Charlie Victor Romeo – crash recorder dramatizations of Pilot & crew’s last words

In 1999 a novel play was created dramatizing the last minutes of airplane flights which resulted in a crash.  This has now been re-imagined as a 3D movie.  I’m not sure why you would want 3D for this, as it’s not exactly a lush cinematic event, but perhaps it helps sell DVDs.  As a pilot myself, there is a particular fascination reviewing the events and things that were said in the cockpit prior to a disaster.  We like to hope that WE wouldn’t have made the key decisions which lead to a bad result, but in the heat of the moment, would we or not?

Charlie Victor Romeo Theatrical Poster

The movie is called “Charlie Victor Romeo” because CVT is the industry acronym for the famous “black box”, or “Cockpit Voice Recorder” – the source for the dialog re-enacted by the actors.

This has also been used as material for “Cockpit Resource Management” training which airline pilots must periodically undergo.  But even to a lay person who doesn’t necessarily understand all of the pilot jargon, it’s still a morbidly fascinating look at what happened and why.

This is now in the Netflix database, but it not available for streaming at the date of this writing.  The film is currently screening in New York and Los Angeles.

This is probably not a movie for everybody, but if you find it hard to look away from a train wreck, or car crash on the freeway, this might be right up your alley!

Here is an official trailer:


Links to my other stuff

One reader suggested that I post links to Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth.  So, I created a “links” widget on the right hand side (scroll way down).  This has links to other sites on the web that I have something to do with.  Enjoy!

FAA really doesn’t like aviation – sleep apnea testing

I have come to the conclusion the the FAA really doesn’t like aviation and is working on good ways to cripple it, mainly by making it even more expensive than it is today.  With rising fuel prices, maintenance prices, equipment prices, and instruction prices, we really don’t need the FAA “helping” in this way.

Their latest idea is to introduce a rule that pilots with over 40% “body mass index” would be subject to mandatory Sleep Apnea testing.  This testing is not cheap!  This would impact approximately 5,000 pilots.  If this is successful, it’s entirely likely that the scope would be expanded to include more pilots.

It’s all in the name of safety!  Or is it?  According to Aviation Week, The agency also cites National Transportation Safety Board data that shows 34 accidents, including 32 fatal accidents, involved pilots who had sleep apnea. However, sleep apnea was not listed as the cause of those accidents.

Interesting logic the FAA is using.  I’d be willing to wager that most (if not all) of the pilots cited above also had 5 fingers on their left hand.  It seems logical then that the FAA could reasonably propose “preventative surgery” to have one of those fingers removed, thus making the skies safer for all.  I’d also be willing to bet that a large percentage of those pilots drank coffee the very same day that they had their fatal accident.  Perhaps the FAA could ban coffee for pilots (no, wait, that would actually SAVE money, they wouldn’t do that).

So I just have to wonder… what problem are we solving here?  To randomly pick a medical condition which has not been proven to be a contributing factor to any fatal accidents seems irresponsible and foolish at best.  Why does the FAA want to burden pilots with yet another hefty expense just so that they can continue to utilize their hard-earned pilot’s license?  Perhaps my initial conclusion is correct: the FAA really doesn’t like aviation and would like it to go away.

Not only is the FAA proceeding with this questionable program, they are side-stepping rulemaking channels and are classing this as a “process enhancement” which does not require any of the formal rigor that new rulemaking requires (such as evaluating the rule for sanity, asking for comments from industry professionals and pilots themselves, etc).  Why are they doing this? What do they have to gain?

1912 eighth grade exam: Could you make it to high school in 1912?

According to the Christian Science Monitor, a circa 1912 eighth-grade exam was donated to a museum in Bullitt County, KY.  They have scanned it and it has been made into an on-line exam that you can take to see how well you would do.  Most people taking this exam average only 57% – it’s hard!!  Our present-day school exams seem very simple and easy in comparison.  IMHO we don’t ask much of kids these days (wouldn’t want to make them feel like losers, or bruise their fragile little self-entitled egos).

CLICK HERE to take the exam yourself!

Cal Worthington – Rest in peace

CalWorthingtonCal Worthington died yesterday at 92yrs old.  He is pictured here with his “dog spot”.  For those too young to remember, he did a long series of TV ads for his Ford car dealerships, usually featuring some unusual animal as his “dog spot”.  These ads were classic ‘70s TV material, and we used to get a smile and used to wonder what the next “dog” would be.  Cal, you will be missed!

Shotgunning Beer – Cold Beer

Miller Lite recently introduced a new “Punch Top Can”

This can features an air-hole to make pouring smoother and reduce “glugging”.  Ok, laudable goal, though I personally never found this to be a major problem.


One thing that people have jumped on is the ability to “shotgun” the beer easier.  For those who are not “in the know” on “shotgunning”, this refers to tilting your head back, opening your throat and pouring the entire can down into your stomach.  This is especially popular at frat parties.

