Views on life, from wherever I may be when writing it. Postings have been made from the high mountains of New Mexico, to Santa Barbara, Bamako Mali and Boise ID. Also first named "Still Life with Woodpeckers"
Both that and the Blog title are references to two well known books. This blog contains my views on anything I feel like, and ongoing adventures in life.
Since I first started this, I am not longer in NM unfortunately, but have been in Santa Barbara, Fargo, Mali, and now Boise.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Doolittle's Raiders - 65 years ago
On April 17, 1942, 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers took off from the USS Hornet, a day and a hundreds of miles early, due to having been detected by a fishing boat.
That left them with enough fuel to reach the targets, but not enough to reach the bases. None were actually shot down, but all planes were lost , including 1 kept by the Soviets.
3 died in the mission, 4 more killed by the Japanese in captivity.
They have having their 65th reunion right now in San Antonio, 7 of them are still able to make it, a few others were not. The youngest of those still alive is 85 years old, and the oldest is 95.
In spite of the lack of actual damage caused, its value was boosting the morale of a nation still reeling from Pearl Harbor, and showing these Japanese they were not insulated from attack, causing them to bring more fighters home that could have been used elsewhere in the Pacific theatre of war.
In a few years, all the goblets will be inverted, no more yearly reunions will happen, the survivors cognac toasts will be in the past. But they will not be forgotten.
So I am in a middle eastern country for a couple of weeks now, this countries initials are Kilo Sierra Alpha, I am in the capitol city.
I am in a nice housing compound, even with two armored personnel carriers that guard the entrance. Also there are concrete barriers on the road in, so a vehicle could not just go really fast. There are a series of tight turns leading in here, then a large metal gate.
But in the compound, there are pools, a small store, restaurant, and exercise gym. The house i am in is nice, even has internet, although slow at that. Its certainly more livable than Mali was, even much more than India, at least in the compound. Its not too wise here for a westerner to just go wandering around alone though, while in India and Mali there were no problems with that.
I did not bring my camera here, so there probably wont be any photos. Large parts of the airport are photography prohibited, especially the military part. I did see an F-15, Tornado, and a 707 derivative refueling tanker. It was not exactly a KC-135, although quite similar.
I should be done around mid month, then back to Idaho. I want to take a vacation soon, maybe to Iceland or eastern Europe.
This project here in Idaho will be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, then its on to my summer. The company that wants to hire me to fly smokejumper airplanes, did get the additional contract they wanted with BLM/USFS, so they just need to get another plane apparently.
I like being part of a team, working together on towards a common goal. Thats why I find aerial firefighting work really interesting. Weather mod flying is fun and something I like better than airline flying though, and I would like to be back on this Idaho project for the winter. But for this summer, dropping firefighters in mountainous terrain, sounds like the challenge I would enjoy.
I may end in the middle east, flying for a week or two. Luckily not much longer than that.
Here I am, with the airtanker I flew in 2004. It was a ex USAAF/USN/USMC C-54E, and was apparently Adm Nimitz personal transport during WW2 in the Pacific theatre. Unfortunately, I do not think the plane has moved since we parked it after the USFS cancelled most of the airtanker contracts thats spring.
Funny stuff, you sometimes just cant make it up. While a turban is not exactly wildland approved protective equipment (PPE), just imagine one of these guys out there, wearing some turban, probably made of natural fibers, and impregnated with a lot of hair oils, on the wildand fire lines.
Can you say Tiki torch?
I knew you could.
I have spent time on the fire lines, as a wildland firefighter, airtanker copilot and air attack pilot, maybe this summer will be spent as a smokejumper pilot, its getting more possible!
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's Islamic clerics should volunteer as surf lifesavers and firemen to improve their image in a country which has "had enough of us," an influential Muslim leader suggested Wednesday.
The president of Australia's largest Islamic organisation, the Lebanese Muslim Association, made the call in a 16-page report to be considered by the nation's clerics at a meeting this weekend.
