Possibly the stupidiest idea ever

One of the oldest members of the flying club is proposing that the club do a “Missing Man” formation over Bill Law’s memorial next weekend.

A Missing Man formation, in case you don’t know, is where 4 or 5 aircraft in relatively tight formation fly over a memorial or funeral, and then one peels off leaving his space empty, the gap representing the person being memorialized (uh… make that “remembered”). It’s usually done by highly disciplined military or private air teams, who practice formation flying together regularly and who are all flying aircraft of similar characteristics.

Bob is proposing that we do it with our club aircraft, the slowest of which can barely manage 105 knots at full throttle, and the fastest of which feels a bit mushy if you slow it down below 90 knots. He feels that since he took a formation flying course some years ago that he’s eminently qualified to fly this formation, in spite of the fact that the course involved identical aircraft and was lead by highly skilled and highly practiced instructors, and he just has to grab 3 or 4 others who’ve taken a similar course and maybe even practice it once.

What a great way to remember Bill Law – by having a fatal 4 plane mid-air collision over his memorial service! Oh well, at least the club would get some new planes out of it. Too bad we’d never get insurance again, and the club officers would be put in jail for not stopping this lunatic. Oh wait, I’m a club officer!

Not “Bill Law is dead” sad, but sad none-the-less

In software development, there is nothing sadder than seeing a nice simple and elegant design turn into a mishmash of special cases and exceptions – except maybe having your project relocated to India. And in this case, I’m not close enough to that part of the project to see if it’s just that real life turned out to be a lot more complicated than the design, or if (as I suspect) the guy doing the work is overlooking simple and elegant ways of solving the problems and grafting on complicated band-aids on top of other complicated special case band-aids.