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May 11, 2006

Whatziss? Is Ziss...

...and resist the temptation to spend all the time googling Bill's thrice-dam*ed "Whazziss?".

I hate it when John whines. He never serves the proper cheese...


...cheese, you guys were woefully shortchanged during your survival training (you prolly drew the SEAL for an instructor--they have a tough time with the concept of "fire" as something you make, as opposed to something you call for).

"simple, it's a butain lighter from a survival kit"--Mudpuppy1975 got it!

One of these days, I gotta practice my closeups...

Lighter, butane, refillable--the firestarter kit from the SRU-21/P Aviator's Survival Vest. Bigger pic (easier to see the details, not necessarily higher resolution. John doesn't call me Twitchy Bill for zero reason...) here.

If they'd just made 'em "Lighter, butane," they probably wouldn't have had the reliability problem--the critters osmoted butane past the O-ring gaskets. I wasn't there, but I can just about guarantee the following conversation took place between the R&D geeks: "...and if we make them refillable, all the pilot has to do when he runs out is go to the nearest convenience store and buy a can of butane in the tobacco section."

You *can* refill them, btw. On both the MkI and the MkII, the spark wheel and flint module pop out and expose the refill valve--a quarter of an inch deeper than any commercial refill head will reach, so you have to combine two of the adapter nozzles (and different ones for each--gotta love standardization like that ) to do the trick. Which is a pain, but worth it when you pull it out in some dive uhhhhh gin mill intimate little club to light a lady's cig and she says, "Oooooooh--interesting lighter. Where'd you get it?"

The other problem (operator-induced) the MkI has is that, if you twist the control head much past a quarter-turn and flick the spark wheel, you get a six-foot-long flame, albeit for about three seconds. It could attract undesired attention in an evasion situation. However, since you probably wouldn't even *think* of starting a campfire in the midst of the baddie battalion beating the bushes for you, it's a moot point.

I was only semi-surprised that V29 didn't pick up on it, since we were only issued a vest (one per aircraft, *not* one per crewman--that's still another shortage we had) on rare occasions.

I actually got to wear one twice.


Actually, that's kinda moot, too. Down where we were, a survival kit was two personal weapons and 50 rounds for each of them--because if you went down and didn't hookup with friendlies within ten minutes, you became an Alamo re-enactor while the other side came at you with the Degüello playing in the background...