Tag Archives: Air Florida

Enjoying virtual flight on YouTube

Greetings, readers. A number of people on YouTube put up videos of themselves being on an airplane, with their little camera facing out on to the wing. I have used some of these videos for ambient background noise to help with sleeping, and sometimes just to enjoy them. My question is: How do they do it?

I’ve Googled the equipment that is used as stated in their description and obviously it is electronic. Please, readers, correct me if I am wrong, but I thought all electronic gadgets had to be turned off for taxi, take-off, and landing. No matter. It really does add to the experience. The camera that is used can fit into the palm of your hand and can be clamped down to the window of the aircraft. I believe, but I’m not certain, that it plugs into a computer’s USB port and you can record directly into the computer.

One of my favorite videos is a flight on American Airlines from Las Vegas, Nevada to Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. I really enjoy the few moments after take-off when big mountains come into view followed by the pretty clouds, and before I know it we are at cruising altitude with lovely blue skies. It was a daytime flight and everything was as bright and clear as could be.

There is more than one person on YouTube that does this. My favorite is someone who posts as inflight Video. He has videos from all over the world and my guess is that when he travels anywhere for business he records the flight. Why does this fascinate me so much? Here’s the answer.

As friends of mine and my steady readers know, I love aircraft and flying. Early in life I had thoughts about being a commercial pilot. Health issues closed that door. I do not have the time nor the money to hop onto an airplane anytime I want, turn right around and come home again. I’m silly, not stupid, and taking a several hundred-dollar joy ride for the day is out of the question. My Aunt Marilyn lives out west so I could have an opportunity to fly cross-country, I just have to find the time and funds to do it.

For now though, the flight videos on YouTube will have to do. I hope to visit my Aunt sometime in the coming year. We’ll see if that transpires.

The last two little tidbits. Tomorrow is the anniversary of the ill-fated Air Florida Flight 90 disaster, which occurred in 1982. My blog entry on this event still gets a few views during the year and I expect more around the anniversary. This post, as well as my very popular top ten list from the show Air Crash Investigation, made me think, what if I did another top ten list of favorite episodes from ACI? There are so many to choose from. I don’t think I’ve seen them all, but the ones I have seen I remember quite well. I think for next week I shall take notes and try to come up with another ten episodes for a second list. Am I expecting the same high numbers as the first top ten list? It certainly would be nice but I am grateful for any reads I get on any blog entry. I’ll get to work on that one this weekend.

Before I sign off, prayers going out to all who need it in areas of the country experiencing droughts, floods, or blizzards. The weather has been kind of freaky this winter.

Until next week, take care, have a wonderful weekend, and, as always, happy reading.

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We began blogging 5 years ago on Thursday!

Greetings, readers. I got a notice on my WordPress.com page that I have been blogging, with Rebecca’s help, for five years now. Wow! Time sure does fly. With almost 600 entries completed, we’ve no end in sight. We have blogged on a variety of topics, from plane crashes to R.I.P.s to reviews of video games and everything in between. Are we going to keep going? Of course!  🙂

I’ve said before that I try to stay away from blogging about politics. This coming year, I might take a stab at it. I’ve always been shy about sharing my political opinion, until this year around the election. In years past, people have told me that my candidate was the wrong choice, or that my beliefs were incorrect; I shouldn’t believe this, I should believe that instead. Every four years I get a headache so terrible I feel my head will explode. Well, I have opinions and I can stand by them. I can write about them in this forum.

Other topics that we’ll be blogging about will include what’s going on in the news and R.I.Ps to famous actors, actresses, singers and other people of note.  Rebecca also suggested that perhaps I blog about other episodes of the show Air Crash Investigation that I have watched and particularly enjoyed. The original entry, Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, is still the one that has the most views of all the other blog posts put together. The post I did after that on one of the episodes, The Air Crash Investigation episode on The Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team crash, also gets regular views. The entry, In memory of Air Florida Flight 90, is very popular, too. I know I have a morbid fascination with airplane wrecks, so I will try not to choose this topic to often.

No matter what topics I write about, I look forward to another year of sharing them with you. I am grateful that you take the time to read my words, and that some of you respond with your own thoughts in the comments.

