Space Shuffle

By Phil Plait | September 24, 2012 3:32 pm

I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, NASA, Piece of mind, Politics, Space
MORE ABOUT: Mitt Romney

Comments (164)

  1. Kathy A.

    I keep waiting to find out that he’s an elaborate practical joke. We’ll all have a good laugh, meet the real candidate, and have a serious discussion of real issues. *sigh*

  2. shunt1

    I keep looking, but where did he mention windows on a NASA spacecraft?

    Did my search software fail to locate those word?

    Please let me know the exact paragraph…

    BTW:

    Have you ever sat over the wings of an airliner before? Your duty is to open up that “window” in an emergency so that passengers can exit out over the wings.

    However, in small corporate aircraft like a Lear Jet or Citation, those exit windows are not available.

  3. MadScientist

    On some aircraft the pilot can open a few windows in the cockpit. Of course you don’t do that in flight. Think of this: aerospace engineers don’t get paid anywhere near as much as Romney – why does society reward such fools?

    Oh, Paul Ryan’s plan for space? Cut the space budget to $0 and cut tax to the wealthy to 0% and Trickle Down Economics will magically make us a superpower in space. George Bush Sr. once called such things “Voodoo Economics” – unfortunately he seems to have taken a liking to it in his own term. What’s sad is that Voodoo Economics is nothing new; even John Adams and probably many before him already knew that it doesn’t work.

  4. Daniel

    You can thank people of similar mentality for killing the shuttle and constellation programs.

  5. Ursus

    shunt1,

    He didn’t say anything about NASA, but if he wins the election, he’ll be (partially) in charge of the agency.

    Kathy A.,

    I really wish there was a legitimate opponent to Obama, so he would have to start having the serious discussions no politician wants to have.

  6. @Kathy: The question is, “Who is playing the joke and on whom?” Maybe Romney is actually Andy Kaufman. It would mean there is no “real” Republican candidate, since they’re being pranked, too.

  7. Daffy

    “Have you ever sat over the wings of an airliner before? Your duty is to open up that “window” in an emergency so that passengers can exit out over the wings.”

    Not while it’s in FLIGHT!!!!

  8. Smoothie

    This seems as good a time as any for this:
    http://bit.ly/PYeGfp

  9. shunt1

    @5. Daffy:

    You did not view the link:

    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    Phil, could you please post something that does not take me more than 30 seconds to check?

    Please study the aircraft that he was flying in. Go to you local large airport and (if you ask nice) they may actually allow you to get inside of an airplane just like that.

  10. Bender

    In the timeless words of Hank Hill: “Just when I think you’ve said the stupidest thing ever, you keep talking.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx7Z5B3wWmE

  11. Chris

    All those in favor of letting Romney open the windows on a plane, say aye. Just make sure he’s the only one on board.

    I guess his reasoning is if his dog enjoyed riding on top of the car, he’d love the 500 mph wind running through his hair.

  12. shunt1

    @3. MadScientist:

    “Oh, Paul Ryan’s plan for space? Cut the space budget to $0…”

    Do you have an actual video of that quotation?

    Or, do you just make this stuff up as you go along?

    Seems to me, under President Bush, we still had a Space Shuttle going to the International Space Station. NASA was getting ready for our next manned landing on the Moon. By 2030, we may actually have men on Mars.

    Today, we can not even launched Americans to our own space station without the help of the Russians.

    So, who destroyed NASA?

    @7. Chris:

    Of course, President Obama knows how to Wok a dog… LOL

  13. Seems to me, under President Bush, we still had a Space Shuttle going to the International Space Station. NASA was getting ready for our next manned landing on the Moon. By 2030, we may actually have men on Mars.
    Today, we can not even launched Americans to our own space station without the help of the Russians.
    So, who destroyed NASA?

    Um, that would be Bush. I guess you missed the part where his administration shut down the shuttle program. Knowing full well there would be at least a 4 year gap before we would have human spaceflight capability ourselves. Just like that famous car factory, the STS program was closed down under Bush, but you give the blame to Obama.

    Or do you just make this stuff up as you go along?

  14. shunt1

    President Barack Obama announced a proposal to cancel the program, effective with the U.S. 2011 fiscal year budget, but later announced changes to the proposal in a major space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2010. Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 on October 11 which brought the program to an end despite promises to fully fund space flight during his Presidential campaign in 2008.

  15. Kevin

    Yeah, you’ve got a fire in the aircraft. The first thing you want to do is open a window and have even more oxygen to feed the flames.

    And for #7 Chris – Romney couldn’t get a 500moh wind to go through his hair. Not with the shellac that holds it down.

  16. Mike

    @ shunt1:
    ‘President Bush shut down the shuttle program??????
    Now you have me very curious. I want actual documents!’

    The Shuttle’s chief purpose over the next several years will be to help finish assembly of the International Space Station. In 2010, the Space Shuttle — after nearly 30 years of duty — will be retired from service.

    President George W. Bush
    January 14, 2004

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_for_Space_Exploration

  17. John F

    Phil you need better Trolls

  18. Chet Twarog

    Could be a gaff IMO. However, there is emergency O2 if an jetliner looses cockpit/cabin pressure at altitude. Additionally, acft flying abv 14,000 ft are pressurized to a predetermined altitude of 5-8,000 ft. Is O2 added to maintain 21% or is the compression of outside air? Never consider this before. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressurized_cabin

  19. shunt1

    @11. Kevin:

    Please show the actual quotation of where Romney wanted to open a windown of an aircraft in flight….

    Now I know the definition of an “echo chamber.”

  20. Renee Marie Jones

    I like that scene in “Airplane!” where captain Oveur slides open the cockpit window so he can give his credit card to the guy servicing the plane.

  21. scgvlmike

    shunt1, would a NASA webpage serve the purpose of informing you? Check out the fourth paragraph of the text for the second President Bush at http://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/10presidents.html. Or you can simply trust me that the following is an exact copy/paste from that portion of the named document: “The president [Bush] also announced the space shuttle would not fly after 2010″.

    So yes, President Bush shut down the shuttle program– or to be more specific, scheduled its demise.

  22. Trebuchet

    @shunt1: See this Wikipedia article on Bush’s (lack of ) Vision for Space Exploration. It called for retirement of the shuttles by 2010. “Actual Documents” linked at the bottom.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vision_for_Space_Exploration

    The Republican blaming of Obama is extremely reminiscent of their blaming Obama for withdrawing from Iraq– also on a schedule established by Bush.

    Your comment #6 makes no sense at all, by the way.

  23. Dave Jerrard

    #13 Shunt1:

    Right there in the link, if you were actually interested enough to read it…
    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    Also very dangerous: Supplying more oxygen to a fire in an aircraft.

  24. shunt1

    STOP!

    What was the actual quotation from Romney?

    From that actual quotation, how did we get into the “opening a window while in flight” nonsense?

    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    With the type of aircraft they were flying in at the time, there would be no excape in the event of a crash. No side exits!

    Care to inspect that type of aircraft with me some time?

    Who is the Troll?

    The one that could show you an actuall aircraft like that, or the one that was talking nonsense about opening windows while in flight?

  25. noen

    shunt1 said:

    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    “Phil, could you please post something that does not take me more than 30 seconds to check?”

    What’s to check? While one might think it would be nice in case of fire to open a window to escape asphyxiation from smoke inhalation. In practice it would be very bad. Drunks + idiots + doors and windows that open during flight = disaster.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    On the plus side have the guys at Myth Busters done this one yet?

  26. Fizz

    @shunt1, Johnny Vector
    Obama ended the shuttle program, but it was W Bush who set that plan in motion back in 2004. Go to factcheck *dot* org and search for “shuttle retirement”. See the first result returned. The story is well laid out there.

  27. noen

    The actual quote from the LA Times:
    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

  28. Dave Jerrard

    Here’s a transcript of the president’s speech, given on Jan 14th, 2004:

    THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m honored to be with the men and women of NASA. I thank those of you who have come in person. I welcome those who are listening by video. This agency, and the dedicated professionals who serve it, have always reflected the finest values of our country — daring, discipline, ingenuity, and unity in the pursuit of great goals.

    America is proud of our space program. The risk takers and visionaries of this agency have expanded human knowledge, have revolutionized our understanding of the universe, and produced technological advances that have benefited all of humanity.

    Inspired by all that has come before, and guided by clear objectives, today we set a new course for America’s space program. We will give NASA a new focus and vision for future exploration. We will build new ships to carry man forward into the universe, to gain a new foothold on the moon, and to prepare for new journeys to worlds beyond our own.

    I am comfortable in delegating these new goals to NASA, under the leadership of Sean O’Keefe. He’s doing an excellent job. (Applause.) I appreciate Commander Mike Foale’s introduction — I’m sorry I couldn’t shake his hand. (Laughter.) Perhaps, Commissioner, you’ll bring him by — Administrator, you’ll bring him by the Oval Office when he returns, so I can thank him in person.

    I also know he is in space with his colleague, Alexander Kaleri, who happens to be a Russian cosmonaut. I appreciate the joint efforts of the Russians with our country to explore. I want to thank the astronauts who are with us, the courageous spacial entrepreneurs who set such a wonderful example for the young of our country. (Applause.)

    And we’ve got some veterans with us today. I appreciate the astronauts of yesterday who are with us, as well, who inspired the astronauts of today to serve our country. I appreciate so very much the members of Congress being here. Tom DeLay is here, leading a House delegation. Senator Nelson is here from the Senate. I am honored that you all have come. I appreciate you’re interested in the subject — (laughter) — it is a subject that’s important to this administration, it’s a subject that’s mighty important to the country and to the world.

    Two centuries ago, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis to explore the new lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. They made that journey in the spirit of discovery, to learn the potential of vast new territory, and to chart a way for others to follow.

    America has ventured forth into space for the same reasons. We have undertaken space travel because the desire to explore and understand is part of our character. And that quest has brought tangible benefits that improve our lives in countless ways. The exploration of space has led to advances in weather forecasting, in communications, in computing, search and rescue technology, robotics, and electronics. Our investment in space exploration helped to create our satellite telecommunications network and the Global Positioning System. Medical technologies that help prolong life — such as the imaging processing used in CAT scanners and MRI machines — trace their origins to technology engineered for the use in space.

