Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for March, 2011

Ferraro and Fox News

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 30, 2011

I’ve been watching Facebook to see if any of my left-leaning friends are extolling the liberal virtues of the late Geraldine Ferraro, the first female major party candidate for Vice President (Mondale-Ferraro lost in a landslide to Reagan-Bush in 1984) but nothing so far. Then it struck me. Ms. Ferraro was a Fox News contributor since 1999. How could a liberal icon appear on Fox? Does it mean they actually are “fair and balanced”? Even my high school classmate, Fox President Roger Ailes, had nice things to say about her. Not only that, but on November 2, 2010, she and the only other woman to be on a major party presidential ticket, Sarah Palin, shared the commentator’s desk on the Fox News election night coverage. It all must be so confusing to the doctrinaire lefties who view Fox as the devil’s creation to be stamped out by any means fair or foul. Yes, Fox personalities like Hannity and Beck are clearly on the right, O’Reilly bashes both but leans right and the news programs tilt a little right but doesn’t that provide some reasonable balance to the rest of TV media? Does the huge success of Fox News and conservative talk radio mean ignorant boobs populate the nation? … Well that must be it.


Posted in National Politics | 2 Comments »

Airplane vs An Earthquake

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 28, 2011

Thanks to D. F. for alerting me to the below story.

Among all the things one thinks about when an earthquake strikes, landing airplanes is not one of them. Where do you land a passenger jet approaching Tokyo when the runways are moving and a tsunami is racing to shore? Below, a Delta Airlines’ pilot tells his story in just such a situation:

“I’m writing from my room in the Narita crew hotel. It’s 8am. This was my inaugural trans-pacific trip as a new, recently checked out, international 767 Captain & it has been interesting, to say the least. I’ve crossed the Atlantic three times so the ocean crossing procedures were familiar. By the way, stunning scenery flying over the Aleutian Islands.

Everything was going fine until 100 miles out of Tokyo and in descent for arrival. The first indication of trouble was when Japan air traffic control started putting everyone into holding patterns. At first we thought it was the usual congestion on arrival. Then we got a company data link message advising about the earthquake, followed by another stating Narita airport was temporarily closed for inspection and expected to open shortly (the company is always so positive).

From our perspective things were obviously looking a little different. The Japanese controller’s anxiety level seemed quite high when he said expect “indefinite” holding time. No one would commit to a holding time like that, so I got the copilot and relief pilot busy looking at divert stations and our fuel situation, which after an ocean crossing, is typically low.

It wasn’t long, maybe ten minutes, before other pilots started requesting diversions. Air Canada, American, United, etc. all reporting minimal fuel. I still had enough fuel for 1.5 to 2.0 hours of holding, but needless to say, the diverts started complicating the situation.

Japan air traffic control then announced Narita was closed indefinitely due to damage. Planes immediately started requesting arrivals into Haneada, near Tokyo. A half dozen JAL and western planes got clearance in that direction but then ATC announced Haenada had just closed. Uh oh! Now instead of just holding, we all had to start looking at more distant alternatives like Osaka, or Nagoya.

One bad thing about a large airliner is that you can’t just pop into any little airport. We need lots of runway. With more planes piling in from both east and west, all needing a place to land and several now fuel critical, ATC was getting over-whelmed. In the scramble, and without waiting for my fuel to get critical, I got a clearance to head for Nagoya – fuel situation still okay. So far so good.

A few minutes later, I was “ordered” by ATC to reverse course. Nagoya was saturated with traffic and unable to handle more planes (read- airport full). Ditto for Osaka.

With that, my situation went instantly from fuel okay, to fuel minimal considering we might have to divert a much farther distance. Multiply my situation by a dozen other aircraft all in the same boat, all making demands requests and threats to ATC for clearances. Air Canada and then someone else went to “emergency” fuel situation. Planes started heading for air force bases. The nearest to Tokyo was Yokoda AFB. I threw my hat in the ring for that. The answer, Yokoda closed.

By now it was becoming a three ring circus in the cockpit, my copilot on the radios, me flying and the relief copilot buried in the charts trying to figure out where to go that was within range, while data link messages were flying back and forth between us and company dispatch in Atlanta. I picked Misawa AFB at the north end of Honshu island. We could get there with minimal fuel remaining. ATC was happy to get rid of us so we cleared out of the Tokyo maelstrom. We heard ATC try to send planes toward Sendai, a small regional airport on the coast which was later the one I think that got flooded by a tsunami.

Atlanta dispatch then sent us a message asking if we could continue to Chitose airport on the Island of Hokkaido, north of Honshu. Other Delta planes were heading that way. More scrambling in the cockpit – check weather, check charts, check fuel – okay. We could still make it and not be going into a fuel critical situation … if we had no other fuel delays.

As we approached Misawa we got clearance to continue to Chitose. Critical decision thought process. Let’s see – trying to help company – plane overflies perfectly good divert airport for one farther away…wonder how that will look in the safety report, if anything goes wrong.

Suddenly ATC comes up and gives us a vector to a fix well short of Chitose and tells us to standby for holding instructions. Nightmare realized. Situation deteriorating rapidly. After initially holding near Tokyo, starting a divert to Nagoya, reversing course back to Tokyo then to re-diverting north toward Misawa, all that happy fuel reserve that I had was vaporizing fast. My subsequent conversation, paraphrased of course…., went something like this:

“Sapparo Control – Delta XX requesting immediate clearance direct to Chitose, minimum fuel, unable hold.”
“Negative Ghost-Rider, the Pattern is full” <enter top gun quote here<
"Sapparo Control – make that –
Delta XX declaring emergency, low fuel, proceeding direct Chitose"
"Roger Delta XX, understood, you are cleared direct to Chitose, contact Chitose approach….etc…."

