Tag Archives: news

Résumé Updating

TakingNoteIt’s been a while since I took any time to update the old résumé, though I must admit not a lot has changed, it’s just time to polish things up a bit. I have a LinkedIn account and I do make minor changes there every so often, but I haven’t done much with the hardcopy. *shudder… hardcopy*

While going through my LI profile something in the “Interests” caught my eye…

“movies, music, writing, flying, aircraft (design/construction/restoration), amateur radio, history, anthropology, archaeology, genealogy, archive, preservation (document/book/photograph), blacksmithing, silversmithing, metal fabrication, woodworking, sustainable living (building, power, farming, food), alternative building technologies, primitive technology, self reliance, resiliency (personal, local, community, regional, national)”

I’m pretty sure I have gone down this road before at some point, but it bares repeating. It’s the resiliency line personal, community, local, regional, national, (and by extension international). With all of the hullabaloo about Brexit people are thinking about how it will affect them. Really, it shouldn’t.

Before anyone starts screaming “Exclusionist!” or “Nationalist!” like somehow nationalism is automatically a bad thing like the bought-and-paid-for media would have you think, participating in worldwide commerce is not bad, far from it. Depending on a centralized global economy is bad, very bad. Even centralized national economies are bad. We keep having example after example of what happens when centralized economies have sector hiccoughs. The whole thing is affected.

When the US economy crashed in 2008, due to our own internal centralized economy and the managers of that system doing bad things, it was felt around the world. When the Greek economy tanked it was directly due to the EU centralized economy, and it affected all of the EU and beyond. The Brexit issue has been felt all over the globe as well. These effects are all because of the idea that the world is somehow better off when we all have our eggs in the same basket. It is absurd.

Why Jon, when you say it that way it sounds so obviously bad, but surly global economics aren’t that simplistic. Actually, yes. Yes they are. At least from the notion that centralization is a good thing. So in this case it really is that simple.

Centralization, in any system, creates more sub-systems and moving parts that are all interdependent. The level of complexity is exponentially increased, and much of the energy that goes into the system goes towards minimizing losses and damage the system itself creates, and of course the administration of the system. Not to mention that the resulting product is generally of lower quality by the time it gets to the consumer/user. Worst of all, with all of the interdependence even a small hiccough produces problematic ripples throughout the system and may even halt it all together.

A simple example is the spinach crisis a few years ago in the US. Much of spinach supplied to restaurants and some grocery stores was recalled because a pig got loose on one farm. There was an outbreak of e.coli, not an epidemic, but large enough and wide enough spread to panic a lot of people, cost farmers millions, destroy a large portion of the nations spinach crop, and waste millions in resources throughout the centralized food system. Absolutely none of it was necessary. To top it all off, it further set in motion more restrictive regulations shutting out some small farms due to the onerous regulations and cost.

So what does all of this have to do with resiliency? Any engineer will tell you eliminate single-point-failures, and provide redundancy if you want a resilient system. You cannot design a resilient system from the top down, it just wont work it, more to the point it can’t work. It must be designed and built from the bottom up. That’s why the order I use is so important personal, community, local, regional, national, (and by extension international).

To avoid collapse of any of the centralized systems we currently have, start with yourself and your family. Have plans and preparations in place so you are more resilient. Help family and neighbors to be more resilient. All of you can start working on getting your community more resilient.

Slowly but surely people are waking up to the simple facts. As the understanding of how theses system interrelate and how wasteful they are, how the systems only care about the system and not the end user, how the user is cheated out of high quality goods and is forced pay a premium for the privilege, people are beginning to put all of the pieces together.

No amount of railing on and on about how simple this all is will convince those who choose to stay the course. They must see the light in their own time. This is something that I am coming to terms with myself. It seems so clear, and I want the people I care about to be resilient and not suffer when those hiccoughs occur. All I can do is walk the walk and demonstrate by example.

All of the Brexit panic, anger, frustration, division, and the eventual blow back all come from not understanding what great-granny always said “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Smart old broad that.



This week has been a little hectic and next week will without a doubt be tougher. Every year there is a world wide event the Saturday before Halloween called Thrill The World, my wife and I organize the San Jose / Silicon Valley event. As you can imagine with the event coming up on October 23rd we are rather busy getting stuff ready. Our group Grave Mistake has only a couple more dance workshops before Thrill Day. This makes for a crazy day-job schedule to go along with the fun-stuff, and that doesn’t include the aircraft project! While I will be trying to get at least a little done, buying some materials at least, doing some milling at most, this week and next are a bit tight on time.

