Category Archives: Naval Aviation

Stray thoughts of an aviator in his final year of active service

Posted by Lex, on June 27, 2007

 

“You know, with only a year to go this might be the last time I ever have to polish those brown shoes.

“Cool.”

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Leadership, Lex, Naval Aviation, Navy, Small Stuff

Check Density Altitude

By lex, on July 17th, 2009

It was a lovely change of command ceremony, one of my favorite people in the world gave up the 125th Strike Fighter Squadron at the end of an arduous 18 months in battery. Chilly has the three q’s: High q (dynamic energy), high IQ and high quality. Unlike many men in his position, he left attendance to his ceremony to the discretion of his people, declining to force them into ranks on a hot summer’s day. That was a nice gesture, I thought – they can read the plan of the day on Monday, if they missed the news.

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Sea Gull?

By lex, on June 29th, 2009

We used to have a name for people – often senior aviators – who’d look for a reason not go flying. Some would say they were too burdened by their duties, others would find downing discrepancies that could not be duplicated by maintenance: We’d call them “sea gulls,” meaning that you’d have to chuck rocks at them to get them airborne.

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Still Flying Tiger IIs

By lex, on May 7th, 2009

When I was an adversary pilot down in Key West back in the early 90s, the F-16Ns were relatively new, the A-4E Skyhawks getting a little long in the tooth (although still wonderfully nimble, in trained hands) and the F-5E Tiger II was somewhere in between.

If you’d have told me nearly twenty years on that the Vipers and Scooters would be gone, but that the F-5s would still be around, I’d have been gobsmacked.

(Not really. I just like writing “gobsmacked.”)

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The air show circuit

By lex, on April 11th, 2007

One of the side benefits to flying fighters in the old days was traveling to air shows with your machine for a static display, or maybe even a flight demo, if you were qualified. Static displays meant standing by the jet during the show, tell the kids about the jet – no, son that’s a fuel tank, not a bomb – listen to the old man’s sea stories, flirt with the young ladies. Some of them would flirt right back. It could get pretty interesting, or anyway, that’s what I’ve been told.

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Noise Complaints

By lex, on April 20th, 2009

I served at NAS Key West in the early 90s, and there really was no better place to fly, and fight. With huge swathes of open ocean, supersonic, instrumented ranges over the Bay of Florida a fighter pilot could handle his machine – and learn his trade – the way his creator had meant him to.

We occasionally got noise complaints. A four-ship of F-14s bugging east from a pack of hungry Vipers could rattle the windows in back in town when the environmental conditions were just right, even if they were the prescribed 30 NM or more offshore.

These days a new source of noise pollution has cropped up, however: The SuperBug.

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Hard Core Clag

By lex, on February 17th, 2009

When I was a department head stationed in Japan, we used to head down to Iwo Jima for our field carrier landing practice. The FA-18 is a lovely piece of kit, but she’s nobody’s idea of quiet in the landing pattern. The Kanto Plain is exuberantly populated, and the locals – possessing little in the way of “personal space” as it is understood in the West – are nevertheless fiercely protective of their wa. Hornets flying multiple landings over their head at all hours of the evening at approach power conforms to no notion of their harmony.

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