Tag Archives: drones

ALTERNATIVES TO COMMERCIAL AIR TRAVEL

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The latest bad news from the airport is that the TSA folks have now been caught doing, what we all know they have been doing for some time, and that of course, is stealing computers, watches, wallets etc., from the passengers. I have frequently challenged the TSA reps regarding the security of my very important personal items and was invariably was rudely told “not to worry about it.” It is very clear that the opportunity for theft in the chaos at the checkpoint is extremely high, yet there are no firm procedures to prevent this theft.

The first and best solution to this problem, if you don’t already own your own airplane, is the wide-open world of on-demand jet charter. Drive your vehicle directly to the airport, out onto the tarmac, watch the ramp personnel load your bags in the aircraft baggage compartment, enter the aircraft, and be airborne 10 minutes later, while sipping some Dom Perignom champagne and nibbling on lobster tail. There is of course a small caveat that comes with being a jet- setter: It will be many thousands of dollars to go on a relatively short flight. If you fill the airplane up with traveling passengers the cost is still more than a first-class ticket, but in most instances the convenience will justify it.

If you can’t afford the jet, it is possible to charter a smaller propeller driven airplane at perhaps less than half the tariff of the jet. Needless to say there are downsides: It will likely be noisier and you’ll fly lower and slower which usually results in more turbulence; you will be flying with less experienced pilots, thus diminishing the safety factor. The aircraft maintenance is likely to be poorer than airline standards and the pilots are more likely to be fatigued. The rate of fatal accidents in on-demand small airplane charter is extremely high, but, it is infinitely safer than battling the 18-wheel “semis” on the interstate.

Now we will take this transportation equation to a much higher level. There are numerous aviation entrepreneurial people who are designing automobiles that fly, or if you prefer, airplanes that can be driven down the road. Furthermore, the ICON amphibious air machine is getting very close to production (http://www.iconaircraft.com/). This fun little bird allows you to tie it up at your dock, take off down the lake, and land on nearly any hard surface runway, other than the major hub airports, as well as a lake. Of equal importance is the fact that it can burn standard auto gas (nearly half the price of avgas) at an extraordinarily low rate of 4 gallons an hour while you cross the terra firma at 110 miles an hour.

At this year’s EAA Air Adventure extravaganza at Oshkosh, Wisconsin the Terrrafugia was a highlight. It was not just a static display, it actually flew. This aptly named transportation device appears to be the real deal. This roadable airplane is gaining some traction (http://www.terrafugia.com/) The Switchblade (http://goo.gl/HNh6cJ0) is another air/highway machine-in-the-making that has some viability. Two years ago I flew the above-mentioned ICON simulator at the Oshkosh Air Show and became infatuated with the ICON; an amphibious flying critter, it is getting close to production. If you live on the water it is the ultimate “boy-toy.” The Flintstones/Jetson family’s flying car is now out of the realm of fantasy. One can also consider getting from A to B with their jetpack. Hooray for creative, entrepreneurial engineers—and their financiers. Roadable airplanes will soon be as ubiquitous as drones.

This blog is prepared by Allen Morris, aka Ace Abbott, a retired commercial pilot, and aviation author; The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com) and Dead Tired (http://www.deadtiredpilots.com/). The “Ace Abbott Aviation Affair” talk show is available at http://webtalkradio.net/

THE DRONE DRAMA INTENSIFIES

href=”https://therogueaviator.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/airlan7271.jpg”>A PILOTLESS AIRPLANE

