1000 Miles Drive(Part 1)

After I filled out the name of this post, I began to look for something related to the name and I found it is the same as the name of a piece of music by Jay Lumen. I am not going to talk about the song, actually pure music, but to tell the story that my friend and I drove 1000 miles from Missouri to New York.

In the evening of Jan. 12 2011, a friend of mine told me that another friend was going to relocate to New York by car. Then I discussed with him whether he could give me a drive. It was supposed that we should leave Rolla, MO after lunch on Jan. 14, actually we started the trip at 2:30 pm. I made a two-day trip plan. For the first day, I set three points, Terre Haute, IN, Indianapolis, IN, and Dayton, OH. I wished we could stop at the farthest point, Dayton, OH, where the National Museum of the USAF locates. If we could not reach Dayton on the first day, we had to stop at Harrisburg, PA. In the following picture, the blue line showed the route from Rolla, MO to New York City, NY.

Fig. 1 Route from Rolla, MO to New York City, NY

The first day’s drive was very smooth. My friend and I were surprised to see very few vehicles on the way from Rolla to St. Louis. Before the trip, both of us were concerning about the weather and road conditions after a snow. Maybe the same concern stuck others in their homes. When we reached the joint part between Missouri and Illinois, the traffic was some kind of bad. The fields covered by white snow out of the window made the drive very tedious. Sometimes, we listened to radio; sometimes we turned on the CD player to listen to some Chinese, Korean and Japanese songs. We stopped at the National Trail rest area for a while, where I read a friendly notice that riding on a train is much better than driving a car because of low carbon emission(That is not exactly the same expression, and my long-focus lense could not take a picture of the words).

Fig. 2 Icicles from Hills Besides I-44

Fig. 3 Gateway Arch, the Symbol of St. Louis

Fig. 4 Mac Arthur Bridge over Mississippi River Connects Two States

Fig. 5 A View of the MetroLink Passing through Illinois

Fig. 6 Snow-covered Hills inIllinois

Fig. 7 National Trail Rest Area on I-70 near Effingtham, IL

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National Museum of the United States Air Force

A couple of weeks ago, the first stealth fighter of China made its first test flight. As I know, the United States has exhibited its stealth fighters and bombers, such as F-117A, B-2A, and F-22A, in the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which locates in Dayton, OH1,2. All of those three kinds of airplanes interest me a lot since I got to know them long time ago. Before I started the journey from Rolla, MO to New York City, I decided to visit the museum and take pictures of those planes if I had opportunity to stop at Dayton.

In the early morning of Jan. 14, my friend and I stopped at a motel in Dayton after around 500 miles ride. After a rest, around 11 o’clock we left the inn for the museum. We supposed to reach the site in minutes, but my friend missed an exit on the highway. When we got to the place, it was almost 11:30. Along the Springfield St., near the Harshman Rd., a symbol made of a plane in front of a series of hangars came into my eyes as seen below.

Fig. 1 Symbol of the museum

We continued driving the car following the road, and then we saw a huge concrete wall with the museum’s name.

Fig. 2 Concrete wall with the name of the museum

After having turned right at the corner, some aircrafts exhibited on the field could be seen, such as the retired USAF Lockheed C-141C Starlifter.

Fig. 3 Lockheed C-141C Starlifter

Due to limited time, I directly went to Modern Flight Gallery(including Korea War and Southeast Asia War), where F-22A is shown. In fact I do not know why the museum put the most advanced fighter in this gallery.

Fig. 4 Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor

Thus, I entered the Cold War Gallery, where I took a lot of pictures. In this building, almost all the aircrafts in service could be found except for F-22A and some unmanned aircrafts. In the museum, it was very crowded. In addition, I brought a long focus lense with me. The above picture of F-22A looks fine, but as for B-2A, only part of the aircraft could be taken into the lense.

Fig. 5 Northrop B-2A Spirit

Fig. 6 Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

Except for those stealth fighters or bombers, I also took pictures of some other aircrafts, such as F-15, F-16A, A-10A, B-1B, SR-71, and Mig-29A. Last year when I went to tour the Intrepid Aircraft Carrier, I have taken a picture of F-16, actually which was borrowed from this museum I visited this time. But I am not sure whether they are the same one or not. The picture of SR-71 is very blur, then I won’t upload here. It is very easy to recognize the tank killer, A-10A.

Fig. 7 McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle

Fig. 8 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

Fig. 9 Fairchild Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II

Fig. 10 Rockwell B-1B Lancer

I was surprise to see Mig-29A, a former Soviet Union two engine light fighter in the museum. In Jun 1989, a Mig-29 crashed while doing a high-performance aerobatic routine at the Paris Air Show. The most impressive thing is that the pilot was saved by the great rocket ejector since the chute didn’t open due to the low elevation since the fighter fell into two pieces and then hit on the ground3.

Fig. 11 Mikoyan MiG-29

The 30 minute tour could never satisfy me at all. Before I left the museum, I talked to an assistant in the Cold War Gallery and explained the reason why I had such a quick tour. Also, I told him that sometime later I will make a long visit to the biggest military aviation museum in the world.

