787 flight tests complete and Dreamliner is Certified

I actually forgot to write this post completely…

Apologies for this lateness, but on the 16th of August Boeing announce the flight tests of the 787 Dreamliner have all been completed and passed!!

The 787, just like the 777 has been tested beyond the most extreme limits. It is an astounding comfort to know that the original concept of the design and test of the 777 was to design failure and crashability out of the aircraft. In fact only one major incident has ever occurred in 17 years of flight and that had absolutely nothing to do with the aircraft design, furthermore – other than a broken leg – no major injuries were sustained!

Now the 787, an aircraft designed and built with composites, something that hasn’t really been done much in the civilian industry – the tests had to be toughened and be as throughly robust for every situation, and of course, new tests developed to exceed limits well beyond the normal operation of the aircraft…

Well done Boeing

For those in the private personal aviation market, or anyone dreaming of now not buying the 737 Boeing Business Jet but opting for and 787 VIP instead… Sadly you won’t get much or any change for three times the BBJ’s value!! and frankly, the 777 VIP is simply cavernous inside ;-)

That said, the 787 VIP is pretty amazing though, especially if you’re having Lufthansa fit out the interior…

Published in: on 11 September, 2011 at 22:42  Comments (3)  
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9/11 and the Man who came from Cornwall…

I know, I know…. It’s 10 years and everyone has had enough of it…
It changed the world and on that day, like other horrific instances – those who would be heroes appear and then silently disappear…

So today, as it’s the anniversary I want to say something about a guy who came from Cornwall…
You see, rarely do I mention people that say or do things that truly affect me… As a for instance Col. Hal Moore (later Lieutenant General) who I have actually mentioned. For those who don’t know; Mel Gibson played the part of Hal Moore in the movie of the book “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young”… There was and is nothing fictitious about Hal, his motivation, ethos and rules stand as firm today as they ever had… So, lets get his story told eh!

On 27th of May 1939 in the small town of Hayle in Cornwall, a child was born who would have a far reaching impact all over the world!
When old enough he joined the British Army and in fact he joined The Parachute Regiment.
It didn’t take him long to get into the thick of things when with the intelligence unit in Cyprus – the Cypriot insurgency happened.

After the Army he worked for Rhodesian Police force for a few years before returning to London and joining the Metropolitan Police..
A few years later he moved the US and in 1963 joined the US Army, once again heading for Airborne, but this time to be an officer.
It is at this time our stories start to intertwine…

In 1965 (the year of my birth) he was sent with his unit to Vietnam, oh, his unit?
The 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) As a platoon commander under the very same Col. Hal Moore…
As such he was not only part of the pioneering use Airmobile infantry, but also fought at the almost incredible battle at La Drang Valley..
Of his actions, Col Hal Moore stated : “the best platoon leader I ever saw”, as such, placed this combat photo of Rick on the books cover. 
After the battle his men nicknamed him “Hard Core” for his bravery in action. He was also highly revered for his compassion towards his men and his earthy, dark but, hilarious humour.

After the Army, he went on to study at university and later in 1992 was employed as Director of Security for Morgan Stanley at their headquarters – The World Trade Center.

Now, his first area of business as Director of Security was to do a full threat and risk analysis of Morgan Stanley property… This, along with his friend and consultant Dan Hill led them to survey the entire WTC with a view to future trouble.
While many still did not believe real terrorism could even happen on US soil, our Cornishman had been in too many hotspots around the world to know that such an iconic structure and symbol of US global business was indeed not only a high value target, but believed it was the single biggest target!!
In no time they had ascertained than the complete lack of security of the underground loading bays were a genuinely real threat… Imagine for a moment, a 44ton truck loaded with C4… With this information, not only did our friend devise a serious escape and evacuation plan, but petitioned the Port Authority of New York bringing this serious flaw to their attention…
Of course, no one really took much notice until one year later a truck bomb detonated in the parking/delivery structure of the WTC with the loss of 6 lives and hundreds injured.

Strangely, security was sorted out…
However, this did not stop our friend doing another complete risk/threat assessment… this time the conclusions were alarming;
The building had one over riding weakness and with this knowledge they set about simulator software to see how easy it could be…
Easy?? Too easy and furthermore – obvious..
As such plans were put into place and practiced regularly to evacuate all employees of the company in the actual eventuality of such an event.
In fact the Director of Security believed it was never a question of “If”, but “WHEN” this event would happen because all the risk and threat assessments pointed to an event of this magnitude being the only plausible and effective way to attack the WTC in the future.