Tom Zreika suggests Muslims have become as unpopular as communists once were and accuses some clerics of inciting hatred and violence "on the preposterous justification that they are simply acting in self-defence in a time of war."
"We are not at war," says Zreika, who confirmed to AFP that details of his report published in The Australian newspaper Wednesday were accurate.
"We have become the new communism, particularly in the West, and some people in our community are so repulsed by our actions it is making life unbearable for us and our offspring," Zreika says.
Australia's top Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj Aldin al-Hilali, created a storm of protest late last year when he described scantily-dressed women as "uncovered meat" inviting rape.
Faced with calls to get out of the country, the Egyptian-born cleric mocked the convict ancestry of many white Australians and said Muslims had more right to the country.
In a nation where beach culture is strong and public service volunteers are hailed as heroes, Zreika said firefighting and lifesaving could help Australia's 300,000 Muslims improve their image.
"It would be great to see a turbaned imam fighting fires alongside other bushfire service volunteers," Zreika, a lawyer, says in his submission to the Australian National Imams Council.
Seeking challenging, fast-paced thought leadership position in major Western industrial phallocracy. I have experience in a number of positions, including chapters 1-6 of the Kama Sutra, and an established record of speaking angry truth to theocratic power through edgy PostModern Riot Grrrrl punk feminism, which I am happy to disavow at your request.
2/13/2007 - Present: Blogger, Pandagon.net. Created hard-hitting apology retractions, planned revenge strategies, investigated reich wing organization charts, indexed enemies database, achieved fetal positions, consumed several quarts of Blue Bell ice cream to dull psychic pain.
2/01/2007-2/13/2007: Blog Master, Edwards For President, Raleigh NC. Managed campaign website for top Democratic presidential candidate. Crafted strategic economic and military position papers, spearheaded outreach programs to progressive online community, led cross-functional archive-erasing teams, coordinated crisis management program, achieved follow-through on apology plan, renegotiated labor contracts, spell-checked resignation letter, successfully avoided pregnancy. Reason for leaving: international theocratic christofascist conspiracy.
5/16/2004-2/01/2007: Blogger, Pandagon.net. Founder and lead writer for progressive website read daily by thousands in the Reality-Based community who totally got what I was really trying to say and didn't take it out of context and twist it like Faux News or some patriarchal fucking ur-patriarch godbag tool of the patriarchy. Created unique edgy mix of angry satire, sarcasm, and actual opinions that many praise for their transgressive indistinguishability. Twice named "Website of the Year" by BusHitler T-Shirt Industry News.
10/12/2002-2/01/2004: Waitperson, TGIFridays, Austin TX. Two time Employee of the Week. Warned patrons of appetizer health hazards, organized nearly successful 2004 staff coup to overthrow capitalist hegemony of night shift assistant manager Todd Heinrich. Reason for leaving: start blog, spend more time with cats.
9/06/1998-5/11/1999: Teaching Assistant, Department of English, St. Edwards University. Graded papers for Dr. Gerhart for two undergraduate sections of E206, Post-fetal Gender Fascism: Toward a Post-Colonial Theory of the Easy Bake Oven. Successfully identified over two dozen cases of dangling participles, misplaced apostrophes, and false consciousness.
5/31/1995-8/16/1995: Cashier, Tastee Freeze, Alpine TX. Earned over $1500 toward college by serving life-shortening transfats to gap toothed inbreds in Jeebusland. Kept floors free of white sticky stuff.
2/08/2007-2/12/2007: Miss Emily's Finishing School For Cultured Young Ladies, Raleigh NC. Accelerated courses in diction, waltz, table etiquette, apologetics, not saying fuck every two syllables. Earned full scholarship from Edwards campaign. Left 8 hours short of graduation requirement.
Certificate, South Austin Holistic Veternary Center (2003). Major: Feminist Cat Therapy. Coursework included Primal Meow Therapy, Furball EST, Semiotics of Litterbox Droppings, Macroeconomics. Clinical practicum in Late-term Feline Reproductive Services. Thesis: "Our Pussies, Ourselves."
