About Me

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I live in the Florida Keys. I've been in the military and worked inside the Beltway. I've had 22 technical books and two novels published. I fly, boat, dive, shoot, and swim pretty damn well.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Video review of Books by John Burdett

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Michael Yon's Book "Moment of Truth in Iraq"

The New York Post review of Michael Yon's latest book "Moment of Truth in Iraq" SHOULD make you want to buy the book.. if only to support Michael's continued work. Please read the review and buy the book! See this link for the New York Post review and follow THIS LINK to order the book from Amazon.

Ooops -- update --- the book is out of stock at Amazon! You missed it. However, there are some "used" from other sources on the page.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

For Those of You Who BELIEVE in Global Warming

"Snowfall breaks record" See this link from the Juneau Blogger.com

Or THIS LINK from the Great Falls Montana Tribune..

Yeah man, we're really sweating it out.

Go get some other bogus cause, will you ?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Fascinating Bit of History

This link takes you to a story about Rolex watches from the time of WWII. It's a fascinating bit of history that will make you marvel and take your focus away from today's elections, stock market, real estate, etc. A pleasant distraction and lesson in history.

Ditching a Plane

I fly out of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Probably 95% of my flying is over water. Fortunately, the water is usually warm and shallow. But, I know several people who fly out of here who have ditched, we talk about it at EAA safety meetings, and I think about it a lot.

Initially, my thought was that if I had to ditch I would open the canopy before ditching and hope that it flew forward and departed the airplane during deceleration. Then, inadvertently, I flew twice with the passenger side latch not securely closed to the second "click." (Always happens with new passengers who don't understand the need for "two clicks" on their side. Usually big guys who I can't see or reach behind to check the latch myself. That one small opening increases wind noise and tries to suck their shirts outside.

So, I put myself in the scenario of a dead engine, going through the restart drill, looking for "thin water", dialing 7700, saying something on 121.5, and trimming for best angle of glide. Now, as I'm trying to stall with the wheels a few inches over the water I'm going to add noise, wind, a nose down attitude, and tons of drag by popping the canopy? Something I've never practiced? Duh! Popping the canopy is something that initially sounds good, but after thinking about it my position is that it adds too many unpracticed variables, (drag, changed attitude, noise, strange wind) to an already stressful operation. It goes from smart to dumb.

A valuable lesson that EVERYONE who has ditched repeats over and over is that you only take with you what you have on you. Yes, it gives you a sense of well being to have those $11.95 orange life vests in the back. It makes you feel good to have the crash axe "secured" (a heavy object "secured"against the G-force of a ditching? Ha!) someplace. But, what the folks who have been there and done that say is that if you don't have it on your body, then you don't have it.

My passenger and I always wear the "suspender" type life preserver. (No, they ain't heap!) I have a SPOT satellite personal tracker (yes, it is waterproof) attached to it. On my belt I have a dive knife with a strong heavily serrated blade. Other folks around here fly with a "belly bag" holding a personal EPIRB, a big Leatherman, and whatever else makes them comfy.

We have video of a news helicopter circling over a ditched airplane here. The two pilots are in life preservers floating near the semi-submerged low wing airplane. Even with orange life preservers, they looked awfully tiny from the chopper. Many of us also include a visual strobe on the life preserver.

One other thing we hear from the folks who have ditched is that anything in the airplane will be on top of you. So, look at that nice storage space behind the seats. See the spare engine oil, the tools, the cans of paint and polish, the old plugs you can't throw away? They are all going to hit you on the head and then sit in your lap.

I STILL have not come up with a good baggage compartment net for the 601XL. HINT: If you want a little lucrative sideline, put together a 601XL baggage net kit for retrofit. (It's too late to put it in during construction!)

Having said all that, I will also say that flying over the waters of the Florida Keys is a thrill you should all have! Smooth and beautiful!