Saturday, October 31, 2009

Close to Home

In case anyone wonders why I rail against the CinC PresBO spending more time golfing than he does commanding this is it here:

PAINESVILLE – Lance Corporal David Baker was set to return home from Afghanistan in a matter of weeks, but on Tuesday (20 October) the 22-year-old Marine from Painesville was killed by an improvised explosive device while he was on foot patrol.

David was a member of the same Platoon as my own son. Assigned and trained both as mortarman of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. He was killed in the Nawa District of Helmand Province.

So, while the "Great One" dithers and does his political calculations, us Americans out here in the 'flyover country' bury the brave heroes who have paid with their lives for our continued freedom.

My Wife, the Good Mrs. T is there in Painesville to comfort another Marine Mom along with about a dozen other Marine Mom's from around the country a solemn duty, an obligation of caring and their Love for their Boy's.

Note: I couldn't go to the Viewing or today's Memorial because of the stinking flu but my heart is with David right now.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Friday, October 30, 2009

VALOUR-IT Fundraiser 2009

This fundraiser is unlike almost all other fundraiser's out there, this one is designed to provide technology to our wounded warriors – of all branches of the US Military. This technology is often voice operated equipment that connects a young wounded service member back into the digital world we are all part of. It can include a Wii –Fit to help with his or her rehabilitation or it can be as simple as a GPS tracker to help them with their personal security. There can be no greater reward for your lonely Dollars than to be exchanged along with many others in the pursuit of this technology!!

Give NOW and give till it HURTS. That hurt sooths the pain and suffering of a U.S. Warrior.

And give in the name of Team NAVY!

Donate at either of the following Links or by clicking on the widget on the Top-left sidepanel.



OR you can mail your offering to the following address:

Soldiers Angels

1792 E. Washington Blvd.

Pasadena, CA 91104

Please note on your check or MO that the donation is for #Team Navy!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Pay and Play

Wholesale sell out of the top tier of the US Government, at least the Executive Branch.

From USA Today:

"More than 40% of President Obama's top-level fundraisers have secured posts in his administration, from key executive branch hobs to diplomatic posting in countries such as France, Spain and the Bahamas, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

Twenty of the 47 fundraisers that Obama's campaign identified as collecting more than $500,000.00 have been named to government positions, the analysis found.

Overall, about 600 individuals and couples raised money from their friends, family members and business associates to help fund Obama's presidential campaign. "

Was not this supposed to be the Administration that cleaning up Washington D.C.? I thought part of PresBO's message was that he would not cater to special interests and the money players in the "old" D.C.?

Hope and Change more like Pay and Play!

H/T to the good folks at: The Mudville Gazette

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Exploitation, plain and simple. That what this is a simple Photo-Op to refute the argument that PresBO is "dithering", to counter the image of PresBO shooting another round of Golf on the public dime or playing basketball all while our brave troops are being killed in AF awaiting word on the future of their efforts.

This image Cancels 24X of these:

The left calls it "Honorable" but the fact that there was a swarm of photographers there to document the event means this was nothing more than a great big Photo-Op. On B-roll video of the event you can hear the electric shutters snapping away like the paparazzi at a Red Carpet Event. Call me cynical but had he left them all behind and done this without any photos being taken I would say his motives were honorable, but the fact that the White House is distributing these photos tells the true tale here. Exploitation, plain and simple.

One other item and this speaks volumes: of the 15 American serviceman on board that aircraft, only one family would agree to have photos taken of the dignified transfer ceremony, only 1. The other three Americans on that flight were DEA Agents and the rules for them are more strict, you simply can't take pictures of civilian dead just the Military.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fun with Firearms

Any woman that can handle a fire arm is automatically in my book; "Hot"!!

Now so everyone knows, I shoot with a Woman. She is an Anne-Oakley type Girl, spot on shooter on the range. We used to go a couple of times a month to an indoor range not far from here. We later found a Gun Club that was way cheaper that was not only outdoors but it has great features and facilities. We go there a little less often mainly because of work schedules.

Also for the record, this Woman is not my Wife, her and I having this little issue regarding guns and rifles. But still, it does not stop the other two of us from the occasional trip to throw lead away. Maybe someday I'll get pictures!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Cancer upon your House

Those of us who have experience working in and around the Government know the last thing you want is the Government as a business partner, except for giving you cash for services rendered or products delivered, you don't want the government any where near your business operations.

That is why some of us are so against the government providing Health Services; you simply have to look at what they have done to the Indian Health Services, or HIS to see how poorly a health provider the government is.

That is why some of us are so against the government providing us a retirement plan, the solvency of Social Security is an example and the fact that congress is doing nothing about it proof. Also, they really don't care because they have a different retirement plan anyway.

That is also why Medicare and Medicaid are failing, government planning and the attendant bureaucracy is causing the health care "crisis" that they are working now to "fix" (gird your loins and guard your wallet).

Now we have reasons why they are lousy partners when you are a car company. This WSJ story is instructive regarding how well GM is operating, needing 5 billion more dollars of federal money, seems the cash for clunkers program did not pour money into GM or even Chrysler as expected by those congressional bureaucrats.

It seems that once you take government money you now have 535 new "shareholders" all with their own agendas and each catering to different constituents, wanting their own piece of the pie. I guess having a Senator or Congressman that is on say, the Finance Committee who is coming to you about a contract for supplies from a third tier contractor is a bit much, but its happening.

