Veteran's Day Flyby

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Colleague Mary Grady e-mailed this morning noting that she was having trouble finding Veteran's Day-related aviation news stories. So as a veteran myself and in the name of veterans everywhere, I dashed off to the airport to actually fly an airplane for no other reason than the sheer joy of spewing a little lead and carbon dioxide into the air. Editor flies airplane. Big news day.

For at least the past 25 years, I have vowed to take Veteran's Day off, but I have never managed to do it. Even today, I could only spare a couple of hours. But it was 80 degrees here in Florida, with a bright blue sky—perfect Cub weather.

Being a sort of goal-oriented person, I actually do try to work on some technique or skill during each flight. Since my three-pointers kind of suck if I don't practice them regularly, I worked on that. From the you-gotta-be-kidding-arcane-skill file, I've also been polishing my ability to turn on the carb heat with my right foot. The reason for this is that our Cub has shoulder harnesses, but if you wear them, you can't reach the carb heat. For this reason, for the longest time, I wasn't wearing them at all. Then I realized that's really dumb. So now that I've got the foot thing figured out, wear the shoulder straps on every flight. (What a marvelously adaptable animal is homo the sap, eh?)

Also, Lightspeed sent me a new Zulu.2 for editorial evaluation. It's Bluetooth-equipped, of course, so it pairs right up with an iPhone. I have a special rhythm and blues mix for Cub flying. Very sweet. So technically, I was actually hard at work on product evaluation. (The headset is terrific by the way; I like wind in the face, but not the noise.)

Last, and really the point of this blather, I tip my hat to all the veterans who are reading this. You have never been thanked enough and you can never be thanked enough for your service. On this day, your day, there may be no aviation-related veteran's news, but that's no reason not to make some up. Shoot, I might go flying again tomorrow for a little second-day coverage.

Comments (13)

Thank you very much. US ARMY 1st. Inf. (Big Red One) 1/16 Viet Nam 1965-1966

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | November 12, 2012 7:20 PM    Report this comment

Spew that lead while you can...

Thanks USS Enterprise CVAN-65 '71-'75

Posted by: Jerry Plante | November 13, 2012 7:46 AM    Report this comment

Remember when Presidents and even most Senators were vets? End of an era.

USAF '57 - '77

Posted by: John Wilson | November 13, 2012 7:21 PM    Report this comment

My dad was in the Italian campaign in WW2, driving the Germans north when he was wounded. I remember holding the German P37 pistol he brought back and how heavy it felt to this, then, seven year old in 1955. Cut to November 1969, his oldest son now standing among thousands at the US Capitol hoping to change the course of the Vietnam war. Little did I know that only a few months later, due to a lottery draft and a slip of paper with the number 8 on it that almost meant you'll be in a uniform likely before breakfast the next day, that I would be standing again in a crowd, this time waiting to take the armed services physical in Chicago.

Gratefully, I avoided combat in that bloody and costly war - but my two years in the Army had a great impact on me and came full circle later in my work with veterans. Thanks Paul and Mary for the thoughtful tip of the hat to all who served. Back at ya.

Posted by: David Miller | November 13, 2012 8:49 PM    Report this comment

Paul, we have a "carb heat stick" that we keep in the back pocket of the front seat. We can reach the carb heat easily. I can send a pic of it, if you are interested. I'll take one next time I go Cubbing..........which will be soon!

Posted by: Mark Mayes | November 14, 2012 6:27 AM    Report this comment

I decided to learn to fly after being extracted from a firefight in Vietnam in 1968, while serving with the 25th Infantry Division. It was hot and deadly on the ground and after going up into the cool sky I had an overwhelming feeling of being lifted from Hell into Heaven. At that moment I decided that if I lived through the war I would become a pilot. I now have over 2000 hours in six different aircraft that I have owned. It has been a terrific experience.

Posted by: archie spires | November 14, 2012 8:32 AM    Report this comment

I give my thanks to all of you veterans. THANK YOU!!

Posted by: STEPHEN EGOLF | November 14, 2012 11:28 AM    Report this comment

Mark, I have the stick, too. A converted backscratcher. I always forget to bring it.

What do you do about the trim? I just set it slightly nose low and don't retrim at all.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 14, 2012 6:02 PM    Report this comment

Paul, same here. I adjust based on fuel and weight (if I'm carrying someone in the front) and then leave it alone. We don't have shoulder harnesses, so I can reach the trim, but I usually don't bother with it.

Posted by: Mark Mayes | November 15, 2012 7:19 AM    Report this comment

Thank you, men and women of the military, past and present. I lost brothers in WWII; my son and myself have served in the United States Navy, my son on a destroyer and myself on the USS Enterprise CVAN-65, in VF-102. My service was during the Viet Nam era and the Cold War. Untold sacrifice has preserved our nation. I remember the aviators who were launched from the ship and never returned. Thank you again, active military and vets.

Posted by: Daniel Pierce | November 15, 2012 8:21 AM    Report this comment

Paul - if you always forget to bring the stick along, why not just leave it in the plane?

Posted by: Rush Strong | November 15, 2012 10:29 AM    Report this comment

Paul: I'm retired USAF and turned 65 last month. Needing to have my retired ID card redone, I traveled to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. They have a SUPERB Commemorative area on that Fort with restored WWII barracks plus all sorts of Army rolling stock on display (I'd urge a visit if you can). Looking at the WWII barracks, I smiled when I saw a concrete pad between two restored and original mirror image WWII barracks. Almost all of those old buildings had coal fired furnaces and someone would have to shovel coal all nite to keep two of 'em warm. I know, I shoveled tons of the stuff. Unless and until a person spent many a night a long way from home and family and maybe in harms way, they cannot even come close to comprehending what ALL vets have done for this Country thruout the ages. Last year, I visited the Tomb of the Unknowns in Wash, DC ... also a must visit for all vets to remind them of why their service was SO important.

I tip MY veteran' hat to those currently serving under circumstances that are less than optimal.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | November 15, 2012 10:42 AM    Report this comment

That reminds me of an incident in the old War War II barracks at Fort Bragg. We had coal furnaces, too, but they equipped them with auger-type stokers so that a human stoker could manage about five or six of the barracks. Ah, technology.

One night, our stoker went AWOL, but not before overstoking our furnace to the extent that it turned cherry red and caused nothing but superheated steam to come out of the showers.

The guy who discovered this got scalded a little, but couldn't get back into the shower to turn the steam off. It filled the entire lower level of the barracks with warm steam to about two feet from the floor. It was the damnedest thing I'd ever seen.

Rush, I don't leave the stick in the airplane because it's a partnership airplane. I don't believe in leaving my junk in there when I'm done flying and don't want to mess with others, either. Besides, I've got the foot thing down pat, now.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 15, 2012 12:12 PM    Report this comment

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