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Flightline Friday: Flying the SR-71 at greater than Mach 3.5 February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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It’s been a more or less open secret in defense circles for decades that the Air Force has constantly under-rated the performance of both the U-2 and the763wsr71 SR-71.  The U-2 was capable of flying far higher than the officially published figure of 70,000 ft (even if the increasing weight of the sensors it carries has limited that capability somewhat in the past 10-20 years, the TR-1 model could exceed 90,0000 ft), and the maximum speed and altitude of the SR-71 was known to exceed the official “Mach 3 at 70,000 ft.”  In fact, depending very much on the ambient temperature and density at altitude, the SR-71 could easily exceed Mach 3.5 and was capable of flying so fast it could literally tear itself apart.  Pilots had to carefully monitor sensors that told them things like inlet spike temperature, leading temperature, etc.  But when conditions were right, when the air was sufficiently cold at altitude and the bird operating just right, going over Mach 3.5 (2300 mph) was quite possible, and occurred with a fair degree of regularity.  Likewise, altitudes routinely exceeded 80,000 ft (in fact, this was pretty much SOP) while 90,000 ft was topped regularly.  And that in level flight, if an SR-71 was ever “zoomed” (not advised), with all speed they were carrying, they could have probably gone over 150,000 ft, while also likely dying for the privilege as the always temperamental “Habu” departed controlled flight at that extreme altitude.

Below are some anecdotes from an SR-71 pilot are below, via Gizmodo.  They make for fascinating reading to a geek like me.

We trained for a year, flying out of Beale AFB in California , Kadena Airbase in Okinawa, and RAF Mildenhall in England . On a typical training htvhsamqfpusm7qqi3qrmission, we would take off near Sacramento, refuel over Nevada, accelerate into Montana, obtain high Mach over Colorado, turn right over New Mexico, speed across the Los Angeles Basin, run up the West Coast, turn right at Seattle, then return to Beale. Total flight time: two hours and 40 minutes.

One day, high above Arizona , we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. ‘Ninety knots,’ ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. ‘One-twenty on the ground,’ was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was ‘Dusty 52, we show you at 620 on the ground,’ ATC responded. The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter’s mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ‘ Aspen 20, I show you at 1,982 knots on the ground.’ We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. [Three things – since this was a training flight, they were almost certainly headed west when they got the ground speed reading from the ground controllers, meaning they were flying against the prevailing west-to-east jet stream to the extent it even exists at that altitude.  Jets can frequently pick up 100 kts or more ground speed by flying with the jet stream, but these guys were going against it.  Two, land-based radar estimation of ground speed is accurate to within a few knots. Three, 1982 knots means 2302 mph, or right at Mach 3.5.  And that’s against the wind.]

vypkdhe3wtk2m4sypp4j……..One moonless night, while flying a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look like from 84,000 feet if the cockpit lighting were dark. While heading home on a straight course, I slowly turned down all of the lighting, reducing the glare and revealing the night sky. Within seconds, I turned the lights back up, fearful that the jet would know and somehow punish me. But my desire to see the sky overruled my caution, I dimmed the lighting again. To my amazement, I saw a bright light outside my window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way, now a gleaming stripe across the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky had usually existed, there were now dense clusters of sparkling stars Shooting stars flashed across the canvas every few seconds. It was like a fireworks display with no sound. I knew I had to get my eyes back on the instruments, and reluctantly I brought my attention back inside. To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every gauge, lit by starlight. In the plane’s mirrors, I could see the eerie shine of my gold spacesuit incandescently illuminated in a celestial glow. I stole one last glance out the window. Despite our speed, we seemed still before the heavens, humbled in the radiance of a much greater power…….

…….With the Libyan coast fast approaching now, Walt asks me for the third time, if I think the jet will get to the speed and altitude we want in time. I tell him yes. I know he is concerned. He is dealing with the data; that’s what engineers do, and I am glad he is. But I have my hands on the stick and throttles and can feel the heart of a thoroughbred, running now with the power and perfection she was designed to possess. I also talk to her. Like the

Ol' 960

Ol’ 960

combat veteran she is, the jet senses the target area and seems to prepare herself.

