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New Leads in Search for Fossett
WJLA 7 DC ^ | Sept 25, 2007 | BRENDAN RILEY

Posted on 09/25/2007 8:06:47 PM PDT by RDTF

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Relying on new leads from Air Force experts, crews looking for famed aviator Steve Fossett plan to comb a rugged area near Death Valley by air and foot, authorities said Tuesday. Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said the Air Force analyzed images picked up by radar and satellite and "picked up what could be Mr. Fossett, his track." "It gives us an idea, if it's him, what direction he was going," Derks said of the wealthy adventurer, missing for more than three weeks.

Derks said the area stretches about 100 miles to the southeast from where Fossett took off Sept. 3, an airstrip on a million-acre ranch owned by hotel mogul Barron Hilton. Maps show the area would include Nevada's remote Silver Peak Range, close to Death Valley National Park in California.

"There's nothing definite, nothing concrete," Derks said. "These are just some hits that we want to track."

Search planes will fly over the area Saturday and Sunday, Derks said.

The area is "very rough terrain," Derks said. "If he's there, he's going to be hard to see. That's why we're sending in the ground search-and-rescue crews, too."

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at wjla.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fossett; missing; stevefossett
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1 posted on 09/25/2007 8:06:49 PM PDT by RDTF
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To: RDTF

I don’t understand....are they picking him up walking or where is plane could have gone down?


2 posted on 09/25/2007 8:09:11 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield

It could be radar tracks, saved in some database.


3 posted on 09/25/2007 8:11:55 PM PDT by Ace's Dad ("but every now and then, the Dragon comes to call")
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To: Ace's Dad

Geee...I’ll be very surprised if he’s still alive.


4 posted on 09/25/2007 8:14:09 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield

if he is still alive it would be his greatest feat ever.


5 posted on 09/25/2007 8:16:56 PM PDT by trumandogz
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To: shield
Sounds to me like they've detected a person's walking trail using AF satellites.

It would be astounding if he's still alive and walking out on his own. This would be his greatest achievement yet imo.

6 posted on 09/25/2007 8:17:50 PM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
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To: trumandogz

Death Valley is not a giving place for someone on foot. However, I’ve read if anyone could survive he could. Yes, I agree...it would be his is greatest.


7 posted on 09/25/2007 8:20:06 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: RDTF

So, perhaps he and Mr. Hoffa have met up and pooled resources?
along with Judge Crater, I presume.


8 posted on 09/25/2007 8:20:11 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: RDTF
Is it in Galt’s Gulch?
9 posted on 09/25/2007 8:30:45 PM PDT by maine-iac7 ("...but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" LINCOLN)
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To: shield
Good old fashioned radar sent out a radio wave and then listened to see if it was reflected back by some object “out there”. By timing how long it took the reflected signal to get back the electronics could tell how far it was to the source of the reflection. By knowing which way the rotating transmitting antenna was pointing it was possible to know both the direction and the distance to the object that the radar had detected. In fact that’s where radar got its name, it stood for “RAdio Direction And Range” if I remember correctly.

Modern radar works differently. It still sends out a high frequency radio wave and listens to see if any of the energy is reflected back, but there’s a new twist. A device known as a transponder is part of the equipment in the aircraft or other object that the radar is looking for and looking at. The transponder is a receiver and a radio transmitter, all in one package. It listens for the radar signal sent out from the transmitter. When it receives the signal it responds by sending back a signal of its own, much more powerful than the signal the radar on the ground would have gotten from just the reflected energy.

The transponder does several other things too. It can be coded by the pilot to return a 4-digit code, like 1-2-0-0 or 0-1-4-6 that the radar will receive and display on the operator’s screen. That way the operator is not looking at just a bunch of dots all over his screen without knowing which dot is which target. Every dot that represents a target that’s using a transponder is uniquely identified by the 4-digit code. Some codes are always the same, 1-2-0-0 is the code transmitted by aircraft that are lying VFR, using visual flight rules, where they are not necessarily under the control of ATC. Other times the controller tells the pilot what code to use. There are codes for when you have an emergency, when you are being hijacked and when you have lost your radio and can’t talk to them. There are others, but these are the primary ones.

