Thursday, April 19, 2012


My youngest, the WSO has, again, been "up in my bidness".

Seems she had a night flight. The pre-flight briefing wasn't very long, so she had time to kill before she and her pilot had to go out to their aircraft. So there she was, bored.

Did I mention that the WSO has a "smart" phone? And time on her hands? And that she was bored?

Now for many years I have served as the family's Morale, Welfare and Recreation Officer. Apparently blogging has been added to my list of duties. Blogging so that my youngest will have something to do whilst stuck between briefing and pre-flighting the aircraft. Blogging so that she will be entertained.

Apparently I did not get that memo.

However, I have known for a long time that I am most definitely not in the chain of command around here. I serve sort of a ceremonial function. Sort of like the Queen of England. But without the interesting hats. Without the need for public appearances on important occasions. (Though I have practiced for many years the royal "wave".)

At any rate, late on Wednesday last. My phone "rang" (actually it doesn't actually "ring", it plays a rather jaunty little tune) and it was the WSO. I mentioned to her that it was rather late, and by the way, how did the flight go?

She pointed out, "Dad, it's not late, it's only 9:30." As I told her, as I advance slowly and inexorably into my dotage, 9:30 is late. Pour moi. That brief interlude concluded, she asked me why I had not posted lately.

"Why I posted just the other day", I protested. She chastised me by saying that my last post was nearly a week old. "And your point is?", I inquired. That's when I got the story of the boring time twixt briefing and flying and that she was looking forward to my next post. I told her that I had a couple of ideas floating around.

"Is the next post going to be about me?", she wanted to know. I said that I wasn't sure, the only two family members who have had a post dedicated to them so far had been TRex and Bear.

"No, your last post was about me."

"It was?"

"Sure, you talked about the penguins. That post was about me."

"Uh, the title of the post was "The Penguins". It was about the penguins, not you. Though, you did play a rather large role in that story."

"Yeah, it was about me."

"Yes, baby. It was all about you. And the penguins. And my hotel and various and sundry other tangents and sidebars."

"See it was about me. I like reading about me."

Okay. I know she's a WSO, but she has the attitude of a fighter pilot. Kinda self-centered, you know that cocky self-assured kind of attitude. (When the WSO reads this, no doubt I will catch hell.)

All that aside, she did relate to me a couple of interesting naval aviation tidbits about her adventures. Specifically her adventure of Wednesday last with, of all things, the ladder on the F/A-18. For your edification I present the following representation of the aforementioned F/A-18 ladder:

This ladder kinda-sorta slides up into its little compartment for flight and apparently can be deployed by the crew upon returning. (By the way, aircraft ladder technology has come a very long way since I worked on the Phantom. Of course, most technology has come a long way since then. And yes WSO, we did have color TV when I was a young airman.)

When the WSO and her driver had returned from their flight, they had taxied to their packing spot on the ramp and were going through their post-flight checks. The WSO was done first and as the left engine had already been shut down, her pilot told her that she could go ahead and deplane (dismount, disembark, not sure what the proper term is here, perhaps one of my readers can help me out here).

Now as she went to climb down the ladder, she and her pilot realized at the same instant that the ladder was still tucked neatly away in its little compartment. And my youngest, the WSO, nearly fell off the aircraft. Fortunately she caught herself in time and the only damage was to her pride. Not to mention the deep chagrin that, I'm sure, will spread through the NFO community upon hearing about this.

Oh, to be so embarrassed in the august presence of the front seater, the stick monkey, the driver. You know the guy who flies the thing. WSO's everywhere must feel horrified that my youngest has "let down the side".

There is another, amusing to me, probably not to the WSO, aspect of the F/A-18 ladder. Now I don't know if you've ever been next to an F/A-18, but they are not small beasts in relation to us puny humans. Now the WSO is not really short, but she's not really tall either. The ladder of which we speak has a latch for to let the crew deploy said ladder. Seems the WSO can't quite reach the latch.

When she explained this to me, I had an amusing image of the WSO, completely kitted out in full gear, hopping up into the air, trying to reach the latch which deploys the ladder. She was not so amused. Well, maybe a little. She does, after all, have the same goof ball sense of humor as yours truly.

So in future I will try and regale you all with more tales from and of the Rhino. Courtesy of the WSO.

So baby girl, this post is all about you.

I hope I didn't embarrass you too much.

Well, actually perhaps a little wouldn't be so bad. But not in front of the pilots. Their egos are rather large enough already.

Right, Big Time?


  1. I understand her desire for daily entertaining blog posts. Lex spoiled me that way.

    1. I hear ya Tuna. When I think of the effort required by me to get a post out every few days it boggles my mind that Lex had something for us EVERY day. Not to mention caring for his family, doing his job and all the other things which life imposes on us.

      Besides which, I'm starting to realize that you NFOs seem to need constant stimulus. I guess it's a mark of intelligence.

      At least that's what my daughter tells me.

    2. I feel your pain my brother, If I don't get something out every day I feel like I've let both my readers down.

    3. My big concern is that I don't want blogging to feel like, you know, a JOB. But so far I'm enjoying it a lot. Besides I've got my daughter to keep me in aviation stories, I hope.

  2. Stories, more stories please. Like this one right here. Not all serious-like; poking fun is a great good thing. If a daddy can't do that for his little girl, then who can? We little girls need our daddy's to keep us on our toes, just as it goes in the other direction as well.

    1. I try to avoid being "serious" as much as possible. You may see the occasional rant here, but I'll try to keep those on the lighter side as well. Who knows where my muse might take me yet?

  3. Good story! Ima guessing she will only do that once!

    Cup of coffee in the morning and a quick post. That's my rule. Some days, several cups later I am still typing...other days, not so much.


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