    Our current programs and vehicles for exploring space have brought us far and they have served us well. The Space Shuttle has flown more than a hundred missions. It has been used to conduct important research and to increase the sum of human knowledge. Shuttle crews, and the scientists and engineers who support them, have helped to build the International Space Station.

    Telescopes — including those in space — have revealed more than 100 planets in the last decade alone. Probes have shown us stunning images of the rings of Saturn and the outer planets of our solar system. Robotic explorers have found evidence of water — a key ingredient for life — on Mars and on the moons of Jupiter. At this very hour, the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is searching for evidence of life beyond the Earth.

    Yet for all these successes, much remains for us to explore and to learn. In the past 30 years, no human being has set foot on another world, or ventured farther upward into space than 386 miles — roughly the distance from Washington, D.C. to Boston, Massachusetts. America has not developed a new vehicle to advance human exploration in space in nearly a quarter century. It is time for America to take the next steps.

    Today I announce a new plan to explore space and extend a human presence across our solar system. We will begin the effort quickly, using existing programs and personnel. We’ll make steady progress — one mission, one voyage, one landing at a time.

    Our first goal is to complete the International Space Station by 2010. We will finish what we have started, we will meet our obligations to our 15 international partners on this project. We will focus our future research aboard the station on the long-term effects of space travel on human biology. The environment of space is hostile to human beings. Radiation and weightlessness pose dangers to human health, and we have much to learn about their long-term effects before human crews can venture through the vast voids of space for months at a time. Research on board the station and here on Earth will help us better understand and overcome the obstacles that limit exploration. Through these efforts we will develop the skills and techniques necessary to sustain further space exploration.

    To meet this goal, we will return the Space Shuttle to flight as soon as possible, consistent with safety concerns and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The Shuttle’s chief purpose over the next several years will be to help finish assembly of the International Space Station. In 2010, the Space Shuttle — after nearly 30 years of duty — will be retired from service.

    Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be capable of ferrying astronauts and scientists to the Space Station after the shuttle is retired. But the main purpose of this spacecraft will be to carry astronauts beyond our orbit to other worlds. This will be the first spacecraft of its kind since the Apollo Command Module.

    Our third goal is to return to the moon by 2020, as the launching point for missions beyond. Beginning no later than 2008, we will send a series of robotic missions to the lunar surface to research and prepare for future human exploration. Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle, we will undertake extended human missions to the moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods. Eugene Cernan, who is with us today — the last man to set foot on the lunar surface — said this as he left: “We leave as we came, and God willing as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.” America will make those words come true. (Applause.)

    Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth’s gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.

    With the experience and knowledge gained on the moon, we will then be ready to take the next steps of space exploration: human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond. (Applause.) Robotic missions will serve as trailblazers — the advanced guard to the unknown. Probes, landers and other vehicles of this kind continue to prove their worth, sending spectacular images and vast amounts of data back to Earth. Yet the human thirst for knowledge ultimately cannot be satisfied by even the most vivid pictures, or the most detailed measurements. We need to see and examine and touch for ourselves. And only human beings are capable of adapting to the inevitable uncertainties posed by space travel.

    As our knowledge improves, we’ll develop new power generation propulsion, life support, and other systems that can support more distant travels. We do not know where this journey will end, yet we know this: human beings are headed into the cosmos. (Applause.)

    And along this journey we’ll make many technological breakthroughs. We don’t know yet what those breakthroughs will be, but we can be certain they’ll come, and that our efforts will be repaid many times over. We may discover resources on the moon or Mars that will boggle the imagination, that will test our limits to dream. And the fascination generated by further exploration will inspire our young people to study math, and science, and engineering and create a new generation of innovators and pioneers.

    This will be a great and unifying mission for NASA, and we know that you’ll achieve it. I have directed Administrator O’Keefe to review all of NASA’s current space flight and exploration activities and direct them toward the goals I have outlined. I will also form a commission of private and public sector experts to advise on implementing the vision that I’ve outlined today. This commission will report to me within four months of its first meeting. I’m today naming former Secretary of the Air Force, Pete Aldridge, to be the Chair of the Commission. (Applause.) Thank you for being here today, Pete. He has tremendous experience in the Department of Defense and the aerospace industry. He is going to begin this important work right away.

    We’ll invite other nations to share the challenges and opportunities of this new era of discovery. The vision I outline today is a journey, not a race, and I call on other nations to join us on this journey, in a spirit of cooperation and friendship.

    Achieving these goals requires a long-term commitment. NASA’s current five-year budget is $86 billion. Most of the funding we need for the new endeavors will come from reallocating $11 billion within that budget. We need some new resources, however. I will call upon Congress to increase NASA’s budget by roughly a billion dollars, spread out over the next five years. This increase, along with refocusing of our space agency, is a solid beginning to meet the challenges and the goals we set today. It’s only a beginning. Future funding decisions will be guided by the progress we make in achieving our goals.

    We begin this venture knowing that space travel brings great risks. The loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia was less than one year ago. Since the beginning of our space program, America has lost 23 astronauts, and one astronaut from an allied nation — men and women who believed in their mission and accepted the dangers. As one family member said, “The legacy of Columbia must carry on — for the benefit of our children and yours.” The Columbia’s crew did not turn away from the challenge, and neither will we. (Applause.)

    Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit. So let us continue the journey.

    May God bless. (Applause.)

    END 3:43 P.M. EST

    Please note the last line in the 14th paragraph. To wit: “In 2010, the Space Shuttle — after nearly 30 years of duty — will be retired from service.”

  29. shunt1

    Obama ended the shuttle program, but it was W Bush who set that plan in motion back in 2004. Go to factcheck *dot* org and search for “shuttle retirement”.

    Yes, the Constellation program was to replace the space shuttle. That is what President Obama canceled.

    Today, we can not get our astronauts into space without the help of the Russians. FACT!

    ….

    Why are there emergency side exits on airliners?

    Are any of you actual pilots like myself?

  30. Dave Jerrard

    “Why are there emergency side exits on airliners?

    Are any of you actual pilots like myself?”

    You’re a pilot and you don’t understand the reasons for these? That’s possibly the scariest thing I’ve read in a very long time.

  31. shunt1

    President Bush:

    “To meet this goal, we will return the Space Shuttle to flight as soon as possible, consistent with safety concerns and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The Shuttle’s chief purpose over the next several years will be to help finish assembly of the International Space Station. In 2010, the Space Shuttle — after nearly 30 years of duty — will be retired from service.

    Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014. The Crew Exploration Vehicle will be capable of ferrying astronauts and scientists to the Space Station after the shuttle is retired. But the main purpose of this spacecraft will be to carry astronauts beyond our orbit to other worlds. This will be the first spacecraft of its kind since the Apollo Command Module.

    Our third goal is to return to the moon by 2020, as the launching point for missions beyond. Beginning no later than 2008, we will send a series of robotic missions to the lunar surface to research and prepare for future human exploration. Using the Crew Exploration Vehicle, we will undertake extended human missions to the moon as early as 2015, with the goal of living and working there for increasingly extended periods. Eugene Cernan, who is with us today — the last man to set foot on the lunar surface — said this as he left: “We leave as we came, and God willing as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind.” America will make those words come true. (Applause.)”

    …..

    So kids, where is our Crew Exploration Vehicle today?

    “Our second goal is to develop and test a new spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle, by 2008, and to conduct the first manned mission no later than 2014.”

    WHERE IS IT?

  32. #12 shunt1 “Please show the actual quotation of where Romney wanted to open a windown of an aircraft in flight….”

    If you look at the full context of the quote at http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-beverly-hills-fundraiser-20120922,0,2317962.story

    You will see Romney said: “I appreciate the fact that she is on the ground, safe and sound. And I don’t think she knows just how worried some of us were,” Romney said. “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no — and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she’s safe and sound.”

    Note the plane had to make a landing…seems clear he was referring to a plane in flight because, you know, it had to land.

  33. Unsettled Scientist

    shunt1, please send more than 30 seconds reading things, then you won’t come off so ignorant.

    I keep looking, but where did Phil say Romney mentioned windows on a NASA spacecraft?

    That quote makes it clear that Romney really doesn’t know why you can’t open windows on a pressurized cabin in flight. Romney also doesn’t know that there is not enough pressure outside the aircraft to breathe and opening a window won’t help. If his wife opened the window, she and everyone in the cabin would pass out and possibly die of hypoxia. One wonders if Mitt is getting enough oxygen or has just lived such a coddled life that common sense is not something he possesses.

    shunt1, the plane was a Challenger 601, a typical isobaric pressurized cabin. It does in fact have those emergency doors over the wings. It took me more than 30 seconds to prove you wrong, but that’s because I actually read. It’s on the right side of the cabin… an overwing emergency exit. You’re just simply wrong, and the reason you are wrong is because you don’t bother to look things up and read.

  34. Dave Jerrard

    Good question. Where was it by the end of 2008? Nice relocation of the goal posts by the way.

  35. shunt1

    @22. Dave Jerrard:

    But someone just told us that opening a door and letting oxygen into a burning aircraft would kill you. Myth Busters told them so…

    LOL

    Personally, I want to exit that aircraft ASAP when in a crash and before it catches on fire.

    There was one time while flying a Piper Warrior when I got hit by a major crosswind from a T-storm while landing. Even with a 45 degree crab angle, I knew that we would probably crash and there was nothing that I could do to prevent it.

    I ordered that the door be opened while in flight, so that we would have some chance of getting out of the aircraft before it caught on fire.

    Thankfully, a hanger blocked the wind and I was able to recover before we actually crashed. But my order to open the door was the correct thing to do.

  36. shunt1

    24. Unsettled Scientist:

    The Challenger 601 does match the picture and it does have an exit over the wing.

    I stand corrected!

    That SIR is the quality of information that I expected.

    You provided me with information that I was able to verify.

    THANKS!

    I mean that seriously, THANKS!

  37. Dave Jerrard

    What’s the standard cruising altitude of a Piper, and how is it different from the cruising altitude of a commercial jet airliner?

  38. shunt1

    For full images of the Challenger 601, look at this link of images.

    @24 Unsettled Scientist – provided me with the information that I needed.