St. Edwards University, Austin TX (B.A., honors, 1999). Major: English. Upper division coursework included Feminist Theory (A); Feminist Physics (A); Principles of Feminist Accounting (B+). Strong classwork performance earned nickname of "Cum Laud." Senior Thesis: "The Imperialism of Gender (Casse)Roles: Toward a Deconstructive Feminist Hermuenetics of Postwar Betty Crocker Cookbooks"
Alpine High School, Alpine Texas (1995). Earned diploma despite being surrounded by repulsive hillbilly redneck Texas football godbags. YEEEE-HAWWW!!! Sweet lordy JEEEEZUSSSS we gunna win the big game aginst Permian cuz we been prayin to Robert Tilton to save all them poor lil' fetuses!! So we can turn 'em into Jeebus lovin' 'merkin killbots!! And lissin to some shit-kickin' Toby Keith!! And then we gunna drive by the alienated poetry club goth girl in our pickup trucks and make fun of her and never ask her to prom or realize that she has feelings and is dealing with father issues and can't wait to get out of this goddamn redneck shithole and move to Austin where some people actually appreciate non-conformity. YEEE HAWWW!!!
Alpine High Pepsterettes 1,2 President, Alpine High Sylvia Plath Club 3,4 St. Edwards Pink Punk Womyns Quilting Collective
100 wpm typing speed 500 wpm deleting speed Health excellent; allergic to children
Available on request. Please, don't Google for them.
These kinds of kooks can be found all over, but they seem to flourish on the left coast, especially bay area and pacific northwest coastal areas.
One of my friends in Denmark, wishes I was there for some of his debates because he knows I have seen a lot of the world, and that when I debate, I know what the hell I am talking about. As compared to most of these idiots, who know nothing of the world except what they were taught by some liberal arts professor, who has never had a job outside the university system.
These leftists, while thinking they know more than all the rest of us (while oblivious to the facts that socialism failed, and that jihadis actually do want to kill or enslave us), actually know very little.
As if you needed evidence but here it is. These oh so smart ones, do not realize that a cross is not used by everyone as a grave market, and they are using it symbolizing MUSLIM deaths. Do they really think Muslims use a cross then just put a moon on it?
February 17, 2007, 0350 curbside at 24th and M, Washington DC . 16 Degrees with a light breeze. Going home after my second week of freezing temps to my home in SoCal. Fly my aircraft, ride a horse, climb a mountain and get back to living. I'm tired of the cold.
0425 paying the taxi fare at Dulles in front of the United Airlines counter, still cold.
0450 engaging the self-serve ticker machine and it delivers my ticket, baggage tag and boarding pass. Hmmm, that Marine is all dressed up early.? Oh, maybe,,,Hmm, "Good Morning Captain, you're looking sharp."
Pass Security and to my gate for a quick decaf coffee and 5 hours sleep. A quick check of the flight status monitor and UA Flt 211 is on time, I'm up front, how bad can it be? Hmmm, that same Marine, he must be heading to Pendleton to see his lady at LAX for the long weekend all dressed up like that..? Or maybe not?
"Attention in the boarding area, we will begin boarding in 10 minutes, we have some additional duties to attend to this morning but we will have you out of here on time."
That Captain now has five others with him, BINGO, I get it, he is not visiting his lady, he's an official escort. How I remember doing that once, CACO duty. I still remember the names of the victim and family, The Bruno Family in Mojave., all of them, wow, that was 24 years ago. I wonder if we will ever know who and why?
On board, 0600: "Good morning folks this is the Captain. This morning we have been attending to some additional duties and I apologize for being 10 minutes late for pushback but believe me we will be early to LAX. This morning it is my sad pleasure to announce that 1st LT Jared Landaker USMC will be flying with us to his Big Bear home in Southern California . Jared lost his life over the sky's of Iraq earlier this month and today we have the honor of returning him home along with his Mother, Father, Brother and uncles. Please join me in making the journey comfortable for the Landaker family and their uniformed escort. Now sit back and enjoy our ride, we are not expecting any turbulence until we reach the Rocky Mountains and at that time we will do what we can to ensure a smooth ride. For those interested you can listen in to our progress on button 9."
