Monthly Archives: April 2014
I had never heard of this fellow – but what a story.
As told by Dick ‘Beak” Stratton, Captain, USN (ret)
H/T to a fellow Lexican who posted this to the F/B page.
“Sometimes what a pilot sees in a day, people won’t see in their lifetimes. New Zealand has some truly amazing scenery.”
As I have gotten older, I’m afraid to say I have gotten a lot more cynical about many things.
Or perhaps reality has made more inroads.
Regardless, I was surprised at the decision by the Air Force to mothball both the A10 and the U2 programs. The A10, designed during the Cold War, was designed to blunt the Soviet Union’s huge numerical superiority in tanks.
While that mission never (fortunately) materialized, it did prove its worth repeatedly on the battlefield in ground support. And I think, it was never really wanted by the Air Force.
Wasn’t sexy and fast and – if I remember the story right – it wasn’t until the Army – seeing a need to protect its soldiers – offered to take them that the Air Force stepped in.
Regardless, it seems the Boneyard at Tuscon will see a few 100 A10s shortly.
Well, I certainly don’t know first hand the full capabilities of UAVs but there does seem to have a benefit of manned flight. Certainly there is no computer on, say, the Global Hawk as sophisticated as the mind of a U2 pilot.
It seems to me that some of the most successful weapons we have had have had a long and difficult gestation time – often created through the force of one man.
The F/A-18? All thanks to the efforts of one man.
P51? I guess it was the efforts of a few people at North American Aviation to produce this for the British.
Sidewinder Missile? All the efforts of one man at China Lake.
It’s been in use for 50 years, and the Air Force thinks it will be in inventory until “late in the 21st century”.
For some number of years, I had a neighbor whom I’d consider a character. And through my life, I have come to believe that those are the best kind of people to know.
He wasn’t always a favorite of our homeowner’s association, as he would be working on some junky car or truck in his driveway. He’d be covered in dirt and grease – filthy but happy. After I’d offer him a beer he’d talk about some of his past.
I enjoyed his company.
When I first met him, I thought he was full of – well, in loftier terms, hyperbole. But his stories involved a lot of self-deprecation which makes me think they were true.
Braggarts are not known for self-deprecation.
And Speed could laugh at himself.
So I’ve been following this (relatively) new blog “I don’t know; ask the skipper.” Started up in February of this year.
The guy has a way with words. Lots of good material over there.
So I’ve added him to the Blogroll. When you get a chance, check it out. Tell him “the Sarge sent me,” or not.
I think Lex would have liked this guy. Definitely an “OK-3.”
Sent to me by my Air Force friend.
I remember reading a post by Lex on the history of the F/A-18, and how it was the “loser” in the competition between the YF-16 and YF-17.
Both of these planes, at least to me, have been proven as one of the Pentagon’s better programs.