Monthly Archives: June 2016

Something Innate

By lex, on October 26th, 2008

Flew twice yesterday, called in by the owners out of critical need on a day I had hoped to use more productively. A pair of families visiting from out of town, the first from Santa Barbara and the second all the way from Oklahoma – there would have been no realistic chance of rescheduling for better pilot availability. It’d have meant a lost opportunity for the company, two cost centers sitting there on the ramp generating no revenue.

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Foggy Weather

By lex, on October 21st, 2008

It’s funny the way that things associate in your mind. I’ve been flying a little bit these days, all under visual meteorological conditions, since practically the only instruments kept up to snuff in the Vargas we fly are the altimeter and airspeed indicators. Not like the little planes were ever intended for instrument flight.

I’ve been flying the odd instrument approach on my laptop, dreaming of someday flying hither and yon despite the occasional puff of cloud or veil of mist. And heading to work today on the bike I was faced with the kind of fog an FA-18 pilot would silently fume at, knowing that his odds of breaking the surly decreased with each passing moment. It brought so many things back.

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Home

By lex, on October 10th, 2008

Back from the land of doom, gloom and POM-10 (which is really all the same thing). Wore an actual suit! Twice! On account of proximity to Our Nation’s Capital. Learned a quick lesson on the importance of pre-flighting your gear, prior to cross-country travel: If it wants to wear the blue Brook’s Brother’s shirt with French Cuffs, it has to bring the cufflinks. Or else it will look (superficially) like a Lagerfeld impersonator.

A couple of things surprised me about the conference: 1) It was alarmingly technical, and 2) I actually understood almost all of it. I’d love to tell you what it was about, but it was very highly classified, so if I dished, I’d have to seek out all of you without security clearances. And kill you.

Which would be such a dreadful bother, so: No.

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First Flight

By lex, on September 23rd, 2008

Someone pointed out last weekend – after I’d shared the story of flying John – that I had never written of my own first flight. There’s a reason for that really: The truth is probably anticlimactic.

The polite thing, of course, would be to say that it was a roller coaster ride, the full E-Ticket, love at first sight. The real story is a little more… pedestrian?

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Flying John

By lex, on September 13th, 2008

So, yeah: First day at the new aerodrome. Google mapped the place first just to get the lay of the land. Landmarks, rough headings. Airspace restrictions. It’s much the tighter bit of work for the VFR bugsmasher than was Palomar, and even with 4,000+ hours of flight time, your correspondent is a relative novice at this whole VFR transition through embedded Class “D” airspace under the lateral limits of the Class “B” wheeze. Back in the days of fast jets and loose women, it was 35,000 feet until an en route descent to either a PAR pick-up or visual overhead, request the carrier break. IFR handling all the way. Pretty hard to goon it up, do what you’re told.

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Postcards from the hedge

By lex, on September 6th, 2008

Random observations of a Tailhook Convention from the “other” side of the bed.

There are really two – and maybe three –  separate Tailhook Conventions occupying the same physical space. The first consists of eager-eyed junior officers and contented but watchful commanding officers walking about wondering who all the old farts are. They’ve come to talk with their hands in the daylight hours, pop in and out of various briefings as the mood strikes them, walk the convention floor picking up swag that will molder in their closets at home for several years before being swept up in a spring cleaning drill and pick a fight with the flag panel when the time comes to “keep it real.” Continue reading

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A coveted billet, no doubt

By lex, on August 28th, 2008

Occasional reader DM sends us to this page containing visual proof or vintage and unusual aircraft. There’s a lot to see there, including a classic “you’re doing it wrong” aerial refueling demonstration, but what really caught my eye was this picture of the Bell XP-63 “Pinball” manned aerial target.

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A good wingman

By lex, on August 21st, 2008

When I was a plebe (he said, and across the fleet, eyeballs roll), CAPT Dick Stratton spoke to my class about his experience as an aviator, POW and senior officer. One of his anecdotes struck me at the time as peculiar.

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Whatever His Reason, It wasn’t Stolen Valor

There have been a number of books that I have read over the years that have left a mark on me. Some years ago I read a book by James Bradley about his father John.

Rosenthal

Copyright Associated Press

John was a Navy Corpsman on Iwo Jima. As I remember the book it wasn’t until his father, a funeral home owner in the Midwest, died and they went through some of his papers in the attic that they had any idea of his background.

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Kids

By lex, on August 17th, 2008

It’s funny sometimes, the little things. One of the Hobbit’s friends is out of town and her daughter – one of the Kat’s friends – has been staying with us for the last cuppla. Good kid.

You’d never get the impression from the Kat that she gives a fig about whatever experiences her parents have got in their wake. Any advice based on lessons learned is subjected to varsity eyeball rolling. Please. Things are so different today. And so on.

And yet, her friend asks informed, probing questions. About things that clearly have been relayed to her by your own daughter, like. Things which she herself had never spoken about, asked about or even showed an interest in. But about which she had clearly been paying attention, whenever a word or two was uttered. Putting it all together.

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