Political Lomcevak (Tumbling the Liberal Mindset)

The Definition of a political lomcevak? What you get when you mix an aerobatic pilot, a gun nut, a Burkean Conservative and an avid Fisherman, and then attempt to imprint a Liberal Law Education into him.

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Thursday, April 24, 2003
I am sick as a dog, so no posting tonight.

Except to celebarete the fact that we have captured Tariq Aziz. Maybe the pope will give him clemency.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003
The Cato institute has an released its handbook for the 108th Congress (Credit Instapundit)

Some good stuff in there. We will see if the Republicans make any move to change the trend of the conversation.

As one who appreciates Monty Python.

Apparently I am the bunny, with nasty sharp pointy teeth.

Mean lil fellow, arn't you?

What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

An excellent article by William Harwood that someone e-mailed me regarding the refinement of the NASA scenario for loss of Columbia and crew.

"Investigators probing the Columbia disaster are developing an increasingly detailed scenario that explains the sequence of events that led to Columbia's destruction, a scenario that matches up with telemetry and recorded data as well as the damage seen in recovered debris. Only two out of 10 initial scenarios are still being actively developed by NASA investigators, officials say, but one of them, which assumes a breach in the left wing at or near leading edge panel No. 8, has emerged as the leading contender.

This scenario, No. 2 on the original list of 10 being assessed by agency managers and engineers, matches the telemetry downlinked from the shuttle before its breakup as well as data recorded on board by Columbia's payload experiment support recorder, or OEX, which was recovered near Hemphill, Texas, March 19. It also explains unusual communications dropouts and unexplained flashes seen in the wake of the shuttle as it descended across the southwest United States.

The scenario matches up well with the known point of impact where foam debris from Columbia's external fuel tank slammed into the left wing at 450 mph just 82 seconds after liftoff. In fact, OEX data from thermocouple V07T9895, located on the left wing spar just aft of reinforced carbon carbon panel No. 9, shows a slight temperature increase after the strike that may be indicative - this is not yet confirmed - of leading edge damage.

OEX data recorded during re-entry also is consistent with the severe heat damage seen in recovered debris, which strongly suggests a breach at or very near the underside of RCC panel 8, one of 22 such carbon composite panels making up the leading edge of the left wing.

The U-shaped panels, held in place by so-called T-seals that are bolted to the front face of the wing spar with inconel fittings, are designed to protect the wing from 3,000-degree re-entry temperatures and to handle aerodynamic loads as the shuttle falls into the thickening atmosphere.

"Independent teams examining the recovered debris are finding that the most likely location of (the) initial breach into the vehicle was into the left hand wing RCC panel 8/9 area," according to a summary of the scenario. Scott Hubbard, a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, said much the same thing during a news conference last Tuesday.

The only other scenario still under active consideration by NASA engineers involves a breach in RCC panels closer to the shuttle's fuselage. But it does not fit the facts as closely as scenario No. 2.

NASA's development of failure scenarios is in support of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which is responsible for determining the root cause of the disaster. All such scenarios must be confirmed by the accident board and readers are cautioned that the scenario presented below is preliminary and subject to change. That said, here is how scenario No. 2 currently plays out.

Columbia fell into the discernible atmosphere 400,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean northwest of Hawaii - entry interface, or EI - at 8:44:09 a.m. on Feb. 1. Scenario No. 2 assumes the shuttle began its descent with significant damage to the underside of RCC panel No. 8. The scenario assumes spar insulation behind the RCC panels was directly exposed to re-entry heating.

During a news conference Tuesday, members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said investigators were focusing on the possibility a lost "T-seal" between RCC panels 8 and 9 might have left a gap an inch wide or greater between the adjacent panels, providing a direct path into the leading edge.

What caused the damage has not yet been pinned down, although most investigators believe it likely was caused by a piece of foam insulation that broke off Columbia's external fuel tank 81 seconds after liftoff and slammed into the left wing's leading edge one second later at some 450 mph. That impact may have cracked or penetrated an RCC panel or damaged a T-seal enough to result in failure.

