So let’s go to the history books, as citizens of this country so seldom do. The Pledge of Allegiance started in 1892 as a set piece in a magazine, nothing more, nothing less. It was written by a man named Francis Bellamy in honor of Columbus Day, a holiday that scarcely exists anymore except in terms of department-store sales and parades. The words “under God” were nowhere in it, hardly surprising since Bellamy had been squeezed out of his own church the year before because of his socialist leanings. His granddaughter said he would have hated the addition of the words “under God” to a statement he envisioned uniting a country divided by race, class and, of course, religion.
Those two words went into the pledge nearly 50 years ago, and for the most deplorable reason. It was the height of the Red scare in America, when the lives of those aligned or merely flirting with the Communist Party were destroyed by paranoia, a twisted strain of uber-patriotism and the machinations of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, after whom an entire vein of baseless persecution is now named. Contrary to the current political argument that “under God” is not specifically devout, the push to put it in the pledge was mounted by the Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic men’s organization, as an attempt to counter “godless communism.” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill making this law, saying that the words would help us to “remain humble.”
I experienced my first tank slapper on 2007-06-20. That’s when a harmonic instability causes the handlebars to swap from side-to-side as far as they can go (AKA full lock). I purchased a Suzuki SV650SA7 one month earlier (2007-05-19), and I already have over 1200 miles on it. Anyway, I was coming out of the parking lot on the NE corner of Iowa and 23rd in Lawrence, KS after lunch. These cars were coming at me pretty fast so I wanted to accelerate out-of-there. I gunned it while I was leaned over. First the rear wheel starts spinning, or I hit a false neutral, or who knows what (VROOOOOOM), and then the handlebars are doing a high speed dance (JIGGY-JIGGY-JIGGY), and left foot comes of the peg. Afraid? HAH! Danger is my middle name! Embarrassed? You bet.
Here is a video of a tank slapper that looked like mine:
(Originally posted Aug 1, 2015 on as /archives/10506)
Here’s a video about becoming the fastest woman on Earth
I dig land speed record videos.
What’s with the fighter-pilot-oxygen-mask?
Is it for cooling (not oxygen) like on a racing helmet?
Pilots use oxygen to fly unpressurized planes at high altitudes. Why do that? If there’s a stronger tailwind up there, then they can save time and fuel. I read a story about a check-delivery-pilot that did this, but became oxygen-deprived by mistake. Most military flying requires oxygen masks too.
A commercial pilot is not what many people think it is.
(The rest of this post is USA-centric.)
The people that fly for the airlines, need an Air Transport Pilot License (ATPL). The ATPL requires 750 to 1500 hours (depending on your training) of flying. The people that we usually call “commercial pilots”, are actually ATPs. The commercial pilots license is different.
Where will our future pilots come from?
That check-delivery-story reminded me of my concerns about where the USA will get its future pilots.
How does a pilot get 750 to 1500 hours of experience, which is just one of the requirements for the ATPL?