Up button 9: "Good morning UA 211 you are cleared to taxi, takeoff and cleared to LAX as filed." From the time we started rolling we never stopped. 1st LT Landaker began receiving his due.
4 hours and 35 minutes later over Big Bear MT, the AB320 makes a left roll and steep bank and then one to the right. Nice touch CAPTAIN. Five minutes out from landing, the Captain, "Ladies and Gents after landing I'm leaving the fasten seatbelt sign on and I ask everyone in advance to yield to the Landaker family. Please remain seated until all members have departed the aircraft. Thank you for your patience, we are 20 minutes early."
On roll out, I notice red lights, emergency vehicles everywhere. We are being escorted directly to our gate, no waiting anywhere, not even a pause. Out the left window, a dozen Marines in full dress blues. Highway Patrol, Police, Fire crews all in full dress with lights on. A true class act by everyone, down to a person from coast to coast. Way to go United Airlines for doing the little things RIGHT, because they are the big things; Air Traffic Control for getting the message, to all law enforcement for your display of brotherhood.
When the family departed the aircraft everyone sat silent, then I heard a lady say, "God Bless You and your Family, Thank You." Then another, then another, then a somber round of applause. The Captain read a prepared note from Mrs. Landaker to the effect, "Thank you all for your patience and heartfelt concern for us and our son. We sincerely appreciate the sentiment. It is nice to have Jared home."
After departing the a/c I found myself along with 30 others from our flight looking for a window. Not a dry eye in the craft. All of us were balling like babies. It was one of the most emotional moments of my life. We all stood silent and watched as Jared was taken by his honor guard to an awaiting hearse. Then the motorcade slowly made it's way off the ramp...
I have finally seen the silent majority. It is deep within us all. Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Red, Purple, we are all children, parents, brothers, sisters, etc.we are an American family.
What you don't know is that on the flight I was tapped on the shoulder by Mrs. Landaker who introduced herself to me after I awoke.
Early in our taxi out from the gate at Dulles, the gent next to me (a Fairfax City Council Member and acquaintance of the Thuot family) were talking to the flight attendant and mentioned that we had sons serving on active duty, "What do you say? How tragic, they must be devastated." He said many of the passengers had told him the same thing so somewhere in the flight he shared his tidbits with Mrs. Landaker. Our flight attendant had been struggling with what to say, to find the right words, so he told the Landaker family of passengers who were parents of service members who connected with their grief as parents. After I gathered myself, I stepped back to their row, two behind me and introduced myself to Mr. Landaker (a Veteran of South East Asia as a Tanker) and Jared's uncle and brother. What a somber moment. Their Marine Captain escort was a first rate class act. He had been Jared's tactics instructor and volunteered for this assignment, as he said, "Sir, it is the least I could do, he was my friend and a great stick. He absolutely loved to fly, It's an honor to be here on his last flight."
1115: On my connecting flight, my mind raced. How lucky I was to have had an opportunity to fly my father to Spain and ride the carrier USS John F. Kennedy home in 1981. The same year Jared was born. How lucky I was to have my father on the crows landing when I made my final cat shot in an F-14. Jared's father never had that chance. Jared was at war, 10,000 miles away.
When Mr. Landaker and I were talking he shared with me, "When Jared was born he had no soft spot on his head and Dr's feared he would be developmentally challenged. He became a Physics Major with Honors, high school and college athlete, and graduated with distinction from naval aviation flight school! He was short in stature, but a Marine all the way." Visit his life story on line at www.bigbeargrizzly.net. Bring tissue.
February 7, 2007, Anbar Province , Iraq . 1st LT Jared Landaker United States Marine Corps, Hero, from Big Bear California, gave his live in service to his country. Fatally wounded when his CH-46 helicopter was shot down by enemy fire, Jared and his crew all perished. His life was the ultimate sacrifice of a grateful military family and nation. His death occurred at the same time as Anna Nicole Smith, a drug using person with a 7th grade education of no pedigree who dominated our news for two weeks while Jared became a number on CNN. And most unfortunately, Jared's death underscores a fact that we are a military at war, not a nation at war. Until we become a nation committed to winning the fight, and elect leaders with the spine to ask Americans to sacrifice in order to win, we shall remain committed to being a nation with a military at war, and nothing more. (And possibly no funding if congress has their way!)
