UnusualAttitude

THE BARTDON PAPERS - "Cancel all previous directives."

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47 minutes ago, NotAgain said:

*Internet High-Five*

I didn't start quite that young, but fairly close

Oh?

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20 hours ago, Geschosskopf said:

I find this true only when time is not of the essence. (...)

Indeed. My credo is only relevant to the boring 98% of life. And being neither ex-military nor a member of the first response services, my opportunities for making life-or-death decisions have been few and far between (and I consider myself lucky to be able to say this). But I think I get what you mean. May I remember it when the time comes...

12 hours ago, HamnavoePer said:

I started reading this when I was 11 or 12, somewhere around that.

 

1 hour ago, NotAgain said:

I didn't start quite that young, but fairly close.

Wowzers. That's about the age of my son. He's an enthusiastic reader, but he wouldn't touch something as convoluted and technical as this with a bargepole. I'm humbled, and I find it seriously cool to be posting this on a forum where it is appreciated by both young sprouts and old farts alike... :sticktongue:

12 hours ago, HamnavoePer said:

As it happens, this is the reason I made a KSP forums account, because I wanted to comment on this.

Thank you. This is fuel for my efforts. (I hope you don't regret it.)

36 minutes ago, Geschosskopf said:

Never grow up.  IT'S A TRAP!!!!!! :o

Personally, I started feeling a little better about Life, the Universe and Everything when I reached thirty. 

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6 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Wowzers. That's about the age of my son. He's an enthusiastic reader, but he wouldn't touch something as convoluted and technical as this with a bargepole. I'm humbled, and I find it seriously cool to be posting this on a forum where it is appreciated by both young sprouts and old farts alike... :sticktongue:

What? I like astrophysics, and I have corrected my teachers before when they are trying to explain to the class how to get between earth and mars. I distinctly remember one teacher saying "To get to Mars from earth without using too much fuel, you have to wait until they are REALLY close together, and then you have to go towards mars"

11 Year old me: "No, you have to wait until earth is approximately 1/3rd of an orbit behind mars, then do a Hohmann transfer"

Teacher: "Ummm....."

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6 minutes ago, HamnavoePer said:

Teacher: "Ummm....."

Poor teacher. In his/her defense, understanding orbital mechanics is like playing the violin. It cannot be improvised.

I studied many different fields of physics at university level, but I was completely clueless about orbital mechanics until I started playing KSP. :D

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2 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

In his/her defense, understanding orbital mechanics is like playing the violin. It cannot be improvised.

The Violin CAN be improvised. I should know, as my old  violin teacher made me write a piece for it. that took about 2 mins and a computer to run it through to see how bad it was.

Edited by HamnavoePer

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5 minutes ago, HamnavoePer said:

The Violin CAN be improvised. I should know, as my old  violin teacher made me write a piece for it. that took about 2 mins and a computer to run it through to see how bad it was.

You misunderstood. I didn't mean that it is impossible to improvise a piece of music on the violin. Sure you can. I meant that without skilled instruction and a lot of practice, it is (almost) impossible to get a violin to make a nice sound unless you have rare and unique abilities. Conversely, I first picked up an electric bass guitar when I was 14 and after a few weeks of plucking and blisters, and no lessons, I could jam along to Nirvana with my school friends. It took me years to get actually good at bass, of course, but I managed to play along and have fun initially with relatively little effort.

To me, orbital mechanics feels much more like learning the violin than the bass guitar. Just sayin'.

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3 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

You misunderstood. I didn't mean that it is impossible to improvise a piece of music on the violin. Sure you can. I meant that without skilled instruction and a lot of practice, it is (almost) impossible to get a violin to make a nice sound unless you have rare and unique abilities. Conversely, I first picked up an electric bass guitar when I was 14 and after a few weeks of plucking and blisters, and no lessons, I could jam along to Nirvana with my school friends. It took me years to get actually good at bass, of course, but I managed to play along and have fun initially with relatively little effort.

