By lex, on October 15th, 2011
Just the one hop today with hizzoner the chief pilot, flown against a pair of Marine FA-18Ds. Your host was prepared and expecting to launch off on his lonesome once again into the burning blue, but the maintenance bubbas had not run out of tricks to pluck out of their sleeves, and flight lead’s jet was fixed and ready to go. Shortly prior to the coordination brief, the chief pilot asked did I care to lead the event, at all?
The only possible answer to which is, yes, of course.
A rather brief coordination brief with the fighters, who – wishing to give their Marine ground crews the weekend off – had decamped to Boise, deploying on cross-country rules from the local air station. During the odd moments between briefing and walking out to the jets, we were joined by an impossibly young – but thoroughly professional – pair of Canadian ground control intercept officers, come from Cold Lake to escape the frigid temperatures of Cold Lake, a place that has apparently earned its name. Think about that for a moment: Come to Idaho, in October. To escape the weather.
Oh, there was probably more to it than that. Training and so on, the Maple Flag this year having been cancelled on account of the recent Libyan contretemps, and the annual contingent of the Luftwaffe which traditionally decamps here for to polish up their mad skills in some of the most liberal training ranges of the Lower 48 having decided to give it a pass, this year, due to their ongoing transition to the Eurofighter. Which hopefully will be built on a more stable industrial base than the Euro itself.
But I digress.
Our interlocutors were from British Columbia and Halifax, bracketing the Great White Up and sharing little else but a common uniform and disdain for the Quebecois. A disdain, I gather, which is heartily returned with interest. We will give you the French, one said, to which I replied we’ll take them but only in exchange for the OWS set. A deal said he, so long as we had no heartburn with their settlement in Nunavut. No objections said I, only dimly aware of the existence of a place named Nunavet, far less its actual location. I could only imagine that, for amenities, it had none of it.
Wretched, I know.
Anyways, the hop went fairly well, the fighters were undismayed by our motions, and we were several times killed, and regenerated, only to be killed again. The range being but 35 miles south of Mountain Home, the RTB was a mad scramble, but I somehow pulled it off. Take-offs and landings still add up to a round number, and it’s another 1.2 of turbine time in the logbook.
We dined out at a Mexican restaurant. Think on that, for a moment: Come to Idaho, from San Diego. For to dine on Mexican food.
It was buffet style, and heavy. Your host felt compelled to a 9-g power nap after it was done. This being Saturday night, and tomorrow’s flight being in the middle of the afternoon, I go out in search of the Christian Science reading room, or perhaps an orphanage, for to do some charity work.
Idle hands, and that.