About Crucis

I'm a retired telecom engineer, life NRA member, Amateur Radio Operator and Air Force vet. I created this blog at the urging of some folks who think I have an occasional thought. A liberal friend once described me as "being just to the right of Atilla the Hun." I thanked her for that description and told her I'd do my best to maintain her expectations.

From here to there and home again

A few of you may have wondered what happened to the ‘Court. Most of the rest of you nay have never noticed I hadn’t posted since early in July.

There was a number of reasons. First, I’d become really, really, really hacked at the GOP from the national to the local level. Second, I needed some time off.

Mrs. Crucis and I decided to seek new climes and took off on a two week excursion out West. We traveled to twelve states and six National Parks and National Monuments.

A few close friends knew we were gone. However, we didn’t broadcast to the world we were away from home until after we had returned. I’m amazed how many give no thought to the security of their homes and blab to the world they aren’t home.

Be that as it may, we are back. It’s time to start saving for our next excursion.

Here are a few pics for your enjoyment.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

I was surprised to note that the last eruption was only 2,000 years ago. That was this morning, geologically speaking.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, MT

Now you know why it’s called Glacier National Park. We also saw some glaciers on mountains in Idaho. By the way, we discovered that the state crop in Idaho is NOT potatoes. It is hay. We saw one, ten-acre potato field but saw hundreds of well-kept and irrigated hay fields.

Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park

See if you can find them. Mountain goats, Yellowstone National Park, MT

 

Ya think?

A story appeared today in the Washington Times, “Chief Justice John Roberts may be beyond reconciliation with conservatives.” Is anyone surprised? Roberts received a pass by many in the GOP after his affirmative vote in favor of Obamacare. After his vote to support subsidies for Obamacare, Roberts lost whatever good-will he retained with conservatives and the rank-and-file GOP.

To his credit, Roberts voted against same-sex marriage and against the over-reach of the EPA in regulating the coal industry. It was Justice Anthony Kennedy who voted with the four liberals on the Court to uphold Obamacare subsidies and same-sex marriage. Ironically, while it was Kennedy who tipped the Court in favor of same-sex marriage, it was Roberts, the Chief Justice, who took the blame.

Now an outcast among conservatives, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may get the chance to redeem himself in the coming months with his stand on affirmative action, the power of labor unions and other key cases, but some on the right say it’s too late for him to salvage his credibility with them.

The court over the next year will issue several highly consequential decisions in cases of deep importance to conservatives. The justices will decide whether labor unions can force nonmembers to pay the equivalent of union dues, whether universities should consider race during the admissions process and, in a case that could dramatically alter the political landscape, how voting districts can be drawn.

Other cases centering on abortion and gun rights also could find their way before the Supreme Court, giving Chief Justice Roberts chances to regain the faith of conservatives who believe he betrayed them with two votes in three years to salvage the Affordable Care Act and cement a central piece of President Obama’s legacy. — The Washington Times – Sunday, July 5, 2015

For many, it is too late for Roberts to redeem himself. He has proven himself to be unreliable in the votes that have counted. The Justice who should be more despised is Kennedy. His vote was the tipping point on the Court for same-sex marriage and in truth, he has voted with the liberal wing as often as he has for the conservative wing.

The Court had been viewed, before the first Obamacare vote, as having a majority of conservatives. That belief has been dispelled and no conservative, now, has any faith that the Court will support any conservative issue.

Ramp Tales

Ramp tales: stories told by old pilots. Some tales are of questionable veracity.

I used to fly. Not a lot but it was an item on my bucket list. One item that I finally accomplished in my fifties. Although I was an Air Force veteran, I didn’t learn to fly until long after I was out. My flight instructor was Charley Craig, a 30,000+ CFI based at the Gardner KS Municipal Airport—K34 on the Kansas Sectional.

Gardner is a small airport; not much different from many small town airports. It has the usual string of T-hangers, a small FBO for dispensing gas, cokes and the often needed restroom, and a small job A&E shop. Charley, Ellen (Charlie’s wife), his sons and daughters ran the FBO and a flight school. Charley was my CFI or Certified Flight Instructor.

During this period I used to spend my Saturdays flying with Charley or hanging out with an assortment of Ramp Rats, most of whom were former WWII and later military pilots. Whenever pilots gather, Ramp Tales are told. Frankly, I’ve forgotten most of them, but I did acquire a few of my own.

One of the Ramp Rats was a former WW2 pilot, Billybob. I don’t actually remember his name, but Billybob seems appropriate. Billybob was a US Army Artillery spotter. He flew a J-2/J-3 olive green Piper Cub over most of Italy and other parts of Europe.

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Air Coupe

Billybob lived somewhere near the KS/MO state line and owned an Air Coupe, a single-engine, all aluminum, twin-rudder, two-seat small plane popular after World War II.

Billybog kept his Air Couple stashed at a private field that had no services. Whenever he needed fuel…or groceries for that matter, Billybob would fly in to Gardner, top off his Air Couple and beg a ride into town to buy whatever he needed. Usually there was always someone around who would chauffeur Billybob around. I did myself a time or two.

Billybob loved his Air Coupe. It was highly polished bare aluminum. Billybob had no radio in his Air Couple. If he did, he never used it as far as I know. The first inkling that Billybob was on his way in was seeing a shiny spec entering the pattern for a landing. Another Ramp Rat told me that at one time, Billybob had painted his Air Coupe a bight canary yellow. A color also known as Piper Cub Yellow. The story told by that Ramp Rat is why Billybob stripped the paint off his plane leaving nothing but bare aluminum.

Pilots and Ramp Rats in particular have a weird sense of humor. Unusual because most of their humor is expressed in practical jokes. Those jokes tend to be more mental than physical. No pilot would interfere with the safe operation and flight of an aircraft. Just about anything else, however was fair game.

One of the favorite excuses of weekend pilots to fly is to fly to fly-ins. Billybob, like many pilots, loved to show off his plane. He would go to a fly-in, park and display his Air Coupe with a placard mounted inside its bubble canopy giving all the Air Coupe’s specifications and history. A bright yellow airplane drew the attention at fly-ins like honey draws bees.

Garner, K34, has an annual fly-in sponsored by a local EAA chapter. When fly-in time arrived, Billybob and his bright yellow Air Coupe would arrive without fail. A number of the local Ramp Rats began to call the yellow airplane, Tweety, after the yellow cartoon character.

One year, a Ramp Rat replaced Billybob’s placard with another one that contained, along with a more humorous description of the Air Coupe, a large cartoon—Tweety. That new placard drew all the kids and it wasn’t long before Billybob’s Air Coupe was surrounded with kids, some of whom asked for rides in Tweety.

Billybob was a bachelor. He’d never been married to anyone’s knowledge and had few, if any, relatives. Kids terrified him. At first he would discard the new placard and politely refuse the requests for rides.

A number of Ramp Rats entered into a conspiracy. They would follow Billybob to fly-ins and, when Billybob wasn’t looking, switch his placard with a Tweety placard. Billybob became known as Tweety on the Fly-in and Airshow circuit.

At first, Billybob took it all in grudging good humor. That is until a Ramp Rat took the joke one step further. At one airshow, a small local thunderstorm passed through. Everyone headed for the FBO and hangers to get out of the rain. While everyone was distracted, one enterprising Ramp Rat scotch-taped the name, Tweety, in foot-high letters on the fuselage and wing of Billybob’s Air Coupe.

Thereafter, whenever Billybob came to an air show or fly-in, someone announced over the unicom, “Tweety arriving!” If a PA system was available, the name was announced over that as well.

It was the last straw. The next time Billybob was seen, his Air Coupe had been stripped of all paint except for his registration number. Instead of the bright yellow paint, the Air Coupe was bright, polished aluminum. Tweety was gone, but not the name.

I was told this story one day when I was hanging out at Gardner. I had been up with Charley Craig practicing timed turns. It was hot and I was cooling off under the shaded porch of the FBO with a Coke and a small scanner at my side that I used for eavesdroping on the local unicom. I noticed a bright spec low on the horizon and over the unicom came the call, “Tweety arriving!” A Ramp Rat standing nearby saw my surprise and told me the story.

In another sense, the call was a safety warning. The  pattern height for Gardner was 1000′. Billybob, perhaps due to his wartime experience as an artillery spotter, had an aversion to flying at altitude. He preferred to fly lower, much lower, as low as was legally allowed for the location. At times, he ignored the minimum height rules when entering the pattern. That could cause problems.

However, Billybob, was well liked, given his eccentricities. The local pilots knew his habits and kept an eye out for him. As long as he didn’t cause problems with transient pilots, no one called him on his practices.

Billybob is gone now. His Air Coupe was sold along with the rest of his estate. There’s nothing left except the echo of an announcement over the unicom, “Tweety arriving” in remembrance of Billybob and his bright yellow Air Coupe, Tweety.

Time out

My blogging will be curtailed, somewhat. I have too much to do and time in finite. I’m busier this summer, it seems, than I’ve been in a long time. I’d like to use more of my available time on other tasks.

Plus, I’m having a case of burnout. Our domestic political crises continues to grow. Exponentially, it seems. The left is attacking everyone who disagrees with them and even some who do. The parasite class is trying to refight the Civil War and has made advances in their attempts to eliminate or rewrite history to agree with their agenda.

I’m sick of it. And the hatefilled villainy grows at the state and local levels as well. The ‘Pub establishment at all levels is betraying us with the eager assistance from those so-called conservatives who are nothing more than contemptible political bigots.

I need some time off. Blogging will be slight. I have things to do. When those are completed, I’ll return. For now, thank you all who read my blog.

Blue skies…

My neighbor is in pain today. He lost a close friend over the weekend. A pilot lost his life Saturday in a crash at an airshow in Cameron, MO.

Steve O’Berg was an accomplished pilot. He held an Air Transport Pilot certificate, was a retired Army helo and fixed wing pilot with over 7,000 hours in the air. “Included in those 7,000 hours were 4,000 hours of military flight time and 400 combat hours in Iraq.”

My neighbor was present when the crash occurred. There is no known cause, at this time, for the crash. The accident was reported by the Aero News Network.

Airshow Pilot, Steve O’Berg, Lost in Airshow Accident

Media Handling Of The Story Leaves Much To Be Desired (Surprise!)

Sun, Jun 28, 2015

ANN regrets to report that airshow pilot Steve O’Berg has reportedly perished in an accident while conducting an airshow routine at the Cameron Airshow, Saturday afternoon, in Cameron, MO.

The Red and White Pitts S2-B apparently failed to complete a descending maneuver sequence and impacted the ground, amid trees, under circumstances yet to be properly documented. Despite what was reported to be a fairly swift med-evac from the site, O’Berg perished from his injuries.

O’Berg had an impressive background. His bio notes that, “His military career in the Army spanned 23 years until his retirement in 2007. While in the Army he flew OH-58’s, UH-1’s, UH-60 BlackHawks, C-12 King Air 200, and the C-23 Shorts-330. He retired with over 4,000 hours of military flight time including over 400 combat hours flying in Iraq.

Steve’s extensive civilian flying background includes over 7,000 hours flying everything from J-3 Cubs for fun, Boeing helicopters in Alaska Heli-Logging, Commuter Airline pilot for peanuts and a lot of things in between. His FAA Licenses include Airline Transport Pilot, Multi-Engine, and Rotary Wing Instrument flight instructor certificates.”

The airshow was shut down following the accident, but a night performance was later allowed to proceed. The Cameron Airshow organization published the following statement on their Facebook page, “At approximately 1:50 this afternoon there was an accident during a routine aerial performance. On behalf of the Cameron Airshow, we’d like to emphasis our thoughts and prayers are with the family and the pilot that was involved in the accident.”

The Kansas City news community sent their 6th Jr. Varsity reporting string to cover the crash. As expected, they butchered the story. You would expect reporters who claim to have some professionalism to do a least a smidgen of research before writing their story. But this is the 21st Century and sensationalism is first, research and accuracy as far, far lower place in their reporting. Their professionalism was non-existant. The text below is a prime example.

Aero-News Commentary/Analysis: Unfortunately, local media coverage was not only errant… but embarrassing. As an example (and certainly not the only story with errors), a report published online by KSN.com and bylined by, ‘Nick Sloan, Shain Bergan, Gary Brauer/KSHB-TV.’The story asserted that O’Berg’s aircraft was doing ‘stunts.’

The article went to say little of consequence, but did describe O’Berg’s professional, FAA/ICAS/ACE approved/monitored airshow routine and performance, as ‘doing dives and flips in front of the crowds’ and adding a statement that the aircraft, ‘attempted to do a corkscrew maneuver near the runway.’ — ANN.

Aero News Network then proceeded to explain that planned, practiced aerobatic routines are not “stunts.”

Folks… as I noted in comments attached to the poorly detailed and conducted story referenced above, the Pitts was not doing ‘stunts’ — the aircraft and its pilot were doing carefully planned, rehearsed, and approved precision aerobatic maneuvers. The pilot was a professional who received extensive scrutiny from his peers, ICAS (via its ACE program) and the FAA. The airplane did not do ‘dives and flips’ — it did a series of planned precision aerobatic maneuvers according to an approved airshow sequence that was practiced again and again before being performed at an actual airshow. This was a good pilot, a professional/qualified airshow pilot, that had a tragic accident, and deserved the respect of a journalist — at least someone doing more than 30 seconds worth of research, in accurately relating the tale of a horrible tragedy. If a so-called journalist is not up to checking the facts and respectfully detailing what’s known at this time, then he or she should please pass the story off to someone who will ask the right questions, learn the proper details, and (ultimately) respect the passing of a man who tried to share his love for aviation with the public. — ANN.

Whenever you see an aerobatic pilot exhibiting his skill, understand that every move is carefully choreographed, carefully planned, and extensively practiced. It is a exhibition of a lifetime of accumulated skill.

Blue skies, Steve O’Berg. I didn’t know you but I’ve known many like you. Farewell.

Disgusted

Need say no more.

This section of the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” has just been rendered invalid. Our right to choose whom a church will or will not marry has been made illegal.

Thank you, Justice Kennedy.

 

Sigh…

My muse is wandering around somewhere in the information wilderness and has not returned. It’s disgusted with all the liberal and democrat acts of lawfare and their attempts to eliminate or change a segment of American history.

There will likely be no post tomorrow. A shootin’ buddy and I are headed for the range to try out his new pistol, a S&W Shield. I need to hunt up some blasting ammo, too. I’ll return on Friday.