Saturday, June 20, 2009

How to make airline travel succesful!

The following is a small article from e-how on the subject of airline travel. It's a good one, so follow the link and read it.

How to Make Airline Travel Less Stressful

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Air France Airbus A-330 Missing over Atlantic

Most of you probably heard or read of the Air France Airbus A-330 that went missing yesterday over the Atlantic. A lot of people who know me tend to ask me "what do I think?" when something like this happens. Well, first of all, no-one has all the information quite yet, and given the probable location of the "crash", we may never get all of the information. Second, one of the very first things you learn about accident investigations is never jump at the "red herring". So I am going to refrain from trying to come to any sort of conclusion on the subject. It is sad, yes. We can learn from it and get safer. Here are a couple of interesting pictures and links, for those of you who may be interested.

Airbus A-330 information

Credit for this photo must go to, Gabriel Widyna
(According to reports, this is a picture of the accident aircraft)

Having said all of that, there was severe weather in the area. The closer you get to the equator the stronger and more developed these storms become. If you think Texas Thunderstorms are strong, you should see these over the Atlantic near the equator. 35,000 feet, the supposed cruising altitude of the Air France flight, would not have been high enough to go over these boomers.

I have heard references to the fact that the aircraft had only two engines, and that this reduced the margin of safety for the flight. I can assure you that this aircraft was certified for, and had adequate performance, to fly on only one engine for a very long way.

Some people have speculated that lighting strikes took down this airplane. I don't know. I have flown aircraft that have been struck by lightning, and I have been in aircraft while they have been struck by lighting. It has never caused more than minor issues and a required maintenance inspection, even on aircraft with some very advanced avionics.

The overall theme I am trying to impart here is be patient. Don't jump to conclusions until you have more data. It is a very sad situation, and an enormous tragedy, but we have no choice but to move forward and try to make sure nothing like this happens again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hibernating for the winter...

I was hibernating. Yeah, that's it. First you take a week off, then a week turns into two weeks, and're hibernating. Yawn. Stretch. I'm back for a bit. I have a trip to Montreal scheduled for next weekend, and I will be sure to let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The new toy

Traveling all the time as I do, it is sometimes difficult to stay connected to the world. I do get tons of free copies of the USATODAY (I've never bought one), but I need more. I have carried an older laptop with me in the past, but that one is dead. It was also heavy and cumbersome, and more of a pain than it was worth. For the past year I've carried a small PDA with wifi. Surprisingly I was able to do quite a bit more than you might expect from such a small device.

Recently, however, my job has brought a new requirement. All of our training is being moved to an online format, requiring a little more than a PDA has to offer. I still didn't want to carry a big laptop around, but I needed the performance of a normal computer for web access and online training seminars. Enter the Dell Inspiron Mini-9, I'm typing with the tiny keyboard as we speak. I've been playing with mini for 5 days now, and I'm impressed. For what I need, its perfect, and perfectly sized. And it was the same price as that used beat up old laptop I had before. Now if I can keep it away from the wife and kids...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I am not going to Montreal

I have some training to do for my company, and in the recent past, this particular training has been done in Montreal. I was actually looking forward to it. I was going to have a little time off to walk around, see the sites, etc. Not a lot, but a little. Really, I was kindof getting excited.

I looked at my training schedule last week, and alas, not Montreal. St. Louis. I've been to St. Louis. I've worked there, lived there, traveled there. Been there, done that. It's not Montreal.

So in the spirit of positive thinking, I will pronounce St. Louis with the thickest french-canadian accent I can manage, and then laugh-grunt that deep nasal french laugh three times. Maybe it'll help.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not Yankee Stadium.

In July I had the privilege of circling/flying/gawking over Yankee Stadium, at blimp-height, on the night of the All-Star game-with the game in progress-on our way into LaGuardia. Very impressive. There were very few other places I would have rather been flying that night. We flew straight up the Hudson and made a right turn around the stadium, at night, at fairly low altitude. New York is an impressive city from that perspective. I know I will never forget it.

But I've been to New York many times, and seen many different things. Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, and, yeah, the rest of it. It's all impressive, don't get me wrong, but it's all been plastered all over postcards, tv shows, movies, etc. I've seen it. I may not have been there but I've seen it.

Last week, while leaving LaGuardia, as I glance down at Yankee Stadium, my eye catches something along the shore of the Hudson. There was a football field. In the Hudson. Well, actually built out on the Hudson River in typical New York Concrete fashion. As I look closer I can see a little more, some b-ball courts, park area, a few buildings. It doesn't really look like a typical college football stadium, but then, nothing in New York is typical. I had to know.,-73.956807&spn=0.007355,0.013819&t=k&z=16

For those of you who haven't figured it out yet. Riverbank State Park. The only State Park on the island of Manhattan. And all that fancy architecture and concrete coming out of the river...well that would be the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. I'm probably not going to visit this one.
First of all, let me say, not my picture. Credit Google. I was on my way into Philadelphia the other day, when passing off the left side was an island in the middle of the Delaware river, just north of Delaware Bay and the mouth of the Delaware-Chesapeake canal (look that one up folks). You don't often see five-sided buildings built on islands with moats these days. We entered into a quick discussion. Civil War Fort. Prison. Turns out, both were right. If I ever get a vacation to Delaware this will be on my list. First one, other than my kids, to tell me the name of this location gets a S.O.D.I. and an honorable mention in the blog.