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Dennis Donovan

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Member since: Wed Oct 15, 2008, 05:29 PM
Number of posts: 6,764

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10 Years Ago Today: Miracle on the Hudson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/US_Airways_Flight_1549



US Airways Flight 1549 was an Airbus A320 which, in the climbout after takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009, struck a flock of Canada geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge and consequently lost all engine power. Unable to reach any airport, pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles glided the plane to a ditching in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan. All 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were few serious injuries.

The accident came to be known as the "Miracle on the Hudson", and a National Transportation Safety Board official described it as "the most successful ditching in aviation history". The Board rejected the notion that the pilot could have avoided ditching by returning to LaGuardia or diverting to nearby Teterboro Airport.

The pilots and flight attendants were awarded the Master's Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators in recognition of their "heroic and unique aviation achievement".

Background

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 with call sign 'CACTUS 1549' was scheduled to fly from New York City's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Charlotte Douglas (CLT), with direct onward service to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. The aircraft was an Airbus A320-214 powered by two GE Aviation/Snecma-designed CFM56-5B4/P turbofan engines.

The pilot in command was 57-year-old Chesley B. Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot who had been an airline pilot since leaving the United States Air Force in 1980. At the time, he had logged 19,663 total flight hours, including 4,765 in an A320; he was also a glider pilot and expert on aviation safety. First officer Jeffrey B. Skiles, 49, had accrued 15,643 career flight hours, but this was his first Airbus A320 assignment since qualifying to fly it. There were 150 passengers and three flight attendants aboard.

Accident

The flight was cleared for takeoff to the northeast from LaGuardia's Runway 4 at 3:24:56 pm Eastern Standard Time (20:24:56 UTC). With Skiles in control, the crew made its first report after becoming airborne at 3:25:51 as being at 700 feet (210 m) and climbing.

The weather at 2:51 p.m. was 10 miles (16 km) visibility with broken clouds at 3,700 feet (1,100 m), wind 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) from 290°; an hour later it was few clouds at 4,200 feet (1,300 m), wind 9 knots (17 km/h; 10 mph) from 310°. At 3:26:37 Sullenberger remarked to Skiles: "What a view of the Hudson today."

The aircraft headed approximately north after takeoff, then wheeled anti-clockwise to follow the Hudson southwards.

At 3:27:11 the plane struck a flock of Canada geese at an altitude of 2,818 feet (859 m) about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-northwest of LaGuardia. The pilots' view was filled with the large birds; passengers and crew heard very loud bangs and saw flames from the engines, followed by silence and an odor of fuel.

Realizing that both engines had shut down, Sullenberger took control while Skiles worked the checklist for engine restart. The aircraft slowed but continued to climb for a further 19 seconds, reaching about 3,060 feet (930 m) at an airspeed of about 185 knots (343 km/h; 213 mph), then began a glide descent, accelerating to 210 knots (390 km/h; 240 mph) at 3:28:10 as it descended through 1,650 feet (500 m).

At 3:27:33, Sullenberger radioed a mayday call to New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) : "... this is Cactus 1539 [sic – correct call sign was Cactus 1549], hit birds. We've lost thrust on both engines. We're turning back towards LaGuardia". Air traffic controller Patrick Harten told LaGuardia's tower to hold all departures, and directed Sullenberger back to Runway 13. Sullenberger responded, "Unable".

Sullenberger asked controllers for landing options in New Jersey, mentioning Teterboro Airport. Permission was given for Teterboro's Runway 1, but Sullenberger responded: "We can't do it ... We're gonna be in the Hudson". The aircraft passed less than 900 feet (270 m) above the George Washington Bridge. Sullenberger commanded over the cabin address system, "Brace for impact", and the flight attendants relayed the command to passengers. Meanwhile, air traffic controllers asked the Coast Guard to caution vessels in the Hudson and ask them to prepare to assist with rescue.

Ditching and evacuation

About ninety seconds later, at 3:31 pm, the plane made an unpowered ditching, descending southwards at about 125 knots (140 mph; 230 km/h) into the middle of the North River section of the Hudson tidal estuary, at 40.7695°N 74.0046°W on the New York side of the state line, roughly opposite West 50th Street (near the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum) in Manhattan and Port Imperial in Weehawken, New Jersey. Flight attendants compared the ditching to a "hard landing" with "one impact, no bounce, then a gradual deceleration." The ebb tide then began to take the plane southward.

