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The Good and the Bad

April 7, 2009
F-22 at the Nellis AFB Air Show, November 2008

F-22 at the Nellis AFB Air Show, November 2008

OK, so Secretary of Defense Gates has said that the Pentagon’s budget cutting will probably involve ending the F-22 program and the new Presidential helicopter program. That sucks big time, friends. The F-22 is a magnificent aircraft, more maneuverable than anything else in the air. It regularly beats the pants off of every other aircraft, US or otherwise. When I saw it fly at Nellis in November, I was astounded by what it could do – and this was after seeing the crack F-18 and F-15 demo pilots – and they were frickin’ unbelievable.

AC-130 gunship demo

AC-130 gunship demo

Maybe we don’t need it so much right this minute. It’s apparently not been used in Iraq because there was a concern that one might crash and the bad guys might get the technology. I guess there were no missions where only the F-22 would do the job. (You have to see a C-130, turned into a gunship, manuever to believe it!) Still, the reason we need it is because we need to maintain that superiority. It also saves pilot lives because it’s super-stealthy and a monster stand-off weapon. It’s also THE superior dogfight plane. 187 aircraft are not nearly enough to really get them into the field if they need to be used.

On the other hand, you know how I always complain about not having a flying car? Well, kids, for a couple of hundred thou I can get one in 2011:

first_flight_chase_plane_400w

Video can be found here. They are classifying it as a Light Sport Aircraft, which means you need a driver’s license and 20 hours of instruction. It’s only a two-place, and flies about 100 miles an hour. It burns regular gas, instead of the more expensive avgas. You can keep it in your garage – well, yours, mine has a particularly low ceiling – drive it to any airport with a 2500 foot runway, and take off.

A week ago I was in the Bahamas for a couple of days. It’s a long story. Suffice it to say that getting to the island we were staying on was complicated. I flew from Chicago Midway to Ft. Lauderdale, commercial, a shuttle to the hotel overnight, a cab to the airport we flew out of in a Beech Baron, landed on one island to go through customs, landed on another and left the plane, then took a boat for 45 minutes to the island. If I had one of these babies in South Florida I could pick it up at the airport, fly it to the Bahamas, and fly it back. w00t.

It’s coming from Terrafugia. I’m ready!

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