1st LT Landaker, a man I came to know in the sky's over America on 17 February 2007, from me to you, aviator to aviator, I am unbelievably humbled. It was my high honor to share your last flight. God bless you Marine.
Not me, just the planes I fly. The forest fire airtanker I flew in 2004 is on the 2007 airtanker calender put out by Goleta Air and Space Museum. And not the chemtrail kooks got a Discovery Channel episode dedicated to them, and I see the exact plane I am flying on there.
Its fun to watch these stupid chemmie kooks, with their numerous conspiracies which actualy debunk each other. I have a link to a friends message board (F-16 pilot) where we make fun of those kooks. Its in the list of links to the right.
What is with these people? For many of these liberal arts professors, they have never had a real job or been outside of the university system since they were a freshmen. Every university seems to have its obligatory contingent of those who worship at the altar of socialism, who blame the US for the troubles in the world, and who cry when a jihadi dies.
Some excerpts of this lunacy :
"The American military and mercenary soldiers who “sacrificed” their lives did not do so for the teacher’s freedom to teach the truth about the so-called war on terror, or any of US history for that matter. They sacrificed their lives, limbs and sanity for money, some education and the thrills of the violence for which they are socially bred. Sacrificing for the “bling and booty” in Iraq or Afghanistan, Philippines, Grenada, Central America, Mexico, Somalia, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any of the other numerous wars and invasions spanning US history as an entity and beginning with their foundational practice of killing the Indians and stealing their land."
The excuses that they give for joining or intending to join the US military terrorist training camps are first and foremost motivated by a desire for money.
One student proudly said that he is willing to kill for money, a better standard of living and an education. Another student, who had done two tours of duty to the Empire in Iraq, justified killing and torture, citing the importance of staying on top as the world’s number one super power so that his family could have the highest standard of living and unlimited access to the world’s oil supplies."
I feel like I need to take a shower after reading that persons thoughts. Its just ironic that the reason this person has the freedom to express such detestable thoughts, is because of the US military. I am sure the countries that this person holds in higher esteem (probably Cuba, Iran, North Korea) would have dealt with such dissent rather quickly.
About a year and a half ago, I was living in my mountain house in Angel Fire, NM not far about the famous Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans memorial. There is an outfit there selling one of those snakeoil scams for "oxygenated" and "structured" water, which of course is impossible. The only kind of structured water is ice, and if you add extra oxygen by molecular bonds as they claim, you start ending up with Hydrogen Peroxide.
It was about a year and a half about I wrote about it on here first. Writing about it again should ensure it comes up in another google search. Interestingly enough, one day I had a phone number that was unfamiliar to me in my missed calls, so I looked it up and it was the owner of that company.
I do have a science degree with experience in water quality assessment and a fair amount of chemistry. Enough to know to throw up the BULLSHIT flag with these people. If someone finds this and I keep one bottle of that liquid stupidity from being sold, a few minutes of this is worth it. I hate seeing people being taken advantage of by people peddling junk science in order to make a buck
Well I found a company that is looking to hire a Smokejumper Captain on the Twin Otter for the summer fire season, and when I got ahold of the chief pilot, he was already made aware of me by someone I met in Reno. So that is a good thing.
I would expect to not then get this Boise winter project as mentioned earlier, however it goes along with my long term goals to be in the aerial side of wildland firefighting, and getting carded as Smokejumper Captain is a definite "feather in my cap" so to speak, and it a big accomplishment if it happens. I would rather do that, then go off to Africa again, although I sure liked the pay from Africa.
I am am hoping that I can get this position, even though it will mean less pay over the next year. But when applying to get on with Dyncorp for CDF, it would really be something that makes me stand out and is fire related.