Sullenberger opened the cockpit door and ordered evacuation. The crew began evacuating the passengers through the four overwing window exits and into an inflatable slide/raft deployed from the front right passenger door (the front left slide failed to operate, so the manual inflation handle was pulled). A panicked passenger opened a rear door, which a flight attendant was unable to reseal.Water was also entering a hole in the fuselage and through cargo doors that had come open, so as the water rose the attendant urged passengers to move forward by climbing over seats. One passenger was in a wheelchair. Finally, Sullenberger walked the cabin twice to confirm it was empty.

The air and water temperatures were about 19 °F (−7 °C) and 41 °F (5 °C) respectively. Some evacuees waited for rescue knee-deep in water on the partially submerged slides, some wearing life-vests. Others stood on the wings or, fearing an explosion, swam away from the plane. One passenger, after helping with the evacuation, found the wing so crowded that he jumped into the river and swam to a boat.

Rescue
Sullenberger had ditched near boats which facilitated rescue. NY Waterway ferries Thomas Jefferson and then Governor Thomas H. Kean both arrived within minutes and began taking people aboard using a Jason's cradle. Sullenberger advised the ferry crews to rescue those on the wings first, as they were in more jeopardy than those on the slides, which detached to become life rafts. As the plane drifted, passengers on one slide, fearing that the boat would crush them, shouted for it to steer away. The last person was taken from the plane at 3:55 pm.

About 140 New York City firefighters responded to nearby docks, as did police, helicopters, and various vessels and divers. Other agencies provided medical help on the Weehawken side of the river, where most passengers were taken.

</snip>


Good Job Sully and FO Skiles!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jan 15, 2019, 07:13 AM (4 replies)

53 Years Ago Today; The Who release "I Can't Explain" in the UK

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Can%27t_Explain



Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jan 15, 2019, 06:01 AM (1 replies)

100 Years Ago Today; Great Molasses Flood of Boston kills 21

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Molasses_Flood



The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood, occurred on January 15, 1919 in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. A large storage tank filled with 2.3 million gallons (8706 tons) of molasses burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event entered local folklore and residents claimed for decades afterwards that the area still smelled of molasses on hot summer days.



Flood
The disaster occurred at the Purity Distilling Company facility on January 15, 1919. The temperature had risen above 40 °F (4 °C), climbing rapidly from the frigid temperatures of the preceding days.

Molasses can be fermented to produce rum and ethanol, the active ingredient in other alcoholic beverages and a key component in the manufacturing of munitions. The stored molasses was awaiting transfer to the Purity plant situated between Willow Street and what is now named Evereteze Way, in Cambridge.

At about 12:30 in the afternoon near Keany Square, at 529 Commercial Street, a molasses tank 50 ft (15 m) tall, 90 ft (27 m) in diameter, and containing as much as 2,300,000 US gal (8,700 m3), collapsed. Witnesses variously reported that as it collapsed they felt the ground shake and heard a roar, a long rumble similar to the passing of an elevated train (coincidentally, with a line of that type close by), a tremendous crashing, a deep growling, or "a thunderclap-like bang!", and as the rivets shot out of the tank, a machine gun-like sound.

Molasses is about 1.5 times denser than water, so the stored molasses had a great deal of potential energy. The collapse translated this energy into a wave of molasses 25 ft (8 m) high at its peak, moving at 35 mph (56 km/h). The molasses wave was of sufficient force to damage the girders of the adjacent Boston Elevated Railway's Atlantic Avenue structure and tip a railroad car momentarily off the tracks. Author Stephen Puleo describes how nearby buildings were swept off their foundations and crushed. Several blocks were flooded to a depth of 2 to 3 ft (60 to 90 cm). Puleo quotes a Boston Post report:

Molasses, waist deep, covered the street and swirled and bubbled about the wreckage ... Here and there struggled a form‍—‌whether it was animal or human being was impossible to tell. Only an upheaval, a thrashing about in the sticky mass, showed where any life was ... Horses died like so many flies on sticky fly-paper. The more they struggled, the deeper in the mess they were ensnared. Human beings‍—‌men and women‍—‌suffered likewise.

