Friday, December 20, 2013


This is my son David taking a friend up for a helicopter ride.  I have never been in a helicopter and am impatient for my turn.  Soon I will go to Florida so Dave can take me up.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Automation vs. Pilots (An Anecdote)

This past Wednesday, December 4, 2013, we were flying several flights to and from Chicago O'Hare airport.  The weather was wintry with low clouds, gusty winds and somewhat reduced visibility.  These are the days when pilots sit up straight and focus, like a driver does when driving in similar conditions.  Let's admit it, when the weather is beautiful we relax whether driving a car or flying an airplane; but not this day.

My First officer was the flying pilot on this leg into Chicago.  For reasons of proficiency and sharing the work we typically alternate the flying duties from flight to flight.  He is a good pilot, as pilots go these days.  That is, he is proficient at operating the airplane with the auto-pilot.  I do not know how well he operates without an auto-pilot because I have never seen him try.

As we were being vectored onto the runway 9L instrument approach the first officer armed the flight control system and watched as it captured the electronic course and aligned the airplane with the still invisible runway.  At this point, as he watched the aircraft making constant pitch and bank corrections to wind gust displacements, he uttered what I think is a telling comment concerning our modern pilot's reliance on automation, "Man, I hope it does a good job."

Constitution Free Zone

Things are getting extreme when the ACLU and I agree on anything.  They are sounding an alarm on the illegal searches and increased federal surveillance associated with our borders.  They have created this Constitution Free Zone map to illustrate the problem.  They estimate that 66% of our citizens live within 100 miles of a national border and are subject to these infringements.  That zone includes my hometown of Richmond, VA.  To learn of the ACLU's concerns one can read their posting at

If video is more fun here is one showing push back at a border patrol and produce checkpoints.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Self Imprisionment

Have you ever heard of a tragic case of the occupants of a house fire who are unable to escape and perish due to their burglar bars preventing egress?  I am sure those poor people expected an increase in personal safety when they installed those bars.  They were anticipating the hindrance of external threats  and failed to consider the internal ones.  This illustrates our efforts to secure safety by implementing numerous laws in an effort to curtail perceived threats; laws such as promoting increased gun control, increased border security, enhanced government surveillance and more security check-points.

Laws, like burglar bars work both ways.  If we anticipate making life harder for "bad guys" by putting up legal barriers, outfitting large, well equipped police forces we must expect to find ourselves under their scrutiny and domination.  Think about it.  Police forces cannot, by law, discriminate.  They must treat everyone they come in contact with in the same manner.  To them, we are all suspects and must satisfactorily answer their questions.  This is why a state like New York, Connecticut, or Massachusetts prohibit anyone from carrying firearms in public.  They cannot write a gun control law that only applies to "people who have the intention of committing a crime".  They have to write it for everyone in the hope that it will deter those few people with criminal intent.  In the meantime people who have no intention of committing a crime, including violation of gun control laws, find themselves helpless against thugs while trying to avoid trouble with the police.  See how silly this all is?

The Supreme Court of the United States has made quite a few decisions which should be considered.  These decisions were made to protect our liberty and to insure our peaceful co-existence with law enforcement.  Several cases have been decided which plainly state that the police have no duty to come to our rescue.  This makes sense.  There is no possible way the police could be in position to save all people at all times and places.  This is why it is the height of foolishness to support gun control.  It makes our citizens helpless against attack while our police are not obligated to come to our aid.

The police cannot arbitrarily ask you for your identification.  They cannot assume you are a felon, if you are carrying a gun.  They cannot "check you out" with out being able to articulate a specific and creditable suspicion.  In short, they are supposed to give us the benefit of the doubt and allow us to proceed without hindrance or molestation.  These are all good rules for a society wishing to enjoy the fruits of liberty.  However they are an obstruction to law enforcement who are charged by their voters to, "secure the borders!, "enforce immigration laws!, "get guns out of the hands of criminals!"  With these demands we will only bring restrictions and barriers upon ourselves.  As it happens in our airports everyday, we will find ourselves "proving" that we are law abiding more and more often.  We will barricade ourselves inside our own nation.

This video shows these constitutional restrictions at work.  This driver wishes to be free to travel through an unconstitutional checkpoint .  In the end they let him pass without having to prove his citizenship.  However, if we do not start reining in these many agencies and police departments it will be the rules changing in their favor and our liberty will fade.