Congratulations SpaceX!

For all I would have loved for Starship to have hit fractional orbit and then landed in the Pacific, for a second integrated test flight it was a success. Frankly, that they pulled off the hot-stage separation is amazing, and it was not something I was counting on seeing.

As it is, it happened. All the engines lit and stayed lit until shut off on the first stage, and everything was nominal until after the hot-staging. All the engines appeared to be functioning normally on the second stage right up until the self-destruct engaged. I’m curious as to why they had that system on the second stage, and if they plan to continue to do so. The initial word seems to be the pad is good, so no major repairs or upgrades needed (we hope).

Best of all, they seem to have gotten lots of good data that are going to allow them to go in, figure things out, and make improvements to the next system. Lather, rinse, repeat. It really is the best way to develop new systems. Getting things to orbit, especially with a system significantly larger and more powerful than the Saturn V, is not easy. Just look back to the early days even before NASA, where launches rarely worked as planned. Some of the videos from the Navajo (Nevergo) and other early rockets are quite spectacular.

It didn’t end in the Pacific, but it was a good mission in terms of data. Here’s hoping that they can analyze, adapt, and try again as soon as possible — esp. if the Biden Regency will get out of the way. Earth is the cradle of humanity, and it’s past time we left the cradle.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Stolen F-35?

Sarah A. Hoyt has raised the possibility that the missing F-35 has been “stolen.” Rather, it has been given by corrupt figures in the military and government to China. That the incident and ejection have been faked to cover up that action.

I will state that such is a possibility. I do not, however, see it as a probability at this time. Before I get into some of that, let me preface with a few remarks and conditions. My own ejection training is a decade or two out of date, and was primarily focused on two-seat fighters. I got the training while getting my physiological training certificate at Little Rock. When it comes to ejection systems, I am most familiar with the ACESII system which used to be quite the thing.

Some quick notes. First, ejection is NOT fun as you are subjected to a large number of G’s and potentially some other delights. Common injuries were neck and back, though broken limbs (arms and legs) were not uncommon on some previous systems as if you didn’t have them in the right spot/position, they not only caught force they could also catch parts of the plane as you rapidly left it. Ouch.

Second, another common accident was having the person ejecting forget to transfer their oxygen hose from the main panel to the seat bottle. The little green apple of the seat bottle is your friend. There is a reason that used to be practiced during both physiological and ejection training. If you don’t remember to do that, as you leave the plane the mask is rather violently ripped from your face and helmet, and often did bad things to your neck and sometimes to your face and neck. Failing to switch fell under the category of “Very Bad Thing” as a result.

Third, the activation of an ejection seat usually triggers a beacon to help guide SAR to the downed pilot. This is separate from any Emergency Locator Beacon (ELB) on the plane itself. As an FYI, on civilian planes it is possible to manually activate the ELB, my memory is fuzzy (stupid lightning) on military craft. Seem to recall that it depended on the aircraft. Yes, military craft do tend to have such to aid in recovery (or destruction at need).

Fourth, no matter the system, the canopy goes bye bye in the process. In a normal ejection per my training, a charge blew the canopy back and away so you didn’t end up like Goose in Top Gun. Also, if your seat failed when you pulled the cord, the alternative was to raise the canopy and let the slipstream rip it off. As it did so, a lanyard was yanked and the secondary system (hopefully) would succeed where the primary failed. Today, you have that, canopies that allegedly fragment, and others — like the F-35 — that split in two so you can get safely launched. See here, here, and here for more info on the F-35 system.

The system in the F-35 works at ground level, which is quite an improvement as earlier system really needed you at 200 feet or higher to work properly. There are some other wrinkles that are fascinating including that it can apparently act automatically without pilot input.

BTW, putting the plane on autopilot when departing mid-flight goes back to WWII. You wanted/needed a steady platform as there were no ejection seats, and if the plane wasn’t under control of the auotpilot or a courageous pilot, it tended to do maneuvers that prevented the crew from leaving. Training was (is?) to do everything you can to hold it steady or to have the plane hold things steady. It makes your departure much smoother and helps prevent any number of injuries. It is interesting to note that some aircraft just keep plugging along after the pilot has left, while others tend to go immediately out of control.

UPDATE: See this comment for one such incident in the late 80s.

