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Old 02-05-2020, 10:19 AM   #71
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Default Re: Getting Around Florida Quickly and Discreetly

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
As a pedantic note, unless they've opened a secondary campus since I wnet there, Gainesville is the only campus of the Unversity of Florida. It's not like California where you have U of C:Los Angeles, U of C: San Diego etc. Other major (and even not-so-major) Universities in Florida are separate entities.
By now, there are satellite campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando, as well as elsewhere, I think. But you're right, just saying University of Florida conveys Gainesville.

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You might as well say you're based in Gainesville. UF was a diverse entity with degree programs including a Masters in Ornamnetal Horticlture but there was no covert supernatural commando team during my time there. Or at least not in the catalog.
The 'Night Rider' team consists mainly of former US military or even current Reserve or National Guard service people, with at least one of them belonging to the Florida battalion of the 20th Special Forces Group.

They're based around Gainesville because several of the experts that support it are faculty staff or graduate students at UF and several operators of the team have been graduate students there as well, including the team leader 2015-2017.

When researching for NPC background, I found that UF has a reputation for providing good support for active duty military members who want to obtain a degree while serving, so Gerardo 'Lalo' Calderon studied there while serving as a Navy SEAL and after retiring from the teams, became a full-time graduate student there. As he was studying anthropology, he was able to combine his studies with investigating the occult and hunting monsters.

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For secrete tansportation you want a Cessna 172, simple reliable and common to the point of invisibility. There will be very few palces within it's range where you can't land quite close to your destination. For example: where I live now was 3 hours by road to Gainesville but there's an "air park" close enough to my house that I'd hear you coming in for a landing. If you have knowledge of the mostly abandoned strips used by the drug trade there are even fewer limits than that. If the single-engined 172 is ust too small a Beechcraft twin engine would be alsmot as invisible.
Ah, that's a great suggestion!

Even if they also have access to a helicopter, the operational costs of the Aloutte III are high enough so that if they can use the Cessna for twenty hours in preference to the helicopter, it will pay for itself. Not to mention the anonymity, which is extremely vital for this particular team, as they are operating on US territory, without the kind of friendly law enforcement that Kessler can arrange in Galveston.*

*Not that Kessler doesn't try to cultivate good relations with authorities in Florida, but we're talking about only a couple of million a year in consulting fees to influential locals, charitable donations, community relations and other strategic investments designed to spread influence. That buys some goodwill, but nothing like what many times that buys in the much smaller geographic area around Galveston or on Dominica and St. Lucia.

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Most of the aircraft you've been talking about would be extremely conspicuous unless there was an air show nearby. Flying over KSC or Patrick Air Base in an ex-Soviet aircraft might be a particularly bad idea. Patrick _does_ have a commando team or two handy. Spooky too, it's the home field for USAF special ops.
We wouldn't want to be conspicuous, no.

The Cessna 172 is great because of how anonymous it is, but only being able to carry three passengers is a bit limiting.

The Beechcraft G36 Bonanza is also pretty common, doesn't actually cost any more to run and while more expensive to buy, is still easily within a reasonable budget for the Florida team. Maybe it would be better to buy a used older model, like an A36, as long as it can fit six seats and has enough range to reach Key West at a reasonable pace.

I'll have a Beechcraft Bonanza of whatever model is most appropriate bought by a shell company owned by the pilot, established as a fly-by-night charter operation, with any links to Kessler carefully concealed. The pilot will be a USAF reservist who was active duty at some point prior to 2011. I'll need to name him and come up with a more detailed background, so if anyone would like to have their (or somebody else's) name, biographical details or other identifying characteristics fictionalized for an intrepid pilot NPC, by all means speak out.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:30 AM   #72
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

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An-2s are quite popular with sky-diving companies and clubs, so if there are any in the area that shouldn't stand out too much.
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Somewhere maybe but I've never seen one around here.
I should think that people living around the Fantasy of Flight, Polk City, should be pretty used to exotic airplanes flying around.