To me, orbital mechanics feels much more like learning the violin than the bass guitar. Just sayin'.

Ahh, right. Yes, i mis-understood

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1 hour ago, HamnavoePer said:

Oh?

I started at 13 with the Demo, moved on to 0.90 on my 15th birthday, upgraded to 1.0.4 when it came out and switched to RSS in October. I turned 18 a few months ago. And yes, I used the Demo for more than a year. I take "Try before you buy" to the extreme.

Edited by NotAgain

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4 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Indeed. My credo is only relevant to the boring 98% of life.

Which is good enough,.  And I wholeheartedly agree with it for the vast bulk of life.

 

Quote

my opportunities for making life-or-death decisions have been few and far between

Really?  Most folks make 2 or 3 daily during their morning commutes :wink: 

 

Quote

but he wouldn't touch ... this with a bargepole.

Wow!  On this side of the ocean, I've never heard that idiom outside the more southerly parts of Louisiana.  It's not as common now as it was in my youth (when poling barges was still within the living memory of the elders) but is still in use.  The word "bargepole" is of half French, half English ancestry, so I figured it was a local creation. 

 

Quote

Personally, I started feeling a little better about Life, the Universe and Everything when I reached thirty. 

Yeah, I did, too.,  30 is IMHO the best time of life.  You're old enough to know better but still too young to care, which is a golden moment.  Also, you can fit in with the widest range of age groups both above and below you because you can claim membership in 2 or 3 of the so-called "generations" that seem to be randomly spawned every couple months by social media mavens, so you can easily find boon companions for both raising Hell and soberly discussing affairs of state. And best of all, you can, briefly, call yourself king of your own space while your kids are (hopefully) still too young to challenge your alpha position and your parents are still doing fine on their own.  Like everything else in life, this doesn't last very long but, if I could go back to a younger point in my life, I'd be 30.

Edited by Geschosskopf

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5 hours ago, HamnavoePer said:

Y'all are making me feel like a two year old now... 

Welcome to the club.

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YEAR 13, DAY 121. BARTDON.

“Sorry, boss. We're screwed. The docking latches are completely jammed. ”

RiTxbbT.png

Mitzon's unhelpful diagnosis of the situation already sounded like a death sentence.

Blast! Stop being so pessimistic, boy!” I boomed at our Second Engineer who was out on EVA, desperately trying to think of a way to free our shuttle Quissac from the hulking fuel tank latched on to its tail. “Get back in here. I happen to have a plan, and I need your expert opinion on just how damned marvellous a plan it is.”

“Twenty minutes to atmosphere, PI.” Munvey's voice cut in from Quissac's cockpit. There was no trace of fear or judgement in his tone, but the harsh truth was there nonetheless. If we didn't come up with some way of shedding that tank in the very near future, our already slim chances of making it down intact would be dashed.

But let's back up for a moment. I have to tell you how we got into this damned mess.

After many months in space returning from Mars, we came screaming in to capture at Earth on board the odd-looking assembly of Quissac and what remained of the crew ship Laroque. This burn used most of our remaining fuel, and left us in a highly eccentric orbit that grazed the top of the Earth's atmosphere at perigee.

Oot8e7v.png

Mission Control wanted us to get home safely, so they launched the chemically fuelled tug that they had designed and built at great expense in order to slow us into a low, stable orbit. From there, we would be just a short spaceplane flight from our first fresh food in nearly three years.

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The Board wanted us dead, but couldn't resort to leaving us to rot in space without risking an immediate revolt of most of the Space Centre's staff. Therefore, their only logical course of action would be ordering their agents within the Space Centre's ground crew to sabotage the rescue mission and make it look like a malfunction or an accident.

I damn well knew that those blasted pen-pushers would try to stop me from getting home. Indeed, their intentions turned out to be oh-so predictable.

Despite being a massive affair consisting of a hydrolox tank almost as large as Quissac herself, the tug didn't quite have enough bang to bring Laroque in. Shortly before rendez-vous at perigee, we space-hopped over to our shuttle, where we would sit out the wait for the final stage of our journey.

