Guilty Pleasure: Kennedy Steve

There was an air traffic controller at JFK who did his job superbly and had fun while doing it. If one has listened to ATC they say the same things over and over again. There voices can be lifeless. An air traffic at JFK named Steve was known for mixing it up a bit which kept it interesting.  I like the following exchange.(At 1:00)

British Airways Pilot: ….. which way do you like us to face? (After a airplane pushes from the gate they are told which direction is best to taxi.)

Steve: Oh face the front, sir. If you’re flying  facing the passengers, they get very concerned.

BAP: Touche

Steve: Err, but the push back, sir, the nose is SE.

BAP: SE, thanks.

Steve: Ah, come on, you got to admit that it was slightly humorous!?

BAP:  It’s hilarious, we’re crying with laughter here.

 

The sad news is Kennedy Steve retired and I doubt there will be another like him.

Life goes a whole lot easier when a person puts some life and creativity in their job. A little fun can go a long way.

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TOTD 2018-8-16: Airline Call Signs

Air traffic controllers usually call airlines by their names but some airlines have interesting call signs. See if you know these airlines from their call signs. Take the test and tell us how many out of 10 you got in the comments.

Ex. Smart Cat is TigerAir Taiwan. (Often the call sign comes from the company logo or more precise the prior company logo at times.)

  1. Speedbird
  2. Springbok
  3. Cactus
  4. Shamrock
  5. Dynasty
  6. Big Bird
  7. Sasquatch
  8. Clipper
  9. Redwood
  10. Citrus

 


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This Week’s Book Review – Seven at Santa Cruz

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday.

Book Review

Biography offers intimate look at WWII fighter pilot

By MARK LARDAS

Aug 1, 2018

”Seven at Santa Cruz: The Life of Fighter Ace Stanley ‘Swede’ Vejtasa,” by Ted Edwards, Naval Institute Press, 2018, 304 pages, $29.95

Living World War II veterans are fewer each day. First person accounts or histories written using personal interviews of surviving veterans are shrinking.

“Seven at Santa Cruz: The Life of Fighter Ace Stanley ‘Swede’ Vejtasa,” by Ted Edwards is a new biography of Vejtasa that bucks this trend. Edwards used extended interviews with Vejtasa and other World War II veterans researching it.

Nicknamed “Swede” for reasons comprehensible to only mid-20th century naval aviators, Stanley Vejtasa was of Bohemian and Norwegian stock, the first generation born in the United States after his father came here from what today is the Czech Republic and mother from Norway.

He grew up in rural Montana when most children, including him, were fascinated by all things aircraft. He joined the Navy to learn to fly.

He flew a lot and in combat, graduating from flight school just before the United States entered World War II. He flew dive bombers from the aircraft carrier Yorktown as part of the Atlantic “Neutrality Patrol” before Pearl Harbor. After Dec. 7, 1941, he accompanied Yorktown into the Pacific. There, in the action leading up to and including the Battle of the Coral Sea, he hit a Japanese transport off Tulagi, helped sink the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho, and shot down three Japanese Zero fighters flying combat air patrol over Yorktown. He shot down the Zeros using a Dauntless dive bomber.

That earned him a Navy Cross and a transfer to fighters. Flying an F4F Wildcat from the carrier Enterprise at the battle of Santa Cruz, he shot down seven Japanese aircraft in one day. He saved the Enterprise and got a Navy Cross for that, too.

Edwards’ book follows these battles, but also looks at the totality of Vejtasa’s life, including life growing up in Montana, through Vejtasa’s later career in the Navy, which reached an apex with command of the aircraft carrier Constellation in 1962-63.

Vejtasa died in 2014, but Edwards interviewed him extensively before his death. “Seven at Santa Cruz” provides an intimate look at a man who played a small yet critical role in the Pacific War.

 Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, amateur historian, and model-maker, lives in League City. His website is marklardas.com.


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Airbus 380: Great Plane or the Next SST?

I saw this article that two Airbus 380 were going to stripped down and sold for spare parts and scrap. How can this be? The plane is only 10 years old. It was supposed to bring a new mode of transportation. Bigger than the jumbo.

I grew up in the Seattle area so I think Boeing can do no wrong. With that caveat out of the way, I was wondering which company was going to choose right with their next generation plane, Boeing or Airbus? Airbus went the super jumbo A380 route and Boeing went the 787 Dreamliner route. From the above article, it looks like the Lazy B chose right.  (Picture link)

Here are the stats on the number of planes built.

787—-678 as of April 2018
A380—222 as of 28 February 2018

Boeing has built three times the planes  and  has 44 operators.  Airbus only has 13 operators.

I was wondering what your experiences were. Have any of you flown on both planes? How about on one of them? Let me know in the comments.

(John, how about we pick up one of these planes cheap?  We could use a Ratburger One.)


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