The transponder can also send back information about the flight, such as the altitude the aircraft is at and the speed they are flying.

OK, the problem is that because the transponders make such a bright target on the scope that the operator has to turn its brightness way down to keep them from being just big blobs. When they turn the sensitivity of the scope down they lose the relatively weak targets that are not transponders but rather just the energy being reflected by the object the radar has seen. These returns are considered secondary and provide little information other than the fact there’s an object out there and how far away it is. If the secondary returns from a target are recorded over a period of time you can also tell which way it’s going.

In a case like this they will take the tapes of the area where they think Fossett might have gone and analyze them by looking specifically for secondary, very weak, returns. If they are lucky they will be able to find his radar track. The problem is that he might well not be the only aircraft out there, especially in wide open spaces like that.

I can’t believe he wouldn’t have had a transponder in the aircraft he was flying since a responder is required for entering much of controlled airspace these days. Most pilots turn it on and set it to broadcast, it called ‘squawking’, the 1-2-0-0 code so that even though he’s not under control the ATC guys will see him and be able to warn other pilots that he’s there. It also helps them find you when you don’t get where you are supposed to be going.

Controller airspace is not all the same, there are varying levels of complexity. Really busy areas, like Miami or Chicago, can’t be entered without the availability of a transponder that does all sort of things.

Hope I explained it so that it makes some sense!

10 posted on 09/25/2007 8:42:18 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: jwparkerjr

Makes perfect sense. Thanks.


11 posted on 09/25/2007 8:48:07 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: Justa

They have a few raw radar hits they think might have been his plane. That’s all.


12 posted on 09/25/2007 9:16:37 PM PDT by saganite
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To: RDTF

I find it bizarre the article is from DC and not Carson City, NV. I reside in Carson City, NV and just checked our local newspaper online, and there is NO breaking news on this subject matter. Plus, I just listened to the 9pm news on the radio, and there was zero mentioned. I speculate where DC got their news? Is this the never-ending existence characteristic of the news media?


13 posted on 09/25/2007 9:27:43 PM PDT by CaliGirl (Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave)
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To: saganite

Ahh; too bad. I’ve never liked bad endings....


14 posted on 09/25/2007 9:30:44 PM PDT by Justa (Politically Correct is morally wrong.)
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To: RDTF

bfl


15 posted on 09/25/2007 9:33:10 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: jwparkerjr
...the Air Force analyzed images picked up by radar and satellite...

Based on this quote I suspect they are using side-scan radar images from satellites. Using natural reflectors on the ground and making various calculations they can detect changes in the elevation of the ground of a few millimeters. By comparing images before and after Fossett's flight they could detect the change in elevation created by the plane wreckage. Metal from the plane would be a good reflector that would be picked up in the radar image.

These are not classified techniques - they are available for civilian purposes like geologic studies. However, I suspect the Air Force has some very precise radar satellites for military purposes that were used to detect traces of plane wreckage.

16 posted on 09/25/2007 9:35:09 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: shield
I’ve been out there a couple times myself, back in the 90’s. Thank God our truck was in good shape,lol. Not a place where anyone would wanna break down, that’s for sure, lol. If he knows what he’s doing, and has the appropriate survival skills, he could still be alive, but, God help him, he’s probably hanging onto a real thin thread by now:(
17 posted on 09/25/2007 10:08:37 PM PDT by The Bass Player (" Live every day as if it is your last, for surely one day you will be right"~ Tom Burnett,Jr.)
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To: The Bass Player

Yes, I have my doubts that he’s alive. I am surprised his emergency responder didn’t go off. That made me think he had a horrible crash and the responder was destroyed and he was killed then.


