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Flightline Friday: the awesome, incredible, mind-blowing XB-70 Valkyrie August 22, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, silliness, Society.
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Imagine, if you can, an aircraft larger than an MD-11, and weighing as much, that could travel over three times the speed of sound, and not just for a brief spurt, as experimental and a few fighter aircraft could do, but for hours at a time.  Imagine an aircraft that could conduct its full strike mission from CONUS to the USSR, and back, in 6 hours or less.  If you can imagine that, you can understand what an incredible aircraft the North American XB-70 Valkyrie was.

Conceived in the late 1950s as a replacement for the mighty B-52 Stratofortress just then entering squadron service, it was the XB-70 that embodied all of General Curtis E. LeMay’s desired characteristics in an intercontinental bomber.  LeMay knew the B-52 would soon be rendered highly vulnerable to rapidly improving Soviet air defenses.  LeMay also knew that a highly supersonic bomber could make almost any defense extremely difficult and incredibly expensive, even for a country like the FSU that spent almost half its gross domestic product on “defense.”   It was predicted that the B-70, possessing extremely capable electronic countermeasures and even hypersonic defensive missiles shaped like little flying saucers, would be able to penetrate any defense the Soviets could conceive.

However, the B-70 program ran into two enemies it could not overcome: the intercontinental ballistic missile, which supposedly rendered the manned bomber obsolete, and the intransigent hatred of Robert Strange McNamara for both manned bombers in particular and the Strategic Air Command in general.  McNamara was convinced that ICBMs were far, far cheaper than manned bombers, even if ICBMs had numerous limitations and were very vulnerable themselves (the whole bomber-ICBM debate, which ties in deeply with the ICBM-missile defense debate, would take several very looong posts to unpack.  Suffice it to say, what most people “know” regarding the supposed invulnerability of ICBMs, the high vulnerability of high-altitude high speed bombers, and the claimed inefficacy of missile defense is all completely, totally wrong).  It turned out, as usual, that McNamara was massively wrong: while individual missiles were cheaper than individual bombers, by the time one added in the cost of super-hardened missile silos, the incredibly elaborate and redundant command and control systems needed to manage an ICBM fleet, maintaining complicated missiles in cramped holes in the ground, etc for a very long time, bombers are actually quite a bit cheaper.  But McNamara and his Kennedy/Johnson allies had the whip hand, and the B-70 program was reduced to a technology demonstrator.

But what a demonstrator it was!  The first XB-70 was pretty limited – it could fly at Mach 3, but had some structural problems that limited it, eventually, to less than M2.5.  But the second XB-70, incorporating many improvements, could cruise at well above Mach 3 and nearly 80,000 ft as long as the fuel lasted (which was quite a while).  A number of 5 hour missions were flown with most of that time being spent above Mach 3.

Well, as always on Friday, I have run out of time.  The videos below are only pretty good, they give some great footage but do repeat the prevailing, and erroneous, orthodoxy regarding the supposed vulnerability of the B-70 to surface-to-air missiles.  That vulnerability was always greatly overstated for political purposes.  Maybe more on this next week.  The B-70 was a pivotal program at a pivotal time, and tied in so many issues related to strategic offense and defense that one post cannot even begin to do it justice.

Know that improved, production versions of the B-70 were to fly as fast as M3.5 and at altitudes nearing 100,000 ft.  If you know anything about surface-to-air missiles, you know there are almost none that would have a capability to engage a target that high and fast, and that any such missile that could be developed to do so would require such awesome capabilities as to be nearly as expensive as the bomber itself.  And, the bomber can shoot back.

Pretty good overview from Discovery Wings:

Testing was not without problems.  The landing gear locked up on one early flight, resulting in a dangerous fire and a quite grave situation:

The B-70 testing program was brought to an end because of a really preventable tragedy on a publicity flight.  GE wanted to get video footage of a bunch of GE-powered planes (which the XB-70 was), but Joe Walker flew his F-104 into the wake turbulence of the XB-70, his aircraft flipped over the back of the Valkyrie removing both vertical fins, with the result of two men dying and two aircraft lost, including one irreplaceable one.  God rest his soul, Chuck Yeager said Walker was always a lousy formation pilot (for all his great aviation achievements and records set), and never should have been on that flight:

Below, the Standard Aircraft Characteristics of the initial B-70 production version.  Note test aircraft routinely exceeded Mach 3 and approached 80,000 feet.

XB-70B_Valkyrie_(AV_3)_SAC_-_1_May_1963

Gueranger and de Sales on the active and passive virtues August 22, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I read the following yesterday in Dom Prosper Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year in the reading for August 21, Saint Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantal.  While the discourse focuses on religious life, it has applicability for lay people, as well.  And even more, I think there is some really valuable guidance on judgment and charity.  Without further ado:St Francis de Sales

If the Kingdom of God is within us, it iis because it is not meat and drink, but justice and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom XIV:17).  To criticize others on their exterior observance, and to neglect the rule in what regards the soul, is to take out a gnat from the cup and to swallow a camel.  Thou breakest thy body with endless labor, thou mortfiest with austerities thy members which are on the earth; and thou dost well. But while thou allowest thyself to judge him who does not so much penance, he perhaps is following the advice of the Apostle: more eager for the better gifts, keeping less of that bodily exercise which is profitable to little, he gives himself up more to that godliness which is profitable to all things.  Which, then, of you two keeps the rule better?  Doubtless he that becomes better thereby.  Now which is the better?  The humber, or the more fatigued?  Learn of 00000Francis-de-Salesme, said Jesus, for I am meek and humble of heart (Saint Matthew XI:29).