  39. Unsettled Scientist

    shunt1 admits > I stand corrected!

    Great, so now we all agree that Romney doesn’t understand why people can’t open windows on planes.

    BTW, I’m still waiting for the exact paragraph where Phil says Romney mentioned anything about windows NASA spacecraft. Was that just more of your sloppy reading done in less than 30 seconds, or was is simply more of your trolling that you exhibit on this blog frequently? Probably both really.

  40. Charlie

    Not much more informed than his view on cold fusion (less than 1 year ago):

    “I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.”

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/transcript-of-our-interview-with-mitt-romney/article/992671#.UGD077J5fNl

  41. shunt1

    @28. Dave Jerrard:

    Uh, when I was about 20 feet above the runway and was suddenly hit by a 50 mph crosswind, the cruising altitude of a Piper was the last thing on my mind.

    Burning a horrible death in an airplane, with a crushed door and no way to get out, was my priority.

    We would probably crash, but could survive if we exited the airplane rapidly. I had already slowed the aircraft down to about 60 mph before the wind gust.

    Thankfully, “@24 Unsettled Scientist” answered most of my questions.

  42. shunt1

    “I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.” – Phil

    But I do want to thank you for the help in identifying the exact Romney aircraft. I was guessing a Citation 5.

    Maximum left rudder, maximum right aileron, full throttle and hold the aircraft below 20 feet for ground effect. There was nothing else that I could do with a sudden 50 mph cross-wind.

  43. Alan D

    He was talking about a flight his wife Ann was on, which was at 40,000 feet when they declared an emergency and landed because of smoke in the cabin. It seems clear he was talking about opening the windows on an in-flight aircraft.

  44. Pete Jackson

    So Bush wanted to go back to the Moon. I’d rather watch the Chinese spend the money to do that while the US begins the first step towards Mars, namely landing astronauts on another moon – Phobos!

  45. Fizz

    @21 shunt1:
    But, if you read the whole article, you’ll note that the Nasa directors were specifically frustrated with W for not allowing sufficient time / funding, etc for Constellation to be ready in time of the shuttle cancellation.
    Basically, it’s all more complex than just saying either “Bush killed the shuttle” or “Obama killed the shuttle”.

  46. JohnW

    I’d trust him way more than the guy who thinks there’s 57 states, the US Navy has “corpse-men,” they speak Austrian in Austria, etc. etc.

  47. Unsettled Scientist

    shunt1, really?

    “I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.” – Phil

    “I keep looking, but where did he mention windows on a NASA spacecraft?” – shunt1

    Phil says airplane, you say NASA spacecraft. It is time to either admit you never even understood the single sentence you have been commenting on, or that you are blatantly trolling. It is one or the other.

  48. Solitha

    @shunt1

    “The flight was at 40,000 feet when it turned around to make the emergency landing, according to Flight Aware.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/ann-romneys-plane-makes-emergency-landing/

    Do you really not get the difference between air pressure at 20 feet vs 7.5 miles off the ground? Really?

    And do you really not get the idea there’s big differences between a personal craft like a Piper Warrior, and something the Romneys would be using like a commercial or private business jet?

    I was only a student pilot, 20 years ago… and you’re making pilots as a whole look pretty bad here.

  49. shunt1

    @30. Unsettled Scientist:

    BTW, a few years later I did crash my airplane.

    My spine was shattered and I could not get out. Fuel was leaking and running between my legs.

    I KNOW that feeling of absolute terror and how it was impossible for me to get away.

    Perhaps I was a little too sensitive on this subject, but for valid reasons.

    After an artificial avertebra and six months of learning now to walk once again, I still love to fly.

  50. scgvlmike

    I love the question, Dave Jerrard.
    I looked them up quickly, or as close as I could find. The Piper Warrior has a ceiling of 3353 meters, or 11000 feet. We can safely assume the optimum cruising altitude is somewhere below that. (1)

    The Challenger 601 has a ceiling of 41000 feet & up (it varies by a few thousand depending on the exact model, so I chose the lowest one). (2)

    The oxygen level at zero ft (sea level) is 101kPa, vs. 68kPA at 11000 ft (thin but still breathable) and 19kPa at 41000 ft. (3) Yeah, you try breathing that. Or let’s assume you get back down to somewhere around the piper’s ceiling, and then open a window. Great, now you’re feeding that fire with oxygen at whatever the stall speed is– let’s assume 180kph, but it doesn’t really matter here, the point is that it’s a LOT of oxygen to feed that fire.

    There’s a reason commercial aircraft have those drop-down oxygen masks.

    (1) http://letsflysandiego.com/specwarr.htm
    (2) http://www.airliners.net/aircraft-data/stats.main?id=123
    (3) all oxygen calculations were from http://www.altitude.org/oxygen_levels.php

  51. shunt1

    @37. Unsettled Scientist

    Oh, I understood what Phil was trying to imply. Why else were those two subjects combined together?

    Combining two subjects together and then deny that there was anything associated with the actual words posted.

    Phil is great at doing that!

    I just call him on it, when he does things like that.

  52. Ted Hartley

    Phil -

    How and why do you put up with this nonsense?????

  53. shunt1

    “I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.”

    Perhaps Phil will trust anyone that supported windows on a bus that could be pushed out in an accident? Wish the airplane that I crashed had such a simple solution.

    Phil is invited to Octoberfest to view High Powered Rockets being launched in Northern Colorado next week. This has always been a friendly debate and never something personal!

  54. Craig

    1) Will the comments(s) wishing Romney to die be allowed to stay here?

    2) It is also a fair reading of what he said to conclude that Mitt understands perfectly well that windows on pressurized aircraft don’t open, and that he didn’t understand why an alternate air source wasn’t provided. Most non-pilot, non-engineer folks wouldn’t know why that’s a hard problem. The idea isn’t crazy, though.

    3) Fire on aircraft is wicked scary.

  55. Ferris Valyn

    Shunt1 – the fact is Constellation was a BAD program. It deserved to be canceled. When you ask “where is our CEV” in 2008, the program was already behind schedule. At the point of cancellation, Constellation had already spent $25 Billion, without anything serious actually flying. And the program was years behind schedule (Its first flight was estimated to be in 2016).

    Obama cancelled it, and has been trying to reform NASA (although with not as much success as we might like). That is why we had the start of the commercial Crew program (the COTS program, which was the model for commercial Crew, spent $500 Million, and already has had multiple flights).

    I am looking forward to flights by DragonRider, CST-100, and Dreamchaser.

    Oh, and Orion is still around

  56. Jose

    I suppose it must be great to go through life never listening to anyone except people who agree with you.

    Sorry but I just don’t find this blog very engaging anymore when it mires itself in partisan politics.

  57. Jon Peltier

    Sarcasm is lost on some people, eh, shuntie?

  58. shunt1

    @42. Craig:

    Thanks!

    I was not saying anything that strange or unusual.

  59. shunt1

    @43. Ferris Valyn:

    I also thought that the Constellation program was a bad choice. No arguments from me on issue.

    But I also fail to understand why we need any humans in space now, since robotics can perform everything that they do better, at a much lower cost.

    If I had my choice, there would be 100 robots crawling around both Mars and the Moon.

    Another subject for a later date…

  60. Craig Hartel

    @28 Dave Jerrard said “What’s the standard cruising altitude of a Piper, and how is it different from the cruising altitude of a commercial jet airliner?”

    European or African?

  61. Bryan

    So funny watching Shunt1 try to pin the state of the US space program on Obama.

    Have you noticed it’s a continual fight for funds? Have you ever contacted your congressional representatives and lobbied them for more NASA funding?
    If not, then you can stop talking now.

  62. Elwood

    @42 Craig

    (1) Which ones? Please be specific

    (2) If that’s a fair reading, then Mr Romney is not making himself clear.

    (3) Agreed

  63. shunt1

    @44. Jose:

    “Sorry but I just don’t find this blog very engaging anymore when it mires itself in partisan politics.”

    Have you ever seen me posting something on this blog when Phil is talking about astronomy?

    I read this blog every single day, because it is still the best source of astronomy news. I read all the other quality astronomy blogs, but there has always been something special about this one.

    But sometimes, Phil does stray outside of astronomy….

    As an astronomer, there is nobody that I trust more for news in that field of research.

  64. shunt1

    47. Craig Hartel Says:
    September 24th, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    @28 Dave Jerrard said “What’s the standard cruising altitude of a Piper, and how is it different from the cruising altitude of a commercial jet airliner?”

    European or African?

    ………………….

    You have no idea how hard that made me laugh!

    Plus or minus 20 meters?

  65. MonkeyDeathcar

    Jose, when you leave can you take shunt1 with you. This way I’ll have a better chance of learning something from the other intelligent commentators. Thanks.

  66. Crudely Wrott

    I suggest that we strap Mitt into the cockpit of a non pressurized DC-3 airliner*, with the cockpit side windows opened, mounted it atop an Atlas booster and light the fuse.

    Within minutes he will start worshiping solid and secure windows.

    Because he must worship something, right?

    Plus, if there is a fire on board, the last thing you want to do is to open a window and introduce high velocity oxygenated air. Can you say, “fanning the fire”?
    .

    *as a young boy I flew plenty of miles in said sturdy aircraft which normally only climbed to over twelve thousand feet to clear a part of the Rocky Mountains after which it descended to a more breathable altitude. I recall craggy summits of the Laramie Range passing butt-tighteningly close beneath me, much to my childish delight.

  67. shunt1

    53. Crudely Wrott:

    My goal this year is to learn how to fly a sailplane over the Rocky Mountains.

    I know exactly what you are talking about and hope to do the exact same thing next spring.

    But Mitten’s comment about not being able to open the aircraft doors in a crash was perfectly understood.

    BTW, I do not support Mittens and hope that President Obama does get re-elected this year!

    ………..

    as a young boy I flew plenty of miles in said sturdy aircraft which normally only climbed to over twelve thousand feet to clear a part of the Rocky Mountains after which it descended to a more breathable altitude. I recall craggy summits of the Laramie Range passing butt-tighteningly close beneath me, much to my childish delight

  68. Grand Lunar

    @shunti,

    “Yes, the Constellation program was to replace the space shuttle.”

    The problem with Constellation was that it turned more into a rocket building program.

    It assumed an increase in budget in it’s plan to build two new, completely different rockets.

    The smarter plan would’ve been to human rate the existing EELVs, such as Delta IV or Atlas V.

    Less massive CEV designs also existed, so mass wasn’t so much a problem with them.

    I lay blame on Mike Griffin’s ideas putting us on an unsuitable path.

    Looking at the bigger picture, there’s also the problem with the hyperfixation on human Mars missions.

    What we really need is to make use of the resources on the Moon to really open up the solar system to us.
    It can be done with not much in the way of budget increases.

  69. Ferris Valyn

    shunt1 – That depends ENTIRELY on what we want space for. If you view space as primarily a domain of scientific research, there is merit to what you say (to a point).

    But I don’t view space as purely scientific in nature. Space has a lot of resources that are worth developing. That should be the primary focus of our space agency (note space, not science) on the human side.

    All that said, the point is that you have to attack the question of WHY does space cost so much (hint, it isn’t the amount of energy). Because if you bring the price of spaceflight down, then you can do more science, and develop more resources.

    However, I have to pose this question – what do you care, if you are against human spaceflight, that Obama cancelled Constellation?

  70. Zyggy

    @ Chris 7.: I just kinda had that same idea.

    When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.

    That’s a *really* good idea: Let’s give ol’ Mitt a special plane with pilots in flight suits and a separately pressurized cockpit and windows that open. He can get all the ‘oxygen’ he wants.

    Natural selection hard at work…

    Zyg

  71. shunt1

    @55. Grand Lunar:

    I really can not argue with anything that you just posted.

    Humans are locked into a suit and can not smell, taste or feel their environment.

    I know of nothing that a robotic mission can not do better than a human, given the same mass required.

    When we sent men to the Moon, our computers and even cameras were very primitive and only a human could perform those functions.

    Today, all that has changed. I want 100 rovers on both the Moon and Mars.

    But that is for another day and topic.

  72. shunt1

    56. Ferris Valyn :

    “However, I have to pose this question – what do you care, if you are against human spaceflight, that Obama cancelled Constellation?”

    I would like all of NASA shut down.
    Start over and remember what “exploring” was all about.

    Damit, I want to pay $500 and operate a rover on the Moon MYSELF for one day!

    Hit the “Reset Switch.”

    Notice that I never said that I do not support our space efforts!

    But it is time to start over once again.

  73. Sir Craig

    Hey there, everyone. I had been an aircraft maintainer (heavies) for 25 years until last year, and it staggers the imagination that Romney could say something as idiotic as that. More to the point, it blows my mind that shunt1 could even begin to defend something like that, completely miss the point Phil was trying to make, AND relate a story about ordering a door opened in flight in preparation of a crash landing. I have personally reamed pilots for trying to do what shunt1 suggests, because unless you are stopped on the ground you are risking any number of catastrophic events taking place.

    It is too bad you had your accident and I’m glad you are recovering shunt1, but even if you had a spotless flying record I would not step one foot onto an aircraft you were piloting: Your judgment is so far outside the rational that your license should be reviewed, ASAP.

  74. Matt L

    Don’t know why I’m going to bother, but I’m jumping in to the comments.

    1) The fire took place while the plane was in the air. The plane DID, as proved here in the comments, have an emergency exit. Once the plane was on the ground I presume these could have been opened. Given these facts it is reasonable to assume that Romney was in fact talking about opening a window during flight.

    2) In regards to what this has to do with NASA, the answer should be obvious. A President who doesn’t understand basic science, like the pressurized cabin of an aircraft and why you don’t want the windows opening in flight, is not going to a President well suited to making decisions for the future of a large science based operation like NASA.

    By the way, I get the likely counterargument here that the President has advisers who theoretically help him to understand this stuff. There’s certainly truth to this argument, but it’s still distressing to think that the President of our country could be SO ignorant about something as basic as this topic.

    3) For the side argument going on about the retirement of the Space Shuttle, I think we can all mostly agree that the Shuttle simply had too many design flaws to continue to be flown in relative safety.

    There’s a lot of philosophy involved in the choices made by both Bush and Obama for NASA that I’m sure we can argue about ad nauseum. Bush’s plan might have been okay if not for the complete lack of funding and utter lack of organization. It is very arguable that these two factors would have doomed his plans no matter who had taken over the White House. There was a lot of money being sunk into something that was essentially vaporware.

    Obama’s plan to have the private sector cover near-Earth and NASA move on to bigger more interesting projects is sound in theory, but again funding will be key especially when it comes to his plans for NASA. So far he shows little sign of helping to fund NASA in such a way as to do something as ambitious as go to an asteroid, which he has talked about.

    So maybe we should stop arguing about who to blame and just admit that when it comes to human space exploration, everyone is to blame and has been pretty much since Nixon canceled the Moon landings.

    4) Final thought, relating to the above. Robot missions are certainly cheaper and more efficient in certain ways, so I understand comments like Shunt1′s. But I would argue that humans are still more versatile. Yes, we require lots of resources and protection, but our ability to adapt to a variety of conditions and to do a vast assortment of different tasks means that IMO there is still a place for human exploration.

    Maybe more important though, there’s something psychological about actually going some place and doing something. There’s something exciting and amazing. Something that captures the imagination. Yeah, there has been a lot of excitement about Curiosity, but anyone who was alive during the moon landings can probably tell you just how different it was. I wasn’t unfortunately, but even so , that event captures my imagination every time I look at the moon in a way that no robot ever could.

    Humans do so many horrible things. We kill, maim, rape, and lie to one another pretty much constantly. But we can also do amazing, unbelievable things. Things that push the boundaries and prove that we CAN be more than we are.

    -

    So yeah, there you go, don’t know why I got so involved in all of these comments, but at least it helped to get my thoughts straightened out…

  75. Unsettled Scientist

    ok shunt1, trolling it is.

  76. shunt1

    @60. Sir Craig:

    How many doors are on a Piper Warrior?

    What happens, if that one and only door gets jammed in a crash?

    My “passenger” during that flight was my flight instructor as we were performing my annual reveiw. He was impressed that I had ordered him to open the door!

    Of course, he would have survived and I would have been killed.

    Shame that the Piper Warrior does not have Mitten’s kick out windows!

  77. Wzrd1

    @Shunt1, I’m still trying to wrap my head around two claims of yours.
    1: That you actually read the article.
    More alarming:
    2: Your claim to be an aircraft pilot.
    If your reading comprehension is as horrific as evidenced by your partial quotes that remove all context, I feel true fear about your interpretation of a checklist!

    BTW, on the Constellation cancellation, “A review had concluded that it would cost on the order of $150 billion for Constellation to reach its objective if hewing to the original schedule.”
    Meanwhile, you and your ilk gripe over the federal budget!
    Meanwhile, there are no fewer than 5 alternative programs working toward being man rated than the vaporware, hyper-expanding budget Constellation program. The Orion capsule program still has a budget.
    Oh, that doesn’t count, as Obama retained it, huh?

    Let’s review the airplane window comment, from the ARTICLE:
    “Romney was speaking to the Times about his chevalier Ann’s brush with danger last week, when a plane on which she was a passenger was forced to make an emergency landing after an electrical fire caused the cabin to fill with smoke.”
    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    Honestly, if you DO pilot an aircraft, I am honestly worried enough to contact the FAA and have them subpoena Discover Magazine for IP records so that they can pull your license!

    GWB back in 2004: “To meet this goal, we will return the Space Shuttle to flight as soon as possible, consistent with safety concerns and the recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The Shuttle’s chief purpose over the next several years will be to help finish assembly of the International Space Station. In 2010, the Space Shuttle — after nearly 30 years of duty — will be retired from service. ”

    Romney’s plan for NASA, same budget, nothing more. “Leadership” “to be the best in the world”, without any substance, suggestion, guidance or even hint that he had a clue of a hint of a plan. In short, campaign vaporware promises.

    So, with no due respect, I am now quite alarmed regarding aircraft passing over my home, as I live under one flight path at PHL, thanks to you.
    Assuming you pilot anything larger than paper or plastic aircraft.

  78. shunt1

    @61. Matt L:

    Nice comments and I would not argue much with them.

    Just remember one simple item:

    YOU have only seen things from the Moon or Mars from a camera.

  79. shunt1

    @64. Wzrd1:

    As I am hopping up an down and laughing….

    “Honestly, if you DO pilot an aircraft, I am honestly worried enough to contact the FAA and have them subpoena Discover Magazine for IP records so that they can pull your license!”

    PLEASE, PLEASE and oh PLEASE!

    Would you like my email address?

    huntworksteve@gmail.com

    How about my FAA license number?

    – darn, I have my license in my hand and I can not find any ID number.

    Can I post a picture of my license?

    SEE YOU IN COURT!

  80. shunt1

    @64. Wzrd1:

    How can I best post an image of my FAA license?

    It is rather cool, since it was issued on the 100th year after the original Wright flight. A rather unique license that very few have.

    I am not a coward and hide. I am always proud to say who I am!

    See you in court!

    I am not a public figure…

  81. Wzrd1

    @Shunt1, you’d not have to see ME in court. Sure, kindly provide your license number.
    You belied your incompetence when you compared your Piper Warrior aircraft with a commercial airliner, such as Ann Romney’s flight, a Bombardier Challenger 601.
    Let’s see the differences, in the US, there is private and commercial as part of general aviation. To see a Piper Warrior as commercial, but quite plentiful in private aviation. A Challenger 600 series is extremely rare to see in private aviation, but plentiful in commercial aviation.
    The Piper Warrior is a propeller, single gasoline engine powered aircraft. The Challenger 600 series is a dual engine, Jet A fueled turbofan aircraft.
    And to be blunt, your moral and mental character is of interest to the FAA. You’ve evidenced irrationality, the inability to read and comprehend an article and rather strange behavior that is worrisome behind the controls of an aircraft in the post-9-11 era.
    *I* don’t have to go to court. The FAA would merely provide a national security letter to Discover to recover your IP, the same to your ISP to compare IP and time and from that, your real information.
    I need to no more than provide a complaint and voice concern to the FSDO here.

