Tuesday, October 24, 2006

new class

Only a few days rest for the weary and it is back to a brand new class. It is going to be tuff going from teaching advanced stuff like formation back to fearing for my life doing visual straight-ins. Traffic pattern stalls are not that fun either, but they somehow find a way to make them exciting. And there are no girls in this class, so I am by myself again. No one to help balance out all that testosterone (Mom, you know how I feel!). Oh well, I am used to it. I got some good advice to not discuss specifics of student sorties, but maybe I can include some funny trends in the next few weeks.... Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

let's do dis

This has been going around the office. An oldie but a goodie.

advice for wanna-be airline pilots

Great advice from Sam at Blogging at FL250. Coming from a daughter of an airline pilot, he is much wiser than his 25 years. And he takes great photos.

Want to get a major airline pilot steamed? Tell him: "You have the best job! I'd do anything to do what you do!" Why does that upset him? It's not that he hates his job - in another context, many would admit that they enjoy it and indeed would rather do nothing else. No - by openly coveting his job and proclaiming in the rosiest terms how great it is, he feels you are discounting how long and hard he worked to get there, you're completely ignoring the sacrifices he makes in being away from his family, you're forgetting the 9 hour overnights and 15 hour duty days and broken airplanes and flow delays and irritable flight attendants. You're glossing over the unease he feels as paycuts loom and furloughs creep ever closer to his seniority number. You're essentially denying that this fellow works for a living, a charge that airline pilots have always been sensitive to.

internet free speech under attack

First Yahoo! and Google gave up political dissidents in China. Now miliblogging is dying a slow death thanks to our own and LiveJournal is connected with the Russian government, which is defiantly not known for its support of human rights or free speech. Its a multiple front war on the tenets of our way of life, what makes this country great, and most of us sit idly by and watch it happen. You can do something about it. Live free or die brothers!

Hat tip: Instapundit

I do not know if I would put Bob Woodward and Anna Politkovskaya on the same level, but I think she should be highly honored.
If there was a Nobel Prize for journalistic courage, Mrs. Politkovskaya, who was born in New York, the daughter of Soviet diplomats, would have won it hands down. She had faced death several times, including 2004 when she was poisoned and nearly died.
Mr. Putin's Russia, it's time to say, is a gangster state, a synonymic phrase for what he calls "managed democracy." How right she was in calling Mr. Putin's leadership "bloody."
Mrs. Politkovskaya was the 13th Russian journalist killed in the six years since Mr. Putin took over, according to the Economist. Reporters Without Borders gives a higher figure: 21 journalists killed in Russia in the same period.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

my first students

My first class graduated from T-37s on Thursday. It was bittersweet. There were good students, not so good students, colorful personalities, different backgrounds, different dreams. When a class completes T-37s, their second phase of pilot training, they have a track select, in which they divide into fighter/bomber, tanker/transport, helicopter, and C-130 tracks. It is a very tense night where each student stands up before a room of their peers, instructors past and future, family, and whoever else wants to come. They are roasted, ribbed and teased about all of the funny things they did or said while with their classmates. There are of course PC limits to this roast these days. At the end of their teasing, the student turns toward the screen to face their fate, one that will effect the rest to their career, which these days is at a 10 year minimum. I remember that day well, and the gigantic lump I had in the pit of my stomach. I waited for the yell of the crowd before I turned around, hoping it would in some way indicate what I had recieved. In every track select, there are suprises, both to the students and the instructors. Some were better leaders behind the scenes than instructors know. Another might have better academic grades. All of that, plus flying skill, other tests on emergency procedures go into a student's ranking in order to determine what they will fly next.

I am jealous of my students. They get to move on, no matter what it is they are moving on to, and I have to remain here. Of course I am most jealous of the fighter/bomber students, who get to go on to the T-38. I miss flying the T-38 everyday. It is difficult to go from afterburner and a glass cockpit back to one of the oldest aircraft in the Air Force inventory that can barely fly single engine. But most of all they have the chance to go on to bigger and better things, something I have to wait another two and a half years. Chances are one of my students will be back to my squadron someday to instruct as well, but in six months, when they are done with their final phase of pilot training, it will be hard to watch them get their next assignments, going on to what I have always dreamed of being, a fighter pilot.

