Monday, June 19, 2006

L over Dmax...or How The Dems Lost Their Lift

Major Mike

Open Figure 4.12...keep it handy.

Figure 4.12: Coefficients versus Angle of Attack

During my Aviation Indoctrination (AI) in Pensacola, FL, in the late fall of 1978, I was exposed to the first of the weeding out process that all potential aviators and Naval Flight Officers must get through to go on to fly Naval aircraft. This six to seven week course (as I recall) included classroom instruction centered around the topics of aerodynamics, propulsion, and air navigation. AI also included a hefty dose of PT (physical training), aviation physiology, water survival…the Navy version of water torture…and land survival.

For a History major such as myself, several of these topics seemed the equivalent of learning Portuguese in six weeks, but I managed to limp through, and made it into the initial flying portion of the syllabus, and eventually onto advanced training and my wings.

As much as a “weeding out” process, AI is designed to imbed into the thick skulls of all flight students the entirety of the basic knowledge needed to survive the entire spectrum of the flight experience…the physical, the physiological, the mental, the technical, the routine and the extreme. There are concepts, and strategies I still go back to from my AI days…one of them is the aerodynamic concept of lift.

Without regurgitating the entire aerodynamic class, and in layman’s terms, lift is the product of the design of the wing…a long wing, with a high Mean Aerodynamic Chord (curve), will generate a lot of lift. A short, flat wing will not generate much lift. But, as with anything physical, there is no perfect wing. A wing with a high MAC will turn well, but generate a lot of drag. A thin wing won’t generate much drag, but it won’t generate much lift either…it will require more speed to generate the equivalent amount of lift. A good explanation of all of the inter-relationships between lift, drag, weight, and speed can be read here.

And you ask, why is Major Mike giving me such a lame aerodynamic lesson? There is one more aerodynamic point that I’d like before I move on to my real point. As you produce airspeed, you generate more lift over the wing, but as you increase speed you also increase drag. As you pull back on the stick you trade speed for lift and you climb, but you increase induced drag, if you release, or push the stick forward, you reduce the drag, and you get more airspeed. Flying is easy.

BUT, at some point, if you pull back too hard, for too long, you will exceed the maximum lift available…L over Dmax, for your weight, your airspeed, and the combination of induced and parasitic drag. Keep holding that stick back, and you’ll start losing lift. Hold it back long enough, and you’ll have no lift. Envision Wiley Coyote and his many flying contraptions.

Remember…flying is easy. Most airplanes, will provide you some clues as to where you are on your L over D curve. There some clues built into aircraft systems, the Angle of Attack gauge…tells you in relative degrees (based on weight speed, configuration etc.) where you are on the lift curve…and rudder shaker…the rudder pedals are hooked up to the AOA gauge and physically shake the rudder at a pre-programmed AOA. This gives the pilot warning of an approaching stall condition. Test pilots, in the early testing phases of the acceptance of new aircraft, then fly the aircraft through all of the angles of attack, and note how the aircraft reacts at higher and higher AOAs. Typically mild airframe buffet, followed by moderate buffet, on to heavy buffet, on to uncontrolled wing rock, and eventually into full departure (from controlled flight), and into any number of post-stall gyrations that can make an Olga Korbut routine look like a humdrum walk in the park.

Important flying tip…flying at L over Dmax provides good lift…pulling harder, in most cases, does you no good, in fact, it can do you a lot of harm. Lift is good, pulling for too much lift can cause to you spin out of control.

And this brings me to my point…the Dems, just a few short weeks ago were on the verge of possibly controlling the upcoming political season…they were at L over Dmax. But rather than riding the wave of lift, they have pulled into stall, and they are about to spin out of control. They understood the AOA gauge, they felt the mild buffet, they pulled to “on speed,” and then pulled past L over Dmax, and pulled right into stall and post-stall gyration. And it should be fun to watch, and it should be fun to watch them plow it in, in the November elections.

My stall indicators…

Democratic inverted spin on the Iraq War voting.

