Monthly Archives: June 2015

How to Make a Cannon

Cannon finishedHow to make a cannon, in two easy steps:

  1. Start with a large piece of steel
  2. Cut away everything not part of a cannon.

Now, why didn’t we think of that?

That’s pretty much what Imgur user TickTock34 did, winding up with a 3/4 inch caliber, smoothbore, black powder cannon. Best of all, he photographed just about every step of the process.

He started with a piece of scrap front-end-loader hydraulic actuator that yielded a steel rod 15 inches long by 3 inches in diameter. Most of the work, including the gundrilling (first 1/2 inch, then 3/7 inch) was done on an ordinary lathe, albeit one with a number of highly useful attachments. The steady rest was especially important, used on almost every cut.

Here, for instance, goes widening the .50 bore to .75. As always drilling with a lathe, the work is rotated and the drill held stationary.

cannon drilling2The resulting little salute cannon is, of course, of no practical use whatever, but is an impressive demonstration of metalworking chops.

The techniques showed in this 75-image step-by-step album could presumably be scaled up to a larger cannon, but pretty soon you’re needing a gigantic lathe and an unusually large set of tools. (At some point, you’re looking at deep hole boring rather than drilling, which is a different process).

But they’re pretty entertaining and may answer some questions about how certain shapes can be formed on a metalworking lathe. The lathe is the foundational machine tool and all others follow from it. Indeed, 200 years ago as machine tools were developed in Britain and the US, the term “lathe” often meant any cutting machine that rotated tools and/or parts. As the number of specialized tools grew, and each got its own name, the all-encompassing, generic use of the term, “lathe” died out. It jumps out at the modern reader in early-19th-century documents.

When Guns are Outlawed, only Outlaws Will have Wild Cats.

cheetah business endSo there was this pack of wild animals. Who happened to be nominally human. And there was a pride of cheetahs. The cheetahs seem to have come out of the whole thing with rather more credit.

A woman who dropped her toddler into a Cleveland zoo’s cheetah pit has been sentenced to a year of probation that includes counseling and parenting classes.

If this sounds familiar, it’s ’cause it is. We covered it in April when the authorities were still considering charging  this candidate for Darwin Foundation Mom Of The Year.

Michelle Schwab, of Delaware, Ohio, was sentenced Wednesday. She was charged with child endangering after authorities said she dangled her 2-year-old son over the railing of the zoo’s cheetah exhibit in April. The boy lunged from her and fell about 10 feet.

Schwab and her husband jumped into the exhibit to retrieve the boy, who broke his leg. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo officials say the cheetahs didn’t approach the family.

Schwab pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of aggravated trespassing in May.

via Woman who dropped 2-year-old son into cheetah pit is sentenced – CBS News.

But wait, go back and read the first paragraph of the news story again.

Yep, you had that right, the Mother of the Year here was sentenced to parenting classes. 

On which day of class do they teach you, “Do not throw baby in the Big Cat pen?”

And, do you want to know the living definition of chutzpah? We’d have to say it’s pulling a stunt like this and then squawking about too much media attention. Yes, she did. (Through her attorneys).

Hey, if you don’t want to be in the papers, not taking extreme measures to rid yourself of your progeny might be a better approach. It’s always worked for us.

And honestly, the keepers feed the cheetahs a balanced, healthy cheetah diet. They don’t appreciate it when you slip them snacks between meals.

More Insight into NY Times Reporters’ and Editors’ Characters

New York Times editors and newsroom staff, during a drunken (and drugged, probably) debauch, yukking it up about a mass murder:times-fake-massacre

The bottle-and-toy-AR-wielding dork with the beard and coke-bottle glasses is Bill Keller, who was the top editor at the time. (During which, the paper approved school policies which suspended students for possession of toy firearms).

Seeing Keller and his phalanx of fools acting out their repressed fantasies might explain why they are so strong for gun control.

During his reign, the single most frequently covered story on the Times’s front page was the rampant injustice at a private golf club in Georgia, which had no women members.

