Friday, July 31, 2009

US Navy Test Launches Interceptor Missiles

The USS Hopper successful test fired a interceptor missile (known as a SM-3 Block 1A missile) off the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The three stage missile shot down the test missile launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. The intercept took place about 100 miles above the Pacific Ocean. This marked the 23rd such firing by ships equipped with the Aegis ballistic missile defense system. Last year, the intecptor missile even shot down a dead US spy satellite.

Another US Navy ship, the USS Lake Erie used another SM-3 Block 1B missile this time. The 1B features improved propulsion system and has a better signal processor. ANd the warhead seeker is better too.

This is in response to North Korea on July 4th violating the UN Security Council resolutions by launching seven ballistic missiles into waters off of North Korea's eastern coastline.

Ref. Daily Mail (UK) on July 31, 2009 article by their Foreign Service(
Photo is a AP picture that was with the orignal article.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Mexico Twin Disc Sightings

Take a look at Coast to Coast AM website and this photograph submitted by someone by the name of Michael who lives in New Mexico.

Quoting Michael, "I snapped off 5 pictures that afternoon of these craft, but this is the only one with two flying close to each other. I don't believe in flying saucers from other planets at all. these are obviously secret craft being flown out of white sands, or some other airbase. My contacts in the community have all told me of "Alien craft" being in the skies, and I never believed them. This gives substance to their stories, but doesn't convince me of an "alien presence."

To me, it appears as two circular, discs flying together in formation. Here is a close-up of the two discs off of the original image downloaded from the C2CAM website.

Ref. Coast to Coast AM website, Photo of the day, July 26, 2009 (

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Return of the OV-10! What about the F-7F Tigercat instead?

From a posting made on Springbored's Springboard, there was an article from Inside Defense breaking the news(to me anyway) that Boeing is offering to start up production of the OV-10 again for Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN). Quote "While the twin-engine plane would maintain much of its 1960s-vintage rugged external design, the 21st Century edition would feature a computerized cockpit, intelligence sensors and smart-bomb-dropping capabilities, according to an OV-10(X) product card obtained by ITAF.

The Chicago defense-giant has quietly been circulating plans at military-sponsored events across the country that detail how the company could rebuild and modernize the Bronco, according to Pentagon and industry officials." And SS offered the following observation of his own, "That's a sweet plane, capable of serving in low-threat areas....and it can land on an amphibious flattop. Just don't go too crazy goldplating it. And build 'em fast."

Come on, the OV-10? Hows about restarting the production line on the A-10! The A-10 Warthog is the best gun platform ever in my personal opinion for attacking targets on the ground and killing them.

Then I thought about it a bit more and remembered that I had read an article in the U.S. Naval Proceedings sometime between 1994 and 2004 from a Marine officer who proposed that there be a OV-10 replacement and that the service should look at the World War Two design - the Grumman F-7F Tigercat.

The Tigercat was generally more armored than the Bronco. It could survive combat better than the OV-10. What this Marine officer was proposing was to replace the twin radial engines with twin turbo-props or twin turbo-fan engines. Have a internal bomb bay be designed for modern weapons. It would of course have the latest in electronics to survive in the modern combat environment.

Here are the specifications of the Tigercat. Two 2,100hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial piston engines. Max take-off weight of 25,720 pounds. Wingspan of 51 feet, 6 inches. Fuselage length is 45 feet, 4.5 inches. Height of 16 feet, 7 inches. Max speed at 22,200 feet is 435 mph. Cruise at 5,000 feet of 222 mph. It had a ceiling of 40,700 feet and a range of 1,200 miles. Armament was (4) 20mm cannon in the wing roots. Four .50 cal machine guns in the nose. One torpedo slung under the fuselage or 2,000 pounds of bombs (1,000 under each wing).