Before I go, I want to wish Rebecca well. She’s been a tad under the weather. I’m happy to say that she is doing much better and will be back with us next week.  I shall put up another blog entry either tomorrow or Friday.  Until then, take care, have a great day and as always, happy reading.

Thank you readers for staying with us. Here is #500.

Greetings, readers. When Rebecca and I began this blog in late 2011, I never dreamed that we would still be going now. Not only are we still going, but numbers and popularity seem to be on the rise. I know quite a few regular readers personally. I love it. Today’s entry is going to be a thank you and a quick recap of some of our most popular blog posts.

It is with my deepest gratitude and my appreciation that I say a heartfelt thank you to all the people who have read this blog over the years. Some of my regular readers leave comments, and I take the time to read and respond to each and every one of them. It helps me to have that feedback and connection when it happens. I am grateful to the readers who have reached out to me.

The most read blog entry, by far, is still Top ten list of Air Crash Investigation stories, from September 2013. This probably is caused by the continued search for the downed Air Malaysia 370 flight. But I also know from the search terms used that I can see in the stats, that a lot of the views for this entry are from fans of the show. I also am a fan, which why I wrote it in the first place. It still intrigues me that so many look at this entry each and every day. It is always at the top of the stats or near it. Many people have also looked at my follow up about the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team crash, though not as many have looked at that as have looked at my post In memory of Air Florida Flight 90. Suffice it to say, that the blog entries about airliners and airline disasters seem to be my most popular.

Another entry that comes up a lot in the stats every month is the one I wrote in 2012, Remembering my father, Professor Joseph J. Kockelmans, and that truly warms my heart. The majority of comments I have received have been from former students of his, and their kind words about my father are special to me. To think that Pop is still enriching people’s lives years after his passing is truly amazing.

The entry that Rebecca and I still get a chuckle about is the Top ten list of modern conveniences, from February 2013. Rebecca and I both think that it’s being used as a teaching aid, perhaps in a college or university. If any of our regular readers know what this entry is actually used for so often, please do tell. We would love to know.

The From Rebecca series is also quite popular I’ve noticed, and they do get many reads, which I’m sure puts a smile on Rebecca’s face. I think it is cool too. The one that keeps coming up so much is From Rebecca: A little bit in a hurry. We don’t know why. It was written in August of 2012 while I was on the road to Maine a few years ago.

We have a direct link to Facebook and Twitter. My friends on both social medias learn about the new blog entry almost immediately after it is published. Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that more and more of my friends are coming over from there to read my blog. I am extremely happy about this. I have 250 some odd friends on Facebook, and it is exciting to see the numbers that are generated from there. They seem to especially respond when I write about something extremely personal, which I will admit I don’t do all the time. I’ve known some of them for many years, and I care about them as much as they seem to care about me.

As I’ve said before, I have no immediate plans to end the blog. I am seriously considering self-publishing a second blog book. Most of my 500 entries were written after the first book, Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, was published in 2013. Rebecca and I will work on that quite soon.

It is with my utmost joy and appreciation that I close this entry by once again saying thank you to you my readers who have kept this blog such a joy for me to write. Until Friday, have a great couple of days, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

For yesterday, a brief remembrance of Air Florida Fight 90

Greetings, readers. I know I have blogged about this topic before, but yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the Air Florida flight 90 crash. As PALM 90 took off from Washington D.C.’s national airport (I think it is called Reagan National now), during a heavy snow storm, the flight was doomed from the word go. As the 737 rolled down the runway with its engines clogged with ice and snow, there was virtually no chance of a safe take-off. The pilots, who admittedly lived in Florida and never needed their de-icing equipment, failed to activate it before the flight. Had they done so, this tragedy, I think, would not of occurred.

I started to wonder how many family members and friends of the victims would still be alive after 34 years. For those of you who are, I’m certain that that date always brings a sting and pain to your heart. Once again, I offer my heartfelt condolences, prayers, and good thoughts.

This is the first blog entry of two today. Rebecca will have a top ten list coming up shortly. Take care, have a good day, and happy reading.

Top ten list of airlines no longer with us

Greetings, readers. As an airplane enthusiast and flight simulation hobbyist, I enjoy downloading different types of aircrafts from airlines that have gone out of business. A website called Simviation.com is my source for getting my downloads. Here is a top ten list of real world airlines that have come and gone. I used a couple of sources to aid me in finishing my list; they are Wikipedia.com and List after list (listafterlist.com).

