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Comment Re:hmmmm (Score 1) 491

Engaging from a set distance isn't a rigged test. It's very realistic. It's the same as CAS aircraft loitering in the vicinity of fighting, not knowing where they'll be called to, then vectoring, approaching, engaging, and disengaging. The F-35 has an advantage in approach speed, and when you're under fire from the enemy, fast engagement becomes extremely important not only for your safety but for the safety of the CAS aircraft in that the enemy will have less time to bring in reinforcements.

I'm a huge fan of the A-10 and expect it will do better in a number of tests in a fair competition, including the raw number of targets that can be engaged primarily due to the gun's ammo capacity. I'm not a terribly big fan of the F-35, believing that it's trying to combine too many functions into one airplane. But for a CAS demonstration, I expect that the F-35 will be fitted with external stores (appropriate in an area where air supremacy and some level of major SAM suppression have been achieved). External stores capacity for the two planes is similar weight-wise (16,000 pounds on 11 hardpoints for the A-10 vs. 15,000 pounds on 6 hardpoints for the F-35), but a maximum load for either plane is unrealistic as it adds drag, reduces range and loiter time, impacts agility, and increases stress on the aircraft. A-10s in Afghanistan would rarely go out with more than a single weapon or pod per pylon, and often with four or more stations empty. The F-35, of course, also has the internal stores that can handle up to four Small Diameter Bombs each.

Low-altitude survival time probably goes to the A-10, but accuracy could be a toss up between the slower and more stable A-10 and the faster but perhaps quicker to lock and launch F-35. This may be a closer competition than many believe.

Comment Re:Good for experiments, not powerplant ready (Score 1) 337

Neither of those is an option for me simply because I don't have either roof type that you describe. Looking around, I see some DIY options in the US, but most of the sites that talk about it suggest not doing it unless you already do it professionally.

Comment Re:systemd is one reason not to use Debian. (Score 1) 109

Devuan is an attempt to create a distro that does not have an option for systemd. I find it ironic that in criticizing the lack of choice in other distros, they're creating a distro with a lack of choice.

I expect that as more people get used to/grow up with systemd, it will fall by the wayside and turn into a niche distro. That's cool if it happens--lots of niche distros are still around years later--but it's not likely to be taken seriously in enterprise environments.

Comment Re:systemd is one reason not to use Debian. (Score 1) 109

Kali switched because Debian switched. It's that simple. The OffSec crew is interested in getting tools to run on a base distro so they can focus on the tools and let the upstream distro handle other problems. Since all the work had been done on getting things working with Debian, changing to another distro probably was not viewed as especially desirable (especially since most other distros use or are planning to use systemd anyway).

Comment Re:Good for experiments, not powerplant ready (Score 1) 337

I'm looking seriously at solar, though the installed cost isn't quite to where I need it (last I checked about a year ago, it was around $3 per watt, and I need it to be below $2.40 per watt). If you have some solid information on DIY, I'd love to look at it, as that would dramatically reduce the costs involved. I'd love for the only labor costs to be the electrician to handle the connectivity.

Comment Re:Lighten up (Score 1) 337

He's talking about nameplate capacity against power produced, and that solar produces around 20% of nameplate capacity on average over 24 hours whereas coal can produce around the full capacity, though plants usually aren't run at that level for very long as it increases wear and tear.

Comment Re:systemd is one reason not to use Debian. (Score 2) 109

It does now, as of Kali 2.0, which is based on Debian 8. Its presence can be verified by running dpkg -l | grep systemd to find the installed packages, ps aux | grep systemd to find the processes, and trying to start a service that won't start for some reason to get the notes about running systemctl status something.service to find out what happened.

Most of the services themselves seem to show up in /etc/init.d, though, so there's still lots of init script use.

Neither of these points bother me, though I'm going to have to get used to a few new commands.

Comment Re:Good for experiments, not powerplant ready (Score 1) 337

According to the US EIA, in 2012, the overnight capital cost per kilowatt (effectively the construction cost) for coal ranged from $2,934 to $6,599, depending on the type and size of the plant. Solar thermal was at $5,067, and photovoltaic was $3,873 to $4,183 per kilowatt, placing it squarely in competition with coal. That was three years ago; since then, solar power installation costs have dropped even further, while coal has likely stayed about the same, or perhaps even increased slightly.

However, it's still a pretty far cry from natural gas. Excluding fuel cells, the overnight costs ranged from $676 to $2095 per kilowatt. Solar would have to drop nearly half from its lower cost to gas's highest cost. It is dropping, and it probably will get there, but I expect that it's not going to be competitive with gas for a few years yet.

Part of the issue now I think is that labor has become a far more substantial part of solar installations, and that's a relatively inflexible amount. For example, if half of the cost of solar is the labor (not sure if it is or not), then even if the panels were free, it would only be competitive with certain kinds of gas plants.

