Archive for March, 2010

ABNA 2010 Quarter Finals

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

The Dragoneers advanced to the 5% round on 23 March.  Even though my novel is much better than it has ever been, advancement is based on individual judges’ expertise and the strength of the overall field of entries.  The next round of eliminations will be between March 24 and April 27, which will reduce the field to 1%.

Amazon has made all the 250 quarter-finalists’ excerpts available online for no charge.  You can access the download page for a Kindle Edition of The Dragoneers excerpt here.  If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free software in the same location for your PC to read Kindle books.

While you’re there, you can read whatever reviews have been posted and you can even post your own comments.  Most excerpts were given two reviews from the Amazon Reviewers, but for some unknown reason, The Dragoneers only received one, and if you read it, it’ll leave you wondering how the novel made it to the quarter-finals. At least it ended with some encouragement for me to keep trying to get better at writing and then recommended I read some books on writing.

The review may foreshadow what will happen to The Dragoneers as the quarter-finals come to an end.  Or maybe, not.

Either way, The Dragoneers will receive an updated Publishers Weekly review.  When I get it, I’ll share it here.

Global Hawk AR … Cool

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

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March Maddness!

Friday, March 19th, 2010

All,

Time to post.  First for those interested there is a very high paying flying job available here for a Government GS-14 level Global hawk Pilot.  This is a SWEET position with a cost of living bonus and flying privileges in C-12 as well as a GH.  The pay range is well into the 100K range.  Another Buff driver in GH would be huge. 

Chuck,  I never saw the pictures of the GH air-refueling.  I erred greatly by saying there is no AR capability in the GH.  NASA is modifying a couple of GHs to air refuel. There is a big test sometime next year to verify the capability.  The programming will then be transferred to the UCAS bomber.  Northrop is partnered with NASA to do the mod and testing, the Air Force does not want to ante up pilots for the project…so guess who get to go fly with NASA. Yup me!  SWEET!  We took a tour of the GH control facility yesterday.  OMG!  Talk about first class!  I almost wet myself over the displays (also I’m getting to that time in my life were diapers are becoming an issue;-).   As usual the Air Force spent minimal bucks for the Global Hawk control system.  The NASA system is so Cadillac it was unbelievable.  The AF version uses a Falcon View back bone with limited capability for moving map.  NASA uses Google Earth!!  The computers are so fast on the NASA system that you can mouse roll zoom the map from a total world outer space view (Google Earth start page) into 3 meter photo maps almost instantly!  It also uses FAA sectional maps and other stuff.  Also you can tilt the whole display (ala Google Earth) to show a 3D version of the Jet flying a climb or decent profile.  The PSD is right out of a 767 with all the bells and whistles, unlike the PSD in a AF block 20 that is more like a C-172 version of G-1000.  Plus the control room at NASA was just like you would imagine a NASA control room would be…everything new and clean and first class.  Way COOL!

Also another good deal…the company is planning on sending me to test pilot school either at Mojave or a course out of the U of Kansas.  The guys here say the U of K program is much better, but harder to get. I will probably end up at Mojave.  Either way COOL!!

On the telescope front things are getting way busy.  We took the wooden model down to INCA corp. in Los Angeles a few weeks back.  They have reduced the design into 3D cad cam modeling and are well along with construction on an aluminum version.  Inca’s plan is to produce the final version in 1, 1.5 and 2 meter sizes…contingent on our success at making the design work.  Dr genet just got back from Hawaii where the concept is raising all sorts of excitement amongst the professional and amateur astronomy world. Dr. Genet was at the French observatory on the Big Island and the director of the telescope approached him about the project.  Turns out the French telescope used Dr. Genet’s laws on robotic telescopes for their design.  We get daily suggestions from astronomers all over the world for exotic projects for the scopes.  The end intent for the scopes is to connect multiple one and two meters scopes into an array that will be able to resolve the surface features of near-by stars. COOL!  

Cheers

 

Ponch

It’s the 11th!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Well it’s done!  After nine months with a 2two month delay waiting for the half-track model to be release we have the…” Sollum Höhe 208 (Sollum Height 208)”; a German 88mm Flak 36 artillery piece & Sd.kfz.7 8ton half-track assigned to the I.Flak-Regiment 33 (2 Batterie), Deutches Afrika Korps during the North African Campaign around April 1942. 

1.JPG 

The Flak 36 was straight from Tamiya’s new 88mm GunFlak36 ‘North African Campaign” except I borrowed the bogies from their original Flak 36/37 kit.  Although the figures came directly from the kit, the radio operator was another kit, except I had to scratch build the antenna based on an image I had from a German WWII Panzers in the Desert reference book. 

