Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Pilot's Story

Retired Pilot's Story

Pat Gilmore is a Delta pilot retiree..

I haven't seen the movie (UAL 93), yet, but I intend to when I get the chance. Retirement has made me busier than ever, and I haven't had the chance to see many movies lately.

As a Delta B-767 captain myself at the time of the attacks on 9/11, I was in crew rest in Orlando that morning. I had just turned on the TV in my hotel room only to see the WTC tower on fire, then saw the second airplane hit the other tower. My immediate reaction was "Terrorists..we're at war", followed by the realization that we airline crewmembers had all dodged a bullet; it could have been any one of us flying those planes. As soon as the news stations flashed the first pictures of the terrorists I knew just how close and personal the bullet I dodged was. There, on the screen for all to see, was a man who had sat in my jump seat the previous July.

His name was Mohammad Atta, the leader of the terrorist hijackers. Atta had boarded my flight from Baltimore to Atlanta on July 26, 2001 wearing an American Airlines first officer uniform. He had the corresponding AA company ID identifying him as a pilot, not to mention the required FAA pilot license and medical certificate that he was required to show me as proof of his aircrew status for access to my jump seat. An airline pilot riding a cockpit jump seat is a long established protocol among the airlines of the world, a courtesy extended by the management and captains of one airline to pilots and flight attendants of other airlines in recognition of their aircrew status. My admission of Mohammad Atta to my cockpit jump seat that day was merely a routine exercise of this protocol.

Something seemed a bit different about this jump seat rider, though, because in my usual course of conversation with him as we reached cruise altitude he avoided all my questions about his personal life and focused very intently upon the cockpit instruments and our operation of the aircraft. I asked him what he flew at American and he said, "These", but he asked incessant questions about how we did this or why we did that. I said, "This is a 767. They all operate the same way." But he said, "No, we operate them differently at American." That seemed very strange, because I knew better. I asked him about his background, and he admitted he was from Saudi Arabia . I asked him when he came over to this countr y and he said "A couple of years ago.", to which I asked, "Are you a US citizen?" He said no. I also found that very strange because I know that in order to have an Airline Transport Pilot rating, the rating required to be an airline captain, one has to be a US citizen, and knowing the US airlines and their hiring processes as I do, I found it hard to believe that American Airlines would hire a non-US citizen who couldn't upgrade to captain when the time came. He said, "The rules have changed.", which I also knew to be untrue. Besides, he was just, shall I say, "Creepy"? My copilot and I were both glad to get rid of this guy when we got to Atlanta.

There was nothing to indicate, though, that he was anything other than who or what he said he was, because he had the documentation to prove who he was. In retrospect, we now know his uniform was stolen and his documents were forged. Information later came to light as to how this was done.

It seems that Mohammad Atta and his cronies had possibly stolen pilot uniforms and credentials from hotel rooms during the previous year. We had many security alerts at the airline to watch out for our personal items in hotel rooms because these were mysteriously disappearing, but nobody knew why. Atta and his men used these to make dry runs prior to their actual hijackings on 9/11. How do I know? I called the FBI as soon as I saw his face on the TV that day, and the agent on the other end of the line took my information and told me I'd hear back from them when all the dust settled. A few weeks later I got a letter from the Bureau saying that my call was one of at least half a dozen calls that day from other pilots who had had the same experience. Flights were being selected at random to make test runs for accessing the cockpit. It seems we had all dodged bullets.

Over the years my attitude towards the War Against Terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been known to be on the red neck, warmongering, rah-rah-shoot-em-up side of things. I've been known to lose my patience with those who say the war in Iraq or anywhere else in the Muslim world is wrong, or who say we shouldn't become involved in that area of the world for political correctness reasons. Maybe it's because I dodged the bullet so closely back in 2001 that I feel this way. I have very little patience for political rhetoric or debate against this war because for a couple of hours back in July 2001, when I was engaged in conversation with a major perpetrator in this war, I came so close to being one of its victims that I can think in no other terms.

I don't mind admitting that one of the reasons I retired early from Delta last May, other than to protect my disappearing company retirement, was because it became harder and harder for me to go to work every day knowing that the war wasn't being taken seriously by the general public. The worst offenders were the Liberal detractors to the present administration, and right or wrong, this administration is at least taking the bull by the horns and fighting our enemies, which is something concrete that I can appreciate. Nobody was taking this war seriously, and it seems everyone found fault with the US government rather than with those who attacked us. I found that incomprehensible

I also found myself being scrutinized by TSA screeners more and more every day when I went to work, and suffered the humiliating indignity of being identified about half the time for body searches in front of the general flying public who looked at the entire process as being ludicrous. "They don't even trust their own pilots!" Accompanied by an unbelieving snicker was the usual response. Here I was, a retired USAF officer who had been entrusted to fly nuclear weapons around the world, who had been granted a Top Secret clearance and had been on missions over the course of 21 years in the military that I still can't talk about without fear of prosecution by the DOD, who was being scanned by a flunkie TSA screener looking for any sign of a pen knife or nail file on my person.

