I am having an affair. She is 47, though she certainly doesn’t look her age, and I will go to the ends of the Earth for her.What’s more my wife understands and turns a blind eye to my other love. For that love is an aircraft — but not any aircraft.The author in front of the NASA DC-9-72.This is the Douglas DC-8, the most rugged jet airliner ever built and the only subsonic design to break the sound barrier. Its nickname says it all — the Battleship Eight. It is the plane that started my passion for aviation in 1968.Read: The history of the magnificent DC-8Fast forward to now and an opportunity of a lifetime — to fly on the NASA DC-8, one of the last flying today. A year in the planning and approval, delayed by aviation tragedies such as MH370, the big day loomed with almost schoolboy first love anticipation. Is all my photographic equipment charged up?What if the weather is lousy … will the mission be scrubbed? How much time do I allow to drive from Long Beach to Palmdale, California, in peak hour?The day dawned without a cloud — just light mist. And I timed the drive — three hours — perfectly.The author in Doug Baker’s seat.NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre is at Palmdale regional airport California, about 120km north-east of Los Angeles. It is home to a fleet of five planes, including the DC-8 and a Boeing 747SP which sports a massive telescope. The fleet is dedicated to advancing technology and science through flight. It has a wide range of missions from validating space exploration concepts to airborne remote sensing and science missions. One of the DC-8’s main missions is the IceBridge.Using the most sophisticated suite of innovative science instruments ever assembled, it characterizes annual changes in thickness of sea ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. In addition, IceBridge collects critical data used to predict the response of the Earth’s polar ice to climate change and resulting rise in sea levels.Flying high over Long Beach – home of the DC-8But this is not just the province of a few scientists. When the plane last went on a mission over the South Pole, students used an online text chat portal that allowed them to ask researchers questions over the DC-8’s satellite communication system. During these chats, IceBridge communicated with 867 students in 37 classrooms across the US and Chile. But I am well away from the South Pole on a balmy Californian morning.I am greeted like a long lost friend by NASA pilots — there is a special bond between lovers of the DC-8. These pilots have the right stuff in spades. Our captain for the flight is Richard “Dick” Ewers, a 43-year veteran. From 747s and airships to F-18 fighters he has done it all and more.The more? Test pilot, Vietnam veteran and aircraft carrier pilot.NASA top gun pilots Richard Ewers and Dave FedorsHelping him fly the Battleship Eight is another top gun, David Fedors. A colonel in the US Air Force Reserve, Fedors has also been a military and civilian test pilot and is the lead author of numerous Air Force Test Center technical papers.And the third member of the flight crew is the all-important Flight Engineer Matt Pitsch, who wasn’t born when this DC-8 first came to life.Our DC-8 has done it all.Built-in 1969 as a Douglas DC-8 Super 62, it was delivered to Italian airline Alitalia. In its glory days, it was the world’s longest range plane, whisking well-heeled jetsetters across the globe.NASA bought it in 1985 and fitted new technology General Electric engines that improved fuel burn and range significantly. It has 52,700 total flight hours on the clock — a fraction of its capability. In fact, the DC-8 is the only aircraft that has unlimited structural life. It was designed by old-school aeronautical engineers, who cut their teeth on the plane that taught the world to fly — the indestructible DC-3.The DC-8 — and its more famous and successful competitor the Boeing 707— launched the jet age as we know it in the late 50s.But back to the present and before I can ride in this magnificent machine, which is kept in factory new condition, there is the small matter of a safety instruction. This is not the three-minute one that no one takes notice of on an airliner. I am at NASA and things are done differently.The briefing starts at 10.30am and lasts an hour. It involves a detailed Powerpoint presentation and the fitting of oxygen hoods. After the briefing, we are taken out to the DC-8 for further instruction aboard. By noon we are done and have time for a quick snack before we have to be back aboard. Take-off time is 2.30pm which means boarding an hour before.Cdr Ewers adds icing to my cake by inviting me to ride in the cockpit. Am I dreaming?I get my oxygen/smoke hood which must be carried at all times and take my seat in the cockpit. After a long and painstaking list of pre-flight checks, we are ready to reach for the skies. Although fitted with much of the latest high-tech gadgetry, the DC-8 is essentially a 1950s technology plane and this requires a lot of input from the three-man crew. We are airborne in just 20 seconds — we are light for a four-hour mission.After take-off, a right turn has us climbing over the snow-capped mountains surrounding LA, which is soon below us. The city of freeways seems to spread for hundreds of kilometres. The DC-8 is as steady as a rock and she soars to 38,000ft.Over San Francisco in the NASA DC-8Capt. Fedors loves the DC-8. “The DC-8 was the first aircraft I ever rode in as a wide-eyed kid, launching my interest in aviation, so it is a privilege to be able to fly it in 2015, ” Capt. Fedors says. “She is proven very reliable and adaptable to the science mission. “The robust structure makes it easy to modify and she is the best loved aircraft in NASA Armstrong’s fleet by both maintenance and aircrews.”It was time to launch the weather sensors built by Yankee Environmental Systems. Five were dispatched over 30 minutes and our mission was complete.Our DC-8 gently rolled right towards San Francisco. Far too quickly for me the flower-power city was below and not a cloud to impede the magnificent view. Another right turn and Palmdale bathed in a setting sun was on the nose of our DC-8.Coming into land at Palmdale, California.Our commander did an easy curved visual approach and I was left with the impression he could do it in his sleep. But there was nothing sleepy about the landing drills on this DC-8. Everything by the numbers.The touchdown was smooth as the sun set behind the mountains. Time to say goodbye to my other love and return to my true love.
