Wednesday, October 11

Why Walk When You Can Fly (Mary Chapin Carpenter)


Two of the biggest motivators in this "house 'o boys" are Boy Scouts and airplanes.  We've devoted a lot of time (and some blog space) to incorporating them in our studies and schoolwork, with much success, and we want to share them with you.  This latest project is an elective curriculum with the Civil Air Patrol textbook.  This is a follow-up to the extensive Aviation Unit Study we created last year.

This activity book was designed to go with the 1944 Civil Air Patrol Handbook. It has been updated to include modern-day questions and activities in addition to those from the original handbook.  Each of the ten sections is broken down into manageable sub-sections, for a total of twenty-six days of school work.


Scroll down for this month's Scout-themed giveaway!

Section 1 (entire section)
  1. When was the CAP organized? (one week before Pearl Harbor)
  2. If you are 15, what is your minimum height and weight? (56” / 85*)
  3. Are you pledging to military service by joining the CAP? (no)
  4. Why should you learn about jobs other than your own? (it’s easier to cooperate if you understand others’ perspectives)

 Section 2 (2-1 – 2-6)
  1. What are the three types of soldiers? (those who fight in air, fight on ground, and who supply)
  2. Outline / define the ten sections of the army. (see book)
  3. What are three mission of the air force? (to drive off enemy aircraft, support ground & naval attacks, and carry out attacks)
  4. What category to sergeants, corporals, and staff sergeants fall into? (non-commissioned officers)
  5. Put in order of size from largest to smallest : squad, company, battalion, platoon (B,C,P,S)
  6. Why is discipline so important? (it is teamwork at its best)
  7. When would you not salute or stand at attention to an officer? (in athletic game, eating meal, on work detail, or carrying an object with both hands)
  8. What is a serious CAP offense? (trying to pass oneself as a regular army man)

 Section 2 (2-7 – 2-12)
  1. What means ‘the job that has to be done?’ (mission)
  2. Why shouldn’t you talk about military equipment or troop transfers? (don’t know who will take info and sabotage or hurt someone)
  3. What do secret / confidential / restricted mean? Define. (see book)
  4. What are three types of court martials? (summary, special, general)
  5. What is Article 104 about? (punishment without a court martial)
  6. What is the most important section (there should only be one!) of a military correspondence?  (subject)

 Section 2 (2-13 – 2-18)
  1. What does an Operations Officer do? (commanding officer’s assistant – in charge of training squadron and directing flights)
  2. What are the 10 principles of proper conduct for an officer? (see book)
  3. What is IDR? (infantry drill regulations)
  4. Practice the four stances shown for infantry drill.
  5. What is a preparatory command? (first part; it tells what is coming)
  6. What is one purpose of drill? (to move troops from one place to another)

 Section 2 (2-19 – 2-22)
  1. What is the interior guard? (body of armed soldiers who provide security)
  2. How many general orders are there for sentinels? (eleven)
  3. What is guard mounting? (ceremony for forming a new guard)
  4. What are the four parts of a review? (forming, presenting, inspecting, parading)
  5. Who is entitled to the greatest honors? (US president)

 Section 3 (3-1 – 3-3)
  1. How should you recognize aircraft? (by overall appearance / total form)
  2. What should your aircraft spotting slogan be? (eyes aloft!)
  3. How do you differentiate between land and sea planes? (wheels vs pontoons)
  4. What planes have four engines? (heavy bombers and transports)
  5. Draw the eight different wing types and label them.
  6. What is WEFT? (wing, engine, fuselage, tail)
  7. What are the four engine shapes? (radial, in-line, centered, underslung)
  8. Draw and label the three tail types.

 Section 3 (3-4 – 3-11)
  1. Why is the P-38 Lightning easy to recognize? (twin tail booms)
  2. Which airplane is exceptionally fast? (P-51 Mustang)
  3. What does the ‘B’ in B-17 and B-24 denote? (bomber)

 Section 3 (3-12 – 3-20)
  1. Which plane was the ‘answer to the fighter pilot’s prayer?’ (F-6 Hellcat)
  2. Which plane is similar to the PB24 Coronado? (B-24)
  3. What information is included in Navy aircraft designation that is not in the Army one? (where made)
  4. What does B-17 mean? (17th bomber model accepted by Army)
  5. Choose eight modern aircraft and make sillograph flash cards.

