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.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Built a GreatGuyBooks.TV Channel on Me.TV

I built a channel for GreatGuyBooks Video Book Reviews using the resources of ME.TV. The channel is called, obviously enough, http://GreatGuyBooks.TV Many more reviews scheduled for posting!

An Interesting Story on RoboChopper Swarms

RoboChopper swarms are scary stuff. Difficult to hide from and potentially deadly. The politics between the military branches over control are going to get equally deadly. This looks like very smart hovering artillery to me! See this story from the WIRED Danger Room

A Superb Story From a Woman Soldier in Iraq

Hey, wait a minute. Don't jump on me for pointing out she is a woman until you understand that being a woman is key to the story. And, it is an excellent story! It is about courage and success. Very positive! From BlackFive A real "Should read"!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It is so exciting to see your book pop up on an Amazon sales page. "A Glint in Time' is up there! See THIS LINK

Wow.. The publisher wants $17.99 Tell you what.. I have about 50 author copies I'll sell for $10 each. That's what they cost me. Send me an email at fderfler @gmail.com

OR (and I'd PREFER this) You can get a signed copy FREE by entering a contest in which EVERY ENTRY WINS. See the details on the upper right corner of the page when you CLICK HERE!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Diamond Really Wants to Sell Me an Airplane!

I once looked seriously at buying a Diamond DA-40. It flies sweet. However, then I'd be back into the rat race of dealing every year with the FAA. Life right now is good even without the DA-40. It's interesting to see what they're offering

" It combines free maintenance, free insurance, free fuel and 40 hours of flight training for your first year of ownership. It’s the best buyer’s incentive in years – making now a fantastic time to purchase the XLS dream machine. Click on this link to learn more about the specifics of the deal: www.diamondair.com/firstyearfree."

The free insurance is a few thousand bucks and I'd expect warranty maintenance, but FREE FUEL? That's aggressive. I'd fly the wings off the thing! Hmmmm... I just ran three miles on the treadmill at the gym, I have no real health issues... maybe... (NO!.. Get Behind Me, Devil!)


A friend sent me some articles written by Howard Kunstler describing TEOLAWKIOTP... The End Of Life As We Know It On This Planet. Kunstler writes well and with lucidity. He even supports drilling in ANWAR " because I think it can be done in a sanitary way and, more importantly, it would get the idiot cornucopian right-wing assholes to finally shut up about it..."

And that's where I think he is totally wrong. I completely disagree with him about the impact of drilling here (in the Keys. . California.. EVERYWHERE) . I believe that ANYTHING you do to increase supply will quell the speculators.

My analogy is this.. Let's say that we are stranded on an island in a flood. There are 100 people and we have 100 bottles of drinking water. No problem. Now, if there are 110 people and only 100 bottles of drinking water, then we have a BIG problem. We are at the inelastic portion of the demand curve. The perceived value of EVERY bottle will go up immensely. Then, if we suddenly discover another crate with just 12 more bottles, the perceived value of each bottle drops like a stone. No problem. We have to do EVERYTHING we can to increase supply! Every fraction of a step we take down the inelastic portion of the demand curve will have a disproportionate benefit!

Progress on an Electric LSA

This is about the best news I've heard in a long time! The Light Sport Category is perfectly positioned to support development of an electric powered airplane. There is a big enough group of buyers and the manufacturers have the ability to innovate without a lot of regulation.

I would LOVE to lose the noise!

The Text Below is from The ElectraFlyer Website. ElectraFlyer.com

There is also an article on AVWeb

Introducing the ElectraFlyer-C!

We have converted my single place, all metal Moni motor glider into a small, efficient electric airplane. We used our ElectraFlyer propulsion parts kit and our large battery pack, custom built to fit the available space in the airplane. The plane was raised for more ground clearance and a larger, slower-turning, much more efficient prop was installed. Static thrust has increased 60%. The plane received its airworthiness certificate in April. The ElectraFlyer-C is flying now and the climb rate has increased dramatically. The flying character of the plane has changed from a very loud, vibrating experience to a smooth quiet ride.

Systematic flight testing will start June 4th and we will be measuring the take off roll, climb rate, power use at varying speeds, duration at best L/D, regen capabilities, landing configurations, etc.

We will post the results here along with the first flight videos!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Political Antidote

A Jillion links to PRO-McCain "Stuff" .... It's an antidote when you have been listening to NPR or MSNBC.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A New "Do Everything" Paint .. looks like a neat idea

We paint everything that doesn't move around here and a few things that do. This new paint from Rust-Oleum looks cool. Wood, plastic, metal, concrete, glass, vinyl (and more) from the same can. Hmmmm... think it's 99 cents per can? Probably not!


Commentary on Beverly Hills Dead by Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods has had some super books.. including "Chiefs", "Deep Lie", and "Palindrome". But, he's also had some thin stinkers. Is "Beverly Hills Dead" a hit or a miss? I tell you in this video.