Lariba was the Philippines’ flag bearer in the 2016 Rio Olympics wherein she competed in the table tennis event. Lariba was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in May 2017 but was eventually discharged on Oct.23 after undergoing a successful stem cell transplant on Oct. 7.READ: Rio Olympian Ian Lariba diagnosed with leukemiaFEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutLariba said she has also started to experience blurring of vision and weakness of the left side of her body. She is undergoing chemotherapy and will need multiple laboratory examinations and blood transfusions.“I appeal to your kind hearts for any assistance that you can give to help me with my fight against this disease,” said Lariba in a statement La Salle released. “I also humbly ask for your prayers so I may overcome this challenge. Thank you.” View comments 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Read Next READ: Athletes unite for ailing Lariba DLSU Sports tweeted that those whore are interested in sending financial aid to Lariba’s way may send their donations to Ian N. Lariba, BDO savings account number: 0045-8045-9965 in the bank’s branch at Vito Cruz along Taft Avenue.Those interested to provide financial assistance may send their donations to IAN N. LARIBA, BDO savings account number: 0045-8045-9965, Vito Cruz, Taft branch.Please also be informed that she cannot accommodate hospital visitors at the moment.#KayaMoYAN pic.twitter.com/Okzn4zHHvx— DLSU Sports (@dlsusports) January 25, 2018ADVERTISEMENT Philippines’ Ian Lariba hits a shot in her women’s singles qualification round table tennis match at the Riocentro venue during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 6, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Juan MabromataOlympian Ian Lariba is once again asking for assistance as she continues her fight against leukemia, which has now spread to her brain and spinal cord.The table tennis star revealed via a statement on DLSU Sports Twitter that the cancer has returned. She suffered bouts of headache and vomiting on the first week of January which prompted her to return to St. Luke’s Medical Center.ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Change of atmosphere could do wonders for Lady Warriors Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH LATEST STORIES Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding read more
Game one of all five Masters divisions (Men’s 30’s, Women’s 30’s, Men’s 40’s, Senior Mixed and Men’s 50’s) as well as game three of all four Youth divisions, including the all important decider in the 18’s Boys division.10.00amWomen’s 30’sMen’s 50’s11.10amSenior MixedMen’s 40’s18’s Girls12.20pm 20’s BoysMen’s 30’s1.30pm20’s Girls2.40pm18’s BoysRelated LinksSTT Day Three
Twitter/@KevinOConnorNBA Duke returns to the court today for the first time since the dramatic overtime win against North Carolina, but the Blue Devils will be without star center Jahlil Okafor. Okafor will miss today’s game vs. Clemson after injuring his ankle late in the first half against the Tar Heels. He returned to that game, and finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds in 41 minutes, so this is probably precautionary.Duke’s Jahlil Okafor will not play today for the Blue Devils. Suffered an ankle injury in Wednesday’s win over North Carolina.— Duke M. Basketball (@Duke_MBB) February 21, 2015Duke and Clemson tip off at 4:00 p.m. Duke is 23-3, and in strong contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. read more
Almost two dozen marine scientists from around the world have issued a warning about an often-overlooked side effect of climate change and pollution.In a paper published this week in Science, they say oxygen is disappearing from increasingly large areas of ocean and threatening marine life.The research, sponsored by an international body affiliated with UNESCO, finds the problem has been growing since the 1950s. Over the last 50 years, the amount of affected ocean has expanded by 4.5 million square kilometres to 32 million square kilometres of coastal and deep-sea water.That includes the St. Lawrence Seaway and oceans off Canada’s West Coast.“We feel this issue has to be looked at and deserves more attention,” said Denis Gilbert, one of the 22 co-authors and a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.“All animals need to breathe oxygen and we know that regions of the ocean that are losing oxygen are becoming more and more common. We’re seeing the marine animals leaving those areas.”The paper, a summary of recent research, found oxygen-deprived waters off many of the world’s coastlines, especially those adjacent to large rivers and urban areas. Low-oxygen regions also exist in the high seas.The volume of ocean water completely devoid of oxygen has quadrupled since 1950, one study found. Marine animal populations and diversity are dropping at hundreds of coastal sites.In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, oxygen in the lower depths has dropped by 55 per cent since 1930.“It’s huge,” said Gilbert. “We’re already losing cod in the bottom waters.”Similar processes are further depressing naturally low oxygen levels along British Columbia’s northern coast, said Gilbert.He said several factors are at work.Agricultural and industrial residue flushes nitrates into oceans, creating algae blooms similar to those that can plague freshwater systems. But in the open ocean, climate change is by far the biggest contributor.Climate change, Gilbert said, delivers a “triple whammy.”First, warmer water can’t dissolve as much oxygen.Second, different layers in the oceans don’t mix as much as upper waters warm. Deeper layers don’t get ventilated by being exposed to the surface. Gradually, the oxygen they hold gets used up by bacteria.Third, warmer water forces marine animals to breathe more quickly, further using up available oxygen.“One of the reasons why (marine animals) cannot tolerate very warm waters is they need to breathe more,” Gilbert said. “In these waters where they need to breathe more, there’s less oxygen.”Gilbert said that, in comparison with other climate-change-related issues such as ocean acidification, the impacts of low oxygen on fisheries and natural ocean cycles are little studied.“It’s poorly understood.”The problem won’t go away any time soon.“Global warming models are predicting that the oxygen decrease will be even worse by 2100 and will keep getting worse,” Gilbert said.The models suggest oxygen will continue to decline in the oceans even with ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Still, Gilbert said, that doesn’t mean those targets shouldn’t be pursued.“Acting on fossil fuels will have benefit not just for sea ice and ocean acidification, but it will also have benefits for oxygen.”— Follow Bob Weber on Twitter at @row1960 read more