The Boston Globe reported that people "were picked up by a rush of air and hurled many feet." Others had debris hurled at them from the rush of sweet-smelling air. A truck was picked up and hurled into Boston Harbor. After the initial wave, the molasses then became viscous, exacerbated by the cold temperatures, trapping those caught in the wave and further making it difficult to rescue them. About 150 people were injured; 21 people and several horses were killed. Some were crushed and drowned by the molasses, or the debris it carried within. The wounded included people, horses, and dogs; coughing fits became one of the most common ailments after the initial blast. In a 1983 article for Smithsonian, Edwards Park wrote of one child's experience:

Anthony di Stasio, walking homeward with his sisters from the Michelangelo School, was picked up by the wave and carried, tumbling on its crest, almost as though he were surfing. Then he grounded and the molasses rolled him like a pebble as the wave diminished. He heard his mother call his name and couldn't answer, his throat was so clogged with the smothering goo. He passed out, then opened his eyes to find three of his four sisters staring at him.


</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Jan 15, 2019, 05:52 AM (8 replies)

65 Years Ago Today: The Birth of American Motors Corporation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Motors_Corporation



American Motors Corporation (AMC) was an American automobile company formed by the 1954 merger of Nash-Kelvinator Corporation and Hudson Motor Car Company. At the time, it was the largest corporate merger in U.S. history.

AMC went on to compete with the US Big Three—Ford, General Motors and Chrysler—with its small cars including the Rambler American, Hornet, Gremlin and Pacer; muscle cars including the Marlin, AMX and Javelin; and early four-wheel-drive variants of the Eagle, U.S. first true crossover.

The company was known as "a small company deft enough to exploit special market segments left untended by the giants", and was widely known for the design work of chief stylist, Dick Teague, who "had to make do with a much tighter budget than his counterparts at Detroit's Big Three" but "had a knack for making the most of his employer's investment".

After periods of intermittent but unsustained success, Renault acquired a major interest in AMC in 1979—and the company was ultimately acquired by Chrysler. At its 1987 demise, The New York Times said AMC was "never a company with the power or the cost structure to compete confidently at home or abroad."

</snip>


My first car was a 1975 green AMC Hornet sedan, purchased in 1983, rocking an 8 track player with home stereo speakers wired in the back seat:



My dream AMC was an AMX:

Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jan 14, 2019, 05:59 AM (5 replies)

52 Years Ago Today; The Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Be-In



The Human Be-In was an event in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Polo Fields on January 14, 1967. It was a prelude to San Francisco's Summer of Love, which made the Haight-Ashbury district a symbol of American counterculture and introduced the word "psychedelic" to suburbia.


Event
The Human Be-In was announced on the cover of the fifth issue of the San Francisco Oracle as "A Gathering of the Tribes for a Human Be-In". The occasion was a new California law banning the use of the psychedelic drug LSD that had come into effect on October 6, 1966. The speakers at the rally were all invited by Bowen, the main organizer. They included Timothy Leary in his first San Francisco appearance, who set the tone that afternoon with his famous phrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" and Richard Alpert (soon to be known as "Ram Dass", and poets like Allen Ginsberg, who chanted mantras, Gary Snyder and Michael McClure. Other counterculture gurus included comedian Dick Gregory, Lenore Kandel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jerry Rubin, and Alan Watts. The Hells Angels, at the peak of their "outlaw" reputation, corralled lost children. Music was provided by a host of local rock bands including Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Blue Cheer most of whom had been staples of the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom. "Underground chemist" Owsley Stanley provided massive amounts of his "White Lightning" LSD, specially produced for the event, as well as 75 twenty-pound turkeys, for free distribution by the Diggers.

The national media were stunned, publicity about this event leading to the mass movement of young people from all over America to descend on the Haight-Ashbury area. Reports were unable to agree whether 20,000 or 30,000 people showed up at the Be-In. Soon every gathering was an "-In" of some kind: Just 4 weeks later was Bob Fass's Human Fly-In, then the Emmett Grogan inspired Sweep-In, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In comedy television show began airing over NBC just a year later on January 22, 1968. This was followed by the first "Yip-In" (March 21, 1968, at Grand Central Terminal), "Love-In" (April 14, 1968, at Malibu Canyon) and "Bed-In" (March 25, 1969, in Amsterdam).