VP tailI do have something cool to report though. You may remember on September 21st I filed for an N-number with the FAA through there online system. For those that may not know what I am talking about; the N-number is an aircrafts identification number, it is also referred to as the tail number. They said it would take up to three weeks to get the confirmation letter. I put October 13th on my calendar as a follow-up date to check back with the FAA if I had not received my confirmation letter. Being excited about the project, I checked back every so often to see if the FAA had processed my request. The website says that they update the reserved N-number database weekly, so that’s about how often I checked back. The number I submitted kept coming back as available. Until… the 12th of October! I still have not received the written confirmation but the number shows up in the database as being reserved for ME! WOOT!

As you might have guessed by the title of this post and the little addition to the header graphic, oh, and the giant VP tail to the right, my N-number for this project is N49FB Fox-trot Bravo of course for Fly Boy. If I could have gotten Fox-trot Bravo Juliet I would have, but that does not fit in the numbering convention used by the FAA so Fox Bravo it is. I just like the way the short number sounds… niner fox bravo… if just sounds cool to me. Okay, I’m getting a little too AvGeeky even for me now.

On a builders note; I mentioned in the last post about doing some work with composites on my day-job. That is progressing and I have been reading up on the process as time permits. The more I think about it the more I think I will do the cowling myself. I am still not sure about doing the turtle deck. I have seen a number of VP-1 and VP-2 examples with and without the dome called for in the plans. That is way down the line, so I’m not going to burn a whole lot of cycles on it just yet. I also need to see how fast I can re-acquire my old rusty fiberglass skills.

Thats it for now.

Blue skies and tailwinds,

GA Hypocrisy: John & Martha King Detained

The other day aviation notables John and Martha King had a run in with federal authorities. I listened to the AvWeb podcast that had a phone interview with Martha King. By all accounts so far, it was an unfortunate mistake that caused distress, rightfully so, and a relativity short detention for the Kings.

The federal authorities acted on a security alert that originated from a confused set of data. Eight years ago (less than a year since the terrorist attack on the United States) an airplane was stolen it Texas; that state by the U.S. Mexico border. The information about the aircraft theft was entered into several databases. After a period of time the Federal Aviation Administration removes old un-maintained aircraft registration data and re-issues the identification number. Unfortunately for the Kings the airplane they were flying was a leased airplane from Cessna that had been assigned one of these re-assigned registration numbers, the one that belonged to the stolen aircraft previously mentioned.

This all lead to a rough day for John and Martha and they were rightfully upset about the whole thing. This event, one that could have been learned from, has begun taunting the aviation media hounds into an uproar. A comment from Martha struck me in particular as a very bad choice of words. In her AvWeb interview she said the she felt she was the victim of civil rights violations. Now before you jump on your keyboard and send me a flurry of hate-mail, I am paraphrasing Martha’s statement; if you want the verbatim text please listen to the AvWeb interview.

The Kings were unwittingly caught up in a criminal investigation which, if the information had been accurate, could have presented significant risk to the field agents involved and many civilians. With that in mind, the field agents acted as the should have. The whole thing was wrapped up in less than an hour and aside from sore wrists from the handcuffs, the Kings said they were not injured. The field agents listened to the Kings once the scene was contained, the information was verified, and everything checked out.

Having been through a similar situation myself, I understand the frustration and the feeling of being violated. The fact is, the agents did what was correct. The data collection and processing organization is not as blameless, but I don’t want them crucified over this, ether. A failure in data processing was what created the mistaken identity. What people in the aviation community don’t seem to understand is that intelligence (don’t go there) has to be evaluated quickly when there is urgency. The fact checking comes in a little late some times. The King’s short Southern California IFR flight did not give officials the time to verify all of the data before acting. It happens. Had the flight originated in Kansas or anywhere that would give authorities several hours to follow up, the flight would have been monitored in progress and authorities would have had the time to find the data inconsistencies and scale down their response.

That takes care of the basic details and gives you, I hope, some perspective on some of the possibilities about the events that unfolded. Now for the part that has me frustrated and prompted the use of ‘hypocrisy’ in the title of this post.

