Friday, July 29, 2011

No Turn On Red

Yesterday it was a traffic light. Today the "No Turn on Red" sign.
I guess this is proof that it's not a God given right to turn right on red.

Interstate 275 - Michigan

So I had to head up to the Troy office today. Normally, I will take M-14 to I-275 to I-696 to I-75 to Fourteen Mile to John R and that is the way I took today. Under normal circumstances that will take around an hour to travel. But of course, today wouldn't be a normal day.I call these "Jenny Signs" because I started to notice them after Granholm became governor. I believe it is called a dynamic message sign and is a part of what Michigan is calling the Intelligent Transportation System. I believe they started to appear here in the early 2000's, but I could be wrong. I should have heeded this sign and got off 275 at Seven Mile and figure out an alternate route.
This is what greeted me next. Apparently, a truck or something tipped over and left debris all over the highway. As I passed that spot, they were pretty close to having it all cleaned up.
Somehow this wouldn't be this blog without some sort of history lesson about this particular freeway. In 1955, the concept for I-275 came about. It originally was going to be I-75 with the I-275 portion splitting off to go through Detroit. It would start around Monroe and continue on to Flint. Eventually, the freeways were switched.
I-275 as it currently stands goes from roughly Monroe to Novi. There were plans to continue up to Flint but those were scrapped, so it ends abruptly at I-696 and I-96. Actually, it would be nice if it continued to Pontiac as there's not really a good way to get from the Ann Arbor area to there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

100 Years of Naval Aviation

Since I didn't get a heritage flight during the air show, I decided to photoshop my own. I realize that the angles on the planes aren't right but it gets the idea across.For the Curtiss Model D, I decided to make it black and white to represent that era. On the Corsair, I tried to make it that washed out yellowish color you will see in World War II photos. I left the Hornet alone.

It is amazing how technology has changed in 100 years. The Curtiss didn't have any gages and the pilot had to kind of guess where he was. The Corsair was pretty state of the art for its day. The Hornet would be if I could have found a picture of the Super Hornet. Oh well.

Here's to 100 more years.

A Zappa Update.

A few months ago, my cat Zappa had to wear the cone of shame. He had some sort of problem with his ear and he had to get surgery on it. Eventually the cone of shame was removed and his ear looked somewhat better. It still wasn't great but at least it wasn't puffed out. Eventually, he got better and it looked fine.
Since I haven't done an update in a while, I figured I would do one now.
The ear that had the troubles. As you can see, it looks somewhat normal now. It's not quite as furry as the other ear though
He is a pretty nice looking cat though.

The Traffic Light or Signal

In the spirit of my article about turn signals...here is another...the traffic light.
Surprisingly, traffic signals have a longer history than turn signals as they date from the 1800's. The first traffic signal was installed in London by the House of Pariament in 1868. Since it was developed by a railway engineer, it resembled the signals used on railroads with semaphore flags for the day time and red and green lights for the night. The signal would pivot so that the correct ights would face the directions they were intended for. Shortly after it's installment, we had the first incident of traffic with the right of way having to slam on brakes for some jackass turning right on red.
The first electric traffic light was invented and installed in Salt Lake City in 1912. I'm not sure what it looked like. The first modern four way traffic signal was invented and installed in Detroit in 1920. I want to say it was installed on Woodward but I could be wrong.
The first interconnected traffic light was also installed in Salt Lake City in 1917. Six intersections could be controlled from a manual switch. Automatic lights came a little bit later.
Right turns on red are a little trickier. In Michigan they are permitted, provided traffic has cleared and there isn't a sign that otherwise prohibits it. So if there is a car in the right of way lane...do not turn right until it has cleared. Also, when you are coming up to a stop sign or light please do not gun towards the road.
Thank you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Couple Shots from After

So another year of Thunder Over Michigan is in the books. I'll have to say that this was the best one yet since they had a ton of Navy planes. Although, I kind of wish I had looked around after the show but it was a pretty hot and muggy day and I just wanted to get into someplace cool. The Van Buren Police did an excellent job getting people out in a timely manner. I can't wait for next year's show.
A PT-19 Kaydet. This plane was used as a trainer.
One of the P-3 Orions. I wish I had taken a better picture of the one next to it as that is in an older color scheme. Oh well.
Maybe at some point The Yankee Air Force will be able to lure Fifi here? Please?????

The Blue Angels Again...

This was the part of the show that everyone was waiting for, the Blue Angels. And I really can't blame them but for me, the part that makes the shows at Willow Run cool are the warbirds. But the Blue Angels attract the crowds...sooo.

The Blue Angels were first formed in 1946 as the Navy Flight Exhibition Team. They adapted the name Blue Angels after a nightclub in New York and they first used this name on July 21, 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1974, they were officially called the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. In the 55 years that they've performed, they have traveled across the US and to different parts of the world. They have changed aircraft over the years.
Passing the control tower.
Smoke on just before take off.
The four diamond pilots taking off.
I specifically wanted this shot as the planes are passing by the original bomber factory. The control tower you see here was used while they were building B-24's here.
The two opposing solo planes in formation.
One of the opposing solo planes about to pass the other.
The famous diamond formation.
One of the opposing solos in level flight.
The diamond about to go into a maneuver. It is amazing how close these aircraft appear to be.
The diamond formation in a turn. They are able to maintain formation throughout the turn.
I was able to catch them in a high speed pass. This makes me happy.
Just before the planes get into a mirror formation.
I really like this shot. The planes look mirrored almost.
The plane going into a climb.
Two of the diamond pilots about to get inverted.
And the result of that move.
The Blue Angels in Echelon formation.
Another shot as they are about to pass. This one almost looks like they are going to hit each other.
The diamond formation in a roll.
I believe this is a line abreast formation.
Anotehr pass.
Another echelon formation.
I think this is my favorite passing shot.
The opposing solos in a low speed pass.
And another shot of the diamond.
The diamond formation splitting up.
The delta formation.
Splitting up.
The starburst.
Blue Angel Number One peeling off for landing.
Passing by the tower again.
Blue Angel 2 just after landing.
One of the Blue Angels about to land.
Another one just about to land.
Another one just landed. You can still see the dust kicking up.
Well it was cool to see the Blue Angels again. I think I'm going to make it to Cleveland to catch the Thunderbirds although I don't like them as much.

The Blue Angels - Fat Albert

I think most of the people at the air show were waiting for the next portion of the show...namely the Blue Angels. But you really can't have the Blue Angels without the demonstration of their C-130 which is named Fat Albert.The show used to begin with Fat Albert using its rocket assist. I think Fat Albert is the T model and doesn't really need the rockets plus they are in short supply. So now it just takes off with the use of its propellors. I apologize for the blurriness of this photo, as I tried a slow shutter speed to get the effect of propellor motion.
This picture is a little better, although I probably could have cropped it.
Fat Albert as it goes by in a photo pass.
Fat Albert about to land.
Fat Albert in what's called a hostile field landing.
I know it's only been three weeks since I've seen the Blue Angels in Battle Creek, but I can never really tire of them.

The Curtiss Model D Replica

Next up was a replica of a Curtiss Model D. This was the first aircraft to be produced in any sort of significant quantity and was used by both the Army and Navy. This plane would make many firsts including the first to both land and take off from a ship.
On November 14, 1910, Eugene Ely took off from the USS Birmingham using a plane similar to the one above.
On January 18, 1911, he landed on board the USS Pennsylvania. This event is considered as the birth of Naval Aviation.
It's amazing how much of this plane would be familiar to a modern pilot. It's even more amazing how much planes have change in the meantime.
So Happy Birthday to the US Naval Aviation. Here's to another 100 years.