Commentary on Saucer by Stephen Coonts

Hey! Saucer is a great book for all ages! Is it right for you or is it a good gift for a friend? Check my video to find out.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Common Man versus the Radical Environmentalist

Regular gas just hit $4.07 a gallon here. My prediction is that the common man will suffer a psychological trauma on Monday. The common Joe, the person who... makes under $125,000 a year and has a mortgage, one or more car loans, and several thousand dollars in credit card debt.. is going to feel kicked in the gut.

There are two wars going on right now and oil is at the bottom of both. The War between the US and Radical Islam is a religious war with oil and our prosperity as a major factor.

The War between the common man and Radical Environmentalism get even less press, and no "balanced" press. I have a business colleague who attended college in Maine. But, I heard him say one day, "We'll put it on the Net and save a tree." I called him silly because, despite his education there, he didn't see trees as a crop! They are raised and people are paid to turn the crop in to paper. He had been indoctrinated into the anti-Capitalistic cult of Radical Environmentalism.

Radical Environmentalism keeps us from drilling in Anwar. Did you know that the Anwar Reserve is about the same size or smaller than LAX? Okay, let's turn LAX into a preserve and drill holes into the Anwar reserve, okay? Overall, that would have to be better for the common US citizen.

The Chinese have permit from the Cubans to drill for oil 50 (fifty.. five zero) miles from Key West. I live in the Florida Keys. I would much rather have US rigs taking the oil then Chinese rigs!

Senator Bill Nelson, our Democratic Senator from Florida, recently sent me an email proudly announcing that he was going to "protect Florida's $500M tourist industry" by not allowing any US drilling in Florida waters. He didn't mutter a word about Cuban/Chinese drilling and what that would do to our tourist industry. The man is making bad decisions. The only reason I can fathom for these anti-common man decisions is that he is getting "contributions" from either oil interests who want to keep prices high or from radical environmentalists who are in pursuit of power.

Bill Nelson is wrong. Drill here. Drill now. Build coal to liquid plants, build nuclear, and build up-to-date solar-to-electric. The politicians inside the Beltway listen to different voices. They are on the wrong side of the war with the common man.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heads Roll at USAF

Gee -- See my previous post... Paralysis on the E-Ring.. Rolling heads..
This from the Associated Press...

Air Force leadership in shake-up

Jun 5 01:42 PM US/EasternBy ROBERT BURNS
AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The military and civilian chiefs of the Air Force are resigning, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Defense officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates asked Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne to step down.
A public announcement was expected later in the day.
There was no immediate word on who would be nominated to replace Moseley and Wynne.
Press secretary Dana Perino said President Bush knew about the resignations but that the White House "has not played any role" in the shake-up.
Moseley became Air Force chief in September 2005; Wynne took office in November 2005.
Wynne is the second civilian chief of a military service to be forced out by Gates. In March 2007 the defense secretary pushed out Francis Harvey, the Army secretary, because Gates was dissatisfied with Harvey's handling of revelations of inadequate housing conditions and bureaucratic delays for troops recovering from war wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The Air Force has endured a number of embarrassing setbacks over the past year. In August, for instance, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown across the country. The pilot and crew were unaware they had nuclear arms aboard.
The error was considered so grave that President Bush was quickly informed.
Moseley later announced that in response to flaws exposed during the nuclear weapons error, the Air Force would change the way bomber crews organize for their nuclear training mission.
Gates also has been trying to learn more about how fuses for Air Force ballistic missiles were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan. Gates was briefed last week on the conclusions of an internal investigation of that matter but the results have not been made public.
Four cone-shaped electrical fuses used in intercontinental ballistic missile warheads were shipped to the Taiwanese instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered. The fuses originated at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., but the mix-up apparently occurred after the parts were shipped to Hill Air Force Base in Utah.
In another incident, the Pentagon inspector general found in April that a $50 million contract to promote the Thunderbirds aerial stunt team was tainted by improper influence and preferential treatment. No criminal conduct was found.
Moseley was not singled out for blame, but the investigation laid out a trail of communications from him and other Air Force leaders that eventually influenced the 2005 contract award. Included in that were friendly e-mails between Moseley and an executive in the company that won the bid.
"It is my sense that General Moseley's command authority has been compromised," Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said at the time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pilot Test, Hand-Eye Coord or Something Else

This phsyiological test has been circulating on the Internet. SUPPOSEDLY, it is a US Air Force test designed to screen people for pilot training. SUPPOSEDLY, two minutes is very very good.

See http://members.iinet.net.au/~pontipak/redsquare.html

Some people think it is very hard. My 14 year old grandson does 2 minutes withou breaking a sweat. He claims there is a pattern and once you see the pattern it is easy to anticipate the moves.

Like many phsyiological tests, this one might actually examine something other than what it seems. Perhaps it is really a test to see if you can get inside the other guy's decision loop. It doesn't matter as long as there is some proven corrolation with real world performance.

