Monthly Archives: June 2014

Road to Precision

This YouTube playlist documents at excruciating length (the whole playlist is hours long) Canadian Ryan Pahl’s four-year effort to break into F-Class high-power rifle competitive shooting.

Spoiler: in the end, he decides he just doesn’t have the resources (human or capital, we’re not really sure what his problem is) to get to the next level. So he decides to take his shooting in a different direction, at the end of the playlist. But if you hang in for the whole thing, you’ll learn a lot about rifle competitive target shooting and the level of competition that’s out there these days. You’ll also learn quite a bit about what it takes to put lead on target, when “on target” is defined as very small and quite far away.

The fact is, Ryan shot better than many elite military unit snipers, and he was still, at the end, disappointed in his performance, measured against the real high-power competition gravelbellies.

And benchrest shooters look at high-power shooters’ best groups, kind of like physicists look at psychologists — “they do interesting stuff, but is it really science?” — and they have the groups to justify that attitude.

There are two sets of things that competitors do. The first is a variety of things that actually improve shooting performance, including such things as handloading with extreme uniformity. These things are mostly unchanged from competitor to competitor and year over year. Then there are the superstitions, which do tend to change: they get swept up as enthusiasms or fads by the community for a while, then they’re all on to the next fad. But an outsider has little hope of figuring out which is which. (Best guide to a fad is the absence of a plausible physical explanation of why it helps, but that’s not perfect as some useless superstitions sound perfectly plausible).

This could be edited down into a single, shorter presentation, that would be worth buying as a DVD or download. We’ll admit we fast-forwarded past the many groups that were recorded in apparent real-time. Shooting holes in targets is one of those things that’s much more interesting when you’re doing it than when you’re watching the other guy do it.

Good luck to Ryan, and thanks for the video tour of a short career in high-power.

All you need to know about Hollywood values

Tim Kavanaugh at National Review Online notes:

There have been fifteen Congressional Medals of Honor awarded in this new century, and yet the soldier who will apparently be featured in two different Hollywood films is Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Variety reports:

Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal are planning a movie based on recently released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

The project would be produced through Boal’s recently launched Page 1 production company, backed by Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.

Separately, Fox Searchlight has acquired movie rights to “America’s Last Prisoner Of War,” written by the late Michael Hastings, with Todd Field (“In The Bedroom”) attached to direct and produce. Hastings’ story was published in 2012 by Rolling Stone while Bergdahl was still a prisoner of the Taliban.

via Two Bergdahl Movies In the Works, And They Both Might Be Good | National Review Online.

Kavanaugh thinks that the movies about the turncoat “might both be good.” Judging from the creators’ past output, and their general contempt of the military, giving them Bergdahl as a hero is going to lead to no such thing. (Mark Boal, for instance, came up making those Iraq war atrocity movies that hit the multiplex and tanked every week in the mid-oughts).

Of course, these are the same folks for whom every Catholic priest is a kiddie diddler, while they give awards to members of their own guilds who are, in fact, kiddie diddlers.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have a French spice mortar

french-kitchen-mortar-and-pestleWe’ve got a buddy who has killed people with a mortar. Dozens and dozens of them, in fact, and he was only afraid that he would run out of mortar rounds before he ran out of Taliban. (He might have, but our good friends the numbered Boar callsigns showed up and pitched in). But he didn’t do it with this kind of mortar. He’s probably jealous.

A 71-year-old Frenchwoman is to undergo psychiatric testing after killing her husband and cooking his heart, nose and genitals.

A judicial source said the woman was arrested on May 22 in the northern French town of Longwy, describing her as “the female Hannibal Lecter”, after the fictional cannibal in thriller “The Silence of the Lambs”.

A weapon is where you find it. We have covered a lot of useful gadgets to have When Guns Are Outlawed, but we believe this is our first kitchen mortar murder. Having offed hubby with a kitchen implement, our murderess drove on with the culinary theme:

The woman killed her 80-year-old husband with a kitchen mortar she used for grinding spices then “cooked his heart, nose and genital organs in a pot but we don’t know if she ate them,” the source said.

Now, she’s really in trouble. Our mortar-massacre buddy was fastidious about not eating any of the Talibs. You can kill ’em, but you can’t eat ’em: that’s against the law.

Her lawyer, Caroline Depretz, said the woman suffered from delusions. “Obviously it was a fit of madness,” she said.

via French ‘female Hannibal Lecter’ cooked husband’s heart.