Here’s Keller again, and his toadies, channeling the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult.

keller-times-heavens-gate

These morally void and mentally disturbed people think they should make the final decision on whether you can defend yourself. Isn’t that special?

Happiness is Not a Warm Gun

Andrea EberspacherNot for Andrea Eberspacher, anyway. Her boyfriend popped her one during a meth-fueled party turned rage incident, right smack dab in the middle of her belly tattoo.

We are not making this up: a tattoo with the John Lennon / Beatles lyric, “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” She survived, but her relationship with her boyfriend/ shooter, one Paul Boye, did not. Indeed, after Boye went to prison, she sued him for her medical expenses. Boye was in high dudgeon that the Department of Corrections did not provide a public defender to help him lose his civil case (as the state had provided one to assist him in losing his criminal case).

The lyric is not, apparently, intended as a reference to guns; according to Eberspacher’s Facebook page, she’s a fan of the midwestern Beatles tribute band Yesterday and Today. (Sample video at youtube… they’re OK, less a visual than a sonic tribute, which is at times uncanny).

Boye shot Eberspacher sometime in the wee hours of 1 Feb 14 and she walked into the hospital with an incoherent  the police arrested him five days later. The delay was caused by investigational difficulties resulting from both Romeo and Juliet being less than truthful. The Lincoln, NE, Journal-Star:

She walked into Bryan West Campus just before 5 a.m. The bullet had gone through a kidney and lodged near her spine, and doctors operated on her, police said. They had released her by Friday morning.

The woman initially balked at giving police information and told them a stranger shot her at a party, but Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said the two know each other.

Investigators uncovered evidence over the next four days that led them to believe Boye fired the shot, Flood said.

Police searched his home Thursday and seized several guns, then arrested him about 5:15, she said.

paul boye mugshotWe’ve been unable to find out if he was previously convicted of a felony and therefore a prohibited person (he was prohibited as a drug user, but we’ve never heard of that provision being enforced against an actual criminal, only harmless holders of medical-marijuana cards).

He’s the guy with the blank expression on the right. Doesn’t look much like a Beatles fan, does he? (Maybe his favorite was “Run for Your Life”: “You better run for your life if you can, little girl… I’d rather see you dead” etc). Then again, no one’s at his best in his license photo, or jail mugshot.

Boye was tried and convicted and sent to prison by October, 2014; he did not take the stand in his own defense, but others recounted his actions that night:

At first, Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

A friend later told investigators Boye ran to the basement and said he had shot Eberspacher, according to the affidavit.

“I am toast,” the witness remembered Boye saying.

Maybe not “toast,” but he got 10 to 15, which under typically dishonest, lawyerly sentencing rules in Nebraska means he’ll be back menacing society by 2020.

A more recent story has some details of the shooting and the wound.

In court documents, attorney Perry Pirsch said Boye and Eberspacher argued after smoking methamphetamine and drinking vodka, and she suddenly felt pain in her right side and back and looked at her side.

“You … shot me,” she screamed, according to Pirsch.

We’re presuming the ellipses indicate language unfit for a family newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska. It does not tax the imagination to supply the missing adverbial epithet.

The .22-caliber bullet tore through her right kidney, liver and colon and lodged near her spine. On the way to the hospital, Boye apologized for shooting her, his attorney said at sentencing.

Oh, that makes it all okay, then!

And note, this is an “anemic” .22 wound that would have been fatal minus modern ER practice or further from a hospital. We’ll let Aesop tell us how bright these two folks weren’t, to drive to the hospital instead of calling EMS. (For one thing, it gets your car all bloody and unlike your ’84 Oldsmobile, the ambulance is designed to wash out).

Pirsch said Eberspacher needed a foot-long incision through her midsection, leaving a scar that, ironically, bisects her tattoo of the Beatles’ lyric.

She had to spend two days in intensive care.

Play stupid games, win what, kids? That’s right, stupid prizes. Silly buggers with meth and vodka is already a stupid game before some subgenius starts getting his brandish on.

