We were there…

Nothing like the loss of a friend or relative to restore long-faded memories of them and the events you shared.

That’s my fallout from learning that Neil Armstrong passed over the weekend. On one side the description of his death — from complications the developed after bypass surgery — struck home for its striking familiarity. My father suffered a heart attack, needed and received a triple bypass and spent 10 days in ICU, never to recover.

This familiarity gave me a palpable sense of what Mr. Armstrong’s family endured and their grief is shared here amid personal flashbacks to my father’s final days and a renewed sense of loss.

But my personal familiarity with Mr. Armstrong sharpens my sense of loss as one more personal than that of a fan losing a personal hero.

We met many years ago, after he left NASA and my job as a reporter in Washington, D.C. occasionally put me in proximity to the famous, the great, the heroic and the mighty.

Mr. Armstrong was all of those and none of those — at least in the way he conducted his life after Apollo 11. Friendly, engaging, but eschewing any of the ego or hero worship that afflicted others, he conducted his life with quiet purpose, never ceasing to seek equal credit for the unnamed thousands of anonymous workers, scientists and technicians who contributed to the success of Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins and Neil Armstrong.

It was a reception at the National Air & Space Museum, a fitting locale and a frequent stop on my daily travels between the FAA, the Capital and my office in N.W. D.C. Mr. Armstrong engaged in friendly conversation when we met, tolerating the embarrassed intrusion of a scribe who caught him staring at an Apollo exhibit at the museum — a scribe resisting the amateurish urge to ask for an autograph or for him to pose for a photo with the feeling-fortunate reporter.

He said something about how the moments on the Moon seemed so fleeting but had seemed to last forever in memories.

My response was something along the lines of agreement, noting how millions of us felt the same. “We were all with you that day, everyone on Earth.”

“Yes, you were…nice meeting you…” He was nice enough to call me by name as he moved on a little farther from the growing crowd. When my boss later asked if he said anything worth reporting, my feeble response was, “It wasn’t that kind of conversation.” Oh, was all he could manage.

Mr. Armstrong belongs to the ages and has for more than 40 years, forever associated with his singular “luck” as he put it, to be the human to take mankind’s first step off our home world and onto another.

You’re with us still, Mr. Armstrong, and always will be.

UCAP website to go dark in protest of SOPA/PIPA

On Jan 18 the Uncontrolled Airspace website will go dark from 8am to 8pm as part of an internet-wide protest of the SOPA/PIPA bills which are being considered by the US Congress.

Cory Doctorow of the Boing Boing website explains the issues well.


“… I don’t think that any amount of “piracy” justifies this kind of depraved indifference to the consequences of one’s actions. Big Content haven’t just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the “fun” Internet: they’ve declared war on every person who uses the net to publicize police brutality, every oppressed person in the Arab Spring who used the net to organize protests and publicize the blood spilled by their oppressors, every abused kid who used the net to reveal her father as a brutalizer of children, every gay kid who used the net to discover that life is worth living despite the torment she’s experiencing, every grassroots political campaigner who uses the net to make her community a better place — as well as the scientists who collaborate online, the rescue workers who coordinate online, the makers who trade tips online, the people with rare diseases who support each other online, and the independent creators who use the Internet to earn their livings.”

Read the whole thing here.

We urge all our US listeners to contact their elected representatives and tell them you oppose SOPA/PIPA.

Happy New Year!


Image originally shared by:

Ladies Love Taildraggers Video

If only…

Originally shared by champguy in the Forums.

High Flight

Oh the humanity!

Where have I heard this before?

“A special committee set up to steer the implementation of a critical NextGen technology has concluded there is – as yet – no business case for an equipage mandate.”

via FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee pans ADS-B. For now….

Remember our Vets every day…

Well, it’s 11/11/11…and at 11 there’s an event honoring veterans that’s on my to-do list. There will be lots of hats and pins and patches attesting to the different services and various conflicts the veterans faced and survived.

For my part, the moment is but one moment on one day in which the service of my father, my uncles, my neighbors and friends dominates my thoughts. Many of those remembered gave the last full measure of their efforts in conflicts far from home; many others made it home and built America’s remarkable middle class out of the GI Bill and out of their sweat and tears and blood. Some of them passed on to that great vets reunion beyond us.

Remember them all today and every day; remember when you see that homeless guy wearing old, faded olive drab or dessert camo…they probably earned those clothes the hard way and now have a hard way through life.

Those deserve our remembrances and our thanks as much as those with shiny badges and fresh, clean clothes. And the whole lot of them deserve at least a moment of our remembrances every single day we continue to enjoy loving under our flag.

To my fellow vets, a tip of the wing to you all.

UCAP Meetup at Barnes-Westfield MA

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Barnes Meetup group pic

(L to R) Bob Snyder, Dave Pascoe, Doug Fortnam, Jack Hodgson, Mike Smith, Bill Mullett, John Telfeyan (and Griffin), Rick Felty.

Foreflight on dealing with iPad data deletion.

ForeflightForeflight has published some warnings and advice for how to deal with the iPad iOS 5 behavior of deleting information unexpectedly.

If you are downloading large files and your iPad or iPhone is running low on disk space, iOS 5 can remove data from inside apps under certain conditions. For example, if you had 1GB of free space and downloaded a 3GB movie, the operating system will delete 2GB of data from other apps to make room. When this happens, your iPad home screen with display a “Cleaning” message underneath app icons that are having data removed. The next time you start those apps, they will be missing data that had been previously downloaded.

The go on to provide advice on how to minimize (eliminate?) the possibility of data being unavailable while in flight.