18 posted on 09/25/2007 10:13:34 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: shield

Yeah:( Unless I am mistaken, I thought I heard on the radio last week, that he didn’t even file a flight plan. I think that is totally illegal too. If this is correct, he knew better than to fly like that, imo. Doesn’t justify him crashing or anything, but, it just seems odd to me that someone like him would take off without filing. Who knows? He could end up being a 21st century Amelia Earhart or something...All I know is, if he is still alive, God help him,,,walking through the desert is tough enough for a healthy man, let alone any injuries he may have sustained from crashing.


19 posted on 09/25/2007 10:27:42 PM PDT by The Bass Player (" Live every day as if it is your last, for surely one day you will be right"~ Tom Burnett,Jr.)
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To: Justa
It would be astounding if he's still alive and walking out on his own. This would be his greatest achievement yet imo.

Silver Peak Range, NV and Death Valley are close to where I live. It would be a miricle if he could survive for three weeks as there is virtually no water out there.

20 posted on 09/25/2007 10:33:49 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (If you don't want people to get your goat, don't tell them where it's tied.)
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To: JUMPIN JEHOSPOHAT

Bookmark


21 posted on 09/25/2007 10:40:44 PM PDT by JUMPIN JEHOSPOHAT
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To: RDTF
Just declare him dead and take his money; that will do one of two things;

1. Piss him off if he makes it back alive and did not hear about it, or

2. Motivate him to get found sooner if he has a radio and hears about it.

Listen, we can look all we want, but he is a self made man and if he is still alive, a little motivation like making him poor just may help!

22 posted on 09/25/2007 11:03:34 PM PDT by Herakles (Diversity is code word for anti-white racism)
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To: The Bass Player

Unless you’re flying IFR, there is no requirement to file a flight plan. It is recommended, but not required.

Most pilots in small planes, flying in clear weather, taking off and intending to land at the same airport won’t file flight plans.


23 posted on 09/25/2007 11:28:31 PM PDT by NVDave
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To: BigBobber
I think you are correct. I missed the importance of the satellite component. Wow, we sure have some pretty neat technologies these days, don’t we?

My prayers go out for him, and for his family and friends who await word on his situation.

He does so much that really requires him to be at the tip top of his game I wonder if he didn’t head off on what would be for him a very routine cross country flight and in so doing let something really simple trip him up. Spending a couple of hours in his single engine aircraft would be very mild compared to many of his experiences.

24 posted on 09/26/2007 2:35:38 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: RDTF
re: Search planes will fly over the area Saturday and Sunday, Derks said.

Are the talking last Saturday and Sunday, I hope! I would hate to think they are putting off this aspect of the search until next weekend.

25 posted on 09/26/2007 2:37:20 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: shield
Those ELT’s are designed to take quite a beating and keep on beeping. I wouldn’t think there’s enough mass in his single engine aircraft to destroy an ELT even if it hit the ground a full speed. I would sooner think he failed to test the ELT and when it was really needed it wasn’t available. There’s not a lot you can do to test them, but the battery is one area that needs to be checked regularly.

Their frequency is monitored by satellite. The satellite is programmed to ignore the first signal it receives and not report it until its next pass over the area. This helps rule out false alarms since people trigger them by mistake and turn them off quickly so that it’s no longer transmitting on the next pass.

26 posted on 09/26/2007 2:43:09 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: shield

I have very little doubt that he is dead. There’s no way he carried enough water to live this long, and it’s hugely unlikely that he found any. I’d love to be proven wrong, to see Fossett walk into a Reno casino and ask for a beer, a Keno ticket and about two gallons of Gatorade, but I don’t see it as likely.


27 posted on 09/26/2007 2:51:32 AM PDT by ReignOfError
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To: jwparkerjr

Radio Detection and Ranging


28 posted on 09/26/2007 4:22:40 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: CaliGirl
Read the first line of the article again.

"CARSON CITY, Nev. - Relying on new leads from Air Force experts,"

29 posted on 09/26/2007 4:27:59 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: A.A. Cunningham
A million thanks! It was a bit before my time, but I had a favorite uncle who was a radar technician at the end of WWII and he was a real joy to talk to about some of the early technology.

We’ve come a long way!

