Saturday, August 27, 2016

Best Wishes, Mr. Harper

I was sorry to hear that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper resigned his seat in the House of Commons, yesterday.  He has represented the good folks in Calgary Heritage very well for a number of years. 

And as prime minister he represented all Canadians very well, too.  I believe that Stephen Harper was one of Canada's most influential leaders of the last century and the first part of this one!  His legacy will be vast and varied.  For one, he was instrumental in patching up a fractured federal conservative landscape and leading the new Conservative Party on to make it once again a strong part of Canadian federal politics.   His work in international affairs, free trade, and finance was landmark!

His defeat in the last federal election hit him hard personally.  I wish he would have stayed on as leader and stick-handled a few rounds with our new Prime Minister.  I would have loved to see that.

It was said once that Harper loved humanity, it was just the people he hated.  I sincerely doubt there was any truth to that at all!  I think throughout his tenure as our Prime Minister, he remained a very private and shy man.  We got glimpses of his personal side when we heard him play piano and sing, or when he talked about his total love of hockey, but they were only glimpses.  But it was very obvious to me and many others that his focus was always on a love and respect for his family, his nation and Canadians!

Mr. Harper will be entering into the consulting world with his new company; Harper and Associates.  I know he will succeed there, too.

So to Stephen Harper, a huge thank you from this proud Canadian.  I wish you well in all your future endeavors.  And I am thankful you were able to lead the federal government of the greatest country on Earth.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Lowering the Municipal Voting Age

There was a proposal made by a youth advisory group to the Edmonton City Council suggesting that they ask the province to consider lowering the voting age in municipal elections to 16, from the present 18.  Edmonton city council narrowly approved their suggestion and will forward it to the provincial government.

I personally don't think it's a good idea.  I've worked with young people as a teacher for thirty one years, and I never met a bad kid.  But I think piling the responsibility of voting onto all the other new and confusing sensations and responsibilities facing them would be overwhelming. 

It's no secret that adolescence is difficult.  There are so many things happening to kids during that time, physically, emotionally, sexually, and socially!  Adding a political change to that as well, I think would be disastrous.

I also believe that 16 year old kids do not have the knowledge and experience to vote well.  They may not be able to recognize and be easily swayed by irrational or illogical political spiels.   Not that 18-year-olds (or older) don't get sucked in sometimes, too - Just look at the American election campaign on now!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rhino vs Lightning II

While I was at the Abbotsford Airshow I managed to meet and briefly talk to both manufacturers of the two planes Canada is trying to choose one of to replace its aging CF-18 Hornets.   Both planes were in attendance, although only the Rhino flew.

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs flew in as part of an recently made operational USAF squadron.  They parked one in the static display area and kept the other tucked away.  Representatives from Lockheed-Martin set up a booth tent behind the F-35 on display and were there to talk to the folks about the Lightning II.  There was a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet (or "Rhino") on display and one Navy plane flying a demo while the Boeing Company had one of their own Rhinos there to also fly a demo!  The Boeing folks narrated their own demo.  Their Rhino was loaded up with all sorts of ordinance and still flew a complete demo.   The US Navy demo Rhino was unloaded and had just enough fuel to do the demo.  It's demo was impressive too!

I would have liked to see the F-35 fly but I think I did get a pretty good idea what each aircraft is capable of and how it could work for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

So what do I think of this competition now I've seen each aircraft?  In my opinion I think this whole competition thing is a ridiculous waste of time, money and energy!

Talk about comparing apples and oranges, these two planes are completely different!  Yes, they will do each other's job and quite well, but in a totally different way.  For you World War II air power fans, which plane was better; the Spitfire or the Mosquito?  How about the B-25 Mitchell or the P-51 Mustang?  Each plane was important in their own right.  Each could do the others job.  But you can't choose!  The same goes for these two fantastic planes.

The F-35 is light and small while the Rhino is huge and quite heavy in comparison.  The F-35 has one engine (albeit a very powerful one at 40,000 lbs thrust) the Rhino has two!  In my opinion the F-35 appears to be unable to carry the weight of ordinance of the Rhino.  Both rely on their stealth capabilities but the F-35 appears to count on those capabilities more than the F-18!   Most  F-18 Super Hornets seem to be set up for a two-crew while to my knowledge all of the F-35s are set up for a single pilot.  The F-35 is a much prettier little plane than the brutish F-18.

And the differences go on and on.  In my opinion there is only one solution; we buy enough of both planes to equip up to three squadrons of each over the next five to ten years!  Both planes will have a service life well into the 2040s.  That way each aircraft can be assigned the missions to which it was purposefully designed and succeed, all the while keeping our Canadian pilots as safe as they can be in air combat.

I am not an aeronautical engineer!  I am a retired teacher and school administrator.  But I am certified as "Plane Crazy"! I've read and studied this issue in great detail!  There's my opinion!

Monday, August 22, 2016

I'm Back!

I'm sure that you know that I'm back home now from the hospital.  My son Rhys has tried to keep everyone informed. 

My surgery was a complete success and I should be back  to normal (or my version of normal) in about three weeks.

I would like to again thank the surgical staff and the staff of Nursing Unit #82 at the Rockyview Hospital in Calgary.  Those folks work so very hard doing what they do so very well!  For a while I felt a little guilty for my constant and unrelenting criticism of Alberta's severely broken health care system.

Then I realized that those hard working, dedicated folks at the Rockyview are not where the problems lie!  Those people are working so very hard to keep the sinking health care ship afloat.  We need to support them, and help them in any way we can to get those higher up in the health care system to realize what's going on and to start moving toward fixing it!

Thank you to all those who sent me their best wishes for a speedy recovery.  Those wishes meant a lot to me!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Great 2016 Show at Abbotsford!

Last Wednesday, my doctors gave me the OK to attend the Abbotsford Air Show this past weekend.  I was very pleased.  What a super show! 

The show and the Abbotsford Airport were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.  That airport was actually built as part of the BCTAP along with hundreds more located mostly across Western Canada.

The Royal Canadian Air Force joined in by painting it's demonstration CF-18 Hornet in that yellow and black color scheme of those old Second World War trainers.  Even the folks from our present training base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, got involved by painting up a couple of the new training aircraft in those same colors from WWII.  They were all in the sky over Abbotsford making for a most memorable show. 

Of course a couple of the highlights for me was the flight of the Snowbirds and Alberta's own Team Rocket!  Ken Fowler from Rock Mountain House and Eric Hansen from Cold Lake make up the team.  They did a night show Friday evening that has no equal, then their exciting day show each day over the weekend thrilled everyone!  It was good to see Ken's son Kyle join the fray as a new upcoming aerobatic pilot in the morning show!  Way to go Kyle!

I missed not seeing Canadian Bud Granley and his son Ross at this year's show.  Obviously scheduling conflicts were preventing them from attending.  Bud has always been a huge part of the Abbotsford show.  Many of us missed him there this year.

Overall it was fantastic show and it leaves me anxiously waiting next year's show; the 54th by my count.  As my website gets its much needed update, I will have a complete write up on the 2016 edition of the Abbotsford Air Show there with some of my photos!

Monday, August 8, 2016

August Coffee at Beiseker Airport

photo courtesy Rocky View Weekly
I have cancel this month's Coffee Time and Open House at the Beiseker Airport.  Each third Saturday of every month I put on a big pot of coffee and my wife bakes some goodies for Coffee Time.  We enjoy the coffee, the goodies, and "plane talk" between 10:00 a.m. and Noon.  Everyone is welcome!

Unfortunately, this month's date comes two days after my long awaited surgery so I will not be able to set things up this time. 

See you all on September 17th!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Bad News From Stage East

This evening, the Beiseker Stage East Society decided to cancel our 2016 edition of the popular dinner theatre performance.

The decision came after some key members and actors indicated they were unable to participate this year because of other commitments.  The Stage East Society usually has a cast and crew of around forty people to put on the annual event.  This year the society was down to about half that number.

The Beiseker Stage East Society will remain active, and members will remain in contact with each other through email communication.  Our next production meeting will be held in the spring of 2017.  Our annual general meeting (AGM) will go ahead as usual in early June of 2017.

We know this will come as a disappointment to many of our supporters and fans and we vow to return in October of 2017 with many more skits and giggles!