self with corona Travels and Images

WEEK 10 2003

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Lancaster Weather

Saturday 7 8 March 2003

Saturday - I went yard saling with some friends. It was a beautiful morning, and although the pickings were rather slim it was still fun. We then had lunch at the Thai Cafe. We also celebrated their daughter's birthday - boy do they grow up fast!

In the afternoon I went down to the mall and checked on my glasses - still not done properly. I sent them back again, with an admonition that I'll want my money back next time. Three months is long enough to wait I think.

Not much else done in the late afternoon. I had intended to get some yard work in, but a nap took precedence...

Alas, another dead computer is now gracing my kitchen table - my friends sons PC no longer boots. I mean, nothing. It's probably a dud power supply, as the fan doesn't even come on. An easy fix, if nothing else got fried.

Friday 6 7 March 2003

Friday - it was another nice day, rather hazy. In the evening, coming home, there was almost what appeared to be smog in the skies. When I went to college, way back when, in Pomona, the smog would be so thick as to obscure the neighboring town of Diamond Bar, or of the Angeles mountains. This is nothing like that - no eyes burning, no throat catching stuff.  Mildly colorful would be the best description.

I have managed to rebuild and get rid of another couples of PC's. Yay! My house is beginning to resemble a home again, rather than "Ed's Old Elephant and PC Graveyard". Elephants (their tusks anyway) would at least be worth something....

Thursday 5 6 March 2003

Thursday - another nice day. Too bad it's not like this ALL the time. Go Global Warming!!!

The grid generator is acting up again. Sigh. Anything acts up that I haven't written myself (and most of that too, if I'm honest).

The car finally rolled over 250,000 miles, officially, on the way home from work today. It reality, due to some glitches, it's probably a bit more, but hey, close enough:

odometer displaying exactly 250,000
Here it is, the big tamale, and still running strong!

probe on side of road at 250,000
Somewhere in the east Antelope Valley....

Wednesday 4 5 March 2003

Wednesday - warm and sunny. No wind. You could see the reflections of the snow capped San Gabriels in the water on the lake bed. I'd take a picture but (a) the road shoulders are muddy and (b) the base police are a little touchy about people taking pictures right now...

Yesterday was sunny, but cold and windy.

An online comic strip, called Day by Day.  Amusing...

The car rolled over 249,900 miles today, just as I pulled into the parking at work. At 70 miles/day it should roll over 250,000 on Friday, on my way to work.

odometer at 249900
It's a BIG picture, because a certain un-named person (Tim) expressed doubts about the last photo....

Tuesday 3 4 March 2003

Tuesday - my friend Tim, who commutes fairly often through the east Antelope Valley had seen the POTW airplane cockpit before. Not visible behind the buildings in that particular picture are more aircraft cabin bits, and what looks to be some sort of armature to build them on - it looks like a hamster cage for some really big hamsters!

One of the cats is wandering around meowing in a puzzled sort of way. Apparently it's that time of year for the female cats, and even though fixed he is aware that something is going on - something that should be involving him. The other cat, a year older, is calm and relaxed.

In the news a Concorde has lost a bit of its rudder. It's not the first time for a Concorde to do this. It's probably flutter of some time - epennage flutter can be tough to handle. I seem to recall that on one particular aircraft you can't repaint the flaps without removing all the old paint first - otherwise it will flutter, due to the added half pound or so of weight. It's odd that they are just continuing to fly the aircraft without fixing it though.

Monday 2 3 March  2003

Monday -  sat through a Pilots Briefing for the AAW flights. My bit is with the group supporting supersonic flutter clearance, where we see if the vehicle will flutter at supersonic speeds, at various altitudes in the flight envelope. It shouldn't - we - the "dynamics guys" analyzed it first, and gave ourselves a nice margin, but our mission at Dryden is "To separate the real from the imagined."  Also the "loads guys" will be looking at strain gages and such, making sure that the new and slightly more flexible wings aren't being overstressed.