Usually, anything a lawyer says is grounds for suspicion, but this one might just have gotten to the bottom of the case. Normal people don’t kill and eat their spouses, even with spices. But then, la gastronomie is taken much more seriously in la belle France. 

Another victim of the widespread availability of guns and untreated mental illness, but mostly untreated mental illness.

Book Recommendation: Gentle Propositions by J.S. Economos

Economos_gentle_propositionsWhile the title sounds like it ought to be The Great Lost Austen Masterpiece, the book is a masterpiece of a different kind. This is not a full review — we’re not through with the book yet — but at the halfway or so point, it’s so good that we wanted to share it with you.

Gentle Propositions is a tale of SOG recon in Vietnam, and what sets it apart from many such novels is the author’s attention to accurate detail while not losing sight of the purpose of any novel, to engage and entertain the reader. It has done that well; it’s been a rollicking ride through all phases of a recon man’s life, especially the operational ones: mission prep, training, mission execution, recon, reporting, chance contact and immediate action, routine exfiltration and the much hairier worst-case of withdrawal under fire.

He also doesn’t neglect the non-operational: camp life, getting to know the Montagnards, stand-downs, being weathered out, meeting other teams at the pad (and being met by other teams when you came out), losing friends, getting drunk. True details of weapons and patrolling SOPs come alive just as the SOG Recon Teams used them back in 1969-70, and true details of Montagnard village life and the cross-cultural bonds of Straw Hat (American) and Yards are just as alive.

It’s all here: The Lottery, the target area no one wanted; what happens when you land on an NVA base area in the immediate aftermath of an Arc Light; what a Covey Rider did and what SPAF stood for; why not many medics ran recon. He does not shy away from the thorny problem of what happened when a guy served to his limit, wherever it was, and his luck or courage were all used up. He does not tell you how it feels to lose friends “across the fence,” never to be recovered: he shows you.

Economos is not an SF vet, but there’s something interesting about this book: the blurbs on the cover are all, or almost all, Vietnam-era SOG recon soldiers. They like it and they’re a hard bunch to please. He nails little details that he only could have done if he met these men or interviewed many who had, details like Bob Howard’s smile.

Like Howard, real men of CCC recon appear in the book, always in character and appropriately, the only fictional bit is their actual interactions with Economos’s fictional characters. We postdate the Vietnam War by quite a bit but there were still many bit players, extras if you will, whom we served with later on, and it was a thrill to see them and to see that they were handled appropriately and respectfully.

Most people who read this book, if it’s half as successful as it ought to be, won’t know a couple dozen of the old SF guys namechecked in here, but it doesn’t matter, as Economos’s accuracy doesn’t detract from his plot or character development: it’s a book you can, and should, read for the thrill of the story, and just note to yourself before you dive in that it is a more accurate depiction of life in SOG recon than many books that sell as non-fiction.

It’s available on Amazon as Kindle or paperback. We read the paperback.

One Giant Step towards Unilateral Nuclear Disarmament

This three-reentry-vehicle warhead was once standard on Minuteman III missiles. As part of a policy of unilateral disarmament, the MIRVs have been taken out of service.

This three-reentry-vehicle warhead was once standard on Minuteman III missiles. Each warhead could be aimed at a different target. As part of a policy of unilateral disarmament, the MIRVs have been taken out of service.

The United States has met a second strategic goal of the Soviet Union Russian Empire Federation. After giving them the unilateral cancellation of European missile defense, the United States has now unilaterally de-MIRVed its ground-based missiles. This serves no United States security purpose, but does please entities with one kind of relationship to the United States: enemies, foreign and domestic.

MIRVs are Multiple Independently Targetable (re-entry) Vehicles, multiple warheads on a single missile. They complicate a potential adversary’s defensive strategy and decrease his confidence in being able to execute a first strike without retaliation.

Eliminating the MIRVs is a political, not military, decision that makes the missiles less of a threat to any opponent or potential enemy (especially a sophisticated enemy), and is destabilizing, encouraging rogue states to attempt a first strike. But politically, this sets up for the third strategic goal, complete elimination of the now-obsolete single-warhead missiles. The Nuclear Threat Initiative, an anti-nuclear*, left-wing group, crows:

The United States this week finished altering its ground-based, long-range nuclear missiles to each carry just one warhead, the Great Falls Tribune reports.

Crews carried out the final modification of an intercontinental ballistic missile at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, the newspaper reported on Wednesday. The service implemented the alterations under a nuclear-arms pact with Russia.

