Thursday, November 06, 2008

Man sets home on fire cleaning cobwebs with blowtorch

File this one under "headlines you could easily have missed, but will be glad you didn't":

From WSB-TV (Atlanta):
Men take note: a blowtorch is not the same as a broom. Coweta County authorities say Galen Winchell set fire to his west Georgia home Wednesday as he cleaned cobwebs from exterior eaves with a blowtorch. Winchell noticed the blaze when he saw smoke pouring from the attic.... (more)
Makes you wonder if the whole incident started with "Hey y'all, watch this!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Latest photos up on Flickr

Perhaps you noticed some new thumbnails in the random set above? I have finally gotten around to editing and uploading some pictures from ATL in September and SXM (St. Maarten) in October. I still have some more from SXM to edit, plus I need to go through some from the Dobbins airshow as well as ATL this past weekend, so stay tuned!

Here are a few of my favorites:
PJ-MDB - Insel Air McDonnell Douglas MD-82

N260AE- American Eagle ATR-72

PH-MCP - Martinair McDonnell-Douglas MD-11

'till next time....

Delta / Northwest merger approved!

This most likely won't be where you heard it first, but no self-respecting (Atlanta-based) aviation enthusiast would let it pass... The Delta / Northwest merger was approved by the feds yesterday, and the pending lawsuit in California was settled. This officially marries the two airlines. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has all the details.

Now then... this perhaps you didn't know: dalflyer (nee simuflite) over at Flickr reports of a rumor that a Northwest 747 is in the paint shop at an undisclosed location being repainted in the Delta colors as we speak, and shall be presented to the public within the next few days. Pretty soon, they'll be a regular sight in ATL, I suspect.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The View From St. Maarten

Well, I have officially checked off an item on my "to do before I die" list. Guess where I just returned from?

N910HL - DHL (Africair) Cessna 208B

There's more to come....

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

My pirate name is:
Dirty Roger Rackham
You're the pirate everyone else wants to throw in the ocean -- not to get rid of you, you understand; just to get rid of the smell. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Edited to add that The Pirate Guys have created a video to assist you in your pirate endeavours.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

American Airlines now offering WiFi on flights

American is now offering WiFi on its 767-200's which fly domestic transcons. Specifically, the article mentions NYC-SFO/MIA/LAX. This is the same service Delta will be using, so it'll be a good barometer.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Planespotting at PDK

I was over near PDK yesterday and decided to take the camera for a few shots. It's been maybe a couple of years since I stopped by. They've really done the place up. The venerable Downwind Restaurant is still there of course, but the airport has built a park right next door to the restaurant. It's fun for the whole family. A playground, bathrooms, shady shelter, and an observation platform that gets you above the fence for photography, right at the intersection of RWYS 16/34 and 2L/20R. Parking is free, and you won't want for activity: PDK is the 2nd busiest airport in Georgia after Hartsfield-Jackson.

A half-decent aircraft photo from the platform:
N914CR - Raytheon (Beechcraft) Bonanza G36

The weather turned pretty crappy pretty quickly so the photos aren't that great. But if you want to see the rest of them, they're here.

Note to self: Do NOT fly into powerlines

I'm not a pilot, nor do I play one on TV. But I do intend to get private pilot's license one day. As such, I'm blogging this as a simple reminder of what not to do once I get up in my own airplane.

Dragnet! I can't embed the video. Anyhow, here's the link from the BBC. It's worth the click.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


These two establishments are in a shopping strip near my house. I've actually eaten the restaurant's food before. I'm not sure why though. Actually, it wasn't bad. But I'll be damned if I take my pets to that vet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Photographers are terrorists

Slashdot has just published a link to some blogs/articles regarding photographers who have been harassed, ejected, threatened, etc for doing nothing other than taking what I believe most would argue are benign pictures. While the Slashdot posting doesn't contain any specific references to aviation photography, this type of nonsense is par-for-the-course for planespotters, especially post-9/11. I mean, holy crap! That guy has a (gasp!) CAMERA! Quick! Call out the National Guard!

I've been lucky (if that's what you want to call it) so far in that the only harassment I've gotten whilst planespotting is from the courtesy officers at the south parking deck at ATL. I was told several times that I could not photograph planes from that location for "security reasons". I'm not sure what leg they have to stand on: I'm a paying customer, I'm not breaking the law, and they usually have no problems with people who just stand there watching. I guess legally I could be asked to leave at the risk of a trespassing charge if I persisted, but I've never pushed it. I do know what would likely happen if they called the cops though. A friend relays this from an August 10th, 2006 outing:
[A friend] and I were taking pics from the top level of the South Daily parking deck at Hartsfield. I was there all of about 10 minutes before we were confronted by the cops. We were not aware of the happenings of the day nor of the terror threat level being raised [admittedly, this was the day a plot to bomb transatlantic flights using bombs made from liquids was revealed to the media], so we were happily talking and taking pictures. This did not please the cop, and we were told to immediately stop our picture taking. He had asked us if we had obtained a letter of permission to take pictures, and we told him we did not know we needed one.
As for me, I did ultimately end up getting written permission from Airport Ops, and that seems to satisfy them every time now.