3.jpg   9.jpg  5.jpg

The Sd.Kfz.7 8t Half-track Initial Production was Dagon’s new Smart Kit release that hit the street in October 2009!  I had to scratch-built a few items, the bustle rack on the very back to hold the jerry cans and the canvas roof in the stowed position.  Even though Eduard’s 8t tool boxes were designed for the Trumpeter kit, with a slight modification, they worked just fine for Dragon’s.  Eduard’s 8t engine PE kit provided the engine side panels covers.  The rifles, MG34, and MP40 came from Italeri’s Accessories II kit.  Since I needed Luftwaffe license plates for my project, I turned to Peddinghaus-decals to provide them.   Dragon provided five different German Army plates – no Air Force.  Archer dry transfers provided German helmet insignias, uniform patches, DAK palm trees, German tactical symbols, and Sd.Kfz.7 instrument panels and generic lettering.  Verlinden Productions provided ration boxes, wooded barrels, military provisions, stowage cargo & accessories, bottles, crates, and German food supplies.  The Luftwaffe Anti-Aircraft Badge is a reproduction from Landser Outfitters based in California.

7.jpg  8.jpg  6.jpg

As for the base work; I used CelluClay for the base along with folk-art paint.  I most have gone through seven different colors before hitting the right combination to give a desert color.  I spread the plaster over wax paper in a cookie sheet.  Once dry, I broke into pieces and stacked to make the wall.  A 50-50 water/glue solution was used to set the wall in place.  Again, once dry I used folk-art paints again to paint it.

As for other news, Jim Melvin & I decrease the duck population around Corpus Christi again.  Both sons could not make it due to one being sick and the other having to work.  We each bagged redheads, buffleheads, and pintails. 

Day 1: we bagged our redheads early in the morning.  I managed to drop two in the first pass and couldn’t hit anything afterwards – had a chance at one or two more birds, but no luck.  Jim got one in the first pass and another later – then he couldn’t hit them either.  So we packed up for the day. 

 img_1626e2.jpg  Day 2 Hunt

Day 2: we were out for buffleheads & pintails.  Went to a different area and the blind was out in the middle of no-where!  Water everywhere and the land was only visible on the horizon.  We got our buffleheads early, but mine was a hen.  So Jim holds off shooting until a drop a drake.  I soon drop another, but once more a hen.  Finally after much waiting I finally drop a drake.  Then some pintails circle and it takes a lot of calling to get them to attempt to land.  We each drop one, but mind lands further out from the blind.  The only sad thing is that pintail I knocked down was hurt just enough not to get airborne again.  I must have chased him for miles!  I was in water up to my knees while he was about 50 yards or more away.  Although he couldn’t fly, he sure could swim and paddle his feet he did…I could never gain on him and by the time I turned to see how far I was from the bind, the bind was just a speck on the horizon!

We stayed on our guides property and were fed – and what a feast!  There was no lack of food for each meal!  First night was a Texas BBQ with ribs, sausage, brisket & duck.  Next night, duck gumbo with all the trimming; corn bread, mash potatoes, green beans, etc.  Lunch times always had leftovers which there was plenty of.

O’well I’ve written too much…so see you next month

Chuck here’s some pitures of actually artillery range finders…

Just like my model  Large Naval Range finder

Jobs: Analyses and Assessments Professional (2)

Monday, March 8th, 2010

There are two of these positions for Macaulay-Brown at Barksdale, AFB in AFGSC.  If you’re interested, send me your resume and contact information via my email  and I’ll get it to the site lead.  Salary will be commensurate with experience.

 

Here’s the description:

 


1.5.2  Analyses and Assessments:  The contractor shall provide personnel with the knowledge, skills, and abilities/qualification to accomplish the tasks specified in this PWS in the technical environment described below.  (A001, A002, A003, A005, A009)

 

1.5.2.1  Provide the expertise to serve as a MAJCOM level technical expert advising on matters concerning scientific work requiring the design, development, and adaptation of mathematical, statistical, econometric, and other scientific methods and techniques providing advice and insight into the probable effects of alternative courses of action.