The New START strategic arms-control treaty called for the change to the nation’s Minuteman 3 ICBMs, which were previously able to carry three “Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles.” The United States maintains roughly 450 of the missiles, deployed at the Montana facility and at bases in North Dakota and Wyoming.

“This was the last Minuteman 3 in the Air Force to be ‘deMIRVed,’ and this is a major milestone in meeting the force structure numbers to comply with the New START requirements,” Steve Ray, a member of Air Force Global Strike Command’s missile maintenance division, said in a released comment.

“This is historic because we’ve had MIRVs in the field for more than 40 years, since 1970 when the first Minuteman 3 came on alert,” Ray said.

In its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Obama administration said “deMIRVing” the weapons would “enhance the stability of the nuclear balance by reducing the incentives for either side to strike first.”

via U.S. Eliminates Multi-Warheads on All Ground-Based Nuclear Missiles | Global Security Newswire | NTI.

MIRVs do remain in service on submarine launched ballistic missiles, for the time being. But there are fewer missiles, and fewer subs, than there were five years ago, and there will be fewer still by the time a new president and national security team is sworn in.

Even if the incumbents don’t decide the SLBM MIRVs too must go, to please international counterparties and their domestic collaborationists and fifth columnists.

There may yet be political fallout from the executive decision to unilaterally disarm ground-based MIRVs. In 2012, Secretary of State Kerry promised at least one Senator that no further unilateral cuts would be made, but most Senators have been there long enough to have served with Kerry and already have no illusions about what his promise is worth.

*NTI is “anti-nuclear” as far as American nuclear weapons and nuclear allies. Not anti-war, just on the other side.

Why Johnny Can’t Journalize

displomaMost journalists are no-good bums, so it’s hard to suppress one’s rejoicing at any misfortune that befalls them. They’re activists with bylines, with a narrow set of life experiences and a blinkered worldview that makes their ever-front-and-center opinions especially worthless. Unaware of that, in a textbook case of Dunning-Kruger Effect gone high-order, they are confident in their knowledge, expertise, and general superiority.

Thus our delight in their discomfiture. Pure Schadenfreude. 

One fundamental problem is that they go to journalism schools to “change the world,” and the J-schools teach them storytelling, not reporting. So the narrative is always primary with them, driving factual considerations to the 18th graf of the story, if not clean off the page.

Increasingly, though, they stink at the storytelling too, and newspapers that once prided themselves on observing the fundamental mechanics of good, clear, readable English are swollen with errors, typos, syntactic crimes and misdemeanors, and other trespasses. Everywhere are signs that the spellcheck crutch has replaced the ability to write among the hothouse flowers transplanted from the J-school nursery.

This diploma may illustrate why: it says it was conveyed by Northwestern U to a graduate of the “Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Itegrated Marketing Communications.” The Romenesko Report, a trade publication for the members of the state-controlled media in the USA, notes that the regular diplomas had the name right: only the honors grads got “Itegrated.”

Hell of a way to start your career as a barista, kid.

When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have freezers

Daniel Shoffner mugshotThis sad sack is Daniel Shoffner, and what he did exactly cops don’t know — and won’t know, until either he confesses, or his victim thaws out enough to be autopsied. Yep, he did a “Bernie” and jammed her in a deep freezer.

The body of an elderly Indiana woman found inside a large freezer in her home must thaw out before investigators can determine how she died, but a 47-year-old man has been arrested and is suspected of killing her, police said on Tuesday.

Daniel Shoffner was jailed in the northern Indiana town of LaPorte on a preliminary charge of murder, according to the LaPorte Police Department.

Police found the body of the woman, who they have yet to publicly identify, on Sunday night after someone called in a request for a check on her well-being, said LaPorte Detective Scott Aftowski. Shoffner was at the home when police arrived.

Officials do not yet know how long she has been dead or how she died. Aftowski said the relationship between Shoffner and the woman was still unclear.

“We can’t do an autopsy until she thaws out,” he said. “And we have to have an autopsy to figure things out.”

via Indiana woman found dead in freezer, roommate in custody.

Another victim of the widespread availability of guns and human depravity, but mostly human depravity. Indiana, huh? It was probably all Tam’s guns that made him do it. They whispered to him, saying, “I am Firearm, I am become Satan, destroyer of worlds. Satan is your special pal. Now, here’s what Satan wants you to do….”

It always comes back to the guns, right?