In the civil case, Boye claimed the shooting was an accident. But as another Star-Journal story says,

In October, Boye’s attorney said the shooting was an accident. But at a deposition in the civil case against him, Boye invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination more than 50 times, even after being told that doing so could be used against him.

… speaking by phone from his cell, Boye argued that the story had changed many times and the facts are in dispute. He repeatedly asked for an attorney, but they aren’t appointed in civil cases.

In court records in the criminal case, Lincoln Police Officer Carla Cue said Boye and Eberspacher, who’d been dating for 14 months, first told police they’d been partying at their house when someone shot her and that they didn’t know who did it.

Eberspacher was awarded her medical bills of some $20k, and a second trial in the fall will determine if she has pain and suffering money coming, too. It may be a pyrrhic legal victory, however. As the old lawyers’ saw goes, “You can sue the Bishop of Boston for bastardy, but can you collect?” Eberspacher now has a judgment against an indivudual who seemed to be leading a marginal, sketchy life before going into the nonexistent earning environment that is state prison. It seems improbable she will ever see a dime of that money, and so it seems unlikely that the hospital or the surgeon and other professionals who saved her life will get paid, either.

She says she hasn’t had, but needs, psychological counseling. She needs better taste in men and recreational activities; dare we build upon her experience and suggest more Beatles, less meth.

Handbag Carry: Just Stop Doing It. Now.

As fans of the female shape (on females, of course; don’t look for us to go the way of Bruce Jenner anytime before the Sun goes nova) we’re sympathetic with women’s complaints about fit and comfort problems with conventional designed-for-dudes holsters.

But we’re not so sympathetic that we’re about to sanction handbag carry. It’s a great way for a carrier to get separated from her firearm, which is bad enough. But even worse, this can happen:

Elizabeth Green’s 3-year-old son, Marques, died at a hospital June 11 shortly after the shooting woman in Hamilton, about 30 miles north of Cincinnati. The mother told an emergency dispatcher amid screams that he apparently took her handgun out of her purse.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said a grand jury heard evidence in the case before deciding not to charge Green.

“The sheer enormity and permanency of this loss to the mother far exceeds the power of the state to punish the mother for her inattention under circumstances that should have been obvious to her,” Gmoser said in a statement.

At least Mr Gmoser managed to bring the investigation and grand jury to a close pretty quickly — it’s not unusual to see a case like this drag on for years, hanging like the Sword of Damocles over a person who’s already shocked, bereaved, and feeling incredible guilt.

On a word-nerd aside, it’s nice to see someone using the word enormity in its traditional sense; not just “really big” but “really horrible.” But it’s beyond awful that something like this ever had to happen.

In most cases where a kid whacks himself, or a playmate, with mommy or daddy’s gun, the state piling on doesn’t really serve an articulable public purpose, unless you’re the sort of state’s attorney who believes that your self-aggrandizement is the highest of public purposes.

The investigation was necessary to determine the circumstances surrounding the boy’s death and any criminal conduct that may have been involved, Gmoser’s statement said. He said the investigation confirmed the boy died accidentally from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest and the mother failed to secure the firearm from her purse, where it was kept for her self-protection and found by the child.

via No charges for mother whose 3-year-old killed self – CBS News.

We’re not lawyers, but we’d guess that there’s a lot of jurisdictional variance here, and a lot of shaded area between the white of simple negligence and the black of criminal culpability. Reasonable people can disagree about whether to prosecute the gun owners in cases like this.

It’s unlikely anyone will disagree that this was a terrible tragedy, of the sort that should be avoided.

Yes, it’s hard to make a service pistol, a female form, and womens’ fashions fit together. And handbag carry is a temptation that just sits there smiling at you. When it reaches out to you, remember that the same convenience seduced Elizabeth Green. It’s impossible to imagine what effect this one single error — that she may not have known was an error, even though she’d had training — and the resulting tragedy has had on her now, and will have on her for life.

Don’t make it possible for a story like this to be about you. 

