Friday, January 24, 2020

Field trip Friday.

There is an enormous amount of excitement in the aviation industry in Silicon Valley right now. Next month they are suppose to demonstrate a bunch of those VTOL's. (I'm going to call them drone helicopters for now.)

So.... today I got to tag along to see all the simulators they have at Moffett.

This one was a 180 degree simulator that you got to fly and land a VTOL.

Next was "Future Flight Central". Which was a 360 degree flight tower simulator which was set up to mimic LAX.

In this pod you got to simulate being a passenger.

These buildings are massive.

This is a replica of Vertical Motion Simulator. Because there is no way to get this all in one shot.

A control center for another pod where you could see what it felt like for a pilot.

Then - the wind tunnel!


  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, January 24, 2020 7:40:00 PM

    Do they have simulations of these non-flappy birds falling like bricks when they don't auto-rotate to the ground? :-)

    There may be more skill required to pilot a helicopter, but I'd rather be in a conventional helicopter than one of these "drone choppers", at least so far.

    When these designers make a "drone chopper" that auto-rotates to ground safer than a helicopter piloted by a novice pilot, then I'll take them seriously.

    Until then, I'll regard them as non-flappy birds falling like bricks.

    You haven't seen a big building yet until you've been inside the VAB at Cape Kennedy. :-)

    Of course, the VAB is even more impressive when you realize that the top of the building is at higher altitude than the highest point of land in the entire state of Florida.

    BTW, isn't Google taking up roughly half the space at Moffett now?


  2. "BTW, isn't Google taking up roughly half the space at Moffett now?"

    How did you know that? So.... OMG. From this particular part of the base or campus - I'm not sure what they are calling it these days - It looks like the new Eye of Sauron campus is one street away. Their new campus (the monstrosity that it is) could be literally right next door.

    Now I've been by the new campus in Mountain View, and I've been on base, but you don't realize that this side of the base pretty much touches that campus. And I drive by there ALL the time. I NEVER knew until yesterday. I used to even work in some of those buildings when they were Silicon Graphics. I was kinda taken back a little honestly. You know it's their own private airport, but until you see it from that angle - WOW.

  3. OH! I forgot about the VTOL's. That Oogle thing rocked my world.

    Apparently those VTOL's are safer than hell's. I don't know that to be true, I'm just telling you what I heard. You can lose a rotor and the others are able to get you down. If they all fail, well you are effed either way. Most heli motor failures don't end like the one in the video. I'm sure you ~can~ get it down without power, but mostly you don't.

    Like I said we will know more next month. They are going to be flying them.

  4. Capital of Texas RefugeeSunday, January 26, 2020 6:55:00 PM


    If you were going to do this even half-way right, you'd get the N99 style of mask with the "CV" activated carbon filter and breather valve options.

    The virus particles are around 0.1 micron in size, meaning that if you're in a situation where you have to deal with virus in aerosolized form, you're pretty much fucked if you're wearing an N95 mask or even an N99 CV mask.

    And this particular variant can also attack via the eyes, tear ducts, etc.

    This means that the shitty masks that people are panic buying are mostly useless.

    Are you genuinely worried? Then buy a professional mask with dual CBRN filters so you can swap them out one at a time.

    And then buy at least a half dozen 40mm NATO threaded CBRN filters, such as the ones that this manufacturer sells (which are pricey, but last a long time).

    This will cost you the better part of a grand per mask, BTW, because the cost of three refills is usually about the cost of a new mask.

    I have a stockpile of N95 and N99 CV masks as well as protective head gear already because of dealing with the metallic dust that comes out of prototyping milling machines, so I'm not in any rush to buy mostly useless masks just for this purpose.

    For me the risk of ingesting large amounts of aluminum and copper dust has been a much greater concern than getting sick from whatever new bug's running around ...

    But as of this evening: two new cases in California and another in Arizona, all three confirmed.

    Well, that didn't take long, but we can all worry when Madagascar closes its borders. :-)

  5. I'm actually not that worried yet. I have already been on CES rules for a couple of a months. It's more than just getting the flu. When the ebola outbreak happened under Obama, it was ~right~ before CES. Every since then - we go under elbowla rules in the winter. Use a sleeve to open doors. Use your elbow for most things that need your hand. And I carry around alcohol swabs.

    This was the first year I didn't get sick. I think I left less sick than I went. Most years I never know if I'm giving a cold or just taking a cold. And all those VR conferences made me super aware of not touching my eyes.

    I"m not sure what to think of the outbreak just yet. 44 people died in California this week from the flu. So.... this seems a little overblown. But like I said - I'm watching it. I don't know what to think.

  6. Capital of Texas RefugeeMonday, January 27, 2020 12:10:00 PM

    "And I carry around alcohol swabs."

    Those are surprisingly less effective than you might otherwise think.

    Wipes with BZK work a lot better, but so would any of the quaternary ammonium salts.

    Cetrimide cream also works as a barrier for cuts, but I'm not aware of any US brands of that stuff. You could probably pick up some Savlon from a South African or UK seller on Amazon.

    Alcohol, vinegar, etc. aren't strong enough to damage the capsids of these particular coronaviruses, let alone break them. They don't really do much for the common cold either except slow it down a bit.

    Cetylpyridinium chloride is also a quaternary ammonium salt and it's in certain brands of mouthwash. It's probably also safe to use as a wound wash on rabbits.

    There are more ridiculous things you could do for prevention and cleaning than sticking some Cepacol in a spray bottle.

  7. "Cetylpyridinium chloride is also a quaternary ammonium salt and it's in certain brands of mouthwash. It's probably also safe to use as a wound wash on rabbits."

    Na. I have chlorhexidine for the bunnies. Once one of my girls impaled herself with a metal slinky. That was a middle of the night vet visit. Yeah, and don't know how she did it. Rabbits are very creative at trying to kill themselves. Now only plastic slinkies.