Yeah, who didn't see this coming! I can't stop thinking that had we let GM and Chrysler actually go out of business, and let them get bought out or sold off and return under a new name, that they would be better off. Here they are needing even more Taxpayer money to say alive. When will be they be making the money to pay the Taxpayer back as promised? I am not holding my breath.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sixth Sense for Bombs

Very interesting article here (the video is only remotely related to the subject of the story) regarding the best method to detect IED's hidden in the road or along a trail, ye ole Mark 1 Eye Ball Detecting Group, oh and someone with background on how to use them. The article goes on to say that researchers have determined that Marines (and Soldiers too, but the research was done using Marines) with a background in hunting or in urban life are best at detecting hidden threats in the AF and Iraq.

In the first case, the young man uses his hunting skill to identify minute disturbances in the terrain ahead. In the second case, growing up in gang infected urban settings gives the Marine skills in using his peripheral vision for detecting threats that would be missed by those that spent their youth on Video Games. These tended to have a kind of tunnel vision and needed some training in learning how to use their peripheral vision.

The best troops were the ones who grew up in the rural areas; one unit in particular was the South Carolina National Guard unit. "They just seemed to pick up things much better, they know how to look at the entire environment." Said Army Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett, the top enlisted man with the Pentagon-based Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.

Its worth a read.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Up The Hanger Queen

The most dreaded words we could hear in my little shop while I was in the Navy. The S-3 Vikings did not enjoy a high priority for repair of avionic parts by the Intermediate Maintenance Activity on board the ship. Historically, the S-3 replaced the S-2 Tracker which had been deployed on the old CVS carriers. The CVS carriers were smaller aircraft carriers that were used pretty much for ASW, they operated in Hunter Killer packages that included Destroyers and only a few types of aircraft. The S-2 did the hard work of finding the target, A-1D's and later A-4 Skyhawks were employed to provide protection and to give the CVS some teeth. They also had a Helo squadron that did ASW as well. But as things in the Navy changed so did the thinking on ASW. The CVS's were all decommissioned and the S-2's were moved to work from the decks of the much larger CVA's, the Attack Aircraft Carriers. These were the top of the line carriers that we operate today.

The S-3 followed in to that CVA environment, an environment that is dominated by the Strike and Fighter community. If you did not go fast or carry a lot of bombs you were nobody in the CVA. Since the threat that the S-3's were employed to defeat was invisible for the most part, no one in the Strike/Fighter side cared. We were a necessary evil on and around the boat.

This was also reflected in the repair of our parts up in the Intermediate Maintenance Activity or IMA. The concept at that time was that boxes of avionic gear would be removed at the Squadron level and shipped (hand carried) to the IMA (usually through the supply system which would check to see if any were actually in stock waiting for issue) for repair. Here they used a system know as VAST and HATS to repair the equipment inside the box. The VAST concept was based on a large test stand that could be re-configured to accommodate pretty much any box that came to it and then using software which was loaded in for each part, the VAST station would diagnose the problem. Bad circuit cards were pulled out and fixed separately and then returned for re-test in the original box with the VAST station.

This is all well and good on paper. Application however is another story. In most cases the VAST stations were pre-configured to run parts for either the E-2 or the Strike/Fighter aircraft. Most of the boxes that came in for the S-3 were put aside to wait until there were no more boxes needing repair for the A-6's, A-7's, the F-4 and F-14 (when we got them). Most carriers had three VAST stations and one was always down for parts that were stripped to keep the other two VAST stations operating.

So, within the S-3 community, we got by using the time honored method of: Cannibalization.

Yes, we always had at least one aircraft that was parked in a quite out of the way place in the Hanger Bay and methodically stripped of parts to support the rest of our little air force. Sometimes it would be two aircraft down there missing so many parts that they would actually be hard to climb into because the weight on the shocks would raise the airframe up on the landing gear.

It was that bad.

So, every now and then, we would hear those words "Up the Hanger Queen" and we would crap our pants. Most of the time it would be my shop, the Electronics Branch (Work Center 210) that had the most parts stripped out of the Hanger Queen. Sometimes more than 50 individual boxes would be missing from the Queen. And for whatever reason that maintenance control deemed necessary we would have to pull all those parts out of a almost perfectly good flying aircraft and move them into the Queen.

Now, most would think that this was an easy process, simply plug in boxes into empty holes but, if it was really that easy anyone could do it and that was not the case. Each time we had to "work" the jet back to life, sometimes using up even more parts than the sacrificial aircraft had in it, making the problem worse for the other Queen. And it took many hours. We would in fact have to detail almost the entire shop to the effort of bringing life back to the Queen.

These orders always came at night while they were fleshing out the next day's flying schedule. Sometimes this was triggered by rules and regulations, the Navy had a surveillance program on all their aircraft. If any single aircraft was out of service for longer than 90 days the aircraft would be moved into a list that got visibility way up the chain of command. SPINTAC or "Special Interest Air Craft" was to be avoided like grabs or clap on liberty. And the bane of SPINTAC was that we were always cycling the Hanger Queen up to keep it out of SPINTAC, simply transferring the problem and starting the clock on a different aircraft. No one wanted to bite the bullet, let the NAVAIR HQ guys come down and ask why was that aircraft down so long, no one wanted to throw the blame back on the core of the maintainability issue. So, till the day the S-3 left service we lived with cannibalization.

Which bore the following patch, which some of us wore with pride!

Not the most politically correct patch especially in today's 'enlightened' times but back in the '70's and '80's it was how we lived.

BT: Jimmy T sends.


"It was the first time I felt whole since I'd woken up wounded in Landstuhl."

Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice controlled device.

This is why VALOUR IT is such a worthy project, why it is deserving of your contribution. Please donate using any of the links below.

The Navy is in Third place right now, only edging out the Zoomies by a tad, we are not even in the same race as the Army and the Marine Corps. If I had to pull between the two you know it will be with that rather odd branch of the Naval Service. But then I am biased!!

Please give, it helps so many men and women who are wounded in our name.

Valour – IT Webpage

Valour – IT Blog

OR simply click on the widget on the left and send your bucks to the most worthy cause known to mankind!!

You can mail your offering to the following address:

Soldiers Angels 1792 E.

Washington Blvd.

Pasadena, CA 91104

Mention on your check or money order that this is a donation to #Team Navy.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


(Cartoon stolen from

8 More today. 14 yesterday. 51 total for October and we have 4 more days to go. That is more than one Patriot, one Brave Hero lost every day since the Report from the General commanding troops in Afghanistan was placed in the hands of the PresBO. That is at least 8 rounds of golf for PresBO, that is 7 weekly parties at the Whitehouse (they took one Wednesday off because they were on vacation on Martha's Vineyard), that is one trip to lose the Olympics, and I can't even count the number of Campaign Stops the man has made. Drumming up money for Democrats is more important than actually using that supposed large brain of his to make a decision on troop strength in Afghanistan.

Now I understand that Bush took 3-months to actually issue the order but he allowed the congress to debate the issue first, and it was the congress that took so long and eventually they gave their tacit approval. Some bitterly denounced the Surge including both the knuckleheads occupying the white house right now. This was done for political purposes, they needed the time so that if successful the results would not show so close to the elections that they could not use it as a political wedge. Which they did, all throughout the election last year. Iraq was the "bad" war and Afghanistan was the "good" war. Well, as the parent of a Marine living on borrowed time over there right now, NO war is "good". But it is the war that PresBO signed up for and he should be fighting it right now, before his next round of golf.

His priorities right now is to continue his Campaign to "transform" the country, today it is Green Jobs, solar energy and tomorrow it is for a corrupt Democrat in New Jersey. When will it end and the PresBO actually borrow a spine and make the hard decision. I guess when the poltical calculus tells him its safe.

Shameful, absolutely shameful.

BT: Jimmy T sends.


"It was the first time I felt whole since I'd woken up wounded in Landstuhl."

  • Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled device.

This is why VALOUR IT is such a worthy project, why it is deserving of your contribution. Please donate using any of the following links:
Valour-IT Webpage
Valour-IT Blog

Or you can mail your offering to the following address:

Soldiers Angels
1792 E. Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Mention on your check or Money Order that this is a donation to Team Navy.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Navy Tech – The Launch

It sounds simple enough; launching aircraft off the ship.

First you drive the aircraft to the catapult, then you hook it to the catapult, fire catapult, plane flies. Usually, most of the time they do.

But the devil is in the details and I am here to give you some of those details. Here is how it works.

The Players:

The Director – a Yellow Shirt trained in the art of precise aircraft spotting

The Cat hookup – a Green Shirt that hooks the aircraft into the Flight Deck and onto the Catapult

Final Checkers – the last Squadron Rep's who give the aircraft a once over ensuring the aircraft is ready to go, from the outside.

The Shooter – one of the Cat 'O's his job is to accept control of the aircraft from the Director, take the salute from the aircraft pilot and then signal the launch of the catapult

The Equipment:

Zipper track – a short area at the base of each catapult track that allows each different size aircraft an anchor point for well'

the Holdback – this bar is used to attach the aircraft to the ship, the bar connects into the back of the Nose Landing Gear using a holdback fitting, the other end of the bar is sunk into the zipper track, locking the aircraft into the ship.

Below: The white bar with the Yellow cap is a Launch Bar. This one is for an F-18 which actually use a reusable link/coupling instead of a shear pin as the holdback fitting. (USN Photo)

While the S-3 Viking/War Hoover departs in the background, the foreground shows a selection of Holdback's. One for each type of aircraft and they are color coded to match the fitting in the nose wheel well. (USN Photo).

The Holdback Fitting – this is a piece of high strength steel, turned with a collar at both ends, precision turned to very precise specifications, these are very purposely built shear pins, designed to break at a specific amount of tension. That tension is usually the full thrust of the aircraft PLUS some amount of catapult tension, and then a few pounds. This fitting splits when the catapult actually fires thereby releasing the aircraft from the Holdback Bar. (See update at the bottom of this post for picture.)

The Shuttle – this is the visible part of the catapult, the part that sticks up above the catapult track. The front edge of the shuttle is shaped like a set of jaws which grip the next piece of the equipment puzzle

The Launch Bar – part of the aircraft, this retractable bar is shaped like a "T", when deployed it drops into the shuttle jaw.

This pictures shows the Launch Bar of an S-3 already lowered down to the flight deck, it is the white bar that reaches down to the flight deck. The use of the launch bar on the Nose of the aircraft give us the name of the catapult shot, a Nose Tow versus a Bridal, which are now all out of service. (USN Photo).


Directors at each catapult direct the aircraft onto each catapult. There is a lot of science in this because each aircraft width and length has to be taken into consideration. Before the aircraft gets to the shuttle and hooked into the ship it must be positioned as much as possible centered over the cat track. There are marks welded into the flight deck to give the Director some help, but most is done by eye.

Above, each aircraft is placed on the cat by a ships company Yellow Shirt or Director, the flight deck has welded marks that corelate to spots for the nose and main wheels of each type of aircraft. These marks allow for the precise positioning of each aircraft on the catapult. (USN Photos)

The Hook-Up

While the aircraft is being positioned onto the base of the catapult, the Cat Hook-Up Green shirt comes out and hooks the Holdback with holdback fitting into the aircraft landing gear at the one end and into the zipper track at the other. At this point the aircraft is basically attached into the flight deck. No more brakes.

Below. Here the Cat Hookup runs out from under the "Surburban" or EA-6B after a sucessful hookup and tension. Note the Holdback is pegged behind the nose landing gear and the launch bar engaged into the cat shuttle. (USN Photo)

Here is another good hookup, this War Hoover is pegged and the cat shuttle is engaged, the aircraft is at full military power awaiting the actual shot. (USN Photo)

Usually a Green Shirt carrying a weight board approaches the aircraft cockpit and holds up his board up to the cockpit. The Pilot reviews the numbers shown to him. If they are good, representing his launch weight he gives a thumb up. If not he shakes his head as if to erase and then he signals the appropriate direction the weight board should be dialed to. Again, once it is good he gives thumbs up and the Green Shirt with the weight board turns it and shows it to the men station inside the Integrated Catapult Control Station. They in turn set the catapult to the setting indicated.

Here you can see this F-18 Launch Bar is deployed to engage the cat shuttle, you can see the slack between the shuttle and the launch bar. This slack will be taken up when the Cat Hookup puts the aircraft and Cat in tension. Note the Weight Board in the background. This is the Launch weight of the aircraft on the catapult. (USN Photo)

While taxing into position, the aircraft crew deploys the launch bar which when lowered rides down the cat track as the aircraft moves forward, the launch bar rides on the top of the shuttle and down into the shuttle jaw.

You can see here the Holdback pegged into the flight deck and the Launch Bar engaged into the shuttle. The F-14 Nose Landing gear will actually squats down onto the shuttle when the launch bar is deployed. (USN Photo)

Final checks

Also while taxing into position the Final Checkers deploy doing their chores one on each side of the jet. We use two so as to cover each side, they make sure all doors and panels are secured, they check landing gear, engine bays for leaking fluid or oil, they check to make sure any linkages are not binding or frozen and they confirm locks are set the folding wings. They also verify the performance of the flight controls during the "Wipeout" process done by the pilot. This is the movement of the stick and rudder in the cockpit to confirm that all is ok with the equipment. No binding, grinding or un-due resistance of the flight controls.


Once the launch bar is firmly in place in the jaw of the shuttle, the Cat Hook-Up requests that the aircraft be placed into tension. This is a sweeping hand signal made with a closed palm in the shape of a 'C'. The Director, standing off to the side signals this to the Pilot with an open fist of one hand and with the other hand he makes a sweeping motion which the Cat Operators interpret as Tension. The Pilot advances the throttles to full military power setting, the engines screams and the aircraft tugs on the Holdback Bar. If all is well the plane sits there while the Cat Operators takes up any slack in the catapult system, placing a minimal amount of pressure on the shuttle. Again, if all is well the plane sits there straining. The Cat Hook-Up man runs free and clear of the aircraft with a thumb up in the air signaling all is well. The Director then turns control of the aircraft over to the Cat 'O' or Shooter.

Here an F-18 is almost ready to go, the Cat Hookup is complete and they are calling for Tension, the outstreched hand in the form of a "C". The cat is pre-tensioned and the aircraft goes to full military power. These two cat hookup men will confirm proper engagement of the cat shuttle with the Launch bar and that the holdback is properly pegged. Then they haul ass out from under the screaming aircraft. (USN Photo)

The Shot

In the cockpit the pilot does a quick review of his launch checklist, verifying engine instrument settings, he does wipe out and checks to make sure his brakes are not set. If all is well, he sits back and salutes the Shooter and waits. The Shooter returns the salute with the one hand and waving the other in the sky he looks around, they too have a checklist that they go over in their minds, checking clearance around the jet, he verifies thumps are up from the Final checkers and he even takes a glance up to the Island to verify that he still has a Green light for launch. And they really do have signal lights on the Island, Red, Yellow and Green indicating that the Ship itself prepared for the launch. The ship has to be into the wind and it has to be up to speed. This is all relayed to the Deck crew using the lights on the Island.

Seeing everything in the positive, the Shooter drops down, touching his one hand on the deck and pointing that-a-way, signaling the command to Launch. Somewhere in the Integrated Catapult Control Station someone in Yellow pushes a button and the aircraft is shot down the flight deck.

This picture was taken right at the actual shot, you can see the holdback has seperated and the pressure from that snapping shear pin or holdback fitting shots the holdback straight back, it is actually attached to a spring loaded lug. This is a shot from one of the Waist Cat's. Also note the two missiles, one a Phoenix and the other a Sidewinder are both "war" loads as noted by the yellow band around each. If these were 'duds' they would have blue bands. (USN Photo)

The Ride

When the cat actually fires it puts about 60% of total pressure on that initial start. The modern steam catapult does not hit the aircraft with a full load of steam right at the launch, rather it builds such that about mid-way down the track it hits full power. This allows the stress on the jet to build up over time instead of all at once and it keeps the crews from blacking out or getting tunnel vision (which I experienced on each of my cat shots).