Flew again last night, wasnt much happening, and little to no icing. It probably really takes about an inch of ice to start getting my attention.
Its not bad I admit, when I have not had to fly in a month. I do enjoy flying, but its also nice to have so much free time, especially compared to this summer when I worked every day, flying 1-2 times per day.
It was actually pretty crappy for cloud seeding, I could see that while I was driving to the airport at 4am, but hey, its not up to me to decide when to fly. So I did my flight, came back and slept. Looks like tomorrow I will fly again too!
Here is the plane with a bit of ice on the nose after a recent flight.
Well it is nice having options. My long term goals are to get back into flying airtankers, either for a contractor or CDF, or USFS pilot. I have a pretty sweet winter contract with Weather Modification here in Boise, that I would like to be on next winter.
So do I go do forest fire flying, either recon aircraft or possibly flying smoke jumpers and risk not having this winter contract? I think if I get an offer to fly smoke jumpers as captain of a jump plane, I would probably take it. Getting a carding as Smokejumper Captain is pretty good to have, and would still look good when applying for USFS or CDF (actually the CDF contractor). It looks like Wxmod will have lots of summer overseas work, which means that there will probably be an excess of pilots for the winter, and naturally the ones who are currently on would have priority.
I fly a King Air C-90 right now, well because it has been so dry, I have not flown a lot, so it is a paid vacation compared to Africa. If I do stay on with them, then I could choose whatever summer contract I want.
However, since apparently I have made substantial headway in getting on with CDF, I think it would be wise to try and fly on fires this summer, but we shall see.
Airtanker pilots association meeting and other misc!
Back from Reno, of course tired and hung over, so that means it was fun! Of course some more serious topics too, like how to fight to get family members of those who die flying forest fire aircraft the death benefits that public safety officers get. Just because USFS contracts out the tanker aircraft out, should not keep the benefits from being paid. These planes are federally contracted, flying planes under "Public Use", fighting fires often on federal lands and dispatched by federal agencies. Airtanker pilots can forget about getting life insurance, no one is going to cover that.
But the government does not want the families to get death benefits that federal employees would get while dying in the line of duty. These people are serving their country, and so many have given their lives. People like Connie Hirth, Christine Goff, Wanda Nagle and Karin Sears have lobbied hard, unfortunately success has not came yet.
However a small battle was recently won by Mrs Goff in court, but the Dept of Justice is appealing the decision. We shall see what may happen! But if you agree that government contracted pilots that die while fighting wildland fires, call the office of your representative or senator, and find out if they support Public Safety Officer Benefits for airtanker pilots who have died in the line of duty.
Also saw presentations from Evergreen, Omni air tanker, talked to people from many companies, and had a great time! These are friends I unfortunately only see once a year. And I hope I see Ron Thomas next year, in his life he has fought wildfires and is now fighting for his life. My thoughts are with him in this latest battle of his.
Okay, its now mid december. I am no longer in Africa, but in Boise Idaho, flying a King Air C-90 on a cloud seeding project. Boise is not too bad, sure beats Mali, except that I do not get quite the same paycheck.
But at least I have a life for a change. There was not much to do in Mali but fly, and I did that about
I also just bought a new house here. I may not be here a long time, but even if i have it just a year, I think I will still come out fine! Hopefully I can find some flight crew roommates, and also get a hot tub in there soon.
I can be tracked on flightaware.com if you put in the tail # 911FG. I usually just fly back and forth on specified tracks, always returning to Boise. And I do know a King Air C-90 will fly with lots of ice, just not very fast.
Excuse the line spacing, I typed it in word and pasted it.
The morning of 9/11 began like many other mornings that summer.I was living in Hondo, Texas, and working on a rainfall enhancement project with Weather Modification, inc, as a pilot on a Cessna 340.
Every morning, it was about the same routine for me.I would wake up, have some
breakfast, and go online to check my email and read online news, and also to have
television news channels on.I got online, and saw an news item regarding a plane
crashing into the WorldTradeCenter.At first, I thought it was probably a small civilian
type plane.Back in 1945, a B-25 had crashed into the Empire State Building, when
flying in the wrong direction in clouds and fog.
