Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Legends in Their Own Time

After visiting the Lyon Air Museum (finally) one thing that caught my eye (for reasons unknown) was the split flaps on both the B-17 and C-47 (likely others too that I missed, but that is just a reason to go back). A little googling led to Legends in Thier Own Time. This is a terrific collection of articles, cutaways (like the P-38 above) and other resources from the time that these aircraft were in service.  If you cannot find something of interest on the contents page, maybe you don't like airplanes enough.

David Martin,
1st Lt, CAP
Sq 150 Training Officer

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Seafire Restoration..

This just in from Rick the cop over at Squadron 68..

..obscure fighter, great restoration!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Apollo 8 - Forty-five Years Later

While not all may care for noting the anniversary of every aerospace milestone, today is the 45th anniversary of one that will not go unremembered here. Multiples of five years are not too frequent to recall the truly important ones.

Launched on Dec. 21, 1968, Apollo 8, crewed by Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, orbited Earth’s natural satellite for the first time. 

The second manned flight in the Apollo program, it was preceded less than 2 months earlier by Apollo 7 an Earth orbital mission that proved out the Command and Service Module, and marked the recovery from the loss of Grissom, White and Chafee in Apollo 1.

On Christmas Eve, 1968 man for the first time looked back and viewed the blue marble we all call home.  Things have never been quite the same since it was first viewed this way, including the first Earth Day, a scant 5 months later.  Within the following eight months Apollo 9 tested the Lunar Module in earth orbit and Apollo 10 in lunar orbit.  The culmination of the charge given by President Kennedy only six years earlier to "... go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
The image that affected the world-view of almost everyone that has seen it is:

It was not seen by man until the 4th orbit and was nearly missed again.  The story of how it was captured is told here along with a marvelous simulation of how it came to be.  (That such imagery is taken for granted by those jaded by modern video games is best appreciated by those of us who remember a cardboard cutout  moved along a slot in a giant map in a TV studio or NASA's then cool, now crude conventional; B&W film animations.

A bit later the Apollo 8 crew pointed the video camera out a window at Earth so we could all share. It will always be worth viewing and listening to. 

Merry Christmas to all, all of us on the good Earth.

David Martin,
1st Lt, CAP
Sq 150 Training Officer

Women pilots of WWII will get grand recognition in Rose Parade

After waiting decades for military status and honors, several WASPs, all around 90, will ride atop their own float in the Rose Parade.

 By Hailey Branson-Potts, LA Times December 22, 2013 

For so many years, their service was largely forgotten.

In the midst of World War II, with legions of male pilots overseas, the 1,102 young women comprising the Women Air-force Service Pilots flew more than 60 million miles domestically, test-flew repaired military aircraft and ferried non-flying male military officers around the country.

But as the war neared its end and the men returned, their program was disbanded. Nearly 70 years later, with millions of people watching, their service will be celebrated in grand style with a float in the 125th  Rose Parade on Jan. 1.

WASPs from across the country have been raising money for the float and the trip to Pasadena for the reunion of a life-time.

"They're all about 90 years old, but they're coming and they're saying, 'Give me a blanket and hot coffee, and we'll be fine,' " said Kate Landdeck, vice president of the nonprofit Wingtip-to-Wingtip Assn., which is sponsoring the float.

Flora Belle Reece, 89, will be one of eight WASPs to ride atop the float, titled "Our Eyes Are on the Stars" and built by

Fiesta Parade Floats.
The theme of this year's parade is "Dreams Come True" — fitting for Reece, who had wanted to fly since childhood.

"I lived on a farm and watched the birds soar, and everything that had to do with planes I wanted to go see," she said.

When Reece told her father she wanted to be a pilot, he told her gently, "That's not something women usually do, Flora Belle. But if you can figure out how, more power to you." Her teachers chided her, saying she needed to find a "practical solution" to what she wanted to be when she grew up.

The WASP program gave her an opportunity.
Reece, who now lives in Lancaster, was 19 when she joined a group of women at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, in November 1943 for her training.

Back then, she was Flora Belle Smith — or "Smitty the Kid" to her friends, who were amused she had never left Oklahoma before the program. The women, she said, were assigned housing by last name, and it was in the barracks that she met Alyce Stevens Rohrer from Provo, Utah.

Rohrer too will be atop the Rose Parade float. She was 18 when she joined the WASPs.

"I could fly a plane before I could drive a car," she said, laughing. On a recent afternoon, Reece and Rohrer, whose friendship has spanned more than half a century, laughed over stories of their WASP days in Rohrer's Pasadena home, where photos of both she and her husband in uniform hang on the walls. Rohrer, 90, smiled at a photo of herself in a flight suit with wide legs and a cinched waist hitched as high as it could go.

The ladies wore men's gear, she said, and it dwarfed them. A colonel at their base made them wear turbans — which she hated — because he worried their long hair would get in their eyes.

Rohrer took on a high-risk assignment, testing problem planes after they were repaired to see if they were air-worthy. The planes were those used to train cadets preparing for combat.