The drones shall soon dominate life on planet Earth. Disregard the concern about extraterrestrial aliens taking over. The man-made sci-fi device, commonly referred to as a drone, but more accurately described as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will be playing a bigger role in our lives at a rapidly expanding pace. Currently a front-and-center news media issue, that is already fraught with controversy, the issue of drone usage and the resulting consequences will potentially create very seriously heated debate on an issue that is a classic example of the “double-edged sword.”
Just recently, the pilots of an Alitalia Airlines commercial aircraft on approach at JFK International Airport in New York reported seeing a drone. The description of the drone was consistent with that of the very popular drone device called a quad copter. These quad copter critters can be purchased and used by anyone. They are designed to be a toy, but they are already proving to be a menace. It will certainly be a menace to more than commercial aircraft as their potential for wreaking havoc has no limits.
These high-tech toys are often equipped with a small, but technologically advanced camera that can provide illegal surveillance, particularly by men who are afflicted with the voyeur syndrome. For those folks that enjoy nude sunbathing, too many of them will discover that they are the stars in a highly provocative YouTube video that reveals, pimples, scars, and sagging tissue, along with very private nooks and crannies, and perhaps tattoos that were not meant to be shown to the general public. Considering man’s natural inclination to lust after women with youthful attractive bodies we may see numerous midair collisions of these snooping quad copters. And this just represents one small arena of the potential abuse of unregulated civilian drones.
On the bright side, drones can be used for certain rescue missions, a variety of functions that will assist farmers, the oversight of pipelines and electrical wires, the transport of needed supplies or medicine to a remote location, monitoring of traffic flow, and most importantly, the rescue of little kittens who are trapped high up in their trees. Law enforcement will be greatly enabled with drone use and we can hopefully eliminate the high speed and frequently counterproductive high-speed car chase. Drones are already being used very effectively to monitor the Mexican-American border to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs. As drone technology continues to improve we will find an endless variety of functions for these remote-controlled UAVs.
The use of military drones has been in effect for more than 20 years and now dominates the United States warfare activity in the Middle East. Unfortunately, it is extremely controversial, and justifiably so. Several international organizations have published figures that indicate far more innocent people are being killed by drone strikes, primarily with Hellfire missiles, than the US government would like to admit. The concept of “collateral damage” is a very sticky wicket. Although the US military-might remains dominant there are now nearly 50 countries that have drone technology and perhaps as many as 10, including Iran, that have operational drones that can be used for military purposes. The UAV technology is relatively simple and the proliferation of drones operated by nongovernment agencies as well as military organizations has opened a Pandora’s Box. We have just seen the tip of the iceberg. A US predator drone operated by Homeland security was recently hacked by a University of Texas college professor. Iran has captured an American Predator drone. Its computers were most assuredly hacked as it landed in Iranian territory without being damaged.
A discussion of the intended use of UAVs as commercial passenger-carrying aircraft is too lengthy to be covered in this blog. An interview with author and web talk radio host Ace Abbott will provide the listener with some interesting insights and information on this topic. To access this interview go to: http://webtalkradio.net/ and select Ace Abbott’s Aviation Affair.
This blog is prepared by retired commercial pilot and aviation author, Allen Morris, aka Ace Abbott (pen name). His books can be accessed at http://www.therogueaviator.com

THE DREADED DRONE DEMISE

If you are a queen bee it’s great to have a drone hanging around. When that big mama bee needs a little male companionship she simply summons her drone. However, if you live anywhere near northern Pakistan, drones are dreaded and draconian. After NBC’S  Michael  Isikoff’s very important investigative journalism relating to the US governments drone program, the newsrooms are a beehive of activity as the buzz relating to the drone dilemma intensifies. The political ramifications are numerous and complex; unfortunately, the biggest complications relates to a concept initially coined by the CIA, and referred to as “blowback.” Chalmers Johnson has written an entire book that elaborates on blowback and its potential very harmful effect on the well-being of the United States of America and its citizens as hordes of angry people suffer from the consequences of drone attacks

But then, here at home, we also have to learn to deal with the drone. The always precarious fourth amendment rights are now out on the edge of a slippery slope as the likelihood of camera equipped drones will soon be creating a vision in the sky that might be compared to Alfred Hitchcock’s scene from his movie The Birds. As drones rapidly accelerate to the ubiquitous state, and high-tech cameras can be easily attached to a drone we can forget about the concept of privacy. Those who sunbathe in the nude might have every nook and cranny, wrinkle and scar, available for the whole world to see. Monaco, Nice, LeTouque and all of the any many other nude beaches on the French Riviera will have to face the reality that their tan lines and all of the sagging body tissues will be viewed by everyone who has a computer.

The ramifications of our law enforcement folks utilizing camera-carrying-drones will cure many of us from going over to the tree to take a pee. Many community coffers will be filled by men who have to pay a misdemeanor fine for their public indecent exposure. That could be just the tip of the iceberg. The fellas who wrote Brave New World and 1984 were very prescient. Fasten your seatbelt and hang on tight; this new world of drones is already conceptualized to wrangle its way into commercial aviation. There will be no more miraculous, heroic pilot-saves such as Denzel Washington exhibited in his movie Flight.

This blog is prepared by Allen Morris/a.k.a. Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator: In the Back Alleys of Aviation (www.therogueaviator.com) and Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue Aviation’s Insidious Killer; www.deadtiredpilots.com

THE FIGHTER PILOT PERSONA

“THE AVERAGE NAVY PILOT, DESPITE THE SOMETIMES SWAGGERING EXTERIOR, IS VERY MUCH CAPABLE OF SUCH FEELINGS AS LOVE, AFFECTION, INTIMACY AND CARING. THESE FEELINGS JUST DON’T INVOLVE ANYONE ELSE.”
This anonymous quote (probably from an ex-wife) was printed in the Wall Street Journal and all of us who remember the glory days of being a fighter pilot will recall the Navy’s “Tailhook Conventions.” These gatherings of fun-loving pilots took the meaning of decadence and debauchery to a higher level. How we yearn for the “good old days.” I would like to point out , as I did in my book, The Rogue Aviator, that I have great respect for any pilot that can land his air-machine on an aircraft carrier.
The swaggering fighter pilot is nearly extinct but for those folks who are not appalled by tough guys who fight from their airplanes, please read on.
Written by Brigadier General Greg Stroud, USAFR-Retired — a former Anchor-Clanker Navy Jet Pilot who minces no words.  He tells it like it has become with the present day Air Force that is headed by Politically Correct Whoosies.

By BGEN Greg Stroud (Ret)

 

 

 

Some of you know that I was recently “retired” as the 162 Fighter Wing Commander.
The decision was made by Brig Gen Mike Colangelo, the Arizona Air Commander, who replaced me because he “just wants to change the culture at the 162nd” — not for cause or performance or any other reason.
This officer never commanded anything bigger than an Air Control Squadron, and somehow he wound up in charge.  Heck, the guy probably got beat up in grade school everyday.
I think it is indicative of what is happening in our Air Force and reinforces what Bruce MacLennan and the anonymous author have to say below.
Well, I also have something to say about our changing Air Force and it’s quickly disappearing Fighter Pilot culture.
How many scope-dope drone operators does it take to change a lightbulb?
Two. One to change the bulb — and one to kiss my ass.
That’s right. I said kiss my ass — ‘Cause I’ve had it.
The air superiority fighter and its PILOT are not dead and the Chinese are so far not impressed with drones.
I am tired of Fighter Pilots suffering at the hands of all the pencil pushing REMFs and ladder-climbing opportunists and shitty non-rated managers (who think they are leaders) just because the Air Force is currently more interested in feelings and sexual orientation than fighting.
Not all officers have what it takes to lead warriors, yet too many of them are in charge in our military.  At this rate we may lose the next real war.
These shit-bird officers need to be run out of leadership positions and get out of my face already.  We have too many people in our military that feel the need to play political victim and go to court instead of just dealing with it themselves. No one can have any kind of fun anymore.
Men and women can’t flirt, hug, look at anyone sideways, or drink beer out of mermaid mug because of you ‘victims’ and your lawyers.
Are you happy?
And while I’m at it, Fighter Pilots, who are willing to die so that we can have low prices at the gas pump and shop at the mall, should be able to throw the wildest parties they can manage without one uptight biddy coming in and stopping it.
There were scads of women at The ’91 Tailhook party who were having the time of their lives, voluntarily being just as debauched as any of the men were.  Everyone who flew a plane, or even knew someone who flew a plane, knew how wild those parties were and what went on.
What does our society expect — a prayer service?
It’s worse now than it was then.
‘Victims’ need to just throw some punches of their own whenever guys, gals, lesbos, or homos get out of line.  Doesn’t our tax money go to teach all of our military how to fight?
I’m not trying to make the idiotic ‘she had it coming’ argument here, which would go something like ‘of course they grabbed her breasts, look how big they are.’  Plus, just reaching out and grabbing some boob is wrong no matter what.
When I was at Tailhook, even at our most drunken admin parties we never acted like that.
No matter how hard I try I can’t think of an excuse good enough to do something like that. But it’s still nothing to lose a career over or get your panties in a wad.
Besides, fighter pilots are supposed to be aggressive assholes. That’s how we used to train them.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a military of fighter pilots who are gifted at giving sensitivity seminars.  I want mad-dog, rabid killers going to battle for me and mine. Man or woman.
When our homeland is threatened by Middle-Eastern Muslim radicals, or when we want to force our form of government on some poor, unsuspecting poppy growing shit hole, or when uppity North Korean despots develop nuke weapons, I want to be able to call on men and women who like to fight and drink.
I want an officer who knows how to whack some drunk in the balls when he grabs her tits, not call a press conference and a lawyer.  If you’re a wimp who doesn’t know how to find the exit at a rowdy party, go fly a kite — not a jet fighter.
Fighter Pilot should always be capitalized because it is a hard-earned title. So there!
Perhaps it’s time for me to retire. Greg “Mongo” Stroud
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of  The Rogue Aviator   (www.therogueaviator.com)

“First Rule of Liberalism: Government failure always justifies more government.”