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April 09, 2005

Meaningless Maundering

*sigh* Engage in mortal combat with a rampaging river and what do I find upon my return?

John of Argghhhh!!! briefed on April 6, 2005 06:22 PM
Ah, we have our Female Bill!

What? kat-missouri a Female *me*? A foul canard if ever there was one!

She’s younger, better-lookin’, doesn’t have a problem with short-term memory lapses, cheekier [*looks around blogwall, peering at pulchritudinous posterior*] -- oh, baby! -- and doesn’t have a problem with short-term memory lapses.

This fair Prairie Flower -- this Petunia of Poplar Bluff! this Columbine of Columbia! this Sunflower of Saint Looey! -- has been *besmirched* by an odious comparison with -- grmpf -- somebody who can't even get lucky at a comment party with this crew...

An apology is required! Nay, demanded!

[*blink*] Oh. Okay.

Geez, kat, I’m really sorry, but he found where I stashed the negatives and I can’t even hold that over his head anymore…

"Dueling Entendres"...heh. Any guesses as to how long before the PG-17 rating runs gibbering through the portcullis?

by CW4BillT on Apr 09, 2005

January 16, 2005

Something for our Air Force Fans.

Hat tip to Rich B for sending this along.

Dusty has been in cranial defilade of late. He's got challenges at home with ill parent. He has challenges at work because I know who he works for... and he's still pursuing his dream of transitioning from the desk he flies now back into a cockpit - which requires paying some currently serving IP for in-cockpit instruction... not to mention the cost of getting into a simulator with him. I can't imagine what it might cost to get into an actual cockpit.

So, he's not been here much of late. This is one he'd of posted if he had it, so I'll sub for him!

(*Picture credit in extended post)


From one of the 'True Blues' in the land of sand and sunshine. This is a great story, particularly if you like mixed metaphors. The guy ought to write for a living.

There I was at six thousand feet over central Iraq, two hundred eighty knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here nor there. The night is moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a Steven King novel. But it's 2004, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown out by the fighter boys.

Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd? At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight.

These NVGs are the cat's ass. But I've digressed. The preferred method of approach tonight is the random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air-missiles and small arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my pink ass on that theory but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it. We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop down to one thousand feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred eighty knots. Now the fun starts. It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herk to six hundred feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree left bank, turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading. As soon as we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two hundred seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some aeronautical genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy."

Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to configure the pig for landing."Flaps Fifty!, Landing Gear Down!, Before Landing Checklist!" I look over at the copilot and he's shaking like a cat shitting on a sheet of ice. Looking further back at the navigator, and even through the NVGs, I can clearly see the wet spot spreading around his crotch. Finally, I glance at my steely-eyed flight engineer. His eyebrows rise in unison as a grin forms on his face. I can tell he's thinking the same thing I am.... "Where do we find such fine young men?"

"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aimpoint and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on NVGs, it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad air. The huge, one hundred thirty thousand pound, lumbering whisper pig comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet. Let's see a Viper do that! We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam's home. Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F, 9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm not in the Army. Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess?" Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your ass. Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there too. But now is not the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to get out of this shit-hole.

"Hey copilot, clean yourself up! And how's 'bout the 'Before Starting Engines Checklist?"

"God, I love this job!"


Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows »

by John on Jan 16, 2005

December 06, 2004

Re: How Fast Can You Fly Backward? Or Why Helicopter Pilots are Superior

*Sigh* …another example of aviation penis envy.

Whenever someone starts slamming others, especially other pilots about their jets, look out. To paraphrase Shreck, sounds like he’s trying to compensate for something.

Anyway…I like helicopters. I think they’re kinda cool and would love trying to fly one. But, in the end, I like the idea of carrying enough killing power to equal a modern-day American artillery unit. Me. Alone. By myself.

As far as “operating by the numbers” is concerned, the fixed wing community does that because it must. To not do so puts you and the people around and underneath you at risk. (Vtoss, by the way is not something fixed-wingers have to worry about…try Vmc, Vxse, Vyse, and Vsse, but I digress…). Every airplane, fixed wing or rotor, has limits. How about an 80-knot crosswind? 100 knots? Do you guys fly in tornados? It’s not how slow you can land, it’s what going on around you when you do that matters. Ask any Navy VERTREP guy…landing on a pitching deck is predicated on what the boat’s doing, what the winds are doing (among other things), not how much forward speed he’s got…although I’m sure that factors into the equation somewhere.