Of course at 08:46 local time on the 11th Sept 2001 we all know and witnessed what happened…
So what of the strategic planning and forethought of this?
While WTC building officials told everyone to remain where they were, our man immediately ordered the evacuation of all 2700 Morgan Stanley employees across 20 floors of the WTC-2 building and then 1000 more employees working over in WTC-5. All of them knew what to do and where to go. A drill he had forced them all to practice over and over.
By the time WTC-2 was struck at 09:03 nearly all 2700 employees of WTC-2 had been evacuated.

So what of our Cornishman, the man who calmly told evacuating staff to remain calm and today be a proud American?
True to his nature to be where the trouble was, to be where he could be most useful – he re-entered the building and was on the 72nd floor helping people evacuate…

To my knowledge, he, two of his team and 3 others were the only Morgan Stanley employees not to leave the WTC… His job was completed to the best of his knowledge and skill. His planning and it’s subsequent actions fulfilled…
This British born Cornishman who was respected so highly by Col Hal Moore, a battle hardened man and by those who knew him had dedicated so much time in securing not only his people but bringing threat attentions to the Port Authority….

Yes, on 9/11 there were many heroes… on planes, in the Pentagon, ordinary people, FDNY and the list can go on and on…
Well if I had to pick one to honour – he would be mine…

That man was Colonel Rick Rescorla, and while it is my view, he should have been awarded the George Cross!!
Rick knew how to carry on regardless, to stay sharp and focussed, how to use his imagination and in doing so – saved so many!

His remains were never found…

Published in: on 11 September, 2011 at 08:46  Leave a Comment  

20 years of the Land Rover Discovery

Published in: on 8 September, 2011 at 12:43  Comments (1)  
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A lot has happened in the past year…

So yup… a lot has…
Just over a year ago I attended the Riphay Scuffle, it was an enlightening experience too, even after just under 4 hrs sleep (boy did I look rough lol)… A truly fun event! I met wonderful people too and yet went on my way. I was certainly thinking about running in this years event but for two things – the ladies on this blog would undoubtedly have removed me from the vehicle and taken it over completely!!
And yes, I did indeed move away completely too, as such I have relied on this blogs very own White Knuckle Driver a.k.a WKD to keep me up to speed on events.
Now WKD, like Gabsatrucker is a trucker… and they have a disturbing amount in common – trucks, both are women, cycling, being jolly and very, VERY sharp witted!! Thankfully they both are used to the fact that when I ‘think’ I’m saying something in a particular way – it *never* comes out the way I think it does and therefore sound callous and arrogant… oh wait……. So when I try to sound callous and – nevermind ;-)
WKD informed me that the event did happen but wasn’t anywhere near as good as the last few years on account they were not allowed a beer tent.. This is because last year two young lads decided to drive home totally pissed and died in the process…
This is where the whole thing fell down badly… and I must thank someone whom I often refer to as Lady K and/or Kate McAndersen (neither are her real name)for bringing this event to my attention when she did – I saw it for real and it’ll never be the same again now sadly.

Yes I moved away a few months ago and there are things I miss and things I seriously don’t – but above all in Devon, I miss the people… and the odd pint of old Otter… Hell, Honiton even has a Costa Coffee now :-/ But I will say my time there was somewhat of a rejuvenation of my spirit and while I’m still a bit of a beast in the eyes of most, everyone I met added another layer to this onion I call my life.

In this past 12 months twitter star and crazy friend @CareyLouisa actually went through the whole torturous process of buying her first home and while I know she had support from a most excellent person in the field, she did come through the process quite triumphantly I must say – and very good for her (even if she did start breeding pigeons in the process). In fact I’d go as far to say that Carey is a changed person since then and has her feet firmly planted on the ground.

Gabsatrucker came to the UK and promptly left again – straight to Malta!! Malta is of course a small island in the Mediterranean Sea just off the coast of Libya – and guess what – as she arrived war broke out! Then after kicking the life out of the Land Rover Maltese Marathon, she promptly legged it back to Arkansas after a total of 10 flights!!

Further more, this blog and my friend Sue Black aka Mustang Sue, went off to South by South West in Austin, Texas… and we managed to get her hooked up with Gabsatrucker who gave her a ride around Austin in her big-rig aka Lola… along with Elsie the dog.