 

1.5.2.2  Provide the expertise to formulate unique analytical research proposals and studies that recommend alternative courses of action to senior Command officials. As an analytical expert, the contractor must be able to provide technical guidance and independently resolve problems and issues involving the development of mathematical models and computer programs to evaluate and predict the ability to support assigned missions, projects, studies, or problems. The uniqueness of the problems requires creativity, innovative use of techniques, advanced approaches, and/or new technologies. As an expert, the contractor shall be capable of defining or further defining major/critical problems and for advising management of advantages or disadvantages of various alternatives.

 

1.5.2.3  Provide the expertise to support the implementation and clarification of policies, criteria and standards and recommending modification to USAF analytical criteria as needed, or modifications of such as needed for specific MAJCOM requirements. 

 

1.5.2.4  Provide the expertise to AFGSC/A9A for the creation and maintainance of data structures that provide a short notice, responsive analysis capability in addition to long-term studies.  Expertise in modeling and simulation and other analytical tools are required to support study objectives, create and maintain input data structures and files, run/modify the models, analyze model output, prepare output for presentations and assist in final documentation of analytical efforts.  Support will include, but is not limited to, future force structure analyses and future trade-off studies such as an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA).  

 

1.5.2.5  Assist in developing study plans that include the following: background, study team composition, purpose of study, scope/limitations, critical assumptions and constraints, measures of effectiveness (MOEs), study parameters and variables, methodology description, data requirements and schedule with deliverables.

 

1.5.2.6  Provide the expertise to create, update and manage data files with the source of all data and points of contact listed, providing a basis for determining the validity of study results.

 

1.5.2.7  Provide the expertise to use mathematical models and/or simulation tools to evaluate system performance and utility.

 

1.5.2.8  Provide the expertise to run specified AFGSC/A9A models, analyze outputs, prepare outputs for presentation/report, and document study results.  Documentation includes final report, associated data sources and points of contact, an in-depth explanation of critical assumptions, model methodology and scenarios, commentary on any unique assumptions necessary to derive the results, and a section on the lessons learned in conducting the study.  Studies may involve analysis of PPBE inputs and POM results to create decision submissions for senior leader consideration.

 

1.5.2.9  Preparation of data sources, including adaptation/modification of available databases, to meet the fidelity/completeness requirements for other modeling efforts within an AoA or other analysis efforts, and documentation of the results.

 

1.5.2.10  Coordinate model and scenario development with Air Force Studies and Analyses, Assessments and Lessons Learned (AF/A9) and other organizations, as required.

 

 

2.0  GENERAL INFORMATION

 

2.1  Personnel Qualifications: The contractor shall provide personnel with the necessary training, qualifications, and clearances to accomplish all requirements identified in this PWS.  In the event of contractor turnover of employees, qualification summaries shall be submitted through the Contracting Officer for verification of personnel skill sets.  The following paragraphs list the general qualifications for the skill sets described in paragraphs 1.5.1 and 1.5.2 as well as specific qualifications for the skill sets described in 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.   (A001, A002, A003, A005, A009)

 

2.1.1 General Knowledge Skills and Abilities

a)         Knowledge of a wide range of global strike concepts, principles, and practices relating to area of specialization.

 

b)        Knowledge of common budgetary practices, procedures, regulations, precedents, and guidelines.

 

c)         Knowledge of safety and security regulations, practices, and procedures.

 

d)        Skill in written and oral communications to explain, justify, and clearly present ideas and findings of a variety of issues in a logical manner; also prepare presentations, analysis, and clear/concise reports complicated by short deadlines and limited information.

 

e)         Ability to communicate with decision makers and their immediate staffs as well as specialists, experts, and professionals in the same or related fields.

 

f)         Ability to participate in study teams; originate new ideas, projects, and methodologies; and execute projects and/or studies within established financial and/or time constraints.

g)         Ability to use Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access)

h)        Ability to develop and utilize data collection techniques to conduct statistically sound analysis and data presentation.

 

2.1.3 Specific Knowledge Skills and Abilities required for the skill sets in Paragraph 1.5.2

a)         Experience in analysis of modern bomber aircraft, bomber aircraft systems or ICBM operations.

 

b)        Experience in ICBM, Bomber or Navy Nuclear Operations.

 

c)         Knowledge of a range of methods and techniques used in operations research studies and possession of analytical abilities.

 

d)        Knowledge of expert quantitative techniques and methods used to develop, adapt, modify, and apply models to resolve problems or define and clarify alternative solutions.

 

e)         Ability to design, build, and use models and simulation using software such as SAS and ARENA.

 

f)         Operational experience in combat aircraft to include knowledge of their performance, tactics, capabilities, and general employment in various roles/missions within a broad range of military operations

 

g)         Staff experience (MAJCOM-level or higher).

 

Jobs: Lessons Learned Professional

Monday, March 8th, 2010

The position is with Macaulay-Brown at Barksdale AFB in AFGSC.  If you’re interested, send me your resume and contact information via my email  and I’ll get it to the site lead.  Salary will be commensurate with experience.

 

Here’s the description:

 

1.5.1  Lessons Learned: The contractor shall provide personnel with the knowledge, skills, and abilities/qualification to accomplish the tasks specified in this PWS in the technical environment described below.  (A001, A002, A003, A005, A009)

 

1.5.1.1  Assist the integration of AFGSC-wide activities for the AF Lessons Learned Program.

 

1.5.1.2  Assist policy development to be implemented throughout AFGSC.  Assist development of goals and objectives to align Headquarters AF, AFGSC, 8AF, 20AF, and AFGSC Wing level lessons learned activities in accordance with AFI 90-1601, the Air Force Lessons Learned Program.

 

1.5.1.3  Identify and maintain lessons learned submissions and issues to be incorporated into key AF processes that influence improvements to DOTMLPF (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Personnel, and Facilities) and resource investment decisions.

 

1.5.1.4  Draft summaries of lessons learned activities that are presented to senior leadership, pushed to key functional offices, and posted to knowledge management databases.

 

1.5.1.5  Plan and host General Officer level meetings to present and discuss operational and strategic level lessons learned.

 

1.5.1.6  Assist development of solutions to eliminate work problems or barriers to mission accomplishment, balance workload and assist in providing overall direction and vision to other offices regarding the AF Lessons Learned Program and perform as an action officer at HQ AFGSC.

 

1.5.1.7  Assist AFGSC/A9 to collect, identify, track, integrate, and disseminate lessons learned and related issues from AEF operations, contingencies, and exercises.

 

1.5.1.8  The contractor shall coordinate with OPRs and monitor status of related projects, lead working groups in the assessment of lessons learned and facilitate the incorporation of solutions.

 

1.5.1.9  Provide the expertise to conduct research as necessary to support briefings and papers, answer requests for information, and produce analytical summaries for publication.

 

1.5.1.10  Prepare senior level staff briefings; prepare regular staff packages and respond to short notice tasks for papers and/or briefings.

 

1.5.1.11  Assist with development of media and content for conferences.  Provide the expertise to support the organization at various meetings. .

 

1.5.12  The contractor shall coordinate with HAF, NAF, and other representatives to discuss/resolve lessons learned processes and other issues of common interest, provide results of studies, analyses, and evaluations to counterpart agencies to share experiences and resolve controversial matters, promote interchange of information on requirements, capabilities, deficiencies, and technology applications in the area of specialization, provide the expertise to support the planning and scheduling of work for accomplishment by augmentees, recommend and review short‑term priorities and prepare schedules based on consideration of difficulty of requirement.

 

 


2.0  GENERAL INFORMATION

 

2.1  Personnel Qualifications: The contractor shall provide personnel with the necessary training, qualifications, and clearances to accomplish all requirements identified in this PWS.  In the event of contractor turnover of employees, qualification summaries shall be submitted through the Contracting Officer for verification of personnel skill sets.  The following paragraphs list the general qualifications for the skill sets described in paragraphs 1.5.1 and 1.5.2 as well as specific qualifications for the skill sets described in 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.   (A001, A002, A003, A005, A009)

 

2.1.1 General Knowledge Skills and Abilities

a)         Knowledge of a wide range of global strike concepts, principles, and practices relating to area of specialization.

 

b)        Knowledge of common budgetary practices, procedures, regulations, precedents, and guidelines.

 

c)         Knowledge of safety and security regulations, practices, and procedures.

 

d)        Skill in written and oral communications to explain, justify, and clearly present ideas and findings of a variety of issues in a logical manner; also prepare presentations, analysis, and clear/concise reports complicated by short deadlines and limited information.

 

e)         Ability to communicate with decision makers and their immediate staffs as well as specialists, experts, and professionals in the same or related fields.

 

f)         Ability to participate in study teams; originate new ideas, projects, and methodologies; and execute projects and/or studies within established financial and/or time constraints.

g)         Ability to use Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access)

h)        Ability to develop and utilize data collection techniques to conduct statistically sound analysis and data presentation.

 

2.1.2 Specific Knowledge Skills and Abilities required for the skill sets in Paragraph 1.5.1

a)         Experience in Air Force Aircraft Maintenance, Missile Maintenance, Civil Engineering or Communications career-field.