When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Lose Super Bowls

quevedo mugshotYes, this creep really killed a guy over the 49ers losing the Super Bowl.

Defense attorney Antonio Alvarez was, in the way of the old attorneys’ joke, reduced to pounding on the table. Still, he came up with one of the more promising defense gambits since the “twinkie defense” and the evergreen, “perhaps he killed his parents, but have some sympathy for an orphan!”

Alvarez’s approach: “If my client’s victim hadn’t been a Jehovah’s Witness and refused a transfusion, he’d have survived my client shooting him.”

Yeah, the jury didn’t buy it. Props to Alvarez for doing the utmost with the crappy hand his client dealt him. His client, by the way, is the tatted-up scrote, one David Quevedo, seen to the left. And… as you might guess from his prison-defaced mug, this was not his first rodeo. So for David Quevedo, a convicted felon, guns were already outlawed. The Fresno (CA) Bee:

The shooting attracted instant notoriety when authorities said Quevedo, a San Francisco 49ers fan, went on a rampage after his team lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. It gained more notoriety during the trial, when Quevedo’s lawyer claimed Silva could have lived, but his Jehovah’s Witness religious beliefs stopped him from getting a blood transfusion.

Omar Silva died during surgery after he refused a blood transfusion, defense attorney Antonio Alvarez told the jury.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe it is against God’s will to have a blood transfusion.

In the trial, both sides agreed that Quevedo shot Silva, the father of four children.

Prosecutor Gabriel Brickey, however, told the jury that pathologist Dr. Michael Chambliss’ expert opinion was that even if Silva had received the transfusion, he would have died anyway because one bullet hit his inferior vena cava, a major vein. In asking for a first-degree murder conviction, Brickey said Silva was an innocent victim of gang violence and that Quevedo deliberately shot Silva after getting into a fight with Silva’s brother. After the shooting, Silva’s daughter picked Quevedo out of a police photo lineup, Brickey said.

In defending Quevedo, Alvarez said his medical expert, Dr. David Posey, believed Silva had a 90% chance of survival if he had had the blood transfusion. But Alvarez’s argument fizzled when Posey said on cross examination that a substantial factor in Silva’s death was the gunshot wounds.

No $#!+, Sherlock Holmes. Did the defender really think no one was going to ask, “Uh, why did poor Mr Silva need a transfusion? Was it because the client who hired you shot the living Jesus out of him, perhaps?”

Court records say Quevedo has been to prison before — in 2007 for felony battery of a custodial officer and in 2011 for taking someone’s property. He was on supervised release when he was arrested after the Silva shooting.

via Fresno man who killed in post-Super Bowl rampage gets life in prison | Fresno Bee Fresno Bee.

Note that for him to commit felony battery of a custodial officer in ’07, he had to be locked up in the first place. What that was for is untold in the story.

As a convicted felon, Quevedo was already a prohibited person. As a parolee, he was already a prohibited person. As a gang member, he was already a prohibited person. Good thing the law forbade him to have a gun!

Maybe they ought to have a law that forbids him to kill people with it… oh, snap! That’s the one he was convicted on.

He really doesn’t seem to have much to do with the law, does he?

Quevedo was a “made guy” in the pathetic street crime gang, the Bond Street Bulldogs. That’s why he has the “B” tattooed on his face — it’s not because he was a fan of the Red Sox as well as the 49ers.

The paper gives a pull quote that suggests just how many of the gunslingers in the California city where this crime eventuated Just Might Be Prohibited™:

There are about 20,000 gang members in Fresno. They account for about 75% of the shootings in Fresno.

(Fresno, naturally) Police Chief Jerry Dyer

If Quevedo is typical, they’re better shots than the average cop, too:

About 9:30 p.m., Omar Silva was with his wife and children when Quevedo knocked on the front door and asked to see Arnold Silva. Silva’s daughter answered the door and said her uncle was not home. Omar Silva, who had just gotten out of the shower, then approached the front door, wearing only a towel around his waist. Quevedo fired eight rounds toward Silva, Brickey said. Three shots hit Silva in the chest and one hit him in the back, the prosecutor said.

