Capt Dale “Snort” Snodgrass Lectures At The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
In Celebration of the Centennial of Naval Aviation.
The first Navy Flight School graduate to be selected for F-14 Tomcat training, Capt. Dale “Snort” Snodgrass was the Navy’s Fighter Pilot of the Year in 1985.
The former Top Gun instructor also holds the distinction of having logged the most hours as an F-14 Pilot (4,800) and has completed over 1,200 carrier arrested landings. He served 12 operational tours, including command of Fighter Squadron 33 during Desert Storm and as Commander of Fighter Wing Atlantic, which included all of the Navy’s F-14s.
He received numerous awards and distinctions and retired from the Navy in 1999 after 26 years of service.
Captain Snodgrass has performed in over 850 airshows over the course of 20 years in such legendary planes as the F-14 Tomcat, F-86 Sabre, MiG 15, MiG 17, P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, Curtiss P-40, T-6 Texan/Harvard and 8KCAB Super Decathlon.
Dale has been designated one of only ten USAF Heritage Flight Pilots.
Captain Snodgrass serves as Draken International’s Chief Pilot, Director of Deployed Operations and Congressional Liaison.
[Note: the transcript was produced by a computer, so is NOT 100% accurate. Apologies for that, but over time it will be cleaned up.]
Good evening and welcome to the National Aaron Space Societies, Donald D Ngan flight check at night. My name is Elizabeth Wilson and I’m the director of the national air and space society and the wall of honour here at the museum. We’re pleased to offer society members the exclusive opportunity to experience tonight’s programme in recognition of your continued support through your membership donations and wall of honour contributions. So thank you. And now to introduce captain Snodgrass, please welcome the director of the Museum General Jack Daly
Well thanks Liz. Good Evening Ladies and gentlemen, since she’s been here, Liz has made significant administrative and operational improvements in the national Erin’s space society and as a result of society is growing larger and more involved. And it’s a pleasure to see so many members here this evening and thank you for your support. It’s an honour to host the Vice Admiral Dunn with the ink and flight jacket night. This annual programme presents speakers who exemplify our mission, which is to commemorate the history of flight and educate and inspire people about the science and technology of flight flight. Jagger night recognises bye. He said, well, Donald D Ngan, former director of the national air and space museum and this year we focused on the centennial of naval aviation and tonight’s speaker truly fits the bill as I introduce him, you will note recognition of his flying skills throughout his career. And from the very beginning, uh, captain Snodgrass became the definitive f 14 pilot.
He began flying the aircraft straight out of flight school in 1974 which was unusual because the aeroplane was new at that time and no nuggets had been planted. He was the first in that category and also the first de land or qualify day and night aboard ship. Uh, in 1978 80 attended top gun, the navy fighter weapons school where he the best pilots become instructors. And in 1985 he became the navy’s fighter pilot of the year. The following year when the movie top gun came out, people all over the country became a 14 fans. Captain Snodgrass who flew for the film, trained so many young fighter pilots in stage, so many dog fights in year 14 that it became legendary. He also flew more displays over more years than any other military demo pilot flying the f 14 in war and peace. He has wrecked up more than 4,800 hours making him the highest time top pilot in history and there’s no chance that anyone will surpass him because all the time cancer retired, which is a nice feature.
You have to sound Snodgrass serve 12 operational tours including command of fighter squad in 33 during Desert Storm and his commander of Fighter Wing Atlantic, which included all the navy’s l fourteens at that time as an air show performer. He has appeared in more than 850 events over the course of 20 years. In addition to the a 14 he Sloan other legendary aircraft like the fad six Sabre, the Mig 15 in the mid 17 the p 51 Mustang [inaudible] four U Corsair Curtis p 40 t six Texan in the super decathlon as the son of a World War II marine aviator who flew f FYU corsairs in the Pacific. Captain Snodgrass has a natural affinity for old fighter aircraft. He’s been dead designated. One of the only 10 pilots who were authorised to fly in the air force heritage flight. And I assure many of you are familiar with that, but that’s a formation of different era fighters from the air force. And so in those who were formation pilots know that dissimilar formation is one thing. This is the epitome of dissimilar formation flying. So please welcome Captain Dale. SNORT Snodgrass.
Thank you John.
Like the general, I really appreciate that introduction. I guess I don’t have to say anything. Questions. So as a, as a, you know, a, a timeline of final pilot, my course, it’s the speeches should just be about me and I think that’s what I’m going to talk about tonight. But I had some of my guys from my, uh, the jet team, I’m on the robotic jet team, the black diamonds, uh, asked me to s said, this is very appropriate for you snore to be in the museum because you are a museum piece. So with that I’m going to press on, but could I get the first slide please? Oh, there it is. Above. Behind me is a, is a g metre. And you see the g metres pegged debt just under seven, about six and three quarter. Geez, I do that routinely. But that was not me who put those gs on that aeroplane.
It was General Jack Daley here a year ago. He flew an [inaudible] 60, we took him out and did a one v one dog fight against the nail, 39 and guess who kicked butt? The general. And by the way, that was sustained six and a half gs. That was not just an instantaneous pole and it happened more than once. So you can take an old fighter pilot and put him behind a desk in a magnificent museum. But he still has the skills and the heart and they cutting to go out and uh, and kick butts. So that was a great day and I’ve had a number of flights with them. So hopefully this next year we’ll go up again and maybe a potentially an l 39. So it’s a pleasure. I’m going to take you, sort of walk you through my career in a sort of a supersonic way because I could tell story after story after story because I flew and, and we’re shipmates with magnificent men and some women and we shared a lot and have, I could take you through various stories from dogfighting to flying to some great stories that happened on the beach in places far, far away.
But uh, but, but tonight I’m just sort of going to walk you through it cause I have the next slide please. I came from a family. My father was a marine aviator and like a lot of really good naval aviators that come out of a nepotistic society. So I grew up with my father and he was a marine pilot in World War II. He started out in c 46 and then transitioned of course years at the end of the war and then became a test pilot. And as I grew up in long island, my father was working at Grumman. Uh, and so I had the pleasure and the distinction of having the privilege of having a bunch of great test pilots come over with guys like Bob Smith who flew the first fight in the Tomcat pizza mellow. Um, Chuck Sule who did all the spin testing in it. Uh, and Don Evans who did the famous air show in the Tomcat, the BTF 15 to sit in the aeroplanes to, I ran risk by the way, probably there may be a guy in a Randall wind up with more flight time and they’re 14 than I am unless I can get over there and steal one.
But, but it was a truly a uh, uh, an influential time in my life because I was in high school and college. And uh, I can say when these guys were around the house, it wasn’t really influential. It was more like they corrupted me. So if you sit with old fighter pilots or these guys were not all but they were full up test pilots in and the a Tati or two flows, you get to hear some great stories. And I just learned at that point to listen because listening for me became a, a, uh, one of the keys to my career, particularly from my flying skills career. Because if you listen to sit on the sideline and listen, particularly when people are in social environments, whether it be an o club or a party to house, you can pick up some great pointers. And, uh, and I did that throughout my career and I’ll talk about one story later on that the, it paid a substantially good dividends on the left or right up here on the left is the next I’m passing the torch to my nephew.
I don’t have a son. I have a wonderful daughters, none of which are our pilots. But, uh, my nephew who’s the only boy in the family is, um, I’m surrounded by oestrogen. I’ve got all these daughters and sisters and, and a couple of wives too over time, but with what the end game is. But I have a magnificent one here and I like to show Denise right over here. My wife, she’s a major support, but anyway, reed is, uh, he’s a top gun graduate. And He’s a weapons school instructor right now flying the fat and Super Horn heads. So it’s wonderful to have that lineage behind you, um, as you’re trans. As I eventually got through college and went to flight school, then I started what I call the formative years of the training years. And in that, I remember being at the, uh, at Pensacola, just going through a preflight there and one of the other guys in my class.
And I went down to the Sherman, drove down to a few miles down to Sherman and I was blown away by seeing the blues fly in f fours. The earth shook when they did a dirty delta loop. I had just, I was there, was shook and I said, there’s no crowd. I was already completely biassed towards fighter, but then fighters, but at that point had said, I’m going to go do that. And I just had to set my mind to it and, and, and uh, make sure that no one else was ahead of me in flight school so that when the time came, if your number one god, then you basically get, get your choice. And, uh, and that was my goal and I worked very hard to do that in the process. Next slide. The eight four please. I wound up, the first thing to do is just break through and get to jets.
And I did that, uh, and then in jets went through tattoos and [inaudible] but it was always about doing the best. And I was very competitive. I was a swimmer in college and um, so I worked exceptionally hard and I was constantly working on flying and I was, I was almost hyper concerned with my grades, but in the end game it paid off because I got some, I got some good grades and uh, and I wound up being at the top of the food chain at a 90 guys when it came time to select and they had one f 14 first one. And uh, uh, and actually with another guy, rich stark, he and I got the first two and that was a, that was a huge privilege. But in that process I had a couple of events that, you know, for awhile there I thinking I was, I was pretty big stuff but I was doing a, uh, I was in tattoos and I was doing a formation check ride for ship check ride division flight and I was dash for came in and the instructor were doing breakup and rendezvous and I was coming in and I was number four and the instructor had intentionally pulled his power back and slowed down to 200 knots as opposed to the rendezvous speed of two 50 to see how we all handle it while the guy in front of me, number three, the Senate and got low.
And I came in and I thought it was very appropriate. I’d never thought about it, but I just did it naturally. I did a big barrel roll over the top and wound up writing formation right. And everything was good and, but there was not the navy way. So I got my one and only down in flight school. The good news was I got five above averages on top of it. So I’ve got an extra reef and it worked out grade wise. So I was very happy. And the next thing I had gotten selected for my orders for Tomcat. So I was on top of the world, but I was in El Centro on a debt and we were dropping ordinance, our last air to ground pieces and I had a few sorties to finish off, but my instructor knew that I’d selected for Tomcats. So he said let’s fly over the hill on a Friday night, Friday afternoon and go to Martin and the oak club and you can check out your new home.
So I was absolutely ecstatic about that. So I flew over there, we parked the aeroplane, we got our room in the BOQ and then ran across the street to the old club. And in my haste I walked into 300 fighter pilots with my cover on and in the navy going to no club or any squad. You’re going to Navy, Navy, old club, a particular Marino club and you walk in covered you by the bar. This case, I bought the entire oak club as an ensign, one month’s pay group. Good News. I’ve got a lot of free cocktails after that, but it was a long and tough story, but it, it’s a, it’s a tale that I remembered forever. So I had never gone into a club covered again. So then I went to grab the next one and then I did finally show up in Miramar at VF one 24 which had transitioned from being the FAA rag to the 14 rag.
It was new. They adjust. VF One and two had just stood up, uh, and via 1430 to one 42 and one 43 we’re going through the process of transitioning from f fours and I checked in as an ensign with rich dark my friend on January 1st of 1974 and it was I to this day, I still remember it, Mira Mara. Those in those days had, I can remember how many squadrons were there. It was right after Vietnam. There were air force squadron stacked up everywhere. There were FAA squadrons, there was VF one and two and the f 14 rag. And the place was, I mean the term fighter Town USA Epitomised Miramar at that time there were, I remember there was different cadres that you had the, you had the f four guys, which are the day to day guys that were doing the lions work share of, of flying fighters and they were sort of, they had sort of an average persona.
Then there were there 14 guys, which a little bit on the Premadonna side and I proudly wore my little at 14 name tags and incident and everybody thought I wasn’t like the, you know, stash there or something. But I actually to get eventually to fly the aeroplane shortly thereafter. And then there were the fake guys, which are actually my heroes at the time, cause they come back, they wear their dress. We didn’t wear flight suits very often. You had to wearing your Khakis all the time. But these guys had massively long moustaches. Most of them, their hair was really long, which I liked. And they didn’t wear normal uniform shoes. I, half of them would just wear cowboy boots. So they were a wild crowd. And I remember my very first flight in the Tomcat. I takes you about 45 minutes back to those days to get out of the line cause everything was breaking and stuff.
So we finally get to the hold short and I got this massive beast, you know, I’d just been flying to a four before and I get into nothing and I take it to the whole short and they were stacked up with probably eight [inaudible] but just in front of me were two F8s. And I finally moved up to the number one spot on the whole shore and these two F8s, they had the canopies open. I look over guys with moustaches and the one guy closest to me, he’s smoking a cigarette and they say you’ve cleared for takeoff, you cleared the position hold and cleared for takeoff. The guy who takes a cigarette rubs it down, the side of the aeroplane goes, canopy comes down. It doesn’t even put his mask on. He just lets it hang, which is one of my things I did for my years too.
But anyway, he gets on the runway and that F8 had a hard light and they went to full burner, did a low transition section and then went straight up to about 12,000 feet at the end on a, on a departure. They called the scamp departure. And I remember the guys going up and they almost went zero airspeed cause they just sort of backed down and fell off together. It was very, very cool. And I actually came back into the club and look for him on the next day and I found him and I asked him, I asked him about all that and they gave me the details of it. But it was, it was a very cool, cool place to go. And I had a blast. I went through carrier qualification. I was the, as the general said, I, I had to, I was, I was, uh, I wasn’t really privileged.
I was the Guinea pig. So I took, took the aeroplane out to the boat the first time on the Kitty Hawk and I remember the day traps being fun. And then you know what? You get your first night trap. Then you go, oh, this is not so much fun. And to this day it’s not that much fun. I finished up with about 450 night traps in about just under 1300 total traps, but every one of those I still get sweaty pumps. It’s thinking about it even, and I remember that first night though, that first trap and then I managed to get, I managed to get through the whole process without getting waved off and getting a bolter. So I did get a couple of one wires, which was not good, but, but oh well I survived it and moved off to the east coast and I went to my first tour, which was the VF one 42 next slide please.
And that was a great squadron. Your first tour was always one of your momentous events in as a naval aviator and particularly as a fighter pilot. And my squadron was absolutely phenomenal. We had, it was a place where I was surrounded with unbelievable talent, both leadership and aviation skills. I, some of the best fighter pilots I’ve known were in that squadron. I had two CEOs, there were Vice Admiral Jerry Thunder Unruh. I’m phenomenal. 3000 hour FAA guy and a an a magnificent fighter pilot and a leader. I had another mentor of mine now rear, a retired rear admiral, a bad Fred Lewis, who he and I over years became very competitive with each other, both dog fighting and landing on the boat. And I had a guy named a red flash, Dave Walker who was a department head. He was uh, an astronaut and a great fighter pilot, a test pilot, flew their 14 and the test programme.
Had another guy, did moderately well in navy guide. My name of Jay Johnson, who retired as CNO a few years ago and is now the CEO of General Dynamics. Another great friend and a great fighter pilot. [inaudible] another guy by the name of Alex Rutger, who was retired as a commander, got out at 20 years and went to the airlines but was a renaissance man, spoke multiple languages. What’s great when you’re on cruise with a guy like that, by the way, that’s a huge benefit. And then he was also a familiar, who was a top gun instructor, a great fighter pilot, and a great instructor and really helped me move my skill sets, uh, in the world of air combat, uh, forward very rapidly. So I was surrounded by these magnificent, by these magnificent pilots and I say pilots because as I went through, I had great respect for any naval officer who was a senior to me because he just had to.
But I really did want to emulate the ones that were really, really good pilots. Cause that was my goal. I, I wanted my career to move forward, but I just really wanted to become the best fighter pilot I could be and be as good or better than anybody who’s walked around in a tomcat community. And with that, there were a bunch that were that. But when they were really good pilots, most of them were really good leaders. Not all of them continued to promote because they were also very good at other things. So some of which deterred from their overall officer, officer fitness reports. But, but not, not withstanding, I found, I, I decided I want to try and tread that line. So I work very diff, very, very hard on being a best fighter pilot w could and landing on the boat. And I was in this supreme squadron where it was always highly competitive and uh, and great fun.
And, uh, and, and through that process, you know, you get your first squad and the first thing you want to do is just survive and then you learn and then eventually a blossom. And that occurred for me towards the latter first part of my latter part of my first cruise and then all through my second cruise. And it was, uh, it was a lot of fun to the point that I started being equal to these guys in the air and air combat and actually starting to win and then win more frequently. And then, uh, and then worked really hard on being a, a really good carrier pilot because you can be the best fighter pout in the world, but if you can’t land on the boat in the middle of the night, you’re going home or you have to transfer to the air force. So right stroker slick, they’ve got a couple of my teammates up there who are, uh, famous f 16 drivers, so that a, they, they, they’ll understand this. So, but it was a great time and I learned and I became an LSO lending signal officer at the time because I really wanted to, if you’re going to be the best carry poly you can be, you should know how to, how it all works out and be able to grade other people. And, and I did that and that was a phenomenal job that I carried on for the next two tours. And it was just, it was just a blast. Um, let me see.
And so I, I, uh, it was just a blast and I remember, but one of the, the nicest things is that time I got to go back. Great. Privilege. I got to take, go back to Grumman and uh, pick up a brand new aeroplane where my father was working in flight tests and all those Grumman test pilots where I was a little teenager and a college guy where they are having their 25th Martini at my house. I got to come back and rub shoulders, shoulders with them, pick up the number 100th built at 14. And that was a very special day for me because my father was there and it was sorta became a full circle event. So it was, it was, uh, it was a truly momentous day.
Let me see here. Let’s, but a big job in that whole process was I became an LSO and as a LSO I left the, and I moved on to um, via phone to one as an instructor pilot. And my job there was to be the airwing LSO and that’s a great job because you hold guys careers in your hands literally. So it was, it was a very challenging and rewarding process in there. You take brand new guys like myself and I had done it, you know, a couple of three years before brand new pilots to their 14 other seasoned pilots transitioning their 14 and US coming back for current training and you take them out to the boat and, and get them, get them qualified. And as a young lieutenant you held the hammer. Even the CEO of the squadron or the admiral couldn’t say no to you if you said he was qualified and he was qualified and if you said he was not qualified then he was out of the pool and had to go back and start the process again.
And we had, I remember I had one student, a guy named Brian Olson and his, he was call centre was Bam Pam cause he was a like a Nordic God. He was like six two chiselled, you know, and I just wanted to hang around. And when he went into the old club and the girls were there but he could not land on the boat, he could not fly in the beginning. Anyway. So he went through field carrier practise. We took him out to the boat and he DQ disqualified. So he went back, he had a board, said, okay, let’s send them out again. He goes out again and he didn’t qualify again. And normally that’d be the end of the game. But the other LSO guy, man named Chris, Chris Wootric, and I really, and I laboured over this long time and we thought that there was a spark in there, sort of like, you know, light has a better idea of what it is, a better idea and turn the light on.
And so we pleaded, we didn’t plead, but we recommended to the board and to the commanding officer and actually all the way up to the three star admiral that he gets yet a third chance. And thank God he was our careers. We’ve been over personally for he really, and I, but he went through the process, he qualified, and then low and behold, halfway through his next cruise, he was the top Jio in the wing. So it’s just about working and believing in people and, uh, and, and trying to pass on that information simultaneously. I was also flying tactics, uh, finding a lot of ACM in the squadron and I got the privilege of being one of the two guys to jump over and fly the a four, which is a great, great aeroplane and had had a great time doing that. Then I went off to be a CAG LSO and as a CAG Ella.
So you still do some training, but now you’re taking care of their operational needs and operational caravaning landing of the guys on the ship. So I did that and that was a great time and we had some, but it had some very interesting events that occurred there. I mean, sometimes you’re out there in the dark nights, stormy night. It’s the LSO that helps get the guy back a board. And sometimes it’s even myself in the aeroplane. And the other ll soak helps me. Um, and it was, I remember in the North Atlantic, the captain and the admiral, we used to walk me out, say, okay snore, let’s go for a walk this morning. And we’ve got it on the flight deck and the decks going up and down, 20 feet, 25 feet, 15 feet howling, 40 knot winds and this, and as a young lieutenant commander, the Captain Adam will say, our is the only gonna fly today.
And I remember this one day, it was really rugged and I said, no, I don’t think we should fly today and but when we have to stand alerts. So he said, he said, so I said, okay, pick out the policies should be standing alerts. The more seasoned guy. And I of course was on that list. So I’m standing the alert and we transitioned an alert, 15 to alert, five reaction in the flight deck and loaned and whole coming around. The Cola peninsula is a t 95 bear. Oh my God, I have to launch now. So they call, I was actually the second guy. The aeroplane in front of me went down. So I get to the catapult and unfortunately my aeroplane did not go down. It didn’t break. And I launched off into these massive seas and massive winds and to go intercept, they launched the knee too and myself and that was it for the day.
I run to everyone the bear, he does his perfunctory fly by the carrier where have to be, you know, between him and the carer. So the pictures are all show a tomcat or something in navy or plane in between. And he does that and now it’s time he goes away, head’s home or actually we headed to Cuba and I have to come back and land and the deck is going up and down, 30 plus feet and I’m like petrified. And I come around the corner and on my 13th attempt I was able to trap the two. They send him to Norway because he had enough gas. I didn’t have enough gas and I didn’t want to launch a tanker because he be in the same scenario islands. So I came around and I finally trapped in this, in the deck. That slowed down enough, it’s only like 15 feet.
I trap and I have to back up a couple of passes. I came around and as you’re turning into the groove rolling in the Groove, I saw all four screws of the USS Nimitz plopping out of the water and the flight deck is like this and then it goes like this and then it goes like this and you go, this is not a good day. It’s 40 knots a win, 45 knots a when c state of 25 to 30 feet and a, anyway, I finally get a board and I’m just, Oh thank you. And then I raised the hook, clear the wires and they start to tax me and then the deck rolls to port stroker. That’s to the left. Okay. Port is left Stroker’s money when air force buds. Anyway, it rolls port and the deck is fairly slippery and I start to slide, I mean literally I slid almost two thirds of the distance of this, of this, this auditorium over towards the wrong edge over towards the port side, which is the, you know, the water and I, that’s not a any way young kids on the flight deck.
Amazing. They were throwing hooks on the cable, throwing hooks on the aeroplane, cable chains on it, trying to stop me. Chains were popping as this 60,000, 54,000 pound aeroplane at that point, or probably less than now. It’s probably about 48,000 pounds with the fuel I had sliding [inaudible] and in fact, in that process, uh, chain, uh, it fractured one guy’s arm and, and broke another guy’s leg trying to keep me from over the side. So these young 18 year olds are who carried chains around for living on a flight deck is our amazing, amazing group. And I’m forever indebted to them that day. But fortunately, Neptune fighter gods of the world said, Nah, knocked your day snore. Because if I had had to punch out, it was I, it was a done deal because 40, 45 nights a wind, Steve State 30, the ocean was just a giant white froth.
I mean, if I jumped out, it was all over. There’s no way a helicopter could pick me up. There’s no way anybody could find me on B. I’d be at the bottom of the ocean somewhere. So, but fortunately the boat starts to go the other way and snorts starts to go the other way. But I don’t care because the islands over there. So I didn’t quite make it. The I made about across, back across the landing area. And the guys finally got me, chuck and I shut down and said, they don’t pay me enough for this one. But, but it was a, but it was a one of those things where, you know, I should have said, not even alerts next day. I said, not even alerts for the admiral. So that was, that was a, my tour is a catalyst. So I had one bad accident where a guy landed, landed long and landed right in an ea six B and wound up having a disaster and saw 11 fine people die that night.
And uh, that was a tragedy. But that’s part of the game on the, on a carrier sometimes. Then subsequent to that, after two years of doing that, I also in that process I was flying with via 41 and I was involved in the Gulf of Sidra shoot down in 1981 and that was a unique time because a, we actually got to engage bad guys, but the only problem was the rules of engaging wouldn’t let you shoot down to bad guys unless they shot at you and the day of the shoot down I was physically, I was actually in a to B to engagement with to Mig 20 fives 30 miles away when the fitters shot their a talls at, at our, at, at my wingman or my other squad roommates 40 miles away. We’re on the same frequency. My wingman, including my wing with seal, the squadron, Hank Kleeman was the lead guy and Larry was Minsky was the wing and they went and they [inaudible] these two fitters, which was, you know, appropriate.
But meanwhile I’m over here engaged with with the two to make 25 and I couldn’t get, I couldn’t fire it them or take them out because they had shot at me. It was a very bad roe. It was so bad. In fact, I remember early in the morning, the both the admiral and the only commander came to me and said, snort, only if they shoot the physical. He told me, he walked up to me and said, only if they shoot at you, cause they was afraid I was gonna do something stupid. And I almost did. I had that make 25 with the headmaster. I’m on gun selected, locked pipper bouncing around the canopy in the back end of the top of the aeroplane. And while there’s sh fights going on with live missiles going off down range and I still couldn’t do it. So I’m, to this day, I sorta regret the fact that I didn’t pull the trigger on down because you know, I probably would have ended my career.
I would have been allude tank Amanda. But I had a gun kill on a Mig 25 which is, you know, I probably take it and also half all my retirement goes to my ex wife. So what difference does it make? Ivana, Lieutenant Commander or commander. Captain. So anyway, so it, it was a, but it was, but it was a great, it was a great event and there was some great stories that happened after that. But this, this, I’m talking too long so I want to get through this. Um, then I went off to, I went back and I went to uh, to via 43 as a adversary, instructor weapon school instructor and split my time between via 43 Oceana and top gun on the west coast. And that was a blast there. Next slide please. In that timeframe, I flew the f five and the a four three 21 was my favourite aeroplane by the way.
That was a super, Fox had a four oh eight engine, 11,200 pounds of thrust and that aeroplane was super light. There was nothing in it. And that thing, when you got to about two thirds gas was a rocket ship. It was one-to-one thrust away at that point and their plane could turn really well fly slow. For those of you who are fighter pilots and fought against it, you know, flown well. It was an awesome aeroplane. In rolling scissors. Very difficult to, uh, to defend against. And in fact, to this day I’d taken a four Super Fox and go fight most any aeroplane out there. Maybe less than half 22 but unless they give me a nine next and then I’d still do it. But it was a, that was a grand, a grand tour. Um, I had a great times flying red air is, is massively fun.
It’s not, sometimes it’s not too hard. It’s not the most tactical. I mean it’s tactical, but you don’t have to work too hard cause you’re the, you’re, you’re paid to die essentially. And, but the best thing about that tour was almost after every single flight, we did a one B one in house hack, which means we went and fought one B one guns only. And I must have had, I can’t tell you how many, one v one guns only. And that for me was, is still the pinnacle of, of flying an aeroplane is, is close air combat one versus one who can fly the best yet. And we got, we got so good at it that we actually had a w w we developed sort of a, we called it the school of spank. So we had this guys came into the squad instructors. They started out with their bachelor’s degrees, and then eventually they got, they submitted their requirements and went in for their master’s, and then they submitted their paperwork and not their paperwork, but you know, they submitted this, okay, we’re up for their doctrines.
So we wound up with this [inaudible], you know, we had masters and then we had doctors, we call them the doctors of spank. And it was just, it was just massively fun and flew our tails off. I remember one dead in Key West, two weeks, my, by myself, one f five, I was flying three to four goes a day every day for two weeks, and then go to Deval street at night. This, it was heaven. So it really good. And, uh, I remember I was very, very proud. One day I came into my, I was the ops officer at squad and I came into my office and they had stencilled on my, uh, my debt this on, on the wall and it said, you know, snort Snodgrass and it said the dean of Spank. So I was very, very, very happy about that till I got gun the next day.
Then the dean thing came off. I had to go back to being just a doctor, but, but anyway, it was, it was a great time. Subsequent to that, I moved on to my department head tour, which is a sort of a transition tour for navy guys because that’s where you have, Ooh, you’ve got to start serious, you’ve gotta be start becoming serious about command and taking care of everything. And so I went in that squadron, joined him on crews on the white DUIs and Hauer. And then after a couple of months I became the operations officer for a year and I was then the maintenance officer and I worked for, go ahead to the next slide. Oh, go back to that one. Go back one more time. I’ve got to look at, this was a, this is, I brought this slide out for, I’m flying on the magnificent civilian jet team, which I’ll show pictures later, called the black diamond jet team and we fly all 39 and mixed seventeens.
Um, which fact we’re doing a show tomorrow and cocoa beach, but Jared Eisenman who, who is, uh, owns most of the aeroplanes on the team, has a couple eight fours in as in being restored right now to fly. So he’s a big a for fanatic and is and is actually qualified in the a four right now. And I brought this out. This was a combination flight between via 43 and top gun with all those eight fours coming in and that was an opposing break. So we all broke two at a time, boom, boom, opposite and then landed and then dovetailed in behind each other on the runway. So I put that one in for my jet team buddies up there. So that was a great time. Next one, the dog’s the world famous puking dogs. I mean you’ve got to love of squadron has a name like that.
And it was, it was, I, I’ve had so many fun tours, but this one was a separate, exceptionally fun. And the reason why, again, magnificent leadership, the CEO and the XO of the squadron, not named Captain Moon Simmons and now retired Vice Admiral Charger Balcomb who was a Rio and flew with me. They were just pieces of work and moon put a squadron together. That was, um, I guess the best way to put it, it was a motorcycle gang that your mother was proud of. And, and it was blast. And I, as the operations officer, I had, I had the job of trying to bring in new guys into the squad or another pick guys from the training squad and to come in and squadron. And we got a, I remember this one, I did this to all of them, but this one, Rio came in and he was interviewing for the squadron.
He was slated but not giving orders. So He’s coming over to get his final little, you know, Omni Omni that it’s good to transfer to us. And I bring them into the ops sauce and I gave him my standard speech. Okay, well you know, what have you done? What do you do? So then I asked him, okay, what kind of car you have? And he goes, he’s a bachelor. I said, what kind of car do you have? He says, I have a Honda civic. I roll my eyes. Okay. And then I go, do you have a girlfriend? Nope.
When was your last date? I don’t know. Three months ago. I go, wait a minute. You have a Honda and you haven’t been on a date for three months? How do you expect to even function in the squadron? So I told him, I consider go and get a new car. I was sort of joking with him, but half harder. He said, go. I consider go out getting a new car. And I would maybe try and find a date this weekend. So he, you know, so you can come in in the right frame of mind on Monday and maybe we’ll talk about again on Monday. He doesn’t come in Monday, Tuesday comes in, he’s got a brand new corvette and a big smile on his face. And I just saw him about a year ago and he, he actually, he stayed in the navy but he transitioned over and he’s a doctor and he still has a corvette and he’s still a bachelor and still enjoying life very much.
So I passed on that little tidbit to him. Um, so that was, that was, uh, checking my notes here. So that was, that was a wonderful squadron and we had some great times and uh, and I’ve met and I remember the, at the old club one night, this marine squadron came in and, uh, they were brand new hornet guys. The guy was a top gun instructor. They were big talking. We’re supposed to fight him next day. And long story short, they came out and were scheduled to fly him and in, in the bar to Oceana. And we finally wound up, this guy was bragging so we can beat a horn tomcat all day long. And so I go to the CEO, my CEO, and I say, skipper, can we train this around and do this Guy One v one. And I told the guy, we’re only going to do the One v one if on this was a Wednesday on Friday night, whoever loses buys the other squadron, the squadron buys the winter squadron, all the cocktails and all the roast beef and all the anything, all the shrimp you want all night long.