And there is actually an An-2 there in real life, along with some 139 other aircraft.

Edit: I found out why An-2s aren't used by sky-diving companies in the US. It's because the FAA will only certify them as Experimental aircraft there, which prohibits 'for hire' operation.

They apparently climb slowly and guzzle fuel and oil (which makes them more expensive to operate than more efficient and modern craft, at ca $400 an hour vs. maybe $200 for the Beechcraft Bonanza), but the fact you can buy at least three An-2s for the price of a cheap Cessna 172 and eight or more An-2 for the price of the Beechcraft Bonanza goes a long way toward making up for that inefficiency. Also, the An-2 is allegedly super easy to maintain.

Basically, for an aircraft meant to make money through heavy use, you want an efficient Western design, but for an airplane that spends most of its time on standby rather than flight operations, the An-2 is perfectly adequate and a much cheaper alternative. But Kessler is going to have to register his An-2s in Caribbean nations where they can legally be used as charter planes and use aircraft that can get FAA certification as other than 'Experimental' for clandestine operations in the US.

Happily, however, France certifies An-2 aircraft for commercial use, meaning that Kessler can establish charter companies with no obvious connection to him on the Antillean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique that can operate his An-2 floatplanes.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:00 PM   #73
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Default Re: Getting Around Florida Quickly and Discreetly

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By now, there are satellite campuses in Jacksonville and Orlando, as well as elsewhere,
I looked that up but those are facilities run by one of the University's "College of Medicine" and not really satelite campuses of UF as a whole. Other states have Universities with satelite campuses but Florida's model doesn't work that way.

It's probably finer detail than your players will ever need.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:46 PM   #74
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Default Re: Getting Around Florida Quickly and Discreetly

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I looked that up but those are facilities run by one of the University's "College of Medicine" and not really satelite campuses of UF as a whole. Other states have Universities with satelite campuses but Florida's model doesn't work that way.
True.

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It's probably finer detail than your players will ever need.
Quite likely, but it's not more detail than I need.

I like to know where NPCs have lived, how they're potentially connected to other NPCs, etc. That makes it pretty useful to know where they went to school, what they studied and where they stayed during.

So if an NPC who in 2018 is on the Penemue team of 'Night Riders' with the PCs took classes in Materials Science and Engineering at UF while he was serving in the Navy and then became a full-time graduate student at the University of Florida after he got out of the service (Caribbean Studies Specialization in the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and then a PhD program in Anthropology), I know that he was living in Gainesville at the time.

From that fact and a couple of other NPCs with connections to UF I get that the Florida 'Night Rider' team should probably be based around Gainesville, as that's a central place in Florida and at least a third of the people on the team need to live there anyway, to attend the university, do research and/or lecture.

It's... I guess, world-building for its own sake, but that's fun to me.
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Old 02-05-2020, 06:17 PM   #75
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Default Re: Getting Around Florida Quickly and Discreetly

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True.


Quite likely, but it's not more detail than I need.

I like to know where NPCs have lived, how they're potentially connected to other NPCs, etc. That makes it pretty useful to know where they went to school, what they studied and where they stayed during.

So if an NPC who in 2018 is on the Penemue team of 'Night Riders' with the PCs took classes in Materials Science and Engineering at UF while he was serving in the Navy and then became a full-time graduate student at the University of Florida after he got out of the service (Caribbean Studies Specialization in the Master of Arts in Latin American Studies and then a PhD program in Anthropology), I know that he was living in Gainesville at the time.

.
At least the way the campus map was oriented when I attended the Engineering stuff would have been up in the north-east quadrant across from the bookstore but not all the way to the athletic dorms or the law school. The later things would probably have been under the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and clustered in the south-east quadrant where 13th Street and University Avenue crossed.

That intersection pretty much marked the heart of G'ville with UF filling one quadrant and the heart of old downtown going down those 2 streets. The later the development was the farther out from there it was.

