FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 14th through 18th 2017

Friends of FOD

If you recall an event you believe the group might be interested in, drop me a comment and I’ll research it and add it to the blog.

I accomplished some good work on the ’31 Chevy last week: picked up the newly powder coated frame (it’s a grey color), installed 4 bar rear suspension, resealed differential, serviced it with gear oil, installed front and rear shocks, removed transmission from engine, serviced and installed torque converter, installed flywheel, reinstalled transmission and engine and installed on frame, installed gas tank, installed all fuel lines and brake lines, bled brake system, installed drive shaft, began installation of engine electrical harness, filled transmission with fluid, filled engine with oil, installed alternator and air conditioner compression belts, visited the body at the body guy’s shop (it’s coming along), sent the new hood out for primer coating and of course spent a bunch of money on other parts I’ll need in the near future.  It’s beginning to look like a car, well at least a completed chassis.





Russia Launches Operation Zapad in Belarus On Anniversary of Soviet Invasion of Poland

Russia and Belarus launched Operation Zapad, an ongoing joint strategic military exercise of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and Belarus (the Union State) that began on 14 September 2017, conducted in Belarus as well as in Russia‘s Kaliningrad Oblast and Russia′s other north-western areas. According to the information made public by the Defense Ministry of Belarus prior to the exercise, fewer than 13,000 personnel of the Union State are to take part in the military maneuvers, a number that does not trigger mandatory formal notification and invitation of observers under the OSCE‘s Vienna Document.  Western analysts, however, believed in July 2017 that the total number of Russian troops, security personnel and civilian officials to be involved in the broader war-games will range from 60,000 to 100,000, which would make them Russia’s largest since the Cold War.  Since 2016, concerns have been voiced in a number of NATO countries over Russia’s suspected ulterior motives and objectives in connection with the exercise.  And on 17 September 2017, the mobilization for combat portion of the exercise will begin and will for the first time include participation by units of the Baltic Fleet.  Generally speaking it will be an opportunity for Russia and Belarus to practice a major exercise in rapidly mobilizing and deploying a combined force close to its Western frontier.  And this sword rattling will have the US and our allies in the region watching closely how and in what strengths Russia is able to move its troops.  Poland, who shares a border with Belarus, is particularly concerned with observing what the Russians will do in particular.  They have reason to be concerned as September 17, 1939 marks the anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland.  You’ll recall the German invasion of Poland began on September 1, 1939.  On September 3, 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany, but failed to provide any meaningful support for Polish army outnumbered, and vastly inferior to the German invading forces.  German began to pressure the Soviets to invade Poland from the east, but Stalin waited several days.  Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German ambassador to Moscow Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg exchanged a series of diplomatic messages on the matter but the Soviets nevertheless delayed their invasion of eastern Poland. The Soviets were distracted by crucial events relating to their ongoing border disputes with Japan.

They needed time to mobilize the Red Army and they saw a diplomatic advantage in waiting until Poland had disintegrated before making their move.  The undeclared war between the Soviet Union and the Empire of Japan at the Battles of Khalkhin Gol (Nomonhan) in the Far East ended with the MolotovTojo agreement between the USSR and Japan which was signed on 15 September 1939, with a ceasefire taking effect on 16 September 1939.  (Why yes that’s the same Molotov as the Molotov cocktail).  On 17 September 1939, Molotov delivered the following declaration of war to Wacław Grzybowski, the Polish Ambassador in Moscow: On that morning, 16 days after Germany invaded Poland from the west, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. The Red Army entered the eastern regions of Poland with seven field armies, containing between 450,000 and 1,000,000 troops.  The invasion and the battle lasted for the following 20 days and ended on 6 October 1939 with the two-way division and annexation of the entire territory of the Second Polish Republic by both Germany and the Soviet Union.  The photo above shows the German and Russian commanders shaking hands after the defeat of Poland.  The joint German-Soviet invasion of Poland was secretly agreed to in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, signed on 23 August 1939.  The Red Army, which vastly outnumbered the Polish defenders, achieved its targets by using strategic and tactical deception. Some 230,000 Polish prisoners of war were captured.  The campaign of mass persecution in the newly acquired areas began immediately. In November 1939 the Soviet government ostensibly annexed the entire Polish territory under its control. Some 13.5 million Polish citizens who fell under the military occupation were made into new Soviet subjects following mock elections conducted by the NKVD secret police in the atmosphere of terror, the results of which were used to legitimize the use of force. The Soviet campaign of ethnic cleansing began with the wave of arrests and summary executions of officers, policemen and priests.  Over the next year and a half, the Soviet NKVD sent hundreds of thousands of people from eastern Poland to Siberia and other remote parts of the Soviet Union in four major waves of deportation between 1939 and 1941.  Soviet forces occupied eastern Poland until the summer of 1941, when they were driven out by the invading German army in the course of Operation Barbarossa. The timing I don’t believe is coincidence.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day September 14th through 18th 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 23rd through 27th 2017

