As a retiree advancing in age, I sometimes remember things that didn’t happen (just wait til you get here!) or don’t remember important details.
I just watched four episodes of NASA documentaries on the Mercury/Gemini/Apollo manned flights, and the tempo of those missions, many I didn’t recall, was breathtaking. They launched a big mission every three months or so, one time launched two within 14 days including a repair of the launch pad after a post-ignition abort.
Introduced major new tasks and equipment (space walks, moon landings, moon rover cars, Saturn 5 rockets, etc.) with minimal rehearsal. Flew eight Moon missions between 1969 and 1972 and cancelled three final Moon missions after acquiring the hardware and training the crews!
They did lose three astronauts to a training fire, but recovered three unharmed from behind the Moon on Apollo 13, after an inflight explosion and some heroic improvisation (The movie Apollo 13 is almost a documentary.).
Available on Netflix, “When We Left the Earth”, NASA.
Lots of speculation about the cause of the crash landing at SFO. Consensus seems to build among Boeing pilots on the net that 777, configured for landing, quickly goes from “high and fast” to “low and slow” unless close attention is given to throttles to maintain speed. The Asiana pilots, for reasons not yet known, did not take over throttles manually when auto-throttles were inactivated. Apparently, heavy airplane pilots get very little “stick and rudder” hand-flying training or experience in the modern airline environment.
The Battle of Midway (June 4, 1942) is recognized as a pivotal victory for American forces in the Pacific theater of WWII. The battle is especially meaningful for the Hodges family as we had two (and still have one, Rev. Gene Hodges, age 92!) survivors of the carrier Yorktown (CV-5). This is the memorial to Midway recently commissioned at Annapolis.
My cousin Doyle retired in a ceremony at Bancroft Hall, with many friends, family, and shipmates in attendance. It was about duty, honor, intellect, respect, and even love. Doyle had a great career track since graduating from the Academy in 1992, including two commands at sea and most recently as head of the Navigation and Seamanship department at Annapolis.
Doyle came to love the academic life, and so has retired to attend Princeton. He will seek the credentials to further his research and perhaps return to the Naval Academy faculty as a civilian with a unique perspective on being a modern naval officer.
Doyle already loved Emily, and now both loves can grow and prosper. Fair winds, Doyle and Emily!
41 minutes in a Delta DC-9 brings back memories – I arrived at Delta on December 20, 1965, the same day as the first DC-9 delivery.
As it evolved, I became a powerplant engineer for the DC-9, so learned a lot more about the little airplane over the next few years. A real workhorse as they say, and pretty much bulletproof. My fun assignment, though, was the CJ805 that powered the Convair 880 – still the speed record holder for airliners.
The CJ was a civilianized (non-afterburning) GE J90 engine which, with afterburner, powered the F-4 Phantom used by all three air services (USN, USAF, USMC).
Lord knows the CJ burned enough jet fuel without a burner – Delta wasn’t set up for mid-air refueling that was required to feed the burner. And jet fuel was expensive – between 10 and 12 cents a gallon! If you had told me you could operate Delta profitably on $3.75 a gallon fuel, I’d never have believed it. Of course, many things that seemed impossible in 1965 are realities today. But that will be a post for another day.