There were only about 7000 beds worth of dormitories in the late 70s so most of the student body had to live off-campus with a significant amount of off-campus housing just across from those 2 streets mixed in msotly with places to eat but newer apartments complexes a good bit farther out.

One of those 2 streets and I think it was 13th was just the local re-naming of State Road 441. That's mentioned in the Tom Petty song "American Girl" where "you could hear the cars roll by on 441 like waves crashing on the beach". That's one of the things that would tell you he was from G'ville.

Oh dear, I'm afraid i could go like this for a while but my info is 40 years old now and probably quite dated.
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Old 02-05-2020, 08:00 PM   #76
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Default Re: Seaplanes or Amphibious Aircraft for Caribbean Adventuring and Logistics

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Edit: I found out why An-2s aren't used by sky-diving companies in the US. It's because the FAA will only certify them as Experimental aircraft there, which prohibits 'for hire' operation.
Polish-built models can be used for commercial purposes, as there's a reciprocal certification agreement in place with Poland (and it doesn't apply to non-Polish ones, even if they are identical), and apparently recently the issue with Russian made ones was (at least somewhat) cleared up. The big limitation of 'experimental' certification for Kessler would be that planes so certified aren't allowed far from their airfield of registration.

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They apparently climb slowly and guzzle fuel and oil (which makes them more expensive to operate than more efficient and modern craft...
Apparently they empty their oil tank at about the same time as they empty their fuel tank, making it 'easy' to remember when to top up the oil. While they climb slowly and fly slowly, they also don't really have a stall speed, so much as have a point where they refuse to hold altitude and start losing altitude (fast enough you don't want to land that way, but slow enough that you'll be able to walk away). In a strong wind they can just about take off standing still, which makes landing in strong cross-winds 'interesting'.

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Also, the An-2 is allegedly super easy to maintain.
Standard Soviet design in that respect - easy to maintain, doesn't take sophisticated skills or equipment to maintain, but maintenance hours per hour of flight are poor.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:57 AM   #77
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Default An-2

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Polish-built models can be used for commercial purposes, as there's a reciprocal certification agreement in place with Poland (and it doesn't apply to non-Polish ones, even if they are identical), and apparently recently the issue with Russian made ones was (at least somewhat) cleared up. The big limitation of 'experimental' certification for Kessler would be that planes so certified aren't allowed far from their airfield of registration.
Yes, I saw that. Unfortunately, I also found that in the early 90s, the Polish manufacturer was selling new An-2s at an order of magnitude more than what you could buy a Russian-made one for from elsewhere in the former Soviet Union.

So, at least for the first two that Kessler obtained, they are not Polish-made. Which is fine, though, because as noted upthread, they don't need to be, given that Kessler has a need for aircraft based at Guadeloupe and Martinique, and France really does type certify Russian-made An-2s for normal commercial operations.

If, during the procese of assigning aircraft to home bases throughout Kessler's operations, I discover a need for more short-range transport aircraft, I'll certainly consider having Kessler add Polish An-2s, weighing their pros and cons versus a more conventional Western design for the purpose.

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Apparently they empty their oil tank at about the same time as they empty their fuel tank, making it 'easy' to remember when to top up the oil. While they climb slowly and fly slowly, they also don't really have a stall speed, so much as have a point where they refuse to hold altitude and start losing altitude (fast enough you don't want to land that way, but slow enough that you'll be able to walk away). In a strong wind they can just about take off standing still, which makes landing in strong cross-winds 'interesting'.
This all sounds amazing, strength and weaknesses both, from a GMing perspective. Also, from a practical perspective, very few aerial craft can transport a twelve man team and deliver them pretty much anywhere (even being noted as a popular parachuting platform) as easily and relatively affordably.

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Standard Soviet design in that respect - easy to maintain, doesn't take sophisticated skills or equipment to maintain, but maintenance hours per hour of flight are poor.
Indeed. Also, it takes a long-time to pre-flight, which is certainly a negative, albeit not one that precludes the use which the two on Gadeloupe and Martinique will be put.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:18 AM   #78
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Default Reply in 'Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast'

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At least the way the campus map was oriented when I attended the Engineering stuff would have been up in the north-east quadrant across from the bookstore but not all the way to the athletic dorms or the law school. The later things would probably have been under the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and clustered in the south-east quadrant where 13th Street and University Avenue crossed.