#10. Air Florida. Deregulation and the horrible crash near Washington D.C. in the early 80s were two contributing factors why this airline failed to compete with the big boys.

#9. Eastern Airlines. When I was a kid, I would see ads for Eastern all the time. Their slogan was, “We earn our wings everyday.”

#8. Piedmont Airlines. They are apparently still officially in business. Rebecca and I have determined, via internet, that they are part of the commuter airline system associated with U.S. Airways. I remember seeing on the website to our own airport, called University Park, that Piedmont does still fly out of here.

#7. Continental Airlines. Very recently acquired by United Airlines. If you look closely you’ll see the word United on the plane’s fuselage and the tail logo is still that of Continental. I’ve heard that this will remain this way for another year or two.

#6. Western Airlines. This airline ceased their own operations on April 1st, 1987 according to Wikipedia.com and merged with Delta Airlines.

#5. TWA. I never thought that Trans World Airlines would ever go out of business. They were one of the big boys.

#4. Pan American Airlines, or Pan Am as they were called. In the early 60s, Pan Am went all out to make air travel elegant. They offered white glove service and fancy uniforms to make their flight crew look elegant.

#3. ValuJet. The big air disaster that doomed ValuJet was the Florida Everglades crash where it was determined that in the cargo compartment was oxygen tanks – a definite no-no.

#2. National Airlines.

#1. Midway Airlines. I’m afraid I don’t know much about National or Midway. I just remember hearing the names and vaguely seeing ads for National as a child.

Until next week, stay out of this major snow storm if you can. Be well, and happy reading.

1 year ago today!!!

Greetings, readers. Gee how time flies. It has just come to my attention through WordPress.com that this is my one year anniversary of my blog. Whee! Seems like I ran the gamut over the year on many different topics. From the Air Florida plane crash to the USFL to a tribute to my father and much, much more. Oddly enough, my favorites have been the good old top ten lists.

Have I a clue what is to come this year? Not in the least. This is how Rebecca and I do a blog entry. 95% of the time I think of my topic as the computer is booting up. It is only that rare 5% where Rebecca comes in to work and I say I already know what I’m going to blog about today. Thanks to Rebecca’s extensive blog reading, and her willingness to share her personal views every once in a while, a From Rebecca is posted. Not that I am jealous, I’m actually happy, but hers tend to get the most views. From time to time, Rebecca and I do collaborate on an idea, or at the very least she helps me with wording if I get stuck.

Again, I just wanted to chime in on my one year anniversary. There will be many more years to come. Have a great day, take care, and as always … happy reading. 🙂

: ) #100!!! : )

Greetings, readers. As today’s rather straightforward title implies, this is the 100th blog entry since I began in late December last year. I might not have the tremendous following like writers such as Wil Wheaton, Carrie Vaughn or John Scalzi, but I am only ten months into the blog.

I am most pleased and proud that people have continued to find my writing through search engines on almost every topic I have written about, including the Air Florida crash, the United States Football League, and my father, Professor Joseph John Kockelmans. WordPress has a stats page that I use which shows how many people view each blog post for each day. I especially like the feature that shows how many hits from each country in the world I receive. I have received hits from Russia, Romania, Mexico, Canada, and many other countries, but most of my hits are from the USA.

As most of you know by now, I have tried to stay away from politics or anything controversial. On rare occasions when something has made me good and angry, I will chime out in full force. I was going to write an entry about Romney v. Obama but I think I will wait until after the first couple of debates. Did I mention I loathe talking about politics? I always seem to be wrong.

One of the saddest moments to come along in the Penn State University world in many years was the news about the goings-on of Jerry Sandusky. The trial is over, the football season has begun under Coach Bill O’Brien and the football and academic year is moving forward. Good riddance Mr. Sandusky. I had written a piece titled Tribute to Joseph Vincent Paterno which had to be amended slightly, but I felt to delete it would be inappropriate. The man and his family did so much for this community for so many years.