Monday, October 16, 2006

free speech: some of us think it is still worth fighting for

There have been quite a few instances of a lack of allowance of free speech by those who claim to champion it. The buffoonery at Columbia University has had a good amount of attention in the blogosphere and elsewhere. Rosie O'Donnell's rants on The View seem pretty closed-minded and ignorant to me as well. Now there are even calls to limit free speech in science.

In her WSJ column this week, Peggy Noonan slams the point home.
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This--listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity--is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.

We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?

Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don't. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn't come quickly, they'll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.

It is an insult to those who have given their lives to protect free speech. It saddens me to see such a lack of debate. I hope that trend does not continue.

jenny lewis and the watson twins

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins are just as good live as their cd's imply. And they look like they are having a good time out there. Enjoy.

Via My Old Kentucky Blog

Sunday, October 15, 2006

be inspired

The new Army recruiting video. When does the Air Force get ours?

Via Blackfive

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

last day of freedom

Tomorrow is my last day of leave. Its a travel day, so it doesn't really count, but I do have time in the morning to go hit some golf balls with my dad and have breakfast before heading off to the airport for the whole ordeal. I did not get as much done while I was home than I wanted, but did get in some much needed shopping (come on, I am a girl) and get my two seconds of fame. Now all that's left is fitting everything back into my suitcase. I'm looking forward to getting home t seeing my dog and finish up my first pilot training class.

A few links of note while I have the chance:

Sen McCain guest blogging at Captain's Quarters
Discussing indifference in the face of Islamic attacks on free speech at brain terminal
Dennis Collins discusses new space policy over at HangarView
Chopper Chick has some awesome fire photos from Cali

Sweet video from The Thermals via clever titles are so last summer

There are downloadable mp3s as well. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

russian journalist swimmin with the fishes

Being an Eastern European Studies major in college, I am particularly interested in the latest mob-like happenings in Russia. Anyone who has followed Russian President Putin's time in office has known he continues to tighten his control over government the provides only limited freedoms to its citizens. Now yet another death in his quest for absolute control over the nuclear power. Michelle Malkin has the round up and links. Other journalist killings summerized by the AP.

In 2004:
Putin has imposed censorship rules on TV, proposed replacing elected provincial officials with appointees, and called on his state's vast taxing power to frighten Russia's resistant oligarchs into submission. He has turned Parliament into a rubber stamp. Even the secret police is making a comeback. [source]
In 2005, he cracked down on NGOs. Some might allude his moves are defensive.

IN A WORLD OF AMERICAN preponderance, European integration, and Asian ascent, it is sometimes hard to take Russia seriously as a great power. In many respects, the country has been in steady decline since the end of the Cold War. Its population is shrinking. Life expectancy is falling. It cannot adequately safeguard its nuclear weapons stockpiles. Its military is in an advanced state of collapse.

Russia faces a threat from Islamist terror in its southern regions. Parts of Siberia contain more Chinese immigrants than Russians. Moscow's attempts to retain a Eurasian sphere of influence have been set back by democratic revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. Russia risks being eclipsed by the rise of Asia in the east and the vibrancy of Atlanticist democracies in the west.

I'm not all that suprised. If you are willing to knock off a few oil barrons, what is the problem with some pesky journalists. I'm sure American journalists are thanking their lucky stars the Bush administration does not have similar habits, dispite how much they are disliked.

Free Hugs Campaign. Inspiring Story! (music by sick puppies)

Friday, October 06, 2006

some respect

Its not uncommon for those groundpounders (and I say that with fondness) to talk bad about those of us in the chAir Force. I know you all are jealous of our golf courses and we have all the pretty girls, but seriously guys, we do work hard. Here's a defense from Lightning over at OP-FOR.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

here here mr. medved

Being a conservative Christian is a tough life these days. The media makes it seem as though we are pushing this country toward some crazy theocracy. But do we want to force everyone under our rules? Call me a crazy Christian, but I don't see our government outlawing abortions, allowing prayer in school, or teaching creationism, no matter which party gains control of the legislature, anytime soon. So much for theocracy. Michael Medved's Townhall article yesterday covers this subject much more eloquently that I ever could.
Why, then, the blatant loathing of Christian believers in so many books and columns and manifestos from non-believers on the left? None of the volumes decrying Christian influence suggest that religious families engage in violence more frequently than atheists, or unravel the fabric of society through criminality, selfishness or greed. When I’ve interviewed the authors on my radio show, they freely admit that they’d be pleased to live next door to an Evangelical, or even a Fundamentalist household, because such people are likely to be law-abiding, hard-working, neighborly, stable and considerate. This contradiction demonstrates the irrational essence of the hatred and fear of a group of citizens who do more than their share at feeing the hungry, housing the homeless, keeping families together, educating their children, serving in the military, giving to charity, maintaining their homes, nursing the sick, promoting adoption and building vibrant communities. What, exactly, do conservative Christians do that in any way harms or damages their non-Christian neighbors?
In answering that question, critics of the “Religious Right” always come back to issues of political influence and their groundless fears of some future, Orwellian, dictatorial, theocracy. These alarmists consistently ignore the actual agenda of even the most ambitious Christian conservatives who express no desire to install a new, religiously inflexible form of government, but merely wish to return to the more hospitable attitude to public expressions of faith that flourished in this nation until the 1960’s.
Read the whole thing. As for me, I'm going to follow Christ in the same way no matter how I am criticized or threatened. If you want to talk about it, I would be happy to, but for those of you who are not interested, not to worry. You will get no forceable conversions from me, or hear me try to change our government into a theocracy. Christ wants you to accept Him, and He did tell us "Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's." That's more than just good advice.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

review: flyboys

One thought: a mediocre movie ruined by romance. I felt like I was watching a precursor to Pearl Harbor, but without the horrible acting of Ben Afflect. The Boston Globe agrees, although I do not quite agree with Mr. Burr's critique of the flying scenes.
In any event, a flyboy movie exists for its flying sequences, and once it gets aloft, ``Flyboys" is reasonably ripping. Combining actual aerial footage and computer-generated special effects, the scenes have the dramatic crackle that's lacking on the ground, and the inclusion of deadly webs of CGI tracer-fire adds a new dimension to the swoops and rollovers and Immelmanns . I'll let the aviation-history wonks parse the realism of the bi planes; on action terms, the movie succeeds.
The majority of the flying sequences seem pretty fake to me. But I may just be jaded, and those who fly similar type aircraft can put me in my place. I am also not a NY Times fan, but an allusion to Top Gun is amusing.
“Flyboys” ascends close enough to this danger zone to singe its wings, yearning for a time when wars were fought by gentlemen, combat was glamorous and the French were amused by monolingual Americans.
Too bad there were no times like those....

imdb.com list of reviews

From Variety.com:
That not a single soul, not even a Frenchman, smokes in this film tells you pic's portrait of the war has been sanitized for modern consumption. Even the 1958 picture about the same unit, William Wellman's "Lafayette Escadrille," had the Yank leading man, played by Tab Hunter, fall for a French hooker; here, the love interest is a virtuous young thing who looks after her dead brother's orphaned kids.
...underline the bitter fatalism of these warriors who, while the most glamorous figures in uniform, had a life expectancy once they started flying of three to six weeks. They were beautiful stoics, alcoholic knights of the air, the poster boys for the Lost Generation; veteran pilots wouldn't even speak to new arrivals at first, knowing many of them would be dead in short order.
I wonder why it is that Hollywood demands such realism in certain aspects of our society but not about history. I can hypothesize.