My mother had a lung out and they removed the right one ;-)

Buddy Kev took his first ever flight and spent his time making the other passengers nervous through his perpetual knowledge of air crashes etc – rocking ! :-)

I caught up with six of the best guys in the form of Hammy, Dean, Charlie, Squeezy, Gary and Ray. Then there was bumping in to old buddy Alan Shearer by total accident… A story I should tell when I eventually get around to writing up the Google Garden Party post.

Basically there is a hell of a lot more to write here and I seriously could turn this into a very long post – but needless to say the year has been short but very interesting indeed!
For those I offended when I wasn’t joking, tough – to those I offended when I was joking, chin up :-) oh… and tough also :D

So… what enlightening thing should I leave you all with…. Hmmmm tough one this…
I know, an informative video on looking after and maintaining your guitar by Taylor Guitars
No, I’m not kidding :p

General Stuff (pt 467-ish)

It’s been a strange old few days…

This blogs resident mountain biking expert Eric McWhirter has finally left hospital and making a good recovery after a spot of lung and blood bother… Keep going Eric (you don’t have permission to die) ;-)
Gabsatrucker has had a workout from hell after sitting around on the US/Mexico border for days…
This blogs resident pianist Alex Elwood got stung by a wasp and whinged about it on Facebook (buy wasp-eze mate). :-D
Wooton Bassett became Royal Wooton Basset in honour of welcoming home our war dead.
The RAF has flown £1 Billion in cash to Libya – if you said that to me a year ago I would have slapped you for being stupid…. Strange old world..

Land Rover have announced they’re redesigning the Defender 90, 110 and 130 from scratch to be ready for production in 2015… Really not sure how I feel about that, but something has been needing to be done for a long time – but it’s vital it’s designed as a giant Meccano kit!!
This in it’s self is a tough call… the vehicle must be able to be maintained in the middle of nowhere – places you can’t find a garage or main dealer!
Guy’s talk to Peter Troop, need to be able to pop any kind of winch on – front and rear!!

The AMAZING Tony Sale has died…
Tony rebuilt the Colossus computer with little more than old Strowger telephone exchange parts…
It’s a truly stunning accomplishment as Colossus was the worlds first programmable digital computer and was used to help decipher the German Enigma code during WW2.
The very same Colossus can be found up, running and working at the place Tony started – The National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park.

The National Museum of Computing relies purely on donations to keep it going!! It gets nothing from the ticket value of entering Bletchley Park and even has to pay rent to the park for people to see what made Bletchley so vital and ultimately successful during the war…
If you get chance to go – do!! The people there are amazing, knowledgeable and friendly! And they have just about every known computer you’ve heard of – all up and running and you can play with them too!!

WARNING : Boys toys alert!!!

Friend, buddy, property mogul and keeper of slush funds over in Sioux Falls aka BigDog aka Dave has been shopping and I’m a little jealous…

He has acquired a Daniel Defense M4 Carbine, v1!!
Yes, just as the M4 hints at – it is a M16 variant with lots of goodies

Oh course I immediately fired off saying  he needs 8 x 30 rd magazines and throw in a 100 rds mag for good measure…
Then the weapon length… well I’d be tempted (as I told him) to stick a bipod on the front for distance shooting.. However, here lays a problem…
Doing that means you want a good scope, the M4 is a great close quarter weapon and for up close and personal – you want a red dot sight… but what about the middle distance? While a fan of the SUSAT sight, there is one inherent problem… You see the susat is designed to rest on the eyebrow and this cuts down the peripheral vision. As such there has been a NATO wide hunt for a new scope, one that works in close quarters and out to the main battle range – and this comes in the form of the ELCAN LDS (Specter)… This sight sits further away from the eye, a long way! And has advanced reticle and a secondary feature – it’s also a red dot sight for close up work! However, I think it’d cost more that the rifle lol

This blogs friend/torment aka Gabsatrucker has moved on in the web world…
With a newly acquired url of Gabsatrucker.com… things are changing quickly as with her web presence.
Along with new url’s and email accounts Gabby has also taken the opportunity to sort out and revitalise her twitter presence too.

Twitter account @gabsatrucker is newly born and an open and unlocked presence, but the old account is presently still running as @Dueforachange instead…
Some may get a little confused at first and will think she’s blocked and un-followed people, but of course this isn’t true.
Gabby tells me she plans to kill the original and renamed “@dueforachange” around the morning of 20th Sept.



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