 Section 4 (4-1 – 4-8)
  1. What four types of exercises should you do? (calisthenics, combat games, swimming / running, group games)
  2. Create a calisthenics program chart and record daily. (You will begin a 90-day program in this unit.)
  3. If you have a partner, practice the two-person exercises.
  4. Why should you practice carries? (first aid and rescue work)
  5. How many sports should each CAP cadet learn? (at least two)

 Section 5 (5-1 – 5-15)
  1. Continue to work on your 90 day fitness program.
  2. Define the seven types of communication, and tell when each is ideally used. (see book)
  3. What is the easy way to think about Morse Code? (dit and dah)
  4. How do we distinguish ‘the letter 0’ from ‘zero?’ (put a line through zero)
  5. What should you first adjust if having trouble transmitting? (spring tension)
  6. How would you say ‘he is’ in Morse Code? (dit x 4, dit, dit x 2, dit x 3)
  7. What is ‘Tom’ in Morse Code? (dah, dah x 3, dah x 2)
  8. How would you translate the following code to English? “dit x 4, dit x 2, dahditdit, ditditdah,
  9. dahditdit, dit” (Hi dude!)

 Section 5 (5-16 – 5-23)
  1. Translate “base” into code. (dahditditdit, ditdah, dit x 3, dit)
  2. Translate “lake” into code. (ditdahditdit, ditdah, dahditdah, dit)
  3. What letter translates similarly to K? to L? (R and F)
  4. Write down a sentence and communicate it via code.

 Section 5 (5-24 – 5-32)
  1. Practice all ten of the numerals.
  2. How would you transmit your age in code? (answer will vary)
  3. Why do pilots carry flashlights and mirrors? (can be used to communicate)
  4. What is an advantage of radiotelegraph? (secrecy, greater distance, less interference)
  5. Why are cryptograms used in radio transmissions? (for secrecy)
  6. How do you say your name in the phonetic alphabet? (answer will vary)
  7. What are the three parts of a message? (call sign of receiver, phrase, call sign of transmitter)
  8. What does “wilco” mean? (will carry out orders)
  9. What does the control tower tell the pilot? (wind direction and velocity, runway conditions, special instructions, taxi and takeoff clearance, field altitude, correct time)

 Section 6 (6-1 – 6-5)
  1. What is lift? (the force that causes something to go off the ground)
  2. What are the leading and trailing edges? (leading = front, rounded part of wing; trailing = back, sharp part of wing)
  3. Why is speed important to lift? (when the air is moving quickly, it creates vacuum at top of wing)
  4. How much lift is required to fly straight and level? (same amount as gravity / more lift = climb / more gravity = descend)
  5. What is thrust? (force pulling airplane through air)
  6. When does and airplane need more thrust? (take off and climbing)
  7. How much thrust is needed to fly straight and level? (same amount as drag)
  8. What are the four forces of flight? (thrust, lift, drag, weight)

 Section 6 (6-6 – 6-10)
  1. What are the axes of rotation? (pitch, yaw, and roll)
  2. What helps to stabilize the axis of yaw? (rudder)
  3. What do the elevators do? (control axis of pitch)
  4. The ailerons control which axis? (roll)
  5. Using a homemade paper or balsa wood plane, demonstrate the three axes.
  6. What are trim tabs used for? (to help balance forces on controls so planes fly level without hands on controls)

 Section 6 (6-11 – 6-13)
  1. Why is metal better than wood? (stronger, and not deteriorate as fast)
  2. What is the fuselage? (body of plane; houses people and cargo)
  3. What are the three wing parts? (tip, center section, wing section)
  4. What is the braced stressed-skin wing designed for? (absorb shock for smoother flight)
  5. What must you first learn to do to fly? (taxi / take-off and land)
  6. What is it important to land straight? (landing gear can’t hold side loads)
  7. Why is the tricycle gear better? (tracks straight upon landing)

 Section 6 (6-14 – 6-18)
  1. What is the most important instrument? (magnetic compass)
  2. Where does the compass work best? (equator)
  3. What does the altimeter do? (show height above sea level)
  4. The airspeed indicator should stay between the maximum allowable speed and what? (stalling speed)
  5. If the airspeed indicator says 200mph, and you are flying at 20,000 feet, how fast are you really going? (274 mph)