    Waiting for your certificate number…

  82. Wzrd1

    No need for an image. Just your airmen certificate number is sufficient.

  83. Shunt1 @ #54 said: “Perhaps Phil will trust anyone that supported windows on a bus that could be pushed out in an accident? Wish the airplane that I crashed had such a simple solution.”

    Where on an aircraft would you recommend placing windows which can be broken by kicking them?

    I hope nowhere near where you might have nervous passengers. I understand it’s scary enough having passengers try to open doors inflight.

  84. shunt1

    “I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.”

    This is what was stated and this is what you accused me of:

    “You’ve evidenced irrationality, the inability to read and comprehend an article and rather strange behavior that is worrisome behind the controls of an aircraft in the post-9-11 era.”

    Sir, since I am not a public figure, this is grounds for a slander lawsuit.

    You are correct, soneone will be seeking an IP addresses.

    After working at the Redwood Falls Airport (KRWF) for 10 years, I have worked with almost every type of aircraft that could land on a 4001 ft runway.

    I have always been proud to say who I am!

    See you in court!

  85. shunt1

    @84. Peter B Says:

    “Where on an aircraft would you recommend placing windows which can be broken by kicking them?”

    From personal experience, I would prefer that a Piper Warrior have the ability to kick out the window on the pilot’s side of the aircraft.

    …………..

    An honest debate is one thing.

    Wzrd1 went too far tonight and crossed into legal slander when he challenged my FAA license. This WILL go to court.

  86. @shunt1

    It’s only grounds for a defamation lawsuit if the statements are statements of fact that are nit true, rather than opinion.

    Also, it’s “libel” if written, not “slander”.

  87. shunt1

    87. Todd W:

    That will be for a Judge to decide.

    Notice how I am not ashamed of identifying who I am?

    But I am more than willing to have Phil explain his comment in more detail and how he was able to associate these two concepts together:

    ““I’m not sure I want to trust plans for NASA from the same guy who wonders why airplane windows don’t open.”

  88. You’ll also need to show that his speech did not fall into a privileged category, such as speech in the public interest.

    Personally, I’d recommend that both of you take a step back and calm down.

  89. shunt1

    “You’ll also need to show that his speech did not fall into a privileged category, such as speech in the public interest.”

    Nope, that was a personal attack against my FAA license!

    Scientific debates among gentlemen is one thing. Challenging my FAA license is something totally different.

  90. Wow, that didn’t take long to degenerate, did it?

    I strongly urge everyone involved in this discussion to take a deep breath and back away for the computer.

    It will give me no joy to start banning IPs and such, but I will do so without hesitation if this sort of thing continues.

    Also, all of you, read this. That’s not a suggestion.

  91. Also, shunt1, if you want to threaten lawsuits, do it via email, and not my blog. I won’t tolerate that sort of thing here.

  92. shunt1

    Phil: Understood.

    Scientific debates among gentlemen is one thing. Challenging my FAA license is something totally different.

    But you are correct:

    If he sends a private apology to my email, then it will be accepted.

    huntworksteve@gmail.com

    I hope that we will continue to be gentlemen and realize that we were both debating an issue with each other in all honesty, and it should never have become personal.

    As for tonight, you are correct Phil and the topic is now closed.

  93. Chris2

    Actually, I thought this whole conversation has been amusing. Especially since I have had them in real life. So I am not surprised at the lack of basic knowledge shown by Romney and others.

    When I was studying aerospace engineering one of my structures professors told us that he will never get into a small prop plane. He had been involved in too many crash investigations. There is a great deal of difference between an unpressurized prop plane and a pressurized commercial jet (just read about the 1950′s de Havilland Comet, and what lessons learned with it that are comparable to Galloping Gertie, aka the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge).

    Our department did have its own airplane. But when I was there they no longer allowed students to fly as passengers in it due to it having too many controlled flights into terrain. So all we got to do was measure every hanging bit on it to calculate its drag coefficient (and it had extra pitot tubes). Then we had to use that info to get the power required part for the flight envelope calculations.

  94. Aaron

    I know this is off-topic but yesterday I saw something rather strange near the moon (no I’m not about to ask if it had to do with aliens don’t worry). I saw a bright flash of light that looked like it occurred either on the moon’s surface or close to the moon in the sky. It was visible for a few minutes before disappearing. At first I thought it was a supernova, but it began to move away from the moon at a rate faster than the rate that a star travels diurnally through the sky. It also looked like it could have been the result of an impact on the moon’s surface, but astronomers would have known about an object that could cause such an impact at least months in advance. It also could have been a plane of some sort but it didn’t behave like a plane. Do you have any idea what it might have been? It happened some time between 5:30 PM and 5:45 PM pacific time.

  95. Fizz

    I wonder… if no one had any knowledge of who Romney is, if it were just “John Doe”, would this blog post have been nearly as controversial and degraded as much?
    I suspect not. Phil’s statement by itself is pretty innocuous. But i think knowledge of who Romney is and our current place in history cause people react more strongly.

  96. MadScientist

    @chet#19: Oxygen and Nitrogen remain in about the same proportion (21%, 78%) throughout the entire atmosphere. There is no need to add oxygen to a pressurized aircraft; the air bled off the engine’s compressor stage to warm and pressurize the aircraft already has 21% Oxygen. Although there are oxygen masks (which are essential when a cabin starts to fill with smoke), there is also a danger that the fire may disrupt the oxygen supply. On the bright side, if the fire disrupts the oxygen supply then oxygen is probably the least of your worries – the fire is probably big enough to destroy a number of the aircraft’s vital functions. How the fire behaves is another thing – if you stay at a high altitude and manage to depressurize the aircraft that certainly helps put out the fire (it’s even better if you can get the cabin air temperature very low). In at least one tragic fire the pilot followed the books and brought the aircraft to a lower altitude (approx. 2km) which unfortunately really got the fire going; also if the aircraft maintains pressurization it has a pressure similar to the air pressure at 2km anyway.

  97. Craig

    @63 Elwood:

    1) See #12.
    2) I’m glad people don’t follow me around to check my sentence structure every time I speak. But, seriously, doesn’t my interpretation sound more plausible than one that requires Romney to not know why the windows don’t open? Either could be true, but one is way more absurd than the other.
    3) Fer shure.

    And, for that Sir Craig up there, obviously heavies don’t open the doors before an emergency landing, but Piper Warriors do. Part of a good engine-out checklist is wedging a shoe or something in it to make sure it stays open. SOP for any off-field landing. They fly just fine that way, BTW. Sometimes the door pops open on takeoff. The procedure there is to ignore it, get back in the pattern, and land. Then buy new charts because yours just blew all over tarnation. (Climb performance may not be up to book.)

  98. Wes

    I think the comments calling him an idiot are not fair. I think most people who don’t understand decompression would say “If there’s a fire what do we do”. I think he’s unknowingly raising a good point about airplane safety. Short of landing the plane are there other methods to stop a fire or deal with the smoke? How are fires handled on the space station?

  99. LarryR

    Criminy,

    Is a person required to have a pre-frontal lobotomy before becoming licensed to be a politician? I’m sure if we look far enough into the background of passenger jet flight history, a young Obama welded all the windows shut!

  100. LarryR

    Sorry, Dr. Plait,

    I merely read the original post and the two hard-to-believe articles linked within it, and had to throw out Three Stooges mentality sarcasm to keep my head from exploding. I hope that it did not break your rules linked in response #91. I don’t post often, but would hate to be banned. Even if’n I am, I will continue to read your blog with interest and great pleasure.

    (by the way, I didn’t read the responses leading up to your post #91!)

  101. scgvlmike

    Guys, he’s a troll. We’re feeding an insatiable appetite for attention.

    I noticed his statement that he had his license in his hand & couldn’t see an ID number. I was curious about that– I’m not a pilot & had never seen a pilot license, even though my mom’s a licensed pilot & has been since before I was born. I wondered if there even WAS a paper document, like a drivers license. So I use Google’s image search to find an example, and yes, there is a paper document. With a clearly printed number. Please forgive the use of a URL shortener, but the original was enormous, so I ran it through goo.gl and got http://goo.gl/30YJP

  102. noen

    Can we get better trolls? This one’s all used up.

  103. Simon Green

    Oh, you guys are so screwed. It’s sad, it really is.

  104. Thomas Siefert

    Ya gotta keep the smoke in, once it gets out the device is dead. At least that’s my experience from electronics, air planes can’t be that different.

    Regarding sarcasm, the other day I watched “The Inbetweeners Movie” with the subtitles enabled (I was eating crispies (chips)). Every time sarcasm was used, the sentence was ended with (!).
    Brilliant.

  105. Bahahahaha! That airplane window thing is priceless. How have I not heard of this before?
    If he weren’t so close to being the most powerful person on Earth, it’d be even funnier. As it is the humor is dulled by a healthy heaping of fear.

  106. John EB Good

    Imagine the crazy & strange Tuesday morning I’m experiencing right now:

    Check this picture from Reuter on the Canadian Paper La Presse’s website:

    http://www.lapresse.ca/sciences/astronomie-et-espace/201209/21/01-4576213-la-distance-terre-soleil-gravee-dans-le-marbre.php

    I just read that prior to coming here and thanks to some clueless press agency illustrator and the French reporter who labeled this picture as a «photo» of the Sun, the timing is perfect to boldly go where no one thought it would be a good idea to go.

    Hail THE reporter’s perfect idea, courtesy of Reuter to Romney, to hoist back the USA where it really belongs:

    You should land a man on the Sun by the end of the deceny. T’should be quite feasable if you land over there during night time, on its dark side!!! :D

  107. LarryR @ #97 said: “Is a person required to have a pre-frontal lobotomy before becoming licensed to be a politician?”

