28 June 2007

"Of Flight and Life"

Westward Track
Copyright 2007 by V1VrV2

"I grew up as a disciple of science. I know its fascination. I have felt the godlike power man derives from his machines -- the strength of a thousand horses at one's fingertips; the conquest of distance through mercurial speed; the immortal viewpoint of the higher air. I have sensed the harmony of muscle, mind, and mechanism which gives the illusion of life to substance until levers move with thought as hand or foot, until the rhythm of an engine is geared to the beat of one's own heart, and wing in turning flight seems an extension of one's own body."

--Charles A. Lindbergh, "Of Flight and Life"

Solitary Cu
Copyright 2007, V1VrV2

Stearman Salute
Copyright 2007 by V1VrV2

09 June 2007

Thunderstorm over Dallas

Copyright 2007, V1VrV2

This photo was taken northwest of Dallas. A line of wicked weather was moving through the DFW metroplex. From my vantage point fifty miles to the south, the tops of the storms, crimson-lit by the setting sun, looked almost peaceful. I think back to the times in my military flying career when we would circumnavigate such areas with no onboard radar, and therefore no clue. While flying in high cirrus, we'd often ask the controllers to point us in the best direction -- and since the controller's weather-radar depictions were primitive at best, we'd occassionally find ourselves skirting pretty close to monsters like this. These days, by comparison, it's relatively easy to remain clear of the big red and yellow blobs on a modern weather radar screen. The radar is only an aid, though. Sometimes, storms don't contain enough moisture to show up well on the radar, and you have to use your eyeballs, your gut feelings, and your experience to stay out of trouble. This is one of the reasons why there won't be autonomous, un-piloted airliners. At least in our lifetimes...