Filling out the calendar

Sponsored by the all-new Huge Mac: Now Even Huger!

The BRI -AHS™ calendar has been a little light these last few months, so the McDonald’s ™ASB and the PTSA are putting together a few events that ought to draw attention from throughout the galaxy.

First on the list is the “Back to your Roots™” art show by Coca Colatm  on April 10. Students will be displaying their best emulations of the last known operating system to use binary processors, “Windows 13™ ”. The first place winner of this show will be given brand new “CokeV™” wet trinary processor. The event will go from 3’30” to 7’00” (Stardate 3672110.335).

There is a Virtual Quidditch™  tournament for the upper flight classes of the school on April 11 (sponsored by Nintendo™  ) at 4’20” (Stardate 3672111.42). The Day Six™  Phoenixes will be up against the Ethosians from Ancestors High School in the Pegasus galaxy. Make sure to bring your favorite Galactica™ Thermal Sweater, It’s gonna get chilly!

The FedEx™ Speech and Debate team, headed by our own Lord Shiroma VII, will be on April 13 from 1’00” to 4’30” (Stardate 3672113.1). The opponent has not yet been revealed, as has been standard procedure since the 2012 incident at the Century Link™  convention center.

“We’re going to kick butt this year”, says BRI-AHS™ Senior Ornette Coleman, “because we’re going to tazer the other team before the competition.” Chomp down a few new Ritz™  Neuroenhancing Crackers, cross your fingers, and wish the team a good session of vocal synthesizing.

The Galactic Pandorum Prevention Committee™  is sponsoring a dance on April 17 from 5’00” to 11’00” (Stardate 3672117.5). The theme for the dance is Rustic 2012, so find a few pieces of fabric and get down to the dance floor. The NPPC™  would like to remind you to be safe and clean with your Hewlett-Packard™  stasis pods.

Another dance is on April 20 from 4’00” to 11’00” (stardate 362120.5) is being sponsored by Re-Pet™ and is in clone theme, so bring your best Day-Six™ clone (with parental controls enabled) and have a great time! The dance costs $10 for the pair of you, and all profits will go towards genetic research. If you have just lost, or are losing a pet, take it down to Re-Pet™ to get your furry friend back! And, for a limited time only, all changes you might want to make are 50% off.

“I’m on my third copy of my dog”, says McCoy Turner, Ambassador to BRI-AHS™, “and I’ve changed his color every time.”

Support our troops! The anti-cylon parade is this Saturday and the BRI-AHS™ has been given a full sponsorship! Captain Adama II will be personally thanking the school for all of the fine combat engineers we have produced. You will need to present your ASB card at the gate to get in, and bring a little extra money for donations to help the effort.

Next Sunday is the anniversary of the creation of the Quorum of Twelve and the Articles of Colonization, and the president of Caprica, our own BRI-AHS™ graduate, Gaeus Baltar, will be hosting a dinner at the Museum of Modern Art™. Once again Aviation students are welcome, but an essay application is required for admittance. The essays must be at least 1,000 words and are to be turned in to the school drop box under “Caprica Essays”. The prompt is “What would I do if I were the president of a planet?”. Applications are due no later than 23 April, by the end of school. Good luck out there, and have a great April. More events on the way this May!

Apple Takes Step Towards Education

Most apps released are designed to entertain and enjoy, but the new iBooks app released by Apple not long ago is a step into the world of education. Although there are apps used to assist in both teaching and learning, the iBooks app takes the idea even further.

Electronic books have been out for quite some time, but with iBooks, the reading materials have evolved into a more interactive study rather than just straightforward reading. iBooks textbooks now contain

touchscreen-friendly pages that include audio, video, and practice sessions to help study with.

Textbooks are a norm for high school and college classes, but are also very expensive, ranging from $60-$200. iBooks reduce the charges for textbooks down to the bare minimum by cutting out the cost of paper, ink, printing, and shipping.

Textbooks are also heavy and cumbersome, with thousands of densely packed thin pages and thick hard covers. If they only have one or two textbooks in your bag it can be manageable, but if they have three or four it gets to be too much, especially if lockers aren’t available.