"People ask me all the time, 'Why did you do it if it was so dangerous?'" she said. "My only answer was, yes, but it wasn't anywhere near as dangerous as my brother going on the beach in Normandy.... I don't even think I thought of the danger. I just enjoyed flying." Rohrer flew AT-6 and BT-13 aircraft. Reece, who also test-flew repaired planes, flew AT-6 and B-26 aircraft, she said. She is thrilled that the Rose Parade float features a replica AT-6 plane.

 The WASPs were promised that they would later be classified as military, Rohrer said. But in 1944 — as more male pilots returned — a bill that would have given them militarization was voted down in Congress. The program was disbanded in December 1944 and the women left the service as civilians, just as they had begun.

"It was like Rosie the Riveter getting kicked out of the factory as soon as the men came back to take the factory jobs," said Landdeck, who is a historian at Texas Woman's University and a private pilot.

Rohrer said it was a "terrible disappointment to all of us to quit flying those beautiful planes" after the program's disbanding.

"All the men were coming home and needed our jobs," she said. "So Congress just forgot the promise about militarrization and said, 'They're women. Send them home.'"

When the women who wanted to continue careers in aviation applied for jobs, they often received letters from airlines offering them stewardess jobs, Rohrer said. She got one of those letters — and tore it up.

 "There's nothing wrong with being a stewardess," she said. "But I wasn't one." "We wanted to fly," Reece said, shaking her head. "That was the thing."  Both women said they would have stayed in the military if they had been able to. They became school teachers:

Rohrer taught history and English at Arroyo High School in El Monte; Reece taught mathematics in Lancaster.

The WASPs were given military and veteran status in 1977 and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

Thirty-eight WASPs were killed in service. Because they were not enlisted soldiers, many were buried with no military fanfare and no flag on their caskets, and their families paid to bring their bodies home, Landdeck said.  The WASPs' reaction to having a Rose Parade float has been mixed, said Landdeck, who knows many of the pilots and will be traveling to the parade. The WASPs are still fundraising, she said, to build the float and pay for the women to travel to Pasadena.

"This is a very frugal generation," Landdeck said. "But they're so excited about having people know who they are. It's so much fun to realize you can have hard times and can be on a Rose Parade float when you're 90."

Rohrer, who has lived in Pasadena for more than 60 years, said she's a bit nervous about riding the float in the cold weather at her age. But it will be well worth it, she said.  "There are still so many people," she said, "who don't know anything about us."

Courtesy of:
Linda Abrams, 2LT, CAP
Aerospace Education Officer
Squadron 150

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Apologies for the lead-in commercial, but here is an interesting piece on the restoration of a Lockheed Vega; indeed a beautiful result but, alas, sandwiched between the "Film at Eleven" persiflage of a bubble-headed bleach-blonde with a Ron Burgundy-esque talking head looking on:

At the risk of a PC buzzkill, one reminds that NOT ONLY was this aircraft a fave of Amelia Earhart, but also Wiley Post whose Winnie Mae is on display at teh National Air and Space Museum.

More information on the Vega:

The Vega is a six-passenger monoplane built by the Lockheed company starting in 1927. It became famous for its use by a number of record breaking pilots who were attracted to the rugged and very long-range design. Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly the Atlantic single handed in one, and Wiley Post flew his around the world twice.

Designed by John Knudsen Northrop and Gerard Vultee, both of whom would later form their own companies, the aircraft was originally intended to serve with Lockheed's own airline routes. They set out to build a four-seat aircraft that was not only rugged, but the fastest aircraft as well. Utilizing the latest designs in monocoque fuselages, cantilever wings and the best engine available, the Vega delivered on the promise of speed.

The fuselage was monocoque, built from sheets of plywood, skinned over wooden ribs. Using a large concrete mold, a single half of the fuselage shell was laminated in sections with glue and then a rubber bladder was lowered into the mold and inflated with air to compress the lamination into shape. Two fuselage halves were then nailed and glued over a previously made rib framework. With the fuselage constructed in this fashion, the wing spar had to be kept clear, so a single spar cantilever was mounted atop the aircraft. The only part of the aircraft that wasn't particularly streamlined was the landing gear, although production versions wore sleek "spats". It was powered by the Wright Whirlwind, which delivered 225 horsepower (168 kW).

The first Vega 1, named the Golden Eagle, flew from Lockheed's Los Angeles plant on July 4, 1927. It could cruise at a then-fast 120 mph (193 km/h), and had a top speed of 135 mph (217 km/h). The four-passenger (plus one pilot) load, however, was considered too small for airline use. A number of private owners placed orders for the design however, and by the end of 1928, they had produced 68 of this original design. In the 1928 National Air Races in Cleveland, Vegas won every speed award.

In 1928 Vega 5 Yankee Doodle (NX4789) was used to break transcontinental speed records. On August 19-20, Hollywood stunt flier Arthur C. Goebel broke the coast-to-coast record of Russell Maughan by flying from Los Angeles, California to Garden City, New York in 18 hours and 58 minutes, in what was also the first nonstop flight from west to east. On October 25, barnstormer and former mail pilot Charles B.D. Collyer broke the nonstop east to west record set in 1923 by the U.S. Army Air Service in 24 hours and 51 minutes. Trying to break the new west-to-east record on November 3, Collyer crashed near Prescott, Arizona, resulting in his death and that of the aircraft owner, Harry J. Tucker.