As proper procedure would have it, I was the last to leave and slip across the few metres of vacuum into Quissac's cargo bay. As I drifted across the gap between the two craft, the first light of orbital dawn filtered through the Earth's upper atmosphere. I turned to look at the place I had called home for the past three years one last time.

rjpBl7l.png

The mighty ship Laroque loomed silently behind me, catching the sun's first rays. Her centrifuge modules were still at last, frozen in their final position as if to salute our departure. Mars had not been kind to her. Her own makers had tried to destroy her. They had failed, Laroque had endured and as a result we had lived to tell the tale.

Farewell, old boat.

There was little time for reminiscence however. Our rendez-vous with the tug was approaching and timing was crucial. Just minutes after I entered the airlock, our emergency supply of delta-vee showed up and latched onto Quissac's tail. Less than a minute after hard docking was confirmed, Karanda had already pulled the plug on Laroque and Munvey was steering us clear so that Mission Control's preprogrammed circularisation burn could begin.

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Nothing appeared to be wrong at this point. In hindsight, I do recall a rather hefty bump when the docking clamps pulled the tug into position, but it seemed insignificant at the time. I must admit that I had expected bad things to happen during re-entry, not while we were still in orbit.

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It was Munvey who spotted the first sign of trouble. He had been hawkishly watching the orbital parameters as the long burn progressed and immediately realised that something was amiss when the tug's main engine didn't cut out at the appropriate moment. Having reshaped our highly elliptical orbit into something resembling a circle, the rescue craft continued to push our perigee downwards until the lowest part of our trajectory began to dip into the Earth's atmosphere.

“Omelek, target perigee overshoot, requesting immediate engine cut-off,” he droned.

“Copy that, Quissac. Manoeuvre programme override, engine cut-off selected.”

Nothing changed. The vibration of the rocket motor through the hull continued and we remained glued to our couches, the acceleration rising as the tanks emptied.

Mk8rMPX.png

“Omelek, the engine is still thrusting,” said Munvey, stoic as ever.

Enough. I flicked my own microphone open. “Dammit! Did any one of you incompetent bunch of interns down there hear what my pilot just said? You're sending us into the blasted atmosphere! Cut that damned rocket now, or I will have you sent up here yourselves to plug it with your own worthless behinds!”

A moment after I finished speaking, the rumble of the engine cut out with a bang and we were on the float once more. Next to me, Karanda stared at her console in disbelief. Lisabeth drew in her breath sharply, then a deafening silence fell upon Quissac's crew cabin. It was broken by Mission Control's next unhelpful observation.

Quissac, the rescue tug appears to have run out of fuel.”

“Look Mission Control, why don't you all push off on a damned vacation and find someone who will tell us something we don't know instead, eh? What the hell just happened, Omelek?”

“The burn lasted longer than intended. You are suborbital. We're working on it.”

Let them work on it. As always, we'd have to deal with this ourselves.

“TP, what's our status?” I barked.

“Perigee is below fifty klicks, PI,” said Munvey. “If we don't take immediate action, we will hit the Karman line in thirty-five minutes.”

“Does Quissac have enough fuel left to raise our perigee? Karanda? Mitzon?”

There was a moment of silence as two the engineers calculated feverishly. Karanda was quickest on the draw.

“Yes, if we jettison the tug and burn immediately.”

“Do it, dammit.”

“Copy that PI.”

Karanda punched some buttons on her console, overriding the tugs preprogrammed instructions and selecting an immediate emergency jettison of the craft. A couple of thumps resonated through the hull as docking latches unlocked, then Karanda's face glowed crimson as warning messages flashed across her screen. She turned to me, wide eyed.

“Jettison procedure has failed. The tug is stuck on our tail.”

So this is how you intended to get rid of us. A navigational software error coupled with a docking latch malfunction. Clever. I didn't expect that. You're getting slower these days, Bartdon...