Now with lower prices and minimal weight, iBooks has revolutionized textbooks, but that’s not where the app ends. The new program installed in version two of the app allows people to create and publish their own books in the iBooks library.

“In my mind,” says Chris Maxcer, Tech News World reporter, “the most important element of any software application is the ability to make users feel empowered”

The iBooks app can work very well for AHS, having no school library and a limited supply of textbooks. There is an option for the new building to contain a supply of tablets for the students. With the IBooks app the school library would be available at the touch of a button.

Many student have trouble bringing their textbooks to and from school, and more importantly, have trouble keeping them in good condition. If a backpack gets lost or damaged, then the cost of the incident could go up by hundreds of dollars.

Writing in textbooks is also not an option for students, but with the iBooks app any section of any book can be highlighted, copied, looked up, and sent to other people. Working with other people can be made much easier by the school wi-fi network, with any student being able to work with any other student in the building.

With over 350,000 textbooks already downloaded on the iBooks network, the options are limitless. The success of the app could not have been predicted, but the explosion of IBooks into the world market has proved Apple’s dedication to the app, and the author tool is proving to be invaluable to anyone wanting to self publish. The new design both entertains and educates at the same time, with a gallery, media center, keynote, 3D image support, HTML support, interactive images, and an audio recording section that allows people to record their own audio books and distribute them on iTunes, allowing for those lazier students to enjoy their “reading” material while doing anything else that they want or need to do.

“[iBooks 2 for iPad is] an entirely new kind of textbook,” says Apple, “that’s dynamic, engaging and truly interactive”

Many grants for iPad programs for schools are already on the market, and with the iBooks release the support for those grants is growing.

“With 1.5 million iPads already in use in education institutions, including over 1,000 one-to-one deployments, iPad is rapidly being adopted by schools across the U.S. and around the world,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing in the release. “Now with iBooks 2 for iPad, students have a more dynamic, engaging and truly interactive way to read and learn, using the device they already love.”

Pricing Regulation Troubles

A plane taking off.

A new regulation passed by the Federal Aviation Administration forces all airlines to be more upfront about what a ticket will actually cost. People that fly regularly are used to the ticket buying process of looking through prices, picking a low one, and watching the prices skyrocket as all sorts of taxes and fees are added.

Soon the companies will be required to display all of the prices hidden behind asterisks or stuck in footnotes that change the price anywhere from 30% to 50%. Such hidden fees include checked bags, fuel costs, and travel taxes. Travelers are also now allowed 24 hours after purchasing their tickets to change their flight information free of charge.

However, this means lost profit for the airlines, with many flights making little, or even losing money because of the high costs of fuel and maintenance. This new regulation could cause a serious loss in revenue for airlines.

Allegiant, Spirit, and Southwest Airlines have asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to void the full-fare advertising rule. Southwest fears the rule will cost it $30 million because of losing customers and having to revise its frequent-flier program.

“Contrary to [the government’s] claims, the full-fare advertising rule will have the effect of confusing customers and suppressing ticket sales,” Southwest said in a court filing.

Forcing airlines to provide pricing that way may be going too far, some legal analysts say. The airlines note that they already must post prices for services on their websites.

“I think they’re a long way from ever being able to implement that,” says Kenneth Quinn, an aviation lawyer with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman in Washington, D.C. “There is going to be a lot of resistance to those rules.”

The new rules are the latest in a string of consumer-oriented regulations imposed on airlines by President Obama and his Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.

In the last three years, the Transportation Department has told airlines they can’t hold planes on tarmacs indefinitely and that they must return them to terminals within three hours or face huge fines. Also, regulations require airlines to reimburse passengers with more money if they are involuntarily bumped from flights or if their bags are lost.

Jet Pack Market Gains Interest

Photo courtesy of www.mojomag.de

Jet packs have been dreamed of since before the birth of flight, and up until now have been completely impractical. With the revolutionary flight of the Martin Jet pack, the idea of personal jet pack flight is becoming a reality.

“This successful test brings the future another step closer,” said the inventor of the Martin jet pack, Glenn Martin, on his website.

A few years ago, the altitude record for a jet pack flight was about 50 feet. The Martin Jet Pack took that record to a whole new level.  The latest flight was over 5,000 feet and at over highway speed.

The pack has been under construction for over 27 years now, with great progress. The company is now in an intense period of testing so they can refine their technology. The flight was unmanned, and was used to test the company’s new ballistic parachute.

“This test also validated our flight model, proved thrust to weight ratio and proved our ability to fly a jet pack as an unmanned aerial vehicle,” said Martin, “which will be key to some of the Jet pack’s future emergency/search & rescue and military applications.”

Building a jet pack is not free, and it is costing Martin Jetpack quite a bit of money. The company is currently working on officiating a $100-million per year contract with a government organization, the name of which they are currently keeping undisclosed in order to continue their work in private. The contract requires that they produce 500 of their jet packs every year, and the organization claims that they want the jet packs for access in civil emergencies.

This secret organization is not their only form of funding. They also signed a $12 million joint-venture deal. This means that Martin is going to join another undisclosed company, share stocks, and work together towards a common goal.

“For us this is an excellent commercial step,” Company Chief Executive Richard Lauder said on his website. “We have somebody who is willing to put $12 million on the table because they believe there is a sizable market in their country.” 

The joint venture would be run through a newly created company. The undisclosed aircraft company that supplied the funds would have a controlling 51% stake. Both Mr. Lauder and Mr. Martin would be directors of the new company.

“The joint venture will give us a lifeline but it doesn’t give us the sort of venture capital we need,” said Mr. Lauder, “We’re expecting that could become a $20 million turnover business once we are up to full speed.”

The Martin jet pack is not the only one one the market right now. Yves Rossy, an ex Swiss Air Force pilot, flew his custom jet pack on May 7th, 2010 across the Grand Canyon. Instead of going with the sci-fi name “Jet Pack,” Rossy has chosen a more professional name for it, the Jet Powered Wing.

Although the Martin Jet pack is not the only jet pack in development, it seems to be the most popular. It has won a spot in TIME magazines Top 50 inventions of 2010.

“The Jet pack” says Josh Quittner, editor in large for TIME in his video spoiler on the TIME website,

 “was sort of a requirement for top 50 inventions.”

The jet pack is becoming a more and more popular idea amongst the people of the world, especially as it recurs in the media. With the evolution of the Martin jet pack the jet pack wont just be a popular idea, but instead a commonly used means of transportation.

Although the Martin jet pack is the most advanced and most available jet pack as of right now, new styles such as the jet powered wing of Yves Rossy will start to arise. Aviation is taking one more huge step forward, with flight becoming a personal experience rather than just a ticket price and a few uncomfortable hours in a plane. Glenn Martin and Co. have changed the world of flight forever.

Falling Up

A man skydives insie Courtesy of iFly

Want the thrill of skydiving without the jump? Here’s the chance!

You may have noticed in the past few months driving on I-405 the large red and black building protruding from the Tukwila landscape.  In highly visible, white, inviting letters across the side is “IFLY, Indoor Skydiving,” tempting all to give it a try.

Entering the building, there are large televisions arranged around the lobby, showing the current customer of IFLY in the wind tunnel and a large set of metal stairs leading to a curious second level.

After checking in with the clerks in front, and purchasing any pre-flight paraphernalia such as a DVD or a flash drive with your flight pictures on it, the journey starts.

 When you head up the stairs you cannot help but turn to see what all of the laughing and screaming is about. If you’re lucky, it will be one of the instructors zooming up out of sight, then dropping back down to the metal mesh keeping him from the fan below, invoking screams from the crowd.

After a little bit you are called into a briefing room and taught the hand signals: bend legs, straighten legs, chin up, and, most importantly, relax. You suit up, and take your position on the bench inside of a large airlock used to keep the noise down.

When everyone is inside, they turn the fan up to about 100 mph and all of the noises around you disappear; the only thing left is the person next to you shouting and the droning of the fan. One at a time, you cross your arms and jump into the small circular room the fan feeds into.

