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And her big son 'Kosmo'.
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017
CovfefeCovfefe is Russian for floccipaucinihilipilification ;)
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Learning to fly...The "Quax" club at our local airfield was established to restore and maintain vintage (military training) aircraft in a flying condition. Members share hangar space, workshop facilities and the club's own mechanics. Twice yearly there is an open-hangar day, so Frank and I popped in to see which subset of their planes was on display this year.
This first photo is for Cop Car, once a part-owner of a Bücker 131 Jungemann biplane, like this one shown below. The Bücker Jungemann (ca. 100 hp) was used as a trainer from 1935 until 1968. Wood,metal and fabric construction. It is docile to fly and is capable of mild aerobatics. The one I flew was a CASA 131, a spanish licensed version. Comparable contemporary planes were the british Tiger Moth and the belgian Stampe F4.
Its successor was the Buecker Jungmeister 133. It first flew in 1935 and was the Luftwaffe's standard advanced aerobatic trainer from 1938 on. Very agile to fly, it remained competitive in international aerobatic competition into the 1960s. 160 hp radial engine.
The contemporary equivalent in the USA was the Boeing-Stearman shown below. It was bigger, more powerful, but not really any/much faster. I flew a pumped-up version of this when learning crop-dusting. It had a hopper for pesticide or fertilizer fitted in place of the front cockpit. The engine was upgraded to a supercharged 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior. Quite agile, vertical turns starting from only 20ft up :-)
Moving forward from the biplane era to the monoplanes, there is a Focke-Wulf 190 being restored there. It is German single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft widely used during World War II (1941-1945), 1700hp, 400mph. My friend Anton (RIP), flew these in WW2. Nice warbird, it must cost a small fortune to restore to flying condition though.
The first post-WW2 aircraft on display was a Cessna 195 (1947-1954) used by the USAF and Army as a light transport and utility aircraft. This one was even used as an airliner!
This is a view into the workshops, where overhauled engines are being refitted.
Not all were MIL trainers. In one corner was a small single-seat E360 racer (an RV-7?) having its engine tuned, I presume. One hot ship! :-)
Next we walked over to Hangar 2 where the post-WW2 jet trainers are hangared. This is a czeck Aero L39 Albatros which was the standard trainer for the Soviet bloc, 1972-1996. The Albatros is the most widely used jet trainer in the world. The single turbofan pushes it to a Mach 0.6 cruise. I last saw one in Kunovice (CZ), two years ago. The equivalent trainers in western europe were the BAE Hawk and Dornier's Alpha Jet. Easy to fly.
One of the early french jet trainers (1958-1967) was the Fouga Magister. I find it underpowered, but it gets you used to twin engine-in-the-fuselage operations. Interestingly : NO ejector seats! The contemporary US equivalent would be the Cessna T-37, I suppose. NATO preferred the Fiat G91 (from the 1960s onward).
Finally, here is a link to my blog on their 2015 open day.
Enough about vintage airplanes, here's Pink Floyd's Learning to Fly ;-)
Friday, May 19, 2017
In Memoriam : KlacksMy old friend Ernst Leverkus, nicknamed Klacks, died 19 years ago today and is still sadly missed by many. He became famous as a - nay, THE - motorcycling journalist in Germany for half a century.
His first encounter with motorcycles was as a dispatch rider in WW2, mostly off-road in difficult terrain, usually in a Zundapp KS601 sidecar outfit. The dispatch riders at the time of WW2 in the UK - riding e.g. the streets of London during the Blitz - were often teenage girls . . . such as Elizabeth, later to become Queen.
After the war, Klacks pursued a career as a motorcycling journalist. Besides his several monthly magazines, he also wrote many (15-20) advisory/technical books and (this being before the days of videos) made a couple of B&W home movies popularising motorcycling. He attended world championship races and published vinyl records of the sounds of the racing bikes back then. Acoustic heaven, I still have some :-)
Klacks was an anglophile - his fastest lap of the Nurburgring was on a Norton Commando - which he claimed led to his love of his flat tweed cap he wore all the time (see photo, top right). So I teased him at the time by writing a ballad about the REAL reason for his wearing a flat tweed cap, to be recited to the rhyme-scheme of Longfellow's Hiawatha ;-)
He had so much detailed knowledge of the racing motorcycles of the era, it's a pity he never wrote a book about them. So I tried egging him on by writing a novel about them myself, by the grace of time now out of print (but Pergelator tells me there is a copy in the NYPL). Probably I discouraged him with my weak effort :-(
Klacks invented the tank-top rucksack, the emergency scarf (there were no mobile phones in the fifties), the Elephant Rally which involved camping in the snows of the Eifel mountains in february (been there, done that), the Longest Day rides. etc etc.
Klacks, you were a great guy to have known. Thankyou :-)
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Pynchon turned 80homas Pynchon, acclaimed american author and mega-recluse had his 80th birthday on monday but noone could find him to congratulate ;-)
When I was a teenager I had really struggled to read James Joyce's Dublin-based stream-of-conciousness novel Ulysses. Believe me, I was glad when I'd finished it, even if I hadn't understood everything, and vowed never to read any novel even remotely as difficult!
Then, in the mid-seventies, along came Gravity's Rainbow by one Thomas Pynchon :-( Gravity's Rainbow was proposed for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction so I thought I'd give it a try back then. Wrong decision! It is long, very long, boring and complex, at times obscene and profane, turgid and very much overwritten. The Pulitzer Advisory Board agreed and rejected the nomination. TIME magazine however puts in the top 100; other critics claim it is one of the greatest American novels ever written. Crap! I firmly disagree!
It sits now on my shelves gathering dust. I never finished it, despite three tries. It is so dense that other authors have written books explaining it (alledgedly) : "The Gravity's Rainbow Handbook: A Key to the Thomas Pynchon Novel" by Robert Crayola is one, another is "A Gravity's Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon's Novel" by S.C.Weisenburger. Take all the help you can get if you want to try to read it! My opinion? TL;DR.
No wonder recluse Pynchon keeps himself hidden away, I would too ;-)
Friday, May 5, 2017
Oldtimer Meet in Bokeell, since the docs won't let me ride my motorcycle until the end of the month, whereupon my post-OP stomach muscles are supposed to have some strength back, I spent the weekend displaying my Porsche 944 oldtimer at the Boke Oldtimer show. See the polish gleam :-)
There were a bunch of exotics there too, so I took these photos with my smart-phone for y'all :-) This is an Austin Healey Sprite, reminescent of the one you had in the sixties & seventies, Carol, but blue not green :-)
And John, this is an Austin Healey 3000 cabrio like the one you had back in the sixties, but cleaner and in better condition ;-)
And Sarah, this is a Mini Cooper. Do you still have yours?
Probably the rarest car there that weekend was this VW SP2. They were made in South America without the express permission of the VW management here. Air-cooled motor, tuned a little, for more performance than the bug. Back then only 1 was imported into German (by VW???) and it is now in the factory museum afaik.
Over in the old-bikes section was this diesel-powered (sic!) Ronge. I've never seen one of these before and even Wikipedia doesn't seem to know anything about them. Nor does Google! I like the way it has a pull-starter :-) Maybe the engine is based on a snowmobile (there is a place in Canada called Ronge) ?? Anybody got any info?
Another rare bike on show was this old Hercules which features a Wankel rotary engine. It was nicknamed "The vacuum cleaner" when it came out , because of the cooling fan up front of the single-rotor engine.
It disappointed me that some people brought their prize possessions (like this MZ, but quite a few cars too) on a trailer :-( They should be made to drive them there, as I did with mine!
Finally, how's this for an exotic conversion? The owner converted this old VW Scirrocco into an electric car and displayed details of the electrical power circuits in use after the conversion. Now that's what I call a home-built car, very professional looking! Fully road-legal too! The E at the end of the number-plate indicates it is an electric vehicle, accorded certain privileges (e.g. tax free). The oldtimer cars have an H at the end of their plates, like mine. H-plated cars get reduced taxes & insurance and emission exceptions.
Monday, May 1, 2017
May Day ;-)t is at this point in the three-ship formation flight that you realise it would have been better to say "Buecker formation: All turn onto heading 230° NOW..." instead of "Buecker formation: Everybody turn left by 90 ° NOW..." ;-)
For CC and other pilots, that's a Buecker Jungmeister in the foreground and a Buecker Jungmann in the background, both pre-WW2 trainers capable of mild aerobatics. The lead & camera ship was a CASA 131 :-)
Learning to fly...
In Memoriam : Klacks
Pynchon turned 80
Oldtimer Meet in Boke
May Day ;-)
C W-M's Persistence
UN World Book Day
Elephant ears / Blinkers
Kosmo turns ten
For older bikers ;-)
Abel prize for Yves Meyer
Merkel met Trump
PI Day, USA
Internat. Women's Day
World Book Day
Racing in the USA ;-)
Sigmund Jahn turned 80
Book Tip for Geeks :-)
Making Murrika grate...
Ain Bulldog Blog
Finding life hard?
Not Always Right
Rants from t'Rookery
The Alternate Brain
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This blog is getting really unmanagable, so I've taken the first 12 years' archives offline. My blog, my random decision. Tough shit; YOLO.
ENGLISH : I am not responsible for the contents or form of any external page to which this website links. I specifically do not adopt their content, nor do I make it mine.
DEUTSCH : Für alle Seiten, die auf dieser Website verlinkt sind, möchte ich betonen, dass ich keinerlei Einfluss auf deren Gestaltung und Inhalte habe. Deshalb distanziere ich mich ausdrücklich von allen Inhalten aller gelinkten Seiten und mache mir ihren Inhalt nicht zu eigen.
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Blog Dewey Decimal Classification : 153
FWIW, 153 is a triangular number, meaning that you can arrange 153 items into an equilateral triangle (with 17 items on a side). It is also one of the six known truncated triangular numbers, because 1 and 15 are triangular numbers as well. It is a hexagonal number, meaning that you can distribute 153 points evenly at the corners and along the sides of a hexagon. It is the smallest 3-narcissistic number. This means it’s the sum of the cubes of its digits. It is the sum of the first five positive factorials. Yup, this is a 153-type blog. QED ;-)
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