“Suit up, SE,” I snarled. “Quick as you damned like. You go first to assess the situation. Emergency vent. I'll cycle through the airlock after you. We get that tug off of our tail if we have to rip it off with our bare hands.”

“Alrighty, PI,” said Mitzon snapping his visor shut and checking his tool belt. He was right on the ball, for once.

As our Second Engineer disappeared into the airlock I looked down through the hatch at our pilot sitting in the cockpit below. Munvey: quiet, skilful, cool-headed. One of the best.

“TP, what are our chances of getting this ship down with at least some of its occupants still breathing?” I wanted to know.

Munvey looked back up at me, one eyebrow raised ever so slightly.

“Landing Quissac on Earth? PI, you do realise that this shuttle was designed to land on Mars? Once. She has already been down there twice, as well as to Phobos, and has spent many months in deep space...”

“Yes, yes. I happen to have a doctorate in physics, TP. That means that, amongst other things, I am qualified to count to two and much more. Look, I get the fact that re-entry will be sketchy. I also know our Chief Engineer's habit of over-building things. If we make it through, can you put her down?”

Munvey thought about it for a moment. “Well, technically, no. Quissac has insufficient thrust to make a safe powered landing in Earth's gravity. But...”

“But, what? It's the buts I'm interested in here, TP.”

“It might be possible to glide her in and use the engines to slow her enough to soften the impact. I will have to stall her at just the right moment and cut our rate of descent. The wheels might just hold, assuming we hit dry land...”

“And what are our chances of making a successful reentry with that damned tug attached?” I ventured.

He then did something I'd never seen him do before. He laughed.

“Non-existent, PI. That's simply not going to happen.”

“Good! At least that's settled, then. Give me a moment.”

I slipped out of my harness and pushed off to the back of the crew cabin where I'd stowed the kit-bag that had made the journey across from Laroque clipped to my belt. It contained the few personal effects I had brought with me for the short journey back to Earth. I rummaged through sets of spare clothes and my favourite towel until my fingers finally touched the cold surface of a metal box.

Still there, eh? Maybe you will come in handy after all. Now, what was that six-digit code, again, dammit..?

Time to get our engineer out of harm's way. He was doing more harm than good out there by complaining how screwed we were, anyway.

I met Mitzon as he came back in through the airlock. There was no time to explain. I shoved the explosive charge under his nose and asked him where I should stick it.

“PI,” he stammered, looking at the explosives with horror. “That's crazy, dude, I mean...”

“As things stand, this happens to be our last shot at avoiding a fiery end.”

“But...”

“I'm not asking for your approval, boy! Just tell me where I should stick this in order to blow that damned tug off of our tail.”

“Well...” he closed his eyes and pictured the tug mentally. “Attach it to the forward bulkhead inside the avionics bay. Hopefully, the blast will be deflected backwards by the bulkhead and blow the fuel tank free. Make sure you close the bay doors once you've placed the charge, or the blast will be ineffective. I'll tell Karanda to transfer all remaining fuel to the forward tanks.”

“Thank you, SE. That's all I need to know,” I said and snapped my visor shut. “I'll be back in a jiffy. Tell the others to get their helmets on and to be ready for anything.”

With that, I threw myself into the airlock.

It took me just under five minutes to vent, egress and make my way out to the tug. We had all been through some pretty sticky situations on this mission, but there is a very special kind of feeling when going EVA whilst suborbital. The sound of my old heart beating pounded in my ears. My oh-two consumption rate must have been record-breaking. But damn it all, I felt alive.

DBhkYpS.png

I wrenched open the bay doors and slapped the explosive charge on the forward bulkhead, as per instructed. I fiddled with the timer, trying to remember. It had been literally years since Froemone had showed me how it worked. I settled on a three minute delay, which meant that my trip back would have to be even shorter. But maybe, just maybe there would be a window left open to correct our orbit, assuming the explosion had the desired effect.

Surfk43.png

“Three minutes... mark! Fire in the damned hole, boys and gals! Buckle up!” I yelled as I pushed off back to the relative safety of Quissac's cargo bay, willing my KMU to carry me faster than ever.

