Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: 12 Gauge "Chaperone"!

My 3rd oldest daughter is 15 and just started dating seriously. No problem, I just send my Trunk Monkey along as a "chaperone" during her dates!

VIDEO - 12 Gauge "Chaperone"!

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: Here's To The "Heroes"!

There is a group of young people abroad and in our midst doing an outstanding, and many times, "thankless" job. I personally support them and thank them for their unwavering service.

VIDEO - Here's To The "Heroes"!

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Saturday, January 28, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: Remember "Challenger And Her Crew"......

It has been 20 years since we lost Shuttle Challenger and her valiant crew. Remember them.

Challenger Commander Francis R. Scobee

Challenger Pilot Michael J. Smith

Mission Specialist Judith A. Resnik

Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka

Mission specialist Ronald E. McNair

Payload Specialist Gregory B. Jarvis

Payload Specialist Sharon Christa McAuliffe

VIDEO - Challenger and Crew Tribute


---spoken by President Ronald Reagan

Ladies and gentlemen, I planned to speak to you tonight to report on the State of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core over the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we've never lost an astronaut in flight. We'd never had a tragedy like this. And perhaps we've forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger seven, were aware of the dangers and overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly.

We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe. We mourn their loss as a nation together. To the families of the seven, we cannot bear as you do the full impact of this tragedy, but we feel the loss and we're thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, "Give me a challenge and I'll meet it with joy." They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

We've grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle us. But for 25 years the United States space program has been doing just that. We've grown used to the idea of space and perhaps we forget that we've only just begun. We're still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it's hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the faint-hearted. It belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we'll continue to follow them.

I've always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don't hide our space program. We don't keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That's the way freedom is, and we wouldn't change it for a minute. We'll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here. Our hopes and our journeys continue.

I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA or who worked on this mission and tell them, "Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades and we know of your anguish. We share it."

There's a coincidence today. On this day 390 years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime, the great frontiers were the oceans and a historian later said, "He lived by the sea, died on it and was buried in it." Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew, their dedication was, like Drake's, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them nor the last time we saw them -- this morning -- as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye, and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.

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Friday, January 27, 2006


"Imposter" Alert!

We all know that in this age of "global terror" a person has to be extra vigilant. Al-Qaeda has threatened attacks in Canada, but none have happened "yet". Recently there have been reports of illegal aliens of Middle Eastern descent using fake ID trying to pass themselves off as "Real Canadians". There "are" true Canadians of Middle Eastern extraction in Canada, but they are loyal and patriotic to this country, and are hard-working and law-abiding, and would never be involved in subversion or destruction. Therefore, law enforcement agencies in Canada would like the Public's help. They have come up with a "verbal statement" that will "entrap" any "false" Canadian, and if you suspect an impostor, verbally make the following statement to him/her, and note the person's reaction.

"Last night, I cashed my pogey and went to buy a mickey of C.C. at the beer parlour, but my ski-doo got stuck in the muskeg on my way back to the duplex. I was trying to deke out a deer, you see. Damn chinook, melted everything. And then a Mountie snuck up behind me in a ghost car and gave me an impaired. I was S.O.L., sitting there dressed only in my Stanfields and a toque at the time. And the Mountie, he's all chippy and everything, calling me a "shit disturber" and what not. What could I say, except, "Sorry, EH!"

If the person you are talking to nods sympathetically, they're one of us. If, however, they stare at you with a blank incomprehension, they are not a real Canadian. Have them reported to the authorities at once. The passage cited above contains no fewer than 19 different "Canadianisms".

Here they are in order:

* pogey: EI (Employment Insurance). Money provided by the government for not working.

* mickey: A small bottle of booze (13 oz) (A Texas mickey, on the other hand, is a ridiculously big bottle of booze, which, despite the name, is still a Canadianism through and through.)

* C.C.: Canadian Club, a brand of rye whisky. Not to be confused with "hockey stick," another kind of Canadian Club.

* beer parlour: Like an ice cream parlour, but for Canadians.

* skidoo: Self-propelled decapitation unit for teenagers, (Snow-Mobiles)

* muskeg: Boggy swampland.

* duplex: A single building divided in half with two sets of inhabitants, each trying to pretend the other doesn't exist while at the same time managing to drive each other crazy; metaphor for Canada's French and English populations.

* deke: Used as a verb, it means "to fool an opponent through skillful misdirection." As a noun, it is used most often in exclamatory constructions, such as: "Whadda deke!" Meaning, "My, what an impressive display of physical dexterity employing misdirection and guile."

* chinook: An unseasonably warm wind that comes over the Rockies and onto the plains, melting snow banks in Calgary but just missing Edmonton, much to the pleasure of Calgarians.

* Mountie: Canadian icon, strong of jaw, red of coat, pure of heart. Always get their man! (See also Pepper spray, uses of.)

* snuck: To have sneaked; to move, past tense, in a sneaky manner; non-restrictive extended semi gerundial form of "did sneak." (We think.)

* ghost car: An unmarked police car, easily identifiable by its inconspicuousness.

* impaired: A charge of drunk driving. Used both as a noun and as an adjective (the alternative adjectival form of "impaired" being "pissed to the gills").

* S.O.L.: Shit outta luck; in an unfortunate predicament.

* Stanfields: Men's underwear, especially Grandpa-style, white cotton ones with a big elastic waistband and a large superfluous flap in the front and back!

* toque: Canada's official National Head Apparel, with about the same suave sex appeal as a pair of Stanfields.

* chippy: Behaviour that is inappropriately aggressive; constantly looking for a reason to find offense; from "chip on one's shoulder." (See Western Canada)

* shit disturber: (See Quebec) a troublemaker or provocateur. According to Katherine Barber, editor in Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary, "shit disturber" is a distinctly Canadian term. (Just remember that Western Canada is chippy and Quebec is a shit disturber, and you will do fine.)

So, you see, any "Real Canadian" already knows these terms, and will understand what you mean. If there is still a slight "tinge" of doubt about the possible impostor, then give them the "Chilly Beach Quiz", then you will know for sure. If he doesn't get at least 7 out of 10, he isn't a "Real, Genetically-Violent, Hockey-Mad, Beer-Swilling, Patriotic Canadian"!

TAKE THE QUIZ! (not for the squeamish! "Blood and Guts Warning!")

Quiz -
Chilly Beach Canadian Trivia

Thanks to my good buddy;

Wayne Letkeman
Thunderbird Lodge & Outposts
General Manager

P.O. Box 129
Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba

Ph. 1-204-345-0188
Toll 1-800-732-2801
Fax 1-204-345-0189

"CHEERS!" Posted by Picasa


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Kim Jong-Il Show".......

Have a humorous, satirical look at the next despot we will have to deal with. You know what is spoken, though, that truth is "raw", and much more strange than fiction. Therefore, this is probably not even close to the actual "murderous" truth.

VIDEO - "Kim Jong-Il Show".......

Thursday, January 26, 2006


"Rotting Ice, Ski-Planes, and Apprehension".........

"BBbbbrrr--i-i-i-ii-nnn-gg-GGGGG!" The phone obliterated the silence at the Flight Shack, as Edward and I were both engrossed in our paperwork. It was the end of ski season, as the ice was rotting, and we had decided to change venerable de Havilland Beaver C-GJJG, and tin-can Cessna CF-LDW to straight wheels. JJG was wearing straight de Havilland metal skis, and LDW was wearing hydraulic wheel-skis. We were operating from a Base at Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba.

It was the end of April, and ski season was over, so to speak. We had hung around longer than usual, as the local trappers always wait until the absolute last minute to organize and set a date to fly out, so as to be on the trap-line for open water. Every day that goes by, the ice rots and gets weaker. Well, we thought we were done flying, and we were going to work on the aircraft, and then move them off of the ice up to the runway. Then the phone rang...........

"Hello Steve, we need to go to Shallow Lake, 'Right Now'!" It was one of the Owen family members from Pauingassi. As my blood pressure increased, I got annoyed and asked him all the old questions; "Don't you know the ice is rotting? Why have you waited so long to fly out? Do you realize there is current traveling Shallow Lake? Yadda, Yadda, Yadda........" I got all the same old answers; "I was busy. I couldn't find a partner. I was waiting for my cheque. My wife was sick. I didn't realize how late it was." Then I started to laugh my ass off, as I realized there was no point in even asking the questions, because I already knew the answers. It had been cold the night before, and I agreed to do the one last trip, as the families relied on the income from trapping, I was heading north, and there was a large area at Shallow Lake that should be current-free, and hold the Beaver, but the boys would have to walk a mile pulling toboggans piled high with their gear. One thing about the local aboriginals, they know how to read current in a lake or river, and know where to walk to avoid falling through the ice.

I warmed up the Beaver, and vowed this would "absolutely be my last trip"! Engine warm, I got out and was met by Edward, who told me that while I was warming up, another trip arose. A couple of locals wanted to go to Bissett, 72 miles south, to pick up some "groceries". They wanted to use LDW. I was concerned about the ice at Bissett, as it had already pulled away from shore. Edward said this would be his "absolutely" last trip also, and would return to Base without landing if he deemed the ice unsafe during a visual aerial inspection once he arrived over Bissett.

We both took off for our respective destinations, mine being Pauingassi first, to pick up the trappers, before I went to Shallow Lake. Arriving at Shallow Lake, I could see where the river current entered the lake, and was eating away the ice. I picked one spot to land, and I figured it would be OK, although it was a long way from shore, and away from any current. I touched down, and slowly came to a stop, and this always causes a little apprehension, especially at the end of ski season. We stopped completely, and didn't sink! We exited, and I checked the ice. It had "candled" on top, and was dry, but held the Beaver well. We started unloading, until I heard one of the Owens saying "Pilot, Look"! I looked out the door, and there was a stream of water about 8-10" high shooting up through a crack in the ice beside the front left ski. I tell you, if there was a "Beaver Unloading National Championship", the Owens and I would have won the "Gold" that day. The boys headed across the lake pulling toboggans, and I took-off, uneventfully, but vowed to not do another trip on skis.

As I returned, I radioed Edward, who was returning and had had his own "fun". He had made Bissett, landed in the middle of the lake, walked with his passengers to shore, and had to "jump" the 4' of open water where the ice had pulled away. Once his passengers "shopped", they had to jump back to the ice, throwing the "groceries" across. Walking back to the plane, they were unnerved to see that the ice had sunk slightly, and the skis were in water. Edward quickly jumped in, fired up, moved to a high spot on the ice, "loaded" as fast as my passengers and I "unloaded", and took off. He also vowed to not do another ski trip. We both arrived back at Base safe and sound. We then changed JJG over to wheels, and moved it up to the airport. Now there was no way we could do another trip to the bush. LDW was moved to the airport also, and the next morning we would take the skis off.

That night we sat and chatted and laughed while consuming some "wobbly-pops", and reflected on the day's events. It is a fact of life in Northern Manitoba that the locals always wait until the last minute to do most tasks, and flying out to the trap-line at "last ice" was no different. One just has to be wary about landing surface conditions. During this time in my career, I learned a wealth of information about the bush. It was one of many experiences from my past, and a "life memory". I tell you, I can see the look on the face of the trapper "as clear as the day it happened" when he said.... "Pilot, Look"!.... and water was shooting up through the crack in the ice..............

LDW, bush-flying veteran...... Posted by Picasa

JJG, great "Bush Taxi"......... Posted by Picasa


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Lady" Of The Evening!

Yesterday we were introduced to a fine shapely being named Connie. She is a great "fashion plate". Let's watch her "strut her stuff" as she slinks down the runway during an evening show, keeping the boys spellbound and "full of drool"!

VIDEO - "Lady" Of The Evening!

Watching this "beauty" take-off would cure your "erectile difficulty", if you were so afflicted........... Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Outstanding Photography!

My buddy Clive Pearce sent me a link to an outstanding aviation photographer. His name is Richard Seaman, the "Flying Kiwi". The clarity of his photography is unbelievable! He captures "moments in time" like few others. Check out some of his photography!

B-2 "Spirit" at the Edwards Air Force Base 2005!

Edwards Air Force Base Airshow 2005 Highlights!

F-22 "Raptor"!

F-117 "Nighthawk"!

Thanks Clive! As the French would say, "Bon de Poulet"! Good Chicken!!!!!!!!!


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Super Connie VH-EAG"!

Turn up the volume, and watch a "fantastic piece of iron" slice the skies, a Lockheed Super Constellation. The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) overhauled and maintains this "prehistoric gem", in addition to it's fleet of other aircraft. Listen and watch as a 9,600 HP orchestra manipulates 72 cylinders to produce a sound rivaling any symphony!

VIDEO - "Super Connie VH-EAG"!

VH-EAG! Love that "dolphin fuselage"........... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Fantastic "Hot Rod" Snowmobile......

Igor Ivanovitch Sikorsky is my favourite aviation designer ever, the man was brilliant. Master mechanic, dreamer, immigrant, he was a driven man. We all know about Sikorsky's multiplying achievements in the aircraft and helicopter industry after he came to New York in 1919, but what about before that?

As a young man, he was fascinated by mechanics, and like a true young lad, tinkered. I can remember some of the contraptions I made as a kid, some worked, some didn't. We used to fly remote-controlled airplanes, and when we broke the wings off, we would take the Cox engines and attach them to a boat, or a car. Igor dreamed larger.

Anyways, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, a Canadian from Valcourt, Quebec, is widely considered as the inventor of what we know as the "Ski-Doo". A skied vehicle able to traverse snowy terrain. In 1922, Bombardier built his first machine, a propeller-driven sleigh. It was powered by the engine from a Model T Ford, and had a frame with four ski runners. The front runners were steered by a rope, and the engine was mounted at the rear, driving a hand-carved wooden propeller. There was a single seat at the front.

Years ago I had a subscription to Time-Life Books "Epic of Flight". Lo and behold, as I read "The Helicopters", who is leaping off the page at me from a propeller-driven sleigh in 1912? You guessed it! Igor Sikorsky!

Whoever you consider as the inventor of the "ski-doo" (generic name for all), it has made an impact on Canada, and the frozen reaches of Russia. Sikorsky? Bombardier? Imagine if they would have been partners in aviation and manufacturing! Sikorsky-Bombardier! What a company that would have been. Anyways, my mind is running away now, time to quit "blithering". Check out the "necessity-inspired" invention from the early 1900s, to where it is today!

Igor Sikorsky takes his buddies for a ride in his "prop-sleigh", 1912. Notice the blurred prop, and snow being thrown from the skis, indicating motion. Love the "headlight"! Posted by Picasa

Russian "Aero-Sled" from the late 1920s, early 1930s. Posted by Picasa

A Russian military Aero-Sled used against the Finns during the "Winter War", 1939-40. Posted by Picasa

A "Bombardier", used by Commercial ice-fishermen all across Canada. They were also used as "school buses" in remote communities....... Posted by Picasa

I think Sikorsky and Bombardier would smile at this latest evolution of their inventions.......

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"T-Bucket Snowmobile"! I'm sure they would pull out their tools, tune the engine, and take turns "taking a spin"!


Steve's Video Of The Day: Crazy "Aerial Activity"!

Down a bottle of Gravol, and join the fun!

VIDEO - Crazy "Aerial Activity"!

The pelicans and seagulls watched "spellbound" as the "fear-challenged" humans hurtled towards earth........... Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006


Election Day in CANADA!

Election Day in Canada! The morning was bright, and full of hope! It was -20* C, "jean-jacket" weather for a true Manitoban! I took my daughter to the Orthodontist in Winnipeg, a fellow by the name of Dr. Mark Rykiss. An extremely competent fellow. Anyways, I daydreamed and "rehashed" the platforms all the parties vying for the country leadership had been verbally spewing the last number of weeks, as I drove along. Suddenly, a mental picture appeared, and it was of the Conservative, Liberal, and NDP Party Leaders having a "snort" and a cigar, and playing poker with the pig Napoleon, his "porcine" cohorts, and the humans, in George Orwell's outstanding satire, "Animal Farm". The early hope that was abundant in the morning "ebbed" from me, and alas, I realized probably not too much would change, no matter the outcome............

No matter what the election outcome, this "outhouse" is symbolic of how life will continue......... Posted by Picasa


Steve's Video Of The Day: Latest "Lead-Weight" Tragedy.....

Pray for the families...........

VIDEO - Latest "Lead-Weight" Tragedy.....

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: Which "Witch" Is Which?

How "Hillary" or "Nancy" get around in D.C.. (Just kidding, I know they are both hard-working, tireless people with high standards.)

VIDEO - Which "Witch" Is Which?

Friday, January 20, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Fast Boats!"

Flying down low just above the surface of a large lake is an enjoyable experience on a nice day, as you see scenery from a different perspective. It passes by quicker, but the visual impact is greater. Also, you see wildlife and boats you wouldn't see otherwise. Speaking of boats, I love being in a boat just about as much as being in a float-plane. Hey, check out these boats! If you want to get to the fishing-hole FAST, then one of these is the boat for you!

VIDEO - "Fast Boats!"

(Anyways, my wife wanted me to re-finish the surface of our dining room table on Saturday, so I said "Sure, but I will have to take it to my buddy's workshop". She seemed perplexed when I left with the table AND my fishing gear. Anyhow, here I am with the table Saturday!)

You better get up pretty early in the morning to get one over on this "Ole Dog"........... Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Wile E. Coyote Would Be Proud"......

Remember the "torturous" life "Wile E. Coyote" (Carnivorous Vulgaris) had, trying to catch the "Roadrunner" (Hot-Roddicus Supersonicus)? He inflicted emotional and physical pain and suffering on himself in his quest to capture his "dinner guest". He never quite succeeded, but he employed all sorts of contraptions during his "fanatical fixation" to apprehend his prey. "Rocket-Shoes", "Earthquake Pills", "Gravity-defying Pogo Stick", "Rocket Bat-suit", "Jet-powered Hang-glider"........ "Hey, maybe that wasn't so far-fetched!"

VIDEO - "Wile E. Coyote Would Be Proud"......

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"Beep! Beep!" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Steve's Video Of The Day: "Spits, Mossies, and Merlins".......

An amazing video, apparently done digitally, but nevertheless a "work of art". I can just imagine training with Wing Commander Guy P. Gibson and 617 "Dam Busters" Squadron, before undertaking their mission in Avro Lancasters to destroy the Mohne, Eder, and Sorpe Dams on the Ruhr River, in Germany. Crank the sound, nothing sounds like a "Merlin"!


"Spits, Mossies, and Merlins"......


The famous British Mosquito--known to many as "Mossie"--was a versatile aircraft used extensively during World War II. Constructed primarily of plywood with a balsa wood core, it had excellent speed, altitude and range. First flown on November 25, 1940, the Mosquito entered production in Mid-1941 and was produced until well after the end of the war. Almost 8,000 Mossies were built in Great Britain, Canada and Australia. Although best known for their service with the Royal Air Force, Mosquitos were also used by several U.S. Army Air Forces units for photo and weather reconnaissance, and as night fighters. During the war, the AAF acquired 40 Canadian Mossies and flew them under the American F-8 (photo reconnaissance) designation. In addition, the British turned over more than 100 Mosquitos to the AAF under Reverse Lend-Lease. These aircraft retained their British designations.


Span: 54 ft. 2 in.
Length: 40 ft. 6 in.
Height: 12 ft. 6 in.
Weight: 23,000 lbs. loaded
Armament: 4,000 lbs. of bombs in bomber version
Engines: Two Rolls-Royce Merlins of 1,690 hp. ea.
Crew: Two
Cost: $100,000 (approximately)


Maximum speed: 415 mph
Cruising speed: 276 mph
Range: 1,955 miles
Service Ceiling: 42,000 ft.

"Mossie!" Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


A Cub, A Truck, A Packing Crate..................

My e-mail buddy and fellow aviation enthusiast Clive Pearce sent me a story and some photos of an incident that happened recently. It is quite amazing, and plainly shows how in aviation, one must be completely aware and focused at all times, even when doing the least "brain-intensive" activity, such as securing the airplane with "tie-down" ropes. Anyhow, let's hear the story from Clive............

To: "Steven Taylor"

Subject: A Cub, A Truck, A Packing Crate..................

The story: The owner of the Cub was experiencing engine problems and landed in Whitehorse. He spent the next morning with the engineers trying to sort things out, but, not being able to do so by lunch time, they went for something to eat. Now, being an experienced pilot, (over 20,000 hrs), he tied the wings to the embedded tie downs, but then, for some unknown reason, tied the tail to one of the fuel trucks.

The fueler, a short time later, went to answer a call and started to drive off when he heard what sounded like a really loud "rrrriiip" where upon he stopped and discovered the destroyed Cub with the fuselage essentially torn from the "secured" wings. Apparently the owner got very excited about the whole incident (naturally!!), but he started to calm down a bit when the RCMP asked if it was normal to tie a plane to a truck.

He still doesn't know why he did it. Last I heard it was crated and about to be shipped back down to California.

Hence the phrase: "What were you thinking about"?

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"OuuccCCHHHHH!" Reminds me of hunting as a lad, shooting grouse, and to clean them we would step on their wings, pull on their legs, and the feathers, skin, and internal organs would separate from the breast. Anyways, thank you very much for the input Clive, always welcome. In closing let me just make one final observation. I believe on the day of this incident, unfortunately, this pilot's "Faculty" was short a few "Professors".....................