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Everything posted by MKopack

  1. Here's an example of how times have changed: In late August of '90, when the diplomats had worked out all of the technicalities, our Vice Wing Commander was alerted that he'd lead one of our squadrons to Qatar. "Good. Where is Qatar?" It took several hours to to come up with official charts, but during that time they had planned out the deployment using National Geographic maps that he had in the office. When we arrived we were the first US military to ever deploy to the country - and the tallest building in the country was the pyramid shaped Doha Sheraton on the bay.
  2. Twenty-five years ago today ET Tullia jumped into F-16C, 87-0229, and flew to Baghdad. Package Q, it was a wild ride... http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2016/January%202016/Package-Q.aspx
  3. I'll just drop this off here: Air Force cancels 2016 season of Tops in Blue Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs / Published December 21, 2015 WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced on Dec. 21 that Tops in Blue, the service-unique entertainment program, will cancel its 2016 season, allowing an extended review of the program. http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/637595/air-force-cancels-2016-season-of-tops-in-blue.aspx Never thought I'd see it. Where will the Air Force turn for jazz hands in the future...
  4. Not sure this belongs here, but then again, where better than the Squadron Bar - whether an official one, or at your home? Via Christina Olds on Facebook: How many pilots know that Robin Olds was also a terrific artist? My dad humorously doodled and sketched his way through classes, briefings and meetings during his entire career. People have often asked me to share his drawings and I have finally put a few of them on my artist site at Fine Art America. Here are only a handful out of the more than 500 he left with us. So, if you want just a notecard or a big poster for your Squadron Ops room, have fun looking at these. I love his irreverent and usually politically incorrect sense of humor. She's got both prints and some of the original artwork from the 40's and 50's available (at what I'd think are pretty reasonable prices...) Please see her page at:http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/christina+olds/all
  5. Rest in peace to my Uncle George Kopack who passed away last night. George, born in 1917, was a former US Army combat medic and was one of those that waded ashore in Normandy early on D-Day in 1944 and fought across Europe until the end of the war. George was a member of a different generation - the last of the five Kopack brothers to serve in WWII - and until the past ten years would walk the five miles each way to the VA Hospital in Wilkes Barre, PA, three or four times a week, year round - just because he didn't think any of the "old guys" in the hospital (most of whom were much younger than he) should have to be there alone. Salute George, until we meet again. Next time the drinks are on me.
  6. Several of the panel lines were more "pronounced" than I had expected - although most of the aircraft almost appears to not have panels at all (F-22 typical). The lines that were visable are incredibly precise, almost as if they'd been machined out of a solid block. The "fit and finish" of the aircraft is unlike anything I'd seen before - I'm going to guess that there won't be any more installing a panel with a speedhandle and a wooden wheel chock to "customize the fit" (not that anyone would have ever done such a thing in the past...) The exhaust nozzle is literally a work of art, just has to be a crazy amount of metalwork involved. Would have taken pics, but the guys with the guns around the jet recommended against it. Here's a shot of one of the B's in "Transformers mode". Massively loud in the hover, even by Harrier standards. Obvious how much power the engine produces. The aircraft is smaller than I expected overall, not a lot more than Harrier sized. The "wrong way opening" canopy looks huge, until the pilot is in it for scale. The crews I spoke to (prior Harrier and Hornet guys) said that the cockpit doesn't have a lot of extra room either, but that it's a very easy aircraft to fly and all - with a couple of reservations - had a pretty positive opinion.
  7. Nothing intelligent to say (one of those nights), just a pic. Marines B last spring at Cherry Point.
  8. It's apparently always March for the Royal Danish Air Force. Photo by Nikon ambassador Casper Tybjerg during the RDAF's Estonia / Baltic deployment.
  9. Not many 880's left, in any condition, but given the size and complexity of moving one, I can see one less in the future.
  10. That "next senior officer" has been identified as being named "Destiny Savage" (AP News). With that name if the whole Navy boat thing doesn't work out, she's still set for a career. Posted from the NEW Baseops.net App!
  11. Many, many military flying hours in that formation with the Black Diamond Jet Team over Indy. Posted from the NEW Baseops.net App!