These are the specifications for the OV-10D. Twin Garrett T76-G-420/421 series turboprops delivering 1,040 horsepower each engine. Top speed of 288 miles-per-hour, a range of 1,382 miles and a service ceiling of up to 30,000 feet. The OV-10 last saw action in Desert Storm. The following is a quote from the military factory webpage on the type that saw action in that conflict:

"Nevertheless, the USMC sent their Broncos into Saudi Arabia making up USMC VMO-1 and VMO-2. In the conflict, the first aircraft lost to enemy fire was an OV-10A from VMO-2. Since this aircraft was an A-model lacking the infrared suppressors on its exhaust stacks, it made relatively easy pickings for shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles. These shoulder-launched mobile missile platforms were not yet a technological threat in the Vietnam conflict so it was a new threat to original Broncos in the Persian Gulf.

Despite both pilots ejecting safely, they were captured an tortured as Iraqi POWs till the end of the war. Typical Bronco weapon loadouts in the conflict included a single AIM-9 Sidewinder to counter enemy aircraft threats as well as rocket armament and their standard machine gun arrangements to counter ground elements. Broncos also spent their time assisting A-6 Intruders and AV-8B Harriers along with marking targets via white phosphorous rockets as well as spotting for naval-based artillery guns. "

For me as a amateur, or "armchair historian" - I kinda like the idea of something old find a new lease on life. But the OV-10 as oppose to what I remembered reading in the Naval Proceedings just doesn't seem right. Also, there are those who would prefer that the OV-1 Mohawk rather than the Bronco would be the perfect candidate to relaunch. But the Mohawk (and the Tigercat) are Grumman products - not Boeings'. And Boeing is tyring to some up with programs to keeps its workforce employeed.

And in closing, as an example, please read the following article by David Axe entitled "Old is the New New again."

With the V-22 Osprey ready to enter operational service, the Marines are looking at new toys to take advantage of the tilt-rotor craft's range and versatility. One of these is a new 120-mm rifled mortar. But mortars need vehicles to haul them -- and guess what? The V-22's cabin is too small to fit a Humvee. So the Marines are seriously considering buying a new version of the old M-151 Jeep to move the mortar. Imagine that: the old Jeep back in production, 20 years after it got bumped off the battlefield by the Humvee. It's not the only case where the military is looking to old machines -- some decades out of service -- to meet its current and future needs.

The costs of new weapons are spiraling at an alarming rate. That goes double for adventurous new programs like Future Combat Systems, which are proving largely technologically impossible. But with a war going on, the Defense Department needs gear that's going to work -- now. It's no surprise, then, that the Pentagon is turning to equipment that proved its worth back when Rummy was Gerald Ford's SecDef.

Consider the Vietnam-era Light Anti-tank Weapon, or LAW. Finding modern rockets like Javelin too complicated and expensive for urban warfare, the Marines have begun issuing LAWs to units in Iraq. On the aviation side, the Marines have ordered the first UH-1Y Hueys, new-production updates of the 30-year-old UH-1N. The AH-1 Cobra fleet is getting a similar makeover, albeit in a rebuild program for old airframes. Both helos are coming in on time, on budget and with the capabilities the Marines need. Meanwhile, the CH-53 is about to go back into production in a new version to replace choppers worn out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Across the aisle, the Army is reissuing old M-14 rifles. And soon the UH-60 fleet will be replaced with -- you guessed it -- the UH-60, in an updated model.

In the Navy camp, skeptical old vets are leading a campaign to put two mothballed battleships back into service as alternatives to the Navy's $3-billion-per-copy DD(X) destroyer, which is being touted as a fire-support platform but, according to the Naval Fire Support Association, will provide only a fraction of the firepower of the old BBs at far greater cost, and much later.

My friend Jim Doner, a retired Marine warrant officer who flew forward air control missions over Vietnam, is not at all surprised at this development. He says the best weapons are the old proven ones ... paired with an experienced, courageous operator. In particular, he laments the premature retirement of the OV-10 Bronco, a rugged, slow, cheap little airplane that excelled at getting airborne controllers over the battlefield where they could direct artillery and bombs more accurately than even today's controllers with their whiz-bang targeting pods. Doner says the OV-10 went away (in 1995) in favor of hi-tech multi-role jets that aren't always good at the simple, dirty and dangerous missions that are important in low-intensity wars.

