FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 01 through 04, 2018

Happy New Year

In 45 B.C. New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1 st  for the first time as the Julian calendar takes effect.  Roman dictator, Julius Caesar designed a new calendar based upon solar year developed by the Egyptians and calculated the solar year to be 365 ¼ days and decreed a day be added every four years in February so as to keep the calendar from falling out of step.  However their calculations were a bit off as Caesar the his astronomer Sosigenes failed to calculate the correct value of the solar year as 365.242199 days and not 365.25 days.  Likely they used the wrong app for that.  The 11-minute/year error added seven days by the year 1000 and 10 more days by the mid-15th century.  In 1570, Pope Gregory XIII omitted 10 days in 1582, institutionalized leap year, and thus implementing the Gregorian calendar.  And they didn’t have the US Naval Observatory to give them a good time hack.  And work on your assigned New Year’s resolution of forwarding FOD to two new people and ask them to subscribe.

 

Boeing and Embraer Talks Continue

Reuters is reporting talks between Boeing Co and Embraer SA are continuing but  that key questions, specifically, who will control the Brazilian plane manufacturer remain unsettled or at least not reported.  That generally means the Brazilian government has not yet approved what such a combined corporate structure might look like.  Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico had reported that the talks have focused on joint ventures and joint business agreements to share costs and revenue or develop new products without changing control of Embraer.  Such an arrangement could ease approval from the Brazilian government, which holds a ‘golden share’ giving it veto rights over strategic decisions at Embraer and has expressed reservations about a foreign company taking control. However, a joint venture may not be an effective way to combine engineering resources, explore new business opportunities and satisfy Boeing’s interest in Embraer’s portfolio of regional passenger jets, defense programs and business aircraft, said one of the sources, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of talks.  Boeing has worked around concerns in foreign markets before, structuring defense subsidiaries in Australia and Britain to satisfy sovereignty demands, and those cases may serve as a reference in Brazil, the sources said.  The talks are widely seen as a way for Boeing to strengthen its position in the regional jetliner market, in which Embraer is strong, thanks largely to its 70- to 130-seat E-Jets.  Less than three months ago, Boeing’s European arch-rival Airbus SE agreed to buy a majority stake in Bombardier Inc’s 100- to 130-seat C-Series jet, putting pressure on the U.S. planemaker to seek a similar partnership.  The Boeing-Embraer talks involve Embraer’s defense business, as well as its passenger business, sources have said.  In the Tuesday report, Valor said Boeing was confident it could convince Brazil’s government that it could safely operate in Brazil’s defense sector, partially by pointing to defense deals the U.S. planemaker has made in countries such as Australia.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 01 through 04, 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!  OK I’m a few days late.  In 45 B.C. New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1st for the first time as the Julian calendar takes effect.  Roman dictator, Julius Caesar designed a new calendar based upon solar year developed by the Egyptians and calculated the solar year to be 365 ¼ days and decreed a day be added every four years in February so as to keep the calendar from falling out of step.  However their calculations were a bit off as Caesar the his astronomer Sosigenes failed to calculate the correct value of the solar year as 365.242199 days and not 365.25 days.  Likely they used the wrong app for that.  The 11-minute/year error added seven days by the year 1000 and 10 more days by the mid-15th century.  In 1570, Pope Gregory XIII omitted 10 days in 1582, institutionalized leap year, and thus implementing the Gregorian calendar.

 

The 115th Congress was sworn in today.  It is the fervent hope of all Americans that Congress will not just be, but do.  And that doesn’t include gutting an ethics committee for Congressmen!  Do the Nation’s work, be respectful of all opinions and ideas, and compromise for the good of the nation.  It would be a nice change don’t you think?

 

From a consumer’s perspective we had some good news in 2016:                             Gas prices stayed low, although a slight increase is being seen in January as OPEC and other oil producing countries are declaring they will cut production in January.

Airfares went down.  That is the basic ticket costs decreased, but those fees for checked bags went up.  And did you see where United announced a Basic Economy fare.  You don’t get your seat assignment until you get to the airport and you can’t use the overhead bins.

Home prices rose significantly according to a new report from Zillow.  Home prices rose an average of 5.7% last year.

To go along with higher home prices, home loan rates were at historically low rates.

 

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which ends slavery in the rebelling states.  He had waited several months for a decisive Union victory in the field before signing the proclamation which freed all slaves in states that were still in rebellion.  The Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, afforded him that opportunity.  The measure is certainly one of the most important acts in American history, as it meant slavery would end when those areas were recaptured.  And it demonstrated an important shift in the goal of the Civil War from just reunification to include the eradication of slavery.  For Lincoln it was also a very shrewd political move.  It effectively scuttled all attempts by the Confederate states to secure recognition by foreign governments, particularly Great Britain.  When reunification was the sole goal, the Confederate states could be viewed as freedom fighters being held against their will, but now with the defense of slavery seen as the primary Southern cause, foreign aid to a slave nation would prove to be impossible.

 

On January 3, 1944, Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, USMC, Commanding Officer of VMF-214  led 48 fighters on an attack against the Japanese naval base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain.  He flew in an F4U-1 Corsair, BuNo 17883.  During aerial dogfights that day, he shot down four enemy aircraft, bringing his total to 26 confirmed kills and tied WWI ace  Eddie Rickenbacker‘s record .  He was then shot down by enemy aircraft and/or ground fire.  Wounded by bullets and shrapnel and with his Corsair on fire, he parachuted out at approximately 100 feet above the ocean.  He was taken prisoner by Japanese submarine a few hours later and was held as a POW for the next 20 months under the harshest of conditions.  He was believed to have been killed, as his capture and POW status were never reported to the Red Cross, and was “posthumously” awarded the Medal of Honor.  As a POW he was interned at Ōmori Prison Camp with former Olympic distance runner and downed aviator  lieutenant Louis Zamperini.  He was released shortly after the surrender of Japan received his Medal of Honor as well as a Navy Cross from President Truman.  Later he completed his autobiography, Baa Baa Black Sheep. Pappy was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, moved to the logging town of St. Maries, ID before his family moved to Tacoma, WA.  He graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and for a time worked at Boeing as an engineer. Eventually, he found his way into flight school at Pensacola, FL as a USMC pilot, but resigned his commission in August of 1941 to accept a position with the  Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO). They later became known as the American Volunteer Group (AVG), the famed Flying Tigers in Burma.  In 1942 he broke his contract with the AVG, returned to the US on his own and rejoined the USMC, where he was commissioned as a Major.  He acquired the callsign Pappy because at age 31 he a decade older than most of the Marines serving under him.

 

On January 3, 1920, the secret deal made on December 26th to sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for $125,000 (twice the amount every paid previously for any player) was announced publicly.  Harry Frazee, the owner of the Red Sox needed the money to produce a Broadway show and in particular needed the $300,000 loan from the Yankees as part of the deal.

 

And tomorrow, January 4, 1957 is the date Walter O’Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, ordered a Convair 440 Metropolitan, serial number 406, for $770,000.  In doing so, those Brooklyn Bums become the first major league baseball team to own their own airplane.  The Dodgers’ pilot was Harry R. “Bump” Holman.  They took delivery of the aircraft in April, 1957, in time for the 1957 season.