Franco’s Still Dead, and the VA’s Still Wretched

VA-veterans-affairsLet’s take a quick look at some other VA stuff. In this category, we have an audit of the VA’s “wait lists” of neglected and abandoned vets, a guy who’s Not Dead Yet, a key insight into why the Department does so much better by the payroll patriots in its ranks than the vets it ostensibly helps, the curious fact that all VA managers are from Lake Wobegon, and a bitter contrast of the health care provided to criminal aliens to that not provided to honorably discharged vets.

The Wait List Audit

ouradour clockThe DVA has posted the results of the VA’s Wait List Audit. And it’s ugly. Many news sources have excerpted or paraphrased it, and we’ll do those for you in a moment, but if you’re interested in this, Read The Whole Thing™.

The audit was supposed to be a multiphase evolution, but the findings of Phase I were so egregious that Phase II data collection was aborted. In Phase I data collection, almost 4,000 employees were interviewed. Union representatives were allowed to sit in; the worker or the union rep could pull the plug at any time (indeed, they could opt out of being interviewed at all, and they were not interviewed under oath or recorded). The questionnaires that were completed contained no identifying information; this interview design suggests that the real, if unstated, primary goal of the audit was to protect the agency and the employees and forestall an external, prosecutorial investigation.

The report implies that employee punch-out occurred often enough for the 1-hour interviews to average only 45 minutes.

Data manipulation was systematic and near-universal; in just the sample from Phase I, they found wait-list fraud in 76% of facilities, and it was something that came from the top.

Negative practices identified in site reports included:

  • Staff being instructed by supervisors to alter desired date;
  • Staff keeping manual logs of appointment requests outside of electronic systems (VistA or the EWL);
  • Staff lacking familiarity with scheduling policies;
  • Other practices inconsistent with policy:

o Non-count clinics ;

o Cancelling consults;
o Cancelling appointments; and

  • Employees indicating reluctance to participate in the survey due to fear they would be subject to disciplinary action due to deviation from national policy.

The audit claims that, “VA will establish follow-up accountability actions based on the results of the audit,” but that claim has already been mooted by the Acting Administrator who has vowed that not one of the VA’s 90,000 employees will lose a job, a pay grade, or a bonus, no matter what they did.

The audit reaches a conclusion that, “the overarching environment and culture which allowed this state of practice to take root must be confronted…  in order to regain the trust of the Veterans that VA serves.”

But the Administration has already announced that this will not be done.

I’m Not Dead Yet!

bye-gravestoneJoe Morris, like the plague victim in the Monty Python skit, is Not Dead Yet. But the VA decided the two-tour Iraq vet was dead. And so they stopped his disability checks. But that was the least of his problems. They also told Social Security he was dead, locking his Social Security number into the Social Security Death Index. And they sent his mother a condolence letter, which is how he found out he was supposed to be pushing up daisies.

Two months ago came the bizarre phone call that changed everything.

“My mom called me up and said, ‘Hey, you’re dead.’ I said, ‘No, I’m not,'” Morris said.

The VA admitted that he was, indeed, not dead, and didn’t fight him on the subject. (Or worse, whack him to make reality come into line with their ate-up computers). And they apologized and fixed everything, right? Come on. This is the VA we’re talking about here. They made excuses, blamed their computers, ducked responsibility. Hey, the computer did it of its own volition! That happens all the time.

All the credit agencies now have him as deceased, and his wife is getting more condolence letters.

One of the commenters at the original story nailed a more likely cause of his bureaucratic “death”:

Whenever he called the VA about his missing check and wanted to set up direct deposit he put a bureaucrat employee to extra trouble and so they “fixed his wagon”….

Sounds about right. Another commenter had this chilling corroboration:

Good luck. This happened to my husband and it took 2 years to bring him back to life. Thank goodness my credit rating was good and we already owned our home.

Will those responsible for this be held accountable? Hey, this is the VA we’re talking about here. Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, as we will see in a minute, has already announced that nobody at VA need fear loss of a job or a bonus, no matter what. Accountability is not a VA value.

VA Employees are the Agency’s Most Important Constituency

Jefferson_parasitesIn a piece at National Review Online that covered the self-interested corruption of other government workers, too, Jonah Goldberg singled out the VA for special mention,  and absolutely nails why the VA sucks so badly at its putative job, “to care for him who has borne the battle”: that’s not their real constituency. Goldberg:

The Veterans Affairs scandal can be boiled down to the fact that VA employees are the agency’s most important constituency. The Phoenix VA health-care system created secret waiting lists where patients languished and even died, while the administrator paid out almost $10 million in bonuses to VA employees over the last three years.