On the lighter side of my blogging experience were several top ten lists, entries about my cat Keekee, news about my books, as well as a few entries from Rebecca while I was away on holidays or long weekends. {From Rebecca: I have enjoyed doing entries in the blog. Thank you, Joe, for the opportunity to do that.}

Now for ideas yet to come. I’m going to keep all my readers up-to-date on precious kitty-cat, with more pictures of her. Also, I will open up myself more and explore more deeply what makes me tick, and share it with you. This year I felt as though I wanted to be liked. Now it’s time to cut and bleed onto the page and push the envelope, as they say.

With my book signing at Webster’s Bookstore and Cafe this Friday, the work schedule for the week has been altered slightly. Look for another blog entry on Friday, or if not, definitely next Wednesday. Here’s to #101 and beyond.

Have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten best films I know

Greetings, readers. Here is a top ten list of what I think are the best films that I’ve seen or heard about. These might not be the best of all time, but they come from my heart. So here we go:

10. The 1976 version of King Kong. Oh, I know people hated it, because the 70s energy crunch was thrown in as a sub-plotline. But I thought that big mechanical gorilla was just cool looking. My favorite scene is when he smashed the gate down.

9. Rescue from Gilligan’s Island. The TV movie where the castaways of Gilligan’s Island come home, just to decide to take another pleasure cruise, and what happened, you ask? That’s right, they end up on the same island at the end. The reason this film makes this list is because as a child I loved the re-runs of Gilligan’s Island.

8. Airport 1975. Charlton Heston and Karen Black with that lovely Boeing 747. Yes there were a few clunker lines, such as Karen’s character saying, “Alan, I’m frightened.” When you could clearly see in her face that she thought it was one of the worst lines ever written. But over all a good film.

7. Smokey and the Bandit 1. Though Smokey 2 and 3 were acceptable, the original was the classic. Burt Reynolds was at his best, as well as was Jackie Gleason. When that film came out in ’77 I watched it six consecutive Saturday nights at one of our local theaters.

6. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Yes, the movie really didn’t have an ending but the upside was that we knew at least one more was coming.

5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Princess Leia in the bikini slave outfit. Rumor had it Carrie Fisher almost quit because of it. I don’t know whether that is true or not; that is why they call it a rumor.

4. On Golden Pond. This film reminds me so much of my beloved Maine and I’ve watched this film close to fifty times or more. It would have been my number one selection years ago, but as time has passed it has slid down the line just a bit. Classic movie!

3. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ricardo Montalban’s wonderful performance reprising his role as Khan, the evil genetically enhanced human with his band of followers. As we all know, Captain Kirk won out, but just barely. Did we all really think Mr. Spock was really going to stay dead?

2. Star Wars: A New Hope. To me this is really how this saga began. Yes, I hate prequels. Sorry, George.

1. The original Airport. Otherwise known as Airport 1970. Burt Lancaster gave a stellar performance. Dean Martin was wonderful as the captain. And Helen Hayes was superb as Mrs. Ada Quonsett. OMG. I laugh every time I think of her playing that role. Wonderful job. Here’s a little known fact. For classic Hawaii Five-O fans, Mrs. Hayes was the aunt of the actor who played Danno.

Two honorable mentions: First, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Fascinating movie. I have watched it many times. And of course, the naive kid that I was, yes I really thought there was a UFO landing strip behind Devils Tower in Wyoming. Honorable mention number two, Flight 90: Disaster on the Potomac. This was the 1984 NBC TV film about the Air Florida crash. I studied it inside and out.

Well there you have them. Rebecca and I may put up a new blog again tomorrow but if we don’t, have a great weekend and we’ll catch you on Wednesday. Take care and happy reading.

P.S. Sorry if this posted twice, but Rebecca hit the wrong button and published it while we were previewing and editing. Oops.

A Morbid Facsination

For many years I have been fascinated, sometimes to a morbid extent, with tragedies. Some which I have studied via reading materials, films, and documentaries are the sinking of the Titanic, the events of 9/11, and air tragedies, including TWA 800 and Pan Am 103.

I have thought many times, why should I have such a morbid fascination with such things which involve people’s suffering? I suppose in a way that it is human nature. Every time someone is out on a window ledge, a crowd gathers around to see if that person will jump or get saved. Now I’m not a jumper watcher; my fascination has always been aircraft.

