Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas Eve & Is That Santa?

It is an incredibly beautiful Christmas Eve morning here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. See that short line at the top of the image? Nope, it's not Santa. That is a massive Airbus A380 of Etihad Airlines (Flight EY 103) flying at flight level 400 (40,000 feet) on the last leg of an eleven thousand kilometer flight from Abu Dhabi to New York City. You can imagine that some of the passengers may be excited about returning home for the holidays, or perhaps there is someone about to start a career in the new year. I'm sure all of them are happy that the lengthy flight is almost over. I wonder if any of the passengers seated on the right side of the aircraft are looking down on Nova Scotia and wondering what we're doing this morning?

Merry Christmas to everyone at FlightRadar24, and thanks for allowing us all to learn more about who's flying over us! FlightRadar24 is an online Air Traffic Control app for your computer or cell phone where you can actually watch civilian flights all over the world as they make their way between airports. Combine this app with any of the radio scanner apps available, and you can be watching the aircraft on the 'radar' screen while listening to air traffic control communications. That's pretty heady stuff compared to the old multi-band radios we once used and still infinitely better than a programmable scanner. One can only wonder what is coming next in the way of technology. #HalifaxAuthor #Halifax #writer #amwriting #author #daniellloydlittle #airbus #a380 #etihad #etihadairways #christmaseve #christmas #merrychristmas #airline #flightradar24 #novascotia #atc #airtrafficcontrol

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Royal Canadian Air Force Will Have to Make Do With Government Surplus Jets

There are days I find it impossible to understand how any Canadian signs up to wear a uniform in defense of this country, simply because the most dangerous enemy they will face are our own politicians. This particular government has a history of kicking the men and women of Canada’s Armed Forces in the teeth over the past few decades. Sunny ways? Royal Canadian Air Force pilot’s better hope there are no bad guys coming at them out of that ‘sun’, because what they’ll be flying is way past its ‘best before’ date. The recent announcement that the government is going to buy old, used, rusty (yes rusty!) F-18 Hornets from Australia should be enough to send any Canadian fighter pilot checking his retirement options.

This item below is right from the Public Services and Procurement Canada website:

“How can you be confident these planes will be reliable, safe and effective?

  • Ensuring the safety and security of our women and men in uniform is our top priority
  • The Australian aircraft are similar in age to Canada’s CF-18 fleet”

I know what you’re thinking. If our aircraft are so old and worn out, on what planet does it make sense to replace them with – the EXACT same thing! This isn’t like the old CF-101 Voodoos that were traded in for airframes with much less time on them and upgraded to modern standards. Nope. This is Australian government surplus. You know; the kind of stuff that junk yards bid on for scrap, or you pick up cheap at the local Army/Navy store.

Keep in mind. The ‘Classic’ F-18s (the originals as opposed to the upgraded Super Hornets) are not the current Royal Australian Air Force fighters. No, like we had done, the Aussies opted to purchase the F-35, BUT, knowing the F-18s they currently had were not really suitable for current operations, they bought a bunch of F-18 SUPER Hornets to hold them over until the new Lightning IIs arrived. Yes, that right. We’re not buying the aircraft the Australians will be phasing out soon. No, we’re buying their old, already replaced by a plane that is about to be replaced by another plane, planes. Make sense? I sure hope not!

Don’t get me wrong. The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 (or 188 for the purists out there) Hornet was a great fighter when originally purchased. I remember at the time, being impressed that Canada’s air force would have a front line fighter capable of taking on anything else in the sky. Now, that was 1980. After thirty-plus years of operations, fighter aircraft are supposed to be put out to pasture, or used as targets, or sent to Arizona to bask in the sun.

The previous government, after weighing all the options available and speaking with the people who would be sent in harm’s way, came up with a plan to purchase the only available fifth generation aircraft they could - the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II. It is arguably the most advanced fighter aircraft available to Canada, made clear by the fact that many NATO countries who do not have their own aircraft industry opted to go with the nimble little stealth fighter – including of course, Australia.

When the current government was elected, they SWORE that there was no way the F-35 would be chosen for the RCAF replacement fighter. Of course, that party has a history of this kind of playing around with the lives on the men and women defending Canada. The last time they were elected, they immediately cancelled purchase plans for a new anti-submarine warfare helicopter, paying massive cancellation fines (IE Tax dollars), just because that’s how their ego rolls.

What is wrong with these people? They may have to send young men and women into battle where the quality of the equipment they have will mean the difference between LIFE AND DEATH! That’s death! D – e – a – t – h! How do you tell a grieving family member that their son or daughter, or mom or dad, are dead because of nothing but pure government ego? The F-35 deal had already been made and there is a ton of economic stimulus attached to the purchase, so what more does this government want? They claim to want an open and fair bidding process. Sure! That’s great! IF you’re buying note pads, pens, or replacement light bulbs. But when it comes to a military procurement; I’m sorry, the cheapest is just not going to cut it. If that were the case, they’d bite their tongues and buy a pile of Super Hornets. Cheap and fairly reliable, if you don’t mind buying old technology. The F-35 is the ONLY fifth generation (fully modern) aircraft available to us. The rest are either from Russia or China, or still on the drawing boards.

Many of our allies will be flying the F-35, and unlike previous aircraft, it’s not just a plane they’re buying, it’s a combat system. Every media source – left AND right – are questioning the sanity of this government’s decision. That should be an indication to the party’s supporters that ‘Ottawa, we have a problem’. How Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan can make this announcement, as someone who has been in combat himself, and STILL remain in the party is beyond me.

As a writer, I appreciate that the fragile freedoms I enjoy as a Canadian can disappear in the blink of an eye, and I want those men and women protecting me and my freedoms to have the very best equipment we can afford, not something from the equivalent of Honest Ed’s Used Car Lot.

By Daniel L Little -

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Rest in Peace Crew of ARA San Juan (S-42)

It has been a sad few weeks for submariners everywhere. The diesel-electric submarine, ARA San Juan (S-42), of the Argentine Navy went missing after communicating on November 15th, 2017 that there water had entered the boat around the snorkel, but that the leak had been repaired and the submarine was headed back to base. That was the last heard from the submarine and Argentine authorities disclosed on the 23rd that a seismic event had been detected on the day the submarine went missing that was consistent with an explosion. It would appear that the submarine suffered some kind of catastrophic failure and was lost at that time. Now, almost a month later, the search continues for the submarine's wreckage, and hopefully she will be found soon, allowing some sense of closure for the families and friends of the crew. 

If anything positive has come out of this tragic event, it is how the world's navies, and especially the Royal Navy, set aside their differences and rushed to the aid of the missing crew. The boat was a TR-1700 class diesel-electric submarine (SSK) in service with the Argentine Navy as part of the Argentine Submarine Force. The submarine was built in West Germany and had entered service on November 19th, 1985. San Juan had undergone a mid-life refit that was completed in 2013. My thoughts and prayers go out to the boat's crew, their families and friends. For more information about the ARA San Juan, visit the Wikipedia page here -
#HalifaxAuthor #Halifax #HMCS #royalcanadiannavy #rcn #cfbhalifax #novascotia #writer #amwriting #author #daniellloydlittle #argentina #argentinenavy #ssk #submarine #boat #ara #sanjuan #arasanjuan #sublost

Friday, 8 December 2017

Warning! Rant Ahead!

Okay, those of you who know me, know I avoid rants on social media, because let's face it, everyone has their own opinion about everything, and I respect that. However, SHAME on you CBC and CTV for not having uninterrupted coverage of the ceremony from Halifax marking the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion. This was a cataclysmic event when the largest non-nuclear, man-made explosion in history killed nearly 2000 people, injured thousands more, and virtually destroyed a huge part of the city. That same day saw a huge snowstorm move in, and I'm sure most of you can imagine what that scene had to be like. This event was responsible for the creation of so many things we take for granted today, such as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, because so many people who had rushed to their windows to see what was happening were blinded by flying glass.

From CTV's Ben Mulroney announcing that their reporter in Halifax was 'alive' - that's probably a good thing, to that reporter going on about how someone kept sending a message warning an incoming train to stop, and how SHE kept sending and how an ancestor of HER's was there today. I mean seriously. One of my favourite complaints is how journalism today is all about a talking head covered in make-up, but surely they can read a history book before going on air 'live'.

Any hope of watching the ceremony was soon put to waste as the networks kept throwing in the usual commercial breaks at all the wrong times, and coming back to pick up speakers without explaining what the speaker was talking about. I shut the TV off when the CBC reporter kept yapping right through the beginning of the moment of silence. Since we could see on the split screen that everyone was bowing their heads, couldn't someone in the studio have whispered into his earpiece to shut the %#$@ up!

I would comment on how our photo-op savvy Prime Minister couldn't be bothered to arrange his schedule to be here, but hey, it's pouring rain in Halifax this morning; not exactly prime selfie conditions. There, I feel a bit better now. I'm sorry and hope this doesn't offend anyone, and I know there are journalists out there who take their jobs seriously. Sadly, there were none to be found this morning. #halifaxauthor #halifaxexplosion #Halifax #firstworldwar #royalcanadiannavy #rcn #canadianarmy