Another Tomcat takes the ride. (USN Photo)

At the end of the cat track the launch bar is released from the shuttle and the aircraft can fly away if possible, sometimes it takes the great uplift of air over the bow to nudge the aircraft up into the sky.

Here a Hoover takes the ride. This is at the bitter end of the Cat track, the shuttle is behind the nose wheel and the Launch bar is in transition to it's stow position. This Hoover will leap into the air in a few moments or go swiming. (USN Photo)

A "Cold Cat" is one of those where something went wrong and the Jet most likely won't fly at the end of the cat stroke. In 5-years on the Roof I only saw this happen once. An A-7 in that case but the Escape PAC-II series ejection seat worked good!

Below: Here a War Hoover does something that is pretty rare. It was called Flying at Anchor or Flankering. The S-3's and the C-1/C-2's were capable of take off with no winds over the deck. All the other aircraft require the ship to be in movment. (USN Photo)

UPDATE: I found a picture of a Holdback Fitting. These ones are for an EA-6B the one on the left is whole and the one on the right is spent, used. You can see how it snaps. These are again attached into the back of the nose landing gear with the holdback bar that is then attached to the flight deck. These are all color coded to match both the knuckle that they attached to in the landing gear and to the actual holdback bar. The E-2 was a light blue, the S-3 was a magenta color. (Picture stolen from a website that is selling them which may be illegal, at least for the whole units, so I won't identify them, just in case.)

BT: Jimmy T sends.

F-35 follows F-22 into Money Pit

Reports are coming in regarding a review (re. audit) on the programs costs of developing the new JSF aircraft, the F-35. Seems Lockheed-Martin will need an additional $17 BILLION dollars.


"A preliminary Pentagon cost estimate that the F-35 could cost as much as $17.1 billion more than currently planned is prompting calls from congressional sources for the program to be reassessed and restructured."

The F-22 got into finical trouble early in its program life and the Prime Contractor started out calling it a "Strike Fighter the FA-22" selling an inherit capacity of most aircraft, fighter ones too, to carry bombs. This new capability was carried out to help sell the cost overrun that eventually led to the aircrafts demise (in a sense).

From Lockheed-Martin:

Lockheed-Martin acknowledges that modest risks to our cost and schedule baselines exist, but we envision no scenario that would justify a substantial delay to completion of development or transition to productions milestones. We are on track to field 5th Generation fighters to nine countries and 13 services"

True enough, but by their own admission they have completed 85% of their engineering development effort but completed only 2% of the aircraft flight tests. And to me, this is a huge warning flag. If you 'finish' out the Engineering Development phase before a substantial test effort is performed on the system how do you expect to pay for any item you find in testing that needs to be addressed before IOC? Pay for it as a "new" requirement? That is the business model used in the past. Or are they are counting on nothing cropping up during the remaining 98% of the flight testing? Seems too ambitious to me.

No wonder there is such a large push to eliminate the F136 engine program, which is an effort to field a second engine for the F-35. Seems they need the money to finish the basic program! What next, F-35 cookies?

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Blog Fodder – Weekend Update

Quick note here, post weekend. New stuff on the way later today. Navy tech stuff.

As you can see by the little widget on the left side of the blog I am a member of the Navy's VALOUR-IT Solders Angel fund raising effort. Please, please consider donations. This I one of the most worthwhile charities around; The IT drive is geared to providing disabled military personnel with equipment that will get them connected electronically, to the rest of the world. The boost in morale by getting back to the social networking environment is a life saver and really helps in the re-hap effort.

Solders Angels is a remarkable organization that really does the work of the Angels. Injured service members that are evacuated out of the AF are evacuated alone, with only the personal items on their person at the time of the injury. The Angels are there in Germany and here in the US to give them some tender loving care, they distribute packages to each injured member that includes new cloths, personal care items and blankets or Quilts designed to help them this most un-nerving time. They also sit with them and give them someone to talk to during those very early times in what is usually the most traumatic event in their lives. They are aptly named, angels. Give till it hurts.



Weekend Update:

I posted on Saturday a news articles from the NRA, it was my way of getting ready for the Gun Show that I was going to go to later in the day. It is a small show but nearby. I went while it was raining out and the Good Mrs. T was down at the local Wegman's grocery store (it's like a Whole Foods). It's not too local and she was gone a good long time and I was able to get down to the Gun Show and back before her return. Gun's are a touchy topic in our house. One would think with all the military influence there would be no dissent here but, the Marine Mom is anit-gun. So, my dark secret is not porn or wild women, its well things that go boom in the night, and day for that matter. My secret life with Strum Ruger! Anyway, the gun show was a good distraction from the rain and the toil I left, I was hauling insulation up to our attic, one of my winter jobs is to lay a new blanket of R-30 insulation in our massive attic.


We have had a lot of rain here in the Swamp. Over the last couple of weeks we have been getting rain pretty much every other day. This has backlogged outdoor maintenance activity. Cant tend the garden with it so muddy out and I can't mow the lawn or rake up all the leaves until things dry out. Well, we had a dry day on Sunday and I was out there taking care of business. By the end of the day I was tired and worn out, too much activity for one day.

