Category Archives: Carroll “Lex” LeFon

You Can’t Judge

By lex, on August 15th, 2009

Three flights today with the Barnstormers. The first with a couple of young men from Southwest England, sponsored by their parents while (whilst?) on holidays. My man was 12 years old, his brother a couple of years older. Mum and dad looked on with a pride generously admixtured with apprehension. This was a lovely gift for the young men. Would they ever come back, at all?

My guest pilot won two bouts out of three, because his staff pilot doesn’t care much for getting gunned. Mum and dad were pleased as punch to see them in the break after we came back. Off you go, after we’d landed. We done our paid work and brought the boys back safe and sound. The ‘rents clapped us on the shoulders, like. And went on their merry. I told chief pilot Bronco Chuck that it wasn’t a surprise, not really. Europeans aren’t much given to doling out gratuities.

They give at the office, and how.

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Flanker Ops

By lex, on August 1st, 2009

And now, for something entirely different.

First impressions: An interesting video*, in that “not-quite-right” kind of way. I guess it’s what you get used to. The only thing wronger than that strange transition at the opener – did Russian archers really show that much thigh in battle? – was the flight deck crewman taxiing the Su-33 around without a float coat or cranial.

Pretty impressive pitch pulse capability with the canards. I have to wonder at all that slow speed maneuvering with the speed brake out. I’d be more impressed by the deck run capability and jump ramp if I didn’t know that the Flanker pilot has to download fuel and ordnance to make it happen. I guess you can get more fuel once airborne – the probe should be on the right side, by the way – but it’s harder to onload weapons once the wheels have left the deck.

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Low Levels

By lex, on July 30th, 2009

There’s something almost addictive about high speed, low level flying. Watching the world unfold beneath you close at hand is undeniably thrilling, and the blur of the scenery as you get lower and lower is a great adrenaline rush.

Truth be told, I was never as big a fan of low level navigation as some of my buddies in naval aviation. There were guys who lived for flying low.

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Navy: Chicken, Road

 

By lex, on July 30th, 2009

Subject: The U.S. Navy answers the question: “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Naval Education and Training Command (NAVEDTRA): The purpose is to familiarize the chicken with road-crossing procedures. Road-crossing should be performed only between the hours of sunset and sunrise. Solo chickens must have at least three miles of visibility and a safety observer.

Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS): Due to the needs of the Navy, chicken was involuntarily reassigned to the other side of the road. This will be 3-year unaccompanied tour and we promise to give the chicken a good-deal assignment afterwards. Every chicken will be required to do one road-crossing during its career, and this will not affect its opportunities for future promotion.

Naval Air Warfare Center (NAWC): This event will need confirmation; we need to repeat it using varied chicken breeds, road types, and weather conditions to confirm whether it can actually happen within the parameters specified for chickens and the remote possibility that they might cross thruways designated by some as “roads.”

Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Europe (CINCUSNAVEUR): The purpose is not important. What is important is that the chicken remained under the OPCON of COMSIXTHFLEET and did not CHOP to the theater on the other side of the road. Without Chopping, the chicken was able to achieve a seamless road-crossing with near perfect, real-time in-transit visibility.

Naval Intelligence: What chicken?

Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIRSYSCOM): The chicken was instructed to hold short of the road. This road incursion incident was reported in a Hazardous Chicken Road-Crossing Report (HCRCR). Please re-emphasize that chickens are required to read back all hold short instructions.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWARSYSCOM): The “stovepipe” chickens of today will be replaced with a multi-function, supported, affordable, integrated and interoperable world-class chicken to warriors and supporting elements, enabling them to dominate the roads of today and tomorrow, as we move “Forward…From the Sea.” Comptroller holds and corporate taxes, however, will require delay fielding for two years, unless Congressional plus-ups are approved.

NAVSEASYSCOM’s Chicken Systems Program Office (PMS400CSPO): In a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. The CSPO helped the chicken change to continue meeting its mission. However, the actual crossing of the road has not occurred due to the number of action items still open from the meeting.

 

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San Joaquin Travelogue

By lex, on July 17th, 2009

Flew the club Cardinal out of Montgomery yesterday afternoon for the flight to Hanford, California. The shoreline VFR transition route took me through LA’s Class B airspace and, having flown direct to Ventura to leave the Class B, I was free to pick my way across the low mountains guarding southern California from the central, San Joaquin valley. (For GA pilots planning cross-countries, AOPA‘s Internet Flight Planner is a lovely tool that, among other things, can show weather, winds aloft and route, both overhead and vertical profile. It’s nifty, and well-worth the annual $39 subscription service.)

Culture changes with geography out west, and as the densely populated coastal enclaves fell behind me a broad, and sparsely populated rural plain unfolded beneath me. The terrain is deceptively sere – the valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in America – and breathtakingly hot.

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Howls of Outrage

By lex, on June 24th, 2009

Despite denying foreknowledge, the Bush admin took some hits from the perpetually outraged set when FEMA staged the set of a hastily called presser which drew No Actual Reporters. Jeff Gannon became the target of all kinds of personal calumny (and a fair bit of humor) from Actual Reporters (and the HuffPo crewe) for asking softball questions at Bush press conferences in 2005.

So it is with some relish that I await the howls of outrage from Actual Reporters (and the HuffPo crewe) to the Potemkin Village that the White House Press Room has become. Courtesy, you know: Of HuffPo.

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New Guidance for Strikers

By lex, on June 23rd, 2009

General McChrystal is concerned about the strategic effects of tactical actions:

The new American commander in Afghanistan said he would sharply restrict the use of airstrikes here, in an effort to reduce the civilian deaths that he said were undermining the American-led mission…

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