The day after launch, military radars detected debris floating away from Columbia after a routine maneuver. The debris has not yet been identified, but radar tests are underway at Wright Patterson Air Force Base to determine whether a T-seal or a piece of an RCC panel could explain the sightings.

Regardless of the exact location of the breach - RCC panel 8 or an adjacent T-seal - it did not take long for hot gas to penetrate Columbia's left wing during re-entry. At 8:48:39 a.m., 270 seconds after entry interface, a strain gauge (V12G9921) in the leading edge near RCC panel 9 first showed an unusual increase.

"Thermal stresses build due to the breach in the wing and hot gas impingement on the spar," the scenario reads. "Pressure also starts to build in the RCC wing cavity adding to the load on the spar. The damaged wing causes a change in the load path that increases the wing spar strain. All these loads combine and put an off nominal strain on the spar."

Twenty seconds later, at 8:48:59 a.m., heat entering the RCC cavity through the presumed breach in panel 8 is first registered by a temperature sensor on a fitting between RCC panels 9 and 10 (V09T9910). Almost simultaneously, insulation on the forward face of the spar was compromised, allowing super-heated air to begin eroding the spar structure itself.

As the leading edge heating continued, temperature sensors on Columbia's left-side orbital maneuvering system rocket pod began sensing cooler temperatures than usual. This trend began developing at 8:49:49 a.m., or 340 seconds after entry interface. Computational fluid dynamics calculations indicate this was due to leading edge RCC panel damage affecting the flow of air over the wing.

At 8:50:00 a.m., the first in a series of brief communications drop outs were observed. Engineers now believe these interruptions were caused by the release of molten metals from the eroding wing spar and spar insulators into the hot air surrounding the space shuttle. The effect was similar to that of "chaff" released from military aircraft to foil weapons sensors.

At 8:50:09 a.m., the disrupted airflow over the leading edge of the left wing resulted in a cooling trend on the left side of Columbia's fuselage. Ten seconds later, at 8:50:19 a.m., increasing damage to the leading edge caused a thermocouple on the lower side of the wing near RCC panel 9 to begin sensing an off-nominal increase.

The inside surface of the left wing spar then began showing an unusual temperature rise (sensor V09T9895) at 8:51:14 a.m. This reading, following the RCC interface temperature increase noted at 8:48:59 a.m., confirms hot gas penetrated the cavity behind the RCC panels before entering the interior of the wing itself.

At 8:52:05 a.m., telemetry from the shuttle showed the start of an unusual yawing motion pulling the nose of the orbiter to the left. This was due to the growing damage to the leading edge affecting the aerodynamic behavior of the spacecraft. Computational fluid dynamics confirms this unbalanced force would continue to increase as the damage worsened.

Just four seconds later, at 8:52:09 a.m., the plume of super heated air in the RCC cavity finally burned through the wing spar itself, allowing hot gas to flow into the wing's interior. The plume of hot air impinged on the main landing gear wheel well box, about halfway down its outboard side, and began burning through cable bundles, cutting off data from scores of left wing sensors.

Based on the order of the cable bundle burn throughs, it is possible the hot gas plume impacted the upper skin of the wing and then was deflected along the skin to the wire bundles running along the upper part of the wheel well box. The top two cable bundles were damaged first, followed 30 seconds later by a third bundle lower down the side of the wheel well.

Analysis of the timing of the cable burn throughs appears to confirm the general location of where the burn throughs are believed to have occurred and they are consistent with a breach at RCC panels 8/9.

The hot gas quickly spread throughout the interior of the unpressurized wing, triggering a sharp rise in the temperature being recorded by sensor V09T9895 - the same interior sensor that first detected higher spar temperatures a minute earlier - at 8:52:10 a.m. Seven seconds later, hot gas in the wing was first registered by a brake line sensor in the left main landing gear wheel well.

"As heat enters wing, thermal stresses are created and structural failures start to occur," reads a scenario entry for 8:52:19 a.m. "Hot gas continues to flow into wing, with pressure and temperatures building in the wheel well cavity." At 8:52:41 a.m., a second wheel well temperature sensor begins indicating an unusual increase.

In the meantime, the leading edge continued to deteriorate, affecting the flow of air over the wing. At 8:53:29 a.m., OEX data indicated the left fuselage began heating up as a vortex of disturbed air began moving forward along the side of the orbiter. The movement of this shock wave occurred at the same time as a sudden increase in yaw motion, which appears to confirm increasing leading edge damage.

It was at roughly this point, beginning at 8:53:44 a.m., that observers along Columbia's ground track began noticing debris falling away from the shuttle. At 8:54:20 a.m., the shuttle's "roll moment" changed sign, going from negative to positive. One explanation is an unexplained increase in lift on the left wing, presumably due to increasing structural damage. Another explanation, however, is damage to the upper surface of the wing.

"Hot gas continues to progress down the RCC and may burn through top of wing shedding skin and creating a hole," the scenario reads. "Damage pushes shock wave/vortex onto vertical tail leading to large increase in rolling moment."

Ground controllers at the Johnson space Center in Houston did not notice anything unusual until 8:54:24 a.m. when mechanical systems officer Jeff Kling informed flight director Leroy Cain "I've just lost four separate temperature transducers on the left side of the vehicle, hydraulic return temperatures. Two of them on system one and one in each of systems two and three."

Nine seconds later, at 8:54:33 a.m., a bright flash was noted by ground observers. This is now believed to be the result of maneuvering jet firings and interactions with debris falling away from the shuttle.

Then, at 8:56:16 a.m., the super-heated air entering the wing from the breach in the leading edge finally burned through the outboard wall of the left landing gear wheel well, triggering dramatic temperature increases in sensors located inside the wheel well. The plume is believed to have impinged directly on the left main landing gear strut. One such strut has been recovered and while engineers have not yet determined whether it was from the right or left landing gear, it shows severe melting consistent with a direct plume impingement.

Forty-four seconds after the wheel well was breached - at 8:57:00 a.m. - the plume burned through the forward inboard corner of the main landing gear door, providing an exit path for the hot gas in the wing. As a point of reference, the famous Kirtland Air Force Base telephoto view of Columbia, a photograph showing obvious signs of distress at the leading edge, was taken at 8:57:14 a.m.

At 8:58:03 a.m., a sharp aileron trim change was noted, an indication large pieces of the wing's overheated skin were blowing off and falling away. At the same time, the wheel well continued to heat up. All tire pressure and temperature data were lost during a 20-second period beginning at 8:58:38 a.m.

Ten seconds later, commander Rick Husband radioed, "And, uh, Hou(ston)..." The transmission was garbled. Thirty seconds later, Kling told Cain "We just lost tire pressure on the left outboard and left inboard, both tires."

"And Columbia, Houston, we see your tire pressure messages and we did not copy your last," astronaut Charles Hobaugh called form mission control.

"Roger, uh, buh..." Husband replied at 8:59:32 a.m., interrupted again by a comm drop out. It was the final transmission from the crew.

"The aerodynamic forces and the aero heating become more intense leading to further structural degradation of the vehicle," the scenario concludes. Columbia ultimately became aerodynamically unstable and broke up around 9:00:21 a.m.

Evidence supporting scenario No. 2 includes:

Heavy slag-like deposits on the interior of RCC panel 8 fragments. The slag presumably is the result of molten aluminum spraying away from the point where hot gas impinged the wing spar.

Severe heat damage on a tile carrier panel located between the lower edge of RCC panel 9 and the heat shield tiles permanently bonded to the lower side of the wing; erosion and slumping of the heat-resistant tiles indicate prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures.

Severe heat damage to a tile carrier panel located just behind the upper edge of RCC panel 8.

"Knife-edge" erosion of pieces from RCC panels 8 and 9; RCC erosion requires temperatures in excess of 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit; the knife-edge pattern, only seen on debris from panels 8 and 9, is indicative of such extreme heating.

Recovery of an upper wing tile farther west than any other confirmed shuttle debris; the tile, originally mounted on the upper surface behind RCC panel 9, presumably fell off earlier than others because of the disturbed airflow and heating caused by the breach.
"Data is emerging that shows very significant and unusual damage at the interface between (RCC) panels 8 and 9," Hubbard said Tuesday. "For example, the splattered metal on panel 8 is much heavier than elsewhere and there is erosion of the reinforced carbon carbon elements, the ribs, what's called the lug where the attachment occurs.

