Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Another comment on French Airplanes

As I mentioned a few moments ago, I travelled a fair bit last weekend. For the first leg of our return trip, we hopped a flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis on an Airbus 320. This is the same aircraft type that had the little nosewheel mishap (made a good point, though).

Computers are neat things, but when they err... the nosewheel problem was the result of the computer doing as it was told. I guess it worked out OK, then.

But moving on... I'm PLANE (not Plame) crazy, so when I get on aircraft, I try to look around and intelligently catalogue what the airplane does. Keeps me busy anyway.

Well the little one and I sit down in the waaaaay-back (cool, we get to watch the wing (s)). I look out and notice that the right aileron is deflected fully downward. Well, I thought, the pilot must have been in a hurry (they were running late) and not centered the control wheel (actually, a joystick on the airbus). Then I contorted and craaaanned my neck to check the other wing (good there are two) (their French, but...) and the left wing aileron was also deflected fully downward.

A few moments after engine start, as hydraulic pressure increased and the cpu's reset everything, my unease was relieved. The control surfaces centered.

I am pretty happy that Airbus is fly by wire after seeing that. Had their been a true hydraulic connection or cable-actuation, those suckers would have been hooked up with one side backwards. Imagine the news report...

Wade, his daughter, and many other expendible crewmembers and passengers were killed today when the French plane they were travelling aboard was unable to control it's roll axis. Despite pretty flapping motions of the aptly French named "Ailerons" (thanks to Louis Bleriot; copycat extroardinaire) the aircraft was lost from radar seconds after takeoff. Fortunately, in the US, the class distinctions between suburb and city are the reverse of those in Europe (Paris especially) and the plane did little damage to anyone of import. It did, however, come within 4 miles of the new Islamic center of Milwaukee; Muslims are outraged.

With the cockpit voice recorder tape analyzed, the initial release has the pilot's last words as,

"You're Toulouse, Cougar!" <> end of recording--

Karma is Crap, but I pity the French.

Argh. So, life gets busy and I don't update this archive. I regret that. It seems that I've actually come to enjoy posting (even though not much of this is read by others).

The little one and I went for a visit with other bloggers over the last weekend. They also happen to be my sisters. Let me see if I can remember later how to edit their links in here.

Interesting stuff to note:

While watching the riots in France is somewhat amusing (read on for explanation), I wish it would stop. As an illustration of this, I'll tell a little story.

Long ago (darned near ten years already), my wife and I wished to bring one of our passions to the guests at our wedding (she wasn't my wife when we planned it). I met my bride while I was working as a skydiving instructor (open head; insert brain). Well, we both stuck with it, and by the time we married she had 200 jumps (I had a few more than that).

I accept responsibility for my poor judgement (unlike the French). As a result of a cascade of errors, I left the reception with (thankfully) a positive Babinsky test, but a broken back (some wedding night, eh).

What do you mean, "Where am I going with this."

A friend of mine chose our wedding guest book (actually the matt for a picture of the happy couple) as the medium for his (he thought) humorous expression regarding my newfound pain. He mocked me a bit in print on our memorobelia. Wow. I did not like that at all (looking back, though, I've swollowed up to my knee like that before).

But Wade-- I still don't get what you mean!

Three months or so, later, this same friend was severely injured when he reached the ground sans parachute after following his own cascade of poor judgement. Years later he succombed to the devastating injuries that had left him as a mildly functional quad. I don't know if it dawned on him... if he remembered what he wrote. I never brought his attention to it nor spoke publicly about it while he lived.

OHHHHHHHH...now you get it?

I am not contending that his comment came back to bite him. Actually, it seems that his injuries may have been a gift from God, as his spiritual life blossomed. Hell of a wake up call.

In my experience, generally, I notice the mote in my eye sometime after pointing to a friend's difficulty.

Karma is Crap, but I pity the French.

On the other hand, the dollar is trading strong against the Euro and that is helping quash recent increases in mortgage rates. Oh how I love low rates. Anybody need a mortgage?

Seeya