Author Archives: Busbob

About Busbob

Lord help me fly through life straight and level.

Toad ja so…

A while back I posted a  commentary, along with photos, on the F-35, and an issue the plane may have.

That was here:

Visibility. A fighter pilot wants to see all around him.

Now we have an F-35 test pilot telling us that he can’t see behind him, and an F-16 dragging around 2 drop tanks can easily take the F-35 in a one-on-one fight.

Read all about it here:

I toad ja so.



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A true hero has flown West

Nels Tanner died last week and will be buried in Covington, Tennessee on June 16th.

Maybe you don’t know about Nels.

Here’s his story.
Hero of Vietnam War, Cmdr. Nels Tanner, dies

Cmdr. Charles Nels Tanner, 82, a hero of the Vietnam War and Covington, Tenn., native, who endured torture at the hands of the Vietcong in the dreaded Hanoi Hilton during his six and a half years of captivity, died today in Florida.

Patriot Park in Covington was created to honor his legacy of service and valor. He is survived by his wife Sara Ann. The family is coming to Covington to make funeral arrangements over the weekend. He is expected to be buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetery.

Tanner was tortured while imprisoned, including having his shoulders pulled from their sockets until he couldn’t use his arms. He proved to be an embarrassment for the Vietcong leaders, noting in a written confession for war crimes that he recalled two pilots would not bomb innocent civilians, a Lt. Clark Kent, the alter ego of the character Superman, and Lt. Ben Casey, a television character who was a surgeon and the centerpiece of a medical drama at the time.

Tanner’s confession was released and a Japanese journalist was brought in to interview him and another prisoner of war. While talking to the Japanese journalist, they deliberately stuffed their mouths with food in the manner of famished men to imply to the journalist that they were starving (in fact, living on a diet of soup, they nearly were). The interview also proved terribly embarrassing for the Vietcong leaders.

Once the interview was released and the confession was revealed to be a fake, Tanner endured more torture at the hands of his captors.

His grit and unbreakable spirit in the face of that kind of torture led to Tanner being called one of the “Alcatraz Eleven” or the “Alcatraz Gang,” names used by the U.S. media to describe 11 high-level captives in the Hanoi Hilton as being unbreakable by the enemy and who were noted as being leaders of a resistance movement. The name came from making an association with the toughest prison in Vietnam and the infamous U.S. prison off the coast of San Francisco.

Born in 1932 and raised in Covington, Nels Tanner entered the Aviation Cadet Program in the U.S. Navy in 1953. The next year, he graduated as an Ensign and later that year was designated as a Naval Aviator. For his first assignment, he was stationed in Alameda, Calif., and he remained there until 1959 when he went to Moffett Field, Calif., where he eventually served as an F-8 Crusader instructor pilot. By mid-1960, he was in Miramar, Calif., and was stationed there until 1965 when he was deployed to Southeast Asia.

While flying missions there, he was shot down and taken as a prisoner of war on Oct. 9, 1966.

He spent 2,339 days in captivity, nearly six and a half years, before he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973, when he returned to the Naval Air Station in Millington after spending some time recovering from injuries.

His last assignment was as the Chief of Staff of Foreign Training in Pensacola, Fla. He retired from his storied career on Oct. 1, 1985.


Rest in peace, Commander. We salute you.


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I’ve had it with this jerk!

Never, never, never in my life would I ever, ever, ever consider being disrespectful to the Commander In Chief of the United States Armed Forces. Ever.

But today, enough is enough.  Bozo Number One insulted the Marines. He’s a jerk.

A coffee cup salute for those rendering honors.

This looks like a Saturday Night Live skit. But it isn’t.

I invite your comments. Civility or kindness is not expected. You can’t excuse this person. Ever.



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…you can’t just do that…

Been there, done that. A classic mishmash at JFK.

The airport diagram taxiways are labeled with letters, A for Alpha, you know the drill. Sometimes airplanes and controllers get out of phase.

The A340-600 in the conversation has a long body and wide wingspan, sometimes it can’t make turns and sometimes the taxiway is just too narrow to make 90 degree turns.

I can see the controller and his bottle of heartburn pills in the tower.

Evidently Jesus is the Captain in a JetBlue aircraft…


Filed under Funny Stuff, Humor, Idiots Among Us, Uncategorized

The Rooskies

“Goldie, how many times have I told you guys that I don’t want no horsin’ around on the airplane?” The words came from B-52 Aircraft Commander Major Kong in the dark movie Dr. Strangelove in response to being apprised by Lt. Goldie, his radio operator, that Wing Attack Plan R for Romeo was in effect. Nuclear war with the Rooskies.

Slim Pickens (Major Kong) and his crew get ready to go toe to toe with nukes. And before they can be recalled the CRM 114 radio that should receive the message calling off the attack destroys itself, and Major Kong’s crew becomes the opening act to World War III.

I don’t propose at all that I am an expert on the CRM 114, in fact it doesn’t exist. It was made up for the movie, although we all know there has to be some device or devices like it out there. Continue reading


Filed under Carriers, Funny Stuff, Naval Aviation, Navy, Sea Stories

We lost a tough, tough man last week

Last month at the banquet for the dedication of the Intruder Tribute and the Intruder Association Reunion at the National Naval Air Museum in Pensacola I noticed a man in a wheelchair seated at the table in the corner not far from me. He seemed familiar, and it took me a while to put the aging face to a name, and suddenly it came to me: the man in the wheelchair was Bob Flynn, a Navy veteran who returned to living life to the fullest after being a POW in China during the Viet Nam years.
Bob was a legend. The story is he carried an old bugle in the cockpit of his A-6 and blew charge on guard frequency every time he went feet dry in Viet Nam. I have no doubt the story is true.
When I told the veterans at my table who the man in the wheelchair was every man left his seat and went to shake Bob Flynn’s hand and talk with him.
It was one of those precious moments in life. Continue reading


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Spent thousands of days/nights in hotels over the years hauling the freight in the purple jets. Always, always dreaded the hotels packed with high school kids attending some big function.

This video redeems them all. There is hope that our next generation gets it.

Warning: you might mist up just a little bit.


Filed under Freedom!, Patriotism, Really Good Stuff, Uncategorized

Will and Rocky

Will and Rocky. Two names I haven’t thought about in many, many years. The ice and snow that most of us are experiencing this winter brought back memories of a snowy icy flight made long ago.

We went to Milwaukee, I remember that part, and my logbooks confirm that the trip was sometime in March some forty years ago. If either of the two that are in this narrative are still around, good on you. I’m glad you lasted into this century.

A bit of a background for this tale, we were in a TC-4C, a heavily modified two engine turboprop executive transport saddled with an A-6 nose on the front end and a passenger compartment turned into a flying classroom for new A-6 Bombardier/Navigators. Flying an A-6 and instructing a new guy in the right seat is the definition of task saturation, and aside from the fact that lots of A-6 pilots weren’t nearly as savvy about the ‘trons and things that dominate the B/N’s side of the jet, it was not a good use of precious flight hours. So the Navy came up with the TC-4C Academe (we called it the Tic 4), the classroom in the back of the transport, complete with an entire A-6 cockpit. Continue reading


Filed under Airplanes, Flying, Naval Aviation, Uncategorized

The storm approaches

Ever wonder what the air traffic is doing when a major thunderstorm is approaching an airport? Wonder no more, watch what happens in Memphis, Tn to the inbound purple fleet as a mean thunderstorm sweeps in from the north.
Each little airplane could be a 727/A310/A300/MD-10/MD-11.
Watch the last ones in to the south bug out for Little Rock and more fuel as the storm closes the airport.

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we just ran out…

We’d been up all night, a common event in the lives of freight pilots, the nomads of the dark. The trek started the evening before, launching from some city in the midwest, making a stop here or there to pick up more of the precious overnight cargo before making the longer stop in the hub city, Memphis, Tennessee, to disgorge the huge cans of packages and letters carried in the hollow fuselage of our DC-10. While we were on the ground in Memphis the hundreds of thousands of pounds of freight from hundreds of airplanes went through the famous FedEx package sort system and was reloaded into freight cans and placed back on the aircraft headed to the same part of the world as the addressees on the packages. Most of the United States was slumbering away while all this took place, but the activity around the “Hub” was such that Memphis International Airport was one of the busiest airports in the world at night, all due to the single resident cargo carrier we worked for. We even had a fond nickname for the place: Planet Memphis. The place is in its own little orbit at night. Continue reading


Filed under Airplanes, Flying