Friends of FOD

OK I got busy and haven’t published in more than a few days.  What can I say?  Maybe I’m suffering from Solar Eclipse Overload Syndrome.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the many folks who have lost their homes and personal possessions as a result of Hurricane Harvey.


US Navy 7th  Fleet Relieved

Following a collision between the Seventh Fleet destroyer USS John S. McCain with the merchant ship Alnic MC in the the Strait of Malacca in the South China Sea, which left 10 navy sailors missing and five sailors injured on August 21, 2017, off the coast of Singapore it was confirmed the commander of the United States Seventh Fleet has been relieved of command.  Vice Admiral Joseph P. Aucoin (below right) was relieved of his command on 23 August 2017 due to “loss of confidence in his ability to command.”  He was just weeks away from retirement.  The Wall Street Journal first reported the planned move Tuesday.  RADM  Phillip G. Sawyer has now assumed command of Seventh Fleet.  While I was a bit glib in earlier editions of FOD regarding the need for a band, etc. it is unfortunate to see the careers of fine officers ended in such a manner.  That being said, the Navy reposes special trust and responsibility for the safety and well-being of the ship and those who sail within her and thus commanding officers are held to the highest standards of accountability.  The U.S. Navy announced on 24 August 2017 that it would be suspending search-and-rescue efforts to focus on recovery efforts of the missing sailors.  Divers have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors missing.   The Navy previously identified eight crew members who were missing as Charles Nathan Findley, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Jacob Daniel Drake, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., Corey George Ingram, John Henry Hoagland III and Logan Stephen Palmer.  The bodies of Kenneth Aaron Smith and Dustin Louis Doyon were previously recovered.  There has been at least a rumor out there McCain may have suffered a steering causality or a loss of steering control shortly before the accident, but that doesn’t add much to the discussion at this point.  My experience aboard aircraft carriers was that after-steering (the manual backup steering control room) and all other steering backup systems were always fully manned during a transit of the Strait of Malacca.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day August 23rd through 27th 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 7 through 9, 2017

‘Summer of Comey’ Underway

I watched the public portion of the James Comey’s hearing today.  I didn’t hear any great new information that had not been released ahead of time or that would rise to the level of obstruction of justice.  While it appears so far President Trump likely acted inappropriately, it would seem unlikely any legal effort could be put forth that would attempt to prove he acted illegally, since obstruction of justice requires proving intent.  And since presidents are not charged in a court of law, but rather in Congress through the impeachment process, the question will likely rage on as a political one, rather than a legal one.  Likely it fits into the Trump pattern of actions as political naiveté.  We had a president who we knew perjured himself before a grand jury under oath and he wasn’t found guilty.  The questioning itself was somewhat interesting in that both political parties attempted to add their spin to the proceedings by shaping their questions so as to support their political interests.  Secondarily it will be important to see what republican capital the President has remaining in Congress.  That will play out over the summer and as the Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, investigation into Russia’s involvement during the US elections gets down to business.  Also significant was that Comey said without a doubt Russia attempted to interfere with the last presidential elections and they would do it again and again.  Their goal is to degrade American’s trust in our institutions at any turn and to degrade America’s influence abroad.  Well that’s not new, just their methods.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day June 7 through 9, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 21 through 23, 2017