The Human Be-In was later recalled by poet Allen Cohen (who assisted the artist Bowen in the organizational work, ) as a meld that brought together philosophically opposed factions of the San Francisco-based counterculture at the time: on one side, the Berkeley radicals, who were tending toward increased militancy in response to the U.S. government's Vietnam war policies, and, on the other side, the rather non-political Haight-Ashbury hippies, who urged peaceful protest. Their means were drastically different, but they held many of the same goals.

According to Cohen's own account, his friend Bowen provided much of the "organizing energy" for the event, and Bowen's personal connections also strongly influenced its character.

The counterculture that surfaced at the "Human Be-In" encouraged people to "question authority" with regard to civil rights, women's rights, and consumer rights. Underground newspapers and radio stations served as its alternative media.



</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Jan 14, 2019, 05:34 AM (1 replies)

37 Years Ago Today; Air Florida Flight 90 plunges into Potomac River after takeoff

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Florida_Flight_90



Air Florida Flight 90 was a scheduled U.S. domestic passenger flight operated by Air Florida from Washington National Airport to Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport with an intermediate stopover at Tampa International Airport. On January 13, 1982, the Boeing 737-222 registered as N62AF crashed into the 14th Street Bridge over the Potomac River just two miles from the White House.



The aircraft struck the 14th Street Bridge, which carries Interstate 395 between Washington, D.C. and Arlington County, Virginia. It struck seven occupied vehicles on the bridge and destroyed 97 feet (30 m) of guard rail before it plunged through the ice into the Potomac River. The aircraft was carrying 74 passengers and five crewmembers. Four passengers and one flight attendant were rescued from the crash and survived. Another passenger, Arland D. Williams, Jr., assisted in the rescue of the survivors but drowned before he himself could be rescued. Four motorists on the bridge were killed. The survivors were rescued from the icy river by civilians and professionals. President Ronald Reagan commended these acts during his State of the Union speech a few days later.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the cause of the accident was pilot error. The pilots failed to switch on the engines' internal ice protection systems, used reverse thrust in a snowstorm prior to takeoff, tried to use the jet exhaust of a plane in front of them to melt their ice, and failed to abort the takeoff even after detecting a power problem while taxiing and seeing ice and snow buildup on the wings.

<snip>

As the takeoff roll began, the first officer noted several times to the captain that the instrument panel readings he was seeing did not seem to reflect reality (he was referring to the fact that the plane did not appear to have developed as much power as it needed for takeoff, despite the instruments indicating otherwise). The captain dismissed these concerns, then he let the takeoff proceed.

Investigators determined that there was plenty of time and space on the runway for the captain to have aborted the takeoff, and criticized his refusal to listen to his first officer, who was correct that the instrument panel readings were wrong. The pilot was told not to delay because another aircraft was 2.5 miles out (4 km) on final approach to the same runway. The following is a transcript of Flight 90's cockpit voice recorder during the plane's acceleration down the runway.

15:59:32 CAM-1 Okay, your throttles.

15:59:35 [SOUND OF ENGINE SPOOLUP]

15:59:49 CAM-1 Holler if you need the wipers.

15:59:51 CAM-1 It's spooled. Really cold here, real cold.

15:59:58 CAM-2 God, look at that thing. That don't seem right, does it? Ah, that's not right.

16:00:09 CAM-1 Yes it is, there's eighty.

16:00:10 CAM-2 Naw, I don't think that's right. Ah, maybe it is.

16:00:21 CAM-1 Hundred and twenty.

16:00:23 CAM-2 I don't know.

16:00:31 CAM-1 V1. Easy, V2.

— Transcript, Air Florida Flight 90 Cockpit Voice Recorder


As the plane became briefly airborne, the voice recorder picked up the following from the cockpit, with the sound of the stick-shaker (a device that warns that the plane is in danger of stalling) in the background:

16:00:39 [SOUND OF STICKSHAKER STARTS AND CONTINUES UNTIL IMPACT]

16:00:41 TWR Palm 90 contact departure control.

16:00:45 CAM-1 Forward, forward, easy. We only want five hundred.

