Saturday, June 7, 2014

Caution. "Artist" At Work

Um, no, not really.

Actually I have been working on a new concept for the old head o' the blog logo. What I like to call the frontispiece.
fron·tis·piece noun \ˈfrən-tə-ˌspēs\
: a picture in the front of a book
Full Definition of FRONTISPIECE
1 a :  the principal front of a building
   b :  a decorated pediment over a portico or window
2 :  an illustration preceding and usually facing the title page of a book or magazine
Middle French frontispice, from Late Latin frontispicium facade, from Latin front-, frons + -i- + specere to look at — more at spy
First Known Use: circa 1598
Overly fancy perhaps, but you know me, I get that way. Plötzlich spricht in einer fremden Sprache ohne Vorwarnung.

Without so much as a "by your leave."

Und so weiter...

But seriously, what with a new blogger coming on board (Juvat, take a bow) I felt I needed to acknowledge that upon the frontispiece. After all, Tuna and I can't hog all the glory, can we?

Well we can, but that would be rude.

So I searched for appropriate photos. I think I did okay in that department. Now let me explain the Madness of King George. Er, I mean, the idea behind the photos. (That was a good movie by the way...)

The S-3 War Hoover on the left, flying over Sandy Eggo, the USS MIDWAY in the distance (just under the nose), was an aircraft onboard which Tuna actually flew. Back during Gulf War II.

The F-4D Phantom in the center has it's radome open and it's APQ-109A weapon control system (radar) extended for maintenance purposes. My old job. In the background is a Dash-60 ground power cart (about which I need to tell a few stories at some point, those things will scare the bejeebers out of you if you're not paying attention).

Underneath the aircraft (where we weren't supposed to put it, ever) is a Dash-6 cart, used to supply utility hydraulic pressure (to make the radar dish sweep) and cooling air.

(Why yes, I do have a couple or three stories about that wee beastie as well. Involves a Drapire it does. What's a Drapire you ask? Why it's a nasty monster which roams the flightline disconnecting Dash-6 carts which uncaring maintenance guys have put under the bird and not to the side. It will suck the hydraulic fluid right out of that cart. Kind of like a vampire. Russ might remember the Drapire.)

Enough about my airplane, as much as I like to talk about myself, we do need to move on to that F-15 over on the right. If you've been paying attention (and you should be, this will be on the final exam) you know that Juvat used to fly the F-4 and the F-15. The Eagle in that picture is from one of Juvat's old squadrons. One that moved from Okinawa to Alaska. He'll know what I mean.

I also kept a few things from the old frontispiece. The photos of the 10 pilots and one pararescue jumper (PJ) I could not dispense with (I know Buck, I know Pogue, it's still "busy") so they stayed "onboard" as it were. I figured the Chief Master Sergeant PJ was more than enough to keep an eye on all those officers. (Though I doubt seriously any man could really keep up with BGen Olds, probably Major Rasimus as well. Hell, they're pilots, those guys are hard to keep pace with. I know, I've tried.)

I dunno, I like it. As they say, Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) and probably does!

Oh, yeah, here's the original photos of those jets. Why? I like jets.

'Nuff said.

F-4D Phantom, WCS Guys "In the house!"

Tuna's Jet Over Sandy Eggo, the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) in the background.

F-15 in 'burner with Alaskan terrain in the background.


  1. I like it!. Didn't notice the Midway, thought it was a parking lot, until I looked at the larger version of the picture (which says something to the size of Carriers, I guess). Still trying to figure out why the two tank configuration on the Eagle seems to be standard now. Unless deploying, the standard in my day (Pterodactyls had just gone extinct) was a single centerline tank. Perhaps a more current Eagle Driver reader could shed some light. G-limit? Range requirement?

    1. The pterodactyl would still be around if you Phantom drivers had not used them for dissimilar air combat training!

      (But man those suckers had a low stall speed...)

  2. Ahh..., yes the Drapire. I remember him well, scourge of the WCS flightline! The WCS comics would make a nice touch for one of your blogs and would show folks your humble journalistic(is that a real word?) beginnings!!!

    1. Heh.

      I'm still searching the archives. There is hope!

  3. Nice. A bit of tradition, a little Navy for class, airmen to keep an eye on... So, my question is, what's the RADHAZ safe standoff distance for one of those radars in XMIT mode? I remember reading a story once by Jerzy Kozinski about a man who used one in a most unsporting fashion. Does the squadron maintenance officer ever exclaim, Why do you guys always point the damned things at my office!?

    1. We had and airsearch on the can that could, supposedly, cook a turkey (or a seagull) in less than two minutes if one were to get within 5 feet.