For the first time in two days, the inlet door closes flush and all vibration is gone. We’ve become so used to the constant buzzing that the jet sounds quiet now in comparison. The Mach correspondingly increases slightly and the jet is flying in that confidently smooth and steady style we have so often seen at these speeds. We reach our target altitude and speed, with five miles to spare. Entering the target area, in response to the jet’s new-found vitality, Walt says, ‘That’s amazing’ and with my left hand pushing two throttles farther forward, I think to myself that there is much they don’t teach in engineering school.

Out my left window, Libya looks like one huge sandbox. A featureless brown terrain stretches all the way to the horizon. There is no sign of any activity. Then Walt tells me that he is getting lots of electronic signals, and they are not the friendly kind. The jet is performing perfectly now, flying better than she has in weeks. She seems to know where she is. She likes the high Mach, as we penetrate deeper into Libyan airspace. Leaving the footprint of our sonic boom across Benghazi , I sit motionless, with stilled hands on throttles and the pitch control, my eyes glued to the gauges.

Only the Mach indicator is moving, steadily increasing in hundredths, in a rhythmic consistency similar to the long distance runner who has caught his second wind and picked up the pace. The jet was made for this kind of performance and she wasn’t about to let an errant inlet door make her miss rf3z44d552foerwoguixthe show. With the power of forty locomotives, we puncture the quiet African sky and continue farther south across a bleak landscape.

Walt continues to update me with numerous reactions he sees on the DEF panel. He is receiving missile tracking signals. With each mile we traverse, every two seconds, I become more uncomfortable driving deeper into this barren and hostile land. I am glad the DEF panel is not in the front seat. It would be a big distraction now, seeing the lights flashing. In contrast, my cockpit is ‘quiet’ as the jet purrs and relishes her new-found strength, continuing to slowly accelerate.

The spikes are full aft now, tucked twenty-six inches deep into the nacelles. With all inlet doors tightly shut, at 3.24 Mach, the J-58s are more like ramjets now, gulping 100,000 cubic feet of air per second. We are a roaring express now, and as we roll through the enemy’s backyard, I hope our speed continues to defeat the missile radars below. We are approaching a turn, and this is good. It will only make it more difficult for any launched missile to solve the solution for hitting our aircraft.

I push the speed up at Walt’s request. The jet does not skip a beat, nothing fluctuates, and the cameras have a rock steady platform. Walt received missile launch signals. Before he can say anything else, my left hand instinctively moves the throttles yet farther forward. My eyes are glued to temperature gauges now, as I know the jet will willingly go to speeds that can harm her. The temps are relatively cool and from all the warm temps we’ve encountered thus far, this surprises me but then, it really doesn’t surprise me. Mach 3.31 and Walt is quiet for the moment.

Yes, the pilots had to wear full pressure suits, like astronauts, and the suit saved at least one pilot's life

Yes, the pilots had to wear full pressure suits, like astronauts, and the suit saved at least one pilot’s life

I move my gloved finder across the small silver wheel on the autopilot panel which controls the aircraft’s pitch. With the deft feel known to Swiss watchmakers, surgeons, and ‘dinosaurs’ (old- time pilots who not only fly an airplane but ‘feel it’), I rotate the pitch wheel somewhere between one-sixteenth and one-eighth inch location, a position which yields the 500-foot-per-minute climb I desire. The jet raises her nose one-sixth of a degree and knows, I’ll push her higher as she goes faster. The Mach continues to rise, but during this segment of our route, I am in no mood to pull throttles back.

Walt’s voice pierces the quiet of my cockpit with the news of more missile launch signals. The gravity of Walter’s voice tells me that he believes the signals to be a more valid threat than the others. Within seconds he tells me to ‘push it up’ and I firmly press both throttles against their stops. For the next few seconds, I will let the jet go as fast as she wants. A final turn is coming up and we both know that if we can hit that turn at this speed, we most likely will defeat any missiles. We are not there yet, though, and I’m wondering if Walt will call for a defensive turn off our course.

