Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Loadmasters, Freight Dawgs, Ramp Agents, Material Loaders - Probably The Most Horrific Video You Will Ever See

It sent a chill down my spine and I am not in the career field listed in the title, though I do occasionally get to fly in cargo aircraft with heavy stuff tied down in the back during high angle departures.

A Boeing 747 departing Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. A civilian aircraft under contract to the US Military, transporting military vehicles. Although no one yet knows for sure what caused the accident, the video and eyewitness accounts are leading many who know to speculate that either the aircraft was improperly loaded with an aft center of gravity, or that the cargo shifted during the climb-out and moved the center of gravity too far to the rear.

Regardless, at least eight people lost their lives.

In this era of everything monitored by video and everyone carrying around a smart phone, it was inevitable that the event was captured on camera.  Chilling to say the least, yet I had to watch it several times. You would think that I have seen enough crap like that over my lifetime, yet here we are.

I guess that it proves that I, like every other Schmoe I know, am human and find stuff like this fascinating. What kind of ghoul does that make me?

Thanks for reading,


Monday, April 15, 2013

It Pays to Be Fast

I stopped by station two to drop off some photos.

"Anybody hear from Brian?" I asked.

Brian is in Boston today, having run in the Boston marathon. His wife, who also is my dental hygienist, is with him. Their kids had stayed with friends while they are away.

"They're ok" someone said. "He texted so and so and said that he had finished twenty minutes or so before the blast and had left the area".

Frankly, I was relieved. I don't know Brian well, he came on right as I retired. I probably have spoken with his wife more than I have with him. She spends considerable working on my grill every six months and chastising me on my poor flossing skills. You may have seen his photo here, I snapped it during one of his probation tests.

I know there was a bajillion runners in the marathon, and twenty minutes is a long time when it comes to things like this, still it brings it all a little closer to home.

Thanks for reading,


International or Domestic?

I'm guessin' domestic, again just a guess. Frankly I'm surprised it's taken this long for something like the Boston event to occur. More on this later.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Special Kind Of Car Show

California, like much of the country, has a large "car culture". Every weekend, there are several car shows in the area. We are pretty lucky, the weather is good enough to have car shows throughout the winter.

Several weeks ago, we attended a car show held in town. It was a special car show, a fund raiser for the family of fallen Riverside Police Officer Michael Crain. I have to give the community of Riverside and the Riverside Police Officer's Association props. This event was one of several fundraisers held throughout the community for the Crain family and also for wounded RPD officer Andy Tachias, who was shot while he and Officer Crain were ambushed at a Riverside stop light.

The car show was put on by RPOA and the Old Farts Racing Team, a Riverside area car club. The Old Farts are an area institution with a lot of experience putting on car shows,  RPOA has had a lot on their plate over the last few months and has a large network. Both groups combined to put on a pretty good show.

There were a lot of neat cars. This yellow roadster won an award, it is a beautiful car. The owner works for RPD, you will see him in action in a few minutes.

Although there were a lot of great cars there, the ones that garnered my interest the most were the vintage cop cars that were there. I never really thought about it much, but if there are people who are interested in old fire apparatus, there also must be people who are interested in old police vehicles.

Oddly enough, this paddy wagon is owned by a retired fire prevention officer. The wagon started life as a navy delivery wagon and was then restored as a paddy wagon. I was told that many of these ex-navy wagons were purchased by police agencies and converted into paddy wagons. You just don't see these every day.

I commented to the owner of this fine specimen of crime fighting equipment that you don't see these every day. He laughed and said that's because they were "total pieces of shit" that "didn't last very long". I also commented that I spent a lot of my teen driving years, looking in my rear view mirror for these. As they didn't have light bars, the push bar and the black spot lights were the only visible clues.

Because the above cars were such pigs, the CHP bought some Special Service Package For Mustangs for use as high speed interceptors. They were used a lot in the more rural areas, where units would be required to go fast for a long ways.

CHP bought around 400 of them starting in 1992. The were good for about 135 MPH, and were harder to spot in the rear view. A lower profile and no push bar made them kind of sneaky. Ask me how I know.

A picture of him, taking a picture of us, taking a picture of him. This MD530 belongs to RPD, one of several 500 series helicopters that they operate. It made several passes over the crowd and even though I didn't have the preferred lens on my camera, I took the shot anyway.

The owner of the yellow roadster pictured above is at the controls, I don't know who was behind the camera.

This sedan, I am told, is what the rural departments in Riverside County would have been prowling with in the late forties and early fifties. Though I have been around for a while, I never looked for one of these in my rear view mirror.

 Even the dicks were represented. This is what Joe Friday might have been cruising around in had he still been on the job in the eighties, he probably was retired by then.

There were a lot of  more conventional hot rods there as well, I just thought these old cop cars were kind of interesting.

The show was very well attended, despite a major car event being held down in the south part of the county. Although the final tally wasn't available, it was announced that over twenty grand was raised for the families of officer Crain and for officer Tachias.

Strong work people.

Thanks for reading,