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Really short Flightline Friday – the father of the F-18 August 8, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, silliness, Society, Victory.
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I have no time, but I planned on doing a Flightline Friday today on the Northrop P-600/YF-17 “Cobra,” the plane that competed with the F-16 Fighting Falcon in the 1970s USAF lightweight fighter competition.

This project was started in 1970 as a way to provide a “low end” compliment to the “high end” F-15 Eagle already in advanced development.  There has been much ballyhoo about this whole “lightweight fighter” issue, most of it put forward by a small group of not very influential but very media savvy analysts and pilots who called themselves the “fighter mafia.”  They took Colonel John Boyd’s revolutionary studies in energy-maneuverability theory and sort of claimed them as their own.  As the Vietnam War ground on, and shortcomings in many US aircraft became apparent, these “whiz kids,” none of whom had any experience either designing aircraft or fighting in combat, took it upon themselves to claim that the entire USAF fighter development system was broken and that they were the (only) ones who could fix it.

They claimed USAF brass demanded all kinds of baubles and advanced technologies in their fighters that made them weigh too much and performance suffer.  There was some truth to that, there had been a trend in that direction in the late 50s and early 60s, but most of that was simply circumstantial, and not the result of bad planning.  For one thing, Eisenhower had demanded a shift towards a “nuke first” type of defense policy, and the armed services responded.  There were some problems with aircraft like the F-4 and F-105, they were not meant to be dogfighters and had trouble in that role over Vietnam, where the rules of engagement took the advantage of long range armament possessed by  the F-4 in particular away.

But the “fighter mafia” went way, way too far. They wanted such a ludicrously light and cheap aircraft that it could be built it many thousands – maybe even 10,000 of one type.  It would have no radar, only a couple Sidewinders and a gun, and would be oriented towards super maneuverability.  Range, air-to-ground, everything else would be sacrificed in the single-minded pursuit of ultra-maneuverability.  But the USAF already had an aircraft that did just that, the F-104, and it was found to be perfectly worthless.  Another unstated assumption of the “fighter mafia” was that, in their desire to compete with Soviet numbers, they would produce such a low-tech aircraft that the USAF would lose thousands of them, and thousands of very expensively trained pilots, in any real war. These LWFs desired by the mafia would have no defense against SAMs or AAA, for instance.  They would have been sitting ducks in many cases.

Thankfully, wiser heads at USAF and DoD prevailed, and the LWF was not so stripped down as the fighter mafia desired.  There would be room for air-to-ground ordinance and sufficient advanced technology to make the aircraft a valid player in the modern battlefield.

Well, I am out of time, maybe more on Monday, but for now, one of the two LWF competitors, the Northrop YF-17.  This aircraft lost the USAF LWF competition, but later won a similar Navy competition and became the F/A-18 Hornet.  But USAF’s original concern over the F-17 always remained, even in today’s F/A-18E/F “Super” Hornet – lack of range.  But you know that already, don’t you?

far yf-17-4 f-16 YF-17-1 P530 Title

First Flight:


Catholic Glory – The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania August 8, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, persecution, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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There is a small hillock in Lithuania that is literally covered in crosses.  It has been there for centuries, it is believed.  Not only crosses, but giant crucifixes have been planted there over the years.

During the period of the brutal Soviet occupation of Lithuania, the hill became a symbol of national resistance against the pagan, atheistic communist regime.  The Soviets bulldozed the hill down 3 times, but every time, crosses spontaneously started appearing again (not miraculously, but the people would not be deterred).  It is estimated there are presently half a million crosses on the site.

Pope Saint John Paul II visited the Hill of Crosses in 1993, after Lithuania gained its independence from the evil Soviet regime.  In 2000 a Franciscan hermitage was opened near the hill.

Thanks to reader MM for sending me the pics!  I pray you enjoy them as I did.











US begins airstrikes against ISIS devils, most of Assyrian Christian lands already lost August 8, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, disaster, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, paganism, Papa, persecution, sadness, scandals, self-serving, sickness, Society, unadulterated evil.
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I do not know if most readers have been following Rorate Caeli’s excellent coverage of the ongoing nightmare in northern Iraq.  The devilish new caliphate, well armed and well financed, has managed to roll up almost the entire Nineveh Plain, ancient home to almost entirely Assyrian Catholic Christians for nearly 2000 years.  Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Lord knows how many thousands have died.  Cities like Qaraqosh, home to predominately Christian populations since the 1st or 2nd century, are now ghost towns patrolled by these islamist tools of satan.  There are also reportedly tens of thousands of members of another non-muslim religion dying on a mountaintop in the same vicinity, chased there by ISIS and left to die.  Some airdrops of supplies have now been made, perhaps some may be saved.

