Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Meme I Can Grok.

NRAhab asks "what are your five favorite airplanes, and why?"

I'm a fighter enthusiast. As someone once said,"There are only two kinds of aircraft: fighters and targets." Here's my list:

#5: The North American F-86 Sabre. Coming off possibly the best all-around fighter of WWII, the P-51 Mustang, North American reset the bar with the F-86 Sabre. Immediately after the war the first turbojet aircraft were brought into the military's arsenal, but until the F-86 they were, at best, stopgap measures. The F-86 had speed, range, maneuverability, and firepower all in one package. The aircraft might have been slightly outclassed by the MiG-15, but the training of our pilots proved better than theirs, and the performance of the aircraft was up to the task. Besides, the little thing is just beautiful. (This was a tossup between the F-86 and the Me-262. The F-86 got the nod because it saw far more combat. But I am given to understand that the post-war tests of the Me-262 showed that it was superior to everything the Allies or the Soviets built up until the MiG-15 and the F-86. One wonders what a third- or fourth-generation Schwalbe might have been like.)

#4: The McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II. It started off life as a Navy all-weather fighter-bomber, but proved so good that the Air Force bought it. Remember, Navy aircraft have to be tough enough to survive controlled crash-landings on carriers, over and over and over again, so they tend to be built heavy to survive the abuse. The Phantom used titanium in its structure to give strength with (relative) lightness. Initially built without an on-board gun, this was rectified by the addition of a 20mm six-barreled Gatling, making it a real fighter. The F-4 held a number of speed, rate of climb, and other records for a long time. The F4G Wild Weasel variant was in service as recently as 1996. Not bad for an aircraft that entered service in 1960. Big, tough, fast, deadly, versatile, and beautiful. Check out that triangular tail and the cranked wings!

#3: The Fairchild-Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II aka "Warthog." An aircraft designed around a 30mm armor-shattering six-barreled Gatling gun powerful enough to slow the aircraft down when fired? An aircraft with eight underwing hardpoints and three under the fuselage with enough lift to carry the same bombload as a B-17 bomber? An aircraft designed to take severe damage from ground fire and still get the pilot home? An aircraft home-based right here in Tucson? Not a fighter, per se, (even though two have shot down helicopters) but a ground-attack aircraft par excellence. Gotta go with this one.

#2: The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Not a fighter, but no fighter could touch it. In an era of analog gauges and slide rules, Kelly Johnson - creator of the P-38 - designed and built an aircraft that no one has touched (publicly) since. Constructed almost entirely of titanium (never done before), using fuel almost impossible to ignite, wearing radar-absorbing paint, designed to leak like a sieve until the aircraft reached operating temperature from the air friction of Mach 3 flight, able to fly faster, higher, longer than anything else, this thing is the epitome of aeronautical engineering. And it looks wicked. Nicknamed "Habu" by Okinawan residents near Kadena AFB due to its deadly appearance, how can you NOT love it?

#1: The Lockheed P-38 Lightning. It's so different from anything before it that even as a child I found it fascinating. It was incredibly fast for its time. It was designed to carry four .50 caliber machine guns and a 20mm cannon in a time when four .30 caliber machine guns was considered "heavy armament," and they didn't have to be regulated to intersect at some point in the distance - they were all in one group aimed directly ahead. This meant more rounds on target more easily. It had "long legs" - a nine hour combat range once Charles Lindberg got his hands on it. It was the aircraft in which America's top two aerial aces flew. It was the plane used to kill Admiral Yamamoto. Fast, beautiful, deadly. Everything a fighter should be. And unique!

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