Believe it or not, I had a request for another "junk mail", so here it is! If you missed the first one, count your blessings.

The pictures of today are from Pyramid Peak, Colorado last month:


ViaGrafix will be acquired by and/or merged with Learn2 this Monday or Tuesday if the shareholders vote for it. Each ViaGrafix shareholder will get 1.846 (something like that) shares of Learn2 stock for each share of ViaGrafix stock. Mike and I will still be doing mostly the same stuff (flying airplanes, climbing mountains, etc.). We'll still be in Pryor, and ViaGrafix will still have the same people (unless some of them decide they can't tolerate Mike or me any longer).

Top Story on 8-16-99: "Students Return to Columbine High" This is not news. The press is making such martyrs out of those guys that it makes other kids want to shoot up schools.

What happened to JFK Jr? Lots of people ask me about this. "VFR into IMC" is the term used to describe flying under visual flight rules into instrument flight condition -- usually, flying into the clouds when you're not qualified or cleared. JFK Jr. wasn't technically in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) but he could see no horizon outside the window. When this happens, you HAVE to rely on instruments. No human can fly a plane without some kind of reference to straight and level, either looking outside or looking at an instrument inside the plane. It looks like Kennedy had no sight of a horizon, took the plane off autopilot for his descent for landing, and lost control after 2-3 minutes. Check out the NTSB report:


Why hasn't this happened to other people? It has. Lots. Here are some from the first 4 months of this year. I left out two fatal accidents that crashed in the pattern in dark night conditions, and two more instrument pilots that crashed and died after their gyro instruments failed. To be fair, there are most likely some additional contributing factors to some of these accidents, but it's enough to show a trend.

On January 16, 1999, approximately 2240 central standard time, a Cessna 182B single engine airplane, N8433T, was destroyed when it impacted rising terrain in the vicinity of Nashoba, Oklahoma. All 4 occupants, the private pilot and 3 passengers, were fatally injured.

On January 19, 1999, about 1935 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 182P, N8579M, collided with terrain during cruise flight near Livermore, California. The airplane, owned and operated by Comstock Air Services of Sacramento, California, was destroyed during the impact sequence. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries.

On January 19, 1999, about 0445 hours Pacific standard time, a Beech F35 Bonanza, N3364C, was destroyed when it collided with high terrain near Chino, California. The non-instrument rated private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured.

On February 18, 1999, about 1745 hours Pacific standard time, a Beech 95-B55, N125TW, was destroyed in an in-flight collision with mountainous terrain near Coalinga, California. The private pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured.

On March 20, 1999, about 0930 hours Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-161, N2529W, was destroyed during collision with mountainous terrain in a mountain pass (Cajon Pass) near Lytle Creek, California. The private pilot and the passenger, who holds a student certificate, both received fatal injuries.

On March 27, 1999, approximately 0852 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-32-300, N56306, was destroyed after impacting terrain while maneuvering near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured.

On April 14, 1999, about 0930 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 207A airplane, N73188, was destroyed after crashing on an ice and snow covered lagoon, about 10.3 nautical miles east of Kotzebue, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled domestic flight under Title 14 CFR Part 135 when the accident occurred. The airplane was operated as flight 303X, by Village Aviation Inc., doing business as Camai Air. The certificated airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area of the accident.

On April 21, 1999, at 2240 central daylight time, a Cessna 182G airplane, N2330R, was destroyed upon impact with terrain while maneuvering near Blanco, Texas. The non-instrument rated private pilot, sole occupant and owner of the airplane, was fatally injured. Dark night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

On April 22, 1999, about 1230 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 150G, N3403J, was destroyed when it impacted a mountain near Gorman, California. The private pilot, who was not instrument rated, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight and no flight plan was filed.

You can read the full reports at:


Why don't we do something about this? Because it's not suach a big problem compared, say, to the hundreds of people who died in alcohol-related car wrecks during this 4-month period. It's just that airplanes falling out of the sky are quite spectacular and get a lot of press. Most of these people voluntarily flew in conditions that they weren't qualified for either legally or practically. To quote the famed political moderate and professional pilot Dave Ayres, "they committed suicide."

NPR Quote of the day: "Experts are terribly worried that..." Who are these unnamed experts anyway, and do I really believe that they're all terribly worried as opposed to just sorta worried or mildly concerned? Is it possible that one of them really couldn't care less? Surely this couldn't be sensationalism, could it?

Y2K Update: Yeah, it's not strictly Y2K, but the GPS week number rollover is Saturday. All the GPS satellites will have their week number (as opposed to weak number) changed from 1023 to 0 at midnight. The satellite software uses a 10-bit integer to hold the week number, which began on January 6, 1980. So every 1024 weeks the week wraps around from 1023 to 0. Most GPS's don't mind, but some (like the Trimble Flightmate) will lose their position, lose track of satellites, and will have trouble reacquiring the satellites, if they happen to be running at this time. There's a fair possibility that the world will end this Saturday at midnight, but we'll probably end up saying "nothing of importance happened" that day. (That's what the King of England wrote on July 4, 1776.)

For an easy-to-read example of how this works, check out:


Which pulls harder on the moon, the earth or the sun?


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