The Scribe’s Banishment – to Ventura Beach Ca.

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Scribe's Lament

Scribe’s Lament

I found that I had to leave my village and seek enlightenment elsewhere. I have been capturing the lives of alien creatures, which I see in my dreams, and sharing them with my tribe. I have worked hard to place those vivid images on paper. I wore my quill to the nub while I used my pen to paint the amazing pictures that I saw.

I must take my aluminum dwelling to the great sea. I must take my visions away from my village and seek the power of the sea god Ventura-Beach. I must make the sacrifice of separating myself from the other villagers and perhaps containers of fermented berry juice will allow my humble musings to appear, once again, on paper.

The sacrifice is difficult; I must face the heat of the 75-degree sun. I must work in its glare and I must endure the rhythmic pounding of the waves. I must do these things for my craft. I must resist the heat of the campfire, I must survive the consumption many foods. I do all of this so that power will return to my pen.

In my disappointment, I find that the wondrous prose that I penned yesterday now appears written in some foreign language; perhaps Klingon and I must edit more to return it to the beauty it had when I laid it on paper. Alas, my beach god is weak today and I must consume more fermented juice. Perhaps the other scribes whom I share this craft with, will find strength in their Ice, Snow and Wind gods.

May amazing images flow from their pens?

I must find the strength for my tribe; I must endure.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

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Moon Colonization

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Moon Colonization

http://www.space.com/21588-how-moon-base-lunar-colony-works-infographic.html

This is a great article on moon colonization. It covers the reasons why a moon base can make sense and it is technically feasible. Surprisingly the moon provides most of the necessities to support life; except of course food. Surprisingly the soil is 42% oxygen.

Aside from materials to make rocket fuel the moon has a high concentration of Helium-3 which is a good source of fuel for nuclear fusion. H-3 is a non-radioactive fuel which could be a great long term reactor fuel source.

The materials mined on the moon would be sent into orbit using a dual rail system which fires the materials off a track a couple of mile long. Instead of rockets, electrical energy is used to accelerate the mass.

I’m pointing this out, because this is precisely how my moon base is described in my SIMPOC series. The only major different is, my moon colony named Desert Beach has to be abandoned because 99.9997 % of the people on Earth are wiped out by a suspicious virus and the astronauts on the moon have to use their lifeboats to get home.

Incidentally the first book in the series is FREE.

 

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Pilot ‘Hours’ vs ‘Experience’ – ‘Wind the Clock’

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http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/airasia-plane-crash/airasia-flight-8501s-tail-section-found-divers-java-sea-n281171

Let me ask a question I hope will stir up some debate. “Is a pilot with 10,000 hours in the cockpit ‘experienced?’

Put it another way does the fact that a person sat in a cockpit for a long period of time ‘operating’ the airplane have a life of experience where they would be considered an ‘old timer’; somebody who knows the ins and outs of flying and every situation they might face. I get frustrated with the news media (that’s a flash!) when they say a pilot is ‘experienced when they have XX hours.

Before we go too far let me defend myself. I started flying out of a sand pit when I was 15 years old. I flew C-130’s to 27 countries around the world and I instructed Air Force pilots for 5 years. After that I worked as an aerospace engineer and I got my Air Transport Pilot License (Qualified to fly airliners) and I got a type rating in 727’s (one of the old airliners). I’ve seen just about everything in the air and survived it.

Sitting in a cockpit doesn’t in itself increase the experience of a pilot. Flying takes many skills, of course operating the systems is a big part, but they are not the entire skill set needed. When I was instructing in the Air Force, command was going through a phase where every in-flight emergency had to be coordinated with ‘experts’ on the ground. The pilot ‘operated’ the airplane but anything else needed input from the ground. It took a while but the Air Force realized they were creating ‘airplane operators’ not ‘command pilots’. I was fortunate and during my time as a flight instructor we focused on teaching pilots how to think not just fly.

When I hear about an airline crash and the pilot is ‘experienced’ I wonder about the breath of that term. There have been a couple of crashes lately including Asiana 214 where the pilots had thousands of hours of experience but they didn’t ‘feel’ the airplane. Feeling the airplane is where a pilot senses what it is doing, why it is doing it, and how it is doing it. It’s more than just looking at the instruments. When a pilot just reads the gauges, they might miss one of them and they don’t know what is going on. If a pilot feels the airplane they know what gauges tell them important information and which ones don’t.

One of my mantra’s while instructing was the question ‘what is the first thing you do in an emergency?’. The answer is not jump in checklist, the correct answer is ‘wind the clock’. Take a minute make sure you know what is happening and take the appropriate steps when you understand the emergency. Pilots who read the instruments tend to jump into the check list and start flipping switches without fully understanding the problem. This can happen with 10,000 hours of time and it can happen with 5 hours of time. The difference is a state of mind.

