Sunday, May 10, 2020

More Jets and Sunsets


VF-213 Blacklion Tomcat in Fallon Nevada                                                  Source

While Sarge puts on another 250K miles to his personal odometer, I'll take a crack at posting for the day.  No pithy part-time political ranting this time, so you get yet another edition of Jets and Sunsets.  There's probably a few sunrises in the mix, but we're not splitting crosshairs today.


The opening photo is a Tomcat from VF-213.  I have several photos of that squadron both that I've taken (off the interwebs) and in my own cruise photos, as both VS-29 and VF-213 were in CVW-11.  I deployed with that airwing twice; once as ship's company on USS Carl Vinson, followed by my DH tour on Nimitz after Vinson went back east for RCOH.*   If there was ever a squadron with some ghosts in it, it would be the Blacklions.  First trouble they had that I remember was in 1994, when the Navy first allowed women into combat aircraft and LT Kara Hultgreen crashed on approach to the USS Abraham Lincoln.  Two years later, LT Graham Higgins, who was a classmate of mine in flight school, both in API** and Basic NFO training, was killed in a crash in Tennessee due to his pilot's flat-hatting.  Six years following that a less tragic mishap occurred when the SWO Chief of Staff for the Strike Group got a ride in a Blacklion Tomcat during Airwing Strike Training in Fallon NV.  His ride was cut short when after going inverted he attempted to pull himself back into the seat, but pulled on the lower ejection handle.  Fortunately he only ejected himself and the pilot returned to base in a convertible.  There were more incidents you can read about under Black Cats here.  But today is not about 213, but Tomcats and sunsets.

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VF-213 Blacklion in Fallon Nevada                                                         Source
Why the focus on Tomcats?  Besides being my second favorite Fleet aircraft, it's a jet that has a prominent place in the American Psyche due to the movie Top Gun.  Next week was supposed to be the release of its sequel, that is until the apocalypse happened.


I'm looking forward to seeing it for a few reasons.  First is that I seem to enjoy most military centered movies, even the ones that aren't so good.  There's the obvious connection to my brothers in arms, but it's also fun to point out the ways in which Hollywood gets it so wrong.  To me, Top Gun was great, showing Naval Aviation in all its glory, and I lived that once, during what is quickly becoming oh so long ago.  But the movie was also cheesy at the same time.  However, that's part of why it's fun to watch for me.  I'm sure Top Gun 2 is very well done, but there will be moments where those of us familiar with military aviation will have to have a willing suspension of disbelief.  I also enjoyed Behind Enemy Lines, although it required even more of that suspension, due to heavy cheese.  Some of it was filmed on Carl Vinson while I was onboard so there's a connection there.  In fact, two of the young officers who worked for me had bit parts.  However, DO NOT watch the sequel.  I had to turn it off maybe 15 minutes into it.  Maybe it one of those flicks that went straight to video.  It should have been straight to the dumpster.  Anyway, back to our regularly unscheduled programming.

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Ok, enough Tomcat photos for today.  But wait, there's more!


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A couple for the staff:




And finally one for me.  Going old school with this next one.  It's an S-3A vice the vastly different B model I flew.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Sarge will be back sometime next week to help pump up the Nielsen ratings around here.



*Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH), aka filling up the tank for a nuke boat.
**API is Aviation Preflight Indoctrination, which is the first training upon arrival in Pensacola, the course that gives the city its nickname The Cradle of Naval Aviation

31 comments:

  1. You kids and your new fangled Tomcats and atomic powered aircraft carriers.
    The Tomcat was just coming into the fleet when I was on Forrestal.
    My wife and I were attending an airshow at Willow Grove and a Tomcat did a flyby low and fast.
    I remember watching the wings move into the high speed position when the aircraft began its dive and told my wife "This is gonna be great." It was.
    Great looking aircraft and photos.


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  2. Tomcats are still one of the prettiest aircraft. Just too bad they were not updated to modern standards. They could have made a wicked pr craft.

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    1. I read an article about the planned 'super-Tomcat,' where they did much the same thing as with the Super Hornet. Same basic plan of the airframe, actually quite a few things very similar to the existing Tomcat, but new wing-roots, lots of composite skin surfaces, an overall weight reduction, new super cockpit, more 'BombCat' features and enhanced weapons management system and new or reworked engines that would have made the thrust to weight ratio even better. Longer flight time on internal tanks, and extended range or loiter time with external tanks, too.

      Would have been nice. A long range interceptor/protector. Sigh.

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    2. Oh, and with the updated 'BombCat' features, it would have been the night and long-range replacement for the A-6. Dangit.

