Category Archives: Fighter Pilot Stories

Whisper: Mach Loop

By Whisper, on May 8th, 2011

I don’t know when I first heard of the Mach Loop, but odds are it was while surfing plane prOn over at Theo Spark’s place.

Let us start this story by saying that the Brits like to fly low.  Here in the States, we define low-level or “VR” routes as a series of points laid-out to avoid obstructions and populated areas.  In the UK, they have “Low Flying Areas”.  LFAs = Brilliant.

Whisper Mach loop

Thurman over Scotland, June 2004.

In 2004 I had the opportunity to participate in a Joint Maritime Course, or JMC, while embarked in Enterprise.  We mostly flew over the north of Scotland, bombed some rock off the coast, and looked for Nessy from overhead her Loch at 500 feet.  We were limited to no lower than 500 feet because some Strike Eagle guys had recently caused an international incident by blowing someone off of a horse.  Thanks zoomies.  Flying along at the nose-bleed altitude of 500′,  it was common to be intercepted by RAF Tornadoes in a low-to-high fashion.  (It is assumed that air-to-air training rules have been briefed when operating in the LFAs.)

In preparation for participating in the upcoming Saxon Warrior exercise, I’ve been brushing-up on the procedures for operating in Her Majesty’s airspace.  Imagine my delight when it was discovered that Low Flying Area 07 is scheduled for use during the exercise.  LFA 07, you see,  is home to the Mach Loop, a world famous low level route.  There is even a group of photography aficionados that have dedicated a website to promoting it.  So why is it called the Mach Loop?  (No Mav, we will not be supersonic.)

The Mach Loop is a set of valleys, situated between Dolgellau (pronounced ‘Dol-geth-lie’) in the north, and Machylleth (pronounced ‘Mah-hunth-leth’) in the south (and from which the Mach Loop gets its name), which are regularly used for low level flight training, with flying as low as 250 feet (76 metres) from the nearest terrain.

Should be a good time.  The citizens of Wales have been warned, but it’s the folks in Portsmouth that seem to need the advance notice.

 

Back To The Index 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Fighter Pilot Stories, Flying, Whisper

Whisper: Still Life

By Whisper, on March 6th, 2011

WhisperStillLife1

Aviation photography has been a hobby of mine for over 15 years now. I truly got the bug in 2003 when the photo lab on Enterprise loaned me a Nikon D100 to take for a spin over Afghanistan and later Iraq. Earlier this year, on the occasion of a short form flight physical, my family was kind enough to throw some cash on the fire and upgrade my old Canon 10D to a 60D.  I hope to make you the beneficiary of this gift as well.

I decided to take my new toy up to the flight deck during a rain storm off the Florida coast last month. Hiding in the thirty knot rain shadow behind the nose of an E-2C Hawkeye parked along the foul line, I watched the day Case III recovery. There are a hundred different things to point out in the photo above, at least one of which I did not notice when composing it.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carriers, Fighter Pilot Stories, Naval Aviation, Whisper

T.I.A.D. Near mid-air

By lex, on June 5th, 2004

There are few words so immediately blood-chilling in their effect upon tactical aviators, as these: “mid-air.” It is an abbreviation for “mid-air collision,” and conjures up images of once sleek, purposeful and lethal high performance aircraft reduced in a moment to odd pieces of flaming trash, fluttering to earth – instant chaos from order.

Mention that you have recently heard the news of a mid-air and prepare yourself for the customary, almost involuntary response: “Did anyone get out?”

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Fighter Pilot Stories, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex

On the wire

By lex, on April 11th, 2007

The four-ship typically comes in level at release altitude. For a 45 degree dive bombing pattern that’d be around 5000′ above ground level (AGL). Aligned with the attack heading, the lead will push it up to the planned release airspeed – typically around 450 knots calibrated airspeed – and the savvier wingmen will ensure that their jets are trimmed out in yaw as they attain release speed: Even modern jets get “bent,” and what is trimmed for level flight at 300 knots won’t always work at 450, while uncorrected yaw is a source of bombing inaccuracy. Once over the target, dash one will call, “Lead’s breaking,” on the aux radio, followed by his wingmen every four seconds or so thereafter, 2, 3, 4.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Fighter Pilot Stories, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex

Fight center

By lex, on August 20th, 2006

In the good old days of flying bogies at the Conch Republic, it was routine for the bandits, flying F-16’s, F-5’s‚ and A-4’s to run the fighters “out of gas”. They had to CAP at tactical airspeeds, and for the most part we didn’t. We’d run our presentations, fight, kill and die like good bandits, and then head back to our own CAP to wait for the next hack. The fighters on the other hand, were required to pretty much rage around in full grunt from the commit to the knock-it-off, since speed is life and unlike bandits, fighters aren’t supposed to die.

So after two or three runs, maybe four if we were up against Tomcats, the fighters would bingo back to the field, leaving us with whatever we had left to do whatever we might desire.

Which generally speaking, was fight some more.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Fighter Pilot Stories, Flying, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex

Index – The Best of Neptunus Lex

On March 6, 2012 we lost Lex. He died doing what he wanted to do, teaching Naval Aviators how to be even better.

For many of us, the Lexicans, he became more than just a blogger but a friend.  Carroll “Lex” LeFon not only enjoyed writing, but he enjoyed the interaction of the “commentariat”, many of whom he called “the best friends I never met”.

Soon after his accident, his website, Neptunus Lex, went down. If it weren’t for one Lexican, who copied and pasted most (about 70%) of his posts for later reading, “the lightness of Lex”, all 9  years’ worth of his work, would have disappeared into the digital ether.

Continue reading

524 Comments

Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Fighter Pilot Stories, Flying, Funny Stuff, Humor, hunting trips, Index, Lex, Lexicans, Naval Aviation, Naval History, Navy, Neptunus Lex, Night Bounce

The Best of Neptunus Lex

LexMug

Preface

I came to know Lex through his writings. A longtime admirer of his, David Foster of Chicagoboyz.net, recommended a few of his favorite posts.

After reading the very first one, I was hooked. One could say that at that moment I became a Lexican. Some of Lex’s posts made you laugh and others made you think. He had the gift of showing people what life is like to serve on a carrier.

Until I read Lex, this old Army guy thought sailors had an easy life with clean, spacious accommodations and good food.  I just wondered if they were allowed to take their golf clubs while on a cruise.

Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Airplanes, Best of Neptunus Lex, Bugs...er...Hornets, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Fighter Pilot Stories, Flying, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex