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  • Michael Krakovskiy 4:28 am on July 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aviation, , , Cochrane, , Daniel Stern, , Frank Murphy, Frank Murphy (Scheider), high-speed high-tech chopper, , Lymangood, Malcolm McDowell, , Roy Scheider, Scheider, Thunder   

    Blue Thunder (Special Edition) 

    Roy Scheider stars in this intense action thriller as a courageous police officer pilot battling government fanatics planning to misuse an experimental attack helicopter. Chosen to test BLUE THUNDER Frank Murphy (Scheider) is amazed by the high-speed high-tech chopper. It can see through walls record a whisper or level a city block. Distrusting the military mentality behind BLUE THUNDER Murphy and his partner Lymangood (Daniel Stern) soon discover that the remarkable craft is slated for use as the ultimate weapon in surveillance and crowd control. Jeopardized after being discovered by sinister Colonel Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell) Murphy flies BLUE THUNDER against military aircraft in a spellbinding contest over Los Angeles.System Requirements:Run Time: 109 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: ACTION/ADVENTURE Rating: R UPC: 043396108882 Manufacturer No: 10888

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 8:57 am on July 5, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air France-KLM, , Aviation, Aviator Sports Center, , Concord, Concorde, Darren Aranovskiy, , , Jamaica Bay, , , , , rather unfriendly security guard, , Supersonic transports, Tailless aircraft   

    Crawl of the Concordes 

    A couple of days ago I went to Floyd Bennett Field to once again renew my fishing license. On the way in I noticed a familiar plane standing next to the new Aviator Sports Center.

    I went by to take some pictures, and a rather unfriendly security guard explained to me how this worked: I needed to go inside, buy some food and then I could take all the pictures I wanted and even get a tour of the inside of the plane.

    Don’t you hate it when security guards jump out of nowhere and will not leave you alone unless they can make you comply with their wishes? Or the way they repeatedly call you “sir”, but they pronounce “sir” as they would “jerkoff”? Anyway, despite the unpleasant tone in which this information was conveyed, it was a pretty good deal. Last time when I wanted to see the same Concord, I had to pay 15 bucks or so and stand in a long line. The inside tour was, and still is not very interesting. The chairs are not original (the real ones were auctioned off) and they don’t let you into the pilot’s cabin. Sitting down and imagining how it would have been to fly on a Concord would have been interesting.

    Despite that, the experience that I’ve had is even weirder. At the Floyd Bennett Field the Concorde is tied down to several concrete blocks and basically serves as a giant shade over several picnic tables. Eating cafeteria food under the mighty engines is rather unique. I ate and remembered how every fishing trip that I took out of Sheepshead Bay I waited for the loud whine that announced the streamlined needle that propelled the rich on their way to London or Paris and the sonic boom that followed a little later. Also, I remembered seeing the horrible pictures of a Concorde on fire and imagining what it must have been like for its passengers on their way to New York.

    The whine of the Concorde engines over Jamaica Bay always stuck with me, and made me especially appreciate the airplane sound in Darren Aranovskiy’s “Requiem for a Dream” sequences. There’s something about that sound, the promise of a larger world, of a possible escape, of bigger, better things in life, and also of the danger of losing everything is a giant ball of fire.

    The butt of the Concorde looks like a cheery 60s robot:

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:57 am on March 6, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aviation, , , flotation device, JetBlue Airways, LaGuardia Airport, Low-cost airlines, O'Hare International Airport, Orlando International Airport, , Pittsburgh International Airport, public announcement systems, Southwest, Southwest Airlines,   

    Airplane! 

    While I’ve done less blogging recently, I’ve done a lot more flying. Watching flight attendants do their ancient dance over and over, I could not stop wondering if a single airliner passenger ever had to use the seat cushion as a flotation device after a “water landing.”

    As it turns out, airliner pilots performed “water landings” or “ditchings” as they are properly called, successfully several times. In fact, while not technically ditching, jets (and their passengers) go a-swimming in the East River after running off the runway at our own LaGuardia Airport all the time. Well, twice.

    I was traveling on Southwest Airlines the evening of the JetBlue debacle. My flight was 5 hours late, which would have not been too bad since I had an interesting book with me, but the Southwest Airlines employees made absolutely sure that I would not send much of it reading. For a couple of hours they bounced me from a long line to a long line just to check in. Then I spent a couple of hours in other lines trying to figure out why my ticket did not have a seat assignment. Finally, after 5 hours, just as the plane was finally filled with passengers, I was told that there would not be a seat for me, and I would need to go back out past the security checkpoint to talk to customer service. As I was standing in yet another line, I finally won a reprieve, was given a seat somehow, but not before having to go back through the security checkpoint again.

    Most of Southwest Airlines employees seem to be incapable of two things: apologizing and operating public announcement systems. While the first is understandable, the second kind of mystified me at first. A woman behind a check-in desk repeated the same bit of information (we have no idea when the plane will be here) to a long line of customers one by one, for the first 4 hours not a single announcement was made over the PA system.

    Later another, seemingly more competent and caring employee made a few announcements over the PA. Every time she would talk into the microphone, a few customers milling about would start screaming – “it doesn’t work!” and “what are you, stupid? It doesn’t work!”, not realizing, of course, that the PA system would first record the message spoken into a microphone and then release it with a delay, as to eliminate feedback. The poor woman’s face was really miserable: she must hear “your microphone does not work” from clueless customers every day.

    As we were preparing for takeoff, the pilot did not make much of an apology for the 5 hour delay. He did say something funny, though. “Uhh, folks, here’s the update. We are waiting our turn to take off, and not sure when it’ll be. But the only good news is, uhh, if it can be considered good news, we are 4 hours ahead of JetBlue.”

    JetBlue might have screwed the pooch in this particular instance, with passengers stuck in planes for astronaut-diaper kind of times and what not. But given any opportunity, I’ll fly with them instead of Southwest. I just can’t stand companies whose employees offer you something other than a proper apology when they screw up and treat you like dirt that you are (or they think you are).

    My hosting company, Dreamhost, has been providing really crappy service lately. I don’t make a living off of my blog, and frequent outages would not really be enough to make me leave. Besides, it’s 8 bucks a month for a ridiculous amount of bandwidth and space. But a flippant and insulting “apology” that they posted on their blog after the last outage really got on my nerves. I am so leaving Dreamhost, it’s not even funny. I’ll pay more, I’ll spend my time moving, but I won’t host my sites with Dreamhost. In fact, when I’ll finally get my ad system up and running, besides giving free ads to the only person who asked for it, I’ll run some “Dreamhost Sucks” ads as well. As soon as I’ll have a bit of free time.

     
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