As mentioned in the last blog entry just briefly, I have been watching episodes of a show called Air Crash Investigation. It documents numerous air tragedies over the years, some with favorable outcomes, and others disastrous.

I’m not certain if it is knowledge I seek or whether I am simply trying to determine what I would do differently. How would I have prevented the crash or accident? I know for a fact that studying the Titanic documentation, the one thing I would not have done would be to put the engines into reverse, slowing down the reaction time. For those of you who have read my blog post about Air Florida Flight 90, I believe that you’ll agree that several mistakes were made causing the crash of that Boeing 737. It seemed that with that particular incident that the more I watched and learned, the angrier I became. The incident that got me the angriest, however, was Pan Am 103.

Pan Am 103 was a flight that on December 21, 1988 was heading home to New York from London, England. A bomb brought that aircraft down over Lockerbie Scotland, killing everyone on board and many on the ground. Later, I found out that Pan Am knew about a bomb threat to that specific flight, told some people, but did not give everyone the option of boarding or not boarding the flight.

TWA 800 took off from New York heading for Europe Paris, France one fateful evening and exploded at 24,000 feet. The nose section detached leaving both pieces to fall to the burning water with everyone still in the plane. No survivors. Months later it was determined that a bomb did not bring it down, but simply faulty wiring near the center gas tank of the more than 20-year-old 747.

Back to my original point of my personal morbid fascination with these stories. When watching these documentaries, I suppose I am not only seeking knowledge but the junior private investigator in me comes out. I just want to understand it from every angle – the whys, the hows, the whens, the conditions leading up to these events. Perhaps in my 20s I should have gone to work for the National Transportation Safety Board. When my health failed and my dream of being a pilot were dashed, then perhaps I could have helped to keep planes safe by working for the NTSB.

Just the other day I read an on-line article about the cruise ship which sank off the Italian coast. The captain abandoned ship and refused orders to go back to it, which I find to be a cowardly act.

Is this all just me wishing knowledge, or is it truly a morbid fascination with death and destruction and the suffering of others? I’ve asked myself that question many times. Why don’t I just watch cartoons and comedy shows? I tell myself, that’s a great idea. But I always seem to be drawn back to Air Crash Investigation or Seconds from Disaster. Over the coming weeks and months I shall think long and hard on this and if I figure it out, I shall share my conclusions.

Until next time.

Technology … Grrr

Today at quarter to one in the afternoon I had my gazillionth fight with my state-of-the-art cell phone. It hung up twice on me when I was having an important conversation. Don’t get me wrong – I actually do like it and it works just fine. However, the infernal thing has buttons on three sides, where my hand holds it. Every time I bump one of these buttons with my finger, the phone starts doing something that I don’t want it to do. I keep expecting this phone to someday call China or take a picture of my knee.

I’ve had the phone since August and the two features I like the most are the voice activated calling and the touch screen texting capability. My phone is 3G, not 4. I’m not the kind of person who wants to watch a full length feature film on my phone. At first when I was learning to text, my finger would hit the wrong letter, causing beaucoup aggravation. Now I’ve learned to hit the screen precisely to get what I want. On rare occasion, I’ve actually sent someone a blank text because when I wanted to start typing, my finger hit send. With my mild case of Cerebral Palsy, it makes things with little buttons and knobs difficult for me. Probably the phone works just fine, but I’ve wanted to throw it a few times.

On other fronts, last night I was doing PS3, Madden Football 12, and later watched a movie on Netflix. Finally, technology that works for me. On rare occasions, however, Netflix has been “down for maintenance.” Obviously I understand that they have to update once in a while, but a few months ago it seemed that it was happening every time I wanted to watch something.

Now, I’m just me, I’m no one special. I just want it to work when I turn it on, that’s all. And I want the phone to stop calling people when I’m trying to set my alarm. It probably doesn’t help me either that I have a low threshold for frustration.

Now that I’ve gotten this off my chest, I shall clue you in just a little bit on my next post. It’s going to be about a character trait that has bothered me about myself. Last night I watched several episodes of a show called Air Crash Investigation. I’ve always loved jets and flying. I’ve also, however, been fascinated with the investigation of accidents, as can be see in my Air Florida post. I shall go into that in more detail within a day or two.