pinnacle Airlines' There is a good shot of the Flight deck. Also, our website: "' will have a few aerial photos as well.

Hope all is going goos with you all. Stay in touch. Love to hear from you when your able.......


Jason M. Ideus, MS, CSCS, HFI

Certified Flight/Instrument Instructor

Multi-Commercial-Instrument Pilot

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Chapter Visits Joe Crowe

Back in November, Chapter 650 went over to Joe Crowe's place to see how his new plane is coming along.
Joe does not have a lot of extra space, and uses what he has well.

Joe's fit and finish are remarkable.
Can't wait to see this one on the ramp, and in the air. Thanks for having us over Joe.

Lee Bottom 05

I got a couple pictures from Lee Bottom this year.
The weather was not great this year early, but cleared up enough to allow a good turnout. Steve brought the Staggerwing out. When he left he made a low pass that turned all heads.

The T-6 driver made several low passes, and got lower on each one. By the time he made this one, I had the timing worked out to get a pretty good freeze frame.

Rosalie touched down with some Chapter 650 people aboard. The food was good, the planes were plentiful. Looking forward to next year. Tim

Monday, January 16, 2006

Some Naval Verses Posted on behalf of T. Sparks

The Gospel According to St. Fresnel of the Miraculous Lens

Chapter One, Verses One through Six

1. In the Beginning, God created the Aircraft Carrier, and the seas
upon which it floateth; and yet there was complete Darkness upon the
face of the earth. And, as we traveled, there came to us, as a voice
out of the darkness, an Angel of the Lord, saying, "On centerline, on
glideslope, three quarters of a mile, call the ball." I reflected upon
these words, for I was still yet engulfed in complete darkness. With
deep feeling and doubt overwhelming my countenance, I glanceth towards
my companion at my right hand and saith, "What seeth thou, trusted
friend?", and there was a great silence. Gazing in a searching manner
and seeing naught, my companion saith, "Nothing but darkness above and darkness below."

2. And God spoke to me, and He said, "Low ball....power". As the Lord
saith, so shall it be, and I added power; and lo, the ball riseth up
onto the bottom of the mirror. But, alas, it had a tainted flashing red
glow, and surely indicateth Satan's own malignant influence. And God
spoke to me again in a loud insistent voice saying, "Power...Power,
Power!!!!" And lo, the ball riseth up and off the top of the lens, and
once more the great evil darkness was upon me.

3. And the voice of the Angel came to me again, saying, "When twelve
hundred feet, turn downwind." Whereupon I wandered in the darkness,
abandoned and without direction, for surely the great ship's RADAR was
beset by demons. There was great confusion in my heart and then there
was a great silence in which there was no comfort to be found. Even my
TACAN needle spinneth......and lo, there was chaos; my trusted
right-seat companion weepeth quietly unto himself and from close behind
I heard weeping and gnashing of teeth of our flock. There was a great
turmoil within my EA-6B cockpit for a multitude of serpents had crept

4. And though we wandered, as if guided by Providence, I found myself
within that Holy Corridor and at twelve hundred feet seeking refuge for
myself and my bretheren; and the voice of the Angel of the Lord came to
me again, asking of me my needles, and I raised my voice saying, "Up
and centered", and the voice answered, "Roger, fly your needles...." I
reflected upon these words, and I raised my voice in prayer, for though
my gyro indicateth it not so, surely my wings hath been turned upside
down. Verily, as Beelzebub surely wrestled with me, a voice, that of my
trusted companion, saith to me calmly, " thy needles, and
find comfort in the Lord." And lo, with deep trembling in my heart, I
did, and He guideth me to the glideslope and centerline, though I know
not how it came to be.

5. And out of the great darkness, God spoke to me again and I replied:
"Roger ball" for now I had faith, mine eyes have been opened and seeth
the magnificent orange ball within a frame of green. And though the
ball began to rise as I cometh to the gates of heaven, my left hand was
full of the Spirit, and it squeeketh off power and as in a great
miracle we hath forthwith stoppeth in heaven, for we hath caught the
four wire which God, in his infinite wisdom, hath placed thirty feet
further down the deck than the three wire.

6. And thus bathed in a golden radiance from above, our pilgrimage was
at an end, and my spirit was truly reborn and ready to again take
flight among the angels of heaven. And as I basked in the rapture, God
spoketh to me one final time, and He saith in a loud voice, "Lights out
on deck". Thus did I taxi forward.

7. Though I frequently walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I have no fear, for I am a 26 year old Naval Aviator and I am
absolutely BULLETPROOF!!!

Amen, Tom H.

Too old to Fly

Or drive a motorcycle?

Posted on behalf of Mike Combs.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Send-off for Jason Ideus

EAA 650 members got together on Saturday, January 14 to give a send-off to Jason Ideus as he progresses up the ladder in his aviation career. We all knew he would do so, one of these months very soon, but it didn't make it any easier to say adieu to him. Jason was given a very good offer (as well he should have been given!) by Pinnacle Airlines, an airline whose system is tied in to Northwest Airlines. He'll be training in Memphis and soon fly the beautiful regional jets -- check out how Northwest's look at

Official business verbiage about Pinnacle says the company "...provides airline capacity to Northwest Airlines, Inc, at its hub airports in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Memphis. As of May 3, 2005, the company operated an all-jet fleet of 130 Canadair Regional Jets and offers scheduled passenger service with 682 daily departures to 111 cities in 36 states and 4 Canadian provinces. The company was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee."

Jason's stellar flying and his teaching qualities have touched many of us.
When a person decides to take on flying lessons, and asks who to train with, area pilots say emphatically: "Jason Ideus." When a pilot moves to the Bloomington area, and asks who is the best instructor to go up with to learn common practices for the field and area quirks, and EVERYONE says, "Oh, you want to fly with Jason Ideus." ...well, that says it all.
We know Jason will do fabulously. We know he hasn't even come close to reaching the pinnacle he'll reach in his aviation career.
Jason, first, thank you for being a stellar instructor, fine pilot and an all around good guy. You've served BMG, IU, and the EAA Chapter quite well. Second, as so many of us told you, "Don't forget us little guys when you're one of the big guys. We want you to come back and see us at every chance." Finally, Jason, please accept a hearty and heartful congratulations from all of us.
- Rosalie

Saturday, January 14, 2006

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Saturday Morning Breakfast

All The Saturday morning breakfast we had was a resounding success. The eggs to order, the bacon fried crispy, the fruit garnish,...