An Idea So Idiotic It Could Possibly Work

Air Force scrapped top secret ‘bat bomb’ project in Carlsbad 70 years ago

I’d heard about this project before and as stupid as it was it sounds like it could have actually worked against the highly flammable homes the Japanese lived in.  Of course carpet bombing with B-29’s worked pretty good too.  I can’t understand why Hollywood hasn’t made this into a movie starring Bill Murry by now.  I mean, they turned bats into tiny suicide bombers!  The movie would almost write itself.

Ferry Flight Pic Of The Day

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It was a dark and stormy night.  No kidding, the little X’s are lightning strikes and the little airplane symbol was us.  Stu and I were over the Mediterranean coming into Cannes France late one night in a Cirrus when our storm scope lit up like a Christmas tree.  Needless to say the approach and landing were “interesting.”

Flying To Work

Last week we found a crack in a rib on the tail of the Grand Caravan we lease to fly jumpers at Skydive Twin Cities.  The crack was significant enough that the plane was flown from Wisconsin to Atlanta to get fixed.  That left us with no jump ship for the week.  But wait, my Cessna 206 N207J “Juliet” was back in operation and ready to go!  As I mentioned in the last post my mechanic and I had spent a long time getting Juliet back in the air and one of the things we did was put on 6 new cylinders.  Whenever you put new cylinders on an engine they need to be broken in by flying at high power settings while keeping to cylinder head temperatures cool for about 15 hours.  Now I can meet these parameters while flying skydivers by keeping my airspeed high on the climb to altitude to keep the engine cool and leaving some power in on the descent but the best way to break in new cylinders is cross country flying.  So it was with great sadness and inconvenience that I was forced to fly back and forth to work every day last week.  It was a real hardship having to drive 5 minutes  to the airport each morning and climb into my airplane for my commute to work.  You can’t possibly imagine the drudgery of flying 500 feet over the Wisconsin countryside seeing deer, turkeys, Bald Eagles, and rolling hills pass beneath your wings during the agonizingly long 15 minute flight.  It is to weep.

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Boring.

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Seeing firemen set a grass fire isn’t interesting at all.

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Ever Koda looks bored on the way home after a long day of begging for treats from the skydivers.

She Is Risen

When I first opened Skydive Twin Cities I got the meat bombs skydivers up to altitude in 2 Cessna 182’s, 2 Cessna 206’s, and a 1952 De Havilland Beaver.  Running 5 planes at once was a big job and keeping enough pilots trained was a nightmare.  In our second year a hungover pilot aborted a takeoff and ran one of the 182’s off the end of the runway and onto a road, no one was hurt but the plane’s nose wheel was folded under and the prop, engine and firewall suffered damage.  With that incident in mind and being tired of the 5 plane hassle the next year I started leasing a Twin Otter as my main jump ship.  I still used the small Cessna’s and the Beaver for loads too small for the Twin Otter but over the years my fleet shrank down to just the two 206 Stationairs.

With the Twin Otter taking the bulk of the work I only needed one of the planes operational at a time, so I parked one in a hanger with the intention of getting it flying the next year.  That next year was five years ago.  When my mechanic and I finally dug the poor neglected 206 out of the back of the hanger it was a sorry sight, covered in a thick layer of dust, the tires a little flat and the interior filled with junk because I’d been using it as storage for all kinds of crap.  When we did a compression check we found that two of the cylinders had fairly low compression and needed to be changed and I figured that as long as I was replacing one third of the cylinders I might as well replace them all and call it a top overhaul.

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The whole project took about two months but last week I was finally able to get my beloved Juliet (from the N number on the tail N207J) back in the air.

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And seeing that that the cylinders need to be broken in I have no other choice but to fly to work all week.

Super Tomcat

TOP GUN Day Special: The Super Tomcat That Was Never Built

I’ve always been a big fan of the Tomcat and it was sad to see it go, but I understood why they did it.  At least I thought I understood.  It turns out there is/was a super Tomcat version that could have been pretty bad ass!  Check out this article for the story.  SUPER TOMCAT

On Writing

Last week my wife and I had dinner with my parents to celebrate my birthday, number 52 if you must know, and my dad gave me a copy of Stephen King’s book “On Writing.”   I’ve been a Stephen King fan since 1980 when I picked up a dog-eared copy of “The Stand” someone left in the rec room at Ft. Rucker Alabama during Crew Chief school so I was looking forward to seeing what the master had to say about practicing his craft.  The book starts out as and autobiography, which is fascinating, but then goes on to the nuts and bolts of how he creates the twisted worlds found in the thousands of book he’s written. (seems like that many anyway)  Some of his tips and techniques I knew, like you need to read a lot as well as write a lot.  When I sit down to write I like to spend at lest a few minutes reading whatever novel I happen to have on hand just to get my mind into the write mode. (get it?)  OK,OK, sorry, won’t happen again.  Anyway, his next tip was to not start editing your first draft right away.  King puts his first draft away for at least six weeks before digging it out and chopping it up.  That might sound like a long time but when I dug out my novel I’ve been working on for the last three years I did find that it wasn’t as hard to cut words or entire paragraphs that didn’t work because I forgot how hard I’d worked on them in the first place, you’ve got to be willing to kill your baby’s.  But the tip that hit home the most is that you need a good place to write.  Someplace quite and free from distractions.  For me that place is not at home, and that is because of the damn internet.  I have no will power when it comes to the web.  “I’ll just check if I have any new emails, might be something important, any messages on Facebook? Any big news happening in the world? New videos posted?  “Oh crap! look at the time! I’ve wasted the whole day!”  I don’t even want to think of the thousands of hours I’ve wasted in front of this damn computer.  But I have a solution, a place to hide from the interweb, my hunting cabin.  It’s the perfect place to write.  It’s only fifteen minutes from my house so I can get there quickly and once there there’s nothing to do except work on the cabin, (meh) go for a walk in the woods, (not much fun without a gun) and write.  I’ve found that when I sit down at the cabin my output triples, OK 3 times not much is still not much but it’s something.  With that in mind the forecast for today is low clouds and rain so with a day off from flying and jumping out of airplanes I’m off to the cabin.  Wish me luck

Back In The Saddle

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The big ball of fire finally made an appearance in Wisconsin and I somehow managed to fly the Super Grand Caravan up to 14,000 feet and back 30 times without breaking it.  It’s always a challenge to get back into the groove of flying skydivers in a plane that can make the round trip from takeoff to landing in 13 minutes or less.  Fly 30 seconds to far down wind and it will take you 2 minutes longer to get back to the spot the jumpers want to exit the plane.  2 minutes doesn’t sound like much but when you are paying $15.00 a minute and flying up to 32 loads a day it adds up.  Still beats having a real job though.

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