Looking to improve the design, Lockheed delivered the Vega 5 in 1929. Adding the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp engine of 450 hp (336 kW) improved weights enough to allow two more seats to be added. A new NACA cowling increased cruise speed to 155 mph (249 km/h) and top speed to 165 mph (266 km/h). However, even the new six-seat configuration proved to be too small, and the 5 was purchased primarily for private aviation and executive transport. A total of 64 Vega 5s were built. In 1931, the United States Army Air Corps bought two Vega 5s; one designated C-12 and one as the C-17. The C-17 differed by having an extra set of fuel tanks in the wings.

The Vega could be difficult to land. In her memoir, Elinor Smith wrote that it had "all the glide potential of a boulder falling off a mountain." In addition, forward and side visibility from the cockpit was extremely limited; Lane Wallace, a columnist for Flying magazine, wrote that "Even [in level flight], the windscreen would offer a better view of the sky than anything else, which would make it more of a challenge to detect changes in attitude or bank angle. On takeoff or landing, there'd be almost no forward visibility whatsoever."

A one-off special, based on the metal-fuselaged DL-1, was built by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation, and exported to the United Kingdom for Lt. Cmdr. Glen Kidston. It was initially registered in the UK as G-ABFE but rapidly re-registered as G-ABGK to incorporate Kidston's initials.[3] This Vega was used by him to set a record-breaking time from the UK to South Africa in April 1931. Following Kidston's death the following month, the aircraft was eventually sold to Australian airline owner Horrie Miller for entry by him into the MacRobertson Air Race. Piloted in the race by Miller's Chief Pilot, Capt. Jimmy Woods, it overturned on landing at Aleppo en route, whereupon Woods withdrew from the race and the DL-1A was eventually shipped the remainder of the distance to Australia. Following repairs and another re-registration, to VH-UVK, the aircraft was used for charter and leisure flying by Miller, before being impressed by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1941. It was finally broken for spares by the RAAF at the end of World War II in 1945.
"..and that's all the news for tonight, folks!"

Courtesy of:
Linda Abrams, 2LT, CAP
Aerospace Education Officer
Squadron 150

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lockheed upgrades SAR automation

Lockheed Martin Flight Services announced May 9 a system upgrade that will monitor general aviation flights in real time, and activate search-and-rescue if aircraft stop moving, stop reporting position, or issue a distress signal.

The company, contracted by the FAA to provide flight services including preflight briefing and flight plan filing, offers the “surveillance-enhanced search and rescue (SE-SAR) service at no cost to pilots. The system currently supports Spidertracks GPS position reporting systems (retail prices start at $995), and Lockheed plans to add support for additional devices, including Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment, in the near future.

Lockheed’s pilot Web portal allows pilots to register flight tracking devices, and was updated in October to provide automated alerts to adverse conditions that may arise after briefing and flight plan filing are complete. Users may sign up for the adverse condition alerting service (ACAS) through the same portal, and register a variety of mobile devices to receive post-briefing alerts. The company has also released a set of interfaces that allow providers of mobile flight planning applications to provide user access to the search-and-rescue and adverse condition alerting features.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Playing Chicken..

From one of our PAO staff here at Squadron 150:

The true story of the Chicken Gun. Too funny not to share! Sometimes it does take a rocket scientist!

Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard 4 pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made, and a gun was sent to the British engineers.

When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.

The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S scientists for suggestions.

NASA responded with a one-line memo --

"Defrost the chicken."

(True Story courtesy of CAPT Mark Cartwright)

Monday, December 02, 2013

CAP helps cadet get his wings..

Interesting article from AOPA:
Young flight instructor credits CAP with his success

November 25, 2013

By Jill W. Tallman

A 21-year-old flight instructor says his successful aviation path is attributable to the mentoring and training he received through the Civil Air Patrol.

“I thought I would join and see what it was all about,” said Stephen Bloemsma. “I had completed some Young Eagles flights when I was 12 or 13 that initially sparked my interest in aviation. Then after joining CAP and completing my cadet orientation flights, I knew aviation was the career field I wanted to pursue.”

CAP, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, has 61,000 members nationwide and operates a fleet of 550 aircraft that it uses for inland search-and-rescue missions. More than 26,000 young people participate in CAP cadet programs that introduce aviation through a 16-step program that includes aerospace education, leadership training, physical fitness, and moral leadership.

As a CAP cadet, Bloemsma learned to fly airplanes and gliders and soloed at age 16. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and now flight instructs at Western North Carolina Aviation and as a mission pilot, cadet orientation pilot, and instructor at the Asheville Composite Squadron’s annual flight academy. “Going through the squadron’s first flight academy as a cadet and then being able to come back a few years later and teach it was quite the rewarding experience,” he said.

Bloemsma's career plans include flying for the airlines or a corporation once he has accumulated enough flight hours.