4 Yawkey Way Begins Hosting Baseball

After a two day rain delay, a new baseball stadium opens.  The date was 1912.   4 Yawkey Way is famous as the address of Fenway Park, the Red Sox’s home stadium, and is closely identified with the park and the team. It is the oldest ballpark in MLB.  Because of its age and constrained space its renovations and expansions have resulted in a quirky features including The Triangle, The Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, and of course the Lone Red Seat. The Lone Red Seat in the right field bleachers (Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21) signifies the longest home run ever hit at Fenway. The home run, hit by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946, was officially measured at 502 feet.  Of course there has to be a Yankee controversy involved here in that Babe Ruth hit one in the pre-1934 bleacher configuration which landed five rows from the top in right field. This would have placed it at an estimated 545 feet (166 m) from home plate.  There is a move afoot to make Fenway a Boston Landmark which will regulate further changes to the park.  The first game was played April 20, 1912, with mayor John F. Fitzgerald throwing out the first pitch and Boston defeating the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees the next year), 7-6 in 11 innings. Newspaper coverage of the opening was overshadowed by continuing coverage of the Titanic sinking a few days earlier, and was covered by FOD a few days ago as well.  Since the Red Sox’ 1967 “Impossible Dream” season, attendance has been outstanding.  On Wednesday, June 17, 2009, the park celebrated its 500th consecutive Red Sox sellout. The sellout streak ended on April 11, 2013; in all the Red Sox sold out 794 regular season games and an additional 26 postseason games during this streak.  Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” has been played at Fenway Park since at least 1997, and in the middle of the eighth inning at every game since 2002.   If you’re a baseball fan, it needs to be on you short list of baseball venues to visit.


Weeghman Park Opens For Baseball

Four years after Fenway Park opens, the Cubs open their new stadium called Weeghman Park on April 20, 1916 and coincidentally beat their opponent the Cincinnati Reds by the same 7-6 score and in 11 innings.  In late 1915, Weeghman’s Federal League folded. The resourceful Weeghman formed a syndicate including the chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley Jr. to buy the Chicago Cubs from Charles P. Taft for about $500,000.  Weeghman immediately moved the Cubs from the dilapidated West Side Grounds to his two-year-old Weeghmam Park.  In 1918, Wrigley acquired the controlling interest in the club.  In November 1926, he renamed the park “Wrigley Field” located on the city’s North Side.  The ballpark is famous for its outfield walls which are covered by ivy.  The distances from home plate to various points in the outfield have remained essentially unchanged since the bleachers were remodeled during the 1937 season. They were originally marked by wooden numbers cut from plywood, painted white, and placed in gaps where the ivy was not allowed to grow. Since the early 1980s, the numbers have been painted directly on the bricks, in yellow. Although the power-alley dimensions are relatively cozy, the foul lines are currently the deepest in the major leagues. The flat rooftops of the apartment buildings across Waveland and Sheffield, which pre-date the ballpark, were often populated with a reasonable number of fans having cookouts while enjoying the game for free. The Cubs tolerated it quietly until the 1990s, when some owners of those apartments began building little bleacher sections, and charging people to watch the games.  This led to meetings and to a peaceful settlement among the various parties. The building owners agreed to share a portion of their proceeds with the Cubs.   Some of the rooftops became legendary in their own right. The Lakeview Baseball Club, which sits across Sheffield Avenue (right-field) from the stadium displayed a sign that read, “Eamus Catuli!” (roughly Latin for “Let’s Go Cubs!”—catuli translating to “whelps“, the nearest Latin equivalent), flanked by a counter indicating the Cubs’ long legacy of futility. The counter was labeled “AC”, for “Anno Catulorum”, or “In the Year of the Cubs”. The first two digits indicated the number of years since the Cubs’ last division championship as of the end of the previous season (2016), the next two digits indicated the number of years since the Cubs won the National League Pennant (2016), and the last three digits indicated the number of years since their last World Series win (2016).  This is another destination to put on your list.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day April 21 through 23, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 20 December 2016

The blog continues to “develop,” and it’s a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers yet on just how the process works, but I’m working on it.  I hope you’ll be able to:

1 View it

2 Read it

3 Be able to leave a comment – if not today, in the near future.

4 Be able to subscribe to it.

5 Eventually I hope to be able to facilitate greater contributions and                interactions among readers, a long way of saying I’m still trying                  to figure it all out.

Tomorrow is the winter of hibernal solstice.  It’s the beginning of winter.  It’s the shortest day of the year with Seattle only seeing 8hr and 26min of daylight.  And it’s only 56 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training!

Over the weekend, Roger went skiing at Mission Ridge  It’s a great little ski area with a nice high speed quad.  On a stormy and foggy night in September 30, 1944, a Walla Walla Army Air Force Base B-24 Liberator was off course and in the darkness and weather crashed in to Mission Ridge just 500 feet below the crest.  There were no survivors.

A section of the wing is mounted at the top of what’s now called “Bomber Bowl” just off the Liberator chair lift. There’s small plaque to commemorate the event and honor those who were serving their country.

This Controlled Flight Into Terrain CFIT) event occurred long before we had the technology to prevent this type of accident.

