Tag Archives: flying

The “Why” of Why Flying Is So Forfilling

Over the years, I have counted many interesting friends all from my car club. Among those was a past squadron commander of Beale AFB’s famous SR-71 squadron. I can’t forget a man who was a staff psychologist for the California Dept of Corrections who, upon reading my articles in the club newsletter, found me to be a “fascinating study”. Don’t know how much I wish to delve into that observation 😉

There was a man who in his latter career of the Air Force was an accident investigator.

I guess my club was heavy in aviation people. Among those members is a man that also has an impressive aviation resume who retired as a Boeing 777 Captain. He is very well versed in all things aviation.

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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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He Made It Look Easy

click here for a demonstration


I’m currently driving around the Southwest.  I’ve driven to southern Utah and these rock formations are simply amazing.

Took the advice of a Lexican  and drove on highways 24 and 12. Highway 24  that takes you right through a national park called the Capital Reef.  There, one drives in between these huge rock canyons that are hundreds of feet high.One has difficulty putting the experience into words.

By the time I got to Zion National Park a couple of days ago and saw even more impressive canyons thousands of feet  high I almost got blasé about it.

So it has been with the Reno air races which I have attended pretty much on a regular basis since the late 1970s.

It’s really the last of the great air races and to see these World War II era fighters at almost 500 miles an hour maybe 100 to 200 feet off the deck is amazing.

But there was one pilot there who consistently amazed me. R.A. “Bob” Hoover  would put on a demonstration with his twin engine Rockwell shrike commander that was amazing.

He referred to this demonstration as energy management, and boy did he manage it. After he did the normal loops and aileron rolls he would tell the crowd what would happen next.

He shut off both engines and did another complete loop. The plane of course is perfectly silent in the air. All you would hear is the wind whistling over the wings in the fuselage.  He’s on the radio talking to the crowd as cool as a cucumber.

After he did the loop he would talk to his announcer over the radio and make an informal bet. With the engines still off, he would bet that he could  land and taxi to the announcer within, say, 10 feet.

He lands the plane and more often than not he  coasted right up to the announcer with the dead engines.

After seeing this for so many years I can’t say that I ever became blasé about it but I knew he could do it.

The thing is I’ve never known any other pilot who could do this.

He was equally adept with his P 51 Mustang that was painted yellow.

In fact for many years he would leave the unlimiteds out on the course, say “gentleman you have a race” and climb out and monitor the proceedings 500 feet higher or so.

And he coached countless racers with engine problems on landing their planes with the dead stick landing.

I was told he was up at Reno this year, and I went into the paddock area to see if I could find him.  But he had gone by the time I got there.

Most years you would find him there  in his trademark Straw hat happy to autograph his book for you.

Fairwinds and following seas, Bob.








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By lex, on January 2nd, 2012

Courtesy of SpazSinbad, a Youtube video that almost – almost – makes the drudgery involved in preparing for sea during field carrier landing practice look interesting.

It’s the music, mainly. Can’t think of anything else to explain it.

LSOs these days, with actual shacks to sit in. Away from the bugs and the heat.

Makes them soft, I should think.

There are three crucial factors the pilot must control in a carrier landing approach: glideslope, lineup and angle-of-attack. The ship may heave, pitch and roll, but that is only of incidental value. Entertainment by terror if you will, especially at night.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Flying



Steven Day / AP File

These days, I am rather jaded when it comes to driving to the cineplex to see a movie. I don’t really need some screenwriter’s social message or a recycled comic book hero.

There are a couple of exceptions – if it is made by Ron Howard, or has Clint Eastwood on either side of the camera, it automatically passes my filter test. Tom Hanks in any movie usually guarantees a decent movie.

This movie, directed by Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks took a subject that just about everyone not living in a cave the last 10 years is familiar – and made it into a movie both thoroughly entertaining and informative. In fact at the end the audience in the nearly packed theater applauded.

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