“CAP gave me an opportunity to fly at a young age and sparked that interest in aviation that led me to continue on in my training, and I am very grateful for that,” Bloemsma said.
Linda Abrams, 2LT, CAP
Sq 150 Aerospace Education Officer

Friday, November 15, 2013

SAREX/DREX Training Exercise December 7-8 2013

SAREX/DREX to be held Saturday and Sunday, 7-8 December 2013.

Saturday's session will be held at Group 7 headquarters aboard Los Alamitos JFTB. The session commences at 0800 and involves aerial photo (AP) training, Crew Assignments, Sortie Planning, communications preparation and generally getting everything prepared for Sunday.

On Sunday, 8 December, first sortie flight Crews at assigned planes ready for remote launch. Base Staff and other Flight Crews at Fullerton Base.

All members will need: CAP ID, 101 Card, Current Safety, and be Trainee or Standard (on 101 cards) for the position they are going to train in.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s uniforms:

Base Staff and Instructors – Blue Polo and Gray Slacks or Corporate. (BDUs acceptable for comm crew and cadets.)

Flight Crews- Flight suits and all gear ready for inspection so that we know all will be prepared for Sunday. MP will be working with all the new members to insure all are ready for Sundays Sorties.

Cost of $15.00 will cover supplies, coffee, donuts, water for both days and lunch for Sunday. (Saturday lunch on your own.)

All will have to participate on both days

Group 7 headquarters is located at 3976 Constitution Ave Los Alamitos CA 90270

Fullerton Base at KFUL at the AFI hangar at 4119 W. Commonwealth Ave Fullerton CA. 92833

Because of the very small size of this exercise, we will only have room for a few. All interested members need to fill out the provided registration form and return it to the project officer, 2lt Jim Grubb at jimgrubb1@aim.com.

The form is not an ENTERABLE .pdf reg document -- sorry for the inconvenience. To get the information to the project officer, do the following:

(1) Print the document
(2) Handwrite the appropriate data
(3) Scan it back in as a .pdf file
(4) e-mail it to Jim

If you do not have a printer or scanner, then send an e-mail with the following information to Jim. It is suggested that you "screen scrape the block below and paste it into your e-mail.

CAP ID____________
Rank _________
Phone #_________________
E-Mail Address ________________________
Mission Ready Weight_______
Total weight _______
(including equipment needed for the position in the airplane. (Head set, Knee board, Camera, I-Pad, etc.)
Baggage weight _______
(Extra items in baggage compartment.(Jacket, Survival gear, etc.)

CURRENT ES QUALIFICATIONS: (check all that apply)

Flight Crew
MS: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
MO: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
AP: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
MP: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___

Base Staff
MRO: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
MSA: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
CUL: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___
AOBD: Trainee___ Standard___ Evaluator___

1st Choice__________________
2nd Choice__________________
3rd Choice__________________

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Upcoming meeting notice: 24 OCT 2013

Squadron 150 is proud to announce that on 24 October 2013, MAJ Lou Seiberling -- retired squadron member distinguished WWII veteran -- will be with us to present reminiscences of his service in the U. S. Army Air Corps and a gunner in a B-24.

Lou is a colorful person and has been the light of many of our get-togethers. We would like to invite not only members of our unit, their friends and family, but also members, friends, ad family of close-by units who wish to partake of these interesting tales. You are most welcome to visit and get to know us. Please consult our calendar here as well as the information about our meeting place and times here.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander

Sea Change..

As most of you know, the CAWG convention took place last weekend in Santa Maria, California. This past meeting, 10 October, CAPT Jerry Civalleri presented a discussion on the new direction that CAP and the CAWG will be taking. According to Jerry, it will be a "sea change" towards accenting and stepping up CAP's AP (Aerial Photography) skills and away from SAR -- in the form of actual events as well as SAREXes.

It seems that this has come about because, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, FEMA discovered we could take pictures of the destruction and fallout form such an event that corresponded to their sat photos. They are interested in becoming a new customer of ours.

This means that those amongst us who hold the Mission Scanner rating now become the reason for launching sorties instead of a passenger in the back seat. In the past, we have been swimming up hill because of our lack of Mission Pilots and our inability to form up mission ready aircrews to launch on SAR sorties.

CAP is in relatively dire straits at the moment and suffering from a lack of AP qualified personnel. In the entire CAWG, for example, there are only six qualified members who can do sign-offs for AP. One of them resides at Squadron 150 in the form of our very own Airman Jim Grubb. So, if you want to cash in on this latest trend, then our unit is one of the places you will be going.

Furthermore, this fits right in with the direction our unit is taking as well. We currently have three MS candidates "on final approach" and ready to be minted for that aircrew position. Most of these folks will roll over into the AP training plus those already with MS can embark on the AP training we will be doing. The training we will be doing is close to 1-on-1 and hands on. Plus, we now have the internet connectivity at Group 7 HQ (our meeting place) to immediately record any accomplishments AP candidates (or other personnel in training) with National through eServices.

In order to get trained, however, you will have to start attending meetings and map out your strategy with our instructors so that we can effectively plan the optimum course of action. 

This invitation goes to those who are new to CAP and wish to look around for a home. You are most welcome to visit and get to know us. Please consult our calendar here as well as the information about our meeting place and times here.