-end of David Axe's article-

Ref. (

picture reference: F-7f from (

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Case of the Dead Mother's Caller ID

While Paranormal is part of the title to this blog, I don't really post a lot of paranormal news here - until now. This is something unsual and I felt that I had to post something on it. It is something that I call "The Case of the Dead Mother's Caller ID."

While working at my call center job this week, I happened to receive a call from a woman whose mother has passed away last year. And the mother's account had been closed out by the family last year. However, this week, the daughter started to receive strange phone calls this week. With her deceased mother's phone number appearing in her caller id. And the poor woman's mother happened to belong to a different phone company from the one that her daughter had (and by extension, that I worked for). The other company that once had the mother's account told the daughter that it wasn't their fault.

And it wasn't the company problem that I worked for either, but I filled out a trouble ticket on the matter anyway. I have no way to follow up on this matter because that would comprise the client and their customer's private information nor do I want to. What has been presented here is what you would heard workers tell one another on their breaks about the type of calls that they have receive that day. But still, this story is just one of those things that one comes across by accident.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing!

When I signed up to do this national blog posting on the 20th of July, I thought I would only stick with the
Colonies in Space book. But so much has come out this past week that I cannot just ignore it for a "simple book report." I decided to combine the original article I was working on with all the expanded news of the day. The LRO, the death of Walter Cronkite on July 17, 2009 at the age of 92.

I view Colonies in Space by T.S. Heppenheimer as a book of dreams. As a young man, I was totally behind the idea of the L-5 Society back then, now the
National Space Society; for colonizing outer space. And for me, that book and the one by Gerald K. O'Neill was the blueprint on how to do it. And yet, we didn't act on any of it. Words and more money dropped down going nowhere very fast studies. And the government just keeps on rolling along ignoring the majority of the people and paying attention only to those who can lobby Congress and get our so called representatives reelected once again.

Colonies in Space had bases on the moon to mine minerals, process them, then ship them up out of the lunar gravity well to the L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5 building sites. Super size spinning wheel space stations capable of holding thousands of people and the even bigger O'Neill class space colonies (the spinning cylinder Ala "Babylon 5").

Since the publication of that book, the concept of the Space Elevator has been better fleshed out. Easier to get payloads out of Earth's gravity well up to low or high earth orbit or even up to geostationary orbit. Space tourism is taking shape now.

Since the publication of that book, we think we have discovered water on the Moon, Mars, Europa, the moons of Saturn and beyond. Settlements for colonization on Mars has a better chance of making it now. Back then - it was just theory, now, we are getting some hard factors from our robot rovers.

Since the publication of that book, we have discovered a way to detect planets beyond our own solar system.

Bases on the Moon and on Mars could be built by robots and as Buzz Aldrin proposed recently, we should consider one way travel to Mars - i.e start colonizing Mars from the very first landing. Using Phobos as a staging base and a launch point to venture down to the planet's surface instead of trying to do it straight from Earth.

On a more personal note. I was nine years old when Neil Armstrong took that first step on the moon. I am 49 and a half years old as I write this post. Here is one of the Sunday comics that struck me as being just right for this posting.

So, what is wrong with this picture?

Nothing but symbolic. The death of our dreams I think.

What I consider to be a back stabbing Congress - laying flat on its back for anybody just to get themselves reelected and not care for the greater good of America (and by extension, the rest of humanity) by cutting back on funding for NASA in the 1970s. Making compromises with the shuttle craft and a space truck that went nowhere but up and down. Towards the end of its service life, two shuttles have bitten the dust (the last one taking a former Air Force ROTC classmate of mine from Texas Tech - Rick Husband).

I remembered when there was talk (and as it turned out, nothing but talk) of being on our way to Mars by the end of the 1980s. Surely by the early 1990s we would have been able to reach Mars. America was SO screwed by the idiots we keep on sending back to Washington DC.

And Finally, the biggest news this weekend leading up to the 20th is the following news item:

"LRO Sees Apollo Landing Sites"

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera, or LROC, was able to image five of the six Apollo sites, with the remaining Apollo 12 site expected to be photographed in the coming weeks.