30 posted on 09/26/2007 6:42:30 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: trumandogz

In WWII a 24 crashed in remote Alaksa. Two of the ferry crew were able to bail out. One of the crew members survived 86 days untill noted by another ferry flight and was rescued.

He stated out with a parachute and a Boy Scout knife......and was lucky to find trapper cabins.

“Two crew members bailed out before the crash. One of them, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Leon Crane of Philadelphia, survived for 86 days in the wilderness after he stumbled upon trappers’ cabins where he found food and refuge from the elements. Crew chief Master Sgt. Richard Pompeo, the second man who made it out of the bomber, was never found.”

See http://www.usarak.army.mil/alaskapost/Sep14Story20.asp
an Army site.


31 posted on 09/26/2007 9:15:55 AM PDT by ASOC (Yeah, well, maybe - but can you *prove* it?)
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To: RDTF

At first I just thought this was a guy with more money than skill...a thrill seeker who fate caught up with, ala John Denver years ago.

But the fact they haven’t found Fossett, the plane or wreckage....something just doesn’t seem quite ‘right’ about this whole affair.


32 posted on 09/26/2007 9:18:34 AM PDT by Badeye (You know its a kook site when they ban the word 'kook')
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To: CaliGirl

I agree that it’s odd that NV didn’t report this right away.


33 posted on 09/26/2007 1:47:19 PM PDT by RDTF (Republicans believe every day is July 4th, but Democrats believe every day is April 15th. - Reagan)
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To: jwparkerjr
"Those ELT’s are designed to take quite a beating and keep on beeping. I wouldn’t think there’s enough mass in his single engine aircraft to destroy an ELT even if it hit the ground a full speed. I would sooner think he failed to test the ELT and when it was really needed it wasn’t available. There’s not a lot you can do to test them, but the battery is one area that needs to be checked regularly."

There are tests to check ELT function, I have done them many times on annual aircraft inspections. The failure rate was rather high, IMHO.

The ELT won't transmit far without the external antenna attached. A violent crash would likely strip the antenna off the turtle deck. Also, it is very possible the aircraft did not have an ELT on board. It is legal to log one out of the aircraft for maintenance. Anyone seen the acft maint logs?

The general aviation ELTs are not as robust in their construction as the "black boxes" used in transport category aircraft. Those commercial units will survive horrendous crash forces, unlike the little GA transmitters.
34 posted on 09/26/2007 6:05:57 PM PDT by wrench
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To: Aeronaut

ping


35 posted on 09/26/2007 7:05:24 PM PDT by raygun (Boy that Catch-22 is a pretty big catch. Yep, its the best that there is.)
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To: wrench
Good information, especially about the antenna coming loose in a crash.

That’s an awful lot of area to have to search. I remember being involved in search for a small plane that disappeared in a thunderstorm near Greenville, AL, or maybe was Evergeen, way back in the early 60’s. They gave up after a week and it wasn’t found until a couple of years ago when some hunters wandered across the wreckage and the remains of those aboard. The woods up there are such that if the plane goes in anything like vertical the trees just swallow it up and it’s very difficult to see it from the air.

My prayers go out for him, but I fear with the passing of time he’s out of luck.

36 posted on 09/26/2007 7:29:45 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: raygun; Tijeras_Slim; FireTrack; Pukin Dog; citabria; B Knotts; kilowhskey; cyphergirl; ...

37 posted on 09/27/2007 7:46:14 AM PDT by Aeronaut (Hebrews 13:4)
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To: shield; jwparkerjr
I don't know about the "perfect sense" part, after all, he says "lying VFR", and that made me think he might be controller meat--prejudiced against all us VFR-squawking secondary returns (i.e., not keepers at all) that have told ourselves we should listen to 'em, even if we don't want to talk to 'em, just in case we should have be forced by the moments of sheer terror to have to talk to 'em, while otherwise putterin' along enjoying the 3-D beauty of nature or getting somewhere quickly--or slowly.

Just kidding... I know it was probably his f'n key that was all worn out and doesn't work anymore.