Saint Frances de Sales, in his turn, speaking of the diversity of the religious orders, says very well: ‘All religious orders have one spirit common to them all, and each has a spirit peculiar to itself.  The common spirit is the design they all have of aspiring after the perfection of charity; but the peculiar spirit of each is the means of arriving at that perfection of charity – that is to say, at the union of our souls with God, and with our neighbor through the love of God.’  Coming next to the special spirit of the institute he had founded together with Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, the Bishop of Geneva declares that it is ‘a spirit of profound humility towards God and of great sweetness towards our neighbor, inasmuch as there is less rigor towards the body, so much the more sweetness must there be in the heart.’  And because ‘this Congregation has been so established that no great severity may prevent the weak and infirm from entering it and given themselves up to the perfection of divine love,” he adds playfully: ‘If there be any sister so generous and courageous as to wish to attain perfection in a quarter of an hour by doing more than the Community does, I would advise her to humble herself and be content to become perfect in three days, following the same course as the rest.  For a great simplicity must always be kept in all things: to walk simply, that is the true way for the Daughters of the Visitation, a way exceedingly pleasing to God and very safe.

………”Do all things without haste, gently as do the angels: follow the guidance of the divine movements, and be supple to Grace; God wills us to be like little children.”

———–End Quote————

“Playful” or not, I think that stricture above about the race going to those who make slow, steady effort of improvement, instead of those who on download (5)occasion make great outbursts of effort and then, as often as not, slip back into older, less edifying modes of existence, is so important.  There are some folks who, on occasion, get a great burst of “spiritual energy,” and throw themselves into some spiritual exercise or practice of mortification, only to give up because it is too tiring, too hard, or too boring.  That is not a very efficacious means of advancing in the spiritual life.  No, many Saints indicate that such advancement in the practice of virtue and growth in adherence to God’s will for us is a practice of steady work at prayer and fasting, self-denial, learning, practice, failure, Confession, re-commitment, etc. on and on throughout our lives.

Ours is a race that does not necessarily go to the swiftest, but to the ones who stay the course, who are around to finish the race.  And as we never know just when our particular race will be over, we must remain constantly vigilant not to fall into sin and error, and to remain perpetually in the state of Grace that will permit our salvation.

I pray you found the above useful!  May God sustain us all in this race of our lives!

Marie-Félice-Orsini2

REMINDER: Seeking local men to take stand against the perverse culture August 22, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, Dallas Diocese, disaster, General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, paganism, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, true leadership.
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Wow, that lede almost started out like a really bad personal ad.

So, I while back I broached the idea of getting a group of men together to give some witness outside some of the many “gentlemen’s clubs” (what a ludicrous euphemism) in this Diocese of Dallas.  The hope was to find 8 or 10 men willing to do so, to have a large enough group to hopefully insure at least 3 or 4 men would be able to participate on any given night.  I think 3 or 4 is the minimum number for safety.  I hoped to maybe make this a monthly or bi-weekly effort, and if it grew, possibly more frequently.

However, my initial request only netted two responses from locals.  I do thank you gentlemen profusely for your willingness to take a stand and remind men of their marriage vows, the perversity of such places, and the denigration of women that occurs therein.  Unfortunately, I don’t think 3 is going to be enough to make a start of this.

So I am asking local men, you don’t have to be Mater Dei parishioners, to strongly consider taking some really concrete action to oppose the growing immorality of our times.  There are so many reasons to take this one small action.  First and foremost, there are souls at stake.  Secondly, these places are gateway drugs for much more advanced immorality – not just drunkenness transitioning to hard drug use and addiction (most “dancers” are addicts), but also from parading one’s naked body to out and out prostitution.  Thirdly, these places were some of the first public occurrences of really lewd and lascivious behavior that became legal under ludicrous interpretations of ideas such as “freedom of expression.”  I can’t think of a better place to start rolling back the culture of death.  Fourth, we all like to think we are very good and holy and just doing all we can for ourselves, our families, and our communities, but is that really the case?

These places are a cancer on the whole culture.  You may not think these kinds of places have any bearing on you and your family, but you are mistaken.  They discolor and disorder the entire culture.  The very existence of these places is an offense against God, His Church, and good morals.

I don’t want to belabor the point, but I would find it kind of depressing if I can’t find even 8 or 10 other men to join me in trying to give some peaceful, prayerful witness outside these establishments.  I know we will experience 99% rejection and even hostility, but I am also completely confident at least a few souls will be reached if they are reminded how offensive these places truly are.

So please leave a comment or e-mail me!  You locals know who I am, by and large.  Again, you don’t have to go to Mater Dei (even though, the clubs are less than 10 minutes from many MDers who live in Irving).  I pray another 5 or 6 men will step forward to help get this started!  I have to believe there are at least that many men who read this blog who care enough to take part and have one night free a month!

Either way, God bless you.  Thank you for even listening to my whinge.

PS – I hope you can see how taking part in this activity may not only help the souls of others, but your own.