FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 15, 2017

On January 15, 2009, at 1525L, ‘Catus 1549’ departs runway 04 at KLGA.  The pilot-in-command was Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, and the co-pilot was First Officer Jeffrey B. Skiles.  The US Airways Airbus A320-214, N106US, departed La Guardia on runway 04.   If you’ve flown out of KLGA, you know you need to make a slight right turn to 055 degrees and then commence a wide climbing left turn.  Less than two minutes after takeoff at an altitude of 2818 FT MSL and 4.5 NNW of KLGA they struck a flock of Canada geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airport, 90 seconds later they glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.  The incident came to be known as the “Miracle on the Hudson“, and a National Transportation Safety Board member described it as “the most successful ditching in aviation history. The pilots and flight attendants received the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators for a “heroic and unique aviation achievement.”  “Sully” Sullenberger is ‘73 graduate of the USAFA, a former F-4 Phantom pilot, a glider pilot and today is an international speaker on airline safety.
His focus remains the development of new protocols for airline safety.  N106US is now on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.



January 15 is known as Wikipedia Day to Wikipedians. On this date in the year 2001, the wiki-based Wikipedia project went public after spending five days on Nupedia.   Wikipedia Day has been celebrated, both online and offline, for several years. In 2011 there was a big worldwide celebration of Wikipedia 10, and this tradition continued with diverse local meetups and wiki-events for Wikipedia Day on Sunday 15 January 2012.  Wikipedia turns 16  today!



13 October 1942–15 January 1943: During a 95-day period Guadalcanal campaign in the early days of World War II, Captain Joe Foss, United States Marine Corps, shot down 26 enemy aircraft. He was the first American ace of World War II to match the World War I record of Captain Edward V. Rickenbacker.  Admiral William F. Halsey, U.S. Navy, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross to Captain Foss for heroism and extraordinary achievement for having shot down seven enemy airplanes (six fighters and a bomber) from 13 October to 30 October 1942.  Captain Foss had extraordinary gunnery skills and frequently shot down more than one enemy aircraft per mission. His combat victories included nineteen Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighters, a Nakajima A6M2-N “Rufe” (a float plane variant of the Zero), three Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” medium bombers, two Mistsubishi F1M2 “Pete” reconnaissance float planes and an Aichi E13A “Jake” reconnaissance float plane.  During the his three month period, Captain Foss had to make three engine out landings as a result of damage sustained by his Wildcat from enemy aircraft, and was himself shot down near the island of Malaita. He was rescued by local fishermen.  Joe Foss was stricken by malaria and was sent to Australia for treatment. In April 1943 he was returned to the United States and assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps at Washington, D.C.  On May 18, 1943, Foss received the Medal of Honor from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The White House ceremony was featured in Life magazine, with the reluctant Captain Foss appearing on the magazine’s cover.  He then was asked to participate in a war bond tour that stretched into 1944.  Foss served two elected terms as a Republican representative in the South Dakota legislature and, beginning in 1955, at age 39, as the state’s youngest governor.  During his tenure as governor, he accompanied Tom Brokaw, then a high school student and Governor of South Dakota American LegionBoys State, to New York City for a joint appearance on “Two for the Money”, a television game show, which featured Foss because of his wartime celebrity.  Later he became the first Commissioner of the newly created American Football League in 1959. He oversaw the emergence of the league as the genesis of modern professional football. During the next seven years, Foss helped expand the league and made lucrative television deals, including a five-year, $10.6 million contract with ABC in 1960 to broadcast AFL games. He then stepped aside as commissioner in 1966, two months before the historic agreement that led to the merger of AFL and NFL and the creation of the Super Bowl.  Starting in 1988, Foss was elected to two consecutive one-year terms as president of the National Rifle Association.


I’m currently down in Ventura, CA working on my ’31 Chevy, but took the day off yesterday to venture north to the Hearst Castle.
I had driven by it many times, but never took the tour.  It’s well worth it.  It was designed by architect Julia Morgan, between 1919 and 1947, as a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1954 it became a California State Park. The site was opened to visitors in 1958.  Since that time it has been operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours.  Hearst was a rather strange dude, but invited the Hollywood and political elite often visited, usually flying into the estate’s airfield or taking a private Hearst-owned train car from Los Angeles. Among Hearst’s guests were Charlie ChaplinCary Grant, the Marx BrothersCharles LindberghGreta GarboJoan CrawfordClark GableJames StewartBob HopeCalvin CoolidgeFranklin RooseveltDolores del Río, and Winston Churchill. While guests were expected to attend the formal dinners each evening, they were normally left to their own dwellings during the day while Hearst directed his business affairs. Since “the Ranch” had so many facilities, guests were rarely at a loss for things to do. The estate’s theater usually screened films from Hearst’s own movie studio, Cosmopolitan ProductionsHe was an avid art collector and bought almost all of his via auction catalogs.  As a result the “ranch” featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres (0.5 km of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools (the Neptune Pool is right), tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world’s largest private zoo. Zebras and other exotic animals still roam the grounds. Morgan, an accomplished civil engineer, devised a gravity-based water delivery system that transports water from artesian wells on the slopes of Pine Mountain, a 3,500-foot (1,100 m) high peak 7 miles (11 km) east of Hearst Castle, to a reservoir on Rocky Butte, a 2,000-foot (610 m) knoll less than a mile southeast from Hearst Castle.  It’s also a fantastic art museum and features 28,000 pieces of art displayed but that’s roughly 15% of what he purchased for the house.  It remains as it did when Hearst left the estate his last time just prior to his death, so you can see many portions that are not finished.


Today is National Strawberry Ice Cream Day! Did you know that ice cream evolved from ancient flavored ices? As early as 3000 BC, people in China served their guests sweet juices mixed with ice or snow.  Dolley Madison served strawberry ice cream at President Madison’s second Inaugural Ball in 1813? Treat yourself to a delicious bowl (or two) to celebrate National Strawberry Ice Cream Day!