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Flightline Friday………it’s getting to feel like old times October 31, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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During the Cold War, Russian bombers regularly probed the North American and NATO Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ), testing reactions and gathering intelligence on, say, the latest modification to an F-4 or the tactics used when multiple bombers approach a given zone on different axes at different altitudes.  Of course, we did the same, although in a much more low key manner (well……at least after the late 60s it was low key.  Prior to that, we were quite aggressive, including direct overflights by military aircraft of another nation’s sovereign airspace, technically, an act of war).  And NATO forces were also “trained” as well, being able to spot improvements in Soviet bombers or other aircraft, testing crew proficiency and professionalism, etc.

Early on, these confrontations could be fairly tense, especially when it was Soviets intercepting our bombers.  There were…….incidents.  But after the late 60s and strategic parity set in, both sides took a step back and strove not to needlessly provoke World War III.  Professionalism and safety were the watchwords.  And both sides also became careful not to reveal too much to the other while proving out their own capabilities.

Anyway, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian bombers threatening to penetrate US airspace has been comparatively rare. There were some occasional bursts of activity in the 90s, and then again during the 2000s, but then there would be long lulls.

However, over the past year, and especially since the Ukraine imbroglio got going, the number of these missions and the aggressiveness of the Russian aircrews have increased a very great deal.  Numbers of flights have increased by a factor of 2, with flights near some countries like Japan numbering in the hundreds.  And coordination of the missions is becoming increasingly complex and aggressive, such as the recent instance when a large group of Russian fighter bombers – and their most advanced types – were penetrating the Baltic at the same time a group of Tu-95MS Bear-H bombers were coming down the North Sea with tanker support (and if its one thing the Russians haven’t many of, its tankers).

So its seems Tsar Vlad I has initiated some old time Cold War gamesmanship.  European governments are just aghast, they promised we were in a new future of peace in our time!

Yeah, maybe not so much.

A catalog of some recent activity:

Russian jets “invading Japanese airspace” in record numbers

NATO tracks large-scale Russian air activity in Europe – first known flight of the advanced Su-34 long range interdiction fighter in one of these probing exercises

This next one is pretty unusual.  During the Cold War and since, it has not been too unusual for Russian bombers to fly just outside the US Air Defense Identification Zone, but it has been very rare for Russian fighters to do so. But do so they did, last month, at least two MiG-31s (NATO reporting name: FOXHOUND) and some Su-27SM “Flankers.”

Also this month, a heavily armed Su-27SM Flanker, with very capable AA-12 fire and forget radar guided missiles, nearly collided with a Swedish Gulfstream V electronic reconnaissance aircraft.

Photos of some of these incidents below:

Flanker a bit too close to Swedish Gulfstream. This kind of thing did happen during the Cold War.

Flanker a bit too close to Swedish Gulfstream. This kind of thing did happen during the Cold War.

F-22 escorts Tu-95MS Bear

F-22 escorts Tu-95MS Bear

RAF Typhoon F.2 escorts Tu-95MS

RAF Typhoon F.2 escorts Tu-95MS


I don’t know what’s going on in this photo.  I would say that’s a pretty unusual attitude for an escorting aircraft to take.  But Canadians are crazy:


EWTN radio broadcasting from Mater Dei parish today at 2 October 30, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, Latin Mass, religious, sanctity, silliness, Virtue.

KATH/Guadalupe Radio,the local EWTN affiliate, is broadcasting today from Mater Dei parish in Irving, in order to provide some last minute PR for the pumpkin sales effort the parish has been involved in for the past two weeks.  That today is October 30, 2014 by the way, for those time travelers among you..

Some of us had doubts how well pumpkins might sell at a church that faces an industrial boulevard largely traveled by semis.  All I can say is, if you’re in the market for pumpkins at your late date, there are plenty to choose from at Mater Dei.

So come by and check it out.  Maybe you’ll find your dream pumpkin.  A big hunk of the proceeds do go to the parish. Why else would I presently have 20 pumpkins at my house?

Die, Pro/E, Die! October 30, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.
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File corrupter from the bowels of hell!  What junk have you unleashed upon us, PTC?!?  How does a heat sink turn magically into an MPO adapter, and refuse to turn back!  MPO adapters don’t cool 50W FPGAs very well, do they?!?



Non sequitur: Ooops October 28, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disaster, error, Flightline Friday, foolishness, non squitur, silliness, Society.

It looks like the Russian-engined competitor for SpaceX NASA ginned up to supply the International Space Station had a little oopsie:

The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft – consisting of a great deal of Euro-content – unusually launch from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) in Virginia. This launch site is at such a high latitude it is at a distinct disadvantage, but somehow the state of Virginia enticed Orbital Sciences Corp to use it.  There is only one orbital launch complex at MARS, and over 25o tons of fuel and liquid oxygen just burned it to a crisp. I don’t think they will be launching from there anytime soon.