Talk about “holding on too tight.” Cougar barely had a grip on the stick, compared to how hard these guys are overshooting the fight. Instead of voting their conscience, they don’t seem to be able to figure which way to point to get into the relative wind…hence they end up with no wind and they stall.

The Senate resolution calling for immediate withdraw …the John Kerry Stuka going down in flames, along with five other Senatorial out-of-touchers…gets bagged 93-6, and forces the rats out into the open.

The House Plan to support the war passes an resolution that rejects a firm withdraw date…256-153

And now the Dems want to bring forward a resolution for a phased withdraw…which I believe has always been the plan…once the situation is stable…the Dems…looking for more lift, pull back harder on the stick and look for defeat number three…recipe for stall.

Their reaction to the Zarqawi home remodeling show.

Instead of acknowledging the importance of eliminating Al Zarqawi, they continued to show their ignorance of the paradigm shift that asymmetrical warfare has taken in the global electronic age. Instead Dems are trying to get more lift out of Napoleonic concepts such as terrain and firepower.

Keep pulling back…you’re losing lift, as you lose your grip on reality.

The Carl Rove non-indictment.

The Carl Rove indictment…I mean, non-indictment. The “he should’ve been indicted.” Way too much pulling for more angles. They ignored rudder shaker, wing rock, and stall, they held on for the full out inverted spin.

By overplaying their hands on issues that barely get the voters attention…they only accelerate their loss of momentum.

The “culture of corruption” non-issue.

The Dems hopes to pin the tail on the elephant evaporated when they gave the GOP a chance to pin that tail on the donkey, by forgetting the old adage…those that live in glass houses should not throw bricks. Again, the Dems trying to make an issue out of a non-issue…and they flame out as they turn out to be equally guilty.

It is easy to view the flames on the horizon

All this goes to the talk of the Dems peaking too early in the political season. The reasons…they are on the wrong side of the issues; they are trying to create negative issues for the GOP, while themselves being guilty of the same crimes; they put a significant number of their eggs in the Rove basket; and they don't understand the modern war on terrorism...and all of that is becoming apparent.

They are in the process of snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. In this case, however it is less a collapse of a coordinated effort, but more a discovery that they are a paper tiger confused by the chasing of their own tail. Until they can come together with a coherent message, and solid positioning on serious issues, they are indeed, a paper tiger.

It may well indeed, be the season to Paint the Map Red.

Update: Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers...thanks for staying until the end of the piece. Thanks again for the support Hugh!!

Update: Welcome MudvilleGazette readers...again...thanks for reading til the end!!!


Mr.Atos said...

OR in their case a paper airplane... folded at random and tossed with curious yet unsatisfactory effect. Even a kite flies better, which explains John McCain's success, when the wind happens to blow in his favor - too soft he falters and too hard he rips to pieces. All the while, the President probes through hurricanes. Fact is, the Democrats have been trying to take flight in some contraption they call an aircraft that has no wings. I'm reminded of that old film footage of the hopping umbrella car from the earliest days of 'flight.'

Someone once said, "flying is easy... you simply hurl yourself at the ground and miss." I submit the Democrats are trying out that theory repeatedly. And to date, their best pilots like John's Murtha and Kerry (Ya-Ya and Smallberries), have yet to miss.

Great stuff, Mike!

ric ottaiano said...

great analogy (or is that a metaphor?)!!! i'd like to add that when you have no basic principles that inform you and your strategy is based on licking your index finger and holding it up, is it any wonder that you are incoherent...

dueler88 said...

the sad part is this:

in our bombing run against militant islam, the Democrats are our wingman, and it's probably gonna take the full load hanging from our wings to destroy the target.

the laser is painting the target and we're right on course to drop our GBU's. how long do we wait for our wingman to pull out of the stall before we go on without them? do we delay the run and try to talk them in to increasing velocity (and therefore lift) and staying on target? or do we continue the run and hope that our efforts alone will destroy the target?

in any normal circumstance, we would let an enemy aircraft simply have their freefall stopped by dirt. but they're not *really* our enemy in this case. we're in this together.

Spurius Ligustinus said...

A good analogy, but one I like better to describe the donks' premature celebration is, "doing their touchdown dance on the 40-yard line."