But soon, it was obvious this was more, something much more.I turned on the television
and saw the tragedy that was unfolding before my eyes, with a combination of grief, and anger.The initial reports suggested possibly 30,000 had died, and some were saying up
to eight planes were hijacked, and that there may have been a bomb explosion outside
of a building in NY.Luckily, these reports were not accurate.
At , it was time to go to the meterological trailer we had at the airport, that operations were conducted out of.We had satellite tv in there, and we all just watched
the news, without many words being spoken at all.Not much had to be said.Even
if suitable weather for cloud seeding operations had occurred, we would not have
been able to fly.All US civilian aviation was grounded until further notice.
Afterwards, I went back to my apartment, and continued to watch the news.One of
the world things is just a feeling of helplessness, over not being able to do anything at
all about what was going on.All I could do is just sit there, watching the television and
checking online news websites for the newest updates.
I did hear about a blood drive event in San Antonio, and I got my vehicle and drove to
San Antonio, to give blood.When I arrived, there were so many people who had
the same idea. Also, there were so many American flags on display too, and there was
donated food also.It just put a lump in my throat, and a bit teary eyed, that in this time
of tragedy and disaster at the hands of Islamic terrorists, that here were people coming
together, and Ol’ Glory was still proudly waving in the air, defiantly at that and in
Unfortunately, much of that donated blood did not end up being needed, since those
who were still in the WTC at the time of the collapse, died in it.
When I came home, I called my mom in Wichita Falls, discussing calamity of that day.
I know I do not call home enough, but on that day, it was just something that I had
For those of us of my generation, this is one of those life changing events like
what previous generations endured, such as the Pearl Harbor attack, or the
Kennedy Assassination, that serves as a pre and post frame of reference for events.
I find myself looking at time as pre 9/11 and post 9/11, in how I few that time in my
The summer of 2001 was a great summer for me, with aviation as a career being full
of promise, living near the Texas Hill Country, which is an area that I love.I was
doing plenty of dating, including a stewardess with Continental Airlines and just enjoying life.The main reason I had asked for this job, was that I was probably going to the
regional airlines afterwards, so this was my chance to have some fun and make
some better money, before going to the routine and boring life as an airline pilot.
But I was actually just enjoying life at this time.Early mornings were rare,
I was 30 minutes from San Antonio, and just having a blast.For one of the
first times in my life, I was really enjoying what I was doing and my life at
After 9/11 I was hoping to find a job in the San Antonio area after this project, so that I could continue living there.But unfortunately, the aviation sector was devastated, so that the only job I could find, was with an air ambulance company in a small New Mexico town.But, taking that job in NM exposed me to aerial forest fire operations, which is
what I want to do with my pilot career, with a stint in 2004 as a large airtanker pilot,
one of the most memorable events of my life.And of course, I have gotten to know
Chuck, the NM ANG F-16 pilot, whom I can count among my best friends.
What would my life have been like if 9/11 had not happened? Who knows, all I know is
In the meantime since my last post, a lot has happened.
1. Interviewed for and turned down a job with an air ambulance company in AZ, that uses King Air C90B aircraft. Pay would have been great, around 50-60k plus housing, but living on the "rez" is not easy. I was willing to take the job, until I realize pay was not as high as advertised unless I worked extra days, and then a silly non-compete clause too that would keep me from flying for any of their competitors for a period of 2 years after leaving there.
2. Stained the house and garage in Angel Fire.
3. Took a position as a "Captain" with Air Cargo Carriers, flying a Shorts 330 (Irish Concorde haha) on a route between Santa Barbara and Ontario California. I now have a type rating in the Shorts 330/360 series, and have to wear a monkey suit, I mean uniform, when I fly. I live in Santa Barbara now, with my overnights during the week in Ontario.
. Started to ferry a new Cessna 172 to Europe, but mechanical and paperwork issues stopped the flight at Bangor, Maine.