References:

1. National Museum of the United States Air Force(official website).

2. National Museum of the United States Air Force(wikipedia).

3. MIG-29 Crashes at Paris Air Show Pilot Ejects From Soviet Fighter Plane Before Jet Explodes.

Snowstorm is Hitting East Coast of America

This winter was predicted as the coldest winter ever because of global warming1~3. Snowstorms have hit Europe4, and Asia5, even the Oceania which is on another hot hemisphere6. Now the snowstorm is approaching to east coast of America7. Weather “pros” announced a blizzard warning for New York City from early Sunday morning till 6PM on Monday, with a forecast of 11 to 16 inches of snow and strong winds that will make visibility to near zero at times8. Government prepared salt for this snowstorm, and transportation administrative shut off the railway and cancelled hundreds of flights already8.

Fig. 1 Snow Began Hitting on the Grass

Fig. 2 Snow at 11AM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 3 Snow at 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 4 Blizzard Around My Apt At 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 5 Footprint of Mine on Accumulated Snow at 6PM on Dec. 26, 2010

Fig. 6 Accumulated Snow at 10PM on Dec. 27th, 2010

Fig. 7 Channel through Snow Pile that Near the Window

Initially weather.com showed the snow would begin at 6AM, actually I checked the outside at 11:15 (15 minutes after the corrected time) and found there was snow on the ground9. I took several pictures of the snow for memory. I guess that is the first time for me to witness the very beginning of a snow. I still remember the white Christmas on the Junior High School English textbook. Three years ago, I went to see my cousin in Boston. To be honest, I love New England so much. As you know, the trees, the lake, and the snow, since I had to help my cousin to dig a driveway for my brother-in-law. Last night I sent a message to my cousin to express that I miss them very much, also the time that her daughters and I played with snow.

Fig. 8 Local Weather Report on 2010 December 26(www.weather.com)

References:

1. THE COLDEST WINTER FOR 100 YEARS – SO WHERE ARE THE GRITTERS.

2. Another Record Breaking Winter, What Happened to Global Warming?

3. It’s official, coldest winter in 130 years in Ireland.

4. Europe Is Off To A Flying Start.

5. La Niña, Strong St. Baby Girl (in Chinese, “拉尼娜”:“强壮的圣女婴”).

6. Australia Summer Marked By Snow, Heavy Flooding (VIDEO).

7. Snow storm bears down on Mid-Atlantic, Northeast.

8. Blizzard Warning for New York as Storm Heads Up East Coast.

9. Blizzard Warning for Richmond (staten Is.), NY.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Note: The 8th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (namely Airshow China) is being held in Zhuhai from 16th to 21st this November. Besides, I hope Space Shuttle Discovery could successfully finished her last mission. This post is dedicated to those who are concerning about the advancement in aerospace.

One week before, I went to visit the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, which locates on the west shore of Manhattan Island, close to the Central Park and Times Square (as shown in Fig.1 below). In Fig.1, the red circle indicates the location of Time Square and the yellow one on the right top shows the Central Park.

Fig. 1 Location of USS Intrepid (Green circle)

Zoom in the google map online, you can see the aircraft carrier with a Concorde supersonic passenger airliner (blue circle)  and a diesel-electric submarine USS Growler (SSG-577)(purple circle). Actually the arrangement of the aircrafts on the flight deck in the figure below was different from what I have seen. I am not sure how often Google Maps updates the data. At least a legend surveillance aircraft, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, was not on the map. Actually the blackbird and F-14 Tomcat were on the side close to 12th Avenue. When I first saw the aircraft carrier and the two planes at the corner of 12th Avenue and 46th Street, I thought that was Su-27 Flanker, a great and famous fighter made by former USSR and Russia. The vertical tails look very similar to each other. With the crackdown of Soviet Union, US also obtained several flankers from former USSR members for personal use and collection.

Fig. 2 Layout of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

Fig.3 British Airways Concorde

Fig.4 USS 577 Growler

Fig. 5 Lockheed A-12(SR-71 Blackbird)

Fig. 6 Grumman F-14 Tomcat

OK, let’s come back to the visit to the museum. After purchased the ticket, I went to the hanger deck, where I can see the interior structure of the aircraft carrier. Also, the history of the aircraft carrier and stuff related to the vessel, such as the Aurora 7 Capsule Replica could be seen on hanger deck. I did not pay much attention there, within half an hour I turned to the flight deck via the stairs. Several guns with different calibers could be seen on the way.

When I was standing on the flight deck, a special feeling came into my mind. Once upon a time, I had a dream about the aircraft carrier. China should have her own aircraft, which could help the People’s Liberation Army Navy to protect the maritime rights and interests, especially on East China Sea and South China Sea. A rumor said that a USSR/Ukraine made aircraft Varyag anchored in Dalian, China under reconstruction for military use. It seems to be unpredictable that how soon it could join the navy. I am proud of being the first standing on a real aircraft carrier among our group of military fans. It is regretable that the AC is not belong to China.