That attitude is personified by the empty suit that replaced the empty suit that was Rick Shinseki as VA figurehead. A Jacksonville, NC reporter asked Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, during a visit to a Fayetteville, NC VA facility, whether “VA executive bonus money would be better used by placing a human-being on the other side of a suicide-prevention line.” Gibson lost control. ABC 11, Raleigh:

“This idea that ‘let’s fire everybody, let’s pull everybody’s bonus away” that’s a bunch of crap,” Gibson said angrily. “The fact of the matter is we’ve got 341,000 people and the vast majority of them work really hard to do the right thing, and that’s why we’ve got veterans that are well-served the vast majority of the time.”

“… I’m not going to see people sit there and say that we go[t] 350,000 people that aren’t worth a crap. It’s wrong. So no-the money’s not better spent by pulling it and putting it someplace else.”

It hasn’t been widely reported, but ABC 11 did note, that the reporter in question is a former Marine, who was accompanied by a service dog. After the press conference, Gibson tried to patch things up, offering a handshake and a glib, “Thanks for your service.” The reporter/Marine, now angry in return, refused. “Thank you for what? Allowing you to dodge my question?” (We do note, that Gibson did answer the question, albeit dismissively. The reporter might have missed it because the answer came at the end of paragraphs of vituperation aimed at him).

Gibson also made excuses for a Durham mental health clinic that is still issuing Baghdad Bob press releases denying any long waits, when questioned on the subject. The facility is one of the worst of the VA’s bad lot, with an average wait time of 143 days, according to the VA’s own figures, but Gibson wouldn’t say — or hear — a word of criticism of the staff.

The visit was best summed up by Marine vet Christopher Hubbard, who was told to expect it to take about 60 days for a primary care physician to see him and prescribe the medication he needs for an injured knee now.

In all honestly, I think it’s nothing more than a dog and pony show. Whether the VA actually takes the concerns of the veterans and our complaints and actually deals with them is another story.

Nothing Gibson said hints at accountability becoming a VA value any time this century. Gibson apparently didn’t speak to or see a crowd of veterans, including Hubbard, who wanted someone to hear their complaints about wait times and care at the Fayetteville VA.

“All VA Managers are Above Average”

Same cognitive bias here. From this entertaining blog post.

Same cognitive bias here. From this entertaining blog post.

The heartless, incompetent, and greedy VA managers are one more thing, too: well-paid. Official records used to determine bonus awards ruled that all 470 senior managers would just totally awesome, even as 120,000 veterans languished on phantom waiting lists, and in unknown number died. (The media has documented over 100 deaths, but the VA insists that there were only 23. And they deserve a bonus for that). CNN:

A top VA official confirmed to a congressional committee on Friday that 78% of VA senior managers qualified for extra pay or other compensation in fiscal year 2013 by receiving ratings of “outstanding” or “exceeds fully successful,” and that all 470 of them got ratings of “fully successful” or better.

Such widespread laudatory performance appraisals occurred shortly before CNN started reporting in November how veterans waited excessive periods for VA health care, with some dying in the process. The VA has acknowledged 23 deaths nationwide due to delayed care.

According to the New York Times, there are five levels of ratings a VA manager can be given. None received the lowest two levels, about 20% received the middle level, and the other 80% or so got the top two.

And bonuses.

The Times notes:

Many administrators’ bonuses were tied partly to whether their facilities met patient wait-time goals, including being able to see a doctor within 14 days. When a shortage of doctors and other factors made it impossible for many facilities to come anywhere close to those standards, many administrators and patient schedulers manipulated data and used other tactics to make the numbers look better than they were.

We leave determining whether VA management actually is a human population composed only of the right tail of the quality bell curve, something that would be unique and unprecedented in 5,000 years of human organizational history, as an exercise to the reader.

Veterans Left to Die

The Center for Immigration Studies has their own angle on it: “Illegal Aliens Receive Immediate Medical Care; Veterans Left to Die.” That pretty much sums up the preferences of Official Washington.

In response to an influx of young illegal aliens, the Obama administration has moved rapidly to provide them with a full range of medical and other services. In response to the needs of American veterans, the president has failed to keep campaign promises made seven years ago.

In response to the need for medical care for young illegal aliens, the Obama administration had Arizona immediately ship federal emergency medical supplies to a holding center in Nogales. In response to veterans’ medical needs, the administration ignored campaign promises made in 2007 and stood by while the VA created secret waiting lists that resulted in the deaths of Americans who had honorably served their county.

In response to illnesses afflicting illegal aliens such as scabies, chickenpox, MRSA staph infections, and different viruses, Coast Guard medics have been called in by Homeland Security to treat those who are sick. In response to veterans’ health needs, no military medics were mobilized and veterans went untreated.