 Section 6 (6-19 – 6-24)
  1. Describe the four cycles of the four-stroke engine. (see book)
  2. What should pilots check before every take-off? (ignition or magneto check)
  3. What is efficient about the radial engine? (one 360 crankshaft, less weight, and fewer moving parts)
  4. What does the tachometer indicate? (speed of engine crankshaft)
  5. Why should pilots check oil temperature gauge before taking off? (engines must be warmed up before taking off)
  6. What should be minimum preflight check? (start engine, get oil warmed up, check gauge, use brake lock to check tachometer, check both ignition systems)

Section 7 (7-1 – 7-5)
  1. What is the study of weather called? (meteorology)
  2. What are the three layers of the atmosphere? (troposphere, stratosphere, ionosphere)
  3. Which region is closely related to weather? (troposphere)
  4. Which gas is the atmosphere primarily composed of? (nitrogen)
  5. Is the air usually humid in hot or cold weather? (hot)
  6. After a humid day, dew will form on grass overnight. Why? (saturation point is lowered when temperature lowers at night)
  7. What are the two temperature scales? (farenheit and celcius)
  8. How much does the temperature change for every 1,000 feet ascent? (-55 F)

 Section 7 (7-6 -7-10)
  1. Does the temperature drop consistently with ascent? (no)
  2. What is ‘standard air’ at sea level? (29.92” at 15 C)
  3. Does pressure rise or fall when you ascend? (fall)
  4. Why is it harder to breathe at higher altitudes? (less oxygen and nitrogen in air / less density because less pressure)
  5. What are the three main factors of weather? (temperature, pressure, moisture)
  6. Why are convection currents important to pilots? (turbulence)
  7. What affects wind currents? (earth rotation, storms, land and sea, uneven surfaces)
  8. If the pressure in area A is very high, and the pressure in area B is very very low, how fast or slow will the wind be? (fast)
  9. High winds would be expected when isobars are _________. (close together)
  10. If wind velocity is 20mph, describe it using the Beaufort scale. (fresh breeze – trees sway)

 Section 7 (7-11 – 7-20)
  1. How and when does fog form? (at night, air cools with contact to ground and becomes saturated)
  2. When might a pilot experience fog? (when temperature and dew point are close together)
  3. How can clouds help an aviator? (they tell changes in atmosphere)
  4. What is the difference between stratiform and cumuliform clouds? (S=lines of clouds / C=lumps and forms)
  5. Which clouds are highest? (cirrus)
  6. What do cirrus clouds indicate? (bad weather is coming)
  7. Why might stratocumulus clouds be dangerous to a pilot? (ice may accumulate on wings)
  8. Which clouds are known as ‘thunderheads?’ (cumulus)
  9. How is air stability determined? (by measuring rate temperature decrease with altitude)
  10. Does cold air rise or sink? (sink because weighs more)
  11. Which air mass is hot, dry, and unstable? (tropical continental)
  12. What happens when cold and warm fronts meet? (unstable weather)
  13. Name four items that are on a pilot’s weather report? (see book)

 Section 8 (8-1 – 8-5)
  1. What happens to oxygen at high altitudes, and how does it affect the body? (less oxygen lowers the physical and mental efficiency)
  2. What is anoxia? (thinking less clearly and reacting slowly because of less oxygen in the brain)
  3. Above 20,000 feet, what happens to the body? (lose consciousness ; death)
  4. How does air pressure change affect the stomach and ears? (expands gases = stomach pains ; ears popping from air moving in / out)
  5. What is easier to physically withstand – positive or negative G force? (positive)
  6. What organ gives you a sense of balance? (inner ear)
  7. What vitamin helps night vision, and how can you get it? (vitamin A – spinach, eggs, carrots, greens)

 Section 8 (8-6 – 8-14)
  1. Practice treating the ten types of First Aid shown.
  2. If you are 61” tall, can you hold a job? Which one(s)? (aerial gunner and bombardier)
  3. What four factors are important to a pilot? (physical fitness, good eyesight, nutrition, and teeth)
  4. What is the most common cause of airplane accidents? (pilot failure)
  5. Half of all accidents happen during ________. (landing)
  6. What are the seat belt and shoulder harness used for? (keep you in the plane ; protect in case of crash)
  7. What should you always have when you fly? (parachute)
  8. Practice landing from a parachute jump.