  12. No doubt, it's something I should really do. Even more fun than spending the "disposable income" on booze... Posted from the NEW Baseops.net App!
  13. Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend the MCAS Cherry Point Air Show as a photographer. Thought I'd add a couple of shots. (Have literally hundreds more, it was that good a weekend...) I know a lot of you fly, sometimes almost daily, but I'm a crew chief, long out off of the flightline (and I feel pretty privileged that you guys let me stumble through the Base Ops door now and then.) I never got an incentive flight during my time - probably wasn't in long enough to really deserve one - and have to admit for the years I was on the flightline, and pretty much even since, I've wondered - dreamed about - where my airplane went, what my pilot saw and what they did after they left chocks each day. Well, Saturday at Cherry Point my number was called and I strapped in to the back seat of Art Nalls' Aero L-39 Albatros. (Art's a retired USMC Lt.Col. and current civilian Sea Harrier owner and pilot.) Also learned that the most empowering, yet most concerning phrase I've ever heard, is "Ok Mike, you've got the airplane." Sure I know the mechanics of the flight controls, I've been imagining them since I was ten, but in that one moment I was flying, not just riding, but flying. While each of our steep turns, aileron and barrel rolls both reminded me of famous people, his, completely easy and smooth like Bob Hoover, and mine, well let's just say Ray Charles and we'll leave it at that. But it was thirty minutes that I'll never forget if I live to be a hundred. It was magic, I can't even think of words to describe it, and after all of these years, just with that short view of "the other side", I understand. Not sure I'll ever look at things quite the same way again. Mike Aero L-39 Albatros .5 Hours
  14. In some ways those of you that have been in and out of Afghanistan over the past dozen years already are our kids going back there. My Dad, former USAF, was based at Peshawar Air Station (in what had to have been a real "garden spot" in 1962-63) with the USAF Security Service. With his work, he made a lot of trips through the Khyber Pass and in and around much of Afghanistan. (He still doesn't have a lot of wonderful things to say about his stay in either Pakistan or Afghanistan.) Even back in 1980 when the Soviets invaded I can remember him saying that it was a bad idea, and he repeated it with our own - "no matter how long you stay, there's no 'win' in Afghanistan" (the British have been saying that since what, the 1870's?) and that "we can bomb all that we want but there isn't much in the entire country that would even be worth the cost of a MK82." I'm watching this from way on the outside and I think we've done good things in Afghanistan, we've given the good people there at least a chance. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time) but it seems to me to be a case of diminishing returns. I'm not sure that our presence for another year, another two years, or another five years will make a substantial difference in the region at the time that our own kids, and their kids, are our age.
  15. I agree - what could ever go wrong? "So Doc, what was that shot?" Still have mine.
  16. Almost bet you that a couple of months after he leaves office, he turns up living "somewhere else in the world" with a whole lot of $$$.
  17. Really good old Bell Canada TV commercial wish more American businesses would do things like this. Fitting for Veterans Day and Remembrance Day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd1FNPx_YN4
  18. I can remember back in the Spring of 1990 at Aviano Air Base in Italy, sitting in my shelter wearing full chem gear, mask and helmet during an exercise simulating a Soviet attack in Europe, while reading "Red Storm Rising". In a lot of ways his fiction was probably more accurate than our simulation. Rest in Peace, Tom.
  19. Wherever Bud Day is today, I'll bet it's a day like this. (Two years ago, courtesy of the Collings Foundation)
  20. It appears that ABC is letting elementary school children write articles again: #1 - It's not an "aft ray dome". The "ray dome" is where the alien technology death rays shoot out, but we're not supposed to talk about that. #2 - Peter Field, an aviation consultant who specializes in military aircraft accidents, told ABC News, that he believes the "aft ray dome" fell while the aircraft was in-flight. Well thank you for that brilliant piece of deduction Pete. If it fell off while the airplane was sitting on the ramp, it probably wouldn't be in Mr. Martinez back yard, now would it? Wait, when was it a good time to talk to the media? http://abcnews.go.com/US/military-aircraft-part-falls-texas-backyard/story?id=19781023
  21. "Yes, I'm the one who killed the blasted Martians." - Slim Whitman (January 20, 1923 – June 19, 2013)
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