I am not going to introduce the aircrafts on the flight deck, because you can find more details about the exhibits on the wikipedia. A picture of Tomcat once was under a huge glass plate on my desk when I was in high school. The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon loaned from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. is one of the most popular fighter in the contemporary world. I am familiar with the Mig fighters from Poland and China. From childhood, I had the models of a series of Mig fighters at home. It is a pity that there was no F-15 Eagle, or F/A-18 Hornet on the deck. As for F-22 Raptor, the most advanced fighter in the world, I did not even have a wish to see it there. I heard that there was an F-22 air show around NYC before. Maybe I could wait for the next to catch the steal fighter with my new camera.

Fig. 7 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon

I feel so lucky that I can see  the Royal Naval HMS Daring (D32) near the museum. After the visit I did research about the warship. The lead ship of the Type 45 or ‘D’ Class of air defence destroyer was declared officially in service at the end of July in 2010, since it was lauched  in 2006. The new destroyer visited US for a joint exercise with US aircraft carrier USS Enterprise(CVN-65)1. Unfortunately, on Nov. 10th, only two days after it went back to UK from US2, it has been forced to go into the dock with engine problems3.

Fig. 8 United Kingdom Royal Naval HMS Daring(D32)

References:

1. UK Navy’s HMS Daring conducts joint exercise with US aircraft carrier.

2.Daring Destroyer Returns From US Exercise.

3. Daring’s engines fail.

Chang’e 2 Is Flying to the Moon

The Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, a three-step moon mission, was named after the legendary Chinese goddess of the moon, Chang’e1, 2. Chang’e 2, the second lunar orbiter of the program, is an unmanned lunar probe3. The probe is similar to its predecessor, Chang’e 1, with some improvements including a better camera with a resolution of 1 meter3. It is going to inaugurate the second phase of the mission4.

Fig. 1 Animation of Chang’e 2

At 18:59:57 on Oct, 1st, 2010, the 61st anniversary of People’s Republic of China, Chang’e 2 blasted off on a Long March 3C carrier rocket from No. 2 launch tower at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province4.

Fig. 2 Long March 3C rocket carrying China’s second unmanned lunar probe, Chang’e II, lifts off from the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, at 18:59:57 (Beijing time) on Oct. 1, 2010. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Shortly after the blast off, Chang’e-2 entered the orbit with a perigee of 200 kilometers and apogee of 380,000 kilometers as scheduled as it separated from the carrier rocket5. It was the first time that a Chinese lunar probe directly entered the earth-moon transfer orbit without orbiting the earth first4. It is expected to take about 112 hours, or nearly five days, to arrive at its lunar orbit, compared with 12 days taken by the Chang’e 1 three years ago, which orbited the earth for 7 days first5.

Chang’e 2 will orbit 100 kilometers above the moon as a preparation for a soft landing by Chang’e 3, compared with 200 kilometers for Chang’e 13, 4. It will then orbit the moon in an orbit at a distance of 15km closest to the moon and at 100 km at its farthest distance from the moon6. It is planned sending back high-resolution photos of the Bay of Rainbows area, where Chang’e 3 will behave a soft landing in the future7. Other than places around the equator of  the moon have already been landed on, the Bay of Rainbows, or Sinus Iridium, is located at about 43 degrees north latitude and 31 west longitude with a width of 300 kilometers. It is considered one of the most beautiful features on the Moon7.

According to media reports, the mission of Chang’e 2 has a total cost of about 00 million yuan(134.33 million U.S. dollars)3, 8.

References:

1. Chang’e 1.

2. Chinese Lunar Exploration Program.

3. Chang’e 2.

4. China’s 2nd lunar probe Chang’e-2 blasts off.

5. China’s 2nd moon probe Chang’e-2 enters earth-moon transfer orbit.

6. China’s second lunar probe ready to launch.

7. China’s lunar probe to target rarely explored Bay of Rainbows.

8. China Launches Second Robotic Moon Probe.

Forbidden City

Note: This is not guide to the Forbidden City. In this post, I wrote down a trip to the famous place with someone I believe I should introduce to people here.

If you have opportunity to visit China, you should go for the Capital of China, and Forbidden City is a must-go place. I have been there for twice, when I was a graduate student in China. For the first time, I went there with a friend from Korea. Later, one year after the first time, I went there again with a guest from Russia, Dr. Valery F. Galchenko, the Director of Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology, Russian Academy of Sciences. He was not very tall, but looked energetic. We walked very quickly, thus the trip was extremely short. During the tour, mainly we talked about the Forbidden City.  Sometimes, he introduced some projects he did before. We entered the Forbidden City through one side of the main entrance, Meridian Gate and left through another side of it. As we know, the Forbidden City is the world’s largest surviving palace complex and covers 720,000 square meters. (In fact, wikipedia has a comprehensive introduction to the Forbidden City.)

Vista runs really, really slowly. I hade to stop and resume writing Later.