The General Aviation community is frequently up in arms about how the media sensationalizes non-news and gets the general public agitated and angry with GA. Why are we doing the exact same thing? Aviation media people across the web are pounding away on their keyboards at the federal agencies involve for being incompetent liars and brutes, and headlines about aviation icons having their civil rights abused. Could we be any more like the mainstream media we seem to hate so much? STOP WITH THE SPIN ALREADY!

While I expect this from some sources, the last source I expected it from was AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. “King Schools owners mistakenly detained, AOPA president outraged” read a news release. Really Mr. Fuller? Outraged? Please tell me you have been misquoted or were misinformed. If this is truly your response to this incident, I am asking you as one of your constituents and a long time member of AOPA to please step down and let someone with a little common sense and self-control take over. I thought you had spent time in Washington; I would expect you to do at least a little research before expressing “outrage.” Or are you just playing the media game your opposition plays? Ether way, stop. You are not helping us, or anyone else for that matter.

How can we expect mainstream media to tone it down and view us fairly when we jump at the chance to lower ourselves to their level? GA has failed in this test of taking the moral high-ground, utterly and completely. Even if it comes out later when things are scrutinized more closely that there were big mistakes made, don’t feel like you have been vindicated, you haven’t. This is about reactionary responses and spinning the story to make your “news” more appealing, not about outcomes. I am disappointed with the aviation media as a whole but my disappointment with AOPA and Craig Fuller in particular goes much deeper.

I doubt Mr. Fuller will ever read my little blog entry, and that is fine. I don’t expect that these comments will reach all that many readers, but I will be happy if just one person reads this and at some point in the future they stop and think, research, and take multiple points of view in consideration before jumping on the slam-wagon of sensationalize and spin.

A Spork In The Road

Today marks a shift in direction once again. Graphics have been updated, features have been added and the feel/flavor of the site is turning back to it’s original ‘personal’ feel.

I have tried several ‘moods’ and directions for the site and this is the one that appeals to me the most. Adventures will still be forth coming, aviation stuff will be in the mix as well. I am changing the way I work with my online presence, relying more on social media to communicate what I am doing and where. I also intend to post more media, maybe even that podcast that has been rumored!

Media is where I am focusing my attentions. So look for audio, video, and pictures to become a regular element in this blog. Other Social Media outlets will also be playing a much larger part in the new FlyBoyJon.

The Wheels Are Turning

back from private check rideThings have been quiet on the website as of late while I work behind the scenes to get everything moving forward and upward. As you might guess, airplanes run on money, not just AvGas. The prospects for FBJ have been growing steadily, with long term planning. Aviation projects are like airfoils, the more money you have the more the airfoil resembles that streamlined, aerodynamically slippery object that cuts through the air and develops lifting force with great efficiency. Right now we have a brick, though a brick will fly quite far with enough thrust, it is not really designed for flight. I am providing as much thrust as possible.

So here we are, The Plan, is to keep moving forward on the adventures, keep moving forward on the plans to build a WWI Fighter replica, and continue to develop the behind the scenes infrastructure that will keep us going into the future. I think at this juncture a little organizational transparency is in order, FBJ at present is me, just me. I have been talking to others about getting involved with me on the front lines and have gotten some positive responses, nothing I can post just yet. And no, Burt Rutan is not joining up with FBJ. I will be creating some static information pages here on the site including a Crew page soon.

Our first operational year budget is $250K, to begin that year we need $150K in the bank and commitments for another $50K. We can float the last $50K on potential commercial sponsorships. This first year will be the toughest to get funded, I believe we can meet our subsequent annual budget with sponsorships and media revenue. So I need six to ten of you with 25 grand burning a hole in your pocket to email me today. Well, if you don’t ask…

As you can see, we need sponsors to get things moving in a vertical direction. I am out beating the brush looking for private and commercial sponsors. The hurdle for most is in handing over money to a new entity, particularly in the current economic environment. In the months to come I will be working to reduce concern about this element by getting the media wheels turning and getting some product posted. This should help alleviate some of the trepidation for commercial sponsors.

The projects are still in the works as are the adventures. Like many developing projects, we are taking more time to get going than we would like too. That’s okay, a slow build yields a long term concern, a meteoric rise tends to burn out just as quickly, and in a fiery ball hurdling back to Earth at mach something. I’ll go with slower and long term thank you.

See you next time, for now… The wheels are still turning.