Of course I don’t know what has happened with AirAsia 8501. I’m not implying they weren’t the best possible pilots. I am pointing out that sitting in a simulator and flying a plane for thousands of hours is more complex than building ‘seat time’. I suspect airlines fight with this problem, because teaching a pilot to ‘think’ is expensive. Its much easier to run them through the 200 scenarios in the sim and anoint them qualified.

I hope there is a bunch of ‘old timers’ out there that understand what I’m saying.

Just the musings of an ‘old instructor pilot

 

Ray Jay Perreault

http://rayjayperreault.wordpress.

My take on AirAsia 8501

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http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/airasia-plane-crash/airasia-flight-8501s-tail-section-found-divers-java-sea-n281171

Unfortunately AirAsia 8501 is terrible airliner accident. My heart goes out to the families. As a pilot all crashes hit close to home.

I’m not claiming to be up on all of the evidence. As an ex Air Force pilot, aeronautical engineer with 4,500 hours, ATP rating and 727 Type rating I do have some experience. There are some possible scenarios that may have occurred and I’m explaining some of them.

Icing can effect an airplane typically in three ways. The pitot static system, the aerodynamics and engine performance.

THE PITOT STATIC SYSTEM

The pitot static system is how the airplane measures its speed. It is a pretty simple and reliable system. It measure two pressures. Dynamic pressure which is what you’d feel when you put your hand outside a car window. The second is the static pressure which is a little harder to imagine. Try this, take a piece of paper and hold it so it bends like a ‘c’. Now blow over it. The paper will rise as you blow. That is the static pressure and it is negative (Relatively speaking). In the atmosphere these two pressures add up to the total pressure. When you go faster the dynamic pressure increases and the static pressure decreases (negative number). Adding these two together yield the total pressure (positive dynamic pressure reduced by the static pressure). As the speed increases the total pressure increases.

Ice will usually cover the static pressure sensor and because of the math that causes the total pressure to increase. The pilot and auto-pilot see an increase in speed and either of them may pull the nose up and/or reduce throttles trying to correct. As it progresses the angle of attack (angle of the flight deck vs. direction of travel) will increase and the actual speed will continue to decrease until the airplane stalls. The entire time the pilot or auto pilot is seeing increasing airspeed.

AERODYNAMICS

The aerodynamics are affected as ice forms over the wings, tail or other parts of the fuselage, the plane gains weight and it doesn’t fly as well. At some point either the weight causes it to stall, or the lift created by the wing is reduced and the plane stalls. A stall occurrs when the plane isn’t creating enough lift (up) to counteract the weight (down) and the airplane loses attitude.

Small airplanes with straight wings stall differently from airplanes with swept wings like the airliners. The straight wing will tend to be sharper and the nose will drop more. A swept wing will tend to mush and the nose won’t drop very much but the airplane will start to lose altitude and stay in that position. Straight wings will tend to roll to one side when the stall occurs and a swept wing will tend to stay level.

If ice is added to the stall a swept wing might act more like a straight wing and roll to one side when it occurs. Depending on the amount of ice it can be violent and the airplane can roll inverted. As it rolls inverted the nose can drop to near vertical. In this situation where an airliner is near vertical and stalling it will lose a lot of altitude quickly. From 32-38,000 feet it will still take a couple of minutes for it to hit the ground but during the period of time the cockpit would be a very hectic place and it would be easy for they crew not to make a radio call. Some news broadcaster have discounted this because they say that a stall results in a oscillation where the nose drops, the air speed increase and the nose tends to come back up. That is true except when there is a asymmetrical stall.

ENGINES

The engines are generally pretty insensitive to ice unless the amount of ice is excessive. There are normal (emergency) procedures to start them again. During the restart the airplane is under control and it would be easy for the crew to make radio calls. In an engine out scenario they would have a long time to work the issue and make the calls.

 

CONCLUSION

High in a thunder storm there can be a ton of ice and the airplane could ice up very quickly. Add a large amount of turbulence and any ice build-up could be catastrophic. Pitot static icing, and aerodynamic icing would quickly make the situation catastrophic. During any asymmetric rolling and/or pitching the airplane configuration might have been changed either by the pilots or one of the auto systems. If the spoilers/flaps deployed the airplane could easily got into more of an asymmetric configuration (because of ice) which would make the situation worse. More asymmetry could cause some structural failures and it might have stayed in a fairly tight spiral into the ocean.

