C-130 Landing in Bagdad

Forwarded for your amusement - some very descriptive lines. This guy must have taken a creative writing class in college. C-130 Pilot's Description of Approach into Baghdad. This is a funny story particularly if you like mixed metaphors!!


There I was at six thousand feet over central Iraq , two hundred eighty knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here nor there.

The night is moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a Steven King novel. But it's 2006, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown out by the fighter boys. Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd?

At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight. These NVGs are the cat's ass. But I've digressed.

The preferred method of approach tonight is the random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air-missiles and small arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my pink ass on that theory but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it.

We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop down to one thousand feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred eighty knots. Now the fun starts.

It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herc to six hundred feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree left bank, turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading. As soon as we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two hundred seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some aeronautical genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy." Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to configure the pig for landing. "Flaps Fifty!, landing Gear Down!, Before Landing Checklist!"

I look over at the copilot and he's shaking like a cat shitting on a sheet of ice. Looking further back at the navigator, and even through the Nags, I can clearly see the wet spot spreading around his crotch. Finally, I glance at my steely eyed flight engineer. His eyebrows rise in unison as a grin forms on his face. I can tell he's thinking the same thing I am .... "Where do we find such fine young men?"

"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aim-point and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on NVGs, it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad air. The huge, one hundred thirty-thousand pound, lumbering whisper pig comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet. Let's see a Viper do that!

We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam's home.

Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F, 9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm not in the Army. Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess?"

Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your ass it is. Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there, too.

But now is not the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to get out of this hole.

Hey copilot how's 'bout the 'Before Starting Engines Checklist." God, I love this job!!!!

The video below is different than the C-130 approach written above, but very impressive.


Listed Day to Day

"Andre Dawson has a bruised knee and is listed as day-to day


Aren't we all?" (on-air radio broadcast, 1991)

Vin Sculley, broadcaster for the Dodgers

Photos From The Refueling Position in the Bottom Rear of an Air Force KC-135


KC-135 Photos Taken From the Boom Operator Position in the rear nelly of the Aircraft Over Washington and Oregon in 2010. I think the photos include Mount St Helens and Spirit Lake.

I took the photos of the mountains above from the refueling control station in the rear bottom ot the aircraft looking down.  

KC-135 refueling aircraft.  The KC-135 is similar to the Boeing 707. It was first brought into service in 1957, and is projected to stay in continuous for many years going forward.

Click for more photos


Corruption Index By Country


The Corruption Perception Index rates nations by corruption. The lower the corruption the lower the ranking. The lighter yellow colors are less corrupt.

The United States is rated 27 out of 180 countries in 2021, which is down from 19 out 177 Countries in 2013. The graph below shows the years of our decline.

Our neighbor Canada is less corrupt that the US and Mexico more corrupt. Russia is rated at 136 out of 180 countries while Ukraine is 122.  Most of our G-7 partners are quality ethical countries - part of the reason they are successful. The Scandinavian countries are the least corrupt.

Iraq is 157 while Afghanistan is 174. So we invaded and tried to modernize these crooked countries into functioning democracies with a fair and good economic system.  Not easy to do. Really stupid on our part.

Wringing corruption out of government and society is a challenge. You can't have a quality country with rampant corruption. Your top officials simply steal the country blind. 
Less corrupt countries usually have more successful economies.

We must work at electing less corrupt politicians.  In a democracy, if we elect crooks, shame on us. We need to pick honest, decent, and hard working politicians.  When we elect crooks it damages our country. 

US Energy Consumption


As shown on the graph and in the link below, fossil fuel is still our major source of energy.  The use of coal in the US has been substantially replaced by natural gas.

Renewables have increased dramatically and costs are now competitive with other sources of energy.

I think we should continue to increase our sources of renewable energy and also increase our nuclear energy supply.  Fossil fuels are polluting and finite. 



Chicago Looking Good

River North July 2022


I worked at Marina City for the Chicago RTA (Regional Transportation Authority) 1980-82. The area immediately north of it was pretty dead, although you could see it had great potential. Now it is filled with new high rise housing, and with huge numbers of restaurants. Part of Clark Street is closed off to traffic with the restaurants into the street. The area is vibrant. The area along State Street is marginal, but likely headed for substantial urban redevelopment.

Vietnam Memorial - July 2022


Remembering our fallen comrades.  Friends from Morgan Park High School in the south side of Chicago: 


Kayaks in the Chicago River July 2022


 Kayaks in the Chicago River


Wolf Point and the Chicago River

Our country did a great job cleaning up our water and air. Our nation embarked on a huge multi year effort to make all of our rivers, streams, and lakes suitable for fishing and swimming. This effort began when I first started as a city planner in 1973.  It took many years of effort.  Our air and water are not perfect but they are much better then in the good old days.

I can remember how Mayor Daley was laughed at when he said we would be fishing in the Chicago River.  Now we can. And what used to be an open sewer is now a tremendous asset for the City and State.

I can remember canoeing on the DesPlaines and Chicago River and Cal Sag channel. It was a disgusting open sewer. Our air quality was also bad, back in the day when we used coal to heat our homes and power our industry. Flying into the city you could see it encased in an ugly black cloud, depending on the wind.

I was working as the Planning Director for Will County just south of Chicago and Cook County in 1975.  The Chicago River drained into the Des Plains and Illinois Rivers through our county and it was an open sewer.  My department was paid $200,000 of Federal funds to work on the project.  We needed to vastly upgrade our sewer plants and also reduce pollutants from farm and urban areas. A substantial amount of ordinane revision and planning was required.

One of our efforts was to publicize and win public support for the effort. One of my ideas was to have a big event in Joliet. I planned to jump in the River, and swim from one side to the other to show how great it would be once we were finished.  My environmental expert suggested that I talk to the health department first.  They described what they did with someone who fell into the river, including scrubbing every orifice with alchohol and numerous innoculations. I skiped the river swim idea.

We also spent time with citizens who thought it would be much better to build swimming pools and leave the rivers filthy. We won that argument.

Our water and air quality is now much better. We can all be proud of our successful efforts to substantially improve our environment

Jul 28, 2022

Chicago Looking Good


The River North area has turned into a vibrant mix of outdoor restaurants and taverns.

Young man in the Chicago River reading his phone:

Vietnam Memorial on the north side of the Chicago River and State Street

More photos:

July 31, 2022 Navy Pier and Chicago

July 30, 2022

July 29, 2022

July 27-28, 2022

June 2019

Pullman 2016