Right before the linebacker plows into them at full speed, to the accompaniment of Chris Berman's excited narrative: "It's a FUM-BLE!!

Svolich said...

As long as we're going with this similie...

Issues of public discussion are divergent. You have your issue going well over manuvering speed, but you're cool, you're not making any large control inputs. But there's a lot going on that you aren't aware of. Your horizontal is making a pitching moment that's twisting the tips down. You're fine, as long as you're within the elastic limit of the publics awareness. Then - BOOM. The public catches on. You try to fix it. That makes things worse. Everything comes apart.

Think Dan Rather.

Or think of a wing that has no twist. The tip stalls first. No buffet, you're just upside down asking "Hey, where'd everyone go?"

I agree - the dems had it going good. They were letting the GOP destroy itself. All they had to do was shut up. But it's not in the nature of a politico to be quiet - they have to do SOMETHING, even if it's the wrong thing. So they did the wrong thing.

They're toast.

Anonymous said...

The Dems are plane ignorant.

Major Mike said... me laughing out loud on that one...the perfect blend of wit, pun, and brevity...bravo. MM

Boghie said...

Reading Spurius Ligustinus comment on a touchdown dance on the 49 yard line reminded me of another Democrat (almost a certainty):

Leon Lett

He would make a great Liberal Democrat. He was a hero too!

Wikipedia Remembers Leon Lett!!!

Lett's Legacy:
Lett was a talented player and a cornerstone of the Cowboys defense during its heyday in the early 90's, but fans will likely remember him for his infamous "bonehead" plays. Two of the top three of ESPN's "25 Biggest Sport Blunders" are attributed to Lett. The fans ranked him #1 and #3, whereas an expert panel placed him at #2 and #3.

The first play (ranked #1 in the ESPN fan list, #2 in the ESPN expert panel) occurred in January 1993, late in Super Bowl XXVII, when Lett recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter. With no one in front of him, he seemed to be headed for an easy touchdown on the fumble return, so he stretched his arms out in celebration as he was nearing the end zone. But a hustling Don Beebe chased him down from behind and knocked the ball out of his hand just before he crossed the goal line, sending the ball through the endzone and resulting in a touchback that cost Lett his touchdown. The Cowboys had a commanding 52-17 lead at the time, and the play did not affect the outcome of the game, but it certainly embarrassed Lett on the greatest stage in the sport and it is still well known by football fans today. Lett's gaffe also cost the Cowboys the record for most points scored in a Super Bowl (55, by the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XXIV).

The second play (ranked #3 in both ESPN lists) occurred during the very next season and was actually more serious as it resulted in a Cowboy defeat. On Thanksgiving Day in 1993, during a rare snow and sleet storm in Dallas, the Cowboys were leading the Miami Dolphins 14-13 with mere seconds remaining in the game. The Dolphins attempted a 41-yard field goal to take the lead but the kick was blocked. While most of his teammates began celebrating, Lett attempted to recover the ball but he slipped on the ice, fumbled, and the Miami Dolphins recovered it on the Dallas one yard line. There was no need to pick up the ball as the Cowboys would have automatically received possession and simply run out the clock. By touching the ball and then failing to hold onto it, Lett enabled the Dolphins to kick another field goal. This second attempt was successful and the Dolphins won the game 16-14.

Very reminiscent of the Modern Liberal Democratic Party...

Flying around with arms outstretched...

Blabbering incesantly...

Acting doped up...

In a stall,

and loving it...

Boghie said...

BTW, I hate the Cowboys...
Like me and the Democrats, I kinda, sorta, liked them once but then:

Here comes Jerry Jones...

Here comes Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer and John Conyers and ... and ... and ...

I think the Cowboys will gain my respect before I turn my eyes toward the fools on the Hill...

FOD said...

Ah yes... great article. Of course as a former Naval Air Crewman, I identify with the guys in the back end. Are there smiles and confidence that we will have a successful mission, our top notch pilots will get us through this and any other mess we encounter? Or is it that quiet look of concern, when you know that you life is in the hands of someone who was drinking just as hard as you were last night?