In this case, the pilot was apparently seen coming down under canopy, more details here. Side note, glad to see AvLeak is still around. Could it have been faked, such as pushing him in a seat out the back of a transport? Sure. But, no such plane appears to have been nearby at the time. Two, if there were, guarantee a number of the Aviation OSINT folk would have been talking about it by now. Expect to see some serious digging by these fine folks soon.

For all it is highly automated, and features MAGIC CARPET and other delights, it’s really not capable of automated landing. It can get darned close I’m told, but not there. FYI, the old MLS (such as on the Shuttle and other craft) never did truly work as advertised I’m told. We are getting closer, but not there yet. So, the idea of programming the plane to keep flying, go full stealth, and land at an undisclosed location without human intervention is rather unlikely.

Which brings us to the other fly in the ointment. From a purely intel/black ops standpoint, using this type of event to steal one is not very likely. In fact, I can think of a couple of dozen reasons not to do it this way. KISS rules, and I’m not talking the band. Doing it this way violates KISS in so many ways I can’t count them all. In short, secrets keep the fewer are involved. When you court the public, flight trackers, a wingman, and a host of others involved, you are NOT keeping it simple in the ways that count.

Frankly, if I were to want to do a public disappearance, it would be one plane, over water. The fewer who know what is going on, the better. Actually, the easiest way to get one and ship it to the enemy would be via paperwork and that is frighteningly easy to do. No fuss, no muss, no real paper trail, and it would only need a very small number of people to make it happen. That’s also about as far as I’m going to go on that too.

Now, I admit I’m more than a little curious why the transponder quit working and why no ELB (yet). In defense of the transponder, having a rocket motor go off right in front of you can be a bit disconcerting. If the plane went down in water, the ELB is going to be problematic to detect if it works.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the plane having remained in auto pilot and it did some form of soft landing, most likely in water. If it had done a soft landing on land, odds are we should have had some sign of it but that is not guaranteed. Until we have more data, all we can do is speculate. Again, I’m leaning towards the F-35 doing a modern version of a WWII ghost plane, but until we have hard data…

UPDATE: I was wrong about water, it did indeed apparently hit on land. Sad thing is, at this point, even if every part matches it won’t really matter.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Missing Pt. 2

Okay, part one was tongue in cheek. But, this is the stuff of legends. Did it crash into a lake? Did it just come down somewhere relatively intact? Did it go down at sea?

If you go back and read about aviation in WWII, you are going to come across a number of documented stories where planes made it back to England — without their crews. One I remember reading about, the crew bailed out as the plane was loosing altitude such that the didn’t think it would clear the coast. So, they all bailed out. This lightened the load such that the plane not only cleared the coast, it did a near perfect belly landing at the field from which it had departed. Freaked the ever living out of the people there when they found no crewmembers inside.

I seem to recall the late, great, Martin Caidin writing about some of these, including an incident he witnessed during a commemoration flight.

A lot of modern planes, however, don’t do well if they lose computer control and such. In fact, a couple of them will just about come apart if they lose such controls at speed. However, if they keep that control and are on a steady path via autopilot, who knows?

So, go back and read up on some of the ghost planes of WWII. It’s fun and it says a lot about how rugged the planes then truly were. Only time will tell if we are about to add a modern tale to the mix.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving once we have medical issues cleared up, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

Next, Er, Steps

I want to follow up on last week’s posts a bit and also look ahead to a few other things. Meantime, if anyone does know of research being done that I’ve missed, please sing out!

The immediate first step is do some fairly straight-forward research. The thing to do is both replicate and expand the FEE experiment from Spacelab J so that several generations of frogs are raised in five different gravitational environments: microgravity, lunar gravity, Mars gravity, something between Mars and full, and full gravity. Harvest samples at various stages for detailed study on the ground, to make sure there are not subtle chemical or other changes taking place. That will provide a lot of good data, including on what level of gravity is needed for proper reproductive development. Multi-generational gives us a look at the long-term.

It may be that Lunar- or Mars-level gravity is sufficient. If not, some type of centrifuge arrangement should work. Follow-on research as to intervals of gravitational exposure should provide the data on if constant gravity is needed or not.