It looked to me that something went awry with the launch tower falling away. I could be wrong.  There has been much sturm and drang regarding the current sanctions imposed against Russia and the Russian engines used on several important US launch vehicles (not SpaceX, though).  Those engines will not be available in future should the sanctions continue much longer.  It is somewhat unusual to see only the engine of a rocket explode.  The rest of it remained intact until impact with the ground.  Sabotage?  Doubtful.  Still, rather strange.

And SpaceX remains in the driver’s seat, in spite of NASA and Air Force preference for suppliers that have in bed with them for a longer period of time.

REMINDER: Holy Face Devotions, First Friday coming up at the Dallas Carmel October 28, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, General Catholic, Admin, awesomeness, religious, Eucharist, Virtue, Glory, Tradition, fun, sanctity, Grace, family.

Holy Face Devotions will be held at 3pm at the Discalced Carmelites at 500 Flowers Ave Dallas 75211 on Sunday, Nov. 2.  Benediction follows First Friday is November 7.  I will try to put out a reminder on First Friday next week.

All info on upcoming Carmelite events here——->>>>>>>Allnightcarmelites_november2014

And then a couple of photos from my day off.  A commenter may be glad to see something I got at the flight museum.  Meanwhile, Benedict has already entered flight training.  Sorry for the botched photo from Sunday’s Procession, I was in a big hurry.



Yes, that is his idea of a smile.  Man did he have a total meltdown about an hour later.

Look for updates to A-4 Flightline Friday soon!

Look for updates to A-4 Flightline Friday soon!



Taking the day off October 27, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin.

Although I have a ton of important material to blather on about, that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I’m takerin the day off.

But to spoil the mood I have a 5 year old in full meltdown mode.  So yay me.

Enjoy your day off from my ranty rant rants.


This is all you get for your pathetic Flightline Friday October 24, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, silliness, Society.
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I’m out. A commenter brought up the A-4 Skyhawk and why it seemed I was bashing it in last week’s post on the A-7.  So here is the Skyhawk – still in service! – in all its glory:

A-4AR FightingHawk still in Argentine service. Pope Francis approves!


Nice cockpit upgrade by Lockheed.  It sure didn’t look like that in the original Skyhawks!


On long flights the crew can watch cartoons on their TV screens.

We need a good laugh October 23, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, Holy suffering, scandals, silliness, SOD.
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This laugh brought to you by Bones, and it is much appreciated (by me).  It seems a compilation of music to listen to the Synod will hit Vatican shelves this week:



When your sitting back, reading that glorious “Relatio,” think how well hearing “Losing My Religion” or “Heartbreak Hotel” will sound?

How about Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean?  That’s how it makes me feel.

Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar played a huge role in defining Waylon’s unique sound.  That and the driving bass line.  Best steel guitar man ever.  Waylon was my age when this was filmed. I must say, though both addicts, he looked a good bit more chewed up at that age than I do.  Heh.  Maybe.

Another good laugh, via Eye of the Tiber. Cardinal Kasper proposes three more Sacraments:

Citing the need for the Church to “update herself with modern times,” Cardinal Walter Kasper declared that the Church has now added three Sacraments to the original seven instituted by Christ. In an interview with America, Kasper explained his decision: “Christ challenged the Pharisees to look deeper than the Mosaic Law, and he challenges us to the same. The original seven sacraments were sufficient for their time, but times have changed, and the Church owes the world a greater number of spiritual life rafts.”

Kasper’s new list of Sacraments is as follows:

1. Baptism

2. Confirmation

3. Eucharist

4. Reconciliation

5. Marriage

6. Holy Orders

7. Anointing of the Sick

8. Annulment

9. That YouTube video of that Lifehouse song with that Jesus skit

10. Christmas trees

Flightline Friday: The End of the Line for the SLUF October 17, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, history, non squitur, silliness, Society.
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I can’t say what that means……Short Little Ugly, uh……Fella.  That’s it.  The F-8 that shrank when put in the wash.USAF_A-7K_Corsair_JPEG

Today marked the final retirement of the incredible Vought A-7 Corsair II from military service.  The Hellenic Air Force retired their last A-7H at Araxos airbase just today, Friday, October 17 2014, completing 49 years of active service.  The Greeks, like everyone who flew it, loved their SLUFs.  Derived from the GREATEST MILITARY AIRCRAFT EVER!11!, the Vought F-8 Crusader, the A-7 served with the US Navy, Air Force, and the air forces of Portugal and Greece.

Designed as a light attack aircraft replacement for the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, the A-7 was developed incredibly quickly. From contract award to entry into service was less than 3 years – utterly unheard of today, but very possible for the amazing aerospace industry this country once had.  Of course, it helped that the A-7 leveraged a whole bunch from the F-8 design, but it was a substantially new aircraft.  It was A-7E_Corsair_VA-192_1971also not cripplingly expensive.

