Aviation History IV

Although actual knowledge of aviation history is practically non-existent when it come to yours truly, there’s a firm support of preserving everything seemingly of real importance in regard to humans actually flying around and “sailing” out into space.  The preservation of the things in regard to flying around is a purpose of Aviation Trail, hence, a membership and sometimes a little discussion.  There’s a need for such preservation. It’s something to hand to others even today as well as future generations for real life (physical) understanding (to a remote extent experience) of how getting to distant planets grew and developed. 

There is personal reason also – grandfather, and many others like him who no doubt had no thought being in place to be on a cutting edge of such an event, was around in the area in that beginning time. Grandfather died in 1916, but by then the very early airplanes were being built and were being used.  They must have all lived with a certain sense of wonderment that people elsewhere never knew.  Many migrated from other lands.  Although children in a powerful empire, some, like grandfather, probably just wanted a little better life and were young enough to gamble some of it, not expecting a glimpse of such a future. 

So, at hand, there are the ATI (Aviation Trail, Inc.) travel brochures to distribute carefully among acquaintances and places where there may be an interest. But, it is something kept around for personal information – a paragraph or two with each of the sites listed (a fraction of all the places listed by Aviation Trail) tells a minimal amount about a place (or thing) the curious might like to see.  There’s a lot more that can be said about any one of them if there is a willing listener to a speech.  However, the rest has to be said by someone else, namely someone a bit more knowledgeable. 

Doing something worthwhile lifts the spirit. 

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Aviation History III

It might be good to note that, for all practical purposes, yours truly knows in the vicinity of nothing about aviation history. The Wright Brothers successfully got in the air in 1903, but the invention supposedly wasn’t perfected until 1905.  And, “the” place was a few miles east of Dayton, Ohio, but not particularly far.  What happened after that (and for that matter, before that) is a mass of technicalities understandable to the likes of doctors of engineering, law and some other kinds of knowledge.  In due time the first world war showed the invention was useful at least in warfare.  And, without it there would not have been any stepping on other planets, even if it was only on the moon.

Two things, however, make it a fascinating topic.  The first question is, why then and there?  One can make part of a case about odds and ends like the fact that there were two people, not just one, and understanding balance is essential to being in the bicycle business.  That surely isn’t all there is to it.  The second item is public awareness.  Even fifty years later flying was not for ordinary mortals. It was not a part of the way people lived. International airports did not sit outside nearly every town.  Today it is an accepted fact, but surely there was a state of awe in most people who merely witnessed manned flight from the beginning. 

The idea of flying like a bird is ancient.  Figuring out how to swim is lost in mists of pre-history; but, no amount of arm-flapping got anyone in the air.  Yet those creatures with the scrawny feet and little brain called birds have always done it with ease and in fun.  Thoughts and calculations that went into trying are quite extensive. Well, man still can’t fly on his own (can’t swim like a fish underwater, either), a machine is needed as well as precise understanding and conditions; but a human can approximate some of the abilities of a bird.  It still isn’t “almost any human,” but it is many humans. 

The great social revolution has happened. 

Aviation History II

A good thing to do here (in view of yesterday’s commentary) is to mention a few distinctions at least between the U. S. National Park service and “others.” Some names are “governmental” but aren’t a matter of the Park service. Some names aren’t the least government.  It’s interesting to note that when yours truly says something about “Aviation Trail,” many people immediately announce that they have been to the Air Force museum.  Aviation Trail is centered on the remaining bicycle shop of the Wright Brothers, which is literally miles across town from the Air Force museum.  And, the U. S. Air force is not the Park service. 

The National Park service is responsible for the care and feeding of U. S National Landmarks, any kind, anywhere.  There are several in the area. The association called Aviation Trail (Inc.) has a list of dozens of aviation related sites and items (maybe about four dozen sites to date) that could be of interest to some people which list naturally includes any aviation-related National Landmarks (and thus the Park service). There are also other organizations and tangent organizations and probably future organizations as yet not determined.  There isn’t space in this little place to go into much explanation. 

Maybe the real point of bring it all up is, the Air Force museum is a part, indeed, an important part as it’s a major tourist attraction, but that ain’t it.  Now, “The” airplane, which is not at the Air Force museum, is on the Aviation Trail and in the hands of the Park service.  (That’s how confusing it can get.)  While there are a few other names to be mentioned in commentaries such as this, to cut down a little on some of the confusion, if someone starts looking for information on any likely names (such as National Aviation Heritage Area), there will be references to other organizations and services.  That gives a better picture.  

The future is always based on the past. 

Aviation History I

The current name is “National Aviation Heritage Area.”  At least that is what the government (in the form of the National Park Service) put on the highway signs. The area between the signs is in the vicinity of nearly ninety miles east to west and north to south, with the north-south span being a shade longer than east to west.  Ninety miles is a pretty big patch of ground, but not every inch actually falls into the “historic” classification.  In fact, quite a few inches don’t.  However, quite a few inches have been important places for the discovery of the secrets (if one wants to call them that) of flight ultimately leading to space.

Without at this point going into all the assorted different things that might have some place in that “historic” notion (there are other historic elements around in the area that have no relation to aviation, such as the Native American places), it’s to be said minimally that they are “many and varied.”  There are also a few different arrangements of the elements, depending on the objective.  The whole thing ranges from the time the Wright Brothers started thinking about flight to a lot about Neil Armstrong’s achievement.  As there are museums included, there is likely to be additions at least to the museum collections. 

Some of the people interested in the thing in some way, shape or form, have an objective that has yet to be achieved, namely, having at least some parts of the elements added to the United Nations (UNESCO) World Heritage List, a listing of some of the rare and/or special things of the earth that to some extent belong to all of the people of the earth.  As humans proceed to other worlds out there in space, surely how and where it became active in human endeavor should be to some extent preserved for future generations.  Some things are always lost along the way; but, what can be saved should be saved. 

Some visions become realities.       

Details….

Someone made a movie once (long ago) that hinged on the importance of a dot or period.  Practically nothing is remembered about the movie, but it seems like the supposed “victim” worked for a bank and got fired.  After some to-do in the story, it was finally explained that a lot of trouble was caused because in some important calculations a period (decimal point) was left out.  The character that did the explaining announced it with the impetus of someone announcing, “War has been declared!”  A good many teachers never make such an impression in their teaching explanations. 

The point, of course, is that something that looks insignificant can be enormous in its importance.  The time element of a second (never mind a minute) falls into the same category as does something like a sixteenth of an inch (or less, which isn’t even marked on some measuring devices). Lives can hang in the balance of such things. As just mentioned in the previous commentary, temperatures mean something, too.  Be it weekend or holiday, with the apartments underfoot, if the cooling unit doesn’t work and the temperature reaches what is classed as “heat emergency,” maintenance must look into the matter right then. 

It can even be important with things more incidental and maybe a shade bigger. Recently, the floor (location) shown for one of the elevators in the building said “two” but it was on the first floor.  With trepidation yours truly got on the thing anyway and pushed five.  It stopped at four.  Pushing six got it to five. That was clearly a gamble (and maybe stupid), but it did turn out all right.  Ordinarily such would not have been tried (obviously the elevator wasn’t working properly), but usually if one elevator is there, the other doesn’t respond to a call.  As to what would have been done if the gamble hadn’t paid off….  It’s an unknown. 

Life is precarious.   

The Best Weather Report

The best way to find out if one needs a jacket, umbrella, etc., to go somewhere is to go outside for a few minutes.  One can make a good guess – good for the time being, anyway – by looking over any cloud formations or maybe touching a few things if there’s no wind and a sort of undeterminable state.  That’s only a current assessment; eight or more hours later things may be different.  If it’s a need to know for later, one needs a weather forecast put together by people in “professional” contact with other people for the sake of establishing what might be the conditions somewhere later. 

Now, the “go outside” method isn’t exactly practical in some cases.  It generally works if one is in a house, but in a big apartment building things might be quite different – for yours truly to go outside, there’s a quarter of a block hike to the elevators and almost as much from there to the door, so to go outside is a hike of about a city block.  There’s a long narrow breezeway right by the apartment, but that’s not really outside.  An open window isn’t either, although a lot can be learned via either the breezeway or a window. In a case like the one underfoot, a weather report is helpful just for ordinary living purposes. 

It’s been said that to find the best physical conditions for their experiments, the Wright brothers contacted the weather bureau (the U.S. weather service).  That does seem like a good place to ask. The weather bureau probably doesn’t have the staff anywhere to be answering the telephone to give out said information to all of the people who might call, hence, weather reports.  The trouble is, they vary any more because different places use different sources.  Other variables also exist, especially things like north from south.  And, two degrees can make a lot of difference, like a heat emergency is only when it’s over so many degrees. 

Humans have done some minute figuring.    

Air Conditioning

Area cooling systems have been around for a long time, but not necessarily in a place occupied by any “common man” except in out of the ordinary situations.  A person might spend an afternoon in a movie theatre, for example, not because it had any exceptional film showing, but because the place was cooled.  Outside of that, hot weather was somehow tolerated with hand fans, cold drinks, limited activity and so forth.  One supposed advantage to a “northern lifestyle” is that excessive heat isn’t year ‘round.  It’s only about two to three months in a year at the very most.  Especially in cooler years, one did get by without any human engineered substantial chilling of any place. 

It seems like the hot weather wasn’t impossible years ago; but now there are a lot of alerts.  “They” say it’s bad for old people.  Well, not all senior citizens’ digs include a cooling system.  One that didn’t about ten years ago didn’t allow one unless the tenant paid an extra fee for the extra electricity needed. None of the apartments were so big that there could be a lot of electricity used, but still the fee existed.   One year for a while temperatures were hitting over a hundred. It was hot, and yours truly was “elderly” already, but it really wasn’t impossible. A few common areas were cooled.  But, that was a “then.” 

In the apartment underfoot, there would be no surviving without an air cooling gizmo in the place.  Not using the stove (especially the oven) and other regular ways to beat the heat simply wouldn’t work.  The disturbing thought with that is, what if there were a reason to be where there was no such thing?  At times news reports tell of people much younger being done in by heat, and it may be that the person simply wasn’t used to operating under more difficult conditions (it’s a thought).  The former place had a central system.  The management ran nothing generously.  In “the north” or not, it’s all a concern. 

The sun gives life, and can take it.