This type of uncontrolled decent would explain limited structural damage, small debris field and a tail separation. Recognizing pitot-static icing is tricky and if the proper anti-icing weren’t turned on or failed the icing can grow very quickly.

 

Once again, this was terrible and I’m sure they’ll figure out the cause. I’m merely putting forth a possible scenario so I can explain some of the possible contributing factors.

 

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

Does Sharknado 2 fall into my definition of Sci-fi?

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Sharknado 2

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3062074/

Following my new rating system I give Sharknado 2, 2 buckets of popcorn and 2 bottles of wine.

(0 Bucket of Popcorn – Great; too busy to eat! – 3 Buckets terrible – nothing else to do)

(0 Bottles of Wine – Great; too exciting to drink. 3 Bottles – nothing else to do)

 

I couldn’t, in all good conscience, talk about which movies help define my Sci-Fi perspective without talking about Sharknado 2.

Yes, to some it could be considered Sci-Fi and to others, it falls ‘into another category.’

To me it falls ‘into another category’. Even though I enjoyed the movie, it is too commercial and too self-deprecating to fall neatly into the Sci-Fi genre.

After seeing Sharknado 1, and enjoying it, I looked forward (a little) for Sharknado 2. I found the first one by accident before it became a cult explosion. My wife and I immediately knew there would be a 2 and sure enough there was. Hollywood would never miss the chance to make money of a crazy story line.

This movie didn’t fall within my definition of Sci-Fi because it didn’t try to be Sci-Fi. Its only purpose was to carry the silly story one step further and entertain us with a crazy movie. Sci-Fi in my world has a message, aside from just creating a quick knock-off to make money. Good Sci-Fi takes some element of human nature, science and fiction and shows us something different. To me Sharknado 2 didn’t fit this bill.

I did enjoy it and I’m amazed how a small bomb will break down a tornado. Amazing….

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

How movies define Sci-Fi

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How movies define Sci-Fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Lepus

Over the holiday break I was fortunate to see two pieces of Sci-Fi which I feel helps to define the genre.

The first piece is the classic “To Serve Man” from the Twilight Zone series. It is one of those subtle stories that has aliens and the ending sneaks up on the viewer. It is truly a classic and anyone who enjoys Sci-Fi or writes Sci-Fi has to watch this episode and of course the remainder of the Twilight Zone and Outer Limits series.

The other piece I saw was a classic also. I must admit though I’m not sure what the word ‘classic’ means in this case. This piece is “Night of the Lepus”. You may wonder why I’m referencing this movie, but after you see it and you stop laughing I think you’ll realize how it helps to define Sci-Fi.

The movie is horrible, it has bad acting, bad directing, and lastly the special effects are out of the local grammar school. But, still there is something about it that helps me, in my mind, to understand why I like Sci-Fi.

The beauty of Sci-Fi is that is has room for this type of entertainment. The movie provides entertainment and is best viewed after the second bottle of wine. The ending is imaginative although totally against the laws of physics but that is why it has a cult following.

Maybe I’ll start a Sci-Fi movie rating system. Instead of the “Thumbs up/Thumbs down” rating by Siskel and Ebert, I’ll have 1-3 buckets of popcorn, 0 being poor Sci-Fi, 3 being great Sci-Fi. Then I’ll have 1-3 bottles of wine; 0 fantastic (too excited to imbibe) and 3 would too bad not to drink.

Obviously I’ll have to work on this system a little; maybe another bottle of wine will help.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com

‘The World’s End’ – Great old style Sci-Fi Movie

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The World’s End

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1213663/

I stumbled across this great Sci-Fi movie last night and I’m glad I did. It reminds me of what pure Sci-Fi is. True it’s British and the humor goes in a different direction but, to me, it represents the essence of good Sci-Fi.

The basic plot is about five middle aged guys trying to re live their last great bar-hopping adventure which was interrupted. I won’t go into the plot but the core of the story is ‘Alien Invasion’.

To me the fundamental element of good Sci-Fi is ‘story’, not ‘special-effects’. To me the story begins with the human story. The Sci-Fi elements play off human strengths and weaknesses. The Sci-Fi element uses those characteristics and builds the story with a surprise at the end.

The World’s End is a comedy and the plot has a number of human issues. The ending is predictable and the plot is pretty simple. In some ways it reminds me of some of the Outer Limit or Twilight Zone stories.

I saw it on Direct TV and if you have it through Direct or some other source I recommend it as a pleasant Sci-Fi diversion. A bucket of pop-corn and a bottle of wine and you’ve got a good night.

Ray Jay Perreault

https://rayjayperreault.wordpress.com