As far as operating environments go, ever heard of Texas Lake? See: A-10s, Nellis, Red Flag, austere operating environments. Heh. Want a spot landing? See: United States Marine Corps, Harrier pilot, standard, one each. As for flying VFR, that would be what most of the fighter guys do on most of their sorties (OK, the air-to-mudders…Hogs and Vipers more’n likely).

As far as flying in busy airspace goes and with cosmic cockpits…cool. And, therefore…what?

Workload. Well, I have fueled my own jet, loaded my own bombs…OK, they were BDUs, but gimme a few hours of checkout and I’ll help on the big stuff. Now let’s talk mission workload: 100’ AGL, three wingmen, radar threats, weapons, fuel, and mission management, based on what the FAC and ground commanders want/need. Serious helmet fires abound in this environment, but it’s when you’re most alive. And, assuming you don’t get assholed by an SA-whatever, 57mm AAA, small arms fire, or run into the friggin’ ground, it’s the ultimate high. Doing it well, even though it taxes you to the max, is THE rush…so bring on the workload.

Fisking time:

“But wait, like the Ginsu knife, "there's more!" The rotor-head does it all. He does all the pre-flight planning, submits the flight plan, prepares all the paperwork…”

In the Air Force, that’s called being a “rated pilot.”

“…loads and briefs the passengers…”

Mine don’t care and don’t talk…they just go “boom.”

This part is my favorite:

“Finally, the all important question, "What about control touch?" I want to shut up all the hotshot fighter pilots. I've been in their aircraft and they have been in mine... I could fly theirs but they were all over the sky in mine! So then, Mr Starch Winger; when you see a Hughes 500 or Bell 206 pilot hold one skid on a 5000' knife edge ridge that is only two feet wide so passengers can step out onto the ridge, while the other skid is suspended in space... when you watch a Skycrane, Vertol, S61, 212, or 214B pilot place a hook, that's on a cable 200 feet below the aircraft, in the hand of a ground crewman... when you see a Lama, AStar, or Bell 206L land in a space in the trees that's scarcely bigger than the helicopter... and if you ever watch a BK 117, 105, or A109 pilot land in a vacant lot next to a busy freeway surrounded by power lines -at night... Well then, you'll have some idea who is the master manipulator of aviation equipment.”

Oh, please.

Yes, it’s easier to fly a real airplane for the first time if: you didn’t do the takeoff, don’t do the landing, don’t go to the range, don’t fly fingertip (three feet from your jet to his at cruise speeds, varying g-loads and bank angles) and basically do all the important shite you do as a fully qualified fixed-wing combat aviator. This is not to belittle the helo aviator’s skill, but it helps to put it in perspective.

Could I hover on my first try? Probably not very well…but if I had a competent IP, I could probably figure out the basics in a short time. I have never been in a helo as a person with hands on the controls, but, figuring the cyclic let me go forward/back and left/right and the collective gives me up/down (and power), I’d pick a visual reference on the ground and fly the airplane by keeping it in the same position relative to that point using those three controls (plus a little pedal action to keep the nose/tail aligned). Would that be a start? …and I’ll take all the techniques you’re willing to offer.

For “bird-like control touch,” see: USAF/USN/USMC fighter/attack pilots, all, in fingertip formation, 90-degrees of bank, 2-3 g’s, plus “Thunderbirds” and “Blue Angels” (for same in cool uniforms and surrounded by babes after landing). And that’s just one example.

“The bottom line is; if all you want is to get into the air, find a Cessna, Beech, F-16, or 757. However, if you want to truly fly, to be an artisan in aviation and develop a bird-like control touch; then, you want to be a helicopter pilot. After all, a rock would probably fly if you made it go 180 knots. The real question for our fixed wing brethren should be, ‘How fast can you fly backward?’”


The bottom line is, if you want to fly, get in an airplane. It can be fixed- or rotary-wing. They all have their uses, their peculiarities, their plusses and their minuses…but they’re ALL airplanes and they’re ALL fun. The real question to our rotary-wing brethren should be, “When was the last time you did a loop?”

Fly safe, dude.

by Dusty on Dec 06, 2004
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