Friday, September 23, 2011


It is a Monday (April 11, 2011). It is 10:47am. I am in Plainfield, CT. I am sitting in my car. A mid-to-late 20’s guy walk’s out of the local package (liquor) store (Rob’s Wine & Spirit Shoppe) with a 12-pack of beer. Next door a middle-aged woman walks out of a fitness center (Curves). I’m sitting here eating my McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish (380 calories) and a small diet Coke. Then a 2nd Filet-O-Fish. That’s 760 calories – that more than takes care of breakfast and lunch – but they are so, so good. A woman that looks to be in her late 20’s or early 30’s goes into the Nails/Pedicure/Spa/Waxing place (Angel Nails). The song “Dream Weaver” is playing on the radio. There is a noise coming from behind me. I look in my rear-view mirror and see that it is a guy unloading supplies from a tractor trailer into McDonald’s. It is Automatic Rolls of New England (A Division of Northeast Foods), they were probably hamburger buns. I sent a text to my wonderful wife Kelly. She is truly wonderful; she is the love of my life. I am now on I-395 southbound going towards Norwich. It is a gray, cloudy day. It is misting but I have seen two vehicles with there windshield wipers going full speed.

It is a Friday morning (June 24,2011) shortly before 8am. The Target store in the Killingly Commons here in Killingly, Connecticut is about to open. I see a man doing his morning walking exercise here in the parking lot.

It is now Saturday evening (June 25, 2011) around 9pm. I have left work and I am going down a street in Yonkers, New York. There are three young girls (tweens) sitting on the curb of the sidewalk, just chatting and/or giggling.

It is now Sunday afternoon (June 26,2011). There are two (2) twenty-something women standing in there collapsible chairs here at the Air Show at the Quonset Airport here in North Kingston, Rhode Island. They are in the way when we try to look forward towards the airport tarmac and they are being just plain annoying.

On a Wing and a Prayer (Cont'd)

When my eyes were beginning to open I could see many faces looking down at me. I couldn’t make them out clearly at first. But when they came into focus I started to recognize them, they were from my own department, and from a virtual alphabet of agencies such as the TSA, FBI, FAA, and even the NTSB. They were all staring at me. Then one of them asked me if I was o.k. I said that I was. They said that the paramedics needed to look at me and bring me to the Emergency Room. I said that wasn’t necessary. I heard someone say, “He’s awake” and someone else say “Let’s get him to the hospital”. After hearing that I got up but people were saying that I shouldn’t move. I then said in a gruff and serious voice, “I am fine and I am getting up” and I did so. Then almost everybody around me realized that I was o.k. “What is going on with the investigation” I asked no one in particular. The CSI people were still on the scene. Hopefully they would be able to pull up some latent prints. At that moment my cell-phone chimed, it was a text message. It was from my ex-wife. She said some rather hurtful things which coming from her didn’t surprise me at all. That marriage of 22-years was a total waste of time. The sex wasn’t even good, when it existed at all. But I digress; I need to focus on this apparent serial killer.

Nearly on the other side of the airport a man was standing, smoking his cigarette and holding his coffee. His name was Rich Morton. He was on a break, Stanley Pearson or Stan; his Supervisor thinks he takes too many breaks. Stan was always on his case about his breaks, but Rich would reply, “Hey what about Frank, he is always on the computer, saying that he doing work related searches but was always trying to find more porn?” Stan would ignore that. Rich stopped thinking about Stan or Frank because he knew it would just put him in a bad mood. Rich looked around, he saw another employee walking over towards him. He had never seen him before. The man stopped and introduced himself as Bill. As he did so he reached out with his hand to offer a handshake. Rich offered his hand also and he did a firm handshake with Bill. He noticed Bill’s handshake was firm; Rich did not like weak handshakes. Rich also noticed that Bill’s palm and fingers were smooth and soft, not rough like very other Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Mechanic he had ever known. Or any mechanic for that matter. Rich also noticed that Bill was not wearing an ID Badge. So he said, “Are you new Bill?” Bill answered that he just started the day before. Rich told him he should have his ID Badge on or he could get into trouble with Management or Airport Security. Then Rich started thinking about what Bill said about starting yesterday. Rich was under the impression from Management here at Advance Maintenance Systems (AMS) a small FBO (Fixed Base Operator) here at the Airport that business was slow and there was a hiring freeze. Rich would make a point of asking Stan his Supervisor about this. Rich then thought he had better get back to work or at least look like he was working before he got in trouble (again). As Rich was walking back to the Cessna Citation that he had been working on he noticed Stan his Supervisor over near the wall of the hangar. Rich started walking towards him and as he did so he asked Stan in a moderately loud voice, “Hey Stan since when did we start hiring again?” Stan looked up, he saw that it was Rich asking the question his face took on that disgusted look that really pissed Rich off. Stan said “We haven’t started hiring again, what are you talking about?” Rich pointed in the direction of Bill, and said in an even louder voice “What about him?” Bill heard this, looked at Stan, then back at Rich, the he bolted out of the hangar faster than either Rich or Stan had ever seen anyone run. Rich said, “Who was that guy?” Stan said, “I don’t know”. Rich said that the man named “Bill” was wearing coveralls with the “AMS” company patch on it but he didn’t have an ID Badge. Just then, Jim Delgado, an employee that everyone knew came stumbling out of one of storage lockers wearing just a t-shirt, underwear and socks. He looked dazed and confused. He mumbled that someone had hit him over the head and that someone had also taken his coveralls. Everybody then realized that someone was obviously this “Bill” person. Rich then knew why this “Bill” didn’t have an ID Badge, he took Jim Delgado’s coveralls but not his ID Badge because he doesn’t even vaguely resemble Jim Delgado. Stan got on the phone and called Airport Security. Within minutes there were all kinds of security vehicles and police cars with sirens wailing and lights flashing on the scene. Detective Jack Donaldson was the first one out of his vehicle and he quickly approached Stanley Pearson. He then said, “Which way did the guy go?” Stan said that the guy known as “Bill” took off towards the Airport’s perimeter fence. Jack hoped that the security cameras that were mounted on those fences would provide a picture of this “Bill” person.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On a Wing and a Prayer

