Monday, July 28, 2008

It's Just Another Manic Monday...

I’m not sure exactly what this says/means, but the AFA Daily Report is quickly becoming my major source of blog fodder, replacing my ol’ stand-bys memeorandum and Real Clear Politics… not to mention the papers. Here’s one such item, with interesting local impact:

Green Machine: Air Force officials last week signed four memoranda of understanding with the governor of New Mexico to pursue renewable energy projects that would yield up to 245 megawatts of power in the state for use at Cannon, Holloman, and Kirtland Air Force Bases. New Mexico state agencies and the cities of Alamogordo, Albuquerque, and Clovis will work with the Air Force on new clean energy projects, the service said in a release on July 25. The agreements deal with: USAF's intention to purchase green power in the state; a solar power initiative for Holloman; the creation of a plant to utilize New Mexico's abundant dairy waste; and a wind power project. Bill Anderson, USAF's energy czar, said these agreements are the first of their kind between the service and a state. The Air Force is already the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the federal government, buying nearly 900 million kilowatt hours of green power annually. Already it operates the nation's largest solar photovoltaic system at Nellis AFB, Nev.

If you followed the link to the July 25th press release, you’ll note that two of the four memoranda of understanding are between USAF and the city of Clovis, to wit:

2. An agreement with Air Force, Southwest Biomass Cooperative, city of Clovis, and New Mexico state officials to pursue the creation of a plant to utilize New Mexico's abundant dairy waste. This may consist of a cogeneration project to generate electricity, and a bio-methane pipeline-quality gas project.


4. An agreement between Air Force, city of Clovis, New Mexico state officials to pursue a wind energy project.

I’m tempted to ask the rhetorical question… “Where were the P-Ville City Fathers when all this was going down?” But I won’t. Clovis is more than three times the size of Portales and has more resources to devote to such projects. Interestingly:

The agreements did not include any details of proposed projects nor outline any financing options. Those would be developed later, as part of business plans that are due in four months, officials said.

That’s from the Clovis News-Journal. As usual, the devil’s in the details. But, that said, the renewable energy projects are great good things. And Lord knows we DO have us some diary waste that could be put to some use other than offending my nostrils as I motor by the many diaries in the area.

Oh… and have I ever mentioned we have a lil bit of wind in these parts? I have? Nevermind…


Yet another Daily Report item…

Rethinking UAV Operations: Gen. Norton Schwartz, nominee to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff, said last week he would "quickly" make a decision whether the Air Force will continue its policy that pilots of unmanned aerial vehicles--the larger sized platforms that perform at medium and high altitudes and carry weapons--must be rated officers. "It may well be that a blend of rated and non-rated operators makes the most sense," he told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the written responses to the panel's advance questions for his July 22 confirmation hearing. The Air Force has both non-rated and rated personnel flying its diverse family of UAVs, depending on the platform. Small-sized UAVs that operate at the local level are flown by non-rated airmen. However, USAF's stance to date has been that larger multi-mission, theater-level UAVs, such as the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper, are complex systems that often involve real-time command and control and time-sensitive decision-making for the delivery of ordnance under demanding battlefield conditions. "Qualified rated pilots generally have the training and experience that is crucial to the success of this effort," Schwartz said. Further, aircraft like the Predator, Reaper, and RQ-4 Global Hawk fly in and through airspace that requires positive control of the assets based on FAA and ICAO rules. Those rules require an instrument-qualified pilot, Schwartz noted, adding that he would assess the arguments before rendering his choice. USAF has cited the availability of trained pilots as a limiting factor in accelerating the fielding of UAV assets. That said, it is still surging additional assets to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Part of the continuing debate over UAV pilots is the fact the Army uses enlisted pilots for their UAVs and the Air Force most certainly does not. I found the term “non-rated airmen” to be an interesting sort of dodge, in that USAF often uses the generic term “airmen” to describe both enlisted and officers as a group, much the way the Army uses “soldiers.” I can see USAF’s point about conforming to FAA/ICAO airspace rules when it comes to platforms like the Global Hawk and to a lesser extent, Reaper and Predator. The increase in the numbers of these platforms and their sharing airspace with commercial aircraft, particularly in the US, is bound to cause debate among “interested parties.” The points about “command and control” in the AOR (most especially the release of ordnance) aren’t lost on me, either.

This is a very interesting subject… in some quarters, at least.

(UAV operator console image from


So… it was a year yesterday when I put that lil “Visitors by Country” widget at the bottom of my sidebar, and it remains my favorite. That ain’t sayin’ a whole helluva lot, though, seeing as how I have exactly two widgets… the McCain vid and the Neocounter. But…as of just before midnight last evening we had 31,847 visitors from 137 countries. Or, visitors from places where I didn’t know there were places. I’ve had great good fun looking up the origins of some of the more esoteric places (like: Brunei Darussalam. Or Burkina Faso.), seeing as how I’m something of a geography nut. And yeah, I’d heard of Brunei before. But I didn’t realize it’s official name was Brunei, Abode of Peace. A single soul in The Abode of Peace can lay claim to something no one else in the entire country has done, not even the Sultan: they visited EIP. As can a certain resident of the Faroe Islands, Eritrea, Macau, Moldova… and so on. Fascinating stuff. As noted elsewhere here at EIP… I’m easily amused, Gentle Reader. I’m a cheap date, too.


And finally… your crass sexist exploitation moment of the day:

Guinness makes some GREAT ads, nu? (It’s a one minute vid, for those on dial-up.)


  1. Wind and cow manure go so well together. It is nice that NM will finally harness its resources.

    One of Bo's college buddies joined the Peace Corps after graduationg from college and went to Moldova. He had some great stories about the country.

  2. I do hope they use the wind to it's potential. We have enough to spare with whoever wants some, ya know.

    As for the manure smell. Well, to me that's the sweet smell of MONEY! LOL!

  3. Lou sez: Wind and cow manure go so well together.

    Well, now. That depends entirely on whether you're up or down wind, now, don't it? ;-)

    But yeah, I got a good feeling reading that piece, especially because the AF is involved. We NEED good press these days, and lots of it.

    Jenny: I've heard that saying before, but the dairies STILL stink. And riding by one on Miss Zukiko in the summer ain't none too pleasant, when you add in all the freakin' FLIES in the immediate vicinity... They make really obnoxious splatters on my face shield and leather...

  4. Kudos to you, Buck. Even I wouldn't have the balls to embed that commercial.

  5. First things first...AWESOME video. ALmost woke up the whole family this morning as I watched it.

    The UAV pilot thing is an inevitable thing as far as I'm concerned. Money will probably be the ultimate reason as well. I can also picture a scenario where a rated pilot will fly through all the places required to have a rated pilot then turn over the controls to an unrated pilot. Who knows...if some of the crazier ideas take root, the number of pilots will be severely reduced anyway.

    My $.02.


  6. Morgan: I'm betting that ad is aimed at Euro audiences. I can't even imagine it being run in this part of the world. Old ladies would be falling over left and right, and we can't have THAT now, can we?

    Buck: The vid IS good, innit? Thanks for your $0.02 on the UAV thingie, too. I'm not sure I wanna know about these "crazy ideas" of which you speak... But: we'll talk.

  7. YouTube says "We're sorry, this video is no longer available."


Just be polite... that's all I ask.