With no words spoken, I sense Walter is thinking in concert with me about maintaining our programmed course. To keep from worrying, I glance outside, wondering if I’ll be able to visually pick up a missile aimed at us. Odd are the thoughts that wander through one’s mind in times like these. I found myself recalling the words of former SR-71 pilots who were fired upon while flying missions over North Vietnam They said the few errant missile detonations they were able to observe from the cockpit looked like implosions rather than explosions. This was due to the great speed at which the jet was hurling away from the exploding missile.

960 with an afterburner blowout.  This could be very dangerous due to the asymmetric thrust.

960 with an afterburner blowout. This could be very dangerous due to the asymmetric thrust.

I see nothing outside except the endless expanse of a steel blue sky and the broad patch of tan earth far below. I have only had my eyes out of the cockpit for seconds, but it seems like many minutes since I have last checked the gauges inside. Returning my attention inward, I glance first at the miles counter telling me how many more to go, until we can start our turn Then I note the Mach, and passing beyond 3.45, I realize that Walter and I have attained new personal records. The Mach continues to increase. The ride is incredibly smooth. [This baby was born to run.  This is aircraft 61-7960, which is the aircraft in most of the photos]

There seems to be a confirmed trust now, between me and the jet; she will not hesitate to deliver whatever speed we need, and I can count on no problems with the inlets. Walt and I are ultimately depending on the jet now – more so than normal – and she seems to know it. The cooler outside temperatures have awakened the spirit born into her years ago, when men dedicated to excellence took the time npbhhpcrxqb0fnc1cx2iand care to build her well. With spikes and doors as tight as they can get, we are racing against the time it could take a missile to reach our altitude.

It is a race this jet will not let us lose. The Mach eases to 3.5 as we crest 80,000 feet. We are a bullet now – except faster. We hit the turn, and I feel some relief as our nose swings away from a country we have seen quite enough of. Screaming past Tripoli , our phenomenal speed continues to rise, and the screaming Sled pummels the enemy one more time, laying down a parting sonic boom. In seconds, we can see nothing but the expansive blue of the Mediterranean . I realize that I still have my left hand full-forward and we’re continuing to rocket along in maximum afterburner.

The TDI now shows us Mach numbers, not only new to our experience but flat out scary. Walt says the DEF panel is now quiet, and I know it is time to reduce our incredible speed. I pull the throttles to the min ‘burner range and the jet still doesn’t want to slow down. Normally the Mach would be affected immediately, when making such a large throttle movement, but for just a few moments old 960 just sat out there at the high Mach, she seemed to love and like the proud Sled she was, only began to slow when we were well out of danger.

I loved that jet.

———–End Quote———–

Now that’s a story.


The sad fate of 960:


Benedictines of Mary Queen of the Apostles have a new CD….. February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, persecution, religious, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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…….and they also are growing by leaps and bounds.  That’s a wonderful problem to have, and yet again proves unequivocally that traditional, orthodox conduct of the religious life is what drives vocations.  They are expecting 10 new postulants this fall, and there are constantly women visiting them discerning a vocation.  Also, the music is wonderful.  All of my family enjoys it greatly.

So they have a new CD coming out for Easter.  It is called Easter at Ephesus.  There is a brief video below that advertises for the CD a bit, but mostly shows their lives of quiet devotion and piety.  Again, you can buy the CD here.

Do keep these devoted and pious nuns in your prayers. I have learned of late a bit of their history, how they had a difficult time finding a location where they could practice their Benedictine charism according to traditional norms, and how they had to move around from place to place for a long time.  They have been much supported and welcomed by Bishop Finn in Kansas City, but I think it safe to say that Bishop Finn’s position as ordinary is not terribly secure at this time.  He has tried to give the Benedictines of Mary all the canonical rights and certainties he can, but a different bishop, one less disposed to their traditional charism, could make things difficult for them again. So please keep this group of nuns in your prayers, they are one of a handful of traditional women’s orders in this country (there are far more men’s, for some reason), they are obviously growing and reaching many souls, but there remain many in the Church in this country who are not at all well disposed to the blessed and very successful conduct of religious life.