In response to a need for housing and related services for illegal aliens, the Obama administration moved at warp speed to house them on military bases at a cost of $252 per person per day. However, in spite of saying “We’ll have a simple policy when it comes to homeless veterans: zero tolerance,” while campaigning in 2007, President Obama has never opened up military bases to homeless veterans or granted veterans on waiting lists access to base medical clinics and hospitals.

In response to a need for increased financing to meet the needs of illegal aliens, the Obama administration immediately requested an emergency appropriation from Congress of $1.4 billion. In response to the critical needs of millions of veterans, the administration has requested no emergency funding and continues to exclude millions of veterans from promised services through means-testing.

In response to the legal needs of illegal aliens, the Obama administration will issue $2 million in grants to enroll about 100 lawyers and paralegals to represent immigrant children. In response to the legal needs of veterans who are denied medical services and other benefits promised them by elected officials over many decades, the administration does nothing.

The CIS, which has many other issues with the Obama Administration, makes it the villain of the piece, but the established opposition isn’t much better. The lame-duck House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, lost his seat in part because the Republican leadership he’s a part of has prioritized amnesty over veterans (and almost everything else).

But … it isn’t just the VA.

Matt and Kaylie Hindes. A judge wants him to lose custody because he's in the Navy.

Matt and Kaylie Hindes. A judge wants him to lose custody because he’s in the Navy.

This closer isn’t a VA story, but it’s another story about the Establishment that rides in its palanquin upon the backs of veterans screwing over a serving serviceman:

 Navy submariner Matthew Hindes was given permanent custody of his daughter Kaylee in 2010, after she was reportedly removed from the home of his ex-wife, Angela, by child protective services. But now a judge has ordered him to appear in court Monday, or risk losing his daughter to his ex-wife in addition to a bench warrant being issued for his arrest, ABC News reports.

Hindes’ lawyers argue he should be protected by the Service Members Civil Relief Act, which states courts in custody cases may “grant a stay of proceedings for a minimum period of 90 days to defendants serving their country.”

But the Michigan judge hearing the case, circuit court judge Margaret Noe, disagrees….

Noe, who has made her distaste for Hindes’s choice of career clear, was threatening to issue a warrant for his arrest. And that would be a neat trick, as he’s in a classified grid location, at a classified depth, on a US Navy nuclear submarine. The daughter who’s the subject of this attempted custody coup is in Washington state (where the US has one of its major sub bases) with her stepmom, waiting for Dad to surface. As it stands, she has delayed her threat until the 23rd — today.

It would be unbelievable, if we didn’t see this kind of thing over and over and over again.

Impossible Helicopter Stuff

Obviously, it’s not impossible, because the guy did it… in that helicopter, a British Army Westland Lynx with a hingeless main rotor and monobloc rotorhead. In a Huey, it would be suicide. This Army training film explains why:

(It’s pretty dry if you’re not a helicopter pilot). Mast bumping is a serious threat to any teetering rotor rotorcraft, from a Bensen Gyrocopter through all the two-bladed Hiller and Bell helicopters. It’s less of a problem with a Sikorsky-type fully-articulated rotor (which was actually copied from Pitcairn, causing Sikorsky to lose a patent suit) or a rigid rotor.

Both the Lynx and the teetering Huey rotor are sometimes described as “semirigid,” but they’re very different animals. In the Huey, the blades are attached to one another and one central teetering hinge attaches them to the mast. When one flaps up, the other must flap down. In the Lynx, each of four composite BERP (British Experimental Rotor Program, the funny swept planform of the Lynx rotor) blades are attached to the rotor head by titanium root plates and a flexible arm.


Each blade flaps independently to deal with gust loads and the transition in forward flight of angle of attack and lead/lag from the advancing side to the retreating side of the rotor disc. Instead of hinges, the innate flexibility of the hub deals with asymmetric flight loads. The description is complicated, but the rotorhead itself is simple. It is an ingenious design and it gives the Lynx more aerobatic capability and greater speed than most other helicopters, while insulating the copter from mast bumping and other hazards that lurk in low-G flight.

Stumped Sunday

It’s Sunday, and we got nothin’.

Sometime today we will queue up some stuff for this week, when we expect to be buried in work. And we hope to plug in a Saturday Matinee and TW3 that we didn’t get to yesterday.

But other than that, we can’t think of anything to say, let alone anything clever. Maybe tomorrow!