While the Western world gnashes its teeth and strikes its breast over the death of one child in Gaza, it has basically turned a great big yawn towards these far more disastrous developments in Iraq and Syria.  Christians, increasingly, do not count, especially among the post-Christian power elites in Europe and North America.

One would think the Pope would be doing something, something very dramatic!  He hates suffering, he loves everyone!  But he has only thus far released one rather weak press release and made no public speech on this topic himself.  Perhaps the subject is a bit too inconvenient for the “far more important” work of interreligious dialogue to bear.

Last night, the US did begin air strikes against ISIS.  CVN-77 is in the Persian Gulf. I’m sure the Air Force will be hustling to get involved, too – they always have to (can’t let the Navy claim the spotlight).  I’m not really excited about this, Our Blessed Lord said those who lived by the sword would die by the sword (and I know I am the last person who should ever use that quote) so while I am hopeful that the bombings will stop ISIS, how long will we stay around?  Can this really be a long term solution? But then again, this is a crisis that is most definitely one of America’s making.  Or Obama’s making.  His precipitous abandonment of Iraq, leaving not even a token force behind, when that fake nation made up by two colonial civil servants was still embroiled in ethnic hatreds and ready to come apart at the seams.  Well, come apart it has, and the Christians of Iraq, as usual, have been caught in the middle.  So we appear to owe them quite a bit of effort for the state we left them in, as this Iraqi Christian notes below:

Here in the US, the reply of the USCCB and individual bishops seems also quite far from robust.  Our own Bishop Kevin Farrell addressed the topic of Christian suffering in the Mideast in a general way back on June 27, but has been pretty preoccupied, at least on his blog, with the Hispanic immigration “crisis” since then.  I haven’t seen too many statements from other bishops or the USCCB that just blew me away for their clarity, forcefulness, and concern.  And the beat roles on.  Hopefully JDAMs and LGBs can stop the ISIS guys, because it seems little else is being done (well, the Kurds are being armed, they apparently ran out of ammunition a few days ago).

How about our bishops call – with the same or even greater intensity as they do for the Central Americans – for an open immigration policy for these suffering Catholics of Iraq?  That would at least be ethically and intellectually consistent.  As I pointed out above, this nation “owes” the Chaldean/Assyrian Catholics a heckuva a lot, certainly more than those who are just busting over the southern border because they think they’l get an amnesty out of the deal. We left the Chaldean’s homeland a shambles, then walked away.  Doesn’t this nation bear some moral culpability to set that situation right.

Anyone know of good relief funds, preferably not USCCB administered, that go to directly aid these people?  I have not seen much mention of such.  Many aid agencies may be afraid to go into such a violently unstable situation.

Pray for these folks!  They are our brethren and are truly abandoned and suffering.

Such a disaster.  Satan has such a free hand right now…….I just don’t understand. There must be so few praying, pious souls, for that to be the case. It’s really scary.

And how about ending this nation’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia?  SA is becoming a sick, twisted wahabbist culture. Most of the 911 hijackers were Saudi.  They fund terror around the world, just like Iran, but we treat Iran like a pariah.  We don’t need their oil very much. We import almost nothing from SA.  We have better sources closer to home.  I think it’s time to tell Saudi Arabia we’re not going to put up with their “covert” attempts to build a new caliphate.  And we should also shut off any Saudi funding coming into the US to put in more radical mosques.

AWESOME – Polish movie about the Siege of Vienna August 8, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, martyrdom, paganism, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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Day of the Siege was a 2012 Polish vehicle describing the fateful battle between Catholic and islamic forces at Vienna in 1683.  I have written about this Second Siege of Vienna before.  There are a couple of trailers on Youtube – one for the original Polish vehicle and another for an updated English version.  The film actually stars the American F. Murray Abraham.  It looks really cool!  Production values, especially the special effects, may be a bit uneven, but we’ll get to see the winged hussars ride!  Woot!  Can’t wait to check that out!  This looks pretty cool!

Thanks very much to reader JP for alerting me to this:


This is a little bit different version of the trailer. Whoever put this video together added a bit at the end about CGI horses. Well, duh.  Not too unusual to use special effects for such things.  I like this version of the trailer better because it has more footage of the winged hussars!

I guess the movie was just released on DVD for the US market very recently.  You can buy it here.

Que dices?