"What we see is something that's not seen thus far anywhere else on the wing leading edge or indeed in the orbiter debris, which is pieces of a very tough material, this reinforced carbon carbon, eroded to knife edges. Where a normal piece is a half an inch (thick), it's been eroded to about the thickness of a dime. This kind of heating event indicates long duration, very extreme heating.

"We don't know quite what to make of this yet, other than what I said, a very severe heating event in the intersection between panels 8 and 9," Hubbard said. "The carrier panel, that is, the piece of material that goes between the reinforced carbon carbon and all the tiles on the bottom of the orbiter, that carrier panel also shows severe heating. It's slumped, like you overheated Styrofoam. That's another indication of some very severe heating events."

Tuesday, April 22, 2003
A friend asked me a question, and the answer seemed interesting, so I will post it. The question concerned the effectiveness of the current airspace restrictions mandated by the FAA.

My thoughts on the ADIZ (Air Defense Interdiction Zone) and TFR (Temporary Flight Restriction) are fairly simple. They don't work, and only serve to foul up the system.

Here is the status of the ADIZ and other effected areas.

You also notice that there is only the requirement for communication, and most of the airspace is only restricted below 3000 AGL. (Above Ground Level) You notice this is different then MSL (Mean Sea Level), which is what the pilot reads on the altimeter.

In any event, what no one bothers to question is a very simple fact. If I were to load up aircraft, even a very slow one like a Cessna 172, and get close to the TFR or fly in the ADIZ, and then get close to an location, how are you going to stop me from carrying out an attack?

A Cessna 172 moves at about 120 miles an hour, and can move much faster in a dive, up to 160 miles an hour if the dive is sustained. Notice that all the TFR's and ADIZ keep you high. The TFR's keep you 3 miles away, and I don't know how far they keep you away from possible targets in the ADIZ. I assume that depends where you want to go. Lets be generous and say they keep you 10 miles away from your target. At your moment of attack, ATC would have to determine that there is a problem, summon help and then the help would have to get there and interdict you, all before you could strike. At 120 miles an hour, the pilot can cover 1 mile every 30 seconds. 10 miles takes 5 minutes, while 3 miles is done in a 1(1/2) minutes. At 180 MPH (Not all that fast in an aircraft) 10 miles is up in 3 minutes 33 seconds. And if we get to high performance turbo props and jets, it gets much worse. 300 mph is nothing for those guys, which means that you cover 10 miles in 2 minutes.

So you are telling me that ATC will spot a problem in two minutes, and be able to interdict the aircraft? I maintain that it is not possible.

ATC's (Air Traffic Control) first response when the pilot goes off the air, is to wonder what is wrong. They will eat up at least a minute trying to raise the pilot. (This, of course, assumes that a busy and harried controller will notice a flight deviation immediately, and immediately contact the pilot) After this, the controller may think that the aircraft has a problem. By the time he determines that there is a threat, it will be far too late.

Therefore, the only way to combat this is to inspect every aircraft before it is flown. HAHAHAHAH. Good frikken luck. There are hundreds of thousands, possible millions of General, Cargo and Business operations a day, many in locations that are remote. That is also not possible.

To my mind, this method of securing the system is whistling by the graveyard. We are wide open.

A situation that would be analogous would be if there was a spate of car bombings in this country. What would we do? The problem would be almost insurmountable. We live in a free society with millions of cars driven by millions of dispirit people. We are intensely vunerable.

Which, of course, is why I support the President in removing the problem at its source.

Monday, April 21, 2003
Blaster has some thoughts on Bill Clinton, the NeoCon. Yes, you heard right.

Oh, and in todays SARS (Snotty Anti-Rumsfeld Statement: Credit Mark Steyn) report, I have the Arab News, in Saudi Arabia.They're allies, right?

