Al Kaehler

Two "Golden Bear" Mottos

When you are the hammer, strike. When you are the anvil, bear.

Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.   --Russian proverbs.

"It ain't braggin' if you done it."   --a Texan.

"If you are not aimed in the direction you want to go, what's your hurry?"   --BMW Club Driver's School

"Everyone is doing the best that they can at all times, according to their perceived awareness."   --Barksdale Theory.

Things every young adult needs to know

Fast cars, sex, money and drugs -- sounds like a playboy's life. Wrong. These are four challanges that a person must master in order to be happy. I'm not going to tell you the details how to do it. There are plenty of other sources. The main object is to identify these four vital areas, so that you can learn about them.

  1. Driving. Driving is the most dangerous thing you will do. It does not care if you are a millionaire or a high school boy, or whether you are cool. The rules of physics are the rules. It is vital that you learn these rules.

    Every driver, especially a teenager should take a car control clinic. You need to experience an all-out emergency stop. Sometime in your life you age going to have to make one.

    The entire control of the car is all through four small patches where the tires are in contact with the pavement. You would be amazed at how small these patches are and what you are asking them to do. All turning and braking forces are transmitted through the tire patches. The ability of the tires to control the car is influenced by three things at once, the amount of braking, the sideway force, and the condition of the surface of the road.

    You should not drive while engaged in any of the other three things in this article. Including maxing out your credit card.

    Some parents think that their teenager should not go to car control training and learn to do wild manouvers. They think he will try it out on the road. But, everyone, especially a teenager, needs to know how to avoid an accident. With ABS, a driver can steer while braking hard. Never relinquish control of the car. Never give up. Keep steering down to a complete stop.

    It is important to wear sun glasses when the sun is in your eyes.

    There needs to be enough air in the tires. A car is less controlable with low tire pressure.

  2. Addiction to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs. Many old movie actors have died of the side effects of smoking. I gave up smoking in High School because it was dumb. It is extremely important not to get caught by any of these addictions. People who start them, spend the rest of their lives wishing they could stop.

  3. Money and debt. The debt trap can ruin your life. It is so easy to sign the form that comes in the mail, get a credit card and let the balance rise. Paying interest makes everything much more expensive. Are the things you buy on credit all that satisfying in the first place? Debt takes away from your freedom to get the things that you really want.

    You are in a store and you see something that is normally $120 and you buy it for $100. You have just saved $20. Wrong. You have spent $100 that you probably can't afford.

  4. Sex and health. Rule number one is not becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant. Nature has great forces operating on you. That's the way evolution works. Everybody wants to have a relationship, because they will be lonely otherwise. I shouldn't have to be telling you not to get pregnant. Lots of birth control methods are available. Many Fathers are bugging out from supporting the baby.

I don't need to mention supporting yourself as one of the vital things in life.

I'm only telling you what you need to work out, in order to be happy.

1946 Fairchild 24 Airplane

Fairchild 24 in flight photo by Eric Presten
I owned this 1946 Fairchild since March 1964 to July 2002, and I flew it 3,330 hours. For the last few years I believe I had the most hours in a Fairchild 24 of any pilot still flying one. It is powered by a Fairchild Ranger 200 H.P. engine, designed in 1931. Half of the Fairchild 24's were powered by a 165 H.P. Warner.

The F-24 has gentle flying qualities and a smooth control feel. This F24R46 is one of the 300 F-24s built by Temco in Dallas in 1946-47 before production was terminated. This type was called an Argus light transport in WWII in England and Canada.

The Gospel of English According to St. Alfred

  1. Thou shalt not say, "At this point in time," at the risk of being fatuous.
  2. Thou shalt not put the word "some" in front of a number, at the risk of being a dork.
  3. Thou shalt not say "thick" or "wide" when thou meanst "diameter", at the risk of offending thy Engineer friends.
  4. Thou shalt not say "ruler" instead of "scale" if thou intendest to measure a length and not draw a straight line.
  5. Thou shalt be spare in thy use of "genre", "paradigm", and "venue" lest thou be thought to be a smart aleck.
  6. Thou shalt be careful in the use of the word "tarmac", even though it is fun to say. It is a contraction of Tar-Macadam, which is asphalt. A tarmac was originally an asphalt pad in front of a hanger on a grass airfield in Great Britian. It is not a concrete ramp on a modern airfield. The term is definitely not applied to the runway.
  7. Thou who are English and Journalism majors shouldst not need an old Engineer to tell thou this gospel.