The new week is upon me and I must get busy. I have some new posts ready on Navy stuff and news as I see it!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Armed Citizenry

"Researchers both public and private have estimated total defensive gun uses at between 800,000 and 2.5 million times per year." This from the cover story of November's copy of "America's 1st Freedom" magazine put out by the National Rifle Association.

Amazing numbers even at the low end. Yet the article goes on to say you never hear these stories because the Media is so liberal and that their agenda is that of a disarmed America that you never hear of these incidents. And they are right.

I live in a fairly gun pro state (well for one on the east coast), lots of people here legally own guns, but they all live in the suburbs or the country. The cities I would guess not so much. You see the cities, where incidentally most of the violent crime is at, write their own gun ownership rules above and beyond the state rules. The result the normal city folk that could take advantage of the self protection gun ownership provides you, have so many roadblocks to legal ownership they simply don't buy them. They don't own them and as a result they are always the victim of violent crime.

A new Blog, Civilian Gun Defense, has started to document the many incidents of the Defensive Gun Use and give light to the fact that we are safer with guns than without.

Will the left ever learn?

Also from this same issue, a story about Britain and its draconian gun laws. Well actually about the extension of their gun laws. Seems way back when the good people of the parliament over there outlawed guns. All guns except for those engaged in the Gentlemanly pursuit of sport hunting, you know grouse, quail and the like. So pretty much shotguns are all you can get over there. And those are pretty good at protecting your property and home however they are a bit large, kind of hard to slip one into your waist band and head into the City. I am sure it works but you will look funny out and about.

Anyhow, just a few years ago (2005 in fact) the British Medical Journal called for the ban on pointed kitchen knives throughout the empire, such as it is these days. Yeah, I guess when you disarm the citizenry and they take up arms with what is left well, you have to stop them. Can't have them packng some sharp iron you know, wouldn't be safe out there.

Now comes this, and you knew it had to move in this direction, the British Home Office has commissioned the development of a new "safer" glass mug from which to drink beer from. Yep, the traditional pint glass will go the way of the handgun over there, with the introduction of a new vessel that is a shatterproof plastic composite. Yeah, in the not too distance future only outlaws will drink their stout from glass!!

The nanny state writ large. When will the madness end!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beirut Bombing, 25 Years Ago

Today is the 25th anniversary of the bombing in Beirut, Lebanon of the Marine barracks by a suicide bomber. 241 Marines paid with their lives trying to bring peace to the fighting in what had once been the "Rivera of the Middle East" but had degraded into the mess that Islamic fascist seem to enjoy.

I was on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower when this happened. It was a ships company assignment for me and I had only recently reported aboard (the 21st in fact). We were anchored off Monaco when word reached the ship in the early morning hours of that day, all shore leave and liberty was cancelled and we executed an "emergency sortie". We left several hundred sailors ashore while the Eike broke all speed records to get off shore of Lebanon to provide the medical support that the CVN carries. We only broke speed to launch the occasional E-2 and pair of S-3's to scout ahead of the CVN. That big ship vibrated horribly but we pulled up and started ferrying doctors and corpsman ashore and wounded back in less than 20 hours after we departed Monaco. I gave blood twice in a 72 hour period along with a lot of other sailors.

The least we could do for our green brothers in arms.

Here is a link to the DOD's 25th Anniversary Page on this event.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Taking Their Cake and Eating it too

Earlier this week PresBO went to NYC to attend another Fundraising for the DNC (that would be #68 for PresBO versus only 6 for Bush over the same period of his first term). Nothing too interesting here except for the fact that attendee's were required to pay a whopping $30, 400.00 a pop for the seat in the room with the Almighty, the One! Oh, they could bring a date if so desired so maybe that costs is actually more like $15, 200 a plate. Yeah, even at half the price there is no meal worth that much.

Now, what I want to throw out there is the pure hypocrisy in this event and how shallow a front this portrays to anyone paying attention to the facts.

First you have the simple fact that the only people that can afford this kind of money are going to be people with money. These are people that are either rich by accident or have been handsomely rewarded for their hard work or something like that and have that kind of dough to throw away. Shall we simply call them capitalist, because word is most were Wall Street types or Bankers and Insurance Brokers or of that type. Some of these very people are executives in companies that were bailed out by the government and their asses saved by Your and My Tax dollars.

So two things jump out at me, here are all these rich and capitalistic people going to a dinner hosted by someone that hates and I mean HATES the free market and people with money. How could you possibly pay money to be subjugated to the likes of PresBO, even $1.00 would be too much for my stomach. AND, isn't that our TAX money they are giving back to them in the nature of this "donation" to be there? Is that how it works, you get bailed out by the PresBO led government and he shows up in your neighborhood and you put a ton of money in a bag and had it over to him? All sins forgiven?

Well, maybe not. The Compensation Czar is now lowering the boom on all the high pay and bonus's being paid out to the "failing class". I hope it hurts too. You pilot a company into the ground and you don't deserve one red cent. You certainly don't deserve even one penny of Tax money to say your ass or your company's ass.

You especially don't deserve Tax money just to give it to the Party in power! How is this not an out right pay off and why is not the justice department investigating this? Oh yeah, that's right, they are too busy trying to find a way to get ACORN off the hook for scamming tax money that they can't be bothered doing this job too.