The body was found in the cargo hold on Flight 257. The person or persons who murdered this unfortunate soul stuffed it in the cargo hold and in such a way as to suggest that the killer or killers were quite deranged. Intrigued to say the least Homicide Detective Jack Donaldson started his investigation. Would a cheater, jilted lover, or some kind of love triangle be involved? Jack was thinking along these lines because of what he was currently going through with his ex-wife. This was a medium to large airport and cordoning off the crime scene was fairly involved but it needed to be done. When Jack woke up this morning he thought the day was going to be a good one but when he got the call about this case that good feeling completely vanished. First of all the FBI was on the scene and they were trying to take over, second, his ex-wife had just sent him a text about his alimony payment, and the third and final thing was that he hadn’t had has his cup of coffee yet. The day was just going from bad to worse. The Coroner said that from his preliminary diagnosis the victim had been dead for about 36-hours because the body was starting to come out of rigor. Detective Donaldson’s Blackberry suddenly went off. A Sergeant Davis told him that he should get over to Gate 32 on Concourse ‘C’ ASAP. Jack was at Gate 24 on Concourse ‘A’ at the moment. He got into his car and turned on his flashers. When he go to Gate 32 Sergeant Davis informed him another DB or dead body was found in another cargo hold. Like he said earlier, this day was going from bad to worse. The Press was going to have a field day with this. So far the only things that were common to both of these crimes was the fact that both airplanes were Boeing 737-800’s and both dead bodies were found in the aft cargo holds. In the 17-years that Jack has been a Homicide Detective he has seen dead bodies in quite a variety of places but this was the first time he has seen one in the cargo hold of an airliner. Now he has seen two. The aft cargo hold of a Boeing 737-800 has almost 900 square feet of space in it. Who has access to it? Would they have been seen? How would the bodies have been put in them? Questions, questions, so many questions. Jack would need to get access to any and all surveillance cameras. Just then Jack received a radio call from the Airport Manager Steve Billings telling him that the press wants a statement and what should he tell them. Jack told him to wait. As Jack started turn he felt a sharp throbbing pain at the base of his neck, he instantly knew someone had hit him from behind. He went down to the ground. When he was on the ground all he could see, just barely, before he blacked out was a figure running away from him….

