Archive for April, 2007


A Tough Crowd

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

             Scan by spike55151.

We live in an age of wossie, a time when rich entertainment stars and powerful politicians run around trying to compete for the Oscar for ‘most pitiful victim’, a time when kids are taught that all their failings are the result of oppression from the The Man. Sometimes this drum beat of victimology gets me down.

That’s why I like the company of aviation people. The aviation world has not yet been totally tamed. It’s still a place where your precious self-esteem isn’t valued highly at all. A world where men don’t wear lace on their underwear and women don’t get the vapors.

Consider for example, this exchange from the subscription only web forum at

In all sincerity, a pilot posts the following reasonable question:

I am a Regional Airline Pilot with a civilian background. I flew plenty of single engine and twin engine GA Aircraft over the years and lately have wanted to get back into flying single engine GA aircraft as a hobby.

My question is: What is the likelihood of dying in a single engine piston airplane (lets say a Cessna 172) if you pursue the hobby for an entire lifetime? Lets say you start flying GA Aircraft again at 27 yrs old (my current age) and want to fly until age 65. If I fly 1-2 times a week for about 10 hours per month over the next 38 years is there a low, medium, or high chance of eventually getting into a fatal accident?

Keep in mind that I am an ATP and have over 3500 hours of flight time currently. Also, I would be flying exclusively in VFR conditions.

Just wanted to hear some thoughts from seasoned GA pilots who have been flying for 10+ years.

One short and to the point reply:

You won’t. They’re all dead.

And this helpful suggestion about misplaced priorities:

Why worry about death? Of the millions of possibilities, that’s the least of your worries. It’s pain free, tax free, at at least for your end, relatively cost effective. Worrying about death is pointless.

Worrying if you’ll look like a complete putz for time and all eternity of you make a bonehead move and screw up…that’s worth some concern.


How To Support The Troops!

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

I debated with myself a bit about this, but by golly, if you Ladies have a solider, sailor, airman, or Coast Guardsman who is deployed, it’s your patriotic duty to take this video to heart:

A wingrock to Instapinch.


Leander Texas Commuter Rail Station

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

Progress on the Leander Station of CapMetro’s commuter rail service has been slow, but steady. The park and ride is essentially complete, while work on the rail line continues at a slow pace.

For the last two weekends there have been gatherings of some kind at the facility, with tents, bleachers, and lots of people milling around. I have no idea of what they are up to, but I suppose the gatherings have something to do with the imminent opening of the park and ride. [Update: The Leander Park & Ride is now open.]

The contractors seem to be in the process of installing parallel sidings to run on either side of the station platform.

It appears that the platform covering will soon be installed. Let’s hope they listened to the community when they had an open meeting last year. The Capmetro old hippies want to put up artsy fartsy ‘butterflys’ which they described as “just like the bus stops in Paris!”. The alternative is a sensible awning, which would keep sun and rain off the waiting passengers rather than just being silly non-functional decoration.

I’ve felt for some time that the new station doesn’t have enough covered area for waiting passengers. I expect there will large crowds waiting for the trains in the morning. They won’t be having much fun on rainy or hot days.

It’s clear that the market believes that living near the train station is going to be highly desirable. The the invisible hand assisted by capitalist friendly local government is causing the development of high density transit oriented development all around the new station. I expect that in a few years there will be several thousand people living within walking distance of the station, and several tens of thousands living within a 10 minute car commute. These folks will be “two seat” trippers, the most likely passengers for the rail commute.

I also expect that before too very much longer there will be a surprising number of people commuting from Austin into Leander. The costs and hassles of starting and running a business in Austin are far higher than in Leander, I know this from first hand experience. Highway 183a and the train have the effect of making Leander very much closer to Austin than before. The Leander and Cedar Park areas have real quantitative advantages to offer employers, and I fully expect to see many more businesses taking advantage of this fact.