Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Indications You May be Flying Too Low

One day as I was sitting under the wing of my aircraft, waiting for the rest of the crew to show when I noticed an F-4 Phantom taxi by.  At Clark Air Base in the Philippines that wasn’t an unusual sight, and I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention except for the approximately eight foot of tree top sticking in the wing root just behind the left intake.   I wish I could have been at their parking spot when they got out and saw how much foliage they had brought home.
Then there was the a C-130 killing some time down in Central America.  They decided to go do some wave hopping and put on a show for the local fishing boats.  The opened the ramp to let in some cool air and got as low as they thought prudent.  When they tried to close the ramp it wouldn’t close completely so they headed home with what they thought was a simple maintenance problem.  When the landed and headed into debrief they were informed urine samples would be required.  It seems they had taken about 12 feet of sheet metal off the back end of the aircraft from hitting a wave.

My favorite remembrance was a time when I was in the 773 TAS and we were in Panama for a rotation.  We were to carry supplies around Central and South America.  Most of our Aircraft Commanders were fresh from a Vietnam or Southeast Asia tour and were outstanding pilots, but not overly dedicated to reading all the rules and regulations.  We had a flight down the Chile to take supplies to the Embassy; in the course of the trip the aircraft was asked to perform a flyover of the Santiago futbol stadium.  By the time they arrived back in Panama the Squadron Commander had a picture of the C-130 flying over the field, unfortunately it was a view of the top of the aircraft taken from someone in the stadium stands.

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