I made it. Barely. I was pulling the airlock door closed and attempting to raise Munvey when the fireworks went off.

“This is Bartdon. Come in TP, I'm-”

Boom.

kXVVHF1.png

The shockwave swept through Quissac's hull as if she were made of paper. The airlock bulkheads flexed in and out again as if the entire vessel was a living, breathing creature. As the venting system cycled and air rushed back in, I could clearly make out the ominous creaks and groans that signalled the aftermath of some major trauma. Would the hull hold?

“CE, report!” I snapped nervously, praying for coms to be still intact.

“Aft docking port is, um, missing in action,” came Karanda's voice, loud and clear. “Rear fuel tanks are compromised, as expected. Airfoil actuators appear to be nominal, although I can't make any promises as to the shape of the control surfaces themselves...”

“But that damned tug, Karanda! Did we break free?”

jxVdkdF.png

“Well, I can see it drifting away through the upper windows, so I assume we did.”

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It worked, dammit!

“So, old gal. Give me the bad news.”

“None that I can think of, PI. We have a perfectly functional Mars shuttle... The only problem is that the planet we are about to land on is not Mars.”

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Edited by UnusualAttitude

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1 hour ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Still there, eh? Maybe you will come in handy after all. Now, what was that six-digit code, again, dammit..?

Time to get our engineer out of harm's way. He was doing more harm than good out there by complaining how screwed we were, anyway.

I met Mitzon as he came back in through the airlock. There was no time to explain. I shoved the explosive charge under his nose and asked him where I should stick it.

“PI,” he stammered, looking at the explosives with horror. “That's crazy, dude, I mean...”

“As things stand, this happens to be our last shot at avoiding a fiery end.”

“But...”

“I'm not asking for your approval, boy! Just tell me where I should stick this in order to blow that damned tug off of our tail.”

“Well...” he closed his eyes and pictured the tug mentally. “Attach it to the forward bulkhead inside the avionics bay. Hopefully, the blast will be deflected backwards by the bulkhead and blow the fuel tank free. Make sure you close the bay doors once you've placed the charge, or the blast will be ineffective. I'll tell Karanda to transfer all remaining fuel to the forward tanks.”

“Thank you, SE. That's all I need to know,” I said and snapped my visor shut. “I'll be back in a jiffy. Tell the others to get their helmets on and to be ready for anything.”

With that, I threw myself into the airlock.

Damnit Bartdon, I'm an engineer, not a rocket surgeon!

Also, that fuel transfer is going to make Quissac more aerodynamically stable, for what little it helps... or possibly hurts. Honestly, if the rear tanks were still intact at this point, I'd probably try to shuffle fuel between them to help maintain a very high angle-of-attack and maximize high-atmosphere drag/lift.

Edited by Starman4308

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8 hours ago, UnusualAttitude said:

YEAR 13, DAY 121. BARTDON.

“Sorry, boss. We're screwed. The docking latches are completely jammed. ”

Mitzon's unhelpful diagnosis of the situation already sounded like a death sentence.

Blast! Stop being so pessimistic, boy!” I boomed at our Second Engineer who was out on EVA, desperately trying to think of a way to free our shuttle Quissac from the hulking fuel tank latched on to its tail. “Get back in here. I happen to have a plan, and I need your expert opinion on just how damned marvellous a plan it is.”

“Twenty minutes to atmosphere, PI.” Munvey's voice cut in from Quissac's cockpit. There was no trace of fear or judgement in his tone, but the harsh truth was there nonetheless. If we didn't come up with some way of shedding that tank in the very near future, our already slim chances of making it down intact would be dashed.

But let's back up for a moment. I have to tell you how we got into this damned mess.

“Sorry, boss. We're screwed. The docking latches are completely jammed. ”

Record Scratch

Freeze Frame

Narration: "You see that terrified-looking principle investigator? Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation..."