    Actually, I was thinking of the Pointy-Haired Boss in “Dilbert”:

    The PHB speculates to himself that if they cut costs enough, the company can make a profit without actually producing anything. In the last frame he’s staring at the end of a biro, asking himself how they get the ink in there…

  108. Lars Bruchmann

    Wow. I got in on the tail-end of this, as usual. The NTSB has been petitioning the FAA to require “Smoke Hoods” for decades. These are basically inflating bags that one puts over one’s head and has 5 or so minutes of O2. Enough for passengers to evacuate the airplane. The FAA and airlines have complained the price of installing them is not worth the cost. Cheaper to let people die. Not being rude or flippant, it’s a cost-benefit analysis. Most commercial aircraft have pilot windows which do open, they slide inwards and backwards, thereby sealing tightly against the frame when closed and the aircraft is pressurized. And I too was taught to open the doors of the Cessna 172 before an emergency or off-airport landing. This is because the frames are week and twisted airplane doors could be difficult to open. Romney is correct that ‘not being able to access clean, fresh O2 inside the cabin of an airliner is a problem.’ But that’s not what he said.

  109. Steve

    I love this website…..I really do and I check it several times per day for updates. But Phil, you lose your legendary even handedness when you delve into politics. You made ever contortion imaginable to defend the current administration’s shabby treatment of the space program. Mitt Romney has probably flown thousands of airplane flights in his life….far more than either you or I. He knows how they work. The man’s wife was in a plane that filled with smoke, give it a rest.

  110. @Steve

    I’ve ridden in plenty of cars. Does that mean I know all of the mechanics of them?

    At any rate, a simple matter of understanding why windows can’t be opened on a pressurized plane has been addressed by several other individuals on here with specific relevant engineering experience.

  111. Messier Tidy Upper

    From the source linked in the OP :

    “A strong and successful NASA does not require more funding, it needs clearer priorities,” the [Romney space policy - ed.] paper reads. “Romney will ensure that NASA has practical and sustainable missions. There will be a balance of pragmatic and top-priority science with inspirational and groundbreaking exploration programs.”

    No further details about these prospective science and exploration missions are provided. (Emphasis added.)

    I disagree and don’t like the sound of that at all. :-(

    I think NASA does need clearer priorities *and* much more funding.

    I think Obama made some major mistakes in space policy and disappointed and disillusioned me there badly. His glib dismissal of a human lunar return infuriated me.

    But Mitt Romney’s space policy paper here makes me no happier with him at all. :-(

    Mind you, Mitt Romney seems increasingly unlikely to win the US election anyhow from what I gather, making this discussion rather moot.

    No US President has really done a great job in this area since JFK and Johnson (Sp?) in my view. :-(

  112. noen

    I have ridden in cars for hundreds, nay…. *thousands* of miles! This makes me a qualified auto mechanic.

    edit — damn! Not quick enough!

  113. Messier Tidy Upper

    @73. Shunt1 : Did I read you here saying you wanted to scrap NASA altogether! :-o

    [Checks upthread - yup.]

    I would like all of NASA shut down.

    As a big fan of NASA and their works – y’know small things like the dozen Lunar human landings, the Voyager missions, the Hubble Space observatory et cetera .. can I just register my shock and vehement disagreement and ask – really? Are you serious?

    Now NASA may have its faults and imperfections sure but, wow, look at the wonders they have built and flown and shared with the world and the things they’ve achieved and as the Curiosity landing and continuing Cassini images – not to mention the HST ones show are still accomplishing.

  114. @73. Shunt1 : (Continued because it took me a while to find the comment in question and edit accordingly. )

    Start over and remember what “exploring” was all about.
    Damit, I want to pay $500 and operate a rover on the Moon MYSELF for one day!
    Hit the “Reset Switch.” .. (snip) it is time to start over once again.

    Start over and reset – by shutting down NASA and all its people and works and achievements? :-(

    How would that help? Really? What do you think is gained by eliminating NASA here and wouldn’t NASA or some sort of national space agency pretty durn close to it just need to be recreated again?

    Notice that I never said that I do not support our space efforts!

    Yet those space efforts are run and organised largely by NASA aren’t they? So arguing for scrapping NASA seems to me very much like destroying those efforts or at least setting them back a long way. :-(

    Yes, private space companies like SpaceX exist and are a good thing too – but I think these are best used to complement NASA’s program *not* replace it.

    @99. Wes asked: “How are fires handled on the space station?”

    Not by opening windows I think! ;-)

    Seriously though there was a fire on the Russian Mir space station at one stage and it was handled okay, will have to see what I can find and link on that.

    EDIT : Found a youtube clip from a doco on it now linked to my name for this comment.

  115. Ferris Valyn

    MTU – one also should look at how often they go over-budget. That is impressive for all the wrong reasons.

    And no, its not just because its hard.

  116. Ferris Valyn

    MTU – You said, “Yet those space efforts are run and organised largely by NASA aren’t they? ”

    In point of fact, thats not true. Its certainly not true in terms of money spent on space (The commercial sector spends the most money on space, and DOD spends something like double what NASA spends on space).

    Answer me this (because you talk about complimenting) – Should the US federal government start its own airline? And if not, why does that same logic not apply to going to and from LEO?

  117. @MTU

    Not by opening windows I think!

    I dunno. It’d extinguish it plenty quick! Granted, then you have that whole loss of pressurization thing, the loss of breathable air. Of course, if you can seal off the compartment, vent it, and re-pressurize it…

    I mean, Ripley seemed fine every time she blew a xenomorph into space.

  118. Robin

    @MTU (115):

    Fire suppression on the ISS is done with portable CO2 extinguishers. In addition to the extinguishers, there are automated valves that control gas concentrations in modules, personal breathing apparatus, and of course air locks to contain fire. Note that fire’s behavior in zero-g is much different than it is on the ground. Flames tend to be round, with heat and gasses coming off radially, symmetrically. It’s an area of intense study. In fact, one of the experiments on the ill fated STS-107 was a study of flame balls.

  119. AliCali

    @ Aaron (95):

    “I know this is off-topic but yesterday I saw something rather strange near the moon…I saw a bright flash of light….It was visible for a few minutes before disappearing….Do you have any idea what it might have been? It happened some time between 5:30 PM and 5:45 PM pacific time.”

    Based on the time, it could’ve been a plane or helicopter that reflected the sun just right. You say it didn’t behave like a plane, but sometimes they look weird when the sun reflects right at you.

    It also could’ve been an Iridium Flare, although it would be early for that. An Iridium Flare is from a satellite with a flat panel that reflects the sun in a very direct manner. The result is a very bright flash (lasting several seconds) if you are right under the path. It’s even visible in the daytime, if looking in the right spot.

    Check heavens-above “dot” com. Register and put in your exact longitude and latitude. That site will tell you about bright satellites and also Iridium Flares, including ones the past 48 hours. Even if it’s not a flare, you should check that site anyway to see when the next flares happen or when the ISS flies overhead.

  120. fernando

    he can open the door for fresh air in case of an emergency… he would have to stand up and move a little though, or send someone

  121. Craig

    Phil:

    Love ya, man. But I must agree with the commenters who point out that the highly concentrated awesome of this site gets heavily diluted when you go political. More Saturn, and less sophomoric straining to prove Romney is a dope, please.

  122. noen

    “Ripley seemed fine every time she blew a xenomorph into space.”

    2001 got it right. Open the pod bay doors Hal.

    ——–

    “the highly concentrated awesome of this site gets heavily diluted when you go political.”

    Americans post WWII have enjoyed the shear luxury unknown to most of humanity down through history of being able to ignore politics. I think that time is coming to an end. For everyone else politics is and always has been the difference between you dying in a ditch or living to see another day.

    Ask the people of Benton Harbor Mich. who no longer even live in a democracy and have had their locally elected officials simply removed from power and an unelected dictator appointed to rule over them, with NO say-so by them, if politics matters.

  123. jim1950a

    Lighten-up. He was just trying to make a joke. Albeit badly.

  124. Jay

    I’m not a fan of Mr. Romney, however, if you actually watch the video it’s fairly obvious the man is joking. Now, if you want to comment on the questionable taste of making a joke in public about your wife being trapped in a plane that may be on fire, well that’s pretty fair game…

  125. @noen

    “What are you doing, Dave?”

    At any rate, gotta agree with you about not ignoring politics. Heaven forbid that Phil should discuss politics where they intersect with issues of science and space! Everyone would be so much happier if all that was ever discussed on here were conflict-free posts about how amazing astral phenomenon X is! And happy is easier than actually thinking about difficult, often emotional, subjects.

    I, for one, think that Phil’s non-astronomy posts, especially where he delves into potentially controversial topics, add to the awesome of this site. It gets me thinking. What is my emotional response to what’s being said? Is it a valid one? If I set aside my emotions, to the best of my ability, do I come to a different conclusion?

    Bottom line, though, remember: this is Phil’s blog. He can post whatever he damn well pleases. If you don’t like it, well, that’s your loss.

  126. Craig

    I know that politics matter, and that it’s Phil’s blog. Duh. I’m just giving some friendly feedback. There is also something to be said for not politicizing everything. Just because I’d rather not see politics here doesn’t mean I don’t want it anywhere.

    Twisting quotes by presidential candidates isn’t exactly elevating discourse anyway.

  127. @jim1950a, Jay and Craig

    Then again, Phil’s post was labeled “humor” as well, so while the comments may have flown off into serious land, it seems that Phil was not “politicizing” things to the degree many thought, but was instead injecting a bit of humor into things, much like Romney apparently attempted to do.

  128. Cory

    “Never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” Mark Twain

  129. TheBlackCat

    @ shunt:

    I read this blog every single day, because it is still the best source of astronomy news. I read all the other quality astronomy blogs, but there has always been something special about this one.

    But sometimes, Phil does stray outside of astronomy….

    Sometimes? This blog has always been primarily about stuff other than astronomy. Heck, it was about stuff other than astronomy before it was even a blog. The third post ever on this blog was about something other than astronomy (as was the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th). The astronomy stuff is a side thing Phil does because he likes it, it has never been the primary purpose of this blog, and it was never the primary purpose of the website this blog grew out of.

    In fact, this sort of thing is exactly what the blog was originally about, people ignorant about stuff that could be vaguely associated with astronomy in some way. This time it happened to be a politician, but that is nothing new for the blog.

  130. Daffy

    “…less sophomoric straining to prove Romney is a dope, please.”

    Not sure how you can strain sophomorically, but in any event, it’s not even close to any kind of strain with Romney.

  131. Peter Davey

    The 19th century French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, best known for his study of the new American republic, posed the question, in the course of that study, as to whether any country governed by “the popular will” could maintain a necessary continuity in its affairs.

