Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wildfires Follow-up: Correction on Plane Groundings

In an earlier post, I whined about military red tape being to blame for the delay in getting air craft up in the air during the wild fires. I hadn't heard the story firsthand because I was trying to keep the kids away from the media blitz. But Rowena wrote to me that I had it wrong-- and darned if I didn't. So thanks to Rowena for letting me know that my reference to the "stupid military" wasn't accurate.

[As a side note, I never considered when I posted that comment that I might come across as anti-military. I'm definitely not anti-military. I don't know how anyone growing up in San Diego could be. I appreciate all our military does, and I'm awed by how their families hold down the fort while they are away, often on very long deployments. I remember how hard it was for me during Desert Storm when my dad was away and we didn't know for how long, but he was an Air Force pilot, so his time away was nothing compared to what Navy families experience on a pretty regular basis-- and nothing compared to what families are going through nowadays.]

Anyway, the way I'd heard the story was that the planes couldn't fly in California because of military red tape that was not allowing the planes in the air. I had heard that Brian Bilbray negotiated a deal to get the equipment (or people?) here from Colorado. But this was erroneous. The way it works is that air crafts need "spotters" to fly with them, and there weren't enough spotters. And this is a state rule, not a federal one-- which means that it definitely was not military red tape. What Brian Bilbray did was broker a deal to waive some of the "spotter" requirements so that the aircraft could get off the ground. Though it does appear that some military planes (C-130s) were not properly equipped as they should have been, and there is apparently a plan to rectify that.

There are much better explanations than the one I gave on CNN, MSNBC, and USA Today, if you're interested.

Mostly, I wanted to thank Rowena for letting me know I had it all wrong-- I'd e-mail you if I had an address, to thank you more personally. I love that someone out there is actually reading this blog closely enough to call me out on something when I deserve it! So thanks, Rowena.

And if anyone has an opinion about why the spotters are necessary and should never be waived, I'm open to hearing about it. And yes, I do realize that it's entirely possible that even if we had all the spotters we needed and the C-130s were appropriately equipped, the winds might have prohibited the planes from flying!


Johnny said...

It makes sense to me with all the different planes buzzing around in SMOKE that each plane would need it's own air traffic controller so that the pilots could concentrate on the flying and bombing (with water). I'm certainly no pilot, but the heat waves coming up from the flames adds another unpredictable element to the flying - thus you need spotters for "everything else"?

Rowena said...

Thanks so much for the online correction. Because my husband was in the Navy for 30 years and my son is a Navy pilot, I am probably more sensetive than most.

Also, I want to thank you for the information on the fish oil. I had heard someone on the radio a couple of weeks ago talking about the positive effects it can have on super active children and adults alike. Our grandson has some behavior issues and I had mentioned it to our daughter but I had no "hard" evidence to give her and then along came your post. I read it to her yesterday and today I am going to stop by Henry's and pick up a bottle of the lemon flavored fish oil (which I have taken for a long time). I will let you know what happens in this case. Hopefully we will see some of the wonderful results you have.

Also, just want to let you know that really do enjoy reading your blog and check in at least once a week to catch up with your news. Your children are adorable and you have a wonderful family. I am in awe of how much you accomplish! My friend Kris tells me you are very high energy.

I hope you will keep blogging for a long time so that I can see your family grow.

Take care,