At first, you get a feeling of dread. You think, “What have I just done?” as you fall face first, towards the sharp metal wire that doesn’t look nearly strong enough to hold you. Then you stop—in the middle of the air. 

The next few seconds that go by defy your natural need to stay in control of yourself. The wind exploding through your hair seems inaudible behind the feeling of pure glee creeping up your chest, and time seems to slow down.

You try to move, but you don’t know how. The only thing keeping you aloft is the instructor next to you, flashing encouraging hand signals that require all too much of your attention to follow through with.

When you are deemed worthy by the wind  that is allowing you to defy gravity, you start to spin, slowly at first, then faster and faster, until the world around you is a blur and the only thing that you can concentrate on is your upside down and backwards idea of reality.

Suddenly your instructor grabs you by the large straps on the back of your suit, signals for you to relax, and pulls you down to meet the camera that has been watching you all the time.

The man behind the camera, who controls the fan, starts flashing “hold still” on a small monitor below the camera. The last thing on your mind at this point is holding still, but your lack of understanding rips that choice far away from you.

As fast as you were brought here, you are set free again. The power to the fan increases, and you are rapidly lifted high above the head of your instructor. He stands there patiently waiting for you to either fall out of the sky or float gracefully back down, depending on your aptitude.

Before you know it, your first minute is done, and you are starting to regain your senses. The air going by you tingles your fingertips and gravity asks you faintly to come back down, but perhaps too faintly, for the sound of your body screams for you to keep going—faster, further, to push your limits, making gravity seem like a non-existent force.

All too soon, your time is up, and as the red and blue lights flash to show that the end is near. Your instructor thrusts you towards the door, reality pulling you back to your feet, and you stumble back to your seat, impatient for your next chance to fall up.

The IFly is located at 349 Tukwila Parkway, Tukwila, 98188, and costs $60 for beginner flights.

Obama Visit Causes Air Problems

Sunday September 25 President Obama came to Seattle to talk about his new spending bill at a fundraiser event, and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) were imposed for the safety of the President. The interruption meant a great deal for small businesses that depend on day to day flights to survive.

There was a perimeter of thirty nautical miles established around the theatre that Obama was speaking in; that’s a lot of space for one person and it lead to the disruption of nineteen total airports and businesses for the duration of the presidents stay. The larger of these companies were Sea-Tac International Airport, Kenmore Municipal Airport, Boeing, Renton Municipal  Airport, and Paine Field. Large companies such as these can accommodate for such a disturbance and not lose too much business, but that is not to say that it was not extremely inconvenient and costly.

“[TFRs],” says Craig fuller, Airplane O—ners and Pilots Association (AOPA) president.

“will impose unnecessary economic hardships on a region”

Some of the smaller businesses, such as Seattle Seaplanes, a local touring and scenic view company, had a much harder time dealing with the disturbance due to the narrow specialized focus of their business. The area that the business operates in was partially within a no-fly zone and partially within a restricted area. They had to either change the area that they fly in or they had to completely stop flying for the day, which is absolutely catastrophic for a small company.

According to AOPA.org, In February 2010, a much less restrictive TFR was established over the Las Vegas area that resulted in a loss of commerce in excess of $700,000. If possible, businesses would be compensated for their trouble, but that would be very difficult and unreasonably expensive.

If there is an emergency on the ground that a pilot has to attend to, then he cannot until Air Force One (AFO) is dealt with. This has to happen every time AFO wants to take off or land from anywhere, and that not to mention how much just flying AFO costs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Obama’s Air Force One’s flight to Chicago and back cost $236,000.

AFO also takes up a large amount of airspace because there is a moving no-fly zone around it, so if the president wants to make a trip, no other planes can fly in the same area as him, leading to altered flight plans and probably a larger consumption of fuel. When President Bush was in office he decided to make a surprise trip out to talk, and no one was alerted of this. As he was flying another plane flew nearby him, not knowing differently, and was greeted by the fighter jets accompanying the president.

Such a thing is very bad for business. It shows that the pilots are not paying as much attention as they should be. Whether or not that is true it does not matter, that is the stigma that comes from this kind of event, and this, unfortunately, all came from the president visiting town.

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