Friday, 26 August 2011

Planes that go bump in the night - when skimming a hurrican.

Three weeks away in sunny Florida and no access to my workshop - and my wheel! But now I'm back and eager to bring a fresh approach to the task thanks to some imaginitive thinking while away.

Although I love roller coaster rides I suffer from a fear of heights, motion sickness and a compressed disc which gives me pins and needles in my left leg, so by the time we had come to the end of our stay I had had a surfeit of thrill rides, so when we discovered that hurrican Irene was bearing down on us just as we were due to board our aircrafte, my wife and daughter expressed their doubts at the wisdom of flying through the middle of a hurrican, in rather colorful language actually!

We were assured by the aircrew that we would be flying around Irene and not through her and there were, therefore, no grounds for concern - huh!!! A sudden drop of 200 feet without warning, may not seem much, but when you add in the air speed of over 500 miles an hour it acquires considerable significance - my head bears the bruises to show for it, as I had just risen from seat in my usual gentlemanly fashion to allow my wife to partake of the facilities provided by means of a restroom. That was just the beginning and we suffered about an hour and half of something not so different, I should imagine, from trying to stay on board a bucking bronco!

Tough devices these modern aircraft! Despite the wings flapping like a demented duck landing on a pond, we all arrived safely if somewhat bruised and were politely informed that we had made up some time despite taking a longer course due to the sling-shot effect engendered by skimming the edge of hurrican Irene! Hhhhmmmm - as my seven year old grandaughter is wont to say, "I smell a porky, grandad!"

Actually the sling-shot idea came up in conversation aboard the bronco and we thought it had merit, but then we had taken a few medicinal drinks to calm my wife's shattered nerves - not mine of course you understand.

Open for comments again and hopefully I shall have some interesting information to share with you all that miiiiiiiiight just lead to a break through - unless you prove me wrong of course.



  1. Welcome John,..I thought you were never comming back!

  2. Welcome home, John!

    How does it feel, now, to be a honorary member of the Vomit Comet club? Kidding aside - I actually happen to know how terrifying this can be. Several years ago I experienced something similar upon landing in Narita, Japan. Maybe a thousand feet up, on final approach, the plane plummeted from the sky from wind shear. Only a quick and professional reaction from the flight deck saved the day, and with thundering turbines we just did a touch-and-go instead of crashing straight into the runway. We never tried again and landed elsewhere, hundreds of kilometers away. I got to ride the bullet train to Tokyo instead.

    I'll never forget that experience, so I can imagine how you and your family felt. Welcome home!

  3. OK, I'll bite. Any revelations?

  4. Not the revelation yet, but an updated opinion on something.

    I'm still working on the revelation which I'll post later, but tomorrow (Tuesday) I'll post my thoughts on something I was mentally reviewing while on holiday.


  5. "Open for comments again and hopefully I shall have some interesting information to share with you all that miiiiiiiiight just lead to a break through - unless you prove me wrong of course."

    Glad you're back in one piece! Beginning to worry.

    About the above quote. We can't prove anything wrong without knowing what it is!

  6. Hello John,

    Glad you and your family made it home safely, well, except for those bruises on your noggin(s?), of course.

    During my college days in the eighties, I spent seven quarters in south Florida working in the research and development labs of IBM in and around Boca Raton - six as part of my school's co-operative education program and the other as a summer intern. So, about every three months I was either making the 800 mile trip down there from east Tennessee or the return trip home. I usually drove, but the first time I traveled there in the spring of '82, I flew. I remember it was a beautiful sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky when I left and it seemed like it was going to stay that way, but then we entered a storm that covered the whole state of Florida. I certainly don't think I'll ever forget the proceeding roller coaster ride and those flapping wings - oh, and the sweaty palms (not to be confused with the wet, rain drenched palms I saw out of my hotel window as I was trapped inside due to the inclement weather for the next several days).. I would have to say, though, it was all rather exciting - especially having been the first time I ever flew.

    So, I guess I'm a member of that Vomit Comet club too! ...though thankfully I didn't have that particular problem nor see anyone who did.

    Welcome back!

    Oh, and Andre, I've finally answered you in the old thread. (Sunday, 19 June 2011,
    Wheel update) I didn't put it here since it probably goes a bit off topic.

    I would say here, though, that for those who might be interested in another computer simulation program, you might want to check out the 2D physics simulator Physion found at It seems to be pretty nice and it's free with both Windows and Linux versions available.



  7. Hi Dwayne, thank you for your very extensive reply. I will email you at the address indicated, and of course I'll answer in (far) more detail. Thanks!


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