Should Catholics shop on Sunday? February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Grace, sanctity, secularism, self-serving, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I’m becoming a Grunerite!  Well that’s what some will say………”how on earth can you post videos of John Vennari and Fr. Gruner?”  Because it’s a good and reasonable discussion on a matter that is often overlooked, that is keeping the Sabbath.  I’ve also adopted Pertinacious Papist’s rulz, especially 7-9.  Just because I post something from somebody or something, that is not to be taken as a blanket endorsement of everything they do, say, write, produce, etc. It just means this particular item is good and beneficial, in my limited judgment.

To the point, should Catholics engage in shopping or other trade on Sundays?  The question is examined in some depth below, although I wish it went into a little more detail.  Fr. Gruner notes that it is acceptable to run and buy a couple necessities if one forgot them, and it is generally OK to frequent a restaurant on Sunday, too, although some might have qualms over causing others to work on the Sabbath.  I am much younger than either Vennari or Fr. Gruner, but I, too, recall when Texas still had blue laws and virtually every business was closed on Sunday.  I think they were repealed about 1980.  I think it’s a sad thing that they were repealed.  Yes, it is marginally more convenient to be able to shop on both days on the weekend, but folks were able to do without for decades, and the legalization of mass trade on Sundays has only heightened people’s worship of their real god, commercialism, while detracting from the worship of their Creator.

I was left wondering a bit about the necessities, however……..is that limited only to food?  This weekend, I’m going to be doing some major surgery on my truck.  What if I don’t complete the work by Saturday as planned, and find I need a part on Sunday?  Without my truck, I can’t make it to work on Monday.  Is that a sufficient necessity to visit the auto parts store? Should I even be doing that kind of work on Sunday?  That is sort of servile labor, but I don’t really mind doing it, and even like it to a certain degree. I would think it’s probably OK to do a necessary and unplanned repair (as I intend to finish on Saturday), but what if I’m just doing some home improvement, and likewise find I need something to complete the task, but it’s not nearly so urgent and could be delayed?  In that case it think it would be better to defer?  I can think of a number of variations on this theme.

I think the main point is that we should strive to honor the Sabbath as much as possible.  It’s not just Saturday Mark II, it is a day of rest ordained by God for our own good, wherein we are to render proper honor and worship to Him, as well as spend time with our families as much as that is possible.  God made the Sabbath for man, so we don’t need to reduce the restrictions on work to ludicrous levels as the pharisees did, but we should strive within prudence to limit our activities outside work, home, and needed rest.  I don’t know about you, but I could stand a little more rest!

I’m open to hearing your opinions on the matter.

Mainstream conservatives beginning to recognize uselessness of the Republican Party February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Immigration, scandals, secularism, Society.
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Useless, that is, in the sense of serving conservative interests or advancing a genuinely conservative agenda. I imagine many or most of the readers of this blog have been long aware that the Republican party has been, at the national level, conservative in name only for years, even decades.  Many had that confirmed when the Republican House refused to even vote on an easy layup late-term abortion bill with broad popular support.  But I think it is significant that popular disgust with the party at the national level is increasing rapidly, and is even spreading to some who have long been more or less Republican cheerleaders.  More and more are becoming aware that the party as it stands now is socially very liberal, almost indistinguishable from the democrats (in terms of action), and that it’s prime concern seems to be pleasing the corporate donor class.

Anyway, I found Ace’s comments interesting, if maybe quite a bit late in coming:

I have long argued against a third-party split and the Nightmare Option of simply conceding the country to the liberals for 20 disastrous years.

I am no longer confident in such arguments.

At some point — and that point is coming soon and hard — the Republican Party must be treated as what it is, a second enemy party dominated by corporate liberalism. [Do you disagree with that?  At the national level, I’ve always been like Ace, opposed to third parties – 1992 was a grim experience.  But what difference did it really make?  Would Bush ’41 have governed any differently?]

Before quoting Jay Cost’s article, let me mention his book A Republic No More, a sustained argument that the inherent and apparently unreformable level of corruption in the American government has made it no longer a republic at all……..[I don’t disagree with that, either.  I am increasingly convinced the state we are in was inevitable, the result of the flawed assumptions that inform liberal democracy]

……….Many who call themselves “conservative” are really actually corporatist. [John Boehner, paging John Boehner….]