 Section 9 (9-1 – 9-12)
  1. How many classes of airfields are there? (four)
  2. How high can you be two miles away for a Class I field? (350 feet)
  3. Why shouldn’t airfields have steep grades? (hard to judge landings)
  4. What do runway numbers indicate? (compass bearings = # x 10)
  5. Why shouldn’t floodlight glare? (they’ll blind pilots)
  6. How are obstructions marked at night? (red lights)
  7. Where are small hangars used? (Class I and Class II airfields)
  8. Which airfield position would you like to hold? Why?
  9. Which direction should you circle for landing? (on the left)
  10. What does flashing red and green lights mean? (emergency)
  11. Why and when should you tie down aircraft? (if winds are over 20mph, to keep from blowing around)

 Section 9 (9-13 – 9-24)
  1. How do signalmen communicate in the dark? (flashlights)
  2. What three inspections are frequently done? (daily, preflight, postflight)
  3. What is done every 1,000 to 5,000 flying hours? (engine removed for overhaul)
  4. What does the crew chief use red tags for? (marking what is being repaired)
  5. What seven things are checked on the airplane daily? (engine, wings, tail, landing gear, fuselage, propeller, warm up)
  6. What should be checked while the engine is warming up? (instruments)
  7. Why shouldn’t you leave airplanes near a gas tank? (static can cause a fire)
  8. What is the critical time period after a fire? (first 60 seconds)
  9. What is the first thing you should do at a crash site? (remove all air crew members)
  10. Should you mess with a crashed plane’s electrical system? (yes – it should be electrically grounded)
  11. Why shouldn’t you move a crashed airplane, and when would it be acceptable? (a broken wire could start a fire or explosion; if necessary to save a crewman)

 Section 10 (10-1 – 10-12)
  1. What three things does the airman want in a travel route? (safe, quick, short)
  2. What is the most common aeronautical chart? (Lambert Conformal sectional chart)
  3. What is the scale of sectionals in the book? (1” = 8 miles)
  4. What two coordinates do you need to find an accurate position? (latitude and longitude)
  5. What do contour lines indicate? (altitude of land)
  6. Using the markers, make a hand drawn map of your town. Mark the landmarks.
  7. What is a restricted area? (must maintain minimum altitude over it)

 Section 10 (10-13 – 10-28)
  1. How is direction measured? (degrees from true north)
  2. What should you do when measuring a westward course? (add 180 to the direction)
  3. What causes variation? (magnetic and geographic north pole are different)
  4. How many degrees longitude does each time zone cover? (fifteen)
  5. Where is the zero meridian? (Greenwich, England)
  6. If it is Sunday, and you fly west over the date line, what day does it become? (Monday)
  7. Why do you want to reach your destination in daylight? (so you don’t have to land in the dark)
  8. What is the difference between airspeed and groundspeed? (A=speed travelling through the air; G=speed travelling on the ground)
  9. What is a course with a wind correction? (heading)
  10. Chart your course through Oklahoma with the E6-B.
We hope that your budding aviator enjoys working through this project!

Monday, October 2

Easy Peasy Spice Blends


Have you ever looked at some of the ingredients listed on spice blend packages?  There are chemicals and preservatives thrown in that most people usually don't think about.  For this reason, we usually try to buy organic blends, such as Simply Organic.

However, these blends can be very expensive!  By learning to make our own spice blends, we're able to purchase the basic ingredients in bulk and just mix them up as needed!

Here are the four most common spice blends that we use around the house.  Baking blends are listed on the left; cooking blends on the right.

These spice recipes are measured in parts, meaning that you want to use the same measurement for each.  If you want a little bit, you might use 1/2 tsp for 1 part.  In that case, 4 parts would mean 2 tsp.  If you want a lot of spice, you could use one cup for one part.  But that would make a LOT!

Make sure to properly store your spices, and t
hey should last a while.  We like these stainless steel spice jars... 


Apple Pie Spice
  • 1 part allspice
  • 1 part ginger
  • 2 parts nutmeg
  • 4 parts cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 part nutmeg
  • 2 parts allspice
  • 2 parts ginger
  • 4 parts cinnamon
Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 part white pepper
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1 part ground red pepper
  • 1 part paprika
  • 1 park black pepper
Poultry Seasoning
  • 3 parts crushed dried sage
  • 1 part crushed dried thyme