Category Archives: Flying

MilSpouse (First) Friday Fill-In #70

It’s here, it’s here! We’ve reached the first Friday in April, which I think is at least as worthy of celebration as that “foolish” day that had us giggling at Internet antics at the beginning of the month. Once we hit sundown, though, we run headlong into Shabbat and the first night of Passover. Chag Pesach Sameach to all who are celebrating, and I hope you have a wonderful seder! May you find delicious and creative ways to enjoy your eight days’ worth of matzoh. ;-)

What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?

I would have refrained from eating the entire batch of kettle corn I made whilst waiting for Sampson to return home from some bit of late-night pre-deployment business to which he had to attend. I suspect I added too much sugar for the amount of popcorn I used, so it turned out addictively tasty and far too rich for an evening snack. Alas, my overfull tummy forced me to forgo the whisky Sampson and I had planned to enjoy when he got back from the squadron.

What was your favorite thing that happened in March?

I got to go flying for the first time with my new headset. Not only was it lighter and comfier than the David Clark loaners I’d been borrowing, I didn’t have to wonder about who else had gotten up close and personal with the microphone windscreen before me. The cockpit is a noisy environment, you see, and you need to have the microphone pretty much touching your lips in order to be heard on the radio. As much as I love my fellow Civil Air Patrol volunteers, that esteem does not extend to wishing to make out with their previously used microphones.

Check your phone… who was the last person you called and what is your favorite thing about them?

‘Twas my in-laws, to discuss Passover plans. They’re wonderful folks who have always made me feel like a welcome addition to the family.

If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?

A green dragon basking in the sun

I drew this green Pernese dragon basking in the sun when I was in high school.

I still remember when Crayola released new crayon colors in 1990. My favorite among the new additions to my crayon box was Jungle Green. The color was perfect for both rich foliage and for the dragons that figured so vividly in my imagination throughout my childhood. I may not take to the sky on gossamer-thin dragon wings, but I feel the same excitement whenever I climb into a small airplane.

What are you looking forward to in April?

This first part of the month is full of family and celebrations. I’m excited to see all kinds of people, but it will be particularly special to meet two new family members this weekend — my cousin and his wife just welcomed a set of twins last week, so I look forward to saying hello to my newest first cousins, once removed.

Are you a military spouse/fiancée/fiancé/girlfriend/boyfriend? Hie thee to LTJG Wifey’s blog, snag the questions, and add yourself to the Mr. Linky for this month’s MilSpouse (First) Friday Fill-In!

If EMALS Can Handle the COD…

…the experimental EMALS (Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System) might be on its way to handling anything. Maybe.

I must admit, I’m sharing this video mostly to show some C-2A Greyhound love, but it’s pretty neat how quiet EMALS is. Steam catapults will no doubt be around for some time yet, though.

Wordless Wednesday is Bi(plane)-Curious

Guest Post: Welcome to Cruise

Military spouses occupy a curious corner of the greater military blogging constellation. I could sit here all day and tell you all about what it’s like to be married to a nasal radiator naval aviator. I could give a first-hand account of deployment from the homefront perspective. I could tell you all about my husband’s aircraft, its mission, and even rattle off immediate action items from the emergency procedures checklists. We spouses tend to absorb quite a bit of information through osmosis.

What I cannot tell you, however, is what it feels like to fly the beast, to land it on a pitching deck, and to spend months bouncing from foreign base to foreign base in order to stay within reach of the aircraft carrier relying on its CODs for cargo, mail, and transport of important personnel. For that, you need to ask my husband. He has graciously offered to share a vignette that captures a moment those of us who wait at home do not get to see: the instant that deployment truly begins.

“Last Minute” by Sampson

Aircraft carriers leave little margin for error. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans/Released)

Somewhere in the back of your airplane, Petty Officer Jones is saying his Hail Marys. It’s a strange thing for a man that scared of flying and ships to be in a COD squadron. Yet, here he is, and here you are, flying from the left seat in one of two mighty C-2A Greyhounds. In addition to forty- something enlisted aircraft maintainers, they are stuffed to the gills with everything your COD detachment will need for the next six months supporting a carrier air wing.

Well, okay, the birds don’t have everything you’ll need. Five people are waiting to catch a ride on a C-130 across the pond to start setting up the first Forward Logistics Site. The good news is that’s five fewer days stuck on a boat. The bad news is none of them are about to bag a trap.

LSOs guide aircraft in for safe landings. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brent Thacker/Released)

The boat is still close offshore. She is steaming conspicuously westerly, into the rapidly setting sun. In half an hour, you’ll make like Cinderella’s carriage and turn into a pumpkin. But, good news! The deck is expecting you. Your signal is “buster”, which is boat-speak for keep your foot on the floor, and expect “Charlie on arrival”, which means you should recover immediately.

You follow behind your detachment’s other aircraft. As you set up for your entry into the pattern, you can’t help but notice the sun sitting just above and to the left of the ship’s landing area. This could get interesting. Sure enough, rolling into the groove, the ball is barely visible – and it is low. Power on, you’re afraid to actually scan angle of attack and lineup lest you lose glideslope reference. The niggling detail that this ship has had the third of four wires normally on the flight deck stripped enters unwelcome into your brain.

Arrested Landing

A C-2A Greyhound makes an arrested landing. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Rosa A. Arzola/Released)

When you take an arrested landing, one of two things happen: you stop fairly quickly or the LSOs call out “Bolter, bolter bolter” almost immediately. Not today. WHUMP, you are on deck, one potato, two potatoes, three potatoes, and at last, there’s that blessed deceleration. In a couple of hours, the LSO will explain that your hook skipped over the second wire but snagged number four, hence the three eternities on the landing rollout.

But right now none of that matters. You taxi the bird out of the landing area, fold the wings, and shut her down for the ride across the Atlantic. The aircraft commander turns to you and shakes your hand.

“Nice trap. Welcome to cruise.”

The ship is pointed conspicuously eastward…

I [heart] Air Shows

Air Show Heart

Aw, and it looks like they ♥ me back!

Real post soon. Life has had a distinct flavor of crazy lately, and I haven’t felt adequate to the task of writing about it. Shortly, though, I hope to have both a SpouseBUZZ post and an entry here to catch up with you all. I’d better get it done lest this relatively relaxed period prove to be a mere lull in the insanity.


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