All posts by James Rush Manley

Patterns

airliner engine

Hundreds of rivets connected the gray inlet ring to the white engine cowling in purposeful pattern

I first noticed it riding the airline back to Cleveland. A big turbo-fan engine hung beneath the wing just outside my window. Around its front, a single row of rivets connected the inlet ring to the rest of the engine cowling. Hundreds of of them set in precise formation.Their pattern revealed disciplined purpose, like a single beat keeping time. Other patterns in complex harmonies, reveal themselves only from unique perspectives. Like flying, for example.

Day One

I came to Wooster, Ohio, again. Met Don, again. Met the pert Pacer, again. High winds calmed, as they would again after the next hard blow. I flew the Pacer to Holmes County airport, again. Practiced takeoffs and landings, again. Refueled, again. Don flew back to Wooster, repeating a pattern every airplane owner knows—a first and last flight.  read more ...

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The Next Episode Approaches—Honest!

Some of you asked about the next episode in the Pacer Saga. Was all set to have it up last week, but …

A good friend from India arrived, giving me the honor of shepherding him to speaking engagements and meetings. He observed, “Everything is so clean.” And after some driving, “Everything is so orderly.” Then after more driving on country roads with 4-way stops at the intersections, “Everyone is so patient here.”

We drove into mountains for his first ever taste of snow. He’d seen it on the Himalayas from miles away, but never had it fall on him, nor even touched it. Took care of that. read more ...

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Promises, Plans, and Pride

Airport terminal before dawn

Airport terminals before dawn provide only a short transition to the crowds

PROMISE

It was time to fulfill the second half of my promise. I successfully delivered the Bonanza to Vicksburg, MS. Next was an airline flight to Cleveland, OH to pick up a Piper Pacer and fly it back to Nampa, ID.

In predawn dark, five of us wrapped in private, half-awake thoughts loaded into the hotel airport shuttle. Our world extended only as far as headlights reached. A mobile world, winding on dark, tree lined roads and empty freeway ramps. The terminal entered our small orb with a wash of light. Welcome as the next journey step, but a disagreeable intruder none the less. read more ...

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Just the Two of Us

Beechcraft BE35 Bonanza

Beechcraft BE35 Bonanza

Flying mixes two of life’s apparent opposites—tech and art. And this week I get to indulge in both.

For the last two days, tech challenged. MAF asked me to deliver a rocket. The donated Beechcraft BE35 Bonanza, scooted along nicely. During the 9-hour flight from Nampa, ID to its new owner in Vicksburg, MS I routinely experienced ground speeds over 210mph. Equipped with way more computing power than NASA possessed going to the Moon, and a solid auto-pilot, I pointed the airplane in the right direction, leveled off at the correct altitude, then sat back and monitored systems. Look outside for other traffic. Look at the ground to confirm the GPS and moving map display tell the truth. Check flight instruments for the right heading and altitude. Switch fuel tanks every 30 minutes to balance the load in the wings. Scan the gages to ensure the engine and its systems still play nicely. Repeat. read more ...

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Open Doors & Launch Windows

Remodeling a front doorway

It started simply enough. Repaint the front door. Flacked varnish revealed bare wood, but closer inspection uncovered serious cracks.

So, no simple mask and paint this time. Instead removed the door and prepared for a major strip and rebuild before painting. And, once the door was off, decided to redo the sidelite styling we never liked. Also should have been simple enough—remove a little siding, shift the window mounting slightly right, recover and paint to match the door’s new finish. Piece of cake. Not exactly. read more ...

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Five Steps I Used to Prime My Creative Pump

Five Steps I Used to Prime My Creative Pump 5

Writers are artists. Some paint word pictures. Others compose word music.

The writer-painters imagine scenes flowing one to another, producing video in readers’ minds like the voracious sea gnawing at the HMS Surprise in the movie, Master and Commander.


The
writer-musicians entice readers to hear sonorous voices articulating Shakespere’s Henry V Band-of-Brothers speech at Agincourt, or Tolkien’s Aragorn This-Day-We-Fight rally cry before the Black Gate, or Psalm 23 from the King James Bible. read more ...

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Shadow Dance of the Eclipses

total lunar eclipse

Eclipses come in two varieties. The first kind comes because our moon is the solar system’s odd duck.

For example, it travels a special orbit. Like ballroom choreography that looks simple until close inspection, the Moon only appears to orbit the Earth. In fact, it orbits the Sun. The Earth, 80 times heaver than the Moon, moves steadily on its course about the Sun. But the Moon weaves rhythmically either side of the Earth’s orbit, first outside farther from the Sun, then in front of the Earth, then inside closer to the Sun, and then trailing the Earth. The two dancers interlock gravity arms and sway in 29-day rhythm. read more ...

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A Different Kind of Life

Artist visualization of New Horizons probe at Pluto

A few weeks ago the New Horizons probe flew past Pluto. When I was a kid we called it a planet, the ninth planet, the last planet, like the last house on a road leading out of town. Here in Idaho, as you pass town’s last house, you cross farm fields; swaths of corn, wheat, or alfalfa. Then you pass the ranches; open ranges of cattle or horse. Beyond that, wilderness. So, New Horizons leaves hearth and home behind and races towards unknown badlands maybe filled with dragons. Who knows? We don’t. read more ...

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