Category Archives: Flying


By lex, on November 14th, 2007

Because there wasn’t enough going on in my life, I took the opportunity proffered by a generous benefactor to make contact with a local firm flying Varga Kachina’s (among other things) at Palomar Airport. The company is called “Barnstorming Adventures,” and one of their business lines is demonstrating air combat maneuvering to folks who may or may not be actual pilots. The customer rides in back and the “employee” – strange, thinking of myself in that way – flies up front. A formation take-off and flight to the operating area and some fairly mild maneuvering – the planes are aerobatic, but for insurance and certification purposes, the planes are kept inside aerobatic limits.


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Uncategorized

Unrestricted climb

By lex, on September 28th, 2007

Date: March, 1991

Place: Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Arizona

Ride: TF-16N

It had been a long day. A buddy and I had flown three hops that day in the two-seat Viper, alternating front and back seats. We’d were going through the TOPGUN Adversary Course, the better to qualify us as bandits when we returned home to NAS Key West. Coming to the end of the course, the scars that the TOPGUN IP’s had inflicted at the beginning of the course were beginning to fade. Your humble scribe was starting to once again feel his oats.

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This better be good

By lex, on March 5th, 2007

Totally geeky BSG *  spoiler below the fold, combined with some potentially trenchant observations on human nature as it applies to the ineluctable frailties of those flying high performance tactical aircraft. Maybe.

Don’t read on if you’re the type to get the vapors when an otherwise responsible adult draws Life Lessons from a science fiction serial. Or don’t want to know what happened on Sunday’s episode because you haven’t gotten around to it yet.

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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.

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By lex, on March 12th, 2006

I’m feeling vaguely dyspeptic and out of sorts in this blogging thing, for all that I had a wonderful bike ride this afternoon up the coast. Carmel Valley to Del Mar, and up that miserable hill. Then down again, through Solana Beach, which soon gave way to Cardiff and then finally Encinitas. At Swami’s in Encinitas I turned around and came back the way I’d gone, to the tune of 23-odd miles or so of a very pleasant day.

So to put it all away and just write something, I thought it’d be fun to share a mini-sea story with you.

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By lex, Tue – April 5, 2005

I never met a fighter pilot I didn’t want to gun.

BFM – Basic fighter maneuvers. Dogfighting. Mano a mano. One versus one.

Play hard or stay home.

There’s nearly nothing a fighter pilot would rather do, completely sober, than try himself against another fighter pilot in the physical and mental test of skill that is man-to-man air combat. Sure, there’s a great deal of job satisfaction to be had by shacking a weapons cache from 20,000 feet, and seeing secondary explosions – it’s lovely, in fact. But it’s not personal, it’s just business. And yes, the sensation of a near-perfect landing aboard the ship is as close as one can come to le petit mort while fully dressed. But that is a part of what we do. And it is true that in a many vs. many air combat brawl there is to be found the kind of fey, wild joy that was only paralleled perhaps a hundred years or so ago in the clashing collision of cavalry troops, there is the element of chance: You could do everything right, in a big fight, and still get killed. Continue reading


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A Ride In A Ford Tri-Motor

Two days ago, I had an interesting flight. The EAA has been flying 2 of these around the country, stopping at various cities and offering rides to the public.

For $75, I got a ticket. I thought that was quite a bargain, considering the cost of flight these days.

We took off from Sacramento’s Executive Airport for an 18 minute flight around the city.

I think the Trimotor was historic for being one of the first true airliners (not a mail plane that could haul passengers). But between the Depression and the coming DC-2 I think it had a pretty short service life.

They built 199 of them.

BTW I thought it looked very similar to the German Junkers JU-52 . I learned that the main designer, William Stout (whose company Henry Ford bought) – copied German Professor Hugo Junkers ideas for all-metal aircraft. 

I asked one of the docents where you get parts for a 90 year old engine – and he said that they were P & W Wasps – (I think even the venerable Stearman had them) – parts were readily available.

So thanks to my trusty iPhone 6 SE you can ride with me – from start up to the 18 minute flight. 













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