I would also recommend expanding the research to include fish and shrimp. Self-sustaining aquaculture would be a good way to ensure protein and other nutrients for planetary or asteroid colonies. We just need to be sure that it can be done in other than full gravity. Again, let me plug the Act of God/Island Worlds series as they touch on this a bit.

If there is interest, I can try to do a longer post on how aquaculture could be used as part of the life support system. The short version is that the “waste” from the fish and fish processing can be converted to fertilizer and/or feed, and there are ways to possibly use plankton and/or algae for photosynthesis on top of that. The fertilizer could be used to support growing rice and/or other crops.

BTW, “Eric Kotani” was the pen name of astrophysicist Yoji Kondo, who not only wrote entertaining fiction, but used it to explore concepts and possibilities. Full disclosure: Both he and John Maddox Roberts showed me great kindness over the years, and talking with either was always a pleasure.

As noted in the books, the growth of rice developed for low-gravity and confined conditions would not only provide a much needed grain, but the stalks could be used for weaving tatami-style mats to help soften what is likely to be a rather austere environment at first. Again, plant growth could be a very useful part of the environmental systems. Not to replace, but to augment and provide redundancy. The fact that plants actually need a very narrow range of light for growth, which can be provided with low-energy/low heat (heat and heat dissipation being an issue for orbital operations) LEDs, makes it feasible.

As an aside, lots of science fiction has including using grass as a carpet, particularly in space habitats. The idea is intriguing but is going to take more than just creating soil or such to lay down and grow the grass. Given problems with water, humidity, and the fact that microbes love microgravity, my suspicion is that a rather technologically advanced flooring system will be needed. Something that can provide a base for growth, the ability to provide water and other nutrients as needed, the ability to remove excess moisture, and monitor growth and other factors.

Now, as for the act of reproduction itself, no need for formal research. If informal research has not already begun, it will soon and humans are an inventive and adaptive species. Especially when it comes to sex.

Let’s just be sure that when the inevitable happens, we know what is needed for a healthy pregnancy for humans, and healthy development for food sources and pets.


Space-ing Is Hard

Sex In Space!

Space-ing Is Hard

Over at Legal Insurrection, Leslie Eastman has a good piece up on the apparent failure of the Japanese commercial moon lander. Given the failure to re-establish communications, it appears the landing has failed. I had hoped it would succeed, for several reasons, and it is disappointing.

It is also a reminder that getting to space and doing real things there is hard. Building an economically viable launch industry is hard. Building the infrastructure needed to live and work in space is hard. Elon pointed out the difficulty of building the large-scale rotating space stations of my childhood just recently. His take is that it makes more sense to build on the moon and Mars. I agree for now, though I think using asteroids as bases (a la the Act of God/Island Worlds series) is a good way to go. There are some other concepts out there for more modest structures or constellations of structures that are very interesting.

Living and working in space is going to be hard. The physiological changes the body undergoes in microgravity can be profound. The long-term effects are not yet known, because we really are only starting to be in that environment long term. We also still don’t know what will happen to fetal development in microgravity. The Frog Embryology Experiment on Spacelab J gives only limited data, though it is worth noting that the tadpoles did take on a more normal appearance and grew into normal frogs if I remember correctly. Humans being human, it is something we do need to understand.

Space-ing is hard. If we wait for the governments to lead the way, it will not happen. To get there will take drive, ambition, and old-fashioned capitalism. There are things to do, resources to tap, and plenty of opportunity. I really hope we can keep over-regulation at bay and get going.

Ad Astra

Congratulations SpaceX

The question is already being asked on social media: Was today’s launch a success? The short answer is YES! The longer answer is the subject of today’s post. Before I dive into that, some quick background given that the internet (particularly social media) is full of bots.

I covered aviation, space, science, and related topics for several years. Under Dave Dooling’s administration, I served as Correspondent-at-Large for SpaceWorld (article about as it is long gone) magazine for a few years, and worked a bit in radio. Hit the Readers’s Guide to Periodic Literature (hope it’s still around) for the byline C. Blake Powers. I later worked at the USAF Arnold Engineering Development Center (now Complex) and was there for the J5 incident. Said complex was/is the Free World’s most comprehensive testing site and could test at simulated altitude in a variety of the test chambers. After getting my Master’s, I went to work for Essex Corporation, where we were a subcontractor providing support to Spacelab through TBE. Among other things helped write a number of mission brochures, reports, and got to do a LOT of neat things. Left for a while, got asked to go to work for a company called CST working as a contractor for the Space Product Development Program (Commercial Space) where I was Director of Outreach and Education. Even was on a panel with Elon as I’ve noted a time or two before. As also noted previously, my thesis was The Soviet Watchers: A Directory of Western Observers of Soviet Space Efforts and it should still be available at the UTK library. Also, earned a pilot’s license, got to go through altitude training (and ejection training) and certification, and a few other things. So, not just an anonymous internet rando and things can be checked out fairly easily.

So, today was a success. The people at SpaceX really weren’t joking when they said if it cleared the tower it was a success. Given the number of rockets and rocket systems over the years that have taken out the launch pad on their first test, it really is a good thing. The first time you stack it all together and light the candle, anything can happen.

They got it off the pad. They got it up to a pretty good altitude. Then it went south. Happens. In fact, it’s a good thing when it happens during testing.

SpaceX is doing what should have been done by many others: they test. They test to destruction. The Starships that exploded in ground testing? Good thing. Lots and lots of data. They were not failures, each one enabled the next to be improved. Certain agencies and many companies don’t want to test to that extent, as they are convinced the public sees such as a failure when it is not so. Yes, I know there are idiots that do feel that way, but they have no clue about reality as a general rule.

Today, they got more data on the assembled vehicle and how it performed both on the pad and in use. They got reams of data on fueling and related issues. They got reams of data on each engine and how they performed together. They got reams and reams of data on major and minor systems. Data on the micro and the macro that you really can’t get except in flight. Ground-based testing can test individual components or systems. You can’t test something that large except in flight.

So, you do all the ground testing you can. You make each part as good as you can with that data. Then you integrate and launch to test. You do so knowing you are probably going to lose some of the test vehicles. As I said before, it is a good thing.

Had today’s launch gone perfectly and everything worked exactly as predicted, I would have been amazed, delighted, and concerned. On something this complex, if you have a perfect flight on your first test flight, smart people tend to ask if you really got everything perfect; or, if you just got lucky and missed something that is going to bite you in the ass later as the odds change? The latter is the safe bet, by the way.

Just a guess, but it looks like they had several issues. Several of the engines failed early. The complex separation maneuver did not go to plan. Obviously the stage separation systems did not work to plan. We will learn more in the days ahead, as it takes time to go through the massive trove of data from a test like this.

And that’s the point. That’s what makes today a success. The data gathered today is worth the cost of losing five Starships. With that data, good analysis, and good engineering, you redesign, refine, retool, and relaunch. Then you take the data from that launch and do the dance over and over again. It is an iterative process and if you think they aren’t doing it Falcon and other things, I’ve got a bridge for sale, cheap. It is the smart way to do it, and Elon is a pretty smart guy who also hires a lot of smart people to work for him.

So, unlike this morning’s memory, no rye today as there was no scrub, just a good test. If it had gone perfectly, I do have some Sazerac standing by but while I wish they gotten just a bit further, I’m delighted they got as far as they did and even more delighted at the data they got. It will allow them to get further ahead faster, and we need to head for the stars.

UPDATE: Go read this excellent guest post by Thomas Kendall over at Sarah’s place.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.

A Launch Memory

Already tuned in to watch the first integrated test flight of Starship. I hope. As in I hope it launches and I hope it is a complete success. No matter what, a lot will be learned and it will allow SpaceX to improve and move forward. As Elon himself has noted, success is not guaranteed, but it is guaranteed to be exciting.

This has brought back a memory from one of the early shuttle launches, or at least the attempt to launch. I can’t remember which mission precisely (stupid lightning), but in those early days there were lots and lots of scrubs. Understandable, but disappointing.

Those flights attracted a lot if interesting people to the press area. James “Scotty” Doohan, who had encouraged my attempt to become an aerospace engineer, joined me and my broadcasts several times. I may not have made engineer, but he was happy at the work I did end up doing. There were “VIPs” who had the stand next to the press area, and who did often mingle when they could get away with it.

On this attempt, there was a strong literary presence in both if I remember correctly. One of them being writer Karen Anderson, the wife of Poul Anderson. I think we all had a great time talking space, science, writing, and more. Seem to recall some cheerful arguments over tech, and the common goal that we needed to get off this mudball and Shuttle was a step towards that. What next and how was a frequent topic.

I seem to recall that this scrub was one with a long delay, as in a week or more I think, and we were all a bit down. Since Karen is no longer with us, and any statute of limitations is surely past, I will admit we broke the rules.

Keep in mind NASA was (and still is I suspect) the puritanical agency. This is an agency that doesn’t even really like to admit that its astronauts have to use the bathroom (for all that they did finally embrace PR about the shuttle toilet trainers). No sex, no smoking, no drinking, no nuthin going on with them or anywhere according to NASA, and nothing fun was allowed at the press or other areas. To the point K9s were used to do random checks for pot and other delights, especially after a film crew apparently enjoyed some herb rather openly.

I remember Karen herding the group out to where her car was parked, away from the press area and all the security and snitches. Hidden (in the trunk?) was a bottle of Old Overholt rye whiskey. Put hair on your teeth and make your chest white stuff. Funny thing was, after we each took a slug, our spirits improved. We went back to things with a bit of optimism.

There are a lot of good ryes and bourbons out there, but to this day Old Overholt has a special place in my heart. Seeing a bottle often makes me smile, and makes me think of space, launches, and the people who help make it happen.

Ad Astra.

The Termites Are In The Woodwork

I’ve waited to write about the Chinese balloons for several reasons, including the fact that I really didn’t want to post a mass of invective in place of reasoned thought. The invective is still there, but I have it on a leash for now. Sort of.

I will start by saying that right now I don’t believe a word of what is being said by any branch, part, or employee of the Federal government — nor should you. Until it is confirmed by a reliable and reputable source, don’t trust it or them.

Have balloons been used for intelligence work before? Yes, pretty much since those wacky French brothers got things going on this side of the world. Did the Chinese float three across the U.S. under Trump? No. That story is deflating fast, but not fast enough.

Are balloons being researched for a range of options including aimed delivery of precision weapons, drones, or even chemical/biological payloads? Smart money says yes. Are they the optimal platform for such? Magic Eight Ball says maybe. There are a host of factors that go into such an assessment, and for a number of reasons I will just stick with maybe for now.

Anyone telling you that balloons are no different that satellites and it’s no big deal is a liar and a complete and total idiot to boot. Satellites are moving, and moving fast. There are limits to what they can observe, when they can observe, and on the data they collect. A balloon can be a remarkably steady platform, especially if it can be steered and controlled. Using modern optics, hyperspectral and multispectral imaging, and other sensing systems (and you can pack a lot on a truss that size), you would be amazed at the data that can be collected. Especially if you have nuclear thermocouples or other systems for the real power hogs so that solar can go to other systems including steering.

An amazing amount of data. Data that was collected and transmitted back to China.

Notice also that corporate media, and far too many others, have pretty much dropped coverage of the fact that there was at least one other balloon acknowledged. If you can find any coverage, go back and note just how carefully the government didn’t say where it had been, much less exactly where it was located at that time other than Latin America — which could be anywhere from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. There were “unconfirmed” reports from non-governmental sources that indicate it was possible that balloon had travelled down the West Coast. You know, where all the military bases that would be responding to actions by China are located.

As it is, the government and corporate media are dropping like a hot potato any mention that the balloon we did finally shoot down may have spent three days loitering over Malmstrom AFB, which happens to house the majority of our Minuteman missiles. Among other things. Look at all the bases and such along the flight path of the balloon. Want to place a bet that if the data is not already being shared with Moscow, it soon will be?

And let’s not forget that the balloon(s) were allegedly not picked up before they were over the Aleutian Islands. If that is true, that would indicate that multiple systems failed in their job. No one, not two, but multiple systems. Also, note that neither was shot down right then either over ocean or in a remote area, despite the violation of American airspace and international law. Instead, they were allowed to continue on and complete their mission.

Dereliction of Duty is the politest term I can use for what has happened. This applies to our military and our civilian leadership. The alleged reason for trying to cover up the incursion is beyond belief in terms of competent, professional, and honest leadership. For the Biden Regency, par for the course. Hey, this is an unprecedented and catastrophic intelligence breach, but better that than embarrassing the Chinese. You know how sensitive they are.

There are no good words to describe how bad the damage is to our military and national defense. As bad as we think it is, I suspect it is even worse than we realize at this time.

The military leadership that failed to detect or take action to prevent the unprecedented overflight should all suck-start their sidearms and apologize to their ancestors in person. The civil leadership that did the same should also go apologize to theirs in person as well.

That said, if the key people involved in this had been acting in the best interest of the United States of America, in full honor of the oath sworn to the Constitution and the Republic, this would not have happened. That it did happen makes it rather clear that one or more people in positions of power were not working for or in the best interest of the United States. If they are not working for us, then for whom are they working? The answer seems pretty clear to me.

The termites are in the woodwork, and the cockroaches are in the walls. The gates all open from the inside, and we have allowed the horse inside the walls.

Miss Lois And the DC-3

Over on Twitter, a conversation with Rocket brought up Beege Welborn’s love of DC-3s. It also brought a grin to my face as I remembered Miss Lois and our plans to buy and renovate a DC-3. Plans that I seriously suspect my Dad prayed would be thwarted.

First up, my Dad did not like to fly. Given an experience or two back in the 1930s, much less a couple in WWII, I can see why it would not be a favorite thing to do. In fact, I think he may only have flown twice in his life after WWII. Me, I loved aviation, space, and flight, and Dad did a lot to encourage me in that — so long as he never had to go up. Particularly after he heard from my mother about my coming in for a landing sideways — had to crab as the instructor had killed the engine a mile or so out from the airport and told me to make it. I did.

Which made his dating Miss Lois a bit amusing for me. She was the baby sister of one of his best friends growing up, and she was also one of the early women pilots in the U.S. A respectable girl from a respectable family, she fell in love with planes early in life, and approached the man running the local flight school to find out how much it would cost to learn to be a pilot. His answer stunned her.


He made her an offer. He would teach her for free, and let her practice for free, with one proviso: anytime over a town or group of people, she had to fly low and wave. Lean out and wave even. His take was that all the boys (and some men) would come out and pay to learn so that a girl didn’t show them up. According to Miss Lois, he was right, and he made bank while she increased her skills for free.

Suitably chaperoned, Miss Lois even took part in some of the competitions of the day, mostly in Georgia if I am remembering correctly. Enough so that when the U.S. started recruiting pilots, both the early ferry work and the later operations once the war began, she was approached both times to be a part. I think one of the few regrets she had in life was that both times saw her caring for a relative, and literally being the only one available to give that care. She indicated that it was hard to say no when Jackie Cochran personally asked her to be a part of the WASPs.

I don’t remember all the details, but along the way Miss Lois Wynn got married and became Mrs. Lois Pryor. Her husband died somewhere around the time my mother died. A year or two later, she and Dad met at a community event for the community where they grew up, and developed an interest in each other. At a certain point, my Dad drove from Macon, Georgia, to Huntsville where I was a contractor for NASA to ask my permission to date Miss Lois. Permission granted.

Miss Lois and I had a good time talking aviation and space. We also ended up double-teaming Dad when he had some strokes and needed some help. During that time, I attended a continuing education event for pilots at a small regional airport not too far from Macon. At that airport was a DC-3 and it was for sale. Not just any DC-3, it was reported to be the one used in the film Hatari! and sported the special paint job it had been given for that movie.

At that point, Dad got worried because Miss Lois and I started playing the lottery with the aim (on the dim chance we won) of buying the plane, fixing it up, and setting off on some grand adventures with him in tow. Our plan was to install an updated version of the original galley, four sleeping berths, four or five seats, and otherwise make sure we were set for landing anywhere. Miss Lois was going to be engineer, a female pilot I knew was qualified on the DC-3 (still want to get that story!) and would be pilot, and I would take Co. Go see the world, haul some small cargos and use that to defray the costs.

We never won, but we sure did have fun discussing the plan. Even if part of that fun was making Dad squirm a bit. I still wouldn’t mind doing it, though it would not be the same.

Getting hit by lightning is not fun! If you would like to help me in my recovery efforts, which include moving to the SW, feel free to hit the fundraiser at A New Life on GiveSendGo, use the options in the Tip Jar in the upper right, or drop me a line to discuss other methods. It is thanks to your gifts and prayers that I am still going. Thank you.