And so I went out the next day and fought this guy and, but I set it up, you know, if you’re fighter pilot you gotta cheat. So I tell him I have to do a post maintenance check flight. So I guess I said I’ll go out to the down range and the end of the range and uh, and then I’ll meet you, we’ll do an intercept and we’ll set up, we’ll do a hack, a split and then we’ll turn it. So I go down there, I’m dumped gas, I’d dump guy, I’d dump 10,000 pounds of gas, I’m down to 6,000 pounds. I merge with the guy, I sweep the wings back, bleed off, he thinks I’m going for and 50 knots as we turn in, I go idle boards, turn back in the wings, come forward. I have in the Tomcat that was prohibited manoeuvre of using full flaps, but I turned it into art science.
So I pulled the [inaudible] circuit breaker, pulled the mic compression bypass circuit breakers, give me another 2000 pounds of thrust, put the main flaps down, went to burner, merged at three 25 and he was going for 50 and I was inside his term. He freaked, he freaked and pulled like a, like a dope, like I thought he might and then bled all his airspeed and I went in the vertical and came back down and Gundam about 42 seconds and then he said, I’ll go set up another. I said, I’m Bingo. Meanwhile the squadrons are in the red in the tax range watching all this stuff and go, okay, so my guys all get up and say, we’ll see you Friday night. And we did. So it wasn’t that I was that much of a better pilot. It’s just I cheated better. So that’s, that’s a huge, that’s a huge deal.
Um, then I went, then I went off to be XO, the have a VF one oh one. And then I became, went to my command tour, which is the best thing you can do in the navy and in any in life I think is be command of a fighter squadron. I took that whole motorcycle gang thing. Uh, I picked up on all my, the guys that I had mentored from over the career and I took the best I could of all of them. And then I snored, arise the whole thing and became and had my squadron and did the same kind of hiring practises. And we had a great time. There was a lot of people in the community at the time thought that I in fact would have of motorcycle squadron, but they were also lots of the bet that my mother would not be proud of it.
So, but in fact we did exceptionally well. We won most of the awards and we had a great time and everything we did, we just, we just focused on it. And did to the best. And it’s amazing when you get a unit that is motivated, focused, they know what the goals are and everybody supports that process. And it was, it was a time of my life until I became the wing commander then it was a grave and greater time. But at that point it was magnificent. I remember we went to key west on a gun debt and shooting area or gunnery, uh, was one of my other favourite things to do. And at that time in their 14 community and FAA community, there was a shoot at this banner being towed behind an aeroplane. It’s about 10 feet high and about 30, 40 feet long.
And if you had four aeroplanes out there and you got a hundred hits on it, what’s called a centurion banner, that was a massively big thing. So I constantly in the d in The VF on 43, we got up to the point, we’ve got 300, we got a triple century in banner, which are then point was even not unheard of. And when I took my squadron down to key West for two weeks, all we did was air to a gunnery. I had all of the pilots go out, cause when you score banners, you have to have, you have, every aeroplane has paint a bullet. So there’s red hit. Okay. So you can count whose bullets went in when he went in the banner. And I had normally the ordinance man do that. And, but I had my jeos and all the pilots in the, and the reos paint the bullets in the hot sun in key west. So everybody painted their own bullets. I mean literally thousands of bullets. And when they went to shoot them, they paid a lot more attention. They tracked better, their whole skillset and they were focused more. And we wound up, um, with a 512 hit banner, which I think still, this may be the, the highest one ever shot, at least in, in the navy. Uh, so it was, it was a lot of fun and a great time.
Um, the it was, and then I had probably the biggest, I mean I as a commanding officer, what can, what, what’s the biggest thing you could have happen in your life? And that’s to go into take your squad or into combat. So Desert Storm came around, I got extended, which was a very big thing and I stayed in the squadron and, and, and took it over too. We went in the Red Sea and went into desert storm as we went over there. Desert Storm satellite is going to be a great air war cause they had a lot of aeroplanes . So everybody was very, you know, anxious, a lot of anxiety but a lot of training. And we had just come off a big training cycle and didn’t go through the normal three month, four month, six month buildup cycle. We just went right from airwing training at Fallon and went right to war.
And so we were really prepped tactically. And uh, we showed up on station and had, uh, and then, and then launched into the, into the event, which is history now. Um, the only problem with it was the big air war never happened. It all went. They all flew to Iran and I was a strike leader and I did a number of strikes and I remember one in particular that just one of the war stories. I’ll one warstler I’ll give you as it was, it was this third night I was a strike leader, had a 34 plane package, we had eight tomcats doing fighter sweeps in front of the strike package was eight, eight six is the number of FAA teens zero harm shooters. Ea Six is the word jamming and [inaudible] and we launch off of there and we go in and we’re targets just on the northwest side of Baghdad at power plant in a rail yard in the uh, 86 is going to drop a tonnes of a mark 84,000 pounders in there.
And we launched it and all of a sudden that night there was a little bit of activity, airborne activity. So we’re all hot to trot and I actually get a radar lock and as a thing called PID, positive identification. So you had to have all sorts of offline offboard and onboard sensors to tell you it really was a bad guy. So you’re not shooting at a bad guy. And as a strike leader that that the night before we launched, the last thing I said is I just looked at the air tasking order, the ATO, which showed where all the coalition coalition aeroplanes were going to be airborne at that point. And I went down the list and there wasn’t a single coalition fighter that had one afterburner there. All, everybody had two burners, two engines and the night before something that some 20 ones had been flying around.
So I basically is a last minute thing before we broke up. I said last thing, if you see an aeroplane with single burner shoot first and ask questions later. So fast forward in the strike, I’m going up and I’m sort of radar locked on a trying to figure out actually if it is a big bad guy, everybody’s saying it’s abandoned. So we’re trying to correlate everything and, and then all my rod gear goes off radar. One of your goes off and I have a get locked up and I just had the sixth sense in it, but I didn’t even couldn’t tell what direction but I just, it was totally, it was an essay three and missile in fact. And I happened to row, I was turning right and I looked right and I looked left and I saw the glow coming out of the under cast and sort of seen movies of it and its ass kind of stuff.
But it’s weird looking, you know, it’s kind of greenish glow ish thing and then, but you could tell one thing, the bearing wasn’t changing and the range was decreasing very, very fast and that was not a good thing. So, and I was about 27,000 feet right at mach 0.9 5.98 and so wings were back as frilly loaded with aeroplanes . It’s six missiles on in rails and everything in tanks. And so the missile came up and I dropped, we went full chaff and flares did a big high g bow roll. And I say high G, I’m talking nine to 10 gs over the top. Which by the way, I’ll roll back to things you listened to. And I remember that night, you know my whole career just talking about Jesus, I remember in my father’s house, the Groman test file is saying the Tomcat is a 13 year aeroplane.
You know, the navy said it was a six and a half, seven g aeroplane. But I always remember that 13 gs and I overstressed a lot of aeroplanes in my time and I think I just rolled it back to those test spots instead of 13 g aeroplane. But anyway, I did about a nine 10 g pull over the top chaff and flares and the missile missed and went behind me. There was a flash where it detonated, but in that process, the at 14 my time, the aeroplane departed, it had a nasty characteristic of going out of control and into departure and eventually spins at at that mock level that at that mock number with a rolling pull high g pool and with a um, and with that loadout with nut, in other words, have rails and missiles on the belly work, reduce the lift. So sure enough, just as a test pilot said, aeroplane goes, wow, goes divergent on me.
And then I do for x amount of time, I’m doing all the pilot stuff and process of that. I have an engine, the stalls, I bring that back to idle and I eventually shut that engine down. And in the process, because I was going super fast, roll down like this and then going this octa flew, grind and pull out, I pulled out 11,000 feet over Baghdad on night number three and solos aired air stuff, flak coming up. Well that’s, I was right on top of it and it was like being on top of the fireworks, except there was a couple of coming up and around here was an aim fire. But I was in the middle of it. And the problem with that, I was a 250 knots and the a 14 does not relight until you have 325 knots. So my choice was descend in mill power down into this stuff or go to one burner, which I had briefed everybody.
