Category Archives: Flying

Almost right


By Lex, Posted on January 14, 2007


Something got lost in the San Diego U/T’s lurid reconstruction on today’s front page of last year’s mid-air collision over La Mesa:

Computer alarms flashed and beeped at air traffic controllers for 51 seconds before two small planes collided over La Mesa last February, but the controllers never warned the pilots…

According to FAA regulations, oral warnings are the primary purpose of the air traffic control system. Controllers have standing orders from the FAA to “give first priority to separating aircraft and issuing safety alerts.”

Which is true as far as it goes, but it doesn’t quite go far enough, unfortunately.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Lex


Posted by Lex, on June 12, 2008


There are planes that land on airstrips and planes that land on water and then there is a third, more rare category of machine: One that can do both.

Amphibious aircraft saw their heyday back in World War II, when such versatile Grumman variants as the GooseWidgeon and Mallard were adopted from their civilian designs for military work. One workhorse was the Grumman J2F Duck, a biplane atop a monocoque pontoon that housed retractable main landing gear. During the war, Grumman designed a replacement monowing before pitching the contract at Columbia Aircraft to focus on the fighters they were building for the Navy.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Lex, SoCal

A real treat

By Lex, on June 9, 2008


As I hinted earlier, Tailspin Tom offered your correspondent the right seat of a C-45H from Palomar all the way up to French Valley, near Riverside. Hating to let a good man down, I reluctantly said, “Sure!”

An uneventful toodle up the 5, and and eager transit back towards the private hangars until, there she is. The first thing that strikes you is what a beautifully maintained machine the Beech Belle is. And then your eyes are inevitably drawn to those two, big Pratt and Whitney R-985s, each of them holding 450 trembling horses in check. These were built when Wildcats and Hellcats ruled the skies. It can make a man ret pondersome.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Flying, SoCal

Military Training

Posted by Lex, on October 18, 2010


A Bundeswehr trained general aviator giving sightseeing rides over Munich was given a rude shock t’other day:

A 26-year-old man attempted to crash a sightseeing plane above Munich by attacking the pilot, but jumped to his death instead after he found he was no match for the Bundeswehr-trained aviator, Bavarian police reported.

The young man had rented the single-motor Cessna and hired the pilot in Augsburg for an air tour around the Bavarian capital on Saturday.

When the plane reached an altitude of some 500 metres above the town of Bergkirchen, the 26-year-old attacked the pilot with a knife. But the pilot managed to fight him off and the man then opted to jump out of the plane, police reported.

The pilot sustained knife wounds to his face and hands, but managed to land the plane back in Augsburg and alert police of the attack.

According to police, the 42-year-old pilot was trained by the Bundeswehr and had flown in the military.

“That certainly helped him in the situation,” a police spokesperson said on Sunday.

Well, I don’t suppose it could have hurt him, but if there was training on fighting off a knife wielding crewman in the naval aviation syllabus, I must have slept through it.


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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying

Only Lex knows…

If the heroine of SWA 1380, Tammie Jo Shults, is the same female naval aviator in Lex’s story.

I have come to realize that there is a lot of synchronicity in the world, of which only a small part is known to us.

In both cases, they were among the first female naval aviators in an FA-18…

While Tammie wasn’t allowed in combat, she was good enough to fly in an aggressor squadron.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Heroes Among Us

Cool As A Cucumber


Tammie Jo Shults, for taking her wounded Southwest 737 with a shredded engine safely back. She was apparently one of the first female FA-18 drivers. She gets the plane back safely on the ground; then goes into the cabin to talk with each of the passengers.

Listen to her talk with ATC – you’d think it was just another normal flight.


H/T to xbradtc

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On Crosswind Landings…

I have another story percolating in my head when I finally finish putting in Lex’s posts.

But for now, I’ve never told you this story.

I’d like to tell you it involved superb flying, saved at the last minute by superior flying skills. And I got the girl at the end.

Nope, it isn’t that kind of story. 

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