Enough was enough, I had decided to preempt actually running critically low on fuel while in another indefinite holding pattern, especially after bypassing Misawa, and play my last ace…declaring an emergency. The problem with that is, now I have a bit of company paperwork to do, but what the heck.

We landed Chitose safely, with at least 30 minutes of fuel remaining before reaching a "true" fuel emergency situation. That's always a good feeling – being safe. They taxied us off to a remote parking area where we shut down and watched a half dozen or more other planes come streaming in. In the end, Delta had two 747s, my 767 and another 767 and a 777 all on the ramp at Chitose. We saw two American airlines planes, a United and two Air Canada as well. Not to mention several Al Nippon and Japan Air Lines planes.

Post-script – 9 hours later, Japan air lines finally got a boarding ladder to the plane where we were able to get off and clear customs. – that however, is another interesting story.

By the way, while writing this, I have felt four additional tremors that shook the hotel slightly – all in 45 minutes.”

The above story is recounted on numerous web sites. Here is one: Landing During an Earthquake

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A Space Shuttle Journey

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 28, 2011

Thanks to Mark S. for sending this You Tube site.

It uses time-lapse photography to show in about a minute the multi hour journey of a space shuttle from its hanger to launch. All but the last few seconds are silent.

Enjoy, Click here: Space Shuttle

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No-Fly Zone, Whose Job Is It?

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 14, 2011

An Associated Press report printed in the March 12, 2011 issue of the Seattle Times contained the following statement:

“The Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to protect the rebels, increasing pressure on the U.S. and other Western powers to take action that most have expressed deep reservations about.”

I understand why the 22 member Arab League might want the cover of a UN approved action but why should “Western powers,” let alone the United States, have to impose the no-fly zone. Many of the League members have robust militaries. Egypt, to name one, is well armed with American made (and paid for) equipment. Let them toss out Gadhafi. A little war would galvanize their country when they could most use some national unity. The Saudis could pay for it.

If it has to be a “Western” power, surely the European Union, which needs Libya’s oil, has the military muscle to do the job. The Brits and French actually have aircraft carriers. Add in Italy and Germany and you’d have four countries battle tested in Northern Africa not that long ago.

As an alternative, subcontract the job to the Israelis. Just leave us out of this one.

Cross posted on Sound Politics

Posted in Military | 3 Comments »

President, Savior

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 12, 2011

If you are looking for a president who is also a savior, expect to be disappointed. In 2008, seemingly endless wars and a rapidly declining economy had people frustrated, angry and scared. Many listened to Barack Obama’s soaring rhetoric and bought his “Hope and Change” slogan as the words of a savior, one who would lead the nation in a new direction. There were varying interpretations of what hope, change and new direction meant but voters took it on faith it would be good. Perhaps they should not have overlooked his radical left associations, lack of experience and too good to be true promises. Hope and change became not what was hoped for nor change that was wanted. Across the political spectrum concern arose as Obama embraced policies from the Bush administration on Guantanamo, the Patriot Act and Afghanistan. Morre were alarmed at his sending debt into the stratosphere and implementing dubious policies from Obamacare to energy strangulation. A savior he was not.

So in 2012 we will try again. This time likely with a Republican president backed up by a more conservative House and Senate. We will look again for a president savior, a new style leader who tells the real truth. Someone like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who states his views clearly without prevarication, comes to mind. We’ll say we want congressional candidates who will put the nation ahead of their reelection and their own state or district. Unfortunately, Christie says he’s not running and don’t hold your breath about electing an altruistic Congress.

What then is our hope? Look to our history; see the influence of a Savior. At critical times America has been blessed by having the right leader for the challenge at hand. George Washington launched a new nation. Lincoln saved the Union and atoned for the sin of slavery, FDR gave the nation comfort and leadership through the Depression and WWII, Reagan restored American confidence and won the Cold War. Surely our current state of affairs cries out for a leader president in the mode of these predecessors. None of them qualified as saviors. Each of them had their flaws but they nevertheless brought the nation through periods of national peril. We cannot expect to find a pure saviors in politics but we can find leaders for these “critical Tmes.”

We can get involved. Write legislators, state and national. Attend town meetings and candidate forums. Support with money and time candidates who demonstrate integrity and political courage; that tell it like it is. In 2012, get informed; vote responsibly, America’s salvation depends upon it. Pray earnestly, America’s salvation depends upon it.

Posted in Presidential Politics | 1 Comment »

9-11 Truther – What Happened to Flight 77?

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 8, 2011

I received the below e-mail with a link to an interesting video of a test conducted at least as early as May 2004. While well before the 9-11 attack on the Pentagon, it explains why so few pieces of Flight 77 survived the impact on the building. Read the e-mail, then click on “Phantom Test” to see the video.

Subject: FW: F-4 PHANTOM JET meets brick wall…

The passenger jets that hit the WTC towers and Pentagon were doing 600 mph!!! Many of you may have seen the Michael Moore web site that asks the question; ‘If it’s true that a Boeing airliner hit the Pentagon, what happened to all the parts of it? Why did we not find more pieces of it? Where did all that mass GO?’

Well, for those who question what happened to ‘all the mass of that airplane,’ watch. It’s an Air Force engineering test of a concrete barrier that was to surround a nuclear reactor dome, to see if it would indeed survive an aerial attack. With the high speed cameras rolling, they attached an F-4 Phantom to the sled and then pumped up the speed to 500 MPH, and…

‘What happens when an ‘Unstoppable Force’ meets an ‘Immovable Object?” Watch in slow motion as the F-4 turns to vapor.

Phantom Test

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