You see one burner shoe today. So I go, well, I’m never going to say that again. So I compromise and go to, I tried one start low, it’s, and it was starting to be a hot start. So I shut it down again and then did another night, went to min burner and went down a little bit and finally got to lit and then got both burners on and climbed out of the gunk and went home and said, keep your mouth shut, snort, you know, brief the brief and don’t ad Lib at the end. So, but that was, uh, the culmination. And right after that, right at the end of Desert Storm, I left my squadron and went back home to the next one and then I got to my next job. Once you get a squad and command and navy knees needs normally says, payback, you gotta get paid back.
So I wind up, you need to go to a carrier or, or a Seabourn staff, uh, like a carrier carrier, a carguru staff, or you’d go to the ship as, uh, the, uh, air boss or the ops officer and fighter guys. Never. Most of our guys either went to be AirBoss or you the ops officer, or went to the cargo staff, but I decided to be kinda cool or something different. Any way to go to be the navigator. So I pleaded with the bureau to send me to me navigator, which has been held by the [inaudible] guys forever. But I got to be the navigator on the theatre. Roosevelt. The reason I did it was because it’s got a great state room. It’s up on the top of the bridge. I’ve got a nice seat on the, on the looking out the window seat all the time.
I actually had a port light in my room. A port light is like a window. It’s only three cabins on the ship that have windows, the animals to Etsy cabin, the captains, Etsy, Kevin, and the navigators. And plus when you pull into port, you don’t have to navigate. So I could be beyond the beach every day. So that was an extra benefit. But it was a great tour. I mean it was, I can’t say it was a great tour. It was a fun tours. My black shoe appreciation tour and, but one thing I noticed is that I sort of applied my fighter pilot training to the ship and we were, we were in the, uh, the Mediterranean, uh, and we were doing what we call a box ops. You get basically a 30 mile square and you’ve got to keep the carry inside that and you, you run up wind, you run down and then you turn around and you run up when to launch the aeroplanes , we’ll cover the aeroplanes and you’d turn around and run down when on an hour and a half cycle, you don’t have a lot of time to do that.
And when I got there, it was taking 30 minutes to turn the turn, the carry around because you don’t want the deck to heal. So I said 30 minutes. I mean we’ve got 30 minutes turn around. We’d go for 15 minutes and 30, 25 knots and then do another 30 minutes to turn around. And so we’re never, you’re always sliding out in the box. So I decided that since was a new carrier, I decided to try something. So I said, I got it. We were, we were steaming at 25 knots and I just basically, I didn’t take the combat. I had the Lee helmsmen or the helmsmen. I told them a little right rudder and the, again, like three degrees, right rudder and the ship starts to turn. But as soon as it turns, it starts to heal. But there’s a finite amount of time before it doesn’t.
So it gets them turned in, you know, I’ll bring the inches back to one third and then we continued to do that, fly the thing through the turn. And then eventually I got, when I got down to about 15 knots, I went all ahead standard or Ella had full on an outboard engines and one bat and then all ahead, one third on the inboard. It’s a differential power. And you could actually, I kept a flight deck within three degrees, but we’ve got the turn rate down from 30 minutes down to eight minutes, which means we could go down range of 25 knots for, you know, Austin to 40 minutes. We had to turn around. So we, it was kind of fun and all the, but you’ve got a different breed there with the new, the new guys down at a power plant, you know, the engineers down there and they don’t want to what anyway, so I finally convinced them that we could do that and, and they, they actually appreciated the challenge.
So it was a great tour. But once again, had a magnificent CEO guide. My name is Steve Abbott, retired four star road scholar. It was too smart for me actually, but it was a great time because he let me run the ship. He would go fly or he’d be down in reactor room or something and I’d sit in the captain’s chair and, and run, run the run the flight ops or do alongside, uh, uh, alongside stuff with the, with the supply ships or the Oilers. So that was an awesome tour from there I did like, I didn’t have a slide for this because it’s horrible. I went for 10 months in the Pentagon and I don’t want to talk about it. And then next slide and then I went to fighter wing. I got slated to go be the fighter wing air wing commander, fighter wing commander at Oceana, which has had the administrative control of all the 14 squadrons.
We’d single-sided everybody from the east coast, west coast and we had all the tomcats and there was a, it was a great time, but I remember and it was the ultimate licence to steal as far as flying. I in three years of flying, three years of being the wing commander, I flew, I think I got something like 1400 hours. I mean I was flying my tail off. I flew twice a day every day. So I abused the system, which is what I was designed to do anyway. But one of the great things, I think one of the biggest, it’s one of the proudest moments that I have and I have in my, in my life so far, and I think I really, the group of people that I was real at the time was very special group. And when I took over command on a Friday, the next Monday I had a meeting with a uh, some folks from a a a think tank up here calledW , uh, Whitley Bradley and Brown and Hey, Joe was here, hey Joe’s here somewhere.
But he was, he was one of the architects of this and they came in my office with a plan and I we’d already known about it and I was fed up with the navy as far as care and feeding of the Tomcat community up until that point. And the Navy had also gotten rid of all ladies six or so that carrier battle groups in the navy, naval aviation really didn’t have a very good precision strike platform. And Obviously Desert Storm had proven that precision strike laser guided weapons at that at that point were a critical, a critical capability. And these guys came in and we talked about it and where the discussion was to bring the air forces at 15 he designed land, which also went to the vipers of sixteens and put it on an f. Now you’d say that’d be easy. But it wasn’t because at 14 particularly the aim models roll analogue and that was a digital pod.
So you really need a 15 feet, 1553 digital bus. So the things could talk back to each other. Well, we came up with a plan and the beauty of this thing was we didn’t want Washington to really be involved at all. No acquisition, no navair CISCOM, no nothing. So I went to admiral sweepy Allen who was airland and we got called a fleet fleet prototype rule and where we could do one off things and so from the shake handshake in my office on the Monday after I took command to fight away, six months later we dropped a laser guided bomb off in a 14 and we hit a home run because we embedded the gps in in the, in the pod, which stabilised the pod and this capability where the air, where the pod was on the wing, you could slave either way so you could drop the bomb and either turn left or turn right into part.
We also had a triple home run with a display in the back seat called the p t and it was a brand new air thing going on there. And they said, okay, uh, what happened is it magnified the display. So, and it was a high pixel count kind of display. So we got 12 power magnification out of the flir as opposed to a, uh, strike eagle, which had a power [inaudible]. And in the, in the vipers in the Hornets, they were down in the four power category so we could see things. And with the GPS on there, it was an amazing capability. And so therefore, teen went from essentially a dying animal to a national treasure. And it became a, we transitioned the whole community from just a pure fighter pilot, pure air to air thing into a multi-role precision strike fighter. And we wound up both in Desert Storm two and Afghanistan as the aeroplane was weaned out of the navy in 2005.
It left with its best history of its career. Um, to a point where there were missions where f fourteens we’re literally taking in four and six, four and six 50 f eighteens ref sixteens and designating their targets for them. It became a great fact gay platform. So it really was, it makes my heart very proud that the tomcat community in the end game was, was highly lethal and capable aeroplane while I was at top gun. I mean, while I was at fighter wing, of course, I flew tactically every day, but I also sustain my air show life. Next slide. So in that process, I’ve been flying demos on and off for eight or 10 years prior to that. But as a fighter wing commander, the Commodore, I had two demo teams from the rag. They were on the road almost every weekend flying air shows around the country.
I decided to be appropriate that I had my own team. So I stood up the commodores team and I started primarily flying with the flight or the catch, which I’d done for a number of years. Normally flu multiplane event with tiger cat, a Hellcat, a wildcat and a bear cat. And the Tom get and eventually in, when I was there, the guy who led the aeroplane and the tiger cat, we started talking and we said, you know, we might might try the flight of the twin cats. So being the approval authority I s I made instruction and signed and approved myself to do it, which was a good thing. So we started, I went out to Kalamazoo, started flying with sky for a week, came back and we did with the tiger cat. I did a formation takeoff and we did formation aerobatics with a world war two fighter in the Tomcat.