Well this should serve to all those Business Executives and Captains' of Finance that contributed to PresBO's election campaign or to the DNC for that matter, you are getting your hands eaten off for your trouble. Teach you to feed all those stray dogs out there.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More Buffoonery in the Sky’s

Another Delta Airline crew is in deep do-do for perhaps sleeping at the controls?


U.S. safety investigators are reviewing a flight by Delta Air Lines Inc.'s Northwest unit that overshot its destination at the Minneapolis airport yesterday after losing contact with air traffic controllers.

The pilots said they were "in a heated discussion over airline policy" and "lost situational awareness", the NTSB which is investigating the incident, said today in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal reported the pilots may have fallen asleep. The safety board doesn't "have any evidence of that yet at this point", Keith Holloway, an NTSB spokesman, said in an interview.

The flight from San Diego on an Airbus A320 overshot the Minneapolis airport and flew over Wisconsin before turning around and heading back to its destination, according to Houston-based flight-tracking service The flight, Northwest 188, landed at 8:54 p.m. local time, more than an hour after it was scheduled to arrive, according to

Wow, I always wonder if that happens. I am sure if they were indeed discussing "airline policy" it was not the 'Sterile Cockpit' policy which simply states that no discussion other than that necessary to fly the plane should be conducted. The truth will be in the cockpit voice recorder, if it has a capacity longer than an hour. Most CVR's only record that last 20 to 30 minutes of cockpit audio before the memory is "reaped" and reused in the next 20 to 30 minute interval. Could be an interesting couple of days over at Delta, maybe a Safety Stand down is called for?

This brings to mind this story: I know an AW that related this story to me, a long time ago (AW's in the Navy are enlisted aircrew men, Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operators is the official title, you see them a lot as rescue swimmers). Back when the USN was still in the ASW business, he was one of four out on an ASW Mission which are necessarily long missions, 4 to 6 hours. Since an ASW search is mainly a hunt for sounds made by the submarine while it is submerged the AW in the S-3 air crew is real busy. He told me that he was concentrating on chasing down what he thought was a live contact, using the aircrafts automated system to launch and deploy his sensors, the aircraft will pretty much fly by computer dropping out his expendables without any other help, so long as the Auto Pilot is latched by one of the Pilots. So, he is busy for quite some time and finally decides he has enough to call a contact and when he looked around him, well everyone else in the crew was sleeping. The TACCO next to him was curled up snoring and since they had a curtain between the flight station separating the two front seats from the back two seats he had to get up and open it to find both front seaters snoozing too.

He woke them all up and got them to head back to the ship where they could all get some proper sleep. We had always joked that the AW being the only enlisted in our Air Crew was the only "adult" in the bunch, here it proved true. I wonder what would have happened if he too had decided to cop a few zee's as well.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Safe – No one knows why

This is bad, could have been way worse. The Mother of All Runway Excursions

From Aero-News Network:

The FAA and NTSB are investigating how a Delta Boeing 767 from Rio de Janeiro wound up landing on a taxiway, rather than on Runway 27R at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

… according to preliminary information received from several sources, on Monday October 19, 2009 at 0605 EDT, a Boeing B767-332ER operating as Delta Air Lines flight 60 from Rio de Janeiro landed on taxiway 'M' at ATL after being cleared to land on runway 27R. No injuries to any of the 182 passengers or 11 crewmembers were reported.

I don't profess to know what goes on in the cockpit but usually smart people are at the controls. How you lose your place and get on a taxi way is beyond me, but I don't sit in the front seats when I fly. I take it on faith that the two holding those seats have the notion of the difference between a runway and a taxi way. Maybe they were tired (that's a 9 ½ hour flight) or distracted; they did call in a medical emergency very close to being cleared to land, so anything could have happened. The scary part is that this taxiway is situated near the center of the airport complex between the runway and all 7 terminals of the Hartsfield complex.

I used to travel a lot on Delta, having to work in Jacksonville FL or San Diego CA and NOT wanting to fly on an Airbus aircraft, Delta was the only option. I know from going in and out of ATL to JAX or SAN that this crew was very lucky there was not another aircraft on that taxi way. It could have been a real mess had a Jumbo been working its way to the departure end of 27R using taxiway 'M'.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Flying Photos

I love aircraft and I collect pictures of them. Here is a great picture I plucked from the Military Photos Network. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw this underbelly!!

German Tornados, one specially painted to commemorate the event, fly over the German air force Flying Training Center at Holloman Air Force Base, NM Oct. 13 2009 on the way to achieving the 55, 555th flight hour in a Tornado. Col. Peter Klement, German air force Flying Training Center commander and Col. Jeff Harrigian, 49th Fighter Wing commander, werer flying the painted Tornado. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Veronica Stamps)

Some background, turns out the German Air Force trains its personnel here in the states. Since 1958 GAF candidates are brought to Lackland AFB in Texas where they undergo some screening and initial training. Back before 1992 the sucessful Air candidates would then be scattered accross the nation to get their specific flight training. In 1992 with the adoption of the Tornado as the primary strike and fighter aircraft for the German Air Force they consolidated all training at Holloman AFB under a single banner:

Lovely, Great paint job. I love that Zia emblem too!!