These two things are not nearly the same. Furthermore, the corporate class which dominates American life both politically and economically is, as a matter of socio-political belongingness, extremely liberal. Yes, they will demand we lower the corporate tax rates and such, as their fiduciary duty demands; but then they will also demand we amnetize 12 million “New Americans” for the Old Americans to subsidize. [And even worse, demand that we redefine marriage, pretend men in dresses are women, encourage abortion, force religions to pay for contraception, etc., etc.  The corporate elite is just about uniformly, radically liberal on moral matters anymore.  Wasn’t so much that way even 20 years ago, but it is now, since almost all corporate titans attend the same academies, colleges, and MBA joints where they all get inculcated into the leftist social paradigm]

[There’s a very good argument against unconstrained immigration in the following…..] And of course that’s why the corporatists support minting millions of new, low-wage-expectations Americans, to drive down actual current legal documented Americans’ wages.

The corporatist class also insists, while this is all going on, that they pay less in taxes than they do currently, even though the effect of their desired policies will be to put more actual Americans on the government dole (and hence to jack up government expenses).

They not only seek to reduce their own cost of wages, but then further demand to be immunized against the higher taxes needed to compensate the out-of-work Americans their preferred policies create.

I am not only ready, but eager to ditch the corporate class — and, frankly, the wealthiest 1% generally, which largely supports liberal policies — and begin taking a very, very agnostic view on whether or not their taxes should be raised until it hurts.

And then, once it does hurt, and they are begging relief, we can have a different conversation about what we shall demand of them to ally with them anew.

But this time, we should insist that corporate interests serve the conservative agenda, rather than, as it has been forever, that the conservative agenda be made a slave to corporate interests.

So not only are long-time Republicans thinking third party, they’re also thinking end of the Republic.

I do think it significant that even long-time conservatives with close ties to the party are now speaking of a third party option.  They are doing this because Republican leadership has made it abundantly clear they have no interest in changing the big government status quo and that they expect conservatives to be mollified with the vaguest of lip service to their concerns. We’ve always been told that ours is a two party system and that starting a third party will only mean the demonrats will win elections, but the question more and more conservatives have is…….yes, and?  Why should we really care, since Republican governance doesn’t seem all that different from democrat?   About the only difference between the two is the speed and openness in which they implement socialism – demonrats want to go fast, but openly, Repubniks a bit more slowly, perhaps, and by stealth.

Eh, at this point I’ve about given up on grand political reforms or improving things through the laws of men.  How can we expect moral governance when the vast majority of Americans live objectively immoral lives?  We’ve got to convert souls, before we convert government.


Anyone familiar with this book by Louis of Granada? February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, history, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition.
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I’m taking a bit of a shot in the dark here, but I’ve recently become interested in the works of Venerable Louis of Granada.  I haven’t read any of his books yet, but his name has come up in several books on other Saints.

To be brief, here is my quandary: I found this book on Amazon.  It is obviously one of those copied print on demand books.  It gives very little download (7)information on who did the translating, only saying it dates from 1630.  I like that very much, but it also gives me pause, because the translation was done in England.  I have been burned a few times in the past in acquiring works by great Catholic Saints and spiritualists that were ancient translations into English, only to find out that the translator was an Anglican and that the content had been bowdlerized to not offend against Anglican sensibilities.  The title of this book is causing some alarm bells for me, because it seems to confirm that this edition does indeed date from the time of the English persecution (and, indeed, it’s height): Prayer and meditation Wherein are piously considered the principall mysteries of our holy fayth.

Now of course there were recusant Catholics in England at this time, and they managed to publish some works.  It is possible this could be a Catholic version of the work, or it could have come out of Douai-Reims College.  I’d say it’s about a 50-50 shot in terms of buying this thing blind.

Are any of you familiar with this work?  Do you think this edition is a “Catholic” one, bereft of any mangling or bastardization?

It’s the only volume of this work I was able to find.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.