If it flies, it's worth talking about.


Postby Kona » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:10 am

The experience of the City of Brisbane in the storm reminds me of a book I read in my youth called “The Man Who Rode the Thunder” by William Rankin. In 1959, Lt. Col. Rankin, USMC, was flying an F8U Crusader over a storm when he was forced to eject. 40 minutes and several states later, he finally landed, having been one of the very few to survive such an ordeal before or since.

From that book, the F8 became for me the sexiest jet ever, and remained so until I leaned of the existence of the SR71 Blackbird, shortly before it was taken out of service. The circumstances of that outrage could take an entire forum, perhaps one not dedicated to lighter-than-air craft.

But I digress. That book introduced me to the concept of the cyclical nature of storms, which kept the unfortunate pilot Rankin aloft through such prolonged misery. I have since come to realize that, while we on the ground are familiar only with the horizontal nature of wind, at higher altitude and in the vicinity of geographical features such as large bodies of water, mountain peaks and canyons, the wind blows at all angles, including up and down. To the savvy pilot, this can provide almost continuous lift over long distances, but as I'm sure Paul knows, can also be treacherously damaging.
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