Pilot briefings are interesting. Lots of people show up, the flight director gives a bit of talk on what we are trying to do, and what is supposed to happen, who the various people in the control room staff will be, who gets to talk to the pilot, and any flight safety items - and then the pilots goes through the flight cards.

A flight card is basically a list of what is going to happen, in order, during the flight. It is numbered and dated, and each item on it is numbered, so that everyone is - literally - on the same page.

So, starting with a generic,

"Engine Start: 0900"
"Comm Check: Tower: 0910"
"Comm Check, Control Room, 0915"

 you go all the way to take-off and altitude. and so on.

At some point there will be something like
"RFCS arm" (Research Flight Control System, separate from the standard F18 FCS)
"OBES on" ( On Board Excitation System )

and at some point, maybe

"Stick Raps"
"Left roll, 1/4 stick"
or something of the sort.

and so  on. Basically the pilot reads through the cards, and there may be dozens of pages with several items on each page, and says what he things he'll be doing. People listen, and comment if they aren't sure what he's doing, or if he seems to need some info on what and why he's doing a particular item, or if maybe an item is of particular interest, or not too important. And he'll try to spell out for the audience, not all of whom are pilots, what and why and how he might be doing some bit of the flight.

eventually the cards go all the way to

"Engine Stop"

There are alternate pages, and appendixes so that if a certain test point can't be done, another might take it's place, so that an expensive flight and the complicated flight support and flight staffing isn't wasted.

No secrets any of this stuff, but interesting to watch and be a part of, even in a small way. Lots of professionals, doing their job.

Sunday 1 2 March 2003

Sunday - was warm and sunny. Go figure. It rained Thursday night. Things were pretty slow around here. I had some chores to do, cleaning and wash, and finished those. Played with the cats a bit, though they were more interested in laying about in the sun - and honestly, I sat in the same sun for a while and it was nice.
cat in sun and basket
A basket full of sunshine...

Too nice to stay indoors. So I decided to go out - it's been a few years since I was out at El Mirage Dry Lake Park, so I headed that way in the truck. It's a small dry lake compared to Rogers and Rosamond dry lakes out at Edwards, but it's big enough that in the summer, when it really is dry, racers come out and do speed runs and such. There is a government presence, packs of Park Rangers roaming about in great big SUV's to suppress freedom control the crowds and such. For example, you must wear a helmet, the nanny state says so. In fact, except for the speed limit, the rules are now much the same as driving on a freeway. Seatbelts, headlights, and so on.

On the other hand, my considered opinion is that my fellow americans are mostly a pack of rude dangerous morons when they get behind the wheel...

Today, since there was water on the lake bed, it was off limits. Letting the rain water slosh around, back and forth with the wind, allows the lake bed to be releveled  each year.  But there were a lot of dirt bikers and 4-wheelers types messing around in the low hills about the lake verge, a lot more than I remember from ten years ago...

When I got back I felt that a nice movie was in order. But, as calls to friends went unanswered, I had to go by myself. I went to see Daredevil, and it wasn't bad. A little lame - Daredevil gets religion and doesn't kill all the bad guys, leaving them to kill again, but fun nonetheless. But the movie was kinematically and dynamically incorrect. He jumps off a building, falls headfirst for stories, then swings grabs a cable, does a flip, and lands on his feet. Now, if you could grab a cable at that speed, it would either tear out of your hand breaking your fingers ( ouch, been there, done that... ) or pull your arms out of their sockets. But, suppose it didn't. Where does your momentum go? If you do a threesixty loop you should head back up in the air nearly as far as you fell ( allowing for some losses due to air friction and such ), and come down again and go splat!

Heh. The spell checker wants to change kinematically to cinematically. No, no, cinematically it's just fine.....

Picture of the Week
airliner cockpit sitting in desert junkyard  

Photo Notes: Some people just have the coolest junk in their yards! I was driving about in the eastern part of the Antelope Valley, out near El Mirage, and what do I see in this guys yard? An Airliner Cockpit! How cool is that? I wonder if he'd sell it??? If I had a tree, it would make a great treehouse. Hmmm, a trailer? Add wheels and a diesel and you'd have a heck of a custom motorhome...

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