Still, I've often wondered what it must look like to people driving past me on the side of Sullivan Rd. There I am on the curb with my camera and 300mm lens, scanner, chair-in-a-bag, and a bottle of water taking pix of planes landing 9R. But seriously. Is what I'm doing not obvious? Do drivers feel it totally necessary to call the cops? And do the cops feel it totally necessary to check your background, take your fingerprints, and arrange a visit from the FBI? Same friend as above, this time in Feb 2007:

Well, another off day for me (from work), so I decided to go down towards ATL to shoot pictures of airliners. Find a great abandoned warehouse with a large parking area, so what do I do? I park and start shooting. Time until Forest Park Police Department shows up? About 30 minutes! Not one, not two, but THREE cars come to investigate me! Two officers and a sergeant! Pretty thorough check on me! Complete NCIC check (full background history), check out the truck, take my photograph and a fingerprint! Good thing was that they let me continue to take photo's....

And then from the same person a few weeks later....

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. Wife calls me today to let me know the FBI showed up at our house to interview me! Way Cool was my expression (she said she told the agents that is what I would say!). Then visited me at work and conducted an interview with me concerning my taking pictures of airplanes. Lasted about 20-30 minutes....

I guess my time will come. But I wish aviation photographers and planespotters didn't have to deal with this kind of nonsense. I suppose I have the real terrorists to thank.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

VMWare Date Bomb

This isn't really my usual fare, but I suppose it won't hurt to help get the word out. VMWare has a nasty bug in ESX 3.5 Update 2 that causes any power on, resume from suspend, or VMotion attempt to fail with the following error:

This product has expired. Be sure that your host machine's date and time are set correctly.
There is a more recent version available at the VMware web site:
Module License Power on failed.
VMWare has a KB article that it is updating with the latest info, and is promising updates by noon PST tomorrow (8/13). In the mean time, there are some suggested workarounds in the VMWare Communities.

This will totally nail you if you do maintenance on a VM. So if you have ESX in your business, this is very much worth noting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Delta to offer WiFi on domestic flights

Big news for Atlanta travellers: Delta will soon offer WiFi Internet service on its entire domestic fleet. And sooner than you might expect!

Utilizing the GoGo service from Aircell, they'll offer WiFi beginning this fall on MD-88's and MD-90's (great choice, since the MD-88's currently offer ZERO entertainment), expanding to include the rest of the mainline domestic fleet by the end of 2009. The cost will be reasonable: $9.95 for flights less than three hours, $12.95 for more than three hours.

I'm pretty excited. I totally see myself using this on flights of 2 hours (wheels up to wheels down) or more. How cool will it be to track my own flight at FlightAware? Or listen to my ATC traffic at Or post photos of my flight on Flickr while I'm still on it? If there's a downside to this, it's that companies may begin to expect that employees be available and responding to email/IM/etc. during business travel...

AA MD80 LGA-ATL diverts to JFK on one engine

Well there's an interesting discussion going on over at Airliners.Net as to whether or not disaster was narrowly averted yesterday by American flight 2393, an MD-83 (N592AA) whose starboard engine went kaput at the worst possible time for an engine to do such a thing: during or just after rotation (i.e. the nosewheel lifting off). Personally? Based upon what I've read in the past, this type of thing is supposed to be a non-incident (since two engine aircraft are required to be able to continue a takeoff and climb over any obstacles on one engine), and I suspect it was this time as well. Still, very scary.

The plane involved:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What kind of donuts are these?

My wife was in South Florida for a work event, flying in and out of FLL. This morning before catching her flight back to ATL she goes to pick up a couple of donuts at the Dunkin Donuts in Concourse D... One for her, and one for her boss (who prefers totally plain donuts). So she picks two that look reasonably plain, points them out to the cashier and asks "What kind of donuts are these?"

The response? "Dunkin Dounuts".

Bewildered, she just bought them and left. You can't make this stuff up.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

ATL and TPA photos coming, and a few of my favs so far.

I spent the past week in Tampa taking a class for work. My outbound flight last Sunday was delayed by 4.5 hrs for no particular reason whatsoever. They can call it weather all they want, but the bottom line I think is that we had no crew (likely our crew was on an inbound flight that had weather problems, but at a hub, that's an Ops issue, not WX). The flight after ours actually left about 2 hours before ours, so clearly WX wasn't the limiting factor. Anyhow the delay left me enough time to snap I guess a couple hundred shots from the south parking deck. The weather was awful during the afternoons in Tampa after class let out, but hopefully I got a few keepers there too. There are a couple great spots along Hillsborough Rd. just north of the airport when arrivals are coming in on the 18's. I'll get them edited, uploaded and tagged (along with the rest of my older photos) as soon as I can, but I need to upgrade my flickr account first.

In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite aviation photos I've taken so far. I'm sorry they aren't quality (but then again, no one is exactly sure what is anymore). If you haven't noticed yet, my flickr Photostream is at the top of this blog, so if you ever want to see more, just click.

For just a second, ATL looks like LAX:
HL7493 - Korean Boeing 747-400

Aeromexico departs 26L:
N842AM - Aeromexico Boeing 737-700

Taken from a balcony at the Renaissance Concourse:
ATL Tower

The Delta TOC as seen from the Renaissance:
Delta Technical Operations Center (TOC)

I have tons more that I've taken since March. More to come.

Friday, July 04, 2008

A new beginning....

Indeed, I've had this blog for a while, but I finally decided to dispense with my static home page, so with this purge and first new post, my blog becomes my new home page.