16:00:48 CAM-1 Come on forward....forward, just barely climb.

16:00:59 CAM-1 Stalling, we're falling!

16:01:00 CAM-2 Larry, we're going down, Larry....

16:01:01 CAM-1 I know!

16:01:01 [SOUND OF IMPACT]

— Transcript, Air Florida Flight 90 Cockpit Voice Recorder


The aircraft traveled almost half a mile (800 m) farther down the runway than is customary before liftoff was accomplished. Survivors of the crash indicated the trip over the runway was extremely rough, with survivor Joe Stiley – a businessman and private pilot – saying that he believed that they would not get airborne and would "fall off the end of the runway". When the plane became airborne, Stiley told his co-worker (and survivor) Nikki Felch to assume the crash position, with some nearby passengers following their example.

Although the 737 did manage to become airborne, it attained a maximum altitude of just 352 feet (107 m) before it began losing altitude. Recorders later indicated that the aircraft was airborne for just 30 seconds. At 4:01 p.m. EST, it crashed into the 14th Street Bridge across the Potomac River, 0.75 nautical miles (1,390 m) from the end of the runway. The plane hit six cars and a truck on the bridge, and tore away 97 feet (30 m) of the bridge's rail and 41 feet (12 m) of the bridge's wall. The aircraft then plunged into the freezing Potomac River. It fell between two of the three spans of the bridge, between the I-395 northbound span (the Rochambeau Bridge) and the HOV north- and southbound spans, about 200 feet (61 m) offshore. All but the tail section quickly became submerged.

Of the people on board the aircraft:

Four of the crew members (including both pilots) died.
One crew member was seriously injured.
70 of the 74 passengers died.
19 occupants were believed to have survived the impact, but their injuries prevented them from escaping.

Of the motorists on the bridge involved:
4 sustained fatal injuries
1 sustained serious injuries
3 sustained minor injuries

Clinging to the tail section of the broken airliner in the ice-choked Potomac River were flight attendant Kelly Duncan and four passengers: Patricia "Nikki" Felch, Joe Stiley, Arland D. Williams Jr. (strapped and tangled in his seat) and Priscilla Tirado. Duncan inflated the only flotation device they could find and passed it to the severely injured Felch. Passenger Bert Hamilton, who was floating in the water nearby, was the first to be pulled from the water.

Crash response

Many federal offices in downtown Washington had closed early that day in response to quickly developing blizzard conditions. Thus, there was a massive backup of traffic on almost all of the city's roads, making it very difficult for ambulances to reach the crash site. The Coast Guard's 65-foot (20 m) harbor tugboat Capstan (WYTL 65601) and its crew were based nearby; their duties include ice breaking and responding to water rescues. The Capstan was considerably farther downriver on another search-and-rescue mission. Emergency ground response was greatly hampered by ice-covered roads and gridlocked traffic, ambulances dispatched at 4:07 pm took 20 minutes to reach the scene of the crash. Ambulances attempting to reach the scene were even driven down the sidewalk in front of the White House. Rescuers who reached the site were unable to assist survivors in the water because they did not have adequate equipment to reach them. Below-freezing waters and heavy ice made swimming out to them impossible. Multiple attempts to throw a makeshift lifeline (made out of belts and any other things available that could be tied together) out to the survivors proved ineffective. The rescue attempts by emergency officials and witnesses were recorded and broadcast live by area news reporters, and as the accident occurred in the nation's capital, there were large numbers of media personnel on hand to provide quick and extensive coverage.

Roger Olian, a sheetmetal foreman at St. Elizabeths Hospital, a Washington psychiatric hospital, was on his way home across the 14th Street Bridge in his truck when he heard a man yelling that there was an aircraft in the water. He was the first to jump into the water to attempt to reach the survivors. At the same time, several military personnel from the Pentagon—Steve Raynes, Aldo De La Cruz and Steve Bell—ran down to the water's edge to help Olian.

