Here’s a little intergalactic Easter egg…
Our latest Mars Rover “Curiosity”, which set down on the Red Planet last year – August 2012, has a curious pattern molded into the tread of its 20 inch wheels…
For those of you well versed in the ancient language of the Old West, or perhaps even [...]
This morning the new “Next Generation” aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) was christened during ceremonies in the Newport News Shipbuilding facilities, Hampton Roads Virginia… you can watch a replay of the ceremonies here.
At 1,080 feet long, 100 feet high, a beam of 134 feet and 250 feet wide at the Flight-Deck, this behemoth used around 47,000 tons of steel and will have over 90,000 tons of displacement.
Replacing the ex-USS Enterprise, it is the first entirely new class of U.S. aircraft carrier in 45 years since the Nimitz of 1968. The island is 140 feet further aft than previous designs and its three aircraft elevators are electromagnetic – doing away with the traditional cable-hoisting. (I wonder if they are still keeping the old-style warning horns? Those things were cool.)
But the BIG news is the Navy’s new EMALS system, which translates into landlubber speak as the “Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System”. This modern technology does away with the steam-powered catapults that have flung aircraft into the sky for the last half-century, which is both exciting and a little sad. Continue reading Christening of the Next Generation Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the Carrier USS Midway’s (CV-41) keel being laid, 27 OCT 1943. Known as the “Midway Magic” she went on to have a long, famous and distinguished career that saw action as recently as Desert shield & Storm.
To celebrate, here’s an amazing photo of my first ship in her first year of service. This was taken a mere 2 years later, also this date 27 OCT, during the post-WWII celebration “Navy Day” of 1945 in New York Harbor. Continue reading Flickering of Magic candles, USS Midway’s 70th Birthday
USS Coral Sea (CV-43) – the 3rd and final ship of the WWII era Midway class Aircraft Carriers, shows off with a demonstration of just how incredibly maneuverable these ships were, 1953.
Along with her older sisters USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Franklin D Rosevelt (CV-42), these triplets were the US Navy’s first “Super-carriers” as they were then known, a superlative that would eventually come to describe the much larger Forrestal design, and even more so those that followed. But for nearly a decade, these three remained the largest and most capable warships in the world.
They had some inherent sea-keeping issues such as a low freeboard – the flightdeck wasn’t very high so bluewater (unbroken waves) would regularly crash over the bow in high seas. And they tended to bob like corks… especially the Midway which had its hull widened to address the freeboard issue, only to create an even bigger monster with a fast roll center, which also caused the ship to corkscrew in rough weather. It was such a wild ride our system’s gyros would regularly go on the fritz during storms, necessitating a trip up the aft radar tower to fix them, in the rain, in the dark, with only a red penlight to see with, trying not to short anything out or electrocute yourself while planes tried in vain to land down below you. Good times!
These 3 sisters were known to cause the sea-legs of even the saltiest sailors to wobble as they chewed on crackers, even more so than the smaller escort ships that accompanied her (which we joked went over one wave, then under two). They certainly put hair on the chest of all who sailed upon her decks.
BUT, they could also turn on Neptune’s dime.
Nearly 40 years after the lead photo was taken, in February 1991 we would have some fun with that maneuverability Continue reading “LEFT FULL RUDDER!”
27 August, 1942, New York Naval Yard
On this day, August 27, 1942 – the USS Iowa BB-61 was first launched at the New York Naval Yard and slipped into the water for the very first time.
Now a museum ship in San Pedro California on inactive reserve, the Iowa and her 3 [...]
No, not a bad dream. This was really happening.
Having survived a somewhat terrifying ride down a dark-rainy mountain with some dude wearing a black robe, carrying a sickle and calling himself the Apollyon as a passenger, we woke up a few hours later to bright grey skies, a light fog and the smells of an early morning parking lot as Oregon’s misty green hills slowly absorbed all the previous night’s rain.
I had been sound asleep and cozy warm before “Big” Crazy-Mike woke me up, and REALLY did not want to get out of bed. And surprisingly I did not wake up with a headache even though I had slept with my head downhill due to the angle of the Dysentrailer piled onto the car-trailer.
“Wow, that was some CRAZY weather last night” Big Crazy-Mike said.
“I know. I know…” I replied Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 6
As our crazy caravan passed into the hills of southern Oregon I had been spritzed by a few rain showers, and dumped on by a few angry clouds right about the same time I realized the ZomBee no longer had wipers…
And that is when it really started raining.
We were now hauling ass downhill, once again passing our train of Big-Rig friends – the road-spray and darkness making it pretty hard to see. I grabbed a micro-fiber towel I keep on hand just in case of such an emergency and tried to wipe the windshield from over the top, but could no longer reach my hand through the gap because the new roof panel was in the way. Reaching my hand out the window and around the roll cage only resulted in the towel flailing everywhere BUT the windshield, so I ended up flicking the bright yellow towel through the roof gap and “licking” the windscreen with it, which did not have much effect but probably looked funny as hell.
I flashed my lights to signal mike something was wrong but the lights went out completely. Again. Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 5
(Author’s note: Last week we left our adventure having given in to temptation, made a series of very bad decisions, and executed a plan rather poorly. This week we continue and pick up the story as it starts to get… for lack of a better word, “interesting”…)
“Ready or not world, here we come!”
So here we were, hauling a VW and a funny little trailer on a big trailer behind a VW van, all to go race silly cars on a brand new track somewhere south of Canada.
And as you might expect we weren’t exactly the fastest caravan to ply the interstate. Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 4
To infinity... and bee-yond! (See what I did there?)
The first sign of trouble came without any sign of trouble. It was more of a “BOOM-OH-MY-GAWD-I’M-GONNA-DIE!!” moment of terror.
I had just crossed the Benicia Bay Bridge, and was feeling smug and giddy that I got through with paying just the new $5 toll instead of the $15 they shake you down for with a 3rd axle. The attendant looked at my Allstate Single-wheel trailer, and seeing no obvious axle from her perch she hit the “cheap” button on her machine. I can only imagine the look on her face as what had just transpired sank in… “Wait, a trailer with NO wheels?” Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 3
Aww, look at him in his new clothes!
(continued from part 1, which can be found here)
Having just been given an offer to race a car I could not refuse, and remembering what happened the LAST time I drove the ZomBee all the way up to Oregon and back, I began searching for alternate modes of transportation including planes, trains and for a moment even considered taking a bus.
Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part Two