HF, CFII, SEL, MEL

38 posted on 09/27/2007 9:14:28 AM PDT by holden
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To: holden
Oops! That’s what I get for not reading back over my post very carefully. Yes, I did indeed mean ‘flying vfr”!

I am not all prejudiced against VFR-squawking sources of secondary returns. Although I thought if you were squawking anything, have and using a transponder, that you would not be a secondary return.

Thanks for doing the dirty work of editing that I failed to do!

39 posted on 09/27/2007 9:23:10 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: Badeye
I agree that this is a strange story. With that many people looking I would have expected them to find him or the wreckage by now. It’s like he took off and vanished into thin air. Alien abduction? Maybe the liked his semi-antique flying machine and had to take him to get it!
40 posted on 09/27/2007 9:27:26 AM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: jwparkerjr

Insurance scam, perhaps?

Who knows.


41 posted on 09/27/2007 9:35:23 AM PDT by Badeye (Most human problems can be solved by the correct application of a mini gun in my experience.....)
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To: jwparkerjr
You're obviously on top of it in most every way ('cepn 'course that f-key, which appears to be fixed now, too)!

Best regards,
HF

42 posted on 09/27/2007 9:38:14 AM PDT by holden
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To: shield

The original report when he went down said he was wearing an ELT on his watch (Breitling has such a watch).

The fact that it hasn’t been activated tells me he didn’t survive the crash/forced landing. :-(


43 posted on 09/27/2007 11:03:22 AM PDT by hattend ("Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne)
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To: jwparkerjr

I heard the theory was he wanted to go out like Amelia Earhart


44 posted on 09/27/2007 11:10:48 AM PDT by BurbankKarl
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To: shield
That made me think he had a horrible crash and the responder was destroyed and he was killed then.

That's the most likely scenario, IMO. I pray for the best for Mr. Fossett, but I don't hold out much hope that he's still with us.
45 posted on 09/27/2007 11:13:03 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Ron Paul put the cuckoo in my Cocoa Puffs)
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To: CaliGirl
It was in two Tahoe/Reno area papers yesterday, yet not local insight, just the same AP feed in both.

Tahoe Daily Tribune / New info prompts search near Death Valley for adventurer Fossett

Reno-Gazette Journal / Fossett searchers ready big weekend push

46 posted on 09/27/2007 11:28:20 AM PDT by GalaxieFiveHundred
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To: BurbankKarl

re: I heard the theory was he wanted to go out like Amelia Earhart

I imagine it’s pretty tough to find Japanese soldiers these days to capture you, hold you prisoner, kill you and bury you in an unmarked grave on some desolate island somewhere halfway around the world.


47 posted on 09/27/2007 12:44:44 PM PDT by jwparkerjr (Sigh . . .)
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To: hattend

I wasn’t aware of that watch. Yes, I believe you MUST be RIGHT. Wonder when they’ll find the crash site with his remains?


48 posted on 09/27/2007 3:51:02 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: NVDave

That’s right. I’d forgotten about that dif between VFR and IFR. I’m a civvy as far as aviation is concerned, lol. When I was 17, I took and passed a year long Aviation Education course in High School, one of the few classes that actually held my overall interest. At the end of the year, we all went up one at a time in a small plane with a pilot, taking off from a small, local “windsock” airfield, the scariest part was when the Pilot let me land on my own. I hope I never have to anything like that again, because, looking back now at the age of 43, I still shiver, lol.


49 posted on 09/28/2007 1:20:25 AM PDT by The Bass Player (" Live every day as if it is your last, for surely one day you will be right"~ Tom Burnett,Jr.)
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To: jwparkerjr
I imagine it’s pretty tough to find Japanese soldiers these days to capture you, hold you prisoner, kill you and bury you in an unmarked grave on some desolate island somewhere halfway around the world.

Freepmail me and I will see what I can arrange. :^P

50 posted on 09/30/2007 3:14:48 PM PDT by Lost Dutchman ("Weep for the future Na'Toth, Weep for us all." (G'Kar-Babylon 5))
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