Four out of eight… that’s Distinguished Marksman, by cop standards. The shot that killed Silva hit the inferior vena cava, the major vein bringing deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart; an IVC penetration is normally a mortal wound; the patient can’t be stabilized, exsanguinates, and crashes within seconds to minutes (depending on the size of the wound).

The depressing fact pattern is that, when guns are outlawed, as many guns are in the state where this crime took place, guys like Quevedo never fail to get guns. And when they kill, injure and rob with them — because that’s what they do — the same geniuses who wrote the laws that like totally like completely prevented this unpossible crime will find some new legal restriction to lay on the people who are not committing any of these crimes, the state’s legal gun owners.

Exit question: is the California Department of Corrections going to put him in lockdown on Super Bowl Sunday? Just a precaution, you know.

Received from USASOC

New_USASOC__DUIThe moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on:

Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland will relinquish command of U.S. Army Special Operations Command to Lt. Gen. Kenneth E. Tovo during a traditional Army ceremony at Fort Bragg on July 1, 2015.

Cleveland has commanded USASOC since July 2012. Tovo has been serving as the Military Deputy Commander, U.S. Southern Command, Miami, Fla.

The traditional Army ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Meadows Field, at the USASOC headquarters.

USASOC is the Army component of the joint U.S. Special Operations Command and is among the most diverse organizations in the U.S. military, bringing a broad range of competencies and disciplines to support geographic combatant commanders and ambassadors worldwide.

LTG Cleveland presided over a reorientation of several Army special operations forces on long-neglected core competencies, notably UW/GW for Special Forces, which was his primary SOF background.

Kyle Defoor Learns About Big Army Maintenance

…O,r lack of the same. A class for a large Army unit came completely unglued as weapon after weapon failed. Charging handles broke. Dust covers went flying off. Locking lugs sheared. A furious Defoor, noting that the guns were Colts, posted a nastygram on his Facebook page with a photo of some of the parts:

failed parts from defoor post

These were supposedly new guns, but look at the condition of these parts. They’re not milspec parts after two days of shooting. The dust cover pins don’t appear to be grooved for the c-clip, which explains the absence of c-clips and the parts being off the firearm.

As it happens, Defoor learned more about the unit’s situation, and soon changed the title of his post to: Military and unit level maintenance issues with Colts produce serious issues in less than two days of shooting.

Soon, he posted a followup, explaining what he meant.

Update- After three broken locking lugs….(not kidding)

I made a mistake and posted too soon. My apologies.

Found that new bolts and c handles from new “headquarter” guns were interchanged with deployed guns or sent forward as spares and replaced with either used or non Colt parts. There is no rhyme or reason to the how or why and no one who can say who did what exactly. It’s a zoo and has turned training into a damn armory class.

My spot checking wasn’t good enough due to the large number of guns online, it provided a false feedback because I saw Colt bolt markings on the few I looked at. I should’ve checked them all along with c handles before the lugs broke. Big lesson learned but I could’ve never came up with this scenario if I tried.

Obviously we are steering them in the right direction but money seems to be the big issue here.

I changed the title of this post to reflect our findings and again shouldn’t have posted so quickly and apologize.

In other words, the bolts that failed were non-Colt bolts of unknown provenance that were swapped into some old guns after the bolts from the old guns were cannibalized to support a unit in the field.

It’s generally not good practice to replace new for worn bolts (or simply swap worn bolts from gun to gun) in AR rifles, unless you also replace the barrel extension. This is for the same reason it’s not good to replace a worn camshaft in an internal-combustion engine without also replacing the valve lifters or cam followers — otherwise the worn lifters will quickly reshape the cam.

The AR design can actually tolerate a lot of that, but not an indefinite amount.

The problem of no-name parts is a different, and larger one. Defoor continued:

They can’t within any reasonable degree tell the use of the parts that failed due to poor records and high turnover with personnel. Also there are no big mil tests for bolts or charging handles beyond “looks good” as I found out today. Very surprising.