The A-7 had much better range-payload capability than the A-4 it replaced, and when lightly loaded could even serve as a fighter.  In fact, because of their longer legs, low operating costs, and high fuel efficiency, A-7s were routinely assigned to escort Soviet bombers that frequently shadowed US carrier battle groups.

The A-7 first entered squadron service in 1965 and went into combat in 1966.  It served throughout the Vietnam war in increasing numbers.

While derived from the nearly Mach 2 Crusader, the A-7 was a subsonic bomb truck with, for its time, unprecedented accuracy, especially in the A-7D and E versions.  Developed for the Navy, the Air Force was compelled to purchase a large number of A-7s, lacking an alternative strike aircraft to buy in the late 60s.  USAF resented that greatly, and after Vietnam ended (in which the A-7D acquitted itself admirably), rapidly transferred the A-7Ds from active service to the Guard and Reserve.  In fact, the A-7D was still in production, so, unusually, the Air Force was procuring a new aircraft for the Guard, instead of the usual hand-me-downs they received.  This continued into the 1980s.  The A-7 became the prime aircraft of the Air National Guard during the mid-late 70s, and was a heck of a capable aircraft.  Pilots loved its stability, maneuverability, reliability, and bombing accuracy.  The A-7 had a very capable digital bombing system.

As the 80s wore on, more and more A-7s were replaced by F-16s and A-10s in the Air Force and F-18s in the Navy.  The F-18 may have been a way better fighter than the A-7 but it was much shorter ranged, a A-7E_VA-72_over_Saudi_Fort_1990problem that continues to afflict the F-18 to this day.  In the late 80s, the Air Force actually wanted a supersonic aircraft to replace the very slow A-10.  Yes, USAF has never been entirely comfortable with the A-10.  While a variant of the F-16 was favored by the brass, the Army balked at a short ranged light fighter in the close air support role, and Vought saw a chance to stay in the fighter business by redesigning the A-7 to take a much more powerful and modern engine, the F100, and make the SLUF supersonic like it’s F-8 parent.  But the end of the Cold War brought all those plans to an end and the A-7 left service in 1993 after a final swan song, in naval service, in the first Gulf War.

I’m out of time, so that means videos.

First a late 80s video of an ANG A-7 on a bombing run:

Navy birds, terrible soundtrack:

Better quality footage, even worse soundtrack.  You can see an A-7D operating from a roadway, which used to be done back in the Cold War in case the balloon ever went up.  There were some sort of plans to use roads as alternative bases, as it was assumed the main airbases would not last long in a WWIII environment:

Great Planes documentary on the type.  Best video I could find on the SLUF.  Has some good info on the YA-7F Mach 1.6 supersonic variant:

Finally, given the auspicious nature of today being the final flight of an A-7, two vids from the HAF with A-7s playing down low.  Lots of napalm, and super low level sea flight:

God willing, next week will be better than this last.




Friend of blog Kevin Lents publishes strong apologetics book October 14, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Society, true leadership, Virtue.
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Occasional reader Kevin Lents has published a book entitled Language of Dissent: Answering Those Who Distort the Catholic Faith.  The book is an apology for many topics of the Faith where there is great misunderstanding both within and outside the Church.  I have only read an excerpt of the book, but it looks promising.  I know Kevin a little through e-mail and comments on the blog and he’s a very solid orthodox Catholic.  I think this book could be valuable to many: those with non-Catholic family, those who fight error within the Church, those who evangelize protestants and/or Orthodox with erroneous understandings of the Faith, liberals, leftists, new agers…….I think you understand.

Kevin Lents, author of The Language of Dissent, does a tremendous job in answering those who distort the Catholic faith.  In The Language of Dissent, Mr. Lents takes up issues such as:

+Jesus did not know He was God.

+There are errors and contradictions in the Bible.

+Adam and Eve are merely legends and myth.

+Jesus really did not multiply the fishes and loaves.

+The Catholic Church no longer teaches the doctrines of purgatory and Indulgences.

+We do not know if Jesus actually performed any miracles.

And many more. You can see a chapter of the book here (this is the homepage of one of my friends who helped me – Michael Lofton):


In addition, Kevin has provided a most generous “look inside” at Amazon.  You can see quite a fair overview of the book.

Like I said, it looks quite promising.  I encourage you to check it out. It might make a pretty good book for those wavering in the Faith, or who have gotten most of their catechesis (seemingly a huge majority today) from the “mainstream” media.  I know sometimes reaching those folks – the invincibly convinced of liberal error types – can be most difficult of all. Perhaps this book may help.

God bless Kevin for his efforts. Oh, and discount the “number remaining” on Amazon, there are plenty in stock.


As I’ve said many times before, efforts like this are the kind of ecumenism I can get behind.  Congratulations to Kevin on his new book.


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