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    3. Jim, I agree. Very sinister and muscular look to me.

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  3. A great way to start a Sunday. Now I'm really glad I took the weekend off!

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    Replies
    1. Happy Mother's Day to the moms in your family.

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  4. I probably have taken 1000 pictures of an aircraft at sunset. There's just something magical about getting out of a plane at the end of a long day and looking back at the faithful steed that brought you home again.

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    Replies
    1. You should guest post a "Jets and Sunsets!"

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  5. Tuna,
    I had lots of pictures of tom kitties also. For some reason all of them were taken from the rear and had some kind of circle with a dot in the center on them. :-)
    Jim,
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I thought the Phantom was beautiful, especially when it was loaded to the gills with bombs and I was climbing the boarding ladder. But the Eagle....Now that is a gorgeous killing machine!

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    1. Nice of them to let you scrimmage against the big kids! Is that like when they give the ball to the special needs kid so he can score?

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    2. No, if one of my guys lost to a TomCat, we had a formal sit down, reviewed his and the TomCat's film if available. Unless the TomCat driver was exceptional (there were a few) my guy would fly with an IP on his next hop. The only areas the F-15 was out matched were at very slow speed and very, very fast speed. Anything in between, the best the TomCat should have been able to do was a draw.

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    3. I just said it was my favorite. I didn't say it was a good fighter! Haha. It was better at shooting from afar than actually dogfighting, but I was a sub hunter so what do I know?

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    4. Right you are, Tuna! It was a fleet protector, blowing the godless commies out of the sky from 100 miles away!

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  6. Very pretty photos. (Now, why is plural of 'photo' spelled 'photos' and not 'photoes'? After all, plural of 'potato' is 'potatoes'. Hmmm.)

    Always liked the look and performance of the Tomcat, well, once they got the new engines. And the Bombcat version was just brilliant. Sad to see a great concept go away. Sigh.

    As to troubled units, it does seem that once the gremlins or rot or both set in, it takes forever to recover, if one can. Many units have been stood down, in the past, to break the cycle. Sorry your classmate was killed due to someone grandstanding, as that totally sucks.

    But, dang, you have the eye for what makes a photo, either one you took or one you've seen, great. Please keep it up. Hope you and yours are doing well on Mothra's Day. Hmmm... wonder how the people of Tokyo are doing?...

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    1. Photo, photato, it's because the English language has rules that make no sense, aren't followed, and wouldn't work if they did.

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  7. Hey Tuna;

    Those were great pics, and it would have been great for the Tomcat to get upgraded, but the defense dollars wern't there for it. They had to have money for crack babies you know. I got Rift'ed in 1991 after coming back from the Southwest Asia war games, even though we brought home the winning trophy, the Army was trying to stay ahead of congress wanting their "Peace Dividend" as were the other services. The 90's was a strange time to be in the military. I still liked the Tomcat, although I really liked the F4 and I wondered if the performance could have been improved if the plane had improved avionics, and powerplant. Oh well.

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  8. To the victor goes the pink slips. Sorry to hear that. I heard tell of a guy in my squadron who held up a sign at the O-club right before his RIF stating "Will navigate for food."

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    1. Now, THERE's a sense of humor. Hope he landed on his feet.

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    2. Well, he married VERY well so I think so.

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  9. Very nice, even artistic or beautiful.
    No photos of the F-14s that are still flying, you know the ones in Iran?
    Or, do we need to wait for the gun camera footage to see those....
    John Blackshoe

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    1. They fly very rarely, but my info is VERY dated. Sanctions work.

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  10. Hey, Sarge- Thanks for listing the ban.
    JB

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    1. I was POed and let my anger overwhelm my better judgement. You know what they say, act in haste, repent in leisure.

      I think the ban lasted two hours. We have too many good comments coming in as Any Mouse to spoil it because of one jerk.

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    2. I was wondering what happened to the Ban Hammer.

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    3. Remorse, call it remorse...

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  11. Looking for cheesy military movies? Look no further than "Fire Birds." Army Aviation had an opportunity to sell itself to potential enlistees like "Top Gun" did and ended up with something much worse than "Iron Eagle." I just know that some unrated Army AG type had to be the "technical advisor" for that one. Tommy Lee Jones acting like Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley instead of an Apache instructor, Nic Cage acting like Charlie Sheen in "Hot Shots," and Sean Young acting like Irma la Douche. What's not to like. Thanks for your post, regards, Alemaster

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    1. "Home Fries," on the other hand, is an excellent movie featuring the Apache helicopter.

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