The satellite reached lunar orbit June 23 and captured the Apollo sites between July 11 and 15. Though it had been expected that LRO would be able to resolve the remnants of the Apollo mission, these first images came before the spacecraft reached its final mapping orbit. Future LROC images from these sites will have two to three times greater resolution.

"The LROC team anxiously awaited each image," said LROC principal investigator Mark Robinson of Arizona State University. "We were very interested in getting our first peek at the lunar module descent stages just for the thrill -- and to see how well the cameras had come into focus. Indeed, the images are fantastic and so is the focus."

"Not only do these images reveal the great accomplishments of Apollo, they also show us that lunar exploration continues," said LRO project scientist Richard Vondrak of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "They demonstrate how LRO will be used to identify the best destinations for the next journeys to the moon."

The spacecraft's current elliptical orbit resulted in image resolutions that were slightly different for each site but were all around four feet per pixel. Because the deck of the descent stage is about 12 feet in diameter, the Apollo relics themselves fill an area of about nine pixels. However, because the sun was low to the horizon when the images were made, even subtle variations in topography create long shadows. Standing slightly more than ten feet above the surface, each Apollo descent stage creates a distinct shadow that fills roughly 20 pixels.

The image of the Apollo 14 landing site had a particularly desirable lighting condition that allowed visibility of additional details. The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package, a set of scientific instruments placed by the astronauts at the landing site, is discernible, as are the faint trails between the module and instrument package left by the astronauts' footprints.

(All images credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Arizona State University).

The LRO, for me; puts to reset the nonsense that the United States of America never did travel to the moon much less land on it. so for all of you conspiracy lovers out there -

Happy 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Landing on the Moon!

UPDATE: July 20, 2009. 11:44am. Last night on Coast to Coast AM, hosted by George Knapp this time, a caller claimed that the Apollo moon landings were (still) all fake. IN fact, Buzz Aldrin supposedly told his mother that his Apollo 11 landing was fake and she ended up committed suicide. Its these wackos (is the kindest word I can come up with at this time) that have poisoned not just the spirit of American space exploration, but basic (I think) civility.
Ref NASA webpage.(

Sunday, July 5, 2009

RC Zeppelin Jail Break Foiled!

Which blog should I post this bit of odd news? Easy - I'll post it on both of my blogs.

It seems that ever since the Charles Bronson movie "Breakout" came out in 1975, every now and then you will see someone attempt to use a helicopter to break out of prison. But a radio control Zeppelin? I saw that oddly Enough news article on and had to add my own thoughts to the subject. However, the photograph that went the article was of a regular, full 1:1 scale blimp. I was wanting to see this RC Zeppelin!


Because a few years ago on, there was this man who actually started talking with a blimp company about fashioning either a 1:6th or 1:5th scale Hindenburg that could be set up for radio control operations, or manned flight; just to attend a scale model airplane meet to be held in Texas several years ago! Those plans however never came about and I cannot find that thread anymore on that forum.

But, getting back to THIS specific story. Spanish police told news reporters that they had foiled the plot of a Italian drug trafficker's plan to use a RC Zeppelin to ferry in some climbing equipment for him to use to escape from jail on the Canary Islands. His name was given as Giulio B (age 52). He was jailed after being caught piloting a seaplane loaded down with 440 pounds (200 kg) of cocaine from Mauritania to the Canary Islands.

The police arrested three people outside the jail who were in the process of setting up the escape. They (the police) had intercepted the package sent from italy that had the balloon, night-vision goggles and climbing gear. Further searches on Grand Canary island found a tent and telephoto lens that the gang had used to check out the jail's security froma hill that was listed as being 600 meters away from the jail.

As envisioned, Giulio B. would have climbed out of the prison and meet a driver who would smuggle him off the island with forged papers. The police said that they have been investigating the plot since February of this year.

Just for the hell of it, I did a search for RC Zeppelins and RC Blimps and came up with many links. A lot of them are of the made-in-china- product display pages. These RC Blimps are used many as Inflatable Advertising. Check out some of the links below or better yet, do a goggle search using the words "RC Zeppelin."

Ref. "Police foil radio control zeppelin jailbreak" posted July 3, 2009 (Madrid) by Martin Roberts (