It wasn't until six months after my retirement when my wife and I flew to Key West, FL last November that I was finally able to rid myself of the visage of Mohammad Atta sitting behind me on my jump seat, watching my every action in the cockpit and willing to slit my throat at the slightest provocation. I missed being a headline by a mere 47 days, and could very well have been among the aircrew casualties on 9/11 had one of my flights on my monthly schedule been a transcontinental flight from Boston or New York to the west coast on the 11th of September. Very few people know that, while only four airliners crashed that day, four more were targeted, and two of them were Delta flights. The only reason these four weren't involved is because they either had minor maintenance problems which delayed them at the gate or they were scheduled to depart after the FAA decided to ground all flights. Theirs are the pilots and flight attendants who REALLY dodged the bullet that day, and my faith in a higher power is restored as a result.

I will see United 93 when I get the chance, and I will probably enjoy the movie for its realness and historical significance, but forgive me if I do not embrace the Muslim world for the rest of my life. The Islamic world is no friend of the West, and although we may be able to get along with their governments in the future, the stated goal of Islam is world conquest through Jihad and it is the extremist Jihadists, backed and funded by "friendly" Moslem governments, whom we have to fear the most. We must have a presence in the Middle East, and we must have friends in the Middle East, even if we have to fight wars to get them. Only someone who has dodged a bullet can fully appreciate that fact.

Best to all, Pat Gilmore


Editor's Note: For some reason which is beyond me, some people do not want to believe this. Perhaps they do not want to believe that Jihadist terrorism actually exists, because it someone doesn't believe it yet, they never will. Capt. Gilmore himself posted this comment, in our comments below, but I will put it here for all to see:

I assure you this letter is true. As to the fact that I wrote that a holder of an Airline Transport Pilot rating (ATP) must be a US citizen, I admit that I was mistaken here. I had always assumed so, because that's what I had heard, so I looked up the requirements for an ATP just now. There is nothing that says that US citizenship is required. Okay, I'll bite the bullet on that one. I received my ATP back in 1975 and now that I think of it I do not remember having to prove my citizenship. However, the rest of the story is true.

As for my airline career, I worked for Western Airlines (who merged with Delta in 1987), Jet America Airlines (who was bought by Alaska Airlines in 1988), and Delta Airlines, as well as a few "fly by night" cargo airlines during my furlough period from Western from 1981-1985. I also flew in Vietnam as a transport pilot and retired from the USAF Reserve in 1991 after the Gulf War. I have 21,500+ flight hours in T-41, T-37, T-38, C-141/L-300, CE-500, CV -440, MD-80/82, B-727, B-737, B-757, and B-767 aircraft, all logged between 1970 and 2005 when I retired from Delta.

Trust me, folks, this was real. I must admit I am quite surprised that my letter made it this far on the internet. The letter was nothing more than an innocent reply to a group of friends, one of whom sent me a similar letter from another Delta pilot who had been flying the morning of 9/11 and who had experienced the flying that day for himself. His letter had detailed his thoughts as he viewed the movie "United 93", and he also told in detail how he had been diverted toKnoxville when the FAA shut down the airspace. My friend had asked me if I had known of any other similar experiences, so I wrote him what I had encountered myself a few months before. This was my letter to him.

Another retired Delta captain contacted me yesterday after reading this blog and related an experience his wife had on a flight from Portland, OR to Atlanta in August 2001, just a week or so after my experience with Atta. She was riding on a company pass and seated in First Class. A person of "Middle Eastern" descent had sought permission to sit on the cockpit jump seat, but was denied access by the captain because he did not have an FAA Medical certificate. She said he ranted and raved because he couldn't ride the cockpit jump seat, even though there were three empty seats in First Class, which the captain offered him. What pilot in his right mind would refuse a First Class seat over a cramped cockpit jump seat? He stormed off the aircraft and they left him at the gate. You see? Mine wasn't the only experience leading up to 9/11.

Delta Airlines Corporate Security even contacted me a few days ago to ask if I had, indeed, written this letter. I wrote them back that I had. They were worried that someone was using my name without my knowledge. I assured them I was the author.

Keep the faith, and don't let the bastards get you down.