He only traveled a few yards and came back, ice sticking to his body. We asked him to not try again, but he insisted. Someone grabbed some short rope and battery cables and he went out again, maybe only going 30 feet. We pulled him back. Someone had backed up their jeep and we picked him up and put him in there. All anyone could do was tell the survivors was to hold on not to give up hope. There were a few pieces of the plane on shore that were smoldering and you could hear the screams of the survivors. More people arrived near the shore from the bridge but nobody could do anything. The ice was broken up and there was no way to walk out there. It was so eerie, an entire plane vanished except for a tail section, the survivors and a few pieces of plane debris. The smell of jet fuel was everywhere and you could smell it on your clothes. The snow on the banks was easily two feet high and your legs and feet would fall deep into it every time you moved from the water.

At this point, flight controllers were aware only that the plane had disappeared from radar and did not respond to radio calls, but had no idea of either what had happened or the plane's location.

At approximately 4:20 p.m. EST, Eagle 1, a United States Park Police Bell 206L-1 Long Ranger helicopter (registry number N22PP), based at the "Eagles Nest" at Anacostia Park in Washington and manned by pilot Donald W. Usher and paramedic Melvin E. Windsor, arrived and began attempting to airlift the survivors to shore. At great risk to themselves, the crew worked close to the water's surface, at one time coming so close to the ice-clogged river that the helicopter's skids dipped beneath the surface.

The helicopter crew lowered a line to survivors to tow them to shore. First to receive the line was Bert Hamilton, who was treading water about ten feet from the plane's floating tail. The pilot pulled him across the ice to shore while avoiding the sides of the bridge. By then some fire/rescue personnel had arrived to join the military personnel and civilians who pulled Hamilton (and the next/last three survivors) from the water's edge up to waiting ambulances. The helicopter returned to the aircraft's tail, and this time Arland D. Williams Jr. (sometimes referred to as "the sixth passenger" ) caught the line. Williams, not able to unstrap himself from the wreckage, passed the line to flight attendant Kelly Duncan, who was towed to shore. On its third trip back to the wreckage, the helicopter lowered two lifelines, fearing that the remaining survivors had only a few minutes before succumbing to hypothermia. Williams, still strapped into the wreckage, passed one line to Joe Stiley, who was holding on to a panic-stricken and blinded (from jet fuel) Priscilla Tirado, who had lost her husband and baby. Stiley's co-worker, Nikki Felch, took the second line. As the helicopter pulled the three through the water and blocks of ice toward shore, both Tirado and Felch lost their grip and fell back into the water.

Priscilla Tirado was too weak to grab the line when the helicopter returned to her. A watching bystander, Congressional Budget Office assistant Lenny Skutnik, stripped off his coat and boots, and in short sleeves, dove into the icy water and swam out to successfully pull her to shore. The helicopter then proceeded to where Felch had fallen, and paramedic Gene Windsor stepped out onto the helicopter skid and grabbed her by the clothing to lift her onto the skid with him, bringing her to shore. When the helicopter crew returned for Williams, the wreckage he was strapped into had rolled slightly, submerging him—according to the coroner, Williams was the only passenger to die by drowning. His body and those of the other occupants were later recovered.



While the weather had caused an early start to Washington's rush hour traffic, frustrating the response time of emergency crews, the early rush hour also meant that trains on the Washington Metro were full when, just 30 minutes after Flight 90 crashed, the Metro suffered its first fatal crash at Federal Triangle station. This meant that Washington's nearest airport, one of its main bridges in or out of the city, and one of its busiest subway lines were all closed simultaneously, paralyzing the entire metropolitan area.

</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Jan 13, 2019, 08:59 AM (21 replies)

109 Years Ago Today; The Birth of public radio broadcasting

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birth_of_public_radio_broadcasting



The birth of public radio broadcasting is credited to Lee de Forest who transmitted the world’s first public broadcast in New York City on January 13, 1910. This broadcast featured the voices of Enrico Caruso and other Metropolitan Opera stars. Members of the public and the press used earphones to listen to the broadcast in several locations throughout the city. This marked the beginning of what would become nearly universal wireless radio communication.

First public broadcast

Date
A 1907 Lee De Forest company advertisement said,

It will soon be possible to distribute grand opera music from transmitters placed on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House by a Radio Telephone station on the roof to almost any dwelling in Greater New York and vicinity ... The same applies to large cities. Church music, lectures, etc., can be spread abroad by the Radio Telephone.

Several years later, on January 13, 1910, the first public radio broadcast was an experimental transmission of a live Metropolitan Opera House performance by several famous opera singers. This transmission was arranged by Lee de Forest.

