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.

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.

SCOTUS Decisions: 2015, Part I

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The Supreme Court of the United States

The US Supreme Court releases its decisions for the year during June. There are a number of highly important decisions we all are waiting for, such as restraining the EPA and banning subsidies for Obamacare. We often forget that some other less well-known cases are important, too. SCOTUS released three decisions yesterday. All were favorable from a conservative perspective.

The first of these, Kingsley v. Hendrickson, dealt with the standard an inmate must meet to prevail on a section 1983 action for excessive force while in pretrial detention. For the non-lawyers, 42 U.S.C. section 1983 (paraphrased) allows citizens to bring lawsuits against agents of the government when those agents deprive them of their constitutional rights (including the right to be free of the excessive use of force). The case concerned a man named Kingsley who was awaiting trial in county jail, and who was forcibly removed from his cell with some considerable force (including the use of tasers). Mr. Kingsley brought suit, alleging that his Constitutional rights had been violated. — Red State.

The Court affirmed that a person held in pre-trial confinement was still presumed to be innocent and therefore was entitled to be as free from excessive force as anyone simply walking in public.

A person who is in pretrial custody is still entitled to the same presumption of innocence that you and I are, and is still entitled to the same constitutional protections against excessive use of force. The government often tends to treat people who are in pretrial detention as being presumptively guilty nonetheless, and this decision will hopefully help reinforce the point that it isn’t so. This decision may not seem like anything that matters to you now, but if you ever find yourself awaiting trial on bogus or politically motivated charges (a reality that occurs more often than we would care to admit), it will be a major protection. — Red State.

The second decision, City of Los Angeles v. Patel, was a win for our 4th Amendment rights. The City of Los Angeles passed an ordinance requiring hotels and motels to keep copies of their registry records for 90 days and to hand them over for police inspection at any time without any judicial recourse. Failure to do automatically generated a fine against the hotel/motel owner.

Mr. Patel sought to facially challenge this ordinance on Fourth Amendment grounds – something that was previously difficult if not impossible to do (many ordinances and statutes had been subject to facial challenge under, say, the First Amendment, but not the Fourth).

The Court held that a) facial challenges under the Fourth Amendment were permissible (and not disfavored) and b) that an ordinance that did not permit independent judicial review of a search of this type was facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. This decision reaffirmed a basic bulwark of our constitutional protections from police overreach – that when police demand the right to conduct a search and seizure of your property, you are always entitled to a before-the-fact judicial review of their actions, in the absence of special exigent circumstances which it is their burden to prove at court. — Red State.

This decision could also be grounds for suits against some of the more egregious asset forfeiture laws and the abuses caused by them.

The third decision was a direct blow against the Department of Agriculture and the federal government as a whole. The Government may not seize property real OR personal, without due process and compensation.

The third, Horne v. Department of Agriculture, concerns one of the most shocking and longstanding abuses of the free market that the government has ever engaged in – the government’s “marketing orders” program that it uses to artificially set the market for many agricultural products. Under this abominable program, if you wish to sell many agricultural products in the United States (in this case, raisins), the government can (and does) require you to set aside a portion of your crop and just give it to the government for them to sell it, donate it, or destroy it as they see fit. For raisin growers, the government regularly confiscates nearly half the products they grow, for absolutely nothing, just for the right to sell raisins in the United States. Keeping in mind that the Department of Agriculture, with little or no Congressional oversight, determines how much of your crop they get to steal, how they dispose of your crops, and whether you get anything back at all.

The Hornes were raisin growers who refused to participate in this program, reasoning that, at the very least, if the government wanted to take their raisins, this would constitute a “taking” under the Constitution, which under Fifth Amendment precedent would at least require the government to pay them “just compensation” for their personal property. The Federal Government argued that this constitutional provision only applied to real property (i.e., land) and not personal property (e.g., raisins). Thankfully, the SCOTUS ruled for the raisin farmers, reasoning that “the Government has a categorical duty to pay just compensation when it takes your car, just as when it takes your home.” — Red State.

This last decision may well end the long abused USDA practice of “marketing orders.” It is no longer a constitutional method of generating revenue for the federal government without compensation to the owners of the seized property. SCOTUS declared that ‘person’ property is just a protected under the 4th Amendment as is real, i.e., land, property. It may seem to be small victories, but we should celebrate every victory against the statists and a tyrannical government and their dictatorial edicts.

The next release of SCOTUS decisions is expected on Thursday of this week if the Court follows its usual practice.

***

News to watch! Boehner, watch your back! Uhhh, on second thought, Johnny-boy, just ignore them. You’re safe.  Heh, heh, heh…

Karl Rove: Liberal Mole

I have never been a Karl Rove fan, even when he was on Dubya’s election campaign. He’s always impressed me as being a weasel. My opinion was confirmed, not this week, but this week it was obvious to all who watched or read his latest interview on FOX News; Karl Rove is not, and has never been, a conservative nor a republican. He’s a liberal mole whose purpose is to disrupt any efforts for conservatives to be elected.

Karl Rove claims to a be a great election and political adviser. Truth be told, he’s never won an election for any client. His advice has been consistently leftward and has insured his clients lose their elections. In short, he’s a fraud.

His latest exposé was his statement that the 2nd Amendment was the cause of all the gun violence. He implied, although some reports say he didn’t actually say it, that the 2nd Amendment should be abolished.

Karl Rove: Only Way To Stop The Violence Is To Repeal Second Amendment

But Rove’s statement didn’t go unobserved. The American Thinker had this article this morning.

Karl Rove vs. the 2nd Amendment

By Daniel John Sobieski, June 22, 2015

Guns don’t kill people, the Constitution kills people, at least according to Karl Rove, Republican strategist and architect of George W. Bush’s election and reelection as president. Rove, speaking on Fox News Sunday, and in the wake of the South Carolina church massacre, embraced the liberal mantra that there are too many guns on the street and went a step further and a step too far, saying the way to avoid more such tragedies is to repeal the Second Amendment and its guarantee of our right to keep and bear arms:

Now maybe there’s some magic law that will keep us from having more of these. I mean basically the only way to guarantee that we will dramatically reduce acts of violence involving guns is to basically remove guns from society, and until somebody gets enough “oomph” to repeal the Second Amendment, that’s not going to happen.

Say what?  Rove displays an ignorance of our history and our Constitution and how we won our freedoms thanks to private citizens bearing arms. The Second Amendment, it has been said, was written to protect the other nine in the Bill of Rights, and was an acknowledgement of the threat from tyrants and other domestic enemies such as the criminals and the crazies that would otherwise roam unchallenged among us. As Thomas Jefferson said in a letter to James Madison, dated December 20, 1787:

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.”

In addition to the threat posed by tyrannical governments, Thomas Jefferson was among the first to embrace the concept that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun:

“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

The article continues at the website. It states that all of the mass shootings going back years and perhaps decades, have one thing in common—they all occurred in gun-free-zones—a fact that Rove and leftists ignore. That fact doesn’t support their agenda to disarm America. They know that can’t seize power in the country if each person is armed.