Pat Gilmore


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Thursday, May 01, 2008

An Open Letter



GLOBAL WARMING?
- AN OPEN LETTER TO JOHN McCAIN -


Raymond S. Kraft

Dear Mr. McCain

It seems that some leading Republicans such as yourself and Newt Gingrich, and even President Bush, have accepted the premise of Anthropogenic Global Warming - that man is spewing millions of tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year, and that this is causing an unprecedented rise in earth's temperature that threatens us all. And, that if we spend enough money to reduce CO2 emissions, we can change it.

I urge you to reconsider. More than 19,000 scientists have signed the Global Warming Petition to protest the Kyoto accord, and declare their opposition to the theory that man's CO2 emissions are causing Global Warming (the Global Warming Petition at http://www.oism.org/pproject/). Written and sponsored by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, the Petition reads:

Global Warming Petition

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan, in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases, is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of Earth's climate. Morever, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide [willl] produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

There is certaintly no "concensus." The IPCC Report on Global Warming (2007) from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that it was "reviewed" by 600 authors from 40 countries, and over 620 experts and governments. The 19,000 scientists who have signed the Global Warming Petition outnumber those who have "reviewed" the IPCC report by more than 15 to 1.

The illustrations below are from www.GlobalWarmingArt.com, a website created to graphically illustrate the evidence for Global Warming Theory, and since they were created by proponents of Global Warming Theory, I will adopt them, and stipulate to their accuracy, and explain very simply why this evidence produced by the Global Warming proponents proves them wrong.

The Global Warming theorists always point to rises in temperature (by fractions of a degree) within the last 200 years, or the last 1,000 years, but such a small sample of climate history is not historically representative, and is not a large enough data set to be scientifically meaningful. It's cherry-picking the evidence. To be intellectually honest, we must look at all the evidence we have, not just a small fraction of it. To be scientifically meaningful, we must look to the long history of climate changes, as shown in the six illustrations below.

Exhibit 1. Holocene Temperature Variations: The IPCC Is Wrong. Here we see that the present Warm Era (the Holocene) began almost 12,000 years ago. It peaked circa 8,000 years ago at 1.5 degrees above the baseline, a full 1 degree warmer than now, at the beginning of what climatologists call the Holocene Optimum.

According to the IPCC Report on Global Warming, rising CO2 causes Global Warming, and CO2 now is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years. If this were true, then it would be warmer now than at any time in the last 650,000 years. But it is not. 8,000 years ago, CO2 was 120 parts per million lower than now, and the climate was warmer than now. Now, CO2 is higher, but the climate is cooler. Thus we know that the IPCC's global warming theory is false. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is wrong. Openly and obviously wrong. Clearly and conspicuously wrong. Irrefutably wrong.



We also know that prior to 12,000 years ago, sea level was 400 feet lower than now. Most of that water was bound up in vast glaciers on the northern continents, in some places as much as three miles deep. From 12,000 to 6,000 years ago, there was so much glacial melting that sea levels rose 400 feet to their present level. That is, before the present era of Global Warming began, 12,000 years ago, sea level was 400 feet lower than now.

Before Global Warming began, twelve thousand years ago, you could walk from Alaska to Siberia on the Bering Land Bridge, or Beringia, a thousand miles of dry land, north to south, as large as Australia, now under the cold ocean of the north Pacific, the Bering Sea. You could walk from England to France on dry land under what is now the English Channel.

Exhibit 2. The Surface Temperature Record: Here we see the recent trend line rising 1/2 degree (0.5 degrees) from 1980 to present, with temperature spiking circa 1998 to 0.7 degrees above the 1980 benchmark, and cooler since then. One half a degree. In San Francisco, the temperature can rise or fall by half a degree in a minute. And, for most of us, a half degree change in temperature is too small to notice.



Exhibit 3. Reconstructed Temperatures:

Last 1,000 Years. While this looks fairly "dramatic," this is only because the scale of the graph is so narrow. It is only 1.6 degrees from the bottom to the top of the chart, barely enough climate change for most of us to feel. From the benchmark of 0 at 1000 CE (for Common Era, or A.D., as we used to say, one thousand years ago), the chart only shows a range of 0.6 degrees up, and 1 degree down. Since 1000 years ago, global temperature fell 0.9 degrees to the bottom of the Little Ice Age, four hundred years ago, and then it began rising, and has risen about 1.3 degrees to reach 0.4 degrees above the benchmark of 0 from 1,000 years ago. Thus, we see that our climate today is a trivial 0.4 degrees warmer than it was 1,000 years ago, before the Little Ice Age. Less than one-half of one degree. And a full degree cooler than at the peak of the Holocene Optimum, eight thousand years ago (Exhibit 2).