Performers
The wireless radio broadcast consisted of performances of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci. Riccardo Martin performed as Turridu, Emmy Destinn as Santuzza, and Enrico Caruso as Canio. The conductor was Egisto Tango. This event is regarded as the birth of public radio broadcasting.

The New York Times reported on January 14, 1910:

Opera broadcast in part from the stage of the New York City Metropolitan Opera Company was heard on January 13, 1910, when Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn sang arias from Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, which were "trapped and magnified by the dictograph directly from the stage and borne by wireless Hertzian waves over the turbulent waters of the sea to transcontinental and coastwise ships and over the mountainous peaks and undulating valleys of the country." The microphone was connected by telephone wire to the laboratory of Dr. Lee De Forest.


Equipment

Receivers
The few radio receivers able to pick up this first-ever "outside broadcast" were those at the De Forest Radio Laboratory, on board ships in New York Harbor, in large hotels on Times Square and at New York city locations where members of the press were stationed at receiving sets. Public receivers with earphones had been set up in several well-advertised locations throughout New York City. There were members of the press stationed at various receiving sets throughout the city and the public was invited to listen to the broadcast.

The experiment was considered mostly unsuccessful. The microphones of the day were of poor quality and could not pick up most of the singing on stage. Only off-stage singers singing directly into a microphone could be heard clearly. The New York Times reported the next day that static and interference "kept the homeless song waves from finding themselves".

Lee De Forest's Radio Telephone Company manufactured and sold the first commercial radios in the demonstration room at the Metropolitan Life Building in New York City for this public event.

Transmitter
The wireless transmitter had 500 watts of power. It is reported that this broadcast was heard 20 km away on a ship at sea. The broadcast was also heard in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

</snip>


I'm not a Lee de Forest fan, but this was momentous enough to mark its anniversary today.

On edit / fun fact: Lee de Forest had a relative, known to TV audiences as Larry "Bud" Melman, aka Calvert deForest:
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sun Jan 13, 2019, 08:33 AM (4 replies)

Verna Bloom, Actress in 'Animal House,' 'High Plains Drifter,' Dies at 80

https://variety.com/2019/film/obituaries-people-news/verna-bloom-dead-dies-animal-house-1203104909/



Verna Bloom, who appeared in “Animal House” and worked with the likes of Martin Scorsese, died Jan. 9 in Bar Harbor, Maine, her rep confirmed to Variety. She was 80 years old.

The cause was complications of dementia, her family stated.

Although Bloom appeared extensively in theater and television, she is most noted for her film work. One of her memorable roles came in John Landis’ 1978 comedy “Animal House,” in which she appeared as the drunken, debauched wife of the beleaguered Dean Wormer. She also appeared in three films by Martin Scorsese — “Street Scenes 1970,” “The Last Temptation of Christ” (1988), and “After Hours” (1985) — and two by Clint Eastwood: “High Plains Drifter” (1973) and “Honkytonk Man” (1982).

Bloom was born in Lynn, Mass., in 1938. After graduating from Boston University, she moved to Denver and started a local theater. Moving to New York in the mid-1960s, she starred as Charlotte Corday in the Broadway revival of “Marat/Sade” and, shortly after, on the recommendation of the writer-historian Studs Terkel, made her film debut in Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool” (1969), in which she played a young Appalachian mother caught up in the street violence of the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. For her performance, she was nominated for both lead and supporting actress by the National Society of Film Critics.

</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Jan 10, 2019, 07:48 PM (2 replies)

21 yrs ago today; The beginning of the 1998 North American Ice Storm

January 1998 North American ice storm



The North American Ice Storm of 1998 (also known as Great Ice Storm of 1998) was a massive combination of five smaller successive ice storms in January 1998 that struck a relatively narrow swath of land from eastern Ontario to southern Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada, and bordering areas from northern New York to central Maine in the United States. It caused massive damage to trees and electrical infrastructure all over the area, leading to widespread long-term power outages. Millions were left in the dark for periods varying from days to several weeks, and in some instances, months. It led to 35 fatalities, a shutdown of activities in large cities like Montreal and Ottawa, and an unprecedented effort in reconstruction of the power grid. The ice storm led to the largest deployment of Canadian military personnel since the Korean War, with over 16,000 Canadian Forces personnel deployed, 12,000 in Quebec and 4,000 in Ontario at the height of the crisis.

