Monthly Archives: October 2017

Grecian Formula

By lex, on November 2nd, 2011

The Greeks are famously in an uproar at their Socialist government, which has stocked the public service roles with non-functioning functionaires even while going on a borrowing and spending binge to pay for it all.  This is by no means unique to the (latest) Papandreaou government: Like most governments which preceded it since the 1975 overthrow of the military junta that once ruled the country, the PASOK party chose to use their political power to reward their friends. Nothing much new in that either, but in the Grecian case, these rewards weren’t tax loopholes or highway projects, but safe government jobs where the phone never rang and there was never any paperwork to push.

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Day Two

By lex, on November 1st, 2011

A far more gentlemanly commencement time of 0800. The first event was already recovering when I went in, led by an F-16 with an FA-18 wingman, and then a steady stream of warriors returning from the range in twos, threes and fours. Having already finished the easy part, with the debrief yet to come. I found the sight strangely moving. Not in a, “we’ve just successfully completed our Milestone C decision brief and are now ready to move into low rate initial production and testing,” but, you know: You take what you can get.

Threat Aircraft until lunchtime, which there are a very great many of them, of various capabilities. And that’s all I have to say about that. Followed by lunch, and then FA-18 Radars, targeted towards an air intercept controller level of understanding. Which they’ve got their point of view, and the fighters have their own. Complementary, like. But different.

High aspect basic fighter maneuvers in the afternoon, well-researched and delivered. That was always one of the toughest lectures to give, I always thought. Because it’s one thing to talk the talk, but if you’re the 1v1 subject matter expert at the (prestigious) Navy Fighter Weapons School, you’d better by God be able to walk the walk.

Which was never, in my personal opinion, much of a problem, for those so charged.

Still, it’s as much an art as it is a science, and the mantle of expertise can be heavy to bear.

Much to say, and little to tell.

Ed. – Day One is in the index


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Let’s call it a draw

By lex, on June 10th, 2008

On the one hand, SS Stephen Hopkins, a 14,000 ton transport carrying a single 4-inch gun mounted right aft along with an assortment of light anti-aircraft machine guns and manned by a crew of 40 merchant mariners augmented by a 15-man US Navy security detachment. On the other, the German auxiliary cruiser Stier, of 11,000 tons but carrying 6-115 mm (~4 inch) cannon, 1 twin 37mm gun, 2 twin 20 mm guns and two torpedo tubes.

In a meeting engagement on 27 September 1942, well – let the American Spectator‘s Hal Colebatch tell it:

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Happy Thought of the Day

By lex, on October 25th, 2011

I got back late last night from Pensacola *, and if I never fly aboard the C-word airline again it’ll be too soon. A 1.5 hour delay on deck at my origination, on account of weather, so I was told. Which there wasn’t any, yesterday. So there’s that. An egregiously underqualified technician spent half an hour puttering on her workstation before confessing to the congregation that she hadn’t a clue what to do. Her more experienced co-worker flipped her hair, sighed and made things right in three or four keystrokes. Maybe five. Which still left us with a three hour layover in Houston, and arriving in Sandy Eggo at 2230. Wherein the baggage handlers apparently decided that offloading the first twenty bags from the 757′s cargo hold was a sufficient accomplishment to reward themselves with a 15-minute smoke break, for the Hobbit had to go round and round whilst my backpack – whose loading fee worked out to a little better than $1.50 a pound – sat forlorn and unworn somewhere in the great ughknown.

But! Today is a new day, one spent chiefly wondering how in the world I will catch up on all my domestic duties left dangling, lo! These many weeks. And plausibly bill my non-flying work hours, file a travel claim, reconcile checkbooks, &c.

And! Quite at a loss at where to begin, I took Gus the dachshund for his morning constitutional. Which he was desperately in need of, certain requirements of his own insensitive to the workload that has accumulated Chez Lex in hizzoner’s absence. And especially inasmuch as the little feller had only two nights ago come off a self-imposed hunger strike we correlate to the Hobbit’s absence from the house, there being little if anything the Kat could do while in charge of the inner and outer demesnes to induce the cross-grained bugger to, you know: Eat.

Whereupon: I espied two Marine Corps Hornets launching off into the morning air, their departure flight path placing them but a little way above our heads before climbing into the sun-scorched blue.

Living as I have here in the Crushing Burden of Debt for nigh on ten years, such sightings have become commonplace. In the past I have watched them with a professional eye, coupled with a tinge of bittersweet regret. For I flew them aircraft once, and it has long felt as though I was watching my old girlfriend stepping out with a younger man, like. The temptation to stalk the old girl was strong. Maybe drunk dial her late at night, ask soddenly if we couldn’t get back together again, whether she’d reconsider. After all that we’d had together.

As I walked the sun-dappled park with my disembouging dachshund in tow, that feeling was conspicuously absent, and I turned a wry smile to the retreating fighter section’s tail. See you around, I thought to myself. Check six.

It’s my sky too.

** Lex and The Hobbit had just returned from seeing SNO graduate flight school – Ed. 

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By lex, on October 26th, 2011

Abusive language, it appears:

The commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Shipyard has been reprimanded for “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman” and permanently relieved of command.

(The captain) will be reassigned to administrative duties, the Navy said Tuesday.

This is the second such shakeup at the Portsmouth shipyard in just over a year.

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By lex, on October 26th, 2011

What goes around comes around:

A group of several dozen “Occupy Las Vegas” protesters camping on Clark County land located under the final approach to Runway 19 at McCarran International Airport today narrowly missed being injured when a 50 lb. slab of “blue ice” reportedly landed within feet of their tents.

According to witnesses, the slab fell to earth seconds after Air Force One passed overhead while landing.

Blue ice is the frozen material formed by leaks in commercial aircraft lavatory waste tanks, a mixture of human waste and vivid blue liquid disinfectant that freezes at high altitude. The ice generally dissipates long before the aircraft lands, but there have been documented cases of blue ice clinging to aircraft surfaces until the aircraft reaches warmer air on approach to landing, then the ice may separate from the aircraft and fall to earth.

Clark County Director of Aviation Randall Walker was immediately notified and dispatched airport personnel to the campsite, but witnesses report that the blue ice had melted by the time officials arrived leaving only a smelly brown residue.

I’m glad no one was hurt.

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Ground Abort

By lex, on October 18th, 2011

Was to have been a two-hop day, and during the first your humble once again led to and from the battlespace. With a shade less buffoonery than before, so that – hey, presto! – he is now a two-ship lead. Sing halleluiah!

The weather here is as perfect as possible. Winds right down the runway – the two-miles and a bit long runway – visibility unrestricted, nary a cloud in sight. The potential existence of such things as “clouds” a subject for philosophic debate. Angels on pinheads, and so on. Anti-matter. Dark matter. The Higgs boson.

I digress.

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