    On the other hand, Winston Churchill said that “democracy is the worst possible form of government; with the exception of all the others.”

    Perhaps some of your contributors could consider which quotation is the more relevant to the present situation.

    On the question of the value of manned exploration, it needs to be remembered that, as of this moment, every form of life known to exist, exists on this planet – producing a burden of responsibility akin to having Mount Everest land on you.

    As Heinlein said: “The Earth is far too small and fragile a basket for the human race to continue to keep all of its eggs in” – the same presumably applying to rest of the flora and fauna on this planet.

    As Larry Niven said: “There are some things against which the only defence is to be somewhere else when they happen.”

    On a more positive known, the early twentieth century Russian scientist, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, said that “the Earth is the cradle of Mankind, but no-one stays in the cradle forever.”

    Actually, that comment is not quite correct, there are a few people who, through some tragic illness, metabolic weakness, or whatever, are never able to stand on their own two feet, as adults, but must spend the whole of their lives in some equivalent of cradles.

    Let us hope that the human race, as a whole, is not suffering from some equivalent condition.

  132. TheBlackCat

    After working at the Redwood Falls Airport (KRWF) for 10 years, I have worked with almost every type of aircraft that could land on a 4001 ft runway.

    You work at an airport? I thought you were a millionaire inventor?

  133. Sire

    I’m not at all a Romney supporter, but it’s unfair to attack him based on what was clearly intended as a joke, rather than a gaffe or genuine point of misunderstanding on his part (now, his 47% comment… I could easily write a few pages on that).

    More to the point, whether Phil intended for his post to also be satire or not (which, if it is, I could conclude ONLY from the humor tag), I didn’t take it as such when I first read it. Neither, it seems, did a number of others who commented. Likely, there are a good number of non-posting readers who walked away with that same sentiment.

    Reason: even a good skeptic must rely on authority to a certain extent, and Phil has shown himself to be quite honest. This particular blurb is … not dishonest, but extremely misleading.

    Please correct/clarify the statement. My understanding is that it is not the intent of this blog to be a source for misinformation.

  134. JB of Brisbane

    Are you sure he actually didn’t know why the windows are sealed shut, or that he was pointing out that they are to emphasise that that option isn’t available, and the associated danger? Or am I being too fair to the man?

  135. @119. Robin :

    @MTU (115) : Fire suppression on the ISS is done with portable CO2 extinguishers. In addition to the extinguishers, there are automated valves that control gas concentrations in modules, personal breathing apparatus, and of course air locks to contain fire. Note that fire’s behavior in zero-g is much different than it is on the ground. Flames tend to be round, with heat and gasses coming off radially, symmetrically. It’s an area of intense study. In fact, one of the experiments on the ill fated STS-107 was a study of flame balls.

    Cheers for that. :-)

    @117. Ferris Valyn :

    MTU – You said, “Yet those space efforts are run and organised largely by NASA aren’t they? ”
    In point of fact, thats not true.

    So then, who flew the first astronauts into space aboard the Mercury capsules, which agency landed on the Moon with Apollo and built and flew to various space stations and launched spaceprobes and more with the Space Shuttles?

    Credit where credit’s due please Ferris Valyn – we all owe NASA an awful lot. :-)

    Its certainly not true in terms of money spent on space (The commercial sector spends the most money on space, and DOD spends something like double what NASA spends on space).

    Yeah, well maybe that indicates that NASA should get more funding not less hmmm? ;-)

    Answer me this (because you talk about complimenting) – Should the US federal government start its own airline? And if not, why does that same logic not apply to going to and from LEO?

    Dunno. Maybe. Plenty of nations do have national airlines run by their governments if I understand right – such as El Al for Israel, the world’s safest airline, British Airways for the UK and here in Australia Quantas was certainly state owned and our airline industry regulated pretty tightly at least for many years.

  136. Ferris Valyn

    MTU – you are letting your vision of NASA and the mythology of NASA cloud the data when it comes to data about NASA on the ground.

    I don’t deny the success of Mercury, or Apollo, or so on(although I think there is value in having a discussion about we actually got for our money, but leave that to the side for the moment).

    But you weren’t talking about historical events/success. You suggested/implied that in the US, most space efforts were/are run and organized by NASA. That statement is not true. Once upon a time, it might have been true, but it stopped being true years ago.

    As for increasing NASA’s budget – first, I submit that we need to decouple NASA’s budget with the idea that this is “American Spaceflight.” Or rather, we need to be able to expand the concept of American Spaceflight to include missions that aren’t just NASA missions.

    second, if you are going to expand NASA’s budget, what are you spending it on, and where does it stop? The point of ANY government funded human spaceflight should be about space settlement, or at a minimum, large scale space development. Not putting a few astronauts on the moon, or mars, or asteroids. It needs to be about MILLIONS (yes millions) of people going to space, and moving there permanently, and using it extensively. Anything less, don’t waste my time, my money, or my energy. This may seem inconceivable, but remember the telecon revolution, the communication satellite revolution, and so forth. That is what you need to get measurable, indisputable ROI from space. The current “inspiration” and “exploration” is, frankly, terrible justification (and is why NASA doesn’t get a budget increase). And the spin-off argument isn’t much better. In short, we need to create consumers of spaceflight, and LARGE numbers of them (note, I said consumers, not users).

  137. Mazatzal

    So, by now you have read from the reporters who initially posted the quote that it was indeed a joke? Can we get a retraction, clarification, an “oh, I am pretty much a big Lib who is eager for any conservative negativity because it enforces my narrow presuppositions, unlike the science I preach about most of the time”? No? Wouldn’t surprise me much.

  138. shunt1

    A Piper Warrior aircraft has a maximum crosswind capability of 18 mph.

    My flight instructor and I had already crossed over the end of the runway when we were hit by a micro-burst from a thunderstorm at an altitude of only 20 feet. The airspeed had already been reduced to the minimum in preparation for the final landing.

    I had full left rudder, and right aileron to their mechanical limits, but we were blown off of the runway. With an airspeed under 50 mph and too low in altitude to bank the aircraft without striking the ground, there were not too many options left.

    I gave the aircraft full throttle and was eventually able to gain enough airspeed to climb once again and get us out of danger.

    During those very scary minutes, my instructor grabbed the controls and realized that I was already at the physical limits. There was nothing else that we could do, other than hope that the aircraft could gain enough speed to fly once again.

    We were flying flat and over the grass by the side of the runway. However, because of the 40 mph or higher side-wind, were had a crab angle of about 30 degrees. If we were forced to land at that angle, the wheels would be ripped off.

    Because of the slow speed and landing flat over grass, the actual impact would be rather minimal. The primary worry was with a possible rupture of the fuel tank on the low wing.

    My order to have the only door cracked open so that it would not jam, was a very wise choice, under those very specific conditions.

    Thankfully, we did not crash and I was able to climb and got us out of danger.

    My instructor was very impressed with how I handled such a dangerous situation, but most of all, I had prepared us for an actual crash and ordered the door to be cracked open.

    Twice the FAA has evaluated my emergency situation judgments and they have never found a fault with them.

    I did not received an email apology, and that is a shame. That would have been accepted as a simple disagreement between two gentlemen.

  139. shunt1

    With the actual crash that broke my spine, the FAA could not figure out the cause. It took me over a year with a flight simulator to figure out what may have caused that crash.

    My airspeed indicator had a minimum of 20 mph before the needle would move, so the actual airspeed was below it’s ability to register. Even my electronics did not register the actual airspeed.

    A Challenger II aircraft, that was only doing a taxi test below 20 mph, suddenly climbed to 50 feet, stalled and hit the ground hard enough to rip the wheels off. Bounced and climbed another 40 feet before it hit the ground again.

    That second hit, without the wheels, had my seat strike the runway and my spine shattered.

    Trying to evaluate the flight dynamics of an aircraft at 20 mph, can only be guesswork.

    All I knew, is that none of the flight controls would work and there was nothing that I could do.

  140. shunt1

    @135. NW:

    Thanks for the additional information…

    But, I must apologize to everyone for loosing my temper.

    This old soldier was very well trained to always run towards a fight…

  141. TheBlackCat

    @ shunt1: In my opinion gentleman don’t usually threaten each other with lawsuits.

  142. #143 TheBlackcat:
    Nor does a gentleman make unfounded personal attacks on an author, on the latter’s own blog – which shunt1 now seems to do on a weekly basis.

  143. It was a joke. Check out Snopes. Romney has said enough stupid stuff without joking that one doesn’t need this to mock him.

  144. shunt1

    When have I attacked Phil personally? We may not agree on some political issues, but I do not know of any single time in the past few years that I have ever attacked Phil at the personal level.

    Why did I talk about a lawsuit? These were very personal attacks upon myself from Wzrd1:

    …..

    @78: “Honestly, if you DO pilot an aircraft, I am honestly worried enough to contact the FAA and have them subpoena Discover Magazine for IP records so that they can pull your license! ”

    @82: “And to be blunt, your moral and mental character is of interest to the FAA. You’ve evidenced irrationality, the inability to read and comprehend an article and rather strange behavior that is worrisome behind the controls of an aircraft in the post-9-11 era.
    *I* don’t have to go to court. The FAA would merely provide a national security letter to Discover to recover your IP, the same to your ISP to compare IP and time and from that, your real information.
    I need to no more than provide a complaint and voice concern to the FSDO here.”

    ….

    Gentlemen do not attack each other at the personal level.

  145. shunt1

    However!

    If I am contacted by the FAA because of Wzrd1, then things WILL get very serious indeed.

    No, I was NOT the one that made the original threat of invoking government and legal actions against a specific individual on this blog.

    A personal apology will still be accepted.

  146. shunt1

    Now let me understand this:

    1) Wzrd1 threatened me with the FAA and possible involvement of the DHS.

    2) I responded that I would file a lawsuit if he did something like that. I even provided him with my personal email address.

    3) Phil (@92) got all upset with me because I mentioned a lawsuit as a legal reply to any actions taken against me from the FAA or DHS as a result of Wzd1′s threat.

    4) Others on this blog piled up on me, because: “In my opinion gentleman don’t usually threaten each other with lawsuits.”