So, armed with that insight, see how you do!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lycoming Certification for MoGas. But Alcohol??

Read the note below carefully.. it says nothing about alcohol content. The gasohol we are getting now is not what they are talking about!

Lycoming Announces Plans To Certify Engines On Mogas

Recognizing global concerns about the immediate and long-term availability of aviation grade 100LL, on Monday Lycoming Engines announced an unleaded automotive gasoline approval program for its standard compression ratio O-360 and IO-360 product lines.

Unleaded 93 AKI automotive gasoline conforming to either Euro Norm EN228 or ASTM D4814 will be the basis of this Lycoming specified fuel. Supplemental requirements within the scope of the existing standards will be stated as necessary for safe operation in aviation applications.
Approval is expected by Fall 2008. Lycoming stresses the program will be an engine approval only; aircraft certification approval must be obtained separately to permit operation with this fuel.

Lycoming piston engines power more than half of the world's general aviation fleet -- both rotary-wing and fixed-wing.

The Northrop Aviation Flying Tank of 1967

Ha! I love it. The Northrop concept for a flying tank, circa 1967. It warms my heart. Has it been re-invented for an online game? See http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/Convair49CatalogPage.htm

Monday, June 2, 2008

Zenith 601XL and Competitive Poison

If you are interested in the Zenith 601XL aircraft as I am, (I fly one!) then you probably know about a discussion group maintained on a list server called matronics. (There is a 601XL group on Yahoo Groups, but it never got up to takeoff speed).

Over the last few months, there have been some strange postings on the board amounting to Chicken Little flapping around claiming the sky is falling. They claim that the wings are folding on 601 aircraft in mid flight for no good reason.

This struck me as being quite strange. There have been no "near" accidents. No reports of cracks or loose support elements found during inspections. Also, the Chicken Littles were quite shrill.

It seems increasingly clear that much of the noise is coming from competitors in the Sport Aircraft industry who want to poison and then harvest the Zenith sales.

The slide of the dollar against other currencies is going to make many of the sport aircraft in the market much more expensive. Hopefully, they... and the Chicken Littles.. will dry up and blow away.

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida Really Pisses Me Off!

One of my two senators, Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, sent me an email telling me how proud he was of his OpEd piece in a Tallahasse paper titled "Drilling Off Florida Isn't the Answer."

In this rambling editorial, some staff writer (probably a 21 year old intern) invokes ever patriotic image from the "Protected beaches of Florida" to the "preserved wilds of Alaska."

What this kid doesn't know is that the CHINESE have permits to drill 50 miles off the "protected beaches" of Key West and that the whole damn Anwar Refuge is about the size of LAX airport.

In the meanwhile, trucking companies are going out of business and the idiots in Congress are debating "Cap and Trade" issues that will significantly raise the cost of EVERYTHING.

WHEN will they understand that they really don't have a cure for anything? Our "democratic' (small d) form of government has been hijacked. I like Bill Nelson as a person, but he is off on the wrong path.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

USAF Leadership Just Doesn't Get Social Networking

The actions taken within the Air Force concerning use of social networking on the Internet have been the source of humor and disdain in the popular press. Basically, as shown HERE HERE and HERE, the Air Force is seen as having its head up and firmly locked while the Army and (even) the Navy are leveraging the new Internet tools effectively. The Air Force road to ruin seems to have started with a Power Point presentation (shown here) by a bright young major at Warner Robbins who, according to follow up articles, didn't do much fact checking. Even the USAF OSI got into the act, showing a frightning (for the OSI) lack of understanding of IP addressing.

As a retired Air Force officer, I'll be one of the first to say that my service is looking pretty silly in its response to social networking.

Such inappropriate response is nothing new. When the first MME (Military Message Exchange) semi-erperimental systems were being rolled out, the outrage and fear over "Skip-Channel communications" was loud and clear.

In one of my (free) online courses on the use of the Internet, I point out that the best use of social networking by an organization is to build "fans and friends". Gee, the Air Force could use some of those right now.

I postulate that the Air Force culture is feeling put-upon by many factors including real scandals, such as the "lost nukes" and the Strategic Management Solutions procurement, and non-scandals such as the tanker decision. The "close the doors and board up the windows" attitude is the first and unfortunate response of a bureaucracy under stress. It smells like there are a couple of weenies roasting in bad places on the E-ring.

Usually, the civilian SecAF side is savvy enough to kick the Air Staff out of this kind of funk. The Air Staff seems to have pulled the "security" blanket over their heads and is sitting in the corner sucking their thumbs over social networking. Good for the Grunt in kicking USAF butt on this one! Frank Derfler www.greatguybooks.com -- Discussing All the Guy Toys that aren't (clearly) illegal or (blatantly) immoral at http://mostlyflying.blogspot.com Pilots: See me at www.flyinflorida.com Guys: See www.greatguybooks.com