Posts by Bill Walker

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21) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1715994)
Posted 20 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Used to set angles VERY precisely.
22) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1714493)
Posted 17 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Based on working with and training aviation people from this region for several years, I think the problem is much more complex than the simple answers above. There a lot of issues that combine to produce what we are seeing.

There several culteral issues at work, quite independant of religion. In many of these countries you get choice jobs, at least in part, based on who you know, not what you know. Combine this with a general movement to hire locals, and the lack of the kind of technical background that you and I take for granted amongst these locals, and you have a problem. (I grew up around airports, helping my father fix cars and things around the house. Some airline captains in Asia grew up in a village with no electricity, and no cars.)

All this is amplified by the incredible economic growth in these regions. Thats why I do some work there, they have the money and they spend it. They have also made the choice to spend their money on their products and people, whether they are up to the job or not.

A lot of people from these regions will tell you that the results we see are just the price of progress. Not that long ago that is how people in the western world felt about our accident rates, although not many of us remember that.
23) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1713555)
Posted 15 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
My, why do I think it might be used to get rid of some clouds?

I don't know. It has nothing to do with weather.

Perhaps blur might be a better word.

I think Gary and I are seeing eye to eye on this one.
24) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1713435)
Posted 15 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Nice play Bill. Was that taken
up by James Bay, do you know?

Found by Googling "polar bear in a tree". Computers are wonderful.

There are several places along the north coast were trees and polar bears overlap. From my personal experiences, this includes the Mackenzie Delta (although that tree look a bit big for the Delta) and around parts of Hudson Bay and James Bay.
25) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1713009)
Posted 14 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Cable crimper, possibly for fibre optics?
26) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Raccoon Update XXII - All Are Welcome In The Critter Cafe (Message 1713003)
Posted 14 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
27) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The Train Thread 2 (Message 1711005)
Posted 10 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
An update on positive Train Control in the US.

Still only a discussion topic in Canada, no dates set, no mandatory requirement.
28) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1709518)
Posted 6 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
It is about the size and shape of the "core" memory cards in an old Varian computer I used many moons ago. About 64K per card,actually used cores (on the other side in this photos?).
29) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Don't know where it should go? Stick it here! (Message 1708943)
Posted 5 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Call me old fashioned, but THIS is what the Internet is for...

30) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Mysterious Miscellaneous Tool Time V6 (Message 1707200)
Posted 1 Aug 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Used in lifting things?
31) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1706688)
Posted 30 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Had I been the pilot of that aircraft I would have said this

"My concern is the safety of the 144 passengers on my aircraft. I am landing at your airport whether you f'ing like it or not. When I have safely done so I will make my way to your control tower and bang a few heads together. Now get out of my way I am coming in!".

Sure, as long as you didn't run into the half dozen Blue Angels practicing over the airport. Be interesting to see if a NOTAM was available to the airline.

32) Message boards : Cafe SETI : BBC Shows - An American's Perspective (Message 1705965)
Posted 28 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I grew up on a mix of TV shows, from here in Canada, from the US, from Europe, etc., so it seems quite natural to me to watch a show from far away. It sort of adds to the drama, to see cops chasing bad guys in New Delhi or in New York.

Having said that, certain made-in-Canada shows have a particular appeal to me. I guess this comes from watching a genre that usually comes from the US or the UK take place in towns I know.

Does anybody outside of Canada get an old comedy series called Corner Gas? That, to me, is a totally Canadian production, and I would be interested in hearing what others think of it.
33) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1705960)
Posted 28 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I'm not going to get sucked into a "which is better looking" discussion, but will just say I like a lot of the recent pictures here. The 1930s streamliner look worked for me, on both steam and diesel.

I also love the "all business" look of something like a Big Boy. That machine was built to work, and worked very well.

And I also have a weak spot for the weird looking. I've just discovered this current Chech engine, which appears to be wearing goggles.

Is it just me, or could that thing be Bender's cousin?

34) Message boards : Cafe SETI : The train thread (Message 1704935)
Posted 25 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I don't know Chris, they weren't all black. And some of them were good looking.

35) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Slips of tongue (Message 1704751)
Posted 24 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
A grammatical error.

Let's eat, Grandma.

Let's eat Grandma.


36) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Don't know where it should go? Stick it here! (Message 1704749)
Posted 24 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
If we are going for geeky history...

I built my first computer myself in 1966.

Took my first Fortan class in 1970, on an IBM 360. IIRC, it had 640k of RAM, in a case the size of a small fridge. (That's not me in the picture, I looked WAY cooler in 1970.)

I wrote my Masters Thesis on a Wang, in 1984/1985. Figures from Fortan programs run on a Varian, (that the school had just purchased to replace a cabinet sized HP that ran on paper tape) and on a CDC first generation CAD system.

37) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1704438)
Posted 23 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker

Then it is illegal without another qualified pilot onboard to have "eyeballs out."

