Sunday, March 11, 2012

In Memorandum

Carroll LeFon
Captain, USN (Ret.)
"Neptunus Lex"

I am still forward deployed to the CZ (another week on this tours of almost 4) so I am coming to this party a little late. But I am just as shocked and dismayed as any who have come before me.

The internet being instantaneous for all practical purposes that including here in the CZ, but my bandwidth being very slow much more like the old 9600 baud days. Strangely, I did see a note about this pretty early on and I did recognize “Whispers” posting on Lex’s site as that of a message that someone had passed on. The” Missing Man” formation being very familiar to anyone working in the Aero-plane business and especially for one as long as I. But while it registered it did not sink in that it was Lex.

Not until I saw one of the eulogy postings did it hit me. Then I was flooded with them, nearly every place I went had a message of condolence a message of how Lex touched them. I have spent a lot of my down time reading comments on that Whisper post. Shaking my head in disbelief that Lex was and truly gone. Taken from us by too many snakes to wrestle in that wee bit of a cockpit.

Like so many others he was my inspiration for blogging as well. And like so many others he mentored me, answering questions and giving me advice from time to time. Never via a comment, always via personal touch with an email.

It is a wonder he found time to write for his own blog he was so busy helping so many fledgling bloggers. His true legacy in the ether that is the Internet is all the many hundreds of voices he helped shape.

I am proud to say that I am Lex.

In the Aviation business there is always this outcome. I have seen it many times before. Even when you don’t know the man or men in person, you know the circumstance. And always in the back of your mind it the idea that it could happen right here, right now and take you.

As an avionics technician and final checker I was many times the final arbitrator of who went flying and who did not. The simple gesture of the outstretched fist with the thump pointing one way or the other either dispatched the aircraft and all the souls onboard into the heavens or kept them there in person, another jet for them on this event or the next. It always weighed on me the fact that one thing out of place out of the millions on the Jet and the millions on the ship end, and well that is why the “Missing Man” formation is so recognizable to a career aviator. Especially the ground pounding ones, when an aircraft never returns well, that is why it is called “Missing Man”.

Aviation is a cruel mistress, sucking you in with tiny installments of almost indescribable pleasure. For years and years she Woo’s you. You taste disaster only on the edges and soon you are so hooked it is your life she wants in return. If you stay long enough, teasing one more sortie, one more cycle, one more journey to the heavens. And then she wants it all back at once. Payment in full.

We may never know what really happened in the end there at Fallon. I keep going to Lex’s place expecting that post from the other side telling in his poetic way the magic of that last flight. How the 0-dark thirty brief while mundane was necessary, how the cold morning affected A404 and how he coached her out of her chocks and up into the surely bounds of earth.

Up and away into the heavens. For surely he would return if he was every really ours for the keeping.

Rest In Peace Skipper.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Here and There

Sorry for the lack of posts. As some may realize I am commuting between my Home in PA and a worksite in the Czech Republic. I spend more time there than here rotating every couple of weeks back to the U.S. for a short time and I return.

I could qualify for citizenship here in the lovely Brno.

The travel takes a lot out of me and the work here well; let’s just say it’s not anything like working on aircraft and getting dirty on a flight line like in the good ole days just a few years ago.

The flying to-n-fro and living in hotels (although the same one) has eaten away at my desire to write. I don’t know what it is, but the feeling is just not there most of the times. But I won’t give it up, I’ll just post at the reduced rate.

Now all this living abroad has now made me an expert on living and life in Europe. Let me tell you, there is no better way to learn the culture than to live in it for an extended period. None of that arm chair analysis, I am talking man on the street or trolley, tram, train and diesel fueled automobile.

More to come in future posts on the differences in lifestyles and life expectations between us Americans and the Europeans. And there is a lot of difference and we should all hope we don’t go any more in this direction.

Here is a start:

Behold my latest trip here and the air fare. This is what my company paid for a round trip (Economy by the way) between Philly and Prague. Note the actual Air Fare is a mere $226.00 U.S. Dollars.

Oh yeah, dear reader, that big whopping $620.70 is all the taxes heaped onto this international ticket. Those Taxes have only recently gone up to accommodate this new “Carbon Trading” scheme that has been enacted here in the EU Zone. All aircraft flying into and landing in the EU Zone are now required to pay this Carbon Offset tax and it only this year went into effect on flights originating in North America (the U.S. Air Carriers all ganged together and sued the EU but of course lost).

This adds another $31 dollars minimum to a flight from the U.S. Now I don’t pay this tax, my company does but when you look at all the taxes how in the hell are you going to try and spur any kind of tourism to either continent with taxes that make a trip like this outrageous in cost.

Look at that up there, the airline flight is a mere $226.00 and we are not talking some cut rate airline, this is a British Airways flight. These guys actually earn that money: they feed you and keep you in booze the whole flight. They prowl the aisles with water and juice all during the flight not like a U.S. Airline I know that will go without nameless here ( Delta) who feeds you and then they disappear until its almost time to land. And I mean disappear; they must have some secret under-the-floor retreat they all hide in because they go away leaving water a juice out for you to serve yourself. But not BA, those crews actually serve the whole time you are with them.

Anyway, I don’t see how one can trigger tourism when you pile on the taxes and meanwhile the aircraft manufacturers are going out of their way to build more and more fuel efficient aircraft yet they get hammered on the carbon output on a flat rate not at all based on how little impact their new engines are on the environment. The government fools here don’t understand the market side approach that would incentivize the reduction of carbon output. But no, it’s all done it that socialist way where everyone shares in the misery.

In other news: There is no Global Warming!! What you say, look at this chart:

I stole the chart from Weasel Zippers and they got it from this article right here. From the UK Daily Mail no less!!

Yeah it appears that there has been NO warming over the last 15 years which means that there has been no so called “Greenhouse” effect from all the Carbon Dioxide accumulating up there in the stratosphere. The article further states that a mini-Ice Age just may be a coming our way too.

Wow, where did I hear that before? I remember now, when I was back in the early ‘70’s and they had just got DDT black listed to save Bald Eagle. You remember that whole Rachel Carson think where she determined that the Bald Eagle has suddenly developed thin egg shells triggered by the ingestion of this evil toxin (even though Bald Eagles in Alaska had the same problem of thin egg shells but the use of DDT was not wide spread up there at the time) . So to save the symbol of the country we had to ditch the one chemical responsible for the saving of literally millions of lives by its use of killing mesquites.

But I drift; back to the “Ice Age” that was all the rage back in the ‘70’s. Yeah, it was even a time cover story.

This is the April 8th 1977 cover of Time, but the hype started years before. In June of 1974 time ran its first article about the coming ice age (“Another Ice Age?”) and Newsweek followed with a story its own on the same subject (“The Cooling World”) in their April 28th 1975 issue. Oh the humanity.

What was old is new again, just think Time and Newsweek both can save themselves some money and republish both those stories and not pay a real journalist to actually you know fact check or anything just like their Political coverage!!

I wonder where all that Carbon Tax money is really going? Do you think they are really going to use it to plant trees or to suck CO2 out of the sky and sequester it down deep inside ole Mother Gia?

No, I think they are using it to line their pockets the rat bastards. This whole Global Warming/Climate Change/Carbon Dioxide is one big scam designed to take money away from those of us that have it and turn it over to politicians who will do with it as they please.

What a load of crap.

BT: Jimmy T sends.