Friday, February 3, 2023

Counter-Attack

Un officier allemand mort prés de son cheval expirant (fragment du Panorama de la bataille de Champigny) de Édouard Detaille, 1882¹
(PD)
Oberst Klaus von Herzfeld turned to the man standing beside him, "Hauptmann Sauer, take your men and push up this road here," he said, gesturing at his map.

Sauer saw where the colonel was pointing, then checked his own map, "This road, Herr Oberst?" he asked as he pointed at his map.

"Yes, push your company forward with all speed, the French are attempting to break out of Paris and they've surprised and cut the Württembergers to shreds, there's a hole in the line a good kilometer wide. Move man, quickly, I'll try and get you some cavalry support, but get your boys moving!"

Sauer turned his horse and headed towards his company, some two hundred meters away.

As he approached he saw his officers and sergeants getting the men to their feet. 

"Men of Saxony!" Sauer bellowed as he stood in his stirrups.

"Our enemy, the French, are coming down this road. We have them on their heels, their so-called Second Empire has fallen to pieces, their so-called Emperor is in exile with the English. This is their last gasp, we must hold this line, we must then drive them back!"

"Once we have defeated these remnants, we can return home, back to our families. Rise up sons of Saxony!!"

As Sauer sat back down in the saddle, the men gave him a single cheer, then quickly formed ranks. Within minutes the skirmishers were out with the support platoons following, bayonets at the ready.

Advancing with his men, Sauer at first stayed to the rear, wanting to make sure the men kept their alignment, for many this was their first battle. Wary, he watched to the front and to the flanks.

As they went forward, straddling the road, Sauer noticed off to his left what appeared to be a party of civilians, along with a wagon. He thought that odd, then he noticed the dead strewn across the field and back into the underbrush, stretching back into the trees.

(Source)
Before he could order the advance to stop, the commander of his lead platoon was yelling, "Here they come, prepare to fire!!"

Startled he looked to his front again, sure enough a large group of French troops came rushing around the corner of a small knoll, just below the field with the civilians and the dead soldiers. For a moment he was at a loss for what to do. His senior lieutenant didn't  hesitate.

"Fire!!"

As a volley rang out, many of the running French soldiers dropped, many more began to form up behind the men in front. Their ranks were swelling even as Sauer watched.

The French were beginning to return fire, his men were starting to fall. Sauer rode forward, "Hold steady lads! Hold steady!"

At that very moment, a battery of Krupp C64 cannon, over a thousand meters away, began firing at the advancing French. He saw the enemy troops begin to waver as the Krupp guns found the range.

Drawing his sword, Sauer stood in his stirrups and shouted out, "Mit dem Bajonett, Angriff!!²"

Spurring his mount Sauer pointed his sword at the enemy and rode ahead of his men. He heard a loud shout as his men followed him.

Sauer saw a flash, then his horse stumbled and went down.

Jumping from the saddle he managed to land beside his horse as the animal collapsed in the road, screaming in pain. Sauer thought his heart would break.

As he stood there, he felt a punch, which startled him, then a French soldier who had been concealed beside the road ran forward, bayonet pointing at Sauer's chest.

Sauer tried to raise his sword, but his strength was draining away, he had no idea that he had been shot and that his wound was mortal. He fell in such a way that he appeared to be resting his head on his beloved horse.

Before he lost consciousness, the Frenchman who had killed him stumbled and fell across his legs. The man's eyes looked at him, he seemed so young. It was almost as if he was asking Sauer, "Why?"

Sauer had no answer.


Feldwebel Ernst Mannerheim turned his head to look at his lieutenant, "Hauptmann Sauer is dead, Herr Leutnant, it's your company now."

Leutnant Klaus von Bülow shook his head, he had liked Sauer. But the French were falling back, it seemed that the French counter-attack had been stymied.

"Feldwebel, get the men formed up, we need to pursue."

"What about Hauptmann Sauer's horse?" He gestured at the animal, still alive but obviously in pain. Mannerheim was a bit startled when the lieutenant handed his pistol over.

Though he had been in the army for a number of years, Mannerheim was still a farm boy at heart. He knew what had to be done, but the lieutenant should have done it himself.

Von Bülow was studying his map when the shot rang out. "Very well," he said as Mannerheim returned his pistol. "form them up Feldwebel, we need to move."