Hope to see you all soon.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lt Col Robert Van Dorn

One of the saddest occurrences in any squadron is the loss of a member -- or former member. Squadron 150 has suffered such a loss just recently. Lt Col Bob Van Horn has untimely left us this past month. Those of us who knew Bob will miss his sage advise, wit, and salty humor. We are grateful for his dedication in the past to this squadron and to Group 7.

From the Long Beach Press-Telgram:
Robert "Bob" Van Horn died Aug. 25, 2013, in St. Louis, MO. He was born In Lehighton, PA, Jan. 5, 1936, beginning a life that spanned the globe. He graduated from Heidelberg American High School, Heidelberg, Germany in 1954 and followed in his father's footsteps by joining the Army that same year. He embarked on a 22 year career that took him to Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Germany and various stateside assignments. He retired from the Army in 1976 as Command Sergeant Major. Bob used the experience and knowledge gained in the Army for a second career in the private sector that spanned the next 21 years. He also used that time to further his education at Regis College (now University) in Denver, Colorado and Golden Gate University in California. He shared his knowledge as Adjunct Faculty for Golden Gate University's Southern California campus and at the Senior Learning Center, "OLLIE" at CSU Long Beach. Bob was a member of CAP (Civil Air Patrol) for 20 years, taking part in Search and Rescue Missions and performing multiple administrative functions. He flew missions for Angel Flight and spent hours keeping his plane flight worthy and helping others do the same. Bob enjoyed bowling, skiing (in younger years), traveling and tinkering on most anything. He was an avid reader of novels, technical magazines on many subjects and history. Bob never met a stranger and was always willing to lend a helping hand. He had a joke for any and all occasions. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Darrelyn "Danne" Duprey; son, Roger of Chesterfield, MO and six grandchildren, Bronwynn, Matthew, Jacob, Chad, Andrew and Bailey. He was preceded in death by son, Richard and daughter, Sheryl. Memorial Service will be held at Lakewood Masonic Temple, 5918 E. Park Crest, Long Beach, CA 90808, September 20, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Angel Flight West, 3161 Donald Douglas Loop S., Santa Monica, CA 90405.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on September 8, 2013

Please keep Bob and his family in your prayers.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One of our treasures..

TSGT Lou Seiberling receives Air Medal from General Matheny
This may sound like a tribute or an obit but nothing could be further from the truth. We have been blessed with the presence on many occasions with a visit from one of our more august and historical members, Major Lou Seiberling. Most recently, Lou attended our Comm Room commemoration celebration this past July and, Lord willing, he will continue to visit us and regale us with tales of his World War II adventures as a B-24 Liberator waist gunner.

As a fallout from his July visit, Lou -- with the help of his friend -- penned a short narrative if his service career. Please enjoy this great piece of American heritage; maybe we can get Lou to stop by some evening and do it in person:


W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Long Beach Senior Squadron 150

Monday, August 05, 2013

Into the past..

NOTES: SaberCat1 filming in HD the B17 and the B25 WWII Bombers over and around Arizona's Superstition Mountains and Saguaro Lake. H5 Productions, in conjunction with The Commemorative Air Force filmed these aircraft during the Veterans Day Celebration on Saturday, November 13th, 2010. The B17 Bomber was flown by pilot Russ Gilmore and the B25 Bomber was flown by pilot Spike McLane. The base for these bombers is Falcon Field located in Mesa, Arizona. SaberCat1 pilot, Mitch Kelldorf. SaberCat1 aerial cinematographer, Mike Murray. Editor, Mike Murray.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Squadron Meeting: 8 August 2013 - Getting Your Bearings

1LT Vade Nitram
Our unit training officer, 1LT Vade Nitram, has often righteously hectored us on the need to come prepared to our meetings. Just as in our college days, lack of preparation means a failure to learn. In this case, it inclines towards a propensity to waste our time and our trainers'. This post will provide one of the more important basics in preparation for our next meeting -- the "annual" UDF live training exercise. You are both encouraged to attend and as well as participate.

That said, last week, when called upon to provide a brief discourse on how to obtain a compass bearing, I flubbed badly and wish to correct any confusion I may have caused. One of the main skills in UDF when one is working in concert with other teams is to obtain and report a compass bearing. My fumbling last week proved that -- even though one is familiar with a compass -- continual practice leads to proficiency. Without further adieu, here is a short, illustrative video on the subject:

..it is as blindingly simple as that! Be advised that during the exercise, we will be asking you to report MAGNETIC bearings. This means that you will NOT have to factor in the magnetic declination -- just point the Direction of Travel Arrow in the same direction as the DF antenna and read the numbers off.

Of course, the compass in the video above is a simple "orienteering compass" and commonly available at sporting goods outlets, etc. I had come across a swap meet vendor in my travels who had a plethora on made-in-China K&R Meridian knockoffs:

My source has dried up as the vendor has since disappeared but I have found these in abundance on the internet at Amazon and on eBay. Recognize that the eBay link is for one specific auction and it might die over the months. If you search for "Military Prismatic Compass" you should find a plethora of newer auctions for the same product. The good news is that the price is well below the $20 that vendor was charging me. Amazon charges shipping and the eBay auctions do not. You do the math.