Exhibit 4. Ice Age Temperature Changes: Lets look at some more history. Over the last 450,000 years we see 5 episodes of "Global Warming" above the 0 baseline. The previous four eras of Global Warming, approximately 120,000 years, 240,000 years, 330,000 years, and 400,000 years before now, were warmer than now, with very long intervening ice ages much cooler than now. The next ice age will be disastrous for agriculture in the northern half of the northern hemisphere. And, unless the long natural cycle of global warming and ice ages is somehow broken, the coming of the next ice age is a matter of when, not if. Perhaps we should be grateful for Global Warming while we have it.

It won't last forever.



In order to be credible science, Global Warming Theory must explain (a) what caused the last 5 eras of Global Warming, and (b) what caused the last 5 eras of Global Cooling. If it does not do so it is not good science, but merely opinion, merely speculation, an unproven hypothesis, that would not be admissible as evidence in any court under the Federal Rules of Evidence. To my knowledge, it does not do so.

To be admissible evidence in court, scientific evidence must be "generally accepted in the scientific community," as the U.S. Supreme Court held in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 US 570 (1993). Otherwise it is deemed too speculative and unproven to be reliable, and therefore inadmissible. Since there are many thousands of scientists who reject Global Warming Theory, it cannot be seen as "generally accepted science," It is highly disputed science, a highly disputed, unproven theory. It is my opinion that this theory, and the crystal-ball computer models that purport to predict the future, the future of global climate changes, are not admissible as evidence to prove that they are true, unless they can first be proven to be "generally accepted science."

Are we to base national climate and energy policy on a theory that is not even sufficiently proven and accepted to be admissible as evidence at trial, in a judicial proceeding, in a court of law?

If we were to do a computer model of future climate changes based on extrapolations and inductions from historic patterns and cycles of climate change, it would very likely tell us that the earth will soon enter another long era of Global Cooling, another periodic Ice Age.

Exhibit 5. Five Million Years of Climate Change: Looking back 5 million years, we see that (a) there have been dozens of cycles of global warming and global cooling over the past 5 million years, (b) the swings between the extremes of global warming and global cooling in each cycle have been growing more dramatic, and (c) there has been a steady long-term cooling trend over the last 5 million years. Earth's climate, in the long trend, is growing colder, not warmer.



Exhibit 6. Sixty Five Million Years of Climate Change: Here we see (below) that over 65 million years global temperature has risen and then fallen dramatically from the Eocene Optimum, some 50 million years ago, not in a straight line, but in a general, long term cooling trend. Unless this long trend is somehow reversed, the earth is slowly cooling, not warming.



Thus it becomes clear that:

(a) The present era of Global Warming (the Holocene Era) began some 12,000 years ago, long before human civilization or modern technology. It was warmest circa 8,000 years ago, and has been slowly getting cooler ever since, with some short term warming cycles, but a long term cooling trend.

(b) The present era of Global Warming is right on schedule in the long cycle of Global Warming and Global Cooling approximately every 120,000 years.

(c) The present Global Warming is cooler than each of the four previous warm eras, and the climate has been on a long-term cooling trend since the Eocene Optimum, some 50 million years ago.

(d) We see per the IPCC report that CO2 is higher now than in the last 650,000 years, yet during that time there have been at least four (4) eras of Global Warming with temperatures higher than now.

This fact conclusively disproves the hypothesis that rising CO2 causes global warming. If the premise that CO2 causes global warming were true, then the climate now would be warmer than at any other time in the last 650,000 years.

But it is not.

Let us also note that the CO2 rise from 280 ppm (parts per million) to 380 ppm as stated in the IPCC Report is a rise from a mere 0.028% of the atmosphere to a mere 0.038% of the atmosphere. Our atmosphere is more than 99.9% nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, and less than 0.1% everything else. At 380 ppm, or 0.038%, CO2 is less than 4% of 1% of the atmosphere.

Over the last 100 years, the increase in CO2 has been a trivial 0.01% of the atmosphere, or 1% of 1% of atmospheric composition, one part in ten thousand. To visualize this, imagine that you have a swimming poool that holds 10,000 gallons of water. Then you add 1 gallon. That is how much atmospheric CO2 has increased in the last 100 years. According to the IPCC. Not much.

The earth's climate has been changing continuously for millions of years, as far back as we can reconstruct it, and doubtless long before that, for as long as the earth has had a climate to change. Nature changes continuously everywhere we look. Nothing in nature stays the same. Our contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere is truly trivial, less than one part in ten thousand, less than 1% of 1% - even if we assume that all of the CO2 increase in the last 100 years has been due to us, which may not be true. Has it been proven?

Before the United States makes enormous changes in public policy and spends hundreds of billions or trillions of dollars to "stop climate change," don't you think we should demand some pretty convincing proof that the climate change we see is not natural? Is the climate change we see really man-made, and can we really change it? Or is it the unchangeable natural cycle of Global Warming and Global Cooling?

Raymond S Kraft



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