You make several good points, there is still much to be found out though. We need a lawyer to reply to that last statement, but if it was illegal why did the tower clear the F-16 to the approach? Why does a published approach have so much of the route in Class E airspace? Surely there would be times when a "legitimate" TACAN approach, in poor vis, would be underway at the same time as some little airplane runs the scud.

If I remember how to read a US Sectional (I usually let my driver do that these days) the Cessna should have been talking to Charleston Approach on 135.8 well before the collision. No indication yet if he was.

And if the collision occurred at approximately 1500 feet MSL, unless the F-16 was WAY too low they were just a few miles from the airport, within the 4,000 feet to surface "cake layer". Don't you need tower permission to enter that? Even if they were in the 4,000 to 1,200 layer, the Cessna was either busting or about to bust airspace.

Another big unknown is the relative flight paths immediately before impact. If we believe the transponder altitudes, the F-16 descended into the Cessna - from above as viewed from the Cessna. There is NO upward vis in the 150, except for a small arc directly in front of the pilot, from many hours of personal experience. Similarly, if the 150 was below the F-16 nose (the F-16 was slowing, increasing angle of attack throughout the approach) the Cessna could have been completely blocked to him as well. That is why I say there are times when "see and be seen" does not and cannot work.
38) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1704249)
Posted 23 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker

Bill, last I checked, if you were in VMC you still were required to use your eyeballs.

And this is why I dislike commenting on preliminary reports. But since you brought it up... ;)

The F-16 was on a published approach procedure, cleared to the approach by the tower. The tower reported "traffic below you" when he clearly had no way of knowing this.

As to altitudes, with the transponder reporting pressure altitude at 29.92" and weather at 30.15" you tell me which way and by how much the transponder was off, assuming it was still in calibration. A ground school question. Now tell me if the radar the controller was looking at compensates for it?

All good questions. The aircraft setting 30.15 will indicate higher than the transponder. Bigger question: what altimeter setting was in each aircraft? Did the 150 assume he was well clear of the approach path? I'm a little surprised at the statement in the report that the 150 had no need to be talking to the tower. He was obviously very close to a published approach path, should he have been talking to a regional controller? Was he? We don't know yet.

Regardless of the corrections applied or not applied on the controllers scope, and regardless of the calibration and usage of the two transponders involved, the controller's scope indicates altitude rounded to the nearest 100 feet. Calling two aircraft indicating 1400 and 1500 feet "separated" is, I repeat, a huge leap of faith. Added in Edit: The controller also knew the "higher" aircraft was descending, under his control, and had no way of knowing the intentions of the other aircraft, although he should have observed it had a recent history of climbing. That 100 foot vertical separation, even if it was real, was diminishing.

While you are looking up that, what are the regulations on IFR radar separation, altitude and distance. Do those change if the pilot reports VMC and a "practice approach?" The question being was the first call of traffic already after those minimums were broken?

In Canada the controller has a lot of leeway in these calls when the aircraft is under direct control, i.e. cleared to the approach.

Should the jet pilot have called no joy sooner?

In Canada, by law, the controller has to assume no positive response from a pilot is a negative response. I.e., if the pilot says nothing, he doesn't have the traffic. I still question the timing here. The controller has to assume the F-16 will take some time to identify the traffic, and then take some additional time to initiate any corrective action. Given the closing rates, time was not in abundance here.

I can remember another accident very similar to this one in San Diego and both aircraft were talking to the controller and one reported the other in sight. And another in Cerritos. One thing they all had in common, VMC!

And recent history has shown time and time again that VMC plus "see and be seen" simply doesn't work, and can't work, in every situation. That is why we are spending so much time and money on things like multi-layer control zones and TCAS.

The practice approach in VMC is a classic case where this doesn't work. The pilot workload does not allow enough time "eyeballs out". With 20-20 hindsight, the controller should have commanded the higher altitude and higher performance aircraft (the F-16) to abandoned the approach and climb immediately. This would have increased the vertical separation.

Still too many question to draw any real conclusions, IMHO.
39) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Transportation safety 2 (Message 1704148)
Posted 22 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
I hate to make statements based on a preliminary report, as there probably more facts to come out, but IMHO...

The controller made a huge leap of faith in handing off the situation to the fast mover with such a short time to collision and such a small indicated altitude difference (further facts to come out will include how much indicated altitudes varied from true altitudes, but it seems to have been enough to cause this accident). When the controller stated "traffic below you at 1400 feet" he was implying everything was OK, when clearly it wasn't.

The controller correctly asked the F-16 for confirmation of visual contact, and if it was not received in a timely fashion, he should have issued an avoidance move to the jet in a timely fashion. It remains to be shown that the F-16 pilot had enough time to complete the requested turn, or even if the requested turn would have avoided the collision. The jet was under positive control, literally placing everybody's fate in the controllers hands.
40) Message boards : Cafe SETI : Beet's give us a caption #61 (Message 1703186)
Posted 19 Jul 2015 by Profile Bill Walker
Trick or treat!

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