Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eclipse Update

I have not put out anything on this subject in a long time but a lot has been happening and it is all good news.

Eclipse Aviation. Yeah, last we reported the company was bankrupt and up for Chapter 7 disposal by the bankruptcy court. It appeared all would be lost and there were many aircraft owners who had working aircraft that were going to be left holding a bag of promises with nowhere to go.

All that has changed.

Now operating under Eclipse Aerospace the new company was made possible by the purchase of the failed Eclipse Aviation last August by investors Mike Press and Mason Holland Jr. of Charleston, South Carolina. The new company initially will perform upgrades and maintenance of the existing fleet of 256 Eclipse 500 aircraft. Restarting the production will have to wait but there is already some talk about that. It would be nice to see new built aircraft coming off that line.

Adding to this good news is this: North American Jet has received from the FAA approval to fly their small fleet of 10 Eclipse 500 aircraft with a single Pilot. This was one of the original design concepts to keeping ownership costs as minimal as possible. North American Jet is a charter flight operator and is one of three charter operators that want to use the Eclipse 500 as a business jet substitute to the more expensive and larger private jet charters.

With some more luck and business acumen this may actually work out for not only the Very Light Jet aircraft business but the aviation climate in my old home, Albuquerque New Mexico, where the Eclipse manufacturing facility is located. Both the City there and the State had a lot riding on the success of the former company, hopefully this new company will realize that success.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Sausage Making with Nancy – The Devils Kitchen

For gods sake, save your eye sight and don't look directly at her, just a glance is all it will take. Go ahead and puke then scroll down to the below the picture and read my latest rant.
More and more is being made public on the Health Care reform that passed Sunday night, the devil is in the details and those are now leaking out into the sunshine. Not that we can do anything about it now.

But as I posted previously regarding all the wheeling-n-dealing that was going on with getting Democrats to vote on this monstrosity some of those details are coming out as well. Here is a story from the Wall Street Journal written by Kimberley A. Strassel that details some of the "Sausage Making" that was going on between Nancy "Sagging Boobs" Pelosi and the Democrats that wanted to vote NO.

It is an interesting look into what passes for Democracy in Action. And when you factor in the lie that Nancy made by saying "no money changed hands" in buying these votes, you know she was not expecting anyone to explain the process to the masses.

And that is yet another rub in all this, the duplicity of the media in all this. The major media in particular has again failed the public in bringing out the details of the Bill but also the drug deals as well. It was the only part of this that was open and transparent.

The wholesale Sell-Out of the American Dream, brought to you by Nancy and the Democrats.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Census 2010 – Just move the Genitals out of the way Please

So I sent in the Census form yesterday. I never let the Good Mrs. T have a look at it; I filled her part out myself. I did answer all the questions for her as if she would have, I am sure. Not so for me, simply my race as an "American" and that was it.

So when I told her I mailed the form out she was a bit ticked off and I am being chartable when I say that, because I did not let her see it first. She was also mad that I did not account for our kids (Question #10 allows you to answer if you are a "part time" resident because of Military Service or temporary employment elsewhere). I know the military will account for SN2 and an enumerator will count my daughter there in the back woods of West By God Virginia.

So to calm her I decide to find her a copy of the form online that I can show her and maybe placate her rage, such as it is. Not that she needs an excuse to be mad at me, I give her plenty but this is something well you know, petty.

That leads me to this, I am on the US Government's Census website and I see this handy little tableau of "Help" videos:

Yes, that's LGBT for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered.

On a US Government web site. AND in Spanish for those LGBT that are Hispanic. WTF!!

Just to make sure I pressed the button to make sure it was in fact what I thought.

Now, I see this and I wonder since I filled out my form in like 6 or 7 seconds, how in the hell could someone that is simply Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered need "Help" in dong this form? IN Spanish too?

What the HELL is going on, I mean come on, we are being spent into the biggest debt hole known to mankind and we are spending money to provide help for LGBT's.

It just stuns the mind. And you know there are people out there that truly need help but we spent that money here. Our government at work. We are screwed as a nation.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tanker Wars – Back On!

Ok it seems there could be a storm brewing on the KC-X horizon. When we last discussed the Tanker program it was to announce the end of the Wars between NGS and Boeing since NGS was not going to submit a bid.

Oh what a couple of weeks makes: now word is out that EADS/Airbus the former partner with NGS on the Tanker program will now attempt to bid with another American company fronting for them here in the USA. No one knows who that other company is but it won't matter. However there is one report that they may in fact go it alone. They have asked the DOD/USAF for additional time to prepare their "new" proposal. And the DOD/USAF is more than happy to give them that time. You know, in the name of "fairness" and competition. More of the story here .

Also, there was news that a Russian firm wants to throw a bid into the mix as well. United Aircraft of Moscow wants to off the USAF a modified Illyushion IL-96. The modifications include replacing the 4-tubro jet engines with new modern turbo fan engines and with a fuselage a little wider and longer than the existing KC-135 aircraft. They now claim that they are not bidding on the contract so we will have to wait and see what really shakes out of this one.

Could it get any better than this for us pundants? And I thought it was all over!

Boeing is holding it tongue right now, what was supposed to be a cake walk suddenly now has some IED's implanted throughout their AOR and there is still a movement out there to build two different Tankers.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Horse Trading for Health Care

That is what is going on right now with PresBO and the Nancy gang trying to convert "NO"'s and "Undecided" Dem Representatives to vote for the massive take-over of the best health care system in the world.

Yesterday Dennis Kucinich (D- OH, No) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) were invited to fly to the PresBO's campaign event in Cleveland aboard Air Force One. The better to turn your "No" to a "Yes" and I am sure the PresBO applied all the pressure he could manage to get both members of the Ohio delegation to vote for his health care reform package. Story here.

There is no end to the wheeling and dealing that the Democrat leadership is doing in trying to get the minimum number of "Yes" votes they can. Wiith more than 2/3's of the Stimulus Bill money still uncommitted my bet it that this money will be earmarked secretly to currently "NO" votes and "Undecided" in to "Yes". Bribery pure and simple.

And here is something akin to the Kitchen Sink: the feared Student Loan takeover by the Government is being added to the Health Care bill.

"Many House Democrats reacted enthusiastically on Friday to the word that a proposed overhaul of student loan programs would be included with major health care legislation in an expedited budget package to be offered in Congress."

"…As a result, some supporters of the health care bill said they were confident the financial aid measure would help generate votes for the overall package."

Further down in the article we get to this, "Of the 39 Democrats who opposed the health care bill, 35 voted in favor of the student loan bill."

They you go, making a mockery of Democracy, Nancy Pelosi at her finest. "We have to pass the Bill so we can see what is inside." Oh yeah that works in real life.

And they are going to use the "Slaughter" rule to pass it. This is the measure where they vote on a measure that is basically a bill for nothing but would "deem" the Senate Health Care bill as passed. This measure is surrogate for actually voting on the Bill itself. This is supposed to give Democrats that are afraid to vote "Yes", cover. That's right, they think they can get away with passing this and then heading home to say they did not vote on the health care take over.

What piss-ants. I have NO respect for people that will not do what is right and vote on this horrible bill, one way or the other. They have to hide behind another measure like no one is going to notice.

They should all be impeached for even contemplating this path. What legitimacy will this law have if it was passed in an Un-constitutional manner? It will have none.

We are led by Cowards.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Count This!

Lots of controversy about the Census this year, a lot of chatter out there on who is doing it (can you spell ACORN?), what they are "authorized" to collect and of course what they do with that data. PresBO's interest in the Census was so great that one of his first actions after moving into the White House, after tossing the bust of Winston Churchill into recycle bin, after passing the Porkuls Spending Bill you know the one without any earmarks in it, he by Presidential decree moved the management of the Census into one of them corner offices of the White House. This Census will be closely managed by his political stooges and cronies with no interest in the outcome. None at all, no fish here that stink you smell was here when we moved in.
So what is the individuals' responsibility for the Census? There is this huge Ad campaign pushing the cooperation of the everyday person with completing the survey we will all be getting. Some of us will get a long form, the rest a short 10 question survey. The Ad campaign is a flat out bribe for our participation. It is couched in terms of all the Federal money that each community gets all based on the Census. Well, if that were true then why are all those Congresscritters always bragging on "bringing home the bacon" in the way of pork barrel spending projects? None of that is based on the Census, it's all on how much time one of those Legislators is willing to spend on his or her knees getting their pet project into a bill.
I am also against the whole illusion that this is what the Census was for in the first place. It was never about spreading the wealth of the country around to those that don't work for it or deserve. The "enumeration" was specifically for determining how many Congress Creeps each State gets.

Nothing more.

And I think that is our sole responsibility, the total number of Americans living within the domicile. Any other information is above and beyond what is constitutionally required and NO ONE has authority to request more than a raw number.

Here is a video that goes into a lot this and especially has questions that the Census Bureau will not answer you know like: "Where is your warrant?" It's a good watch, not too long.

I will be answering only the number question and the race question. "American" is what I am putting down. That's it. They can waterboard me for the rest of the data they want or simply ask the IRS, they seem to know a lot about me already!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Dying on the Vine part Deux

That is what happened to the F-22, the 5th Generation Stealth Fighter that the Air Force purchased from Lockheed-Martin. The original plan (way back in 1994 as the ATF program) was to purchase 750 of the aircraft. The fly-away cost of each aircraft would be at those numbers somewhere over $100 million dollars each. But reality slowly settled in and with a lot of "nickel-n-dime" creep by the Prime contract the cost for the overall development program skyrocketed. The costs became nearly un-sustainable.

There is a kind of "Death Spiral" that a weapons system in budget crisis, can get into this is when the overall program costs when amortized over the planned unit buy make the single aircraft costs too much for people to continue to support. In the case of the F-22, the unit cost ran up from a mere $100 million dollars each to somewhere near $400 million each. The result is that the service buys less and less in numbers of the system. In the beginning the Air Force wanted 750 of them but in the end, they are only getting 187. The numbers were just too much for the Air Force/DOD to buy more and with the F-35 close on the heels the idea was to terminate the F-22 and buy even more F-35's.

It looked good on paper for what, a whole year.

Now it appears the F-35 is a loop or two into that same "Death Spiral".

Reports coming out every couple of days (here is one, and another here) detail the problems within the program. Prime contractor, Lockheed-Martin (them again) now reports that the program cost will double (DOUBLE as in x2) from what was originally planned. The cost per airframe will jump from a mere $50 million a jet to a whopping $112 million. And that is before they start chopping the numbers down from nearly 2500 planned airframes (and another 700 in FMS sales). No program can sustain this kind of cost escalation without some kind of impact. Look for the number buy to drop in both the domestic and the Foreign sales.

Who is to blame, well I am sure there is a lot of that to go around. Lockheed-Martin is no stranger to screwing the goose with the golden eggs, they might be having trouble breaking that habit, a carryover from the fun they had on the F-22 program and the VH-71 (you know the Presidential Helo program that was going to be as expensive as buying Air Force One, a 747 airframe). Why oh why won't the DOD sanction them in some way? I don't know. The DOD did fire or remove from the program the Top civilian and military executives on the program, but they did nothing to Lockheed-Martin, that management team is still in place. This was supposed to be a partnership between the DOD and Industry. More than 1000 companies are involved in the development of this aircraft, yet the only ones who's feet are held to the fire are on the DOD side?

Part of the problem is that the US Aerospace business sector has undergone several decade's long contraction with the Large Prime contractors buying up their competition. Lockheed-Martin is the product of the merger of Lockheed and the old Martin-Marietta Corporation. Boeing swallowed the old McDonald-Douglass company (getting the C-17, F/A-18 and the F-15 in the process) and the once proud Northrop Corporation married Grumman Aerospace only to find themselves out in the cold in all of the recent DOD aircraft buys (losing to Lockheed on the ATF program with their YF-23 aircraft which I think was a better product). They have nothing now; well maybe not nothing they still build the E-2 and a whole bunch of UAV/UAS vehicles. Oh and ships too, they are the sole builder of Aircraft Carriers.

The point is that these big companies got even bigger by eating their competition and NO ONE tried to stop them. The SEC, FTC and the DOD which had the most to lose tried to stop all the mergers and acquisitions that went on in the 80's and 90's. Oh yeah they pitched a fit when Lockheed wanted to by Northrop but it was already too late by then but it was 1998, the contraction was already pretty much over. This is why on the recent KC-X program, the Air Force aerial tanker procurement program the only "domestically" made airframe was from Boeing. Northrop-Grumman was partnered with EADS/Airbus who was going to build the airframe in France. They promised to build an assembly line in Alabama but truth be told that facility was only going to be a finishing line because no one in their right minds in Europe was going to let their jobs move over here.

I fear the F-35 has put a leg into its own grave and soon we will be hearing about how the Navy and Marines are having to buy more F/A-18's from Boeing to cover the "fighter gap". What will the Air Force do? How about new built F-15's.

No one shoots their feet off better!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Hat Tip to: Defense Tech

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Close to Home

Imagine my interest when I heard that the so called "Jihadi Jane" lived in nearby Pennsburg, PA. A mere 11 miles north of the hacienda here in the Swamp. See Map.

This story here talks about how this woman Colleen R. LaRose was a transplant from south Texas. No biggie, it's a local rag and I think they were trying to deflect some of the stink. Problem is this general area does have its issues with radicals.

When we first moved here from the eastern part of the county we would spend some of the weekend driving around the local area, getting to know better our surroundings. The trips were close to home never far away, different business here and there. We tried out all the back roads getting to know our way around the bottlenecks such as they were.

One Saturday afternoon we were driving on the main road in a little town not far from here (maybe 5 miles) and as we were stopped at a light on of the kids saw something that I had missed. " What do they want?" one of the kids asked. I looked over to the side of the road and at the people that were at that moment were fascinating the kids and to my shock and amazement there on the side of the road, on the sidewalk standing holding sighs were 5 fully costumed and hooded KKK members. Yep, full blooded Klansmen standing there on the side of the road conducting a "demonstration".

How could this be? It was 1985, we were in the North? Well maybe not that far north, the Mason-Dixon Line is only about 70 miles south of here but, come on this was not Alabama or Mississippi.

Turns out they were common on the street corner; a couple of state highways crossed there and the sidewalk was very wide.

The local farm market near here besides selling great meats, local veggies and farm fresh poulty and eggs also does a brisk business in what I call "flea market" or "swap meet". There might be 200 stands in this place including more than one trading in Nazi memorabilia. They also have a large silent auction house on premises and it has always amazed me how every month, every sale they have in there, they sell Nazi or Waffen SS stuff for sale. Right alongside the Longaberger baskets will be a Nazi flag or in the case with the fossilized shark's teeth is the cigarette lighter with the SS skull emblazoned on it.

A couple of years later as a volunteer on my local Townships Environmental Advisory Board I was dispatched with two other volunteers to do a site inspection on a property that was doing some renovations. Our job was to do a certification that wetlands were not impacted by the proposed work. We had site development plans provided by the property owners Architect/Engineer which showed the property and the area on the plot where the work was to be done. They were adding a 5-bay garage and a small building, a meeting house it what was noted on the plans. Part of our inspection was to do a walk of the property border and then inspect the area in and around where the work was to be done. This site is near here, maybe only 3-miles from home, closer as the crow flies. The place as a Militia training center complete with a handgun and rifle shooting range, barracks, chow hall and obstacle course. While we were on site we were assigned an escort who followed us around, he actually helped us get around the very large property. He carried not only a side arm but an AR-15 both of which I assumed were loaded though I did not ask. There were maybe 20 men there undergoing "training", all sporting guns and wearing camo.

While serving as a Township Supervisor we were approached by a "resident" about the purchase of a small horse farm. A 200 plus acre site complete with a nice barn and track with frontage on a local waterway it would make a great community park. The asking price was well below market, way below. We accepted, closed the deal and took possession, clear title in our hands we commenced to planning the transformation of the grounds from equine pursuits to community service. Shortly after I was called into the Township for an "Executive" session of the Board, seems the FBI wanted to meet with us regarding our recent land purchase. Turns out, unbeknown to us, the property was owned by a holding company that was associated to someone who was currently in a Federal Lock-up serving a long prison sentence. The family business was not Horses but well, something less legal shall we say. The FBI was interested in excavating a few areas of the property, including inside our nice new-used barn. They spent almost a month on the site; they had a whole forensic team there. They even brought in a fleet of RV's that the agents lived in while they were working. Large trucks came and went from the property, empty on the way in, heavy on the way out. Rumors of bodies and buried drugs circulated however we never heard anything from the FBI except for a think you as they left. Good as Boy Scouts.

So, strange things are part of the fabric of my little neck of the woods. From Militia to KKK, to Mobsters and now Jihadi's. I wonder if there is some way to get the Militia and the Jihidi's to you know, get together. Maybe get some fireworks going between them. What fun would that be!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tanker Wars Fizzle

Northrop Grumman (NGS) has decided to bow out of the Air Forces next generation aerial tanker competition much to the dismay of EADS/Airbus. NGS claims the competition is hard wired for a smaller size aircraft than what they wanted to propose.

"After a comprehensive analysis of the final RFP, Northrop Grumman has determined that it will not submit a bid to the Department of Defense for the KC-X Program. We reached this conclusion based on the structure of the source selection methodology defined in the RFP, which clearly favors Boeing's smaller refueling tanker and does not provide adequate value recognition of the added capability of a larger tanker,"

So off they go, and I am sure Boeing is dancing in the streets around Paine Field in Everett Washington. And the Defense Department, they claim to be "disappointed" that NGS/EADS/Airbus will not be participating. But you know as well as I do that they are breathing easier right now because the pressure to "do the right thing" whatever that might be is off them. I mean, anyone can evaluate and award a contract with only a single bidder.

I just hope Boeing does not go off and pull a Lockheed-Martin bait and switch operation and jack up the price and/or "work" the program into a money hole al la F-22/F-35. We will have to wait to see what happens now.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flyers and More

Flyers: Some of you out there may know this already but just in case you did not I am a big Philadelphia Flyers fan. Not sure why, I don't care or watch any of the other Philly sports, Eagles, 76ers or there MLB team (I am drawing a blank on their name). But maybe because my kids played Ice Hockey growing up I took to watching them or maybe it was that crazy Chemistry Teacher I had back in the 12th Grade back in West Mesa High School. He was a small scrappy guy and played for the local minor league ice hockey team, the Albuquerque 6-Guns. I don't know what happened to the team or the Teacher, I did get a fairly good grade even though I sat in the front row the whole year, that was where he kept his "problem children" as he called all us front row types. The closer to his brilliance he would say, the better for us yeah, I didn't buy it.

Anyway, I just watched the Flyers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and was checking for out next game and low and behold the Flyers have a busy March. A game every other day during the week and games on both days over the weekend. I will be in near Hockey heavy with a game every other day. Behold the schedule purloined from Yahoo sports:

Posting: Yeah it's been very sporadic lately and I have to apologize. My status at work changed being moved from a very small nearly insignificant project to one with a lot of contract value but running 3-months late. The contract having stiff penalties built in, so as to keep the contractor honest (something I think our government should build into any contract with Lockheed-Martin). So I have been moved from off the stove to right over the hottest burner doing a lot of extra time every day as well as weekend. Yes even weekends. I am so fried at night I have a hard time even leaving comments on some of the Blog's I visit. The only benefit to me over all this work, will be another trip or two to the Czech Republic which I am looking forward to. My recent trip over there for introductions to our European partners in this effort was just a teaser and I am dying to spend a day or two running around unattended. With my camera.

I do have several new Navy stories in the works, a study of some of the Men I served with and I have a follow-up on my young son's 7-months in Afghanistan. A review of his experience in Helmand province, while they are still fresh in his mind, his confessions of a sort. I may not a Priest but I am a Father. I am also going to start a series on long but not forgotten aircraft of our recent past.

So, bear with me as I work my way through the next month or two, I should be posting every other day or so. Maybe more, maybe less.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This can only get Worse

As if things can't get any worse for the F-35 this comes out.

This can only get uglier as time goes along. I worked on a Lockheed aircraft for a very long time. 5 years at the Organizational level hands on in an actual S-3 Viking squadron. Cannibalism was a real problem for us and not just my specialty (I was an AX which is an Avionics Technician specialized in Anti-Submarine Warfare equipment), it was pretty much in every major aircraft category except for the Engines. We had the most reliable engine in the fleet, we actually went 11 months before we had to do our first engine change (FOD damage from one of them leather bomber jackets the flight crew like to wear). In my shop we cannibalized so much that we actually had rubber stamps that we used on our paper work because we cut so many Maintenance Action Forms (MAF's) that were the simple Remove from one aircraft to install in another OR the Install when received to cover the hole in the jet from actually taking the part out of the Hanger Queen. It was huge business for us.

But all of our trials game to us once we deployed to the boat. Which you can kind of understand, you know far away from home and all those extra guys in the Intermediate maintenance shops or that huge supply depot to draw from.

"Lockheed was "cannibalizing" parts from fuselages being built by Northrop to repair aircraft on the assembly line and in preflight testing."

This is a whole new world of hurt when the OEM is stealing parts during manufacturing to fill holes. I can just imagine what it will be like when they hit the fleet and then go off on deployment. Better take plenty of jets with them and maybe even park a few along the projected path of the ships intended movement, you know to back fill when needed. I wonder if they could pack one in one of them connex boxes and just ship them ahead!

Exciting times ahead for the Navy when they field this new Lockheed machine. I hope it is as successful as my ole war horse; the War Hoover was great after we worked out the kinks and the Navy de-scoped 60% of the electronic mission.

Thanks to: Alert 5

BT: Jimmy T sends.