    5) I have said many times that I would accept a personal apology from Wzrd1.

  147. #146 shunt1:
    “When have I attacked Phil personally?”

    Well, just a week or two ago, you effectively questioned Phil’s academic qualifications, and his competence in his own specialist field of astronomy and physics! I can’t remember your exact words, but something like, “I expected better from someone with a Ph.D. in astronomy!”
    This was in the “Armageddon” thread, where you accused Phil of not understanding the physics about which he was talking – whereas he was not, in fact, talking about any real physics at all, but ridiculing the staggeringly wrong non-physics used in the film.

  148. shunt1

    Correct, I did say this:

    “I expected better from someone with a Ph.D. in astronomy!”

    Oh the horrors!

    That was the best that you could find?

    Now, how does a statement like that compare with the threat of notifying the FAA and perhaps involving the DHS in a personal attack against me?

    P.S: Since then, Phil created a topic about the amazing power of a nuclear weapon. If that energy was used a thrust (Project Orion), instead of as a bomb, then my comment would be fully understood.

  149. TheBlackCat

    1) Wzrd1 threatened me with the FAA and possible involvement of the DHS.

    No, Wzrd1 stated that it was his opinion that your statements indicated you posed a potential threat to yourself and those around you and thus you should be investigated by the relevant authorities. No attempt was made to make you stop making comments, or even change your opinons.

    2) I responded that I would file a lawsuit if he did something like that. I even provided him with my personal email address.

    This comment by you, on the other hand, had the explicit goal of silencing comments you didn’t like, merely because they offended you.

    3) Phil (@92) got all upset with me because I mentioned a lawsuit as a legal reply to any actions taken against me from the FAA or DHS as a result of Wzd1′s threat.

    Look up on the right side of the blog. See that big “Keep Libel Laws Out of Science” sign? That is the issue here. The fundamental difference between Wzrd’s comment and yours, the reason why people are attacking you for it and not him, is because you were trying to use the law to silence comments you didn’t like, while Wzrd wasn’t.

    5) I have said many times that I would accept a personal apology from Wzrd1.

    And that is exactly the problem with your attitude. For Wzrd, from what I can tell, this was about keeping the airs safe. That is what the FAA is there for in the first place. For you, however, it was all about your wounded pride. You will not find much support around here for using libel laws to win an online debate.

  150. shunt1

    WOW!

    “The fundamental difference between Wzrd’s comment and yours, the reason why people are attacking you for it and not him, is because you were trying to use the law to silence comments you didn’t like, while Wzrd wasn’t. ”

    Actually, that legal concept is rather amazing.

    Have a nice day!

  151. shunt1

    So, I can “sick” any government agency against Phil, but if he dares to hire a lawyer to defend himself…

    An amazing legal concept!

    In today’s twisted and bizzar world, that would not surprize me in the least.

  152. TheBlackCat

    So, I can “sick” any government agency against Phil, but if he dares to hire a lawyer to defend himself…

    If Phil said something that in your opinion put him in violation of safety requirements for something he had a license to do, and you pointed that out to the relevant authorities, and they agreed with you, and his response was not to try to settle things with the authorities but rather for your for blowing the whistle on what he was doing, then yes he would certainly be in the wrong. The person he should be defending himself against is the authorities, not trying to prevent people from bringing it to the authorities attention. Who knows, maybe there actually was a problem there that should have been resolved, but we will never know unless those with the expertise to say actually check.

    Maybe if the FAA decides you really are violating the rules the proper approach is, I don’t know, follow the rules rather than attacking the person who is doing his or her duty to report known violations? If the FAA decides that you have done something wrong, you need to settle that with them, not with the person who merely brought it to their attention.

    You have the same sort of mentality as police who arrest people for videotaping police misconduct, the same sort of mentality that requires whistleblower protection laws. It is the basic “shoot the messenger” mentality. Yeah, nobody likes getting in trouble, but we have these sorts of rules for a reason, and if you don’t want to follow them that is your problem.

    To give a more concrete example, say Phil was bragging about using a space telescope to image things close to the sun, not knowing or not understanding that the rules for the telescope say that is not allowed since it could destroy the telescopes optics. Someone points this out to him and he insists he is right. So the person reports his statements to NASA and they revoke his right to use the telescope. Phil then turns around and sues the person who reported him, rather than mending his ways or trying to resolve things with NASA. Who would be in the wrong there? I think it would certainly be Phil, not NASA and certainly not the one who brought the problem to their attentions.

  153. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (2) trolled:

    I keep looking, but where did he mention windows on a NASA spacecraft?

    Where does Phil mention windows on NASA spacecraft?

    Or do you not get that if Romney doesn’t even understand why airplane windows are kept closed, he is no more qualified to make decisions about the future of NASA than a bumblebee?

  154. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (10) said:

    “When you have a fire in an aircraft, there’s no place to go, exactly, there’s no – and you can’t find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don’t open. I don’t know why they don’t do that. It’s a real problem. So it’s very dangerous.”

    [Emphasis mine]

    Shunt1, are you really as stupid as your comments make you out to be?

    According to the words you quote, this guy doesn’t know why the windows of an aeroplane don’t open. Never mind the one over each wing that does open to serve as emergency exits.

    It would quite obviously be stupidly dangerous for the windows to be openable the way (for instance) the windows of a train may be opened and closed. Partly because of the risk of failure of the closure or seal during flight, but mostly because idiots like Romney would quite likely try to open one during flight. It shouldn’t be hard for even you to find out what the consequences might be if this were to occur at (say) 30,000 feet.

    So, what *exactly* is your beef?

  155. Nigel Depledge

    Craig (122) said:

    . . . straining to prove Romney is a dope

    Believe me, it takes no strain. The man hands out these opportunities on a silver salver.

  156. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (81) said:

    I am always proud to say who I am!

    Says the guy who uses an online handle that implies a worker in a goods yard, but not an actual name.

    Or were you unaware of the fact that, in English, proper nouns are capitalised to distinguish them from ordinary text?

  157. shunt1

    LOL

    “Or were you unaware of the fact that, in English, proper nouns are capitalised to distinguish them from ordinary text?”

    Compare my email address (full name) and Shunt. You may be smart enough to figure it out.

    For those that are unable to understand the concept of “kick-out” windows for emergencies, I strongly recommend that you not ride in a bus.

    I was attacked first and responded in a legal manner. There was a time when our Seconds would be arranging a meeting between us, for satisfaction from such an insult.

    However, that does remind me the hysterically funny “equilateral triangle dual” from the book “Peter Simple” by Frederick Marryat.

    Enough said on this topic.

  158. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (159) said:

    I was attacked first and responded in a legal manner.

    No, you were not attacked.

    Your arguments were shown to be flawed, and the objections you raised irrelevant.

    Another commenter speculated about suggesting the FAA investigate your fitness to hold a pilot’s licence, as a direct consequence of your stated opinion about certain aspects of aviation.

    IANL, but AFAICT, there is no cause for you to threaten to sue anyone.

    There was a time when our Seconds would be arranging a meeting between us, for satisfaction from such an insult.

    AFAICT, the only insult in this and previous threads to you comes from your own comments, where you show yourself to be illogical and incapable of making or understanding a reasoned argument.

    If you feel you have been insulted, perhaps you could cite exactly what text constitutes the insult?

  159. Nigel Depledge

    Shunt1 (159) said:

    “Or were you unaware of the fact that, in English, proper nouns are capitalised to distinguish them from ordinary text?”

    Compare my email address (full name) and Shunt. You may be smart enough to figure it out.

    Yes, obviously, your email address makes it clear that your name is Steve Hunt (duh!). However, your failure to capitalise your commenting name strongly implies that your commenting name is not a real name at all, but a nickname or some other word or phrase that amuses you (in the same way that another frequent commenter here goes by the commenting name Messier Tidy Upper).

    Thus, until you published your email address in a comment, there was no reason to suspect that your commenting name related in any way to your real name. And yet, despite not using your actual name as your commenting name, you claim to be proud to use your real name! You are either deeply lacking in common sense, or a liar.

  160. TheBlackCat

    I was attacked first and responded in a legal manner. There was a time when our Seconds would be arranging a meeting between us, for satisfaction from such an insult.

    The fact that you talk about such times with anything other than disgust is very telling.

    And I can’t help but notice you completely ignored my comment, responding to Nigel as though it didn’t even exist. You do know people can see that I already explained our issue with your behavior, right? Just because you refuse to pay attention to something doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  161. shunt1

    Wzrd1 is the only person that owes me an apology for a personal attack. And if offered, it would be accepted.

    Comments from any other persons are just noise.

    BTW: I have known for several years that wzrd1 is an alias for someone that we all know on this blog and is used when he desires to keep his identity unknown. I will honor his desire to keep that alias.

  162. shunt1

    PA28-151 Warrior Emergency Checklist

    C. FORCED LANDING PROCEDURE
    (no engine power — use flaps for “power”)

    1. Airspeed — SET BEST GLIDE SPEED
    Best glide Speed 85MPH flaps UP
    Slow to 76MPH for landing flaps DOWN

    2. Fuel Selector — OFF

    3. Fuel Pump — OFF

    4. Mixture — IDLE/CUT OFF

    5. Ignition Switch — OFF

    6. Flaps — AS REQUIRED for approach and landing

    7. Communications – Transmit MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY on frequency in use or emergency frequeny 121.5; SQUAWK 7700

    8. Master Switch — OFF

    9. Door — UNLOCKED/ UNLATCHED

    10. FLY the airplane; do not stall the airplane

    11. Touchdown — SLIGHTLY TAIL LOW (near stall speed)

    ….

    PLEASE pay attention to item 9 above, which specified that the door must be UNLOCKED / UNLATCHED.

    I knew exactly what I was doing and fully understood why that door had to be opened prior to a potential crash.

    For those that have never flown a PA28-151 or other Piper airplanes, once the door is unlatched, it will pop open and can be very difficult to close once again.

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/25334093/?ct=40&utm_source=docstoc&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Registration+-+Doc&utm_content=Registration+Confirmation+With+Doc+-+DP+-+v5&utm_campaign=Registration&alt=8be93dbe-8739-4100-86e8-ea912c523917

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