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Comment: Re:So here's my question (Score 1) 433

by fatmal (#47072537) Attached to: U.S. Drone Attack Strategy Against Al-Qaeda May Be Wrong

The reason that the terrorists hide amongst civilians is threefold: 1) they know we're (supposedly) reluctant to target civilians; 2) they want to hide their identity from us, and from everyone else; and 3) they want to intimidate their innocent countrymen (Don't rat us out or we'll kill you and your family).

4) They are the civilians

Comment: Re:Annuals (Score 1) 239

by fatmal (#39875377) Attached to: Electric Airplane Ready For Production
2 to 3 knots above stall is VERY dangerous. The usual formula is 1.3 x stall speed, so if your stall speed is 40knots, your approach speed should be 52knots. This provides enough leeway for low-level wind shear, and the extra speed contributes to control responsiveness - at stall your controls are FAR less effective than at speed. Landing at 2 knots over stall speed, if your wheels are 10mm off the runway would indeed make for a light and smooth landing - if you're at 10 meters then your landing will be anything but smooth.

Comment: Lots of cancellations! (Score 1) 264

by fatmal (#36420206) Attached to: My last airplane flight ...
I've had a bad run of cancellations lately, with 4 cross-country flights cancelled due to weather, however, that was my decision as I fly myself in my own plane. It seems that every time I plan a flight the weather turns to mush, with either turbulence (not good in a light aircraft) or visibility not past the end of the runway! The one good day lately I took the day off work, dragged the plane out, and because I hadn't flown for so long the plane wouldn't start. Sods law I guess. One saying that I distincly remember from my training is that 'takeoff is optional'!

Comment: Re:pitot probe failure most likely cause. (Score 1) 156

by fatmal (#35687110) Attached to: Robots Dive Deep To Solve Airliner Crash Mystery
Very true, which is why Human Factors is stressed in flight training now. The fraility of people is what causes failures, in any field of endeavour. Early in my flight training, doing solo cicuits, I was a little high so I pulled the throotle right back - the engine stopped (ever been in a powered-down datacentre - there is nothing so quiet!). I was halfway through thinking 'what the hell do I do now', when my instructors' voice ran through my head (like Obi-Wan), "Fly the aeroplane". I had 1,300 metres of runway in front of me, airspeed and attitude was good, so I just glided the aircraft in - restart and taxi off the runway. It was a great lesson for me.

Comment: Re:pitot probe failure most likely cause. (Score 1) 156

by fatmal (#35686838) Attached to: Robots Dive Deep To Solve Airliner Crash Mystery

How does the artificial horizon stay calibrated during cruise? Your real attitude changes as you follow the curvature of the Earth, so you must use the real horizon from time to time to recalibrate the gyros. Same as with a DG.

Quite frankly, I don't know - I only fly behind steam gauges, and only day VFR, however the 'attitude' won't change, but your 'altitude' will. Even with a 'fixed' or uncorrected articfical horizon, you're only going to (logically) climb, as the earth falls away underneath you.

I would imagine that the avionics in an Airbus are pretty damn smart, and would get GPS position fixes and recalibrate the artificial horizon. In the case of flight 447, calibration of the artificial horizon would be of secondary or tertiary corcern - the emergency (the storm and frozen pitot tubes) would have been over quickly (assume a 50 mile storm system at 300 knots means it's 10 minutes before you're out of the storm).

Having said that, I wasn't suddenly thrown into a very high stress situation, with multiple alarms sounding, and the strange aircraft attitudes that are almost certain to occur when you fly into a powerful storm, so as mentioned earlier, it's easy for me to sit here at home to say that!. Aviation has the possibility of getting very exciting very quickly, and I can't help but think that, maybe, there were too many warnings presented to the pilots of flight 447, which distracted them from the task of flying the plane, which after all, is the primary purpose of the pilot.

Comment: Re:pitot probe failure most likely cause. (Score 1) 156

by fatmal (#35685536) Attached to: Robots Dive Deep To Solve Airliner Crash Mystery
When I was learning to fly, the instructor would quite regularly cover the flight instruments, and I'd have to fly circuits without knowing how fast I was going, or how high I was. While it is easy to estimate speed & climb from your attitude (nose above the horizon & lots of throttle usually means you're going up, nose above the horizon and no throttle you're slowing down, and will soon stall and descend (quickly too!)), I would hate to have to do that without outside visual references like the pilots of flight 447. However, I would imagine that a blocked pitot tube would not disable the artificial horizon (and if it does, then why?). The pilots should have been able to keep the aircraft flying using a cruise throttle setting (already set) and the artificial horizon. Having said that, it is easy for me sitting here to say that, without multiple alarms going off in a rapidly deteriorating situation. It could be that flight 447 was a unique set of circumstances, and these guys were test pilots.
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Man Put On "No-Fly List" While In Air To NYC 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the beware-the-list-refresh dept.
An unnamed man flying from Nigeria to New York City found out he was added to a no-fly list somewhere above the Atlantic Ocean, when the plane stopped to refuel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Officials won't say what he did or why he was added to the list after he had already boarded a flight. He was not immediately charged with a crime and Customs and Border Protection will only say that he is a "potential person of interest." From the article: "The man, a citizen of Gambia, was not on the no-fly list when he boarded the aircraft in Dakar, Senegal, said a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly."
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Man Sues Neighbor For Not Turning Off His Wi-Fi 428

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-you-never-wondered-why-I-drink-only-distilled-water-or-rain-water-and-only-pure-grain-alcohol dept.
Scyth3 writes "A man is suing his neighbor for not turning off his cell phone or wireless router. He claims it affects his 'electromagnetic allergies,' and has resorted to being homeless. So, why doesn't he check into a hotel? Because hotels typically have wireless internet for free. I wonder if a tinfoil hat would help his cause?"

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