Tag Archives: Best of Neptunus Lex

Wrapping it Up

By lex, on February 7th, 2010

Last month, after much experimentation with hand-crafted Excel workbooks and casting about for freeware options, I somewhat resentfully purchased an electronic log book, in an admittedly Quixotic attempt to make some sense of my past life and combine its DNA with that of my recent endeavors. There are inconsistencies between the way that the Navy tracks flight experience and that of the general aviation world that require some creative thinking: Navy doesn’t track “Dual Received” or “Dual Given,” cross-country flights receive no special column of their own flying fast jets, instrument approaches are divided into precision and non-precision categories, further subdivided in to actual or simulated, and daylight hours are inferred from an absence of night time rather than explicitly called out.

On the other hand, civilian log books are wholly innocent of NVG hours and combat time, mission types (air-to-air or air-to-ground?) catapult launches and arrested landings, day or night.

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Airport Saturdaze

By lex, on January 23rd, 2010

Two hops today, and it was something of a blessing, for it’s been that wet and trashy down Sandy Eggo way over the last many several. Howling winds and rain coming sideways, the usual collapse of civilization on the freeways, as stolid commuters obtusely denied the possibility of rain slicked highways contributing to mishaps. After eight or so days, you’d think that maybe vehicular Darwinism would have been in effect, to teach the survivors that it simply will not do the careen down the highway at 80MPH with ten feet of separation bumper to bumper. That maybe the richest crop of morons gets harvested on the first day, with successive slaughters gracefully tending towards zero.

You’d have been wrong, for thinking that.

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The Itch

By lex, on January 9th, 2010

We’ve been here in Sandy Eggo now for, what? Almost nine years. Which is three times longer than we’d ever lived anywhere else. Kids have grown up here, gone away to school. It all seems so unreal, after 20-odd years of living as gypsies. But it still feels like somewhere we live, not somewhere we’re from.

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Going Boldly

By lex, on December 31st, 2009

Weapons system acquisitions are fraught with danger generally, both from a programmatic perspective and professionally. I successfully dodged Pentagon duty for three decades, but when I was growing up, I often heard from grizzled veterans wearing Navy blue “inside the building,” that the Air Force had a tendency to beat the pants off the Navy in Congress by putting up slick marketeers to pitch their programs – professional acquisition corps folks who really knew how to deliver a pitch.

The Navy, on the other hand, had a tendency to advance bespectacled flag officers with engineering backgrounds who couldn’t quite come up with the same flash and dazzle as their brothers in bus driver blue, and who never quite seemed to understand why they would have to explain the intricacies of the nuclear steam cycle (just for one example) to the wet-behind-the-ears staffers who were the real power behind the congressional throne.

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Harsher Measures to Follow

By lex, on December 20th, 2009

As the operations officer of the world’s finest warship, I had a number of fine young officers working for me. One of whom was an unusually fetching lass who  – prior to completing her degree and intelligence officer school – had taken a rather non-traditional route to commission as an aromatherapeutic massage technician. Late one night at the end of a seemingly endless number of days at sea I was sitting alone in my office hoping to noodle through the immensity of all that we were trying to accomplish when I looked up to see her standing at the door, having something or other official to report. I took her report, asked in an off-hand way how she was bearing up in her first deployment and – duties official and formulaic completed – looked back to my desk at the egregious load of 3M documentation requiring my review and signature, and myself an FA-18 pilot for  heaven’s sake.

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Breaking

By lex, on December 9th, 2009

I’ve flown in the last few months with a pair of young commercial pilots working on or having recently completed their Certificated Flight Instructor qualifications (Question: What’s the difference between a CFI rating and a pepperoni pizza? Answer: You can feed a family of four on the pizza.) As a part of the dog fight introduction I always introduce steep turns – two g’s, 60 degrees angle of bank.

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See and Avoid

By lex, on December 5th, 2009

I suppose it had to happen eventually – little airplane, big sky theory notwithstanding – but your host came more closely than he would have liked to shuffling off this mortal coil at about 1145 this morning. A local family full of birthdays and anniversaries came down to Montgomery from Rancho Penasquitos for to dabble in the world of air combat, 150HP Varga Kachina style. All full of nervous laughter during the brief, and frank relief when we’d returned.

Which was nothing like as certain as we’d have them believe.

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