Of course, I make NO recommendations for either the Amazon product or the eBay product. I am just calling your attention to a possible source. In fact, if you read the One-Star Amazon reviews, you will see that a lot of people are chuffed over the fact that a $10 Chinese knockoff wasn't a precision $150 German product.

Go figure.

I can tell you this that the compass I obtained -- and that is probably similar to the ones offered on eBay and at Amazon -- is serviceable, rugged, and points to North. It also has a feature that makes it a little neater than the orienteering compass in the video above: it has a little window into which one can look and get "more precise" bearings. You can see that in one of the views of the composite below:

One final disclaimer, this compass is neither a "prismatic compass" (it does not have a prism) nor was it used by the military (But it does sometimes come painted in a neat digital camo pattern.) Of course, there are other types of like a Cammenga lensatic compass that can be had and are of "certifiable pedigree" in that they are issued and use by our military.

The original -- not a knockoff -- runs anywhere from $60 to $100 new. Here is a closer look at the compass with the face and bezel:

Here is a detailed diagram of the Cammenga 3H (the U. S. Military standard issue) compass:

And here are the instructions on how to site a bearing (they call it an Azimuth. same difference):

Note step #3 above. Here's what they mean:

Note that they don't fuss around with the "Short Luminous Line" on the rotatable bezel, they just tell you to aim and read. So, in a way, the Cammenga is an authentic piece of hardware and is almost as easy as the Chinese knock-off above.

Irrespective of what compass you get, make it a regular habit to practice with it so you know how to use it. For example, take it on walks with you and site bearings (or azimuths)of distant objects you might see. Adds to the walk and raises your post-apocalyptic survivability as well.

Over to you..and see you on Thursday.

H. W. Yzinihp, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander
Squadron 150

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Event Horizon

In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman's terms, it is defined as "the point of no return" i.e. the point at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible.
Given that, you should all be aware if the imminent CAWG Conferenceto be held in Santa Maria during the first weekend in October. The recent flyer gives all the relevant poop:

The registration info can be found here. So far, the X. O., me, and Captain Dan are headed up there. Make plans to attend; if you fly in, the hotel is located right there at the airport (i.e., no vehicles are needed) and there's an outta sight Mexican restaurant at the airport that purveys world class enchiladas and Dos Equis.

Stay thirsty, my friend.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander
Squadron 150

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A time to remember..

The squadron hosted an open house/family day affair to celebrate the completion of the communications room at Group 7 Headquarters on Saturday, 20 July 2013. After several noble starts and considerably effort, the communications facility was finally made fully operational and the keys turned over to Group 7 Communications Officer Major Gardner Harris, Yosemite 706.

But more than that, it was a time to remember one of our unit's illustrious members, 2LT Thomas Gibbons, who served as Communications Officer for the unit from 2005 until 2010. Tom was taken from us in earlier this year and, upon his passing, it was determined that the renovation effort and the results should be dedicated to Tom's memory.

We were graced with the presence of Lisa Gibbons, Tom's widow, who did us the honor of presiding over the dedication and stayed with us for the festivities. A plaque in memory of Tom was placed prominently in the comm room:

And an identical plaques was presented to Lisa with the additional inscription:

Presented to Lisa Gibbons with gratitude for her unwavering support of her husband, Thomas R. Gibbons, during his tenure as the Squadron 150 Communications Officer from 2005-2010.

The events of the afternoon also included a buffet and an impromptu "turning over of the keys" to Group Communications Officer Major Gardener Harris, Yosemite 706, who was extremely excited about the prospect of not having to do comm work out of a glorified storage room. Paul Koons even organized a raffle of prizes for guests. Below are some pictures from the soiree.

The initial communications room renovation was started before 2010 and was a prodigious effort by former Squadron 150 member Tom Barbre. Owing to other considerations and organizational changes, that effort ws stopped before fruition and the room languished in inattention until the middle of 2012. The "final push" on the remodeling effort was done by Squadron 150 personnel (with Gar's assistance, of course) and was the culmination of several years' efforts. This project was ramrodded home by 2LT Marty Oh with the considerable help of the members of Squadron 150.

The facility houses the HF and VHF radios as well as the capability to accept additional radios as the needs arise. Additionally, the new Squadron 150 network has its sever and switching rack residing in the room as well. Subsequent upgrades will allow personnel in the communications facility to log events of a SAREX on the computer in the room and have the status displayed on a large screen in the main lecture area. Additionally, the networked computers will allow internet access to workstations throughout the Group 7 building. All of this was brought into being by he considerable efforts of CAPT John Frerichs, the unit's communications and IT officer.

The entire party and commemoration was organized by 2LT Paul Koons, the recruiting and retention officer for Squadron 150. He was assisted by CAPT Alexander Smith who ran the final prep group. Thanks are also owed to (among others) CAPT Jerry Civalleri, CAP Mike Cardenas, CAPT John Hill, 1LT Dave Martin, 2LT Robert Hanks, SM Al Valenciano, and SM Melissa Johnson.

