“flying is a continual process of learning” [10/9/07]

Brazillian political candidates frequently make up there own names under which they stand for election. At least six have adopted various spellings of Barrak Obama. According to the Harper’s Weekly (which is a great source for absurd news with a global perspective) other adopted monikers include Jeep Johnny, Jorge Bushi, DJ Saddam and Kung Fu Fatty.

Laugh as we might, Brazil has energy independence and hasn’t fought a war since its independence from Portugal.

Iceland nationalized their largest bank to prevents its collapse and suspended trading of stock yesterday. So add them to the list of countries worse off than we are.

Tuesday, a suicide bomber in Baghdad (because that’s what they do during the Moslem holiday season) killed 14 people. If body count is the goal, they’re using the wrong sort of fear.

168 people were trampled to death in Jodhpur India when someonec screamed “There’s a bomb!” in the crowded marketplace.

Last, an  epiloge to the account of the death of an aquaintance of mine, Martin Maxwell, HAM enthusiast, and flyer of balloons and {briefly) para-gliders. The latter he ran into a hillside recently, and he died on the scene. This is at the end of report on the incident by Mo Sheldon, his instructor, who was present on that day:

Final Thoughts
“This incident was caused by a cascade of pilot errors that all compounded onto each other. There was some question that perhaps his motor failed him, but these reports came from unreliable laymen witnesses who heard the motor from approximately 0.5 mile away. Additionally, there was conflicting reports from the eyewitnesses on how his motor sounded. I believe his equipment operated normally as there was no other indications to the contrary and previously it had operated flawlessly.

There was a lingering question whether a helmet may have helped to prevent his death. The autopsy indicates that a helmet would probably not have saved his life, even though Martin chose to fly without one with full awareness of the added risks.

Some pilots questioned whether a reserve parachute may have helped. I do not think so. Considering the terrain and the severe weather and his lack of experience, a reserve deployment would probably have made matters worse.

If there is a major lesson to be learned it is first and foremost to fly within your experience level and push your skill levels slowly. Second, to stay cautious and respectful at all times on the weather and the terrain below you. Third, to recognize that flying is a continual process of learning, respect for mother nature, respect for the limits of your gear, and respect of your own limits. ”

Rest in Peace Martin.

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