The Gospel of Machine Design According to St. Brobeck

  1. Thy bolt holes shall straddle thy center lines.
  2. Thou shalt look askance at gunks, glues, and potting compounds.
  3. When confronted with two solutions, both of which appear impossible, thou shalt choose the least expensive.
  4. Thou shalt not be misled when thy boss says, "I don't know much about this, but...".
  5. Thou shalt not use 1/4 inch bolts when one inch bolts will do.
  6. If thou canst step upon it, thou shalt design it strong enough so that all men may step upon it.
  7. Thou shalt bear in mind that welding is merely the casting of steel in the worst possible circumstances.
  8. Thou shalt design assemblies such that parts thereof may be placed in a funnel and come out assembled on the other side.
  9. Thou shalt stay with it until it works.
  10. Thou shalt not do anything electrically if thou canst do it mechanically.
William "Bill" Brobeck was chief design engineer at the U.C. Radiation Labs at Berkeley when I worked there as a mechanical engineer 1946-1948. Later he formed Brobeck Engineering to build cyclotrons for universities and radiations labs. The "Gospel" was compiled by his design engineers as he worked closely with them. Bill Brobeck died early in 1998.

More pictures of the Fairchild

Fairchild 24 taxiing at Moffatt Field, CA Fairchild 24 in flight
Ranger 200hp engine with timing disk Instrument panel of a Fairchild 24
Al and Joan KaehlerFairchild 24 airplane on the ground

A larger version of the picture on the right. If you can name the airport at which it was taken, you get your dessert first.

Things I am Searching For

Here are some personally interesting things I remember, but don't seem to be on the web. Please reply if you know where to find any of these.

What is the name of the 1950s science fiction story in which an orbiting rock flys down the middle of the main street of a town? A local guy jerks the main character aside to keep him from being hit by the low orbiting stone. The rock has worn grooves in the mountains in its low orbit around an asteroid. It is impossible, but makes a great vision in the reader's mind.


On Sunday April 23, 1939 I sneak up to the fence at the Santa Rosa county fairgrounds to see a race of old Ford Model T cars. Suddenly, there was a huge pile-up of cars. I wriggled through the fence and ran across to see what happened. It was amazing. The pile-up was pictured in "The Nation" section of Time Magazine on Monday, May 1, 1939. It showed many cars piled two deep. Not shown in the photo were large piles of Model T wooden wheel spokes from the wreckage. I managed to find the TIME article and photo (below), but it is not the picture I remember. Do you rememeber a larger panaroma of the scene of this wreck? Here is the article:

"Heaped Lizzies" Time Magazine, May 1, 1939

At pretty little Santa Rosa, Calif, last week, 8,000 fun-loving rustics sat in the grandstand of the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, watched 46 local jalopies rattling round & round the trotting track in a 100-mile "Tin Lizzie Derby."

On the 80th lap, in front of the grandstand, two cars traveling at 50 m.p.h. locked wheels. A third car, trying to avoid them, caromed into a fourth. Before the crowd could let out a collective scream, 19 cars had piled up (see cut). Eight of the drivers were rushed to a hospital. None died.

Tin Lizzie Derby wreck, April 23, 1939, Santa Rosa, CA

I once heard a "Cowboy Poem" about a guy named Joe, who shot and ate an endangered bird. Before the Judge he said how it tasted. "Much like any fowl, half way between a Marbled Murrelet and a Spotted Owl." How can I find this poem?

Write to me care of my son. The first part of his email address is ted-pb and the second part is legenda.com.

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modified: 5 Feb 2009
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