UPDATE: Since I can't get Blogger to allow this pic to be enlarged here is the link to the picture which is available in HI RES. Third pic down, look for the blue Hi Res button to get the large size. Sorry All. Jimmy T

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

iGov – Obama to rule the Internet Too

In a stealth operation that appears to be working, the PresBO regime wants to use the FCC to take over the Internet. In "rule making" that is ongoing now at the FCC "Net Neutrality" policy and regulations are being crafted. The purpose of which is blanketed in all the flowery rhetoric that is the hallmark of the PresBO administration.

The main idea being that they are hanging this push on is that left to the "free market" (and you know how much PresBO likes that) some internet providers may at any moment now commence the unholy process of data discrimination. Yes, like we did not have enough Political Correctness to worry about, the Regime Administration wants to monitor internet activity and if necessary hammer a provider for not being "fair".

Their argument being that a provider could hamper delivery of a competitor's content or prevent its delivery at all if is so chooses. I understand the concept, I have Comcast as my provider and I could see them chocking off content going to a Boston Bruin NHL enthusiast, or a New Jersey Devil fan seeing as how Comcast is a part owner of the Philadelphia Flyers.

I could see that happening but, do you need to take over the whole internet to play the arbiter of this activity? Does the FCC monitor over the air broadcasts of the Network News for fair and balanced content? Have they gone after say one company for pitching too much for one political side or another?

Why can't they simply pass one or two well written (read that as just a few pages) laws that target this specific activity, monitor for complaints and then HAMMER the provider that is in fact hampering content delivery. Why is it that the government has to take over the whole shooting match? It just doesn't make sense.

Now, let's go back in time a few years. A lot of people do not know this, but the Internet was invented by the DOD way back when. Originally it was called TECHNET and ran between the nations atomic laboratories, allowing them to share computer resources and pass technical information between pin headed scientists. Later it was extended to include the National Military Command Authority, and still later pretty much every base in the nation was hooked into the system.

Now, just so everyone knows, this most rudimentary of internets was invented, operated and run by the GOVERNMENT. For more than 15 years this system ran on a 300 baud rate system. Yes your eyes do not deceive you, that's 300 pits per second. The users all had to use the same basic equipment, a VT100 Unix system and we all had very rudimentary commands that you could send back and forth to whomever you were communicating with. Yes, there was email and BBS's (Bulletin Board System).

For more than 15 years this government run system was static. And I mean NO innovation, no new speed increases or fancy operating systems, it remained happily run by the government, YOUR government at 300 baud.

Only when it was turned over to the Free Market did we get speed advances, content went up and well as they say, the rest is all history.

And PresBO wants to go back to this! Why is every little hick-up in our society need a government takeover to address?

Keep your hands off my internet.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Night Work - More

More night shots, I am posting these because I have so many great pictures!! Sorry, but it's true, and I can't get enough.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Hornet shot. (USN Photo)

Island bathed in red lights. (USN Photo)

Burnner launch for a Hornet. (USN Photo)

Night lites in the Hanger Bay. (USN Photo)

Below: Business on the Waist Cat's is booming! (USN Photo)

Rearming. (USN Photo)
A Yellow Shirt directing traffic. (USN Photo)

Stepping into the Mist

I think it was "Bob" a frequent commenter here that mentioned this to me, some of the things that you remember from working the Roof are those little things. I remember like Bob does, the steam or mist that comes up out of the catapult track.

Like the pictures below, stepping into the mist to do your work was always special. I especially remember working as a Final Checker and standing in the steam as the aircraft taxied over me and being completely enveloped by the steam.

And then the launch, the plane rip's down the track and for a few seconds you have to sustain the buffeting from the jet exhaust and then, there is this wash of clean air, fresh air that spills down the track laden with humidity, the feeling on your face (usually the only part exposed) was a cool sensation, no matter how hot it was. A cleansing breath as it were.

Above: The 'Air Gang' goes to work on another shot. (USN Photo)

Below: A Yellow Shirt steps into the Mist to bring another Jet into positon. (USN Photo)
Below: A Greyhound works it way through the mist and onto Cat#1. (USN Photo)

I loved being up their doing two jets in a row, taking the steam wash twice, lingering around in the bath of the mist.

Oh, to be young again.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Navy Airdale – Ground Pounder: Night Ops

Did I mention that we do all this flight deck stuff at night too!

The sun goes down and the Real Men come out to work. (USN Photo)

The real test of a good flight deck crew is to continue flight operations at the same tempo as you do in daytime, without any more casualties. It was always tougher because during the day you usually saw the bad stuff coming at you, at night it was always a surprise when something bad happened to you.

Now, I loved the night. But I have always had great night vision. One of the Native American traits in me was really good night vision, coupled with red colorblindness (the true blindness not the color dysfunction which most people have) I could see all the things that made working at night miserable. Tie down chains, boarding ladders, props or rotors, power cables and fuel hoses. All of these trip hazards I could see pretty well. Most guys that work the flight deck sport a horrible rash on their shins, known as "Tie Down Chain Rash", it comes from stumbling into chains used to tie the aircraft down. The skin being scraped off you shins, night after night after night. This was a similar rash to what is known to those who work inside the ship as "Knee-Knocker Rash". This you get from not clearing the many bulkhead cutouts in the passageways.

Below: A Viking signals its time to shoot by turning on its wing tip lights. (USN Photo)

In the trenches, the CAT crew signals launch.
Moving about the flight deck, everything is tighter at night. (USN Photo)

A Handler signals to "hold" brakes with his crossed wands. (USN photo)

Another Hoover takes the shot. (USN Photo)

It was good work when you could get it!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.