Monthly Archives: February 2016


Mon – January 26, 2004

An overstress is when a pilot pull’s more “g” than the aircraft is rated for. While it’s true that there is an engineering pad attached to the g-limit, the pad is inelastic – in other words, each overstress event will to a greater or lesser degree reduce long-term airframe integrity and service life.

Overstressing a jet is considered bad form, but it’s also something that will happen from time to time. I wouldn’t trust a fighter pilot who’d never overstressed his aircraft. It either meant he didn’t trust himself, or that he wasn’t trying hard enough to fly up against the performance limits, the “edge of the envelope.” But it’s also true that you just wouldn’t want to try to make a career out of overstressing aircraft.

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A party in San Diego


By lex,  on Sun – January 25, 2004

Several years ago, as a comrade and I were discussing retirement, I had to ask: “How do we know who our friends will be, if we don’t have a squadron to join?”

It was a non-trivial question – as you move from one squadron to another, you and your significant other will meet a number of wonderful people almost instantly. You know they are to be the center of your social life for the next few years, and that these are your friends. You just don’t know their names yet.

My friend answered, “When you get out (of the Navy), your kids parents are your friends.”

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The time has come, the walrus said

By lex, on January 19th, 2004

To talk of many things: Of boats and rats and tickle sticks, of motorbikes and bees…

Gary from the Owner’s Manual sent me a link to a funny story , which put me in mind of something that happened once when I was stationed in Key West, Florida.

Key West was great duty of course – we lived in base housing by the water, which essentially meant that you had year ’round resort living on a lieutenant’s salary, something that would not, without the slightest risk of exaggeration, be otherwise possible.

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Port Visits – Perth

By lex, on January 17th, 2004

I joined the Navy to see the world – only to find out that the world was two-thirds water…

My first deployment ever was onboard USS CONSTELLATION, in 1987. I joined the ship mid-cruise, in the North Arabian Sea.

The first thing that struck me as I disembarked the cargo plane that had unceremoniously dumped me and my belongings on the deck, was that the FA-18′s scattered about the flight deck were carrying live missiles. I’d never even seen them before. I will save for another day perhaps, the story of how I almost shot my squadron CO down on my first flight in the fleet, except to note that had I done so, my supply of sea stories would have long since been exhausted…

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Colors on the Stennis

By lex, on Thu – January 15, 2004

I was driving in to work this morning, past the carrier piers, where USS JOHN C. STENNIS and USS NIMITZ are parked. I was running a little late, and turned the corner by the carrier pier just at 0755. Just in time for morning colors.

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Bug Smashers

By lex, on January 13th, 2004

Any airplane that doesn’t come with an ejection seat, isn’t powered by jet engines (turboprops don’t count) and isn’t explicitly designed to blow stuff up qualifies as a bug smasher. It’s equally correct to call them puddle jumpers.

Fighter guys pretty much universally believe that there is a hierarchy in naval aviation. At the pinnacle are fighters, and those that fly them. Much psychological (and no small amount of physical) blood has been shed between F-14 crews and FA-18 pilots as to which is the best fighter, but both allow as how the other is no lower on the food chain than the next lower rung. Next closest rung belongs to anyone who drops ordnance of any kind. Below that are carrier aviators in general, tailhook pilots.

After that comes helo pilots, prop pilots and the US Air Force.

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The worst day ever

By lex, on January 9th, 2004

I don’t tell this story very often. Although the events inside it happened almost 12 years ago, the memory is still fresh, and still painful.

Over the years I’ve told it to two ready rooms, both by way of instruction – a kind of “been there, seen that,”in order to prevent anything like it from ever happening again. But it’s not one of those sea stories you tell over a beer, among friends. It’s a sad story. Maybe I post this one. Maybe I don’t.

The story is not really about me, but about Terry.

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Another Remarkable Aviator Has Passed Into The Clearing

….with the news that British Capt Eric “Winkel” Brown died February 21. His list of accomplishments is long.

He wasn’t in the RAF, but the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy. Before the war, he was friends with the famed German aviator Ernst Udet.

Just some of his accomplishments: Flew almost 500 types of aircraft. Most carrier landings – 2,407. First to land a jet on a carrier.

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For everything there is a time

By lex, on January 8th, 2004

And for each thing a season.

And right now, I think it’s time for a rant. I received a resignation letter from a junior officer recently. Not the one I blogged about here , a different one. A resignation letter is a two-part document: the first page or so is a statement of particulars; name, SSN, service entry date and resignation eligibility date. You have the opportunity to state whether or not you’d like a commission in the reserves.

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Bad Day on the 5, yesterday

By lex, on January 7th, 2004

Son number one had a physical at 0830 for his pursuit of a Naval Academy appointment and ROTC nomination

Having some experience with the rigors of military physicals , I helpfully offered him the advice to keep pressure on the main fire hose after he got up that morning, since the first thing he’d have to do upon arrival at the clinic would no doubt be to provide a urine sample. Not much worse than being handed the cup and having nothing at all to offer. You’ll receive sympathetic advice like, “drink some water,” and “try not to think about it.” Which doesn’t much help in the short term.

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