So I flew the slot slot position and we did barrel rolls and half Cubans along with the multiple passes and a to this day it’s never been done. And I’m sure, I’m not sure that the system will ever allow that to happen again. But that was a great thrill and that transitioned me into the air show world, which I continued subsequent to the fighter wing. Next slide. I went to the big building over here. I was director of Legislative Affairs on the House for the House for the navy and spent two years running around in a suit and tie going all around the country. I’m not going to bore you with congressional stories and code is and what happens and far places away with congressmen and congresswomen because that’s a whole nother book and some of them are still there. It’s a reelection year too, so I don’t want to spoil it for them, but it was a great time.
Also, I met some great friends, Marnie and CW Gillooly and a, I had a super decathlon at a time and CW was a great navy, a seven pilot and LSO and turned out to be a great friend there. And while he was gone one time I’ve got his wife drunk and sold my decathlon to him. So he didn’t know for a month, for a week actually, but he came home and finally he found out that he bought my decathlon. What does it, but it was a very inspiring tour because it was very heady too, because as a navy captain, I only dealt with really with my two star boss in the Pentagon, plus under secretary and secretary of the navy, vice chief and the CNO. So it was, it was a, in fact, when I retired, I retired at that job. They were all there for my retirement.
So it was kind of a kind of, they didn’t really come from me. They just came to smooths with the Congressmen and senators. But, but it was still still kind of a fun, interesting tour. And then I retired. But when I retired, I went to become an air show Pi. I decided I was going to transition, not in remaining in the navy and, and track down being an animal. Uh, I was going to go be an air show pilot because everybody in the navy some point foz, which is failure of officer to select. So I decided I’d go on my own. And, and for the last 11, 12 years, I’ve been doing fulltime airshow work and I’ve had the privilege to find great aeroplanes . So right now I’m current in the course here. I fly that on the air show p 51 hold that slide right there. Chris Barron asks us, where are you Chris? Stand up, Chris, stand up. That’s Chris Mustang, his dad and he owned that aeroplane and I fly that on air show circuit. And if you think it’s a privilege to fly that aeroplane, it’s a privilege to fly with and help train young men like a young man like Chris who is, by the way, let’s go into the dark side. He’s been selected to go to the air force guard and fly at 15 so how many young guys going through flight school on their own? [inaudible]
so it’s very, very cool. And that was my, my baby for a number of years flying on the air show circuit. It’s currently down to value in air command, but that’s a fad. Six Sabre magnificent aeroplane flies wonderfully. It, you know, aeroplanes look good, fly good. And this one is a special special aeroplane. It’s got magnificent flight controls. The harmony, no fly by wire, no anything, but it’s absolute pure pain and wonderful. I also like to fly low. And I had this photographer at Oceana and he wanted to get some movies, you know, some low passes head on. So I gave him one. So, so anyway, but was as a, as a general as said, I get the privilege of flying, uh, uh, in my, uh, exchanged tour with the air force. I’ve done it for the last 10 years and that’s flying in the heritage flight.
Get to fly with all the active duty demo pilots in the, in the air force in that fifteens f sixteens, [inaudible] and uh, and it’s, it’s truly a privilege and we get to fly all the cool vintage aeroplanes with it. In that case, you’ve got a p 38 and this picture, go back to the next one please. That’s an all jet Herridge flight taking behind to see one 30, but obviously a raptor and a NFAT six and then a s f four flown by one of our current team members of black diamond, Jerry Kirby. And then striking a straight FTC below instinct thing about flying behind a raptor, uh, is that I knew it had, I knew it had a asymmetric thrust, you know, but I always thought it was just, it was, it would go somewhere. I was not asymmetric though, so I thought it was symmetric, but you had variable nozzles to give the pitch rate, but the actually move asymmetrically and they move about that fast 250 knots straight and level that those, those nozzles are going and it’s very loud also.
And lots of weird Bernoulli’s. I was almost full. I was almost full, full stick forward right there to keep myself from being sucked up onto the aeroplane. So, and right now I have the privilege, uh, I think we missed one slide. Maybe they’ll come up. Nope. All right. We’re a little bit out of order, but I have the privilege of flying with the new jet team this year, made up of some spectacular drivers. Uh, and we’re having a blast. It’s called the black diamond jet team. And right now I’d like to introduce Jared. Stand up please. Jad ICIC man, his right wing. Can we go to the, yeah, save on that slide. Jared is the owner of the team and the CEO of a United bank card services which sponsors us and we’re highlighting the maker wish foundation this year and two about two and a half years ago, Jared had never flown formation and with the, with myself and our team, Jerry Kirby and some other folks, both he and the left wing.
Doug, you’re here. Doug, stand up right here. Both these two guys are young guys who flies. Good formation does. I’ve ever known in the navy and, and as you can tell how tight the air right there and in the slot as my son, my pseudo son stroker Sean Gustafson, Major United States air force reserve, Thunderbird slap pilot 2009 in 2010 so we have some talent on the team. The the shock before you saw the l 39 beside the Mig, which I fly and that was, that’s, that was flown by lieutenant slick, excuse me, major slick bomb. John Baum where he, John Slick right here. So slick is he was left wing on the u s Thunderbird United States air force Thunderbirds in 2000 and 2010 and he flies now both left wing slot, right wing opposing solo. So he is our Jack of all trades. Next and I fly the Mig 17 as the the solo because I’m a solo performer and I have to have an aeroplane with more thrust and the other guy so I can do what I do.
But right there I’m doing a roll around. Remember I told her about the canopy role in the beginning in flight school. Well I finally get to do it for real and get actually do it just legitimately so it’s great fun. Next and that’s, that’s a stand away picture of our five ship with me rolling around him in the Mig. I can’t tell you how much fun that is except when our flight lead, Jerry Kirby jive decides it’s instead of being at 200 feet today he’s at a hundred feet than the at the bottom. It gets a little dicier but, but he’s pretty good about that. Next slide. That’s our delta. That was a flown, I think that’s a Toronto earlier this year, but it’s a a, I just can’t tell you what it’s like being back in a squatter again. So I have to peach pinch my cheek on a every day and say is every day is a Saturday and I’m still living the dream 36 years after flying fighters on the 36 years I’ve been jumping in fighters and I’m still doing it and I can’t, I can’t believe I’m still doing it. And last but not least is our bomb burst. So with that next slide please, we’ll open it up to questions.
please speak up when you have a question. The uh, you’ve got a couple older guys down here. I can hear fine, but slower till a little crow. Say again. Okay. You have a question? Yes. Right here. Mustang in the course air. Could you compare the Mustang and the course? Yes. Um, I’ll start with, I’ll start with basic flying qualities. The Mustang is very stable and, but the flight controls are very heavy in g loads. If you have a standard stock Mustang, it’s basically 20 pounds per g. So if you’re pulling sixties under Mustang, have 80 pounds on a stick. So, or excuse me, a hundred pounds on the stick. So it is very, very heavy on the flight controls. Uh, and the faster you go, it gets very heavy laterally. The, the, of course air is much lighter on the flight controls. It’s about eight pounds per g and it has sort of servos on the Eleron so it feels lighter and ailerons through most of the, the most of the flight envelope though, if you really rapid and roll the aeroplane will actually, it’ll s the ailerons will snatch the stick out of your hand.
So you have to be careful there. Uh, in a, uh, the Mustang is built for speed and endurance and cruising and it’s a lovely aeroplane and it doesn’t leak oil like the, like the Corsair. So from day to day life Mustang is much nicer, so not nicer aeroplane to go on cross country, you can go a lot farther, you can go fly farther on less gas and, and do it. Uh, so, but in a dog fight, I would say I would prefer to be in the A, I prefer to be in the, in the, uh, Corsair, it’s got a much bigger wing. So it’s wing loaning is higher. It’s for us, the weight is about the same, uh, and with a little life flight lighter and you can fly it a little bit slower. So no pure gunfight. I’d prefer to be in the course here, but if I had to escort bombers somewhere, I’d want to be in that, which was designed to do, I’d want to be in a p p 51, both aeroplanes . I mean it’s, it’s, it’s an absolute honour and a privilege to sit in there and every time you start them they start a little bit differently. So it’s a little Voodoo dance to get them going. But when the Merlin cranks up or that are 28 cranks up, it’s a special event for the pilot.
Yes. Right. What’s your least favourite here? What’s your least favourite aeroplane? My least favourite aeroplane?
Hmm. I don’t know.
I guess what’s that well from, I know I enjoy them. I mean all the ones I, the ones you’ve saw, I have five. I just, I enjoy them all a lot. I mean there, let me back it up. Let me just say make it an easier question. My favourite one is actually if I had to fly day to day would be an f five because it’s just clean, simple, great performing and it’s just, it’s just has great harmonics. The worst one, I guess the worst aeroplane ever flew was a a six actually that was, well it’s bomber. So it was a big slug, but also the ugliest ugly. Absolutely. Yeah. I don’t fly ugly aeroplanes . That’s not allowed. Okay, go ahead. Right here.
Yeah. Every call side name has a story behind it.
I was afraid somebody’s going to ask to that. What’s the story behind your call side? I have multiple answers for that
Um, it was a place far, far away, long, long time ago.
I don’t think she, I never mind had nothing to do with drugs, so I can tell you that. But there was a, a large woman in a foreign port involved with it. So that’s enough for that look, right? If you’re in the bay? Yes.
Uh, judge this to your answer at pilot background. Have you had the chance to fly the uh, hopefully will one 90 to make Adjustment One oh nine or zero?
No, I have not. I haven’t had the A, I haven’t gotten the keys to that. I’m still, would you repeat the question? The question was have I in as have I flown a fuck wolf? One 90 or a Japanese zero. There’s a couple of one nineties that are just making, just starting there. We’re out there right now flying and then there’s a two zeros out there that are flying a and I have a good friend. I have both. I have friends who fly them both, but I just haven’t been get the keys to those yet. I’m going to get to a bear cat first. That’s my next Piston fighter.
Go ahead. Back in the day, the air force claimed that the f 15 was a better dog fighter than f 14. I had to prove it. They said they’d be happy to go get at 14 with live ammunition. What do you,
there was a time when the air force claimed at the f 15 was better than the other 14 and to prove it, they were willing to go one v one with a full blow to guns.
Well, I, like I say, I’ve been pretty successful against eagles in my time. Um, but at to answer actually truthfully if you look at, if you look at a like an [inaudible] straight up at 14 a versus an f 15 clean, no, no, no big tanks in rails on and those kinds of things. The F 15 is a, has a, is a higher performing aeroplane, but it all comes down to an end game and all this stuff. It all comes down to the pilot and the f 14 you could, as I mentioned before, you can configure it certain ways and all of a sudden it turns into another animal. So when I fought really quality pilots in those kinds of aeroplanes and I configured my aeroplane in the prohibited configuration, I generally wound up, I could present an aeroplane that was superior to theirs in, in, in the slow speed environment.
Um, the key is to get in there and then work it from there. Um, so it’s, it’s, I had my last, my finny flight in the United States navy in the f 14 was a one v one against an f 15. It was the f 15 demo pilot, Gaba name a horse, Haas Clark. Uh, and, and I was in an f 14 B and uh, it went, it was a knife fight. And when we normally stopped at stop at 5,000 feet, we stopped at 500 feet and we both had almost no gas. We were emergency emergency fuel, both of us going back into line. And then Oceana Meyer claim aeroplane came back with broken slats and, and uh, and, and spoilers. I mean it was a, it was a death battle, but it was
a good finny flight and hostel agreed to that. So, so when I can say in that case that that environment low like that in Loa and particularly low altitude, if you’ve got the high altitude, because our wing suite mechanism we had our wings would be back even when we’re, because it’s driven by mock number, not airspeed. So the big circular wing of the f 15 was made it far superior at high altitude but down low the Turkey was a can be, could be a very, very good match. In fact, in my opinion, a better aeroplane.
It flown right up, left
bringing particularly Ma Ma. The question was most of the air show aeroplanes you see up there? Well particularly the more high performance jets are all Soviet or European aeroplanes are not built in the u s and the reason is our United States State Department, they have a really weird rule. If you have former US technology, you can’t bring it back in this country without jumping through hoops after hoop after hoop. You can bring in an Su 27 on an ATF form, sixth form, bring it in and put it together and they, we’ve done that now. Of course the guys in the Black sedans came and bought the aeroplane and took it back. Took to somewhere in Nevada. But, but you can do that. And the Migs, the all 39 is all these aeroplanes are easy to bring in from third world. I mean not from third world but anything but without US technology.
If you want to bring in an old f five or an a four or a whatever, you’d try and bring that in and you have to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop. So it’s, it’s not, it’s, it’s really silly. But that’s the rule. So that limits the number of those kinds of aeroplanes on the, on the circuit. So, and the chances of getting an f a TNF 16 or an f 14 well I’ll go steal one from Iran, but the end game is to get those in the country and fly almost, almost zilch. Unless you can put it to work. I mean for the government. But other than that, so airshow wise, CW,
nor would it be worthwhile to explain your picture.
Oh, I missed that part. Ah, yeah. I’ll do real quick. Sorry about that. The famous knife edge photo, the knife edge photo, if you can get to it basically real quickly. It was a, it was authorised manoeuvre
don’t worry about it. You guys all know they have 14 pictures. Anyway, they actually got a picture of it right there. So, and game was, it was a, as part of my uh, air show, my d it was a Diplo at sea air show was the star to my show. So I would start back behind the carrier below the flight deck on the starboard quarterback here. And then this is the right side stroke or the right side anyway, come in like the burners are about half a mile. Then just go right about and run the fan tail. Go right around the fantail in full burner. Now it looks like I’m going to pull into the deck. I’m very close to the ship, but the end game is, you know how to angle deck goes, it goes like this, and then the bow goes up like this. So one second later, there was open space in front of me and then right there I was, oh, one second later I rolled upright and went into like a double element at the top, but the, so that’s basically what it was.
It was the funny story was a, a, a B, h three, a third class petty officer took the picture on that dependency cruise with an old camera over by the island and he came down to the ready room the next day and he gave us a copy of the picture in the negative. And I looked at the picture, went, oh, I told my opposite, make 50 copies and burn the negative because I didn’t want it to follow me around. Long story short, 30 years later, it’s still fine. Follow me around. But uh, it was, it was a legitimate manoeuvre and it was a lot of fun. Doing air shows at the ship is great because in the, you know, when we do it normally or shows in the country, you have to have these various distances from the crowd. And for a high performance fighter, you’ve got to be 1500 feet from the crowd while it’s a ship. The side of the ship is the crowd line and you can go supersonic. What’s a major bonus?
Well I hate to say it, but we’re out of time. Snort. You got up, this is a school night for you cause you got gotta Air Show tomorrow. I do. So we need to keep things moving. But uh, I want to thank you for, uh, actually this was the capstone of our year here with the end of celebrating the Centennial Navy Aviation. I say Navy aviation in this case because here at the museum we’re going to celebrate. We fill a very, this year, navy aviation. Next year we’re going to take marine aviation. That way we can stretch it out over two years. So it’s a for anything to keep a party going, but the, uh, but thanks for a terrific evening and we really wish you the very best in the, in the future snore. It will be available out in the, uh, uh, milestones gallery to sign, uh, anytime baby, which should the hail and farewell to the Navy F 14 Tomcat. And we ask that you exit via the rear doors and the B some ushers up there to tell you how to get down to the proper level for the signing. Thank you very much. Thanks for this Erin. Space.
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