Posted on December 2, 2005
In the mood for a musing? In the mood for an amusing musing?
It’s 1830 on a Friday night and I’m sitting in a small room with four others in my Master’s cohort playing games with a little lego robot. We are not particularly happy to be in one another’s company, at this point. There are other places we would rather be, oh, yes – very.
How’s that for a musing? How “amusing” is that?
I know: Not so much.
Home again. For no particular reason, I found myself thinking about a missile shoot I was on, back in the day. Way back in the day. I was dash-4 to try and down a QF-86 – a target drone, using an unmanned Korean-era fighter. Dash-1 was a guy who had come from a farming background, and would soon return to it. It was a high angle of attack shot using the AIM-9M, a new missile at that time. The drone would be puking out decoy flares fifty to the dollar as soon as the missile came off the rail. As soon as farmer-boy shot, and the flares started to come out of the drone, I remember thinking, “No way. No way the missile hacks the combination of high AOA and all them flares. Out there in front of it.”
And then of course, I pursed my lips a bit as Mr. Sidewinder took a peek at all them flares and decided that he’d have none, give you thanks. Instead, he’d rather go through the cockpit. Right there in front of God and everybody. Nobody in there at the time, it being a drone and all. Empty, if you will.
Still. It could make a thinking man stop and, well: Think. For a bit.
But only for a bit. The QF-86 started to wobble-like. You would too, if you’d just taken a five hundred pound missile through the glass works. It became clear to all of us standing in line, dash-2 through your humble scribe that it would have to be Our Civic Duty to go and gun the thing before it fell down in one of the more populated areas of Los Angeles, or whatever. Maybe even the ocean sea. Worse came to worst.
Fortunately, our 20mm cannon were fully primed for just such an occasion.
Interesting it was upon later review, to see the three of us select “Guns” at very nearly the same moment, arm up, and turn to lead pursuit. Educational to note that a few seconds later, each of us went to momentary lag, thinking about the potential sequelae of an F-86 blowing up in front of us, a couple thousand yards ahead, having been appropriately gunned. Picturing the cloud of debris as what had been a Korean-era fighter turned to shards in front of us, imagining the hungry maws of our jet engine intakes taking it all in. Fascinating to report that after an only momentary hesitation in consideration of all the bad things that could possibly happen, the three of us over-banked, and returned to lead pursuit. Every one of us all heedless to the others hoping to converge upon the killing zone. Thinking, “Fork it, how many chances does a man get?”
Or words to that effect.
And what of the drone itself? Oh, gentle reader – the drone itself was a bitter disappointment. Spun into the sea, so it did, with never a chance to let a man solve for lead, range or plane of motion. Ungrateful wretch that it was.