That intersection pretty much marked the heart of G'ville with UF filling one quadrant and the heart of old downtown going down those 2 streets. The later the development was the farther out from there it was.

There were only about 7000 beds worth of dormitories in the late 70s so most of the student body had to live off-campus with a significant amount of off-campus housing just across from those 2 streets mixed in msotly with places to eat but newer apartments complexes a good bit farther out.

One of those 2 streets and I think it was 13th was just the local re-naming of State Road 441. That's mentioned in the Tom Petty song "American Girl" where "you could hear the cars roll by on 441 like waves crashing on the beach". That's one of the things that would tell you he was from G'ville.

Oh dear, I'm afraid i could go like this for a while but my info is 40 years old now and probably quite dated.
Fred, I replied in the Study of Folklore and Magic in Texas and the Gulf Coast thread (specifically this post), as that's more appropriate for discussions of how the University of Florida fits into the background of people around Kessler.

Continued discussion of the logistics of transporting academics, investigators, monster hunters, paramilitary security, scientists and support personnel around the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean is very welcomed.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:37 AM   #79
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Default Re: An-2

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Indeed. Also, it takes a long-time to pre-flight, which is certainly a negative, albeit not one that precludes the use which the two on Gadeloupe and Martinique will be put.
I liked the bit where it was noted by one pilot that after you'd done your pre-flight, and turned the engine over a few times, you had a 5-10 minute wait for the oil to flow through the engine properly, so that was when you went in and logged your flight plan with the tower. They also noted that if you took too long, all the oil would have flowed into the bottom cylinders, and if you started the engine you'd bend all the valves and the engine would have to be torn apart and rebuilt. As the cure was to drain the engine, re-oil it and start over, I expect An-2 pilots to not tarry to chat with people in the tower when filing their plight plans.

For people who might need to leave a beach in a hurry, this means you give the pilot a departure window no more than 15 minutes wide and make damned sure you're there, or you accept that final pre-flight will take 10 minutes and you give that much warning of your impending arrival.

I also expect that these sorts of foibles were common to aircraft of the similar or older vintage, as most of them stem from using simple equipment with basic designs dating from WWII or earlier.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:02 AM   #80
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Default Re: An-2

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I liked the bit where it was noted by one pilot that after you'd done your pre-flight, and turned the engine over a few times, you had a 5-10 minute wait for the oil to flow through the engine properly, so that was when you went in and logged your flight plan with the tower. They also noted that if you took too long, all the oil would have flowed into the bottom cylinders, and if you started the engine you'd bend all the valves and the engine would have to be torn apart and rebuilt. As the cure was to drain the engine, re-oil it and start over, I expect An-2 pilots to not tarry to chat with people in the tower when filing their plight plans.

For people who might need to leave a beach in a hurry, this means you give the pilot a departure window no more than 15 minutes wide and make damned sure you're there, or you accept that final pre-flight will take 10 minutes and you give that much warning of your impending arrival.
That all sounds very conductive to fun adventure situations.

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I also expect that these sorts of foibles were common to aircraft of the similar or older vintage, as most of them stem from using simple equipment with basic designs dating from WWII or earlier.
Yeah.

TL6 aircraft are, obviously, less capable and convenient than TL7 and TL8 ones. On the other hand, given that some powerful magicians or paranormal phenomena can reduce the Malf. of late TL8 devices by 4, earlier TL8 by 2-3 and late TL7 devices by 1, it can be worthwhile in certain situations to put up with the less user-friendly TL6 or early TL7 aircraft.

The fact that at least one PC is a powerful enough magician to impose this penalty, as well as another PC having aspected Unluckiness around technological devices of at least early TL8, means that the PCs will make much more use of anachronistic transport than most other people in the setting.
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