Not that surprising. Military parts records are hamstrung by the one-size-misfits-all computer systems used for military inventories. (They still use thick printouts, impact-printed on green-and-white-striped paper — remember that?) It’s hardly a shock that a system designed to keep track of the wool socks in the warehouse in Shemya, and getting pallets of dry cargo from the Liberty Ship to the Red Ball Express, chokes on trying to trace the provenance of parts. (The Army’s aviation supply system can sort of do this, for obvious reasons; but they’re still decades behind the industry).

Some long-ETS’d or retired supply sergeant probably dealt with a bunch of yelling about deadlined rifles, especially in a headquarters company that hardly ever shoots, by shipping good parts to fix bad rifles downrange, and then, rather than wait for the bad parts to come back from the deployment, turn them in, and wait months for reissue, or simply turn the unserviceable weapons in for higher-echelon maintenance, simply went online and bought some generic AR parts and swapped them in. That’s our take on this; somebody bent the rules in classic SF “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” style and the unit got bitten in the gluteus maximus because he didn’t know what he didn’t know.

See, parts is parts, right? No, wrong. Even though the military does a crap job of keeping track of the parts once they’re accepted, they actually test each lot of spare parts (on a sample basis, of course) fairly thoroughly. Many commercial parts are never tested at all, not even one in ten thousand parts, not even for critical parts like bolts. So the first “test” a charging handle, or dust-cover pin, or, God forbid, a bolt gets is when Joe unlimbers his service rifle at the range with live ammo.

There are some nondestructive ways to test some of these parts. For example, a properly forged charging handle is likely to weigh more than an el cheapo. Ditto for a bolt. The roll pin (a key point of failure) can be visually inspected. But these inspections are not in the manual, and in any event, the average Joe (the -10 level of maintenance, “operator” in a non-tactical sense) has no training on inspecting individual parts. Neither does his unit armorer (-20 level maintenance, “organizational”).

Some of the comments on Defoor’s Facebook page are very helpful. For instance:

Matt Murray
As a former member of TACOM SARET, I’ll weigh here. I’m not sure what unit this was, or what MACOM they fall under, but preset and rest missions by TACOM and direct support units have been lacking in both funding and personnel since the slowing of the ARFORGEN cycle in 2011. Soldiers at the 10 level are not trained or qualified to make repairs or diagnostics on the myriad of issues that come to light in TIs per 23&P TMs. When units can no longer get the level of quality reset maintenance after deployments, or preset maintenance before deployments, issues like this unfortunately manifest on the range rather than the 30 level shop. Furthermore, unit armorers are not trained to identify issues as expertly as a 91F or TACOM equipment specialist, and lead times at DS assets are horrendous at present due to budget cuts. So when training cycles begin, armorers and Supply NCOs are stuck issuing weapons that haven’t been properly inspected at the 30 level for years in some cases. In any case, this ain’t Joe’s fault.

Stripped of the Army acronymese, Murray is saying the units are not getting the opportunity to have their weapons inspected pre- and post-deployment by expert direct-support or depot armorers and gunsmiths. So problems turn up in the range, when they would have been caught by a proper TI (technical inspection) at the -30 (direct support maintenance) level.

Which is frustrating to a unit that’s used some of its discretionary funds to bring in Kyle Defoor to train hundreds or at least dozens of soldiers (how does that even work?), and frustrating, obviously, to Defoor and his assistants.

How do you avoid this kind of problem with your firearm? Learn to inspect guns and parts, but also, be extremely judicious in your choice of parts.

Sunday Soaking

Rainsplash Drop from Vanderbilt.edu.

Rainsplash Drop from Vanderbilt.edu. Seems appropriate. 

The rain started at about eleven last night as we checked the perimeter and closed a forgotten garage door (to the stall full of airplane parts). Since then, it’s fallen steadily for most of that time, although there have been a couple of embedded downpours. It’s in the fifties (F, of course)  although the forecast hints that we might see 61ºF around noon for a bit.

