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Who's up for a trip to Staples? ("Question about flight simulator brings visit from police")

Bryophyte

Lifer
Apr 25, 2001
13,430
13
81
So, who else is going to Staples to ask about civil aviation training software? According to the article below (and a Staples employee), Microsoft's Flight Sim software is "illegal". Hmmm...news to me...


http://www.recorder.com/Headlines/tuesday_basic.htm

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Question about flight simulator brings visit from police
By VIRGINIA RAY
Recorder Staff

COLRAIN - An innocent inquiry to a Staples store clerk about a computer software program that teaches how to fly an airplane by instrumentation brought a surprise visit this holiday season to a local family from the state police.

"At first, I felt a little angry and violated" about someone telling authorities about her inquiry, said Julie Olearcek, a 15-year Air Force Reserve pilot. "But now that time has gone by, I realize it may take someone like that, who's a little nervous, who may save the day." Olearcek's husband, Henry, is also a flier, currently on active duty, and frequently away from home these days.

About a week before Christmas, Olearcek said the couple's 10-year-old son, who has flight simulation software and is keenly interested in learning to fly like his parents, commented that he'd have to wait until his dad retired to learn to fly by instruments. She went to Staples soon after and took her son to the office supply store, where he looked through the available software.

"He was disappointed because there was military stuff, but it was all fighting stuff, so I asked the clerk, and he was alarmed by us asking how to fly airplanes and said that was against the law," Olearcek said. "I said I couldn't imagine that, but, because (the clerk) was a little on edge ... I left." But "what saves us, is people are paying attention," she said.

Olearcek said she and her husband both were well aware that the Office of Homeland Security had raised the threat level during the holiday and of the generally increased terrorism alert following the Sept. 11 plane attacks.

"And rightly so, this puts people on edge," she said.

But she was taken aback by what happened next.

"By 8 p.m., a state trooper was at my house," she said. "At first, it was a little unnerving because it was pouring rain and my husband had just left ... My son said he heard someone walking around outside and it startled him. We had put our Christmas tree in front of a sliding glass door and the trooper ended up tapping on the glass of that door and putting a flashlight in and it scared us."

But Olearcek said she doesn't believe the trooper was intentionally trying to frighten her family. Nor does she blame the clerk for erring on the side of caution.

"We all have to be aware," she said, not really even wanting to speak of the incident on the record, but wanting to keep the record straight. "It's not just the people in uniform who have to be looking after this country. So when people see something out the ordinary, they pay attention. Maybe by the way we worded the question - who knows? - it triggered the individual. Still, if they had done their homework (at Staples) they would see I home school my children and am a frequent customer and have a teacher's ID on file."

Olearcek said the trooper asked her if she had inquired about the software, and she said she had and showed him her military identification.

"He was totally understanding, but protocol means he has to follow through," Olearcek said. "I immediately gave him my military ID and I had no problem giving it to him. At first I felt like, 'Wait a minute, this is America.' But we also have to understand it takes everybody to pay attention. At first I was a little frazzled with someone knocking on my window at 8:30 at night, but the bottom line is this is a civilian who has tried to do his best."

Sgt. Donald Charpentier of the Shelburne Falls State Police barracks said police received a telephone call from the Staples manager "that a person had been looking for instructional videos regarding flying planes."

"Those programs are quite common for entertainment and training, but he felt it was suspicious enough to warrant a call," Charpentier said. "We responded, and it turned out to be innocent enough; a person looking to buy a Christmas gift."

Staples' spokesperson Sharyn Frankel said the employees were doing what they have been told to do.

"After 9/11, our store associates were instructed that if they see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, they're to contact their managers and local authorities," Frankel said. "It's all about keeping our associates and customers safe and this was out of the ordinary and kind of raised a red flag and they did what they thought was right."

"Bottom line is we've all got to look out for each other, and I wasn't harmed," summed up Olearcek. "And what if it were the other way around? It's going to take everyone in each town to look after one another."

You can reach Virginia Ray at: gray@recorder.com.
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TommyVercetti

Diamond Member
Jan 4, 2003
7,623
1
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You know damn right if that family was even a bit foreign looking or had a foreign name, the FBI, CIA and what not would have been all over them. Not only that, but the media would have made a big hoopla out of it, digging up their history, misquoting them, trying to find just a single quote which probably showing how they don't support the war in Iraq or something.

 

crab

Diamond Member
Jan 29, 2001
7,330
19
81
Welp, I should be executed by now.....I have few thousand dollar training software....I 100% guarantee that I can fly a 757/767 or 747 from start to finish.

I can go right now and plop down a couple hundred $ and get a few hours on a full-motion level-D training sim. Truth is, anyone can. Its not a big deal.
 

stormbv

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2000
3,446
1
0
Staples..good idea. There's a girl there I wanted to holla at. I'm goin', that's all there is to it. :D
 

stormbv

Diamond Member
Dec 23, 2000
3,446
1
0
Originally posted by: Bryophyte
Originally posted by: Frdm51472
R
The only other post about this I can find was one posted ONE MINUTE AFTER mine. Where's the original post (before mine?)
lol...the other person who posted this article is getting harangued by the repost Nazi's, too.
 

Yossarian

Lifer
Dec 26, 2000
18,010
1
81
Originally posted by: Frdm51472
Originally posted by: Bryophyte
Originally posted by: Frdm51472
R
The only other post about this I can find was one posted ONE MINUTE AFTER mine. Where's the original post (before mine?)
http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=52&threadid=1220616&FTVAR_MSGDBTABLE=
lol that thread, and pretty much that entire forum, is pathetic. I would much prefer reading a "repost" here to a bevy of personal attacks and dirty laundry in P&N.
 

Frdm51472

Senior member
May 30, 2002
334
0
0
Shrug, I tend to agree with you....I decided to read there and not participate. But still...3 days ago....
 

Joker81

Golden Member
Aug 9, 2000
1,281
0
0
Next time ask. Do you have a game where people kill each other with machine guns and grenades. Probably wouldn't have been a problem. haha.
 

RU482

Lifer
Apr 9, 2000
12,686
2
81
Originally posted by: stormbv
Staples..good idea. There's a girl there I wanted to holla at. I'm goin', that's all there is to it. :D
I've noticed on thing about staples employees in the 3 cities I've lived in,

there's usually:

1 Hot college age chick, usually the cashier, usually with a great ass
1 toad of a woman, always with glasses, always at the Customer Service/Printing counter
1 or 2 college age dufus guys, usually fvcking around not doing anything
1 complete nerd that it seems like the other people make fun of
1 grumpy manager type, male or female
 
Jan 31, 2002
40,819
1
0
Originally posted by: redly1
Originally posted by: stormbv
Staples..good idea. There's a girl there I wanted to holla at. I'm goin', that's all there is to it. :D
I've noticed on thing about staples employees in the 3 cities I've lived in,

there's usually:

1 Hot college age chick, usually the cashier, usually with a great ass
1 toad of a woman, always with glasses, always at the Customer Service/Printing counter
1 or 2 college age dufus guys, usually fvcking around not doing anything
1 complete nerd that it seems like the other people make fun of
1 grumpy manager type, male or female
The one at my local shop has a great rack too. She's stacked like ten dollars of pancakes at a highway truck stop. :beer:

- M4H
 

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