Now, call me a square, but I have never really understood this side of beer drinking.  If you want to get drunk, this is NOT a very efficient way to go about it.  Drink something with a higher alcohol content, and you’ll get drunk quicker without bloating your stomach and having to make trips to the bathroom every 5 minutes.  After all, as they say “you never really OWN beer, you just rent it for a while”.

Clearly, flavor has absolutely nothing to do with this style of beer drinking, as your taste buds barely touch the beer, so who cares what it tastes like.  This brings me to cold beer.  The colder the beer, the less you taste it.  So people who like REALLY icy cold beer aren’t getting much flavor.  This leads me to suspect that they just don’t really like the taste of beer.  In informal polls I have taken of various males throughout the years, it seems that a LOT of men don’t really like beer, but drink it because it’s the thing to do.  This, I suspect is one big driving factor behind icy cold beer.

Oh sure, you are going to tell me that you LOVE the taste of beer and that it’s just SO much more refreshing when it’s icy cold.  OK, I get that a cold drink on a hot day is nice.  Still, if you don’t like the taste when it’s not cold, then really, you don’t like beer.  Sorry to rain on your parade.  Also, if this blog entry makes you angry… ask yourself why!  It’s a beverage. Not your mother. Get over it.

Of course, since I’m British – COOL beer is (IMHO) the way to go.  You get to taste the beer (if that’s your thing).  Personally?  Give me a nice scotch or bourbon, thank you.

Is it worth the time–a great analysis!

Geeks especially have a propensity toward spending time making a task more efficient and less time consuming.  But how many of us have ever analyzed how often that task needs to be performed in order to make the time and effort spent optimizing it worthwhile?  I haven’t, I sheepishly admit.  Fortunately, came to the rescue!

Is It Worth the Time?

Internet Explorer End Of Life (lifecycle) dates

Usually, Microsoft is pretty good about letting you know about the lifecycle dates on their products.  For some reason, Internet Explorer seems to be the exception to that rule.  If you look at Microsoft’s reference document on Internet Software Lifecycles, you’ll see that they list all the Internet Explorer version dates as “Review Note”, and the note says “For support dates for specific Internet Explorer 6 and operating system versions and their service packs, visit the Lifecycle Supported Service Packs site at”

Nowhere that I was able to find on Microsoft’s site do they actually list which version shipped with which O/S.  C’mon guys, why does this have to be made so difficult?

After some digging, I’ll save you the effort if you are interested to know.  NOTE: these reflect the last date and O/S for each version, and the final end of support date.  Deployments for prior versions of Windows will hit end of support prior to these dates.

IE6 – XP – April 8 2014 end of extended support

IE7 – Vista – April 11, 2017 end of extended support

IE 8 – Win 7 – January 14 – 2020 end of extended support

IE 9 – Win 7 – January 14 – 2020 end of extended support

UPDATE 10/21/2013:

IE 10 – included with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, and available for Windows 7.  It will not be available for Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 – October 2015 end of support.

IE11 – included with Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, and available for Windows 7.  It will not be available for Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 – Jan 2023 end of support.

The Atacama (aka Ata), Chile Humanoid (Sirius movie)

According to an article in the Huffington Post, the DNA for what looks like a 6 inch space alien has been classified and found to be human.

Hollywood publishers originally said that the documentary would reveal that the DNA of the creature could not be medically clasified.  In a rare stroke of honesty (much to the chagrin of UFO entusiasts), the film “Sirius” features a scientist who concluded that the little humanoid is in fact human.


Aviation Trust Fund to be used to keep control towers open

According to Forbes: After a week of mounting pressure from airline lobbying groups and air travelers outraged at flight delays caused by across-the-board Government spending cuts, Congress fixed the problem by preparing legislation (which the President said he would sign) to allow the transfer of revenue from the FAA’s Airport and Airway Trust Fund to cover air traffic controller salaries and prevent the closure of control towers.   Contrary to what many commenters have said, this action was not a rescue of the aviation elite at the expense of social welfare programs.  And no money will be diverted from DOT’s budget for other programs, such as highway improvement or bridge safety.  The Airport and Airway Trust Fund is never used for these other programs and it’s misleading for commenters to imply that there will be a negative impact on these other programs by this transfer of funds.

I applaud this decision, and I believe it is a good stop-gap to allow control towers to remain open and preserve the safety and efficiency of aircraft traffic.  Assuming this legislation passes, it is good that an accident did not have to occur before something positive was done about the situation.  However, this fund was not set up for this purpose, and it seems to me that it would be wrong to continue to redirect funds in this way for the long term.  This should give the FAA time to re-evaluate and to propose cuts to meet their new budgetary requirements without compromising safety, the way their reckless and irresponsible tower closing proposal did.