We loo forward to expanding on the utility of this facility and making it a very useful and used resource for Group 7 and CAP.

(Photos by CAPT Alexander Smith.)

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander
Squadron 150 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Squadron Meeting: 11 July 2013 - Safety and Surviving MREs

"..white cliffs of Dover?"

We are constantly preached at to prepare ourselves for impending doom and a lot of this persiflage sinks in without thought or analysis. Too often, we engage in the knee-jerk reaction of cutting a check for anywhere from $350 up to many thousands of dollars and lay in a supply "survival fare".

The comforting feeling of having an immense, nondescript brown cardboard box (or two or even three) sitting in the corner of your garage waiting for the Russkies (or towel heads) to drop the big one surely is calming. But it is, like so much in our life, illusory.

Come to the meeting this Thursday and find out among other things (1) what the acronym "MRE" really means and (2) why MREs have more to do with the phrase "drop the big one" than you dared to imagine.

Presented by your imperious commander.

"..white cliffs of Dover?"

It's a safety meeting so attendance, of course, will get you off the schneid for another 60 days.

W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Squadron Commander

Friday, July 05, 2013

2013 Mission Aircrew School: Long Beach, Oakland, Fresno

Beautiful, historic downtown Fresno "Raisin Capital of the World"

In addition to providing the premier MP and MO training opportunity of the year, all three locations require base staff of all functions, providing both currency and training opportunities.

Ground schools will be held on 20-21 July at KLGB and KOAK, with the flight school on 9-11 August at KFAT. Addtional information and applications are to be found at http://mas.missions.cawg.cap.gov/home. Due to the substantial driving distance (248 mi from KSLI), please advise the Sq 150 training officer of rides offered or wanted.

In addition to providing the premier MP and MO training opportunity of the year, all three locations require base staff of all functions, providing both currency and training opportunities.
The Wing is only sponsoring one MAS this year. There will be Ground School in the North and in the South with the Flight School being held in Fresno on August 9, 10 & 11.

Applications and more information is available at http://mas.missions.cawg.cap.gov

We also need Base staff to run the operation. This is one of the largest events the wing does each year with 12 aircraft. Fresno has secured a 3600 sq foot air conditioned building at the Airport. Transportation funding is available for carpools of 3 or more. Base staff may also catch a ride with aircraft.

All members interested in attending in a any capacity are urged to sign up now.

Thank You
Marc Sobel, Maj, CAP
Project Officer
Mission Air Crew School

David Martin, 1st Lt, CAP
Sq 150 Training Officer

Be a Part of History: The LAST Group 7 SAREX in San Diego County

There are fossils and other relics of the past, and then there are the active participants with real memories to use and share with others. Which group do you want to be in?

Group Seven is conducting a SAREX hosted by Squadron 57 on the weekend of 26-28 July 2013. Friday (26th) is primarily UDF training. The SAREX focus is initial and recurrent qualification training of base staff, aircrews, ground teams and UDF teams. Mission base is Gillespie Field (KSEE). Initial participants will be selected from Group Seven until 15Jun and then opened to all CAWG thereafter. All participants must have at least SQTR training status when applying. (Emphasis added.)

Participation cost is $20. CAP uniform and standards shall be adhered (sic).
Please reply to the Major David Wallace, Project Officer at david.wallace@squadron57.org.

If interested, please respond with the following:
  • Name, CAP ID, Squadron, phone number
  • Training needed (MO, MS, AOBD, UDF, etc.)
  • Number of sorties needed to complete your SQTR
  • For aircrew, weight including baggage
  • Any specific training needed
  • Days able to participate (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Because of the substantial driving distance from KSLI to KSEE (112 mi), carpooling is encouraged. Please advise the Sq 150 training officer of rides offered and wanted.

David Martin, 1st Lt, CAP
Sq 150 Training Officer

Thursday, July 04, 2013

July 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it; and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the Lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.
Nor have We been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.—
WE, THEREFORE, the REPRESENTATIVES of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.—And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Signed by ORDER and in BEHALF of the CONGRESS,

Monday, June 24, 2013

"The faster it goes..

..the faster it goes" was the old saying about a ram jet. Also known as "the flying stove pipe", the ram jet was just a tube, spark plugs, and a wad of metal in the middle to slow the wind down. Inject fuel, hit the ignition and - wham! - you're off to the races.

Linda Abrams brings our attention to the 21st century version of the ram jet called the SCRAMjet. It's Wiki differentiation is here:
A scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) is a variant of a ramjet airbreathing jet engine in which combustion takes place in supersonic airflow. As in ramjets, a scramjet relies on high vehicle speed to forcefully compress and decelerate the incoming air before combustion (hence ramjet), but whereas a ramjet decelerates the air to subsonic velocities before combustion, airflow in a scramjet is supersonic throughout the entire engine. This allows the scramjet to operate efficiently at extremely high speeds: theoretical projections place the top speed of a scramjet between Mach 12 (9,100 mph; 15,000 km/h) and Mach 24 (18,000 mph; 29,000 km/h).