Let’s move forward to this date in 1995.  American Airlines Flight 965 leaves KMIA enroute to Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport in Cali, Columbia.  The flight departed roughly two hours late due to a winter storm in the northeast and seasonal congestion of air traffic at KMIA.  Approaching Cali, the winds were calm and the controller asked AA-965 if they wanted to straight in to RWY 19 rather than coming around to RWY 01.  The crew in an effort to make up for some of their lost time accepted the new arrival and deleted the arrival to RWY 01 from the FMS  Cali had no functional radar to monitor the flight as it had been blown up by a terror group in 1992.  The controller cleared AA-965 for the approach and requested a check in over a waypoint that had been erased from the FMS LEGS page.  By the time they relocated and entered the point into the FMS, they had passed the point.  The crew then consulted their paper chart for the next waypoint on the approach profile, Rozo.  They were high on the new approach profile.  The pilot flying (PF) retarded the throttles and extended the speed brakes to begin their descent to RWY 19.   The Rozo NDB was identified as R on their charts.  The crew, now pressed for time, selected the first R from their database.  Columbia had duplicated the identifier for the Rozo NDB and the Romeo NDB near Bogatá and using their convention had listed the identifier near the largest city first.  Only by selecting the full name of Rozo would the crew have been able to identify this waypoint.  By selecting and executing R as the active waypoint, the autopilot initiated a turn east and a path toward Bogotá in a wide semicircle.  By the time the error was detected, the aircraft had descended into a box canyon roughly parallel to the one they should have been in.  Twelve seconds prior to impact the Ground Proximity Warning System activated with its associated warning.  Within one second the PF, the FO, disengaged the autopilot and advanced the throttles full forward.  However neither crew member retracted the speedbrakes located on the left side of the throttle levers and a bit harder to retard from the right seat.  There is no auto-speedbrake retract on the B-757 nor is there an EICAS message generated.  AA-965 impacted a 9800 foot mountain named El Diluvio (The Deluge) at the 8900 foot level.  Because neither the Boeing ECab nor the CDU/FMS simulator could be backdriven with the data obtained from the flight data recorder (FDR), it was never determined with precision whether AA-965 would have cleared the ridge if the speedbrakes had been retracted.   The NTSB report offered that had the crew retracted the speedbrakes one second after initiating the escape maneuver they could have been climbing through a position 150 feet above the impact point. As a new pup working Air Line Pilot Association issues, I was a member of the ARAC that recommended adaption of the Enhanced GPWS  ALPA was also asked by the Allied Pilots Association (American Airlines pilots union) to assist in the accident investigation.  Again as that young pup I was assigned to the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) Group.  It was my first commercial airline accident investigation.  I’ll just say this: No matter what position you hold as a pilot or crewmember or safety advocate, never, never, ever support any change that would allow the release of the CVR audio.  The effect of the adoption of GPWS and EGPWS rules and equipment is a success story in that there has not been a single passenger fatality in a CFIT crash of a large jet in US airspace since this equipment has been mandated.

20 December 1968: After 199 flights, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration cancelled the X-15 Hypersonic Research Program.

AFFTC History Office

A 200th X-15 flight had been scheduled, but after several delays, the decision was made to end the program. (The last actual flight attempt was 12 December 1968, but snow at several of the dry lakes used as emergency landing areas resulted in the flight being cancelled.)

If you have a reasonable singing voice, or if you bring libations for me in particular and you, you’re welcome to stand outside my place and observe National Go Caroling Day.  Speaking of caroling, there is a very funny parody of It’s a Wonderful Life and It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year out there.  Check it out. .  Thanks Norm for the heads up on this.

Today is also Mudd Day when we remember Dr. Samuel Mudd (it’s his birthday)  who provided medical assistance to John Wilkes Booth after Booth had assassinated President Abraham Lincoln on the evening of Good Friday, April 14, 1864.  Dr. Mudd was known to Booth, having met him when Booth was hatching a plan to kidnap Lincoln and exchange him for Confederate POWs.  Booth and conspirator David Herold rode to Mudd’s [ctct]home in the early morning of April 15, 1864, where Booth received treatment for the broken leg he suffered while jumping to the stage at Ford’s Theatre. He was convicted as a conspirator in the Lincoln murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.  He served as the prison doctor during a yellow fever outbreak at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas  about 70 miles west of Key West.  He was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.  On your next visit to Key West, I recommend a trip to the Dry Tortugas.  It’s a good trip and will allow you to prepare for your next Duval Crawl in Key West.

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