As Sauer's old company headed down the road, a number of men turned to look at the sad scene in the middle of the dirt road, somewhere near the Marne. Many had tears streaming down their faces, they would not soon forget the death of their captain.




Editor's Note: This is the third small story I've written, one of these days it might become part of a larger story. These are what I like to think of as sketches, something an artist (though I claim no such distinction) might do before beginning a larger work. Or not, as the case may be, many sketches never advance beyond that. But I will note, the use of the name "Sauer" is deliberate. We've already met one of his great-grandchildren, a fellow by the name of Manfred.

¹ A dead German officer near his dying horse (fragment from the Panorama of the Battle of Champigny) by Édouard Detaille, 1882 (The Battle of Champigny is a panorama painted by Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Detaille between 1880 and 1882. Oil on canvas 120 meters long and 15 high, it represents a phase of the Battle of Champigny (November 29–December 3, 1870) — the German attack of December 2 and the recapture by the French of lost positions — also called the Battle of Villiers, during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Alphonse de Neuville (1835-1885) and Édouard Detaille (1848-1912) , both veterans of this war, Detaille having also participated in the battle of Champigny, painted the main themes while small hands will create the background (countryside, ground, sky...). After its exhibition in rotundas in Paris and Vienna, the canvas was cut in 1892 by Detaille into 65 fragments to be sold at auction. Several of these fragments can be found in various French museums, including a dozen at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris. Source)
² With the bayonet, attack!!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Cold Day in Hell

The Picket
Jean Baptiste Edouard Detaille
(PD)
The captain rode down the line until he got to the 2nd Squadron, spotting the commander of the unit he rode closer.

"Phillipe, I need you to send a patrol down this track, the map seems to show some sort of village there."

"Do you trust that map, Major?" Lieutenant Phillipe Valleur grinned as he asked the question.

"About as much as I'd trust myself alone with the Colonel's wife." Major Adolphe Reille said this quietly so that only the Lieutenant would hear, but he could see from the smirk on the trumpeter's face that he had failed.

It seemed that everyone in the regiment knew about the Colonel's wife, except perhaps the Colonel himself. She was ten years younger than her husband and very loose with her favors.

"You can wipe that smirk off your face, Petit." Valleur said with a grin. As he turned back he saw that the Major was rather red in the face.

"This wind is brutal, isn't it Sir?"

Major Reille blinked rapidly, nodded, then said, "Ahem ... Well yes, yes it is. Now about the patrol, send no more than ten men. Scout this area, I feel it in my bones, the Russians are not that far off."

Valleur snapped a salute and said, "It will be done."

As Reille turned his mount to go, Valleur was already directing Maréchal des logis Chef¹ Charlet to put the patrol together. Though tempted to go with them, he knew that his job was leading the squadron. He had only been commissioned a year ago, this was his first campaign in command. He'd been scolded more than once to leave sergeant things to the sergeants. As the brigade commander had said to him not that long ago, "Damn it, Valleur, you should know better! You used to be a sergeant, would you want your lieutenant running everything?"

Thinking back to his old lieutenant, killed in action at Jena, he had had to agree with the brigade commander, his lieutenant had been a promising young officer. If he had left things to his sergeants, he would probably still be alive.


Cavalier² François Heinze shivered and pulled the collar of his pelisse tighter, it was cold and getting colder as he rode down the dirt track. He was the lead man in the patrol and had to admit, it was more than just the cold that was making him shiver.

He checked the lock on his carbine, fortunately it wasn't snowing so he felt confident that the powder in the pan of his weapon was still dry. He pulled the cock back all the way and brought his weapon up. The first hut appeared deserted, but there were a lot of tracks in the old snow.

He reined in his mount, he swore he had seen something move in the next hut. He dropped the reins and held his carbine with both hands, aimed at the suspicious hut.

Within seconds the rest of the patrol had fanned out, weapons at the ready. He heard a horse directly behind him, followed by the voice of Charlet.

"What is it lad? See something?"

"Oui, movement behind that window in the second hut."

Charlet looked, he could see what appeared to be a curtain behind the broken glass of a window. He thought it odd that a peasant's hut would have glass windows.

Charlet whistled. He saw Brigadier Dupont dismount with his section and move forward towards the collection of huts, from what he could tell there were three, a fourth lay in ruins, burned down from the look of it, not that long ago.

"Cover that window, boy. If you see something, shoot it."

Heinze swallowed, his throat was very dry, then nodded as he aimed more carefully at the window.

Just then a party of horsemen, four men, burst from behind the far hut. Another man ran from the hut Heinze was watching. Without thinking, he shot the man.

One of the horsemen, cossacks Heinze thought, turned in the saddle and fired a round at the dismounted hussars, one of whom crumpled immediately, the others all returned fire.

Four dead cossacks and three dead horses later and the patrol had a prisoner.


Valleur looked up as the patrol returned, he could see a man tied to his saddle, a hussar, one of his men. Another, tightly bound and mounted on a cossack pony, rode behind Charlet.

"Trouble?" Valleur asked as he lit his pipe.

Charlet shook his head angrily, "Just a little, Sir. We surprised a party of cossacks ransacking what was apparently a hunting camp. They tried to run, we killed four, they killed one."

Valleur sighed and asked, "Who is it?"

"Lahaye, one of the cossacks got off a lucky shot. We tried to patch him up but he died. There was nothing we could do."

"Merde," Valleur shook his head and spat on the ground. "Does the prisoner speak French?"

"If he does, he's not letting on. Is Lieutenant Niedźwiecki around, I'll take the prisoner to him."

Valleur pointed towards a small copse of trees, "The Colonel has his staff there, Niedźwiecki should be with them."

Charlet nodded, as he went to take the prisoner to the Polish officer attached to the regiment, Valleur's voice stopped him.

"Luck, Pierre. Lahaye's ran out, perhaps tomorrow it may be me, or may be you, whose luck fails him. Every man's time comes, whether he's ready or not. All a man can do is his duty."

Charlet nodded, "Yes, I guess you're right. My instincts tell me we're in for a battle. Those cossacks we encountered couldn't have been far from their main army."

"You're instincts are good. Brigade is drawing up orders. From what I hear, the army is approaching someplace called Eylau, or some bizarre Prussian name like that. We're to join the screen in front of VII Corps. Old Augereau is itching for a fight and it appears as if the Russians are going to give him one."

"Turn over the prisoner, then get your men ready. I assume we'll be moving before first light."

Charlet looked up at the sky, gray and foreboding, snow was beginning to fall.

"You know, Sir, I don't believe Hell is hot. No, not at all, it must be cold, as cold as this place."

Valleur stomped his feet, "I won't argue that with you, Pierre."



¹ Cavalry equivalent of a sergeant major.
² Cavalry equivalent of a private.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

I Can See Just Fine ...

Really dude, you didn't notice this?
(Source)

"I can see just fine!"
(Source)
On my way to work Tuesday A.M. it was precipitating, a mix of rain and snow, so it was kinda dark on the highways and byways of Little Rhody. I noticed a couple of things which have long bugged me ...

... people driving in periods of low visibility with their headlights off and people with only a single operating headlight, seriously this bugs the you-know-what out of me.

I drove in Germany for over seven years, there was a law there, country-wide, which mandated having one's headlights on in periods of low visibility (i.e. night, dawn, dusk, and when it's stormy - rain/snow).

As I recall, it was not possible to purchase, or operate, a motor vehicle in Scandinavia which did not have automatic headlights - engine on, the headlights came on. No option to turn those off.

In Europe, well western Europe, they were pretty adamant about having all the equipment on the vehicle in an operable condition, and using it when necessary.

"Turn signals?" asked the Rhode Islander. "What the heck are those?"

"Seriously, why signal for a turn, can't you see me turning?"

"Uh no, your headlights weren't on." I point out.

"Well, I can see just fine."

Argh.



Editor's Note: I thank John Blackshoe for giving me the day off yesterday. He finds lots of interesting stuff. What with the juvat Monday, that was two days in a row I didn't have to post. Yay me!

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

John Blackshoe Sends: Serendipity History - More Flying Connies

Lockheed Constellation - C-69 (military version)
Seventh production aircraft, production #1967, AAF #310315 (43-10315), 1945

(PD)
So, where was I?  Oh, yeah, talking about Connies.  And remember, this is no malarkey.

Previously, I wrote about the USS Constellations, both of them, and alluded to some future possible additions  on this theme.

Fortunately, Sarge dug up a great post he had on the seductive beauty of Lockheed’s L-1049 or C-121 series “Super Constellation” with which some guests have actually had contact or even flight hours.  Really good stuff there.

But, little was said about the somewhat less attractive older and shorter members of the Connie family, with smaller tails, other than that nice (circa 1945-46) photo above of a C-69, USAAF tail number 43-10315, which was one of seven started under contract with Trans World Airlines but completed for the USAAF.  (Lockeed serial number 049-1967.)  Post WW2 she was registered as N90828 and operated by Intercontinental Airways, at one point as RX-123.  Then she went -

  1. to El Al in 1951 as 4X-AKB
  2. then to a Swiss owner as HB-IEB
  3. then to Universal Sky Tours Feb 13, 1962 as G-ARVP. 
She was then Withdrawn From Use (WFU) and broken up in May 1965 at Luton, England.

Besides an intermittent supply of superb historical fiction, Sarge (as part of his free services) also has an awesome list of links on the right side of the page.  Go check them out, this will still be here after you explore those.

Among them is this website where you can track just about every USAF aircraft ever made.  Being all diverse and inclusive, he also has links for U.S. Navy (here) and U.S. Coast Guard (here) aircraft as well. As everyone knows, the Navy provides rides for our misguided children who should always remember, “My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment” so their flying machines are in the Navy list.


In the Beginning

Lockheed’s “Constellation” began in a June 1939 secret meetings with Jack Fry¹, president of Trans World Airlines, and Howard Hughes, who had bought control of TWA and wanted a plane to carry 36 passengers at 300 mph with a range of 3,600 miles with a 13,000 foot ceiling. Lockheed suggested a larger aircraft, with a pressurized cabin for a 25,000 foot ceiling, which eventually became the Constellation. Hughes insisted that none be sold to competing airlines until TWA had received 35 of the planes. And, Hughes personally financed the purchase of the first 40 Constellations for TWA. 

Hughes is remembered as a super rich dude who made a fortune in Las Vegas real estate and as the builder and pilot of the wooden “spruce Goose” the world’s largest flying boat. The Hughes wealth came from engineering and the film industry, which Howard built upon for an even more successful career. He was also an aviation fanatic, earned a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering, set numerous speed records, including several in planes of his own design, and started the Hughes Aircraft Company. In June 1938, Hughes made a flight around the world in just 91 hours setting a new record, flying a Lockheed 14 Super Electra twin engine  transport. This experience was likely the impetus for Hughes to work with Lockheed on his ambitious airline project. The Electra model was redesigned for military use later in 1938, and Britain began buying huge numbers for use by the RAF, taking much of Lockheed’s production capacity, slowing work on the Constellation project, which was to be kept secret from other airlines.

Hughes is a fascinating guy with fame, fortune, huge ambitions and a quirky personality. At various times he dated Joan Crawford, Debra Paget, Billie Dove, Bette Davis, Yvonne De Carlo, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamar, Ginger Rogers, Janet Leigh, and Mamie Van Doren. (Kinda Trumpy in many ways…) You can read all about him here

Design and initial work on the Lockheed L-049 Constellation was plodding along in 1941 when the Wartime Production Board inspected all aircraft plants and the secret Constellation project became known. So, Pan American Airways put in an order for 22 planes. 

But, when WW2 broke out the USAAF commandeered all aircraft production and the Constellation project was very low priority, especially as Lockheed was making the P-38 fighter, which incidentally used the same wing design as the Connie. The 80 Connies ordered were designated for USAF use, although only 15 were ever delivered to the USAAF, and another 7 remained incomplete and were finished post-war for commercial sales, and the remainder all canceled.

The Constellation’s first prototype was finally rolled out in December 1942 with a very successful first flight on January 9, 1943, using a test pilot borrowed from Boeing.

(Source)

Video of the first test flight (ignore the erroneous caption that this is a C-121, it is the C-69.)

However, despite the successful flight, production languished while attempting to overcome problems using Wright R-3350 engines, which were in short supply due to high priority for assembling B-29 bombers. The prototype was modified to use Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, but soon converted back to the original. Purchased by Hughes after the war, the plane was bought back by Lockheed in 1950 and lengthened by 18 feet and other changes to become the prototype for the L-1049/C-121 “Super Constellation.” In 1952 it became an aerodynamic test bed for the Navy WV-2 (or EC-121) Early Warning configuration. Later the number 4 engine was replaced by an Allison YT-56 turboprop engine in a C-130 nacelle for flight testing, going on to very successful use in the C-130, P-3, E-2. C-2, and Electra aircraft. (Source - Search for 43-10309)

It was not until April 1944 that a second production Constellation was ready. As a publicity stunt, Howard Hughes and TWA President Jack Fry flew that plane (tail number 43-10310 (Lockheed serial no 049-1962), painted in commercial TWA markings, from Burbank to Washington, DC in less than seven hours. Actress Ava Gardner was aboard, ensuring great publicity.²  (Source)


Here are five C-69s at Burbank awaiting completion and delivery circa late 1944 or early 1945.  B-17s and numerous P-38s are in the distance.  (Note the C-69 in the back lacks propellers, and the change from OD paint and blue circle with white star insignia of the prototype above to the late war unpainted aluminum and addition of the white bars to the insignia in this photo.)

Although many “short” Constellations were made circa 1945-1952, there is only one surviving example in the world today, and not airworthy.   It is USAAF C-69 serial number 42-94549, at the Pima Air and Space Museum, on loan from the U.S. Air Force.   It is displayed in TWA colors, as restored by local volunteers.  It was one of the original TWA contract planes, commandeered by the USAAF in WW2 and finally delivered in June 1945, serving until March 1946.  In 1948 it finally entered service with TWA as N90831 "Star of Switzerland.”

As an interesting footnote in aviation history, the first American to fly in powered flight, Orville Wright, made his final flight in the C-69 Constellation piloted by Howard Hughes and Jack Frye on their publicity trip.  While the flight to Washington on 17 April was made with the aircraft in TWA commercial paint, by the time they flew to Dayton on 26 April the aircraft had been repainted with USAAF markings, obviously to improve publicity value when dealing with a military audience. 

“On April 26, during the return trip, the aircraft stopped at Wright Field in Dayton to pick up a very special passenger: Orville Wright.  More than 40 years after his historic first flight, Wright even sat at the controls of the airplane during his final 50-minute flight over Dayton, albeit for just a few brief moments. 

"I guess I ran the whole plane for a minute but I let the machine take care of itself," Wright said of the experience. "I always said airplanes would fly themselves if you left them alone." 

Wright also pointed out that the Constellation’s 123-foot wingspan was longer than the distance of his first flight, which had traveled just 120 feet.” (Source)

A video of Orville Wright’s final flight (6:15) is at the source of this photo -

So, the early “short Constellations” had a bit of a rough start, but their subsequent iterations were indeed beautiful and superbly performing aircraft. They are a tribute to their main advocate, Howard Hughes, and their designer, Clarence Johnson. But, as great as the Constellation planes were, they are way down the list of his aviation achievements. Sounds like a story for another day, when there is time for more sea stories.
 


John Blackshoe


 

 
¹ See more about Frye here.
² Some sources claim that this flight was made by the XC-69 prototype tail number 43-10309 (Lockheed serial no. 049-1961), but the videos of the events clearly show that the tail number is actually 43-10310, a standard C-69 (Lockheed serial no. 049-1962).

Monday, January 30, 2023

Equipment Malfunction

 Folks, bear with me on this one.  It's going to take quite a bit of setting the stage before I get to the point on this post.  I'll get there, I promise. But I'll start with the hero of the story.

No Beans, Not Princess Leia.  Miss B!


Back in the day my folks would try and teach me the need for trust in the world.  One needed to trust their fellow man to do the right thing else one would spend his entire life looking over his shoulder for protection instead of ahead for opportunity.  

Of course they also taught that once someone had proved themselves untrustworthy...Well, don't trust them.  Ever.  I'm not talking a simple "letting you down", but actual betrayal.  Failing to do their duty to honor their word deliberately regardless of reason.  That was the ultimate sin.

Then I joined the military and realized where that ethos came from.  My instructors insisted on trustworthiness in themselves and their students.  That expectation extended through all members of the military.  If you wore the uniform, your word was your bond.  You may fail, but you failed while giving your best.

Source

 

As a "For Instance", even non-flying readers will realize that an In-Flight Fire is an extremely serious event.  They would not be wrong.  Unlike a sailplane, the engines are the things that keep you aloft.  Without them, you are going to be landing.  Whether on a runway or not, is not generally your choice.  The airplane is coming down. Period.

Ok, how does the USAF address an Engine Fire?  The "Bible" on aircraft operations in the Air Force is affectionately called the "Dash One".  The F-4E Dash One can be found here.  Just as an example of how important that document is, 40 plus years after the last time I read it, looking through the Engine Fire or Overhead during Flight Emergency Procedure, I recognized some subtle changes in the wording and punctuation of the procedure from the previous reading.  That's how serious we took that book. In any case, here's the procedure. (It's found on Page 3-9 at the link above.)

Engine Fire or Overheat during Flight

1. Throttle bad engine - IDLE
2. If warning light goes out - CHECK FIRE DETECTION SYSTEM
Depress fire test button to determine that the fire detecting elements are not burned through.
3. If detection system check is satisfactory (i.e., warning lights illuminate when checked) - LAND AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE
Increasing thrust on the bad engine after the throttle has been retarded and the warning light has been extinguished may cause fire or overheat damage, and/or possible burn through the fire detecting elements.
4. If warning light remains Illuminated or fire detection system is inoperative or fire is confirmed - SHUTDOWN ENGINE
5. If fire persists - EJECT
6 . If fire ceases - LAND AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE 

CAUTION
Do not attempt to restart the bad engine. If the fire ceases, and a landing is to be accomplished, make a single engine landing.

Pay particular attention to #5 in that procedure.  If the fire light does NOT go out, you are to eject from the airplane. Period-Dot-End of Story.

So, juvat, interesting, but where are we going with this story?

Trust, my Friend, Trust.  We had an E-model at Moody that was pretty much a hangar queen. (For the non-familiar, the term indicates the jet has a boatload of mechanical problems which are difficult to ascertain, expensive to fix and the fix may not fix the entire problem.) One of the requirements when a Hanger Queen is thought to be "Fixed" is to give it a "Functional Check Flight" or FCF.  This is always flown by a VERY experienced crew and is flown on a fixed profile with specific parameters to make sure the airplane is fixed and ready to be put on the daily schedule.  This jet had passed it's FCF flight and was back on the schedule.

I'm Flight Lead for a 4 ship range ride to go and drop practice bombs and fire the gun at the gunnery range at Eglin AFB FL.  

No those are not 25Lb Practice bombs, those are inert 500Lb Bombs, but that is Eglin Range. Source





Typically the aircraft is loaded with 12 x 25Lb practice bombs and 100 rounds of 20mm bullets. 

 

Source

 Fighter Pilots, being the competitive type, typically bet on the scores.  Quarter a bomb, nickle a Hole.  So, worst case, one could be out 8 bucks, plus the requirement to buy beer in the Debrief.

Bragging rights, however, were worth much more than that.  So, one tried their very best.

Unfortunately, I've drawn the Hangar Queen and, even with my best body English, couldn't get the bombs very close or the gun to hit the target.  I'm irritated at myself on the way home and we're about halfway there when I simultaneously hear/see the Master Caution light come on and hear the WSO yell something about "Fire" over the intercom.  Suffice it to say, I am focused at this point.  

The right engine fire light is on.  Technically, at this point, I'm supposed to ask the WSO to get into the check list and read me the procedure after which I will perform the procedure.  That works well in the Simulator.  (AFAIK no one has actually died in the Sim.)  I immediately pull the throttle to Idle.  Nothing.  I decide on a count to 10 before skipping to #4 on the Emergency Procedure.  I know it didn't take 10 seconds for that count, more like 1  maybe 2.  

Light's still on.  So I shut down the engine.  Soon as it spools down, the light goes out.  I push the test button, it lights up and goes out when I release the test.  I have one of the wingmen give me a look over.  Nothing, no smoke, no visual damage.  OK we get to skip #5 (Thank you, Lord.  My takeoff #s will continue to match my landing #s.)  

Approach and landing are normal, well, as normal as a single engine approach and landing gets and except for the fire trucks, ambulances and other crash vehicles near the runway, other than that perfectly normal.  Pull into the dearm area.  Dearm crew safes the crucial stuff and give the shutdown signal.  1.6 nanoseconds later, myself and the WSO are on the ground and vacating the immediate vicinity.  

The jet goes back into maintenance, the maintenance repair checklists are applied and she  gets back on an FCF schedule.  The same thing happens.  Back into maintenance and another FCF.  Again a Fire Warning Right Engine.  In that afternoon's Wing Honcho meeting, the Maintenance Commander wants to annotate the problem in the maintenance forms as a "glitch" and keep the jet on the schedule. Maintenance Stats...Gotta love 'em.

At that point in the meeting, the Wing Commander relieved him from command.  As he did so, he said "If the warning light comes on, how does the pilot know that the jet is not on fire? If he stays with the jet and it IS on fire, he and his WSO will likely be killed.  Is your in-service rate worth that?"

In other words, the Maintenance Officer had betrayed our trust.

The jet went to depot maintenance and AFAIK never flew again, at least not at Moody.

BTW, that Wing Commander went on to 3 stars.  IMHO, shoulda had 4.

Interesting story, juvat, but what's behind this story? That would be Miss B's monitoring equipment and sensors.  More knowledgeable medical readers may correct me, but I believe that one of the last organs that develop when a Baby is in the Womb are their lungs.  Therefore, premies, spending less time there, tend to have lung issues after birth.  Miss B is currently on O2 while her lungs get better.  She also wears a Pulse Ox sensor that keeps track of her pulse rate and oxygen saturation level in her blood.  It sets off an alarm when either reading goes below the minimum level. 

That alarm can, and should, be heard throughout the house.

However, the Damn thing goes off ALL THE F.....g time!  The medical equipment company says that's caused by the baby moving.  OK, maybe.  But, then, why does it go off when she's sound asleep and not moving.  AKA one of us is sitting right beside her watching when it goes off.


So...Next they said it's a faulty sensor cord.  OK.  They send a new one.  Except that one is for a different model sensor. 

Top two are the new cable.  Bottom two are the old cable.  I'm not an electrician, but something tells me the new ones won't work.

 They send a new, new one with a technician.  No change.  Course the baby's awake while he's here, so moving.  Later that same day.  No movement, still alarms.  

Drive down to San Antonio to meet with the Pulmonary Docs.  They hook up their device side by side with ours.  There's doesn't squawk and their readings are virtually the same as ours.  Guess what squawks.

I mentioned to them my story about Trust and the fire light and asked what, worst case, might happen in the middle of the night if LJW, being extremely sleep deprived and tired, decided it was a false alarm and rolled over and went back to sleep.

We'll see what the next appointment with them yields. Suffice it to say, the NICU Staff and Docs are on Santa's good list while the Medical Equipment folks...well...aren't!

Nap Time!
Oh, and by the way, as I'm wrapping writing this up Sunday PM, we just got a winter storm warning with icing.  Last year when this happened, electricity was off for quite a while, 3 days for us; up to 6 weeks for some people further in the boonies in the county.  Electricity is needed for Miss B's breathing assistance equipment.  Emergency Action Plans are being developed as we speak.


 


Sunday, January 29, 2023

Man of Action

(Source)
Saturday was another fast-paced day in the life of an international man of mystery.

Not sure what that guy was doing, but I did laundry. Four loads, no kidding.

I could have gone another three or four days, I wasn't down to "situation critical, wear the really old underwear" just yet. I decided to nip that situation in the bud.

Not to mention which, I have two new shirts which I haven't worn yet, just got them from Amazon on Thursday. I seem to recall from somewhere that it's "best practice" to wash that stuff before wearing it for the first time.

Oh yes, now I remember, The Missus Herself told me that.

She is still forward deployed to Maryland, in the midst of Operation New Grandson and probably will be for another few weeks until things settle down.

At least this time The Nuke gets maternity leave, she didn't when Buzz was born. Good thing too, the gubmint was working her like a rented mule in the past few months. I guess that's why she makes the "big bucks." Unlike some government employees, she actually earns her pay.

So yeah, laundry, I did laundry and hung out with my girl Anya. She's getting up there in age and is slowing down a lot, but she's still good company.

Even if she does make me get up in the middle of the night to turn on the faucet in the tub when she's thirsty.

I can only hope someone does that for me when I get old. Er, older.

Oh yeah, Boat Guy mentioned this band a while back, I gave them a listen. Was not disappointed. The Corrs, an Irish band dontcha know?



I will be listening to more of their music, it touches something in me.

Be seeing you.




Saturday, January 28, 2023

I Give Up ...


Spent my Friday off doing absolutely nothing.

Thought about writing, then decided to go out for coffee.

Talked to the cat, she had no fresh ideas either.

Then I realized, this is NOT a job, it's a pastime.

So ...

I listened to music.

Decided to share this with you, I really like these guys.



The bass player, Billy Sheehan, is like two months older than me.

Who says old guys can't rock?

See you tomorrow.