Just Another Day

It’s a Thursday – September 9, 2010. I look out the window. A 20-something couple is walking down the street. A man is walking his dog. The local Fire Department horn bellows because it is 12-noon. I can hear a plane off in the distance. I can also hear someone mowing there lawn off in the distance. My wife, the woman that I love dearly, is at work. The plants have been watered. The ones under the front window are blooming nicely. A cool breeze is coming through the window. Katie is studying hard at school. I wonder if she is feeling o.k. I also wonder if Ryan and Matthew are studying hard in school. Austin is probably at work. Eric and his wife Maii are in England – he is in the Air Force. The couple who live out of their van in our neighbor Bob’s backyard are burning stuff again. It doesn’t smell toxic today. My wonderful wife Kelly just sent me a text thanking me for getting her $20 and 2-packs of cigs for cards tonight. The mail-woman just picked up and dropped off the mail. Such a busy road we live on. The traffic goes by so fast! And don’t get me going about the noisy trucks and motorcycles! A farmer just drove by with his tractor and hay baler attached. Then his son went by with a tractor and a trailer to hold the hay bales. They work 7 days-a-week on their farm. A train off in the distance just blew its horn. Fred brought Miss Ab home. Miss Ab is our Chihuahua. Fred and Barbara are Miss Ab’s grandparents (and Katie’s). Katie just got home from school. She goes to New England Tech. Miss Ab was so happy to see her ‘mommy’ and Katie was so happy to see Miss Ab. Kelly works at Regency Heights and she should be home soon. The day is flowing along, meandering. I am thinking about my writing, I am thinking about my writing because I want to be a published writer and/or author. I am 50-years old so I am starting a little late in the game. Some people would say you’re too old to do this. I would disagree. This story itself will be posted to my blog and hopefully someone will read it (and the others I have posted there) and comment on it, negatively or positively. So this is just another day, a day in a small northeastern Connecticut town. Much like many towns all across America. People just doing there normal day-to-day things. There is nothing wrong with normal. Normal isn’t boring. Normal is good. Normal is peaceful. Things don’t have to be wild and crazy or abnormal. Maybe I am na├»ve. What is the definition of normal? My definition may be different than yours. We are born, we live our lives and pay our bills, and then we die. Yesterday was Wednesday, tomorrow is Friday. What makes today any different? It’s just another day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You are going to go far

Human beings are always going somewhere or want to go somewhere. What is on the other side of that ridge? That mountain range? We go to the store, to the movies, to the bank, to the supermarket, to the kitchen, to bed (usually on a daily basis), to the bathroom (sometimes more than once), to the moon (we haven’t been there in a while). We are even told where to go – “Go west young man!”, or “You can go to hell!” First, humans walked/hiked/trekked to explore. Then humans rode animals, and then they had carts or wagons, and then boats. We went up and down rivers, across ponds, lakes, seas, oceans. Then we wanted to copy the birds and fly, or was it more than that? To slip those surly bonds of earth as it were. Do we want and need to conquer our surroundings? our world? To show that we are the masters? We always want to get somewhere quicker or faster. When the Mayflower came across the Atlantic Ocean in 1620 it took 65-days to do it. In 1927 when Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean it took 33-1/2-hours. In 1996 a Concorde Supersonic Airliner flew across the Atlantic Ocean in under 3-hours. In 1974 (22-years earlier) a U.S. Air Force ‘spy’ plane flew across the Atlantic Ocean in under 2-hours. It used to take days, weeks, or even months for a letter to reach someone via snail mail (do people even write letters anymore?). Now with the click of a button we can send an e-mail or a tweet to anyone anywhere on or off the earth instantly. The world is shrinking. Aviation and Technology are rapidly advancing.

Speaking of aviation, I love aviation! That is an understatement! Aviation is more that just people, aircraft, technology, or history. Imagine the joy, admiration and/or fascination a young child has when they see an airplane up in the sky for the first time.

And what about Rotorcraft or Helicopters? They have been used throughout aviations short history. First to save peoples lives, then later on to be used as a weapon in war. It has also been used to save peoples lives in war.

People talk about the spinoffs from NASA, well what about the spinoffs from aviation? Have we gone far or have we advanced from the technologies derived from aviation? Yes we have. Automobiles for instance are more aerodynamic. Speaking of automobiles, here is a little side note, the SAAB automobile comes from a company that started out by making airplanes. The name SAAB means “Svenska Aeroplan AB”. “AB” is the rough equivalent of company, so SAAB literally means Swedish Airplane Company. There have been may more spinoffs from aviation, in the areas of metallurgy, composite materials, and electronics. Anti-lock brakes were first developed for aircraft back in 1929.

So, are we going to go far? Yes. We have gone far from that famous first flight on December 17, 1903 and we will keep going far.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Webster’s defines collaboration as: “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor”. Think of some great collaborations, Lennon and McCartney in music, Abbott and Costello in comedy. Husbands and Wives collaborate also. Sports teams couldn’t win without teamwork and collaborating with each other. Would Apple Computer be where they without Steve Jobs collaborating with someone? (another Steve, Steve Wozniak for instance). What about Microsoft? Did Bill Gates do it all by himself? Charities and grass-roots movements would not exist without collaboration. Curing diseases and inventing new technologies would not happen without collaboration. But I digress. In the relatively short history of aviation collaboration has played an integral part. Take the Wright Brothers for instance. The collaboration they had was phenomenal and has been written about extensively.

