Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve Surprise

December 31, 2015
Had this been March, I would have been more excited; but since it is late December I am just surprised and worried.

The daffodils are up in the garden.

I wonder what they are going to do when the cold weather really arrives?

Maybe they are betting that it won't arrive.

The great weather is beginning to confuse not just we humans, but the plants and other animals as well.

Happy New Year's Eve!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Attack of the Drones

One of my favorite toys from this Christmas is my drone.

I have been learning how to fly it while also checking out the legalities of flying a drone in my area. Since my drone weighs in at only 4.2 ounces, it is exempt from the new federal registration requirements which apply if it weighed more than 9 ounces (or 255 grams). 

I have been learning how to fly it and I found it works better outside where small gyrations in the flight do not seem to be as evident as in the house cashing into the Christmas Tree or someone.

Look Who is Flying!
I am impressed with its resilience. It has taken a beating and come through the learning to fly process pretty well. 

I have managed to leave it hanging in more than one tree, sadly, but I have some long painting poles and a ladder so it has been rescued each time.

Around the Yard
The drone has an easy but sophisticated flight control system primarily because it also has a camera on it. I finally felt comfortable enough with the drone yesterday that I snapped a few images with it around the yard.

I need to work on stabilizing my flight a bit more when I take images--but it is a lot of fun to think that I am controlling my own reconnaissance platform. It also can take video. I will work on some of that today. I really need a larger SD card for that, however, as it fills up quickly.

I guess I will just continue to drone along.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sliding into the End of the Year

The end of 2015 is upon us. 

Sunset on the Loxahatchee River, Jupiter, Florida
July 22, 2015
Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and the celebrations will begin in earnest. 

From my perspective, 2015 has been a great year. I was able to do a lot of new things and enjoy life to the fullest with family and friends.

I am not going to recount the specifics of the year except to note that I had never gone on a cruise before and during 2015 Chris and I enjoyed two cruises into the heart of the Caribbean. There will be more cruises. What a great way to visit multiple locations without having to pack and unpack multiple times.

Sunrise Ocean City, MD
September 7,  2015
I reviewed my pictures for the year and realized that I remain fascinated and awed by sunsets and sunrises. Two of my favorites are included in the blog.

As the end of the year approaches it is a time for reflection and planning. I like to review the year behind to plan for the year ahead. No, I will probably not take two cruises--but, I already have a cruise planned for Spring Break.

Of course, I do plan for more important events, although what could be more important than a vacation?

I still need to do a lot of planning for 2016, but I believe that it is going to be a big year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Heroes Around Us

Reading the news is often a depressing experience, but yesterday, I read a story about a previously unknown piece of American history and realized that there are heroes living among us.

The news article was about a now 100-year old woman who was an experienced post-WWII spy--and is only now coming out from behind the cloak and dagger.

The article published by The Daily Beast begins, "Capt. Stephanie Czech arrived at the U.S. embassy in Berlin wearing civilian clothes, as always, and delivered the report she’d been carrying to the intelligence section. The war may have ended, but Czech was still working, undercover."

I am pleased that people can keep secrets like this for so long, but secretiveness of the intelligence business often deprives the rest of us from appreciating their tales of intrigue and sacrifice. As I read the story, I noticed that Captain Czech was a child of immigrants and was allowed to perform such important duties for the United States.

The current political discussion about the value of immigrants to our society needs to be placed into context by stories such as this. 

Sadly, probably because she was an agent and a woman, the recommendation to decorate her for her actions has languished for 70 years. Fortunately, she is still alive and can finally be recognized for her service to our nation.

We can finally say thank-you to a true American hero.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 28, 2015

Monday Musings - December 28, 2015

1. This is the last Monday in December and therefore the last Monday of 2015. Next week it will be 2016.

2. The NFL continues to amaze me--despite terrible calls by the referees, the Ravens won yesterday.

My New Socks
3. Socks--I used to hate getting socks for Christmas. Now, I like their individuality.

4. Christmas parties are the best.

5. At church on Christmas Eve I learned that I am in a playpen.

6. Back to the constant political drone!

7. Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees again and the doors and windows were open allowing the warm December breeze into the house. That just sounds weird.

8. I am spoiled. No snow and no cold. I wonder if January can be better than December?

9. Hoverboards are the new skateboards--lot's of adults are going to be visiting emergency rooms around the country.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Back into the Fray

2015 The Family
With Christmas now firmly behind me, it seems that it is back into the rhythm of life for me.

I am still enjoying my gifts and also enjoying seeing others with the gifts that I provided, but tomorrow is, after all, Monday and I must head back to work. I am blessed that the entire family was together. 

The Guys in Ugly Team Sweaters
I relish these moments, especially with Mom and Dad, because we can't get everyone together that often any more.

We had some fun. And we ate a lot of food.

We enjoyed some awesome wines like Barboursville Octagon 2005.

I also watched some sports.

But mostly, we were just together and did not have the TV on with the rotten news of the day. The world did not impinge upon our celebration.

And so, tomorrow, it is back into the real world, at least for a couple of days. I will  start listening to the political news and world news and the international news. I am grateful for the respite.

Happy New Year.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Remembering Yesterday

What a fantastic day yesterday was--as it played out.

Ethan and Jax around their tree
We had to run the air conditioner to battle the warm temperatures and mostly the 100 percent humidity. I was seriously thinking of putting on shorts and sandals, why? Just because I could. It was warm and too humid. I was just happy that it was warm!

Even Riordin Likes Christmas
We managed to keep the water from coming in, mostly. There was a small leak around one "almost" closed door as the skies opened up and deluged the land. We probably would have received snow measured in feet had the precipitation not been in the form of rain.

Thank you for the rain.

I wore an aloha shirt for much of the day, except for the family picture because the guys had decided to wear ugly football team sweaters. When we were planning, it seemed like a good idea. 

Mom and Dad Opening Gifts
The day started early, by 7 AM Chris and I and my Mom and Dad were with Ethan and Jackson and Nicole and Mike as they celebrated the day. It is always fun to watch the boys open gifts around their own tree.

Chris with a new Poncho
Then, by 9:30 we were back at the house for our own celebration and then making preparations for the big events of the day: dinner and celebrations. Everyone was present for the family picture--which went well. Jeremy and Nicole and Lucas spent the whole afternoon celebrating with us and thanks to P&T for stopping by, I know how tough it is to make everyone happy on big holidays.

At one point during most of the day there were two drones flying around the house terrorizing unsuspecting people and animals. It was really funny to watch. One drone looked like the Millennium Falcon while the other had a more traditional appearance.

I am happy to report that no injuries were noted.

The highlight of the day? Well, the entire day was a highlight. It is that simple (or complex). The whole family was together and the celebration was a day long affair. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

In the quiet of the morning, before the day begins, I have been thinking about the blessings that I have.

Cooking in the Kitchen
They are many--fantastic family, great friends, and great prospects.

Yesterday we cooked, laughed, went to church, played games and enjoyed each other. 

Today? More of the same!

I saw some geese flying overhead as I was walking into church yesterday--their wings beating against the dark sky carrying my spirit with them above the ground. 

I will carry that vision with me today as I enjoy watching the family interact with each other and know that we are all soaring through life, with nothing to keep us down except ourselves. 

Merry Christmas. 

It is not over! It is just beginning.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve 2015

It arrived overnight. This most magical day of the year. The day before Christmas when it either gets done, or not.

The house is quiet now, it is still pre-dawn and I am the only one up--but the chaos will soon begin as the plans of the day come to fruition.

I remember as a kid thinking that Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year--now it is, in fact, one of the shortest.

I guess the activity helps me get through the day and prepared for the main events of tomorrow.

The first gift of Christmas was given over 2,000 years ago and arrived in a garage somewhere on the outskirts of the Roman Empire in Israel--and we still celebrate his arrival to the world and into our lives, even now.

May the blessings of the season be with you and your family. 

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas without Snow

I've been thinking about Christmas. 

As I have been enjoying the non-stop onslaught of sappy Christmas music, I have noticed a definite connection between snow and the songs of the season. Recognizing that the date for Christmas was set by the church, some people have postulated that the date was chosen to coincide with a Roman mid-Winter holiday. 

I found an article which postulates that the date may have been set differently and that the confluence of the dates is a happy coincidence. 

In a National Geographic article about the Winter Solstice, it is postulated, 

For more than 2 billion Christians the solstice has long been overshadowed by Christmas. But to historian David Gwynn of the University of London, the proximity of the two events may not be an accident.

One theory holds that Christmas was set on December 25 to replace a Roman holiday, which had roots in a pagan cult of Sol Invictus (the unconquered sun), says Gwynn. A second theory surmises that early Christians arrived at December 25 by counting forwards nine months from March 25, the traditional date set for the Annunciation to Mary.

"It is also true that these explanations are not necessarily mutually exclusive,” says Gwynn.

Ayers Rock, Australia
Clearly, the December date is associated with winter and darkness--but south of the equator, it is summer! Do they sing summer Christmas songs in Australia and Chile, South Africa, and Argentina?

Perhaps they do--I have found a rendition of Jingle Bells adapted for Australia! Yup--adapted. It made me roll on the floor laughing.

Koala Santa
Check these out, and go to the website to translate some of the uniquely Aussie terms:

Lyrics: Aussie Jingle Bells

Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot
Kelpie by my side
Singing Christmas songs
It’s summer time and I am in
My singlet, shorts & thongs
Engine’s getting hot
Dodge the kangaroos
Swaggy climbs aboard
He is welcome too
All the family is there
Sitting by the pool
Christmas day, the Aussie way
By the barbecue!
Come the afternoon
Grandpa has a doze
The kids and uncle Bruce
Are swimming in their clothes
The time comes round to go
We take a family snap
Then pack the car and all shoot through
Before the washing up

Santa on the Beach
Christmas does not have to be a snow event! And this year, right here in Maryland, it is going to be 74 balmy degrees.

So while some people are lamenting the lack of snow and frigid temperatures, I am relishing the warmth and wishing I was on a sandy beach somewhere.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Last Gifts of Christmas

Poinsettia Tree
Columbia Mall, Columbia, MD
It happened overnight; Autumn surrendered and Winter arrived. 

To celebrate the event, I sojourned to The Mall in Columbia to complete my Christmas shopping. I especially enjoy viewing the poinsettia tree that adorns the mall each year. I only needed a couple of items to finish my shopping.

As cashier handed me the bag containing the gifts that I had purchased, I told the her that I was going to do something crazy--and I did.

Santa announces the First Gift of Christmas
The Polar Express
I held the bag above my head and announced, "The last gifts of Christmas."  In my mind I was replaying a scene from The Polar Express, where Santa awards the first gift of Christmas--but I am sure the reference was lost on all of the startled shoppers except myself. They did give me a polite chuckle.

Unfortunately, my Mom had to witness the entire event. I'm sure she thought I was crazy.

But--as winter has finally arrived, I have completed my shopping and starting tomorrow, the days will begin getting progressively longer as the dark season wanes.

The celebration is underway!

I've already hauled out the holly, which is part of a classic Christmas song that was actually set in July. Maybe that is why I like it--the song is really about summer. More like how it would be to celebrate an Australian Christmas.

Let the holiday get underway--winter has arrived. Springtime cannot be more than about 90 days away!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Musings - December 21, 2015

1. It is Christmas week. The craziness will be over by next week, but the celebration will continue.

Sunrise in Pennsylvania from the Moving Car
2. I love the sunrise, especially in new places like Saturday morning, in central Pennsylvania on the way to New York.

Snow Starting to Fall
3. Holiday parties are a lot of fun. It is too bad the holidays end.

4. This is a great time of year, there are four holidays in two months!

5. Snow, why did there have to be snow. Chris and I drove form Maryland and encountered snow in northern Pennsylvania. 

6. Is it baseball season yet? The Ravens are reduced to playing pre-season games to close out the season.

Snow out the Car Window
7. I have not been traveling much lately, hence, there have not been any "Out the hotel Window" posts. I miss traveling.

8. I was excited that Congress finally accomplished its Constitutionally-mandated business and funded the government. Yay!

9. Snow is a lot more palatable when I know that I get to leave it behind.

10. Uneventful car trips are the best kind!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Apple Tree in Snow

A few weeks ago, I snapped an image of this apple tree as autumn was ending.

I happened past the tree again yesterday and saw it again during a snow storm. The same tree, with apples on its branches still, standing against the onslaught of winter.

It was a cold day. The snow was falling, but not accumulating in any great amount. The sky was dark and gray. But the tree stood strong.

I liked the apples still clinging to the bare branches. Holding on against the dark season.

It certainly isn't a Christmas image. But it is life.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Ithaca, NY

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Birthday season

It looks like a Christmas tree. But in reality, it is a birthday tree and the presents under the tree are not Christmas presents.

We celebrated another family birthday last night. Celebrating birthdays in the middle of the Christmas season helps restore normalcy to the frenetic pace life.

Did I mention that it was a surprise birthday celebration? That made it even more fun. At least for those of us who were in on the planning. I'm sure that Tina had other plans for her evening after a tough week.

Considering the pace of life for a moment, I am writing this morning from the car racing along route 15 somewhere in central Pennsylvania headed to Ithaca to retrieve mom and dad for the holidays.

The week ahead is already crammed with excitement and activity leading up to next Friday, when it all really begins. That being, I can take a deep breath and look forward to the ending of the year and doing it all over again.

-- Bob Doan, writing from Central Pennsylvania

Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars - Review

The wait is over, I saw Star Wars - The Force Awakens last evening. I will not divulge the plot and hopefully this review will focus on my reactions as a huge Star Wars fan to the movie without being a spoiler.

Spoiler Alert--it is almost impossible to discuss the plot without being a spoiler. I'm going to avoid discussing the plot.

What I Liked:

Unlike the prequels, the movie is true to the character and style of the original trilogy. 

It felt like a Star Wars movie.

Yes, there is the obligatory club scene with the assorted characters from around the galaxy--it just wouldn't be Star Wars without a scene like that.

The movie answers the question: "So what happened next!" The Force Awakens is set about 30 years after Return of the Jedi, (1983) during which the Empire was soundly defeated and the was Republic firmly established. The main characters have aged, and a new generation is taking control of the galaxy. The never ending struggle of good against evil continues and is at the core of the movie.

The original characters are more than cameos in the movie, but are integral to the plot and the action.

Chewbacca is--Chewbacca, the lovable, but scary Wookie.

The character development was good. The questions were answered, in most cases, about what has been happening during the past 30 years.

The new characters, as seen in the image on the left, as believable. The new droid, BB-8, is fun.

The trailers and all of the pre-movie releases DID NOT give away ANYTHING!

I liked the ending! 

I wasn't fully satisfied and I want more! 

What I didn't Like:

At times, the movie felt too much like A New Hope, (1977) which was the first movie to be released, but titled Episode IV because of the prequels.

There are a couple of critical unanswered questions--but, these are what sequels are made to answer.

The movie has slow spots. 

I didn't like one particular plot twist--I'm not going to write about it, because it would be a spoiler--but suffice it to say, I understand it, but that doesn't mean that I like it. 


Drop whatever it is you are doing, take a day off form work and go see this movie. EVERYONE is going to be talking doubt it and if you don't see it soon, there won't be any surprises left.

May the Force be with you!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Long Time Ago . . .

. . . in a galaxy far, far away--it began.

Well, maybe it was only 38 years ago on a few movie screens across America. It only seemed to be far, far away and that, of course, was the magic of the movie Star Wars

Tonight, the saga continues as the early opening-night showings begin and billions of dollars are spent by movie goers to finally answer the question that was left hanging in 1983 at the end of Return of the Jedi--"so what happened next?"

The epic battle between good and evil continues, finally. The detour through the prequels has been completed and the main story continues.

I have tickets for an evening showing and it will be an incredibly long day as I wait to stand in line to see the movie. 

The hype and the anticipation have given way into reality and I am looking forward to being transported into another place and time. At least for a few hours.

May the Force be with you!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Take: Be Afraid!

Be very afraid.

I admit that I did not watch the debates last evening, but I have been reading the accounts of the proceedings.

One of the common themes was a continuing assault on our Constitutional rights.

Between keeping people out of the country on religious grounds and the discussions of what the government should know about us, from the New York Times article, our Constitutional protections are under attack:

“I promise you, the next time there is an attack on this country, the first thing people are going to want to know is, why didn’t we know about it and why didn’t we stop it?” Mr. Rubio said. “And the answer better not be, ‘Because we didn’t have access to records or information that would have allowed us to identify these killers before they attack.’ ”

Enforcing something like this would strip Americans of privacy.

In a related issue, the ACLU is looking into the use of the No Fly List. In an article titled, Until the No Fly List is Fixed, It Shouldn't be used to Restrict People's Freedoms

I understand that many people scratch their heads and ask, why not? But the simple answer is that placing people on the No Fly list is arbitrary and incomplete. There is also no due process! All Constitutional violations. I urge you to read the ACLU article to understand the Constitutional implications associated with the No Fly list. Denying people access to protected freedoms based upon an arbitrary list compounds the offense.

Even more frightening, the government uses the phrase "predictive judgement" in determining whether to place people on the No Fly list. That sounds like a movie called, The Minority Report. I am not against the No Fly list, just the lack of oversight and due process associated with placing people on it.

My Take: Fear must not overtake our guaranteed freedoms or we will soon become a totalitarian society with no freedom.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ides of December

Not My Trees--But Similar
We are halfway through December. The dark season is in full swing with two months remaining. 

I raced home after work yesterday to enjoy 45 minutes of daylight!

And then it was gone. 

At least it was warm and I could enjoy walking outside. Except that the rain had started. Fortunately it was not snow.

The landscape is becoming so bleak--the trees are bare, but the grass is still green. I think playing golf on Sunday was a much needed shot of outdoors. If only there were a way to play more.

Maybe a Bit Larger than I Need
I looked ahead at the weather forecast for Christmas. I believe that I can safely say that there will NOT be a white Christmas in the Baltimore area. A rainy Christmas almost assuredly, but not white.

Too bad about the rain--that will keep the fleet of new drones that many people will receive grounded. Although I don't know what I'd really do with one--I'd like a drone, too. And even big enough to have to register it under the new FAA rules.

Aha, the joys of Christmas! I remember when I was a boy and I received the bicycle of my dreams on Christmas morning. It was awesome, except that I couldn't ride it until April because of the snow in Upstate NY.

Ides means the middle day of the month. I thought it was the 15th for all months, but there seems to be some discussion about that.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Musings - December 14, 2015

Sunday Morning December 13, 2015
Patient Greens Golf Club at Sun up
1. December golf in shirt sleeves. Wow, have I moved south overnight? It was an awesome way to start the day. And the gold was good, too.

2. I took a weekend off from the news. It was very cool.

3. I think Chris and I have completed most of our Christmas shopping! We went out Saturday and were amazed at how on-line shopping has reduced the numbers of people at the stores.

Riordin cleaning Louis
4. Cats can be fascinating to watch. Our two, Riordin and Louis go from fighting, to sleeping, to caring for each other in a matter of moments.

5. The incredibly warm and mild weather has me hoping for a "palm tree" Christmas. I lived in Miami for a while and I know I like walking the beach on Christmas day!

6. Traffic seems to be getting heavier. I wonder if it is a seasonal thing?

7. Do shoppers really "rush home with their treasures?" In my experience, it is usually a slow slog through heavy traffic.

8. Given that they have not defeated Navy in 14 years, should Army continue to field a football team?

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Sunday, December 13, 2015

December 12th

What a day! It was an awesome late autumn, yes, it is still autumn, day. Temperatures were very mild.

December 2015 in Maryland
So mild, that I was outside most of the day without a coat and having a great time.

There was the obligatory Christmas shopping and then present wrapping which consumed most of the morning.

But then the afternoon arrived--and I was actually in the yard on my tractor doing some light mowing, you mowing, and leaf removal. 

And from there, the day really picked up.

Wine, Fire, and Christmas Lights
There was a long walk to enjoy the sunshine and the mild temperatures. I chatted with neighbors along the way and saw many people putting out their Christmas lights 

I even was able to hit a few golf balls in the yard to keep my swing steady.

And then it was dark.

But wait, we have a fire table and it was fantastic to sit outside,during December, not risking frostbite, and enjoying a perfect wine for the occasion. 

It was a perfect ending to a great day.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Pre-Christmas Birthday Season

Nicole's Birthday Celebration
Birthdays are fun--and when they occur during the Christmas season, they can be all the more fun.

Nicole and Chris
Last evening we celebrated Nicole's birthday. It was fun to have a non-holiday focused, holiday season get together! The houses are decorated and the neighborhoods are bright with lights, but we obtained a much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of the shopping/holiday season.

As family and friends gathered together, there was the obligatory cake and rendition of Happy Birthday--and then it was to a local establishment off for adult beverages and munchies.

The gathering was well attended as everyone else seemed to have the same idea--enjoy a great happy hour and celebrate a very special person in our lives.

Nicole and Me in a Selfie
I guess that is really the whole idea for take time out of our too busy lives to celebrate others. In a perfect situation, we change the focus of our lives from self-centered into a other-centered.

I really enjoy hearing the boys sing Happy Birthday. And so, I captured their rendition below.

What else did I learn last night? I am really bad at taking selfies!

Happy Birthday Nicole!!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Friday, December 11, 2015


A concern I have about on-line shopping is the accumulation of extra boxes.

Last evening I collapsed and took a large number of boxes, mostly from on-line retailers, to the street for recycling. While on-line shopping sure is easier, the accumulation of waste seems to be greater. 

So, while the shopping is easier, the waste is greater. 

It is just something we need to consider. Although I recycled them, there is a lot of energy that goes into the manufacturing process, it would be more efficient if the boxes could be reused. 

Add to that the paper form the wrapping, and the tape, and the bows, and tags--Christmas can be a high trash season. 

Recycle, recycle, recycle!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Gas Prices Drop

Call it an early Christmas present.

Over the course of the past two days, I have filled up all three of my vehicles with gasoline for less money that is cost to fill one just a year ago!

I was in shock! 


Amid all of the hustle and bustle of the season there is a bit of good news! Gas prices are down just at the time when we are spending money on other people! 

That is awesome.

Frankly, I haven't seen $1.93 at the pump in Elkridge in forever.

I know that gas can be found lower in other places, but Elkridge is where I shop and gas prices here are very competitive.

I am amazed at people who drive around to save a penny a gallon--that usually equates to about 15 cents during as fill-up. If you fill your car 50 times a year, that is then $7.50 a year in savings. Not counting the extra gas spent to go to the other station and your time!

Enjoy the gas prices and Merry Christmas.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Political Upheaval

The true colors of one presidential candidate were clearly revealed yesterday.

He (yup, it was HE) does not support the Constitution. His statement about excluding people from entering the country based solely upon religious grounds is evidence of that.

His message appeals to the fears that people have about people who are different than they. 

I can see a very messy election ahead with three candidates--Republican, Democrat, and Trump.

This may be a case where the country is saved from disaster by the Electoral College--one of the most brilliant and yet widely misunderstood ideas that our Founding Fathers included into the Constitution.

Rational voters hopefully will prevail against the reactionary forces.

We live in uncertain and dangerous times.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Most Versatile Bomber Ever

B-17 and B-52
Imagine my surprise yesterday as I was reading the New York Times and came across an article titled, After 60 Years, B-52s Still Dominate U.S. Fleet

It was only just the other day that someone asked about my favorite aircraft and I told them that I had two, the B-17 and the B-52. No, I do not fancy the hot fighters that everyone is so enamored about. I have become a huge fan of the workhorses of the fleet--the aircraft designed to carry large payloads of weapons to ruin the day of our adversaries.

I found the following paragraph from the article most interesting:

Now in its 60th year of active service, the bomber is slow, primitive and weighed down by an infamy lingering from the carpet bombing of Vietnam in the 1960s. But 76 B-52s still make up the bulk of the United States’ long-range bomber fleet, and they are not retiring anytime soon. The next potential replacement — the Long Range Strike Bomber, which has yet to be designed — is decades away, so the B-52 is expected to keep flying until at least 2040. By then, taking one into combat will be the equivalent of flying a World War I biplane during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

B-52 Taking Off
The B-52 has grown from a Cold War warrior into an impressive power projection jet bomber that strikes fear into the hearts of adversaries everywhere. Why?

Because it can!

The are few things more impressive than watching B-52's roll down a runway and take-off with less than 30 seconds between each jet. I wonder if they still practice that. 

The B-52 will be about 80 years old, from their production dates, when they are retired in 2040. Somehow, I don't believe we will ever really be able to say good-bye to such a versatile warrior!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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