By lex, on December 27th, 2011
I read this article about Navy Captain Jim “Fish” Webb’s four thousandth flight hour with a little bit of envy:
For the final few months of his Navy career, Capt. Jim Webb will sport a new patch on the left shoulder of his flight suit.
It represents an achievement that fewer than two dozen military pilots have accomplished: 4,000 hours in the cockpit of an F/A-18 fighter jet.
Webb, commanding officer of Oceana Naval Air Station, hit the milestone earlier this month during a routine flight as an instructor, serving as a wingman to a student pilot with just over a dozen hours in the jet.
Although most of Webb’s days are spent as the de facto mayor of the Navy’s East Coast master jet base – setting policy, managing budgets, meeting with city officials – he has continued to fly a few hours most weeks as an instructor with Strike Fighter Squadron 106.
“At this stage of my career, to be able to be flying with the newest guys – the fact I get to do that all is pretty amazing,” he said. “I feel very blessed to be able to do it this long.”
Only a couple dozen Navy and Marine aviators have logged 4,000 hours in the Hornet. Some of them have even flown that many hours. (I keed. Sort of.)
I was even prepared to go all “bagger” on him, having a mere 2460 FA-18 hours of my own. (One of my JO’s lamented that I hadn’t quite made it to 2500 hours. I reminded him that 2500 hours in the Hornet earned you the right to wear a 2000 hour patch.)
So it’s kind of a big deal for a professional aviator.
But then I read some of the comments in the (in this case) aptly named “Virginia-Pilot”:
Weird how a guy can be praised about reaching a milestone of 4,000 hrs flying the F18 that has been around since the late 80s…This means that he didn’t earn any of his flight pay over the last 15 years…If he flew only 3 hours a day for 270 days of a year that would equal 810 hours. So, who’s money did he waste in the last 15 years…the American taxpayer.
This is NO accomplishment, only another way for aviators justify an existence in the US NAVY.
We can do a lot more with drones at a third of the cost. They would have a lot more time in the air…
There are more in the same vein, hinting that his flying as an instructor, 1) wasn’t a good expenditure of taxpayer dollars (because students ought to train themselves), 2) he was only in it for the flight pay (which dribbles down to next to nothing as a captain), and 3) even that little money ought to be reserved for those going to combat (they call it “flight pay” rather than “combat pay” for a reason).
It really ought to hurt to be that stupid.
Anyway, BZ Fish.