 

Edited by Greatness101

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21 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

Also, that fuel transfer is going to make Quissac more aerodynamically stable, for what little it helps... or possibly hurts. Honestly, if the rear tanks were still intact at this point, I'd probably try to shuffle fuel between them to help maintain a very high angle-of-attack and maximize high-atmosphere drag/lift.

Quissac has a robust reaction control system, so I wouldn't be too worried about holding attitude. The hull should survive. It's the other bits sticking out and the squishy life forms inside the hull that we should be worried about...

14 hours ago, Greatness101 said:

Record Scratch

Freeze Frame

Narration: "You see that terrified-looking principle investigator? Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation..."

This is one of the things I actually like about first person narration (although it has me ripping my greying hair out at times and with hindsight, and I might not have chosen this form if I had known just how far I would take this story). Bartdon is writing his own story so he can tell it however he damn well likes, including getting you hooked with a short preview of the drama before he gets to the less exciting backstory of his return from Mars. I don't know if you were thinking of this (the record scratch..?), but this reminds me of the opening scene of Fight Club, one of my all-time favourite movies (and books, too). 

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40 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

.... but this reminds me of the opening scene of Fight Club.

And that’s when we discovered.... (Fight Club spoilers; seriously:)

Spoiler

.... Camwise and Bartdon are two sides of the same kerbal. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Cydonian Monk said:

And that’s when we discovered.... (Fight Club spoilers; seriously:)

 

Hmmm... But which one is the other's Tyler Durden? Is it Bartdon for Camwise, who is insecure, facing a lot of personal issues, and despite having a strong moral compass wishes he could be just a little more bold, brash and straight-to-the-point? Or is it Camwise for Bartdon, who is too sure of himself, steady as the proverbial rock but deep down afraid of growing old, and unable to adapt to change or thinking out of the box...?

Hmmm... dammit. That's just ruined my chances of doing anything productive this evening... (goes off muttering in deep thought).

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On 2/27/2018 at 2:27 AM, Greatness101 said:

“Sorry, boss. We're screwed. The docking latches are completely jammed. ”

Record Scratch

Freeze Frame

Narration: "You see that terrified-looking principle investigator? Yup, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation..."

"Rest assured, there is a perfectly logical explanation for all of this." 

---

Bartdon kept track of his towel to Mars and back? Aside from being a BadS, Bartdon Kerman is ONE HOOPY FROOD!

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6 hours ago, KAL 9000 said:

Aside from being a BadS, Bartdon Kerman is ONE HOOPY FROOD!

He is, but the situation he's in is totally Belgium, man... Belgium.

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1 hour ago, UnusualAttitude said:

He is, but the situation he's in is totally [CENSORED], man... [CENSORED].

Reported to the moderators for foul language

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On ‎26‎/‎02‎/‎2018 at 11:19 PM, UnusualAttitude said:

“So, old gal. Give me the bad news.”

“None that I can think of, PI. We have a perfectly functional Mars shuttle... The only problem is that the planet we are about to land on is not Mars.”

hxK3iql.png

Am I the only one getting notes of 'Biggles'?

Edited by NotAgain

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14 minutes ago, NotAgain said:
On 26/02/2018 at 11:19 PM, UnusualAttitude said:

 

Am I the only one getting notes of 'Biggles'?

Nope, I'm getting it too

Also, [Insert hype here]

 

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14 hours ago, NotAgain said:

Am I the only one getting notes of 'Biggles'?

What, as in "Hey chums, if one can fly a Sopwith Camel then landing Quissac on jolly old Terra Firma should be a piece of cake, eh? Good show!"?

Having done both (virtually), I must say flying the Sopwith Camel is a vastly more pleasant experience.

Quissac: looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow.

Edited by UnusualAttitude

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34 minutes ago, UnusualAttitude said:

Having done both (virtually), I must say flying the Sopwith Camel is a vastly more pleasant experience.

Agreed. And that right-hand roll tendency is an absolute cow on landing.

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This still alive? Just checkin'

EDIT: the evidence is compelling... I got a like!

Edited by HamnavoePer

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