    2. Cap'n - we were not supposed to go to XMIT on the ground, ever, unless we were hooked up to a "370" - a big cement mixer looking thing we'd attach to the nose of the aircraft which we used to calibrate the radar. The only time we were "allowed" to go to XMIT. I'm not sure what the RADHAZ distance was as I guess as we were not supposed to XMIT, we didn't need to know. Though I can tell you, the sucker would light up a Lite-All when we transmitted in that general direction. Not that I know anything about that. What's a squadron maintenance officer? Oh, that's right - we would not have seen one of those as they only came out in daylight. Most maintainers were nocturnal in those days. Fly during the day, fix during the night.

      Skip - our radar was really low powered compared to that on a ship. Way less power.

    3. I wondered. It is pretty hard to accidentally stray right in front of a shipboard fire control radar since we keep them mostly out of reach. I figured such radars could be pretty dangerous at near ground level. I used to camp out at Pillars Point where they had flashing lights, horns, sirens to keep one out of the RADHAZ area when the radars were energized.

  4. I don't know what the answer is, but there used to be an urban legend about a guy in the arming area getting killed when the squat switch in a jet broke (it prevents the radar from actually transmitting while on the ground). Not sure it was actually true, but I never went active on the ground until taking the runway. Can't really be that far though, we would tend to lock on to lead during rejoins to monitor closure. Not too many of us twitch very much.

    1. Interesting. Perhaps an E-model thing? There was nothing on the C and D models (that I can ever recall, Russ?) that prevented us from going to XMIT while on the ground. Not, of course, that I would have any personal knowledge of that. The only thing which controlled the radar (that I can recall, and granted it was a LONG time ago, just after the end of the Pleistocene Epoch) was a rotary switch in the aft cockpit which had four positions: OFF, BIT, STBY and XMIT. OFF means what most people expect it to mean, though I did see a write-up on Okinawa from a WSO which read (ISYN) "Radar will not XMIT in O.F.F. mode" - for real. (The WCS crew signed it off as "Refer to T.O. - this is standard operation, radar will not transmit while turned off." There was more, but the Chief made them cross it out. BIT was for running the radar system's Built In Test mode (there were 7 BIT tests). STBY was for warming the radar up, hey it was mostly vacuum tubes, particularly in the power supply. And XMIT mean transmit, spitting RF out from the antenna, getting returns back.

      I know of no "squat switch" on the F-4C and D. At any rate, there's nothing that a determined idiot can't override. Witness the crew who managed to shoot the nose gear off a D model at Kunsan and turn their Stepvan into Swiss cheese. (They parked directly in front of the aircraft, a very big No-No!)

      And Juvat, from what I've read, most old F-4 aircrews took in enough alcohol during their careers that the radiation twitch would scarcely be noticed. Again, not that I would know anything about that.


    2. That may have been just an F-15 thing. Since I had very little Radar control in the front seat of a Phantom, I didn't pay much attention to things like that. Maybe the D model incident,( which was before my time thank you very much!), led to the development of the switch.

    3. Let me see, radar control in the front seat...

      Nope, none at all. Unless you count adjusting the brightness / contrast on your scope!

    4. In the EA-6B we had a "weight on wheels" switch in the main landing gear that provided the transmitters a signal that they interpreted as "can't transmit, sorry." Of course there was a circuit breaker that would bypass that switch if we ever really needed to for certain specific tests, or a wedge we could put in the switch itself. Transmission was done into "dummy loads" rather than the antenna, though.

    5. Nice how there's always a CB that a clever maintenance guy can bypass when a test just has to be run.

    6. There was an 'armament control override switch' in the aft cockpit of the F4 C/D but that was for weapons testing when the wheels were down. There was definitely nothing to keep one from XMIT mode in the C/D models while on the ground. When I was at Phu Cat there were a number of times when working on one of the alert pad planes that I would attempt tracking the Buff's when they were returning from a bombing mission. The alert pad was a great place for this - no personnel or aircraft in the way, just runway. Pleistocene Epoch, huh? I would have swore that it was the Pliocene Epoch but there was so much alcohol involved back then, that I may be off an era or two.

    7. I once "attempted" to track a BUFF coming into Okinawa during typhoon season down at the Cal Docks. The EWO on the BUFF was unimpressed with the little F-4 radar. When I came out of XMIT to STBY, the antenna stopped slamming against the stops.

      Um, yeah. Didn't do that again!

      (I'm trying to remember which prehistoric epoch Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" came out...)

  5. One of our nicknames for CV-41 was "The Old Grey Lady" and I remember her fondly.

    It brought tears to my eyes to see the things they've done to her to make her a museum. I understand why, but still heartbreaking.

    1. Museum ships always seem to get "violated" to a certain extent.

      A couple of diesel subs I've visited spring to mind.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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