The scramjet is composed of three basic components: a converging inlet, where incoming air is compressed and decelerated; a combustor, where gaseous fuel is burned with atmospheric oxygen to produce heat; and a diverging nozzle, where the heated air is accelerated to produce thrust. Unlike a typical jet engine, such as a turbojet or turbofan engine, a scramjet does not use rotating, fan-like components to compress the air; rather, the achievable speed of the aircraft moving through the atmosphere causes the air to compress within the inlet. As such, no moving parts are needed in a scramjet. In comparison, typical turbojet engines require inlet fans, multiple stages of rotating compressor fans, and multiple rotating turbine stages, all of which add weight, complexity, and a greater number of failure points to the engine.

Due to the nature of their design, scramjet operation is limited to near-hypersonic velocities. As they lack mechanical compressors, scramjets require the high kinetic energy of a hypersonic flow to compress the incoming air to operational conditions. Thus, a scramjet-powered vehicle must be accelerated to the required velocity by some other means of propulsion, such as turbojet, railgun, or rocket engines. In the flight of the experimental scramjet-powered Boeing X-51A, the test craft was lifted to flight altitude by a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress before being released and accelerated by a detachable rocket to near Mach 4.5. In May 2013, another flight achieved an increased speed of Mach 5.1.

Here is a nice background video on this beast:

..and a couple of videos of the test flight where the Waverider achieved Mach 5.1:

..like the proverbial "scalded cat".

Courtesy of:
Linda Abrams, 2LT, CAP
Aerospace Education Officer
Squadron 150

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Aerospace Ed: Airbus 300's first trip to San Francisco..

Wonderful pilot's video of the new Airbus's maiden voyage to San Francisco International:

Note the pilots using joysticks and whipping out the keyboards to make flight adjustments. One hopes the server does not crash.

Linda Abrams, 2LT, CAP
Aerospace Education Officer
Squadron 150

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Packing Crate that the B-17 came in..

One cannot resist including the picture above -- as inelegant as it was -- of one of the three most venerable heavy bombers the USAAF used during WWII. It is meant with reverence and no disrespect for an aircraft that was the office for some surprisingly famous Americans:
Major General Jimmy Stewart, Actor

George McGovern, U. S. Senator

James E. "Doc" Counsilman, Indiana University and U. S. Olympic swimming coach

Don Herbert, "Mr Wizard"

Robert Altman, Film Producer, Director

Walter Matthau, Actor

..to name a few.
Often referred to as "The Packing crate for the B-17", the Liberator had some drawbacks but was a very solid aircraft:

Often compared with the better-known Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 was a more modern design with a higher top speed, greater range, and a heavier bomb load; however, it was also more difficult to fly, with heavy control forces and poor formation-flying characteristics. Popular opinion among aircrews and general staffs tended to favor the B-17's rugged qualities above all other considerations in the European Theater.[3] The placement of the B-24's fuel tanks throughout the upper fuselage and its lightweight construction, designed to increase range and optimize assembly line production, made the aircraft vulnerable to battle damage.[4] The B-24 was notorious among American aircrews for its tendency to catch fire. Moreover, its high fuselage-mounted "Davis wing" also meant it was dangerous to ditch or belly land, since the fuselage tended to break apart.[5] Nevertheless, the B-24 provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large payload and long range, and was the only bomber to operationally deploy the United States' first forerunner to precision-guided munitions during the war, the 1,000 lb. Azon guided bomb.

The B-24's most infamous mission was the low-level strike against the Ploiești oil fields, in Romania on 1 August 1943, which turned into a disaster because the enemy was underestimated, fully alerted and attackers disorganized.

The B-24 ended World War II as the most produced heavy bomber in history. At over 18,400 units,[6] half by Ford Motor Company, it still holds the distinction as the most-produced American military aircraft.
Despite stories to the contrary about our lack of preparedness for World War II, the Liberator was in full-scale production before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor as this video our AEO, 2LT Abrams, depicts:

And to conclude with one of the more famous -- and tragic -- clips of the B-24; the one where a bomb dropped by another B-24 in formation above accidentally takes off the wing and causes the crash and death of the aircrew:


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June and July General Squadron Meeting Information

Yet again -- and for the remainder of June and July, the main focus of our training is to develop our ES skills and we have one SAREX down (KCNO this past weekend) and two more to go. The last Group 7 SAREX ever to be held in San Diego will occur in July and our own will eventuate at KCNO during the third week in August. It is incumbent on EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US to be prepared for our training and to know who may or may not sign us off on SQTR tasks or missions.

To that end, CAPT John Hill, 1LT Dave Martin, and 2LT Jim Grubb (and other members of the SQ 150 staff) will continue with the series of active working sessions to upgrade new guys and old ES hands in need of a "re-up". Again, there will not be a "Death By Power Point" in sight.

Pursuant to that, you all are directed to bring your CURRENT 101 card and ALL SQTRs to these meeting so you can accomplish your goals.

Finally, it is imperative that you plan on attending these meetings. But do not attend the meeting on July 4th..

..there won't be one.


W. H. Phinizy, MAJ, CAP
Long Beach Senior Squadron 150