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Heathrow Plane In Near Miss With Drone

jbwolfe Re:Creating Precedence (325 comments)

A pilot earning a fraction of what they used to earn, whose entire professional life is based on trust in him to save lives...

FTFY. Nonetheless, its still a very satisfying career under the right circumstances. At least for me...

about two weeks ago
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Drone Sightings Near Other Aircraft Up Dramatically

jbwolfe Re:These idiots are going to ruin it for everyone (132 comments)

At the speeds commercial aircraft are moving, yes, I could see a pilot mistaking a bird soaring for a RC airplane.

It has less to do with relative speed than relative speed vectors. The most difficult target to see, even when advised of its presence, is coming from a constant bearing decreasing range as there is little change in position with respect to field of vision. I have flown past, on three separate occasions, mylar balloons while at cruise flight levels (FL300-FL390) at 400-450 KTAS. The size and shape are arguably similar to drones, so distinguishing a drone from a bird while at drone operating altitudes should be equally trivial, assuming the event wasn't just a flash in the visual periphery.

Commercial aircraft are moving much faster, and the pilots are busy doing pesky things like preparing to land. Seeing a bird or drone is nothing more than a glance and a "I saw something".

My VMC scan at cruise is much less rigorous than while in a terminal environment. The flying pilot should be scanning outside (VMC), and leaving box work to the non-flying pilot. "See and avoid..."

All that said, I have not ever encountered a "drone" in my 15000 hours of flying, respecting the fact that I don't find myself in the environment (which most likely is not large commercial airports) in which drones operate. OTOH I usually have about 1 birdstrike per year, most of which I never see- only hear the impact.

about a month ago
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Oklahoma Botched an Execution With Untested Lethal Injection Drugs

jbwolfe Crime and punishment... (1198 comments)

Not the Dostoyevsky kind but the real thing. As I've aged, I have softened on my stance on capital punishment. My moral side feels that some crimes deserve to be met with death, and my rational side see the flaws in the legal system: far too many errors, especially by "eyewitnesses", mandatory minimums, three strikes, unethical prosecutors. Between those two sides I see how many people we lock up (quite a few are innocent, some sentences don't fit the crimes), and wonder why we still have so much crime in comparison to countries less inclined to incarcerate criminals. I'm shocked at what can cost you your life in many places: drug convictions in Indonesia, blasphemy in Saudi Arabia (can't wait to visit!). Are we somehow a more "just" country because we reserve the death penalty for the most "heinous" of crimes? Is our system of justice meant to punish, deter, or both? The advent of execution by lethal injection allowed us to see it as neither cruel nor unusual. Hangings, beheadings, and firing squads are now too barbaric. But as bunny ("Platoon") says "The only worry you got is dying. And if that happens, you won't know about it anyway." Maybe the method of execution is more about the conscience of those asked to carry it out. As a means to deter crime, no one can say for sure whether a criminal has been stopped short of carrying out a crime because of a potential death sentence. It didn't stop Clayton D. Lockett, but that doesn't mean it's not a deterrent. I understand why his victim's family might support this sentence. When I add it all up, however, capital punishment is loosing its appeal (pun intended).

about 8 months ago
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DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

jbwolfe Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

Semantics.

It does not use the term "mechanical". I did- because there was more to this incident than just human error.

It cites in that very first paragraph in 3.2 that the pitot tubes icing over is a failure. If you conclude that because it never says "mechanical" (my term as things that go wrong with the aircraft or its systems are referred to in this way) that there was not a aspect of systems being inop in the outcome, then you are using semantics to make your case.

You made the claim that the "pilots were the cause of the crash". I dispute that simplification of events as inaccurate and misleading. The mishap report concludes that in addition to pilot error, poor training, weather and the "total loss of airspeed information" caused by a (mechanical, sytems, or whatever term you prefer) failure of the Pitot tubes were components of this disaster. Pitot tubes were replaced wherever they were in use, including the aircraft that I am type rated in and have over 8000 hours experience in, as part of Airworthiness Directive that existed prior to this accident. Wonder why...

...perhaps because the Thales versions were prone to "fail" to perform as intended.

about 7 months ago
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DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

jbwolfe Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

Take the Turkish Airlines that crashed in Amsterdam.

This incident has some similarities to the Asiana crash in SFO. In both cases, pilots failed to recognize FMA's (flight mode annunciation). In Schipol, the autothrust had changed to retard mode (used during the flare) which allows the airplane to slow below ref speed and land. In SFO, they may have disarmed the autothrust instead of disconnected it, the difference being that they bypassed the low speed wakeup function of the autothrust which prevents low energy conditions.

In both cases, pilots lacked understanding of the automation. However, in the first case the automation malfunctioned.

about 7 months ago
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DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

jbwolfe Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

Autopilots often make things more difficult for a pilot because, in some circumstances, the autopilot simply adds a new workload layer that can sometimes interfere with operations.

That is exactly how we are trained with regard to the use of automation: If its increasing your workload, turn it off. We are encouraged to occasionally fly not only without the autopilot, but also without flight directors and autothrust off. The idea being to maintain proficiency.

about 7 months ago
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DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

jbwolfe Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

Bullshit! The cause of the crash was the product of poor decision making, poor training, and mechanical failure. Every mishap is the product of a chain of events, so to say "the pilots were the cause of the crash" is completely wrong and misleading.

The cause of the AF442 mishap is detailed here. And it says that the pilots flew into an area of weather that they knew about, lost air data, and entered a stall from which the did not recover. You're overemphasizing the pilots role, under emphasizing the mechanical failure and exaggerating the capability of automation.

about 8 months ago
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DARPA Developing the Ultimate Auto-Pilot Software

jbwolfe Re:Pilots crash planes (75 comments)

If you know any pilots put this to them and watch the response ;)

WTF does that mean? Am I supposed to react with giddy agreement that my profession is pointless? Using your logic, humans need never do anything that can be automated- surgery, programming, procreation...

No artificial intelligence can replace the versatility of the human mind. Pilots are there for the ability to make decisions under widely varying conditions. The automation is there to lessen the work load.

The vast majority of heavy aircraft losses are due to pilots.

Yeah, and when your idea of the pilot-less cockpit is attained it will be "The vast majority of heavy aircraft losses are due to lack of pilots."

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

jbwolfe Airbus A320 (702 comments)

While it gets regular maintenance that includes depot level refurbishments, they fly an average of 10 hours per day. The oldest I've flown, that is still in operation, was delivered June of 1997. It is rare that they are taken out of service. The oldest of all aircraft I've flown still in operation is a P-3C delivered in 1985- soon to be retired. This model has seen a good deal of press coverage of late for the missions it has flown in search of MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

jbwolfe IBM 5150 (702 comments)

Not that it gets much use anymore...

Still working since the day it was acquired in fall of 1985. This despite having been immersed in water (covered the circuit board but left the floppy drives dry) after a basement flooding a year ago. Its a bit reluctant to boot sometimes but after a power cycle or two, loads up to DOS 3.1 or basic.

about 8 months ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

jbwolfe Re:General Aviation is dying, somthing needs to ch (269 comments)

As far as the commercial pilots saying this will fail, 1 You have a professional bias, get over it 2 FAA is under pressure to ensure that GA doesn't fail 3 If this is demonstrably "non-commercial" it should succeed

Citation needed...

As for statement number 1, don't confuse industrial expertise for "professional bias". After 20 years in the field I'd say it will draw unwanted attention from the FAA. I'd also say it's not economically feasible with Avgas at $6 a gallon.

about 8 months ago
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

jbwolfe Don't see much economic appeal... (269 comments)

Avgas is about $6 a gallon so unless you were going somewhere close enough to drive anyway, it would not likely be cheap. Further, a real airline ticket is still historically VERY cheap (just aggravating to use sometimes), and a great deal more safe compared to civil accident rates.

about 8 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

jbwolfe Re:This story is so strange (491 comments)

Plausible except for one thing. Fule range at 12000' is not adequate to transit as far as they did- would have needed to be at cruise flight levels.

about 9 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

jbwolfe Re:A very plausible scenario from March 18 (491 comments)

It was also said that the aircraft underwent several course changes as well as altitude changes (climbs and descents), though admittedly information has been unreliable thus far. This theory doesn't explain these changes and they can't be ignored. The aircraft had to remain at cruise altitude to transit the distance involved as fuel consumption would be too great at low altitudes. If they did experience an emergency and lost navigational ability over time, they still could have used the wet compass to determine that they were headed on a southerly course for hours.

about 9 months ago
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How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

jbwolfe Re:Flight recorder (491 comments)

The CVR only records radio, interphone and cockpit conversation. It provides context to data recorded on the FDR which holds 30 hours or so of a minimum of 88 flight parameters. Either or both would likely answer the majority of investigators questions.

about 9 months ago
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Google's Barge Is a Marketing Showroom

jbwolfe Maybe... (59 comments)

Google's first attempt at a holodeck?

about a year ago
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Nuclear Officers Napped With Blast Door Left Open

jbwolfe Re:Why hold them to higher standard? (238 comments)

Now I see why you always mod me down; you're an Air Force guy who hates pilots...

about a year ago
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Cost of Healthcare.gov: $634 Million — So Far

jbwolfe Re:failure...certainly (497 comments)

And millions of people are under-impressed by the fact that Obama signed us all up as customers for giant health insurance companies instead of actually doing something to ensure that people get something useful out of the venture.

If by that you mean you would have preferred a single payer approach, I would agree. This was a result of compromise (a concept not well understood by House Republicans, BTW) due to the exhaustive lobbying efforts of the insurance industry, and is a prime example of the need to remove money from politics.

about a year ago
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Cost of Healthcare.gov: $634 Million — So Far

jbwolfe Re:An Overarching Problem (497 comments)

Every military person I've known have done it for the free college money they give out.

During the Regan expansion, I chose to sign a contract with the Navy. My path did not involve any contribution on their part towards my college education; AOCS is not a scholarship program, and like a fool, I decline to participate in the GI Bill.

People are inherently selfish but I will admit there are a small percentage that do things because they mean well and desire nothing in return. A dying breed for sure.

I truly did it because I thought it would be exciting (it was, mostly), but we were not (formally) at war with anyone until Desert Shield/Storm came along. As an added bonus, I learned to fly and got to play with really fascinating machinery- "something in return". I would concur that my motivation was indeed selfish from a strict interpretation, but not exclusively so. And most of my peers came from the same frame of mind. Despite a minority that saw it as a path to the airlines, most of us "mean(t) well and desire(d) nothing in return" save the pay and adventure. I would conclude the percentage might not be that small, even today. OTOH, I would strongly encourage my son to choose any branch other than Army or Marine Corps as the chance of getting fired upon is much greater than in the others.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Russian Sukhoi SuperJet-100 crashes on demonstration flight

jbwolfe jbwolfe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbwolfe (241413) writes "The Russian aviation industry has a poor reputation with numerous mishaps and dated commercial technology. But hopes have been raised by development of the Sukhoi SuperJet-100. Designed to compete with the likes of Embrear E-190's and Bombardier CRJ700/CRJ900/CRJ1000. According to news reports "The twin-engine aircraft, which can carry about 100 people, lost contact after descending to 6,000 feet (1,828 meters) on its second flight of the day during a promotional tour of Asian countries.
Unfortunately, until more is known about the circumstances, this setback will likely significantly deter any potential customers until it can be determined if it is an issue of design or production."

Link to Original Source
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It will only get more complicated...

jbwolfe jbwolfe writes  |  more than 2 years ago

jbwolfe (241413) writes "Digital security is complicated and becoming more so.
It would seem as though the focus of the technological future lay in protecting and hardening communications and communication devices, as well as educating users or creating foolproof devices for them. Is there any hope that laypersons can be trusted with the most crucial secrets of business and government as the world grows more interconnected?"

Link to Original Source
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HP Testing Windows 8 on TouchPads

jbwolfe jbwolfe writes  |  more than 3 years ago

jbwolfe (241413) writes "Just like the headline says, several outlets are reporting HP is 'currently doing "proof of concept work" testing the Preview Edition of Windows 8 on TouchPad tablets'. I for one like webOS but would find considerable value added to the TouchPad if and when it gets alternative OS's on the menu.
Further lending credence to these rumors is HP's decision to retain its PSG after reconsidering the sale."

Link to Original Source
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Spirit Pilots: ON STRIKE

jbwolfe jbwolfe writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jbwolfe (241413) writes "After four years of negotiation, the pilots of Spirit Airlines, failing to reach a fair and equitable contract have decided to withdraw their services. Spirit is of course famous for cheap, no frills service where just about anything goes for a fee. They have also drawn attention for some very suggestive marketing campaigns.
Sounds like the employees are treated just like the customers..."
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RIAA faces a setback

jbwolfe jbwolfe writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jbwolfe (241413) writes "Looks like Jammie Thomas is gonna get another shot: PC Magazine has it. Judge Davis seems to doubt the RIAA's implication that "making available" is actual distribution. Good luck to Ms. Thomas- may she and her attorney(s) finally raise the nagging legal questions that have been stymied until now."
Link to Original Source

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