Monthly Archives: March 2020

Two generations working on a solution

This is a republication of content originally posted to –

I am posting it here so that we can better edit and respond to questions and changes. Thanks for your understanding. The initial introduction was written by my father, Steve Pankratz.


The information/proposal below was brainstormed by my brother, David Pankratz. David is a retired corporate pilot with a unique life experience in aviation. He is also blessed with a creative mind.
I am making this available to my friends in order to broadcast David’s Idea. I have checked with him regarding intellectual property issues. We both grew up on a Minnesota farm and know that in tough times like these, it’s not about power and profit, but the commonness of humankind and the value in recognizing strength in coming together. So, feel free to share this idea with anyone who is interested and especially folks and groups interested in developing the idea.


To whom it may concern:

I have organized some thoughts and ideas on the utilization of the numerous airliners that are now idle, and parked all over the world. Most of these aircraft are just off recent service, and can quickly be reconfigured and made available at various locations where the need for hospital bed space in urgent. The general idea is not to transport patients, but to bring the largest planes to major airports where the patients can be brought to an dedicated and isolated airport concourse gate, where they can then board one of these aircraft which have been reconfigured for emergency patient assessment, testing, and ventilator/ICU treatment as indicated.

Beginning with close coordination with knowledgeable and qualified hospital nurses, doctors, technicians, health officials, airline executives, city mayors/state governors, and perhaps Boeing/Airbus systems engineers, I believe these planes could each be stripped overnight of all seats and non-essential equipment (lavs, sinks, micro-wave ovens, etc, should be left in place). The cabins would be cleaned and prepped to hospital standards now in use. For reconfiguration, the next phase might require the plane be flown to where the beds and medical equipment are located, or the equipment be brought to the location of the plane and the technical personnel. Emergency hospital beds/cots could be installed with appropriate spacing and separation, and with minimal disruption to the floor fittings. Required medical equipment and machines could then be hooked into the aircraft/ground electrical, air, and oxygen systems already on board. WiFi could be used for telemetry transmission to hospital center for monitoring and tracing purposes. Overhead compartments would be stocked with supplies and equipment. I have no idea how this would be funded, but I am convinced it can be done logistically, and quickly.

Once configured, each plane would be flown to a suitable airport in the area or city of urgent need. The planes should be met with all necessary ground support, including electric, air conditioning and purification filtering, human waste, and bio-hazard disposal equipment. This equipment would be manned 24/7, until the plane is no longer needed. It could then be re-assigned as necessary.

These planes, then, would be mobile ER or hospital units. They would not fly patients, but would serve in place on the ground as an urgent, temporary facility, to relieve and augment the needs of the areas in the US which may become overwhelmed.

I did some rough math after consulting with an ER RN, and a friend who runs the respiratory therapy dept. for a major hospital. With reference to dimensions of the main and upper A-380 decks, the total square area of 6880 sq. ft. would allow for approximately 100 to 115 beds, with proper separation and working clearance for nurses/doctors/techs to move around each bed. The B-777 could accommodate 30-50 beds, depending on required care level. Much of the equipment could be stowed in the overhead baggage compartments, and some under each bed. Also, Boeing in ICT has recently laid off nearly 7,000 people. I can imagine that some could be called back to help accomplish these reconfigs. Most interestingly, my brother Steve, who lives in ICT, said there is a Boeing/Airbus group there that works together on different projects.

I hope that people who read about this concept will transmit it to the people who can make this happen, anywhere in the world where it is needed. Please read the article at the link. I am open to suggestions. Thanks!


David Pankratz


Topic number one – PASSWORDS

We all have them, we all use them, most of us don’t like them very much. Those of us who work in technology have even more complex relationships with them.

My opinion is that we’ve not handled passwords very well. And, that their value as security mechanism is continuing to diminish.

All sorts of “worst password” lists are compiled annually. Here’s a link to one that I do NOT vouch for or control the content on –

Passwords I still see at least once a month being used for something technology related –

– password
– password123
– default
– letmein
– football
– 123456789

If you utilize any of these passwords for any of your devices, accounts, email addresses, etc. I implore you to stop. It’s not even a speck of security.

Without trying (and absolutely failing) to explain mathematical principles like entrophy, I can offer this MOST important piece of advise about passwords –

“The longer the password the better/more secure it is”

There are obviously exceptions to this. An 18 character password that is all the character x is NOT secure, for example. Common phrases or well know quotes will be easy to break.

But, if you choose 4 or 5 words that are not normally associated with each other AND are easy for you to remember then you have a MUCH more secure password. Here’s a visual aid from the excellent online comic xkcd –

Other suggestions are to include things like words from another language, portions of an old locker combination, etc. Avoid public data like SSN, date of birth, high school graduation year, and so on.

We could talk for days about passwords. Usage, theory, how often to change, how to store, etc. This article is meant to provide a basic starting point for people to understand how to choose good passwords to protect things, people, and resources.

Remember – Longer is better and something unique that you can remember!


Technology Times, They Are A Changin’


Everybody doing ok? I know the answer. Not all of us are OK. Not all of us are going to be OK. The world and all of our lives is changing at an incomprehensible pace right now. I’m not sure what to do, or where to be, or how to act, or what to say.

Some of us have kids, all of us have people we love and who love us. I’m a 46 year old, bald, overweight husband and father of 4 boys. I’m lucky. I know others who are not as fortunate as I am. So, I’m going to do what I can to help.

I’ve been paid to deal with technology since 1997. Half my life officially. I know a VERY small slice of this world and some of it not very well. But I know people I can ask, and I’ve ALWAYS liked asking questions.

So, I’m going to start taking about basics in technology. Passwords, wifi, online shopping, security, etc. These are important topics to understand at a basic level in order to protect you, your money/assets, and your family. The current resources I am aware of are boring, outdated, and generally dis interesting to me.

I’m not sure how often I’ll post about things, but I’ll do as many topics as I can. And I promise to do the best job I can in explaining things.

I’m going to leave comments off for now on these posts, but may consider turning them on if I have time and energy to deal with them.

If you have suggestions for topics, questions about posts, or other information I may be able to provide, please contact me via email at the following address:

Thanks, stay safe, and be good to each other!