Comment Re:Solves part of the mystery. (Score 1) 272

I'm a pilot, too. And yes, aviate, navigate, communicate, in that order. The idea that "talking to somebody on the ground doesn't help you in an emergency" is meant for immediate concerns, especially when you're the only pilot aboard, like when you decide to abort a landing. Tower may call you with instructions, but until you've got things under control in the plane and are certain of pattern traffic, you don't worry about talking to them.

But flying an airliner is far from flying a Cessna (or Piper or Diamond or Mooney or whatever you're learning in). In the case of an emergency aboard an airliner, one pilot deals with the issue while the other flies the plane and communicates. The Continental 777-224 (MH370 was a 777-200ER) checklist for fire from the manual dated November 2002 includes the following under the heading "SMOKE / FUMES / FIRE ELEC":

  • Condition: Electrical smoke / fumes / fire is identified.
  • Oxygen Masks And Smoke Goggles (If Required) -- ON
  • Crew Communications (If Required) -- ESTABLISH
  • Recirculation Fans Switches (Both) -- OFF
  • IF Smoke / Fumes / Fire Source Known:
    • Electrical Power (Affected Equipment) -- REMOVE
    • If practical, remove power from affected equipment by switch or circuit breaker in flight deck or cabin.
  • OR IF Smoke / Fumes / Fire Persists Or Source Unknown And Inflight Entertainment System / Passenger Seats And Cabin / Utility Power Switches Installed On Electrical Panel:
    • Inflight Entertainment System / Passenger Seats Power Switch ..OFF
    • Cabin / Utility Power Switch -- OFF
    • Plan to land at the nearest suitable airport.
  • OR IF Smoke / Fumes / Fire Persists Or Source Unknown And Inflight Entertainment System / Passenger Seats And Cabin / Utility Power Switches Not Installed On Electrical Panel:
    • Cabin Reading And Galley Attendant Work Lights -- ON
    • Instruct Flight Attendants to:
    • Turn on cabin reading lights switches.
    • Turn on galley attendant work lights switches.
  • Cabin Equipment -- OFF
    • Instruct Flight Attendants to:
    • Turn off galley power switches.
    • Turn off cabin fluorescent light switches.
    • Turn off main IFE and PC power switches above purser station.
  • Plan to land at the nearest suitable airport.

It may be slightly different from Malaysia Air's manual for the 777-200 series, but not by very much. Notice that there's nothing that says that everything gets turned off immediately. In particular, note the line that says, "If practical, remove power from affected equipment by switch or circuit breaker in flight deck or cabin." If practical. Dropping communications is not terribly practical, especially when you're over water. It's also worth noting that there are separate breakers for the radios, one on each side of the breaker panel (I believe each pilot's panel contains a separate radio), and that the ACARS, a text-based system that can also be used to send messages, is reportedly difficult (but not impossible) to disable. On top of all of that, even if both radios got turned off by pulling the breakers, it takes literally two seconds to make the call, "MH370 declaring in-flight emergency" before pulling the breakers. The lack of communication after that would set off an immediate search and probably fighter intercept since they wouldn't know if the emergency was a fire, engine failure, or hijacking.

Further undermining your hypothesis (it's not a theory as you have little real evidence) is that the final radio communication was at 01:19:30 and the final transponder hit was at 01:21:13, more than 90 seconds later. If you were right that they started shutting things off rapidly due to a fire, it would mean that they took an exceptionally long break in ATC communications. I've listened to and participated a lot in transitions between ATC zones (a consequence of flying in the SoCal airspace with flight following where a small plane can easily have to switch every five minutes or less). You don't wait a minute or more without reporting in unless the radio traffic is that crowded, and it almost never is (and certainly not after 1AM local time in international airspace). It also doesn't explain why the ACARS system initiated contact at 02:25 and maintained link for several hours before logging off at 08:10, then logged on again at 08:19 without further contact. On top of that, the satellite phone system allowing alternative cockpit communications accepted connections but was not answered when calls were made at 02:39 and 07:13.

Your assertion that they headed for the nearest airport that could handle a laden 777 is also incorrect. The plane turned in the direction of Kota Bharu/Sultan Ismail Petra Airport with its 2400m runway or perhaps Penang Airport with its 3300m runway when Kuala Terengganu/Sultan Mahmud and its 3500m runway was closer than Kota Bharu and much closer than Penang, the latter being on the other side of the peninsula. Kuala Terengganu would also have had a slightly better runway alignment for a direct approach, though they probably would have needed some S-turns to bleed off speed and altitude for either coastal airport.

In any case, there's little evidence that they tried to descend. They reached the planned cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, but the military radar tracks show the plane crossing the peninsula between 31,000 and 33,000 feet.

With all of this, the idea that it was just a fire doesn't hold up well.

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