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Impact

Many power lines broke and over 1,000 transmission towers collapsed in chain reactions under the weight of the ice, leaving more than 4 million people without electricity, most of them in southern Quebec, western New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario, some of them for an entire month. At least twenty-five people died in the areas affected by the ice, primarily from hypothermia, according to Environment Canada. Twelve more deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in additional damage were caused by the flooding farther south from the same storm system.

The bridges and tunnels linking Montreal with the South Shore were closed because of concerns about weight tolerances or ice chunks falling from the superstructures. All but one power linkage to the island of Montreal were down for several days, disabling both of the city's water pumping stations. When power was restored, parts of Montreal remained impassable due to large chunks of ice falling from rooftops, which endangered pedestrians and motorists; large portions of Old Montreal and the downtown core were cordoned off by police due to the dangers of large sheets of ice falling from buildings.

The area south of Montreal (Montérégie) was so affected that the triangle formed by Saint-Hyacinthe, Granby and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was nicknamed the triangle noir ("dark or black triangle" ) by the French-language media, and the Triangle of Darkness in English media, for the total lack of electricity for weeks.

Cities such as Ottawa, Smiths Falls, and other Eastern Ontario municipalities, that had never experienced such an amount of freezing rain, declared a state of emergency. On January 7, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick called on the help of the Canadian Forces, prompting the deployment of more than 15,000 military personnel at the peak of the crisis. In addition to help residents, CN locomotives (CN3502 and CN3555) were moved off the tracks and used to provide power to residents of Boucherville and Coteau-du-Lac, south and west of Montreal respectively. A third locomotive was moved to Boucherville, but never actually put to use.

The loss of electrical power also greatly affected pig and cattle farmers, as they could no longer provide water or adequate ventilation to their barns full of livestock, leading to the death of many animals. Many barns also collapsed under the weight of the ice, killing the animals trapped inside.

Millions of trees were brought down by the weight of ice around the affected areas. As many trees were damaged or fell by the heavy ice, the maple syrup and orchard regions suffered heavy blows and massive losses in the storm; Quebec's maple sugar industry, the largest in the world, was devastated. As another example, 5,000 trees in Montreal's Mount Royal Park had to be cut, 80% (140,000) of the rest were damaged to different degrees and had to be trimmed, a large number severely. The mountain park looked more like a logging camp than a nature oasis for many weeks.


Two inches of ice on a twig, illustrating the impact.

Critically, about 1,000 steel electrical pylons and 35,000 wooden utility poles were crushed and crumpled by the weight of the ice, further damaging the power supply and hampering the return of electricity. Teams were brought in from places such as Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, along with teams from the United States and the Canadian Forces, to help restore power to affected homes in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.

Roughly 700,000 of Maine's 1.2 million residents were without electricity, the Maine National Guard was mobilized, and hundreds of utility crews from as far away as North Carolina arrived to help.

Three weeks after the end of the ice storm, there were still thousands of people without electricity. In Quebec alone, 150,000 people were without electricity as of January 28. Estimates of material damage reached around $2 billion Canadian for Quebec alone. Overall estimates are around $4–6 billion US$ for all the areas affected. Damage to the power grid was so severe that major rebuilding, not repairing, of the electrical grid had to be undertaken.


I remember the city of Plattsburgh being completely closed for 2 weeks. This was a catastrophic storm.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Jan 4, 2019, 11:04 AM (3 replies)

Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines founder, dies at 87

Source: CNN



New York (CNN Business)Herb Kelleher, the eccentric founder of Southwest Airlines, died Thursday. He was 87.

The company announced his passing in a statement that described Kelleher as a "pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator." The cause of death was not disclosed.

"His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies," the company said. "Herb's passion, zest for life, and insatiable investment in relationships made lasting and immeasurable impressions on all who knew him and will forever be the bedrock and esprit de corps of Southwest Airlines."

He is survived by his wife and three of their four children, according to a blog post from the company.

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Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/03/business/southwest-airlines-founder-herb-kelleher-obit/index.html



Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Jan 3, 2019, 09:55 PM (5 replies)
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