Friday, July 25, 2008

Da Plane! Da Plane! Da Hole In Da Plane!

**** WARNING! ****
If you live in fear of flying on airplanes, then DO NOT read any more of this post!

Ok, now that I've given fair warning and feel that I've absolved myself of any psychological trauma this post may cause to my readers, we can proceed.

Today I read a news article about a Quantas jet flying from London to Melbourne which developed a gaping hole mid flight. The end result is that the plane was able to land safely in Manila and no one was hurt. It does not even appear that any luggage was lost.

This is quite a scary story to read about, if you have any empathy for the passengers on board the plane. While I love to fly and it does not scare me in the least, there's a statement in the article that even I find scary and a little bit disturbing. Below I have pasted the portion of the article that includes the statement I find disturbing, which I have highlighted. I'm including some of the story before and after the statement to give it context.

Investigators appeared to be focusing on a structural problem.

"From the pictures that we've seen out of Manila during the course of the day, it would seem that one of the panels to the outer skin of the aircraft has literally come away from the rest of the fuselage," Chris Yates, an aviation expert at Jane's Aviation, told The Associated Press.

"As a consequence of this, the aircraft experienced rapid decompression," he said.

While it is not uncommon for metal panels to be lost from aircraft in flight, he said: "It's relatively rare that when a bit falls off the airplane it causes the sort of instance that we saw in relation to Qantas. In other words that it causes the aircraft cabin to depressurize."

Yates said investigators will examine closely the fracture points that showed up on the skin of the aircraft to determine whether metal fatigue or manufacturing defect caused the panel to peel away.

Say WHAT?! What do you mean that "it is not uncommon for metal panels to be lost from aircraft in flight"? That's a disturbing and scary statement. Notice how casually he says "when a bit falls off the airplane". Like it's not a big deal! I live near an airport. Does that mean I should be concerned that some big sheet of metal may come crashing down on my house or my family? Maybe all those who are afraid to fly have the right idea, this makes it sound like airplanes are a flying death trap.

Is there some conspiracy to cover this up and Yates accidentally let it slip? After all, I don't often hear of stories where the metal panels from airplanes fall off. You would think that passengers waiting to get on the planes would notice when the plane pulled up to the terminal. I don't know about you, but if the plane I'm supposed to get on pulls up with a metal sheet missing, I'm not getting on it, even if it is not uncommon and usually does not cause a problem. 'Nuf said.

What are your thoughts on this? Am I reading too much into this statement? Did I misread it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Heated Atmosphere And Containment Units

One of the advantages/disadvantages of having a wife who also blogs is that she may post about the same event in addition to my posts or before my posts on said event. The disadvantages are that she may have scooped the story on me or she may have already used the best pictures from the event. The advantages are that we can both tell the same story from different perspectives and it could save me time by not having to write the post but just point my readers to her post, which is the advantage I'm taking advantage of tonight.

Now you're probably wondering what the title of the post has to do with with my ramblings above. The answer is, very little, except to link you over to her post on our family's visit to a hot air balloon festival.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Comment Responses

I doubt I need to state the obvious, but it's been a while since I posted. In an attempt to get a post out so that people know I'm still alive, I'm taking the lazy way out. I'm going to respond to comments made in the past few months. Some of them I may already have responded to with another comment, but not as an official post. So here goes.

  • Big Doofus, a couple of weeks ago I created my Linkedin account, per your suggestion. Thanks.
  • Dawn, you are correct, we are crazy for having a fourth, but it's a good kind of crazy, I think.
  • Scott, I had Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie for the free cone day.
  • Marc, maybe in a couple of years we can come and visit y'all in Wales, and you and I can take a day to strap the jet powered wings onto our backs.
  • Mr. E, unfortunately I was never able to make it to see the new Indiana Jones movie. Bummer.
  • Re: Mary Poppins. It was a mixed bag as far as the kids response to it. Will took to it most but had the most questions, of course. Ben was quickly bored with it. Ellie in the middle. Though they do occasionally sing a bit of "A spoonful of sugar" or "Supercali.....", you know that big long word you can say but not spell (at least I cannot).
  • Mr. E, if you guys are ever coming up this way, let us know.
  • Mom, you are correct, back in high school I would never have thought I would do a lot of the things I've done as a parent, including wiping a bottom with my bare hand.
  • Mr. E, thanks for the book recommendations. I'll have to add those to my list. Now I just need to get through the dozens of books I've purchased but never read yet.
  • Stephanie, you're welcome for the day off. But don't count your chicks before they hatch. Next year's not a done deal yet. Four kids, with one under one, may be a show stopper.
  • Big Doofus, the zoo we went to is the Roger Williams Park Zoo.
  • Mom, I think we have the "What's so amazing about Grace?" book. I think it's one of my unread ones.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tech Daddy Predicts

I'm sure many of you have already read the incredible story of the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and several other hostages from the FARC guerrillas. If not, I've included a couple of links to news sites at the bottom of this post and I encourage you to read them.

This is such a great true story and I'm predicting that one or more books will be written about it and a movie will be made about it.

What say you?

Article 1
Article 2