Yesterday the plan was to spend it at EAA 106’s annual Experimental Fly-In. It used to be the Canard and RV fly in, but now they’ve changed the name, because people thought they were only welcome to fly in and show off canard and RV’s. There were some of each of those present, still (lots of RVs, actually), but there were also others: a Corvair-powered Zenith 601, a Lancair 4P, a GlaStar. A lot of the attendees were building and/or flying something.

We had to leave early, but did get a fascinating rundown on the Lancair 4P, an example of the way that the experimental world builds niche aircraft that the FAA would not allow a manufacturer to sell. The Lancair’s niche is speed. It goes 270 knots in 75% cruise in the lower flight levels; door to door, this ship (based in Lawrence) can beat the misery of an airline cattle call to Florida by hours, by starting from closer to home, landing closer to home, routing around the damage to the body politic that is the TSA’s corps of perverted payroll patriots, and never losing your bag. For the airline to beat you, door-to-door, you’d have to be taking a transcontinental flight where the airline’s faster speed aloft can overcome its slow and inconvenient ground phases (and where the range forces the Lancair to come down to Earth for fuel). Still, it is a time machine, personal teleportation. The price of mastery of that domain? The challenge of operating what an Italian might call a macchina nervosa. The Lancair is slick and sensitive in pitch. Its controls are badly harmonized; twitchy in pitch, it’s trucklike in roll. Its low-speed handling is weak and treacherous; speed is life, and you need to keep the angle of attack indicator in the yellow, or preferably green. Red is literally death. It is safe to fly if you are aware of were the monsters lurk and if you don’t go there. Modern electronics, which include features that are also more advanced that the FAA lets manufactures install in type-certified aircraft, make it possible to fly such a machine as quasi-practical personal transportation. But it’s not a machine you fly for fun; you fly it to go places where fun is waiting for you.

The Blognephew, a unique spirit whose pursuits of enlightenment are often foot wide and ocean deep, has previously been entirely indifferent to aviation. He sat for much of the show, a study in grumpy vexation, absorbed in a Rick Riordan book. Until, that is, he learned he might get a flight in a Real Airplane. In the end, he did. Whether this means he will find something in the physical world as attractive to him as young-adult fantasy novels and the various entertainment offerings of various glowing rectangles remains to be seen, but the horse has been led to the water. (Thanks, Bob Di Meo, you’re a star, and so is your RV-8).

So, today, and this week, while rain slows progress of some home repairs and upgrades, we’ll be messing about with machinery (3D printing, if we’re successful) and catching up on the two posts still owed from yesterday — a movie review (in keeping with the aviation spirit, 2012’s Red Tails) and a TW3.

We also may be undertaking a road trip to the Mothership in Fayetteville this week. That’s still up in the air. It should not impinge overly on blog action.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 26

That was the week that was TW3Another week is at an end, actually a little past its end as we’re posting this about 24 hours late and backdating it.

Hey, we can do that. We have the magical powers of the admin login.

It’s been an interesting week around here, as usual, and we hope to keep it interesting as we go forward.

We’re still not certain on a road trip this week. If so, we’ll see our Fayetteville crowd, eh?

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average week. We posted 27 posts with some 302 comments by press time for this post, and a total of about 15,000 words. Our greatest milestone this week has to be statistically based: we passed one million unique users on the blog. We expect to pass 2,000,000 before year’s end, which is just amazing and humbling. We had expected to be at two million hits by this point, but our hits are over 4.6 million for 2015 — so far. Thank you all for reading!

Comment of the Week

We’re going to recommend the comment thread to one of our training posts (of which we have promised more). In Mind Over Matter, we suggested that if you had to choose one or the other, mindset, Napoleon’s “the moral,” is so vital that we’d choose training over hardware. This was a controversial idea! And both sides were aired in the comments.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

Tomorrow morning, a top tactical trainer tries training a conventional Army unit, and guns are going tango uniform left and right. The reason just might surprise you. (It sure surprised him).