"The Dumbest of the Dumb
Abdullah Al-Fawzan/Al-Watan

A survey conducted in the United States named pop superstar Michael Jackson as the dumbest man on earth. Partly because he put his son’s life at risk when he dangled him out of the window from the 20th floor of a hotel in Germany, and partly because he canceled two concerts, which cost him $5 million. This kind of behavior, of course, is dumb.

But there are some people even dumber than Michael Jackson. One is US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Since the beginning of the war on Iraq he has committed a series of dumb acts that do not even serve the interests of America.

He knows perfectly well that his soldiers have no field experience. They lived their life more as citizens than as soldiers, and they were sent to the desert to meet a tough Iraqi Army with long experience of the terrain. Iraq has been fighting land wars for 30 years.

The American soldiers are fighting a war without a cause, in an environment they are not used to. The Iraqi soldiers are defending their country, which they know inside out. If Rumsfeld favored this war over all other options, he must be the dumbest man alive.

I do not mean that the US Army will lose the war. It might win in the end, but not before paying a heavy price which Rumsfeld never gambled on. Rumsfeld will rely heavily on his air power. He will bomb Iraqi cities and kill thousands on innocent civilians. The American planes and missiles will massacre more people, who will be shown daily on our television screens. There will be growing anti-war sentiment around the world. More people everywhere will be angry at America and everything American. In addition, more American soldiers will fall in the battlefield. The street war in big Iraqi cities will be a living hell for American soldiers. The American media will be angrier with Rumsfeld. He may have to resign and share the fate of other dumb people.

When Michael Jackson does something dumb, it affects only him. When Rumsfeld does something dumb, it affects the whole world, including the American people. Doesn’t that prove he is the dumbest of the dumb?

On the latest Sean Penn update, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, calls out the Hollywood Elite to hold Sean Penn responsible for any damage his firearms cause.

I am not sure that I go along with that. Leaving a loaded gun in a car is not a truly responsible act, but holding someone liable for the actions after the guns are stolen seems to relieve the truly responsible party, the robber, of any responsibility. It is one thing to leave a gun out where anyone can find it, but it is quite another to leave it in a locked vehicle. I have frequently left unloaded firearms, with ammunition nearby, in my locked car, if I needed to stop somewhere. I understand the point the group is trying to make. However, no one seems to have picked up the salient point here. How does one justify Sean Penn's CCW is a state where they are very difficult to get for an ordinary citizen, let alone one with a history, and criminal record of violence?

In another story, the Armed Females of America, and Carma Lewis, have thoughts on this issue. She basically has all the information that I have, save for the interesting fact that Sean once fired a gun at an aircraft. I wonder why he was never charged in that incident. I do believe that under the law I quoted before that action would have disqualified him for life from firearms ownership. An illegal discharge is highly problematic.

BTW, here is a Guardian story that seems to confirm it. CAUTION, the story has a high gag factor.

Oh, and one other little jewel.

"[SEAN PENN] REALLY scared me. You can see it on the screen, because he did it very quickly. In the middle of the take, he ran off the set and I heard him say to the propman, 'Give me the other gun.' When he came back I was concerned that this wasn't the gun he had left with. Who knows? He's acting like some crazy actor and pointing it at my face, and it really scared me. It was near my eye. It was an empty gun - he knew exactly what he was doing. He just wanted to scare me, which is what he did. I got mad afterward and yelled at him, then I said thank you. it's great when actors do that for each other. It's very generous."

Walken to Lawrence Grobel in "Playboy Interview: Christopher Walken", Playboy magazine, 1997.

Yep, this sure is a nice stable personality to issue a CCW too. Don't you feel safer?

Firstly, for Blaster. A gratuitous airplane picture. Concept lifted from Kim Du Toit.

That aircraft is known as the Extra 300. It has 300HP, full span ailerons, with a 400 degree per second roll rate, composite propellor, wings and stabilizers, with a tubular frame, wrapped in fabric. The aircraft is rated for +/- 10 G's, and it can get there. I have about 300 hours in the type. When introduced, it was the premier monoplane, but has since been somewhat outclassed. However, as a trainer, it is the highest performing certified two seater on the market. And trust me, it is only outclassed at the very highest levels.