Turned down a King air pilot job, with a good company, with good pay, but could not agree to any restriction on future employment that would be in effect after leaving them. While I understand why they might want that, I can not accept such a thing, nor am I going to sign it and worry about it later. I certainly can not see the future, and its completely possibly it would never be an issue, but then again, since I would like to fly out of Albuquerque or Santa Fe at some point, it could be an issue later. I would not want to live out in the reservation for long term, so of course i would be wanted to get back at some point to NM.
I saw a phone number on my phone that I did not recognize, but I saw it was an Angel Fire number. So I looked it up, turns out it is the owner of "Angel Fire Water", mentioned earlier in this blog. Hmmmm, wonder why he called? He probably did a search under his company name and came across what I wrote and figured out who I was and how to call me.
I will say it again. I think Angel Fire Water is a SCAM OPERATION. I think Angel Fire Water is trying to use junk science and false claims to make money. "Structured Water" and "Oxygenated Water" are known hoaxes. I also think the owner of Angel Fire Water, knows this too.
Its embarrasing and disgraceful how looters and criminals are taking advantage of a situation to steal, rape, kill, etc. Its more than just needing food or clothing, its people taking TVs, boxes and boxes of shoes, electronics, etc. People who excuse this as just "survival" or who think its just because they are poor, really need to rethink thinks.
This country was poor and agrarian for much of its history, and looting was not something that happened after every disaster. Even in modern events, like flooding of cities or along the Mississippi, there was not much anarchy. Look how people work together in the midwest, especially in places like Grand Forks and Fargo North Dakota, when there is a flood.
Compare that to what you see in New Orleans. Its a product of their "hip hop" urban culture, where doing wrong is right, doing right is wrong, stern fathers, and fathers in general, are practically non-existent. Getting an education is seen as "white", and people aspire to be a criminal.
Instead of the so-called "civil rights leaders" coming out harshly against it, they make excuses for bad, and deadly, behavior. One that was on tv just now, really dismissed it, and tried to equate the looters who look merchandise, with doctors under police escort who took medication to help people.
Personally, I think shoot to kill orders should have been given, and if some looters had to be killed to make an example, so be it. I would rather no looting happened and no one was killed, but law and order needs to be kept.
The mayor seems to be rather weak. I know there is not always a lot he can do, or anyone at times, since much of the city is under water, but you sure dont seem him on television that much, coming out strongly for help, or against looting. He seems to be acting like a helpless victim, instead of a strong leader like Guiliani was after 9/11.
And then there are those who are using this calamity to take cheap political shots. Enough said about that...
The trip went well, I had a good time. It began in Lakelake FL, where I picked up the 2005 Piper, and from there, went up the coast, with fuel stops in Brunswick Georgia, and overnighted in Salisbury MD. The next day, it was one hop up to Bangor Maine for the night.
After clearing customs the next morning, it was 6 hours to St Johns, which was a rather fun place to be. I dont think I got quite enough sleep all on this trip, especially since you tend to lose 1-2 hours a day from time changes. I saw a fuel leak from one of the extra tanks installed inside, so we patched it up and waited a day to make sure it held, which gave me an extra day to explore St Johns.
From there, it was 13 hours overwater to Reykjavik Iceland, where I got in about an hour after sunset, which was almost 1am when I arrived. The photo here is a famous church in Reykjavik.
The next days journey took me to Wick Scotland, with headwinds most all the way, sometimes only doing 100 knots speed. After almost 6 hours, I did an instrument approach really really low, lets just say I was glad it was flat. Stayed in a bed and breakfast outside of Wick, out in the Scottish countryside.
From there, it was 4 hours over the North Sea to Odense Denmark, where I got to spend 2 days before coming back. Alcohol is quite expensive there, since a beer with dinner can cost you 8 dollars. Dinner for 2, with a beer apiece, will run about 50 at least. Odense is known for being the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, and his name is everywhere around the part of town I was in. Oh and the hotel room, was about as big as a big walk in closet, a full side bed might not have fit. But breakfast was good, and I brought back some Nutella!!