Charles Lindbergh was called the “Lone Eagle” but he did not make his historic flight in a vacuum. The “Spirit of St. Louis” airplane that he made his historic flight in was called the “Spirit of St. Louis” and it was designed by Donald Hall at Ryan Airlines and built by all of the hard work of the engineers and workers there. The engine that powered his airplane was the Wright J-5C “Whirlwind” from the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and the following were some of the people involved in creating it:
Charlie Lawrance – President (and one of the men who developed the Whirlwind engine)
Kenneth M. Lane – Chief Airplane Engineer
Richard “Dick” Blythe
Edward “Ed” Mulligan
Kenneth Boedecker
Thomas Kincaid

Not only that, but Charles Lindbergh had an organization of backers supporting his endeavor and it was called “The Spirit of St. Louis Organization”. Some of it’s members were as follows:
Harold M. Bixby
Harry H. Knight (and his father Harry F. Knight)
Major Albert Bond “Doc” Lambert
J.D. Wooster Lambert (Docs brother)
E. Lansing Ray – He ran/published the St. Louis Globe-Democrat Newspaper
Frank Robinson
William “Bill” Robinson
Earl C. Thompson

Would Neil Armstrong have been able to step off that ladder onto the moon and utter his most famous words without the collaboration of thousands of people? – Scientists, Engineers, and an untold number of workers who are just as much the heroes as Neil was. What about Jack Northrop, Bill Boeing, Chance Vought, Igor Sikorsky, Bill Piper, Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech (and his wife Olive), Clarence “Kelly” Johnson (and his Skunk Works Team at Lockheed), Donald Douglas, Glenn Martin, Leroy Grumman, Larry Bell, Glenn Curtiss, and many, many others. They didn’t all do it alone, they collaborated. With each other, with the military, with the government, with academia. Things get done when people collaborate.

Some collaborations are not always good or legal. When Julius Rosenberg (yes, that Rosenberg) and others in a spy ring gave the technology for an aircraft tracking radar (SCR-584), it’s analog computer gun director (M-9) and proximity fuse to Soviet Spy Alexandr Feklisov it gave the Russians the ability to track and destroy our fighter aircraft. The spy plane that Francis Gary Powers was flying on May 1, 1960 was tracked and shot down that way. William Perl (real name Mutterperl) who worked for the NACA (the predecessor of NASA) also gave advanced aeronautical data to Alexandr Feklisov which allowed the Russians to develop the unique tail-fin design used on the MiG-15 jet fighter. This plane was flown against American pilots during the Korean War. Aviation has had many, many collaborations, mostly for good, some not so good. But collaborations will continue.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The New England Air Museum

My wife and I recently returned from a trip to upstate New York and on our way home we stopped at the New England Air Museum. It is a gem of a museum nestled in the tranquil woodlands next to the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Back in 1969 it was called the Bradley Air Museum, but on October 3, 1979 the museum was struck by a tornado and almost completely destroyed. The museum closed and was reopened in 1981. It was in 1984 that it became the New England Air Museum (NEAM). It is owned and operated by the Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Association.
The museum houses a diverse assortment of aircraft in its collection, both inside and on the grounds outside. They have both a military and civilian aircraft sections with over 125 aircraft on display. The centerpiece of the museum is the Boeing B-29 bomber ‘Jack Hack’. In addition to ‘Jack Hack’, they also have a Lockheed Electra which is similar to the one flown by Amelia Earhart in her attempt to fly around the world. Among the aircraft on the outside grounds is the Burnelli CBY-3 Loadmaster. Its fuselage, when seen from the side was in the shape of a wing and is one of the last one known to exist. It is anticipated that the museum will restore it at some point in time. The B-29 was also restored by the museum in their restoration hangar.
On Sundays, the museum has what they call ‘Open Cockpit Sunday’ in which patrons are allowed to actually climb into the cockpits of a variety of aircraft. This is one of the museum’s most popular events. Other events include lectures and presentations given buy people in the aviation business. Numerous educational workshops and fun activities are also scheduled throughout the year. Interactive and static displays are placed throughout the museum along with many historical artifacts. Connecticut based aviation companies such as Sikorsky, Kaman, Vought, Hamilton Standard, and Pratt & Whitney are highlighted with aircraft (fixed-wing and rotary), engines, and other various equipment. They also feature WWI and lighter-than-air craft era.
Functions such as conferences, dinners, school field trips, and birthday parties can be held at the museum. Memberships with discounted admissions and gift shop discounts are available for purchase on site, by mail, or though the internet. The gift shop also has an array of clothing, books, airplane models, games, and various other aviation themed novelties available. There is also a small dining area and free parking. They are open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. They are closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Please note that if you visit in the summer months the hangar sections are not air conditioned. You can visit their website at: