Monthly Archives: January 2012

AIRLINE PILOT RETIREMENT

Although many of us have nostalgic flashbacks to the days of manipulating the controls of the high performance jet plane and all of the other subtle amenities of being a professional pilot, very few of us Ret. aviators would like to return to bag-drags and 0430 get-ups. In case you fall into that trap and think about rejuvenating your career with some Middle East airline, please read the following brief passage:

 We have a cockpit mock-up in our house: When I mention to my wife that I miss flying, by being retired, she puts me in the mock-up around bed time for 8 hours. She has a chair in a closet, puts on the vacuum cleaner to simulate cockpit air noise, has a dim nite-lite to simulate cockpit lighting, serves luke-warm chicken with cold vegetables on a tray.When I get sleepy and attempt to doze off, she knocks twice loudly on the door to simulate the F/As entering the cockpit. Then after 6 hours she turns on a flood light directly in front of me to simulate the sun coming up when approaching 20 west. I then get a cup of coffee that has been in the coffeemaker all night. Finally she lets me out and I have to get in the back seat of her car while she runs morning errands to simulate the bus ride to the hotel. When we get home I tell her I am ready for bed and the bedroom door is locked for an hour to simulate the hotel rooms not being ready.When I promise to never “complain” about being retired, I am allowed to enjoy my “layover” and go to bed. Oh, and one more thing, she talks to her friends loudly outside the bedroom door to simulate the hotel maids chattering in the hall in their native language. After two hours of sleep she calls the phone next to the bed from her cell and says “this is crew scheduling, you are re-sked!!!, vee vill calla-you back vhen you have legal minimum rest.” and “by the way the company has filed for bankruptcy today”… sleep tight honey.
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator: in the back Alleys of Aviation

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AIRLINE TRAVEL TIPS

As airline travel becomes even more fraught with  obstacles and sources of frustation, the ability to adapt to the onerous slings and arrows of commercial air travel becomes necessary. The first axiom for improved quality air travel is : Get to the airport early and immediately go to the zen-mode of “every little thing is going to be OK.” Greet all airport personnel with a big smile and thank them profusely for their wonderful customer service. When entering the aircraft, give the flight crew a very noticeably pleasant greeting. Your relationship with them, albeit of short-term duration, can play a critical role in your quality of life for the next few hours. it is equally important to have a diversion from cabin activity and the best source is a copy of The Rogue Aviator by Ace Abbott.

Recent news vignettes have revealed that is now quite common for flight crews to remove passengers from their airplane and numerous enroute diversions to disembark unruly passengers is also a frequent event. As the cabins become even  more stuffed with people and their stuff, it won’t get any better. It may be getting a little better regading the airlines “shell game” of ticket pricing. The follwing article extracted from Yahoo and produced by Lylah M Alphonse will provide guidance regarding some new rules that the airlines are supposed to abide by regarding pricing

“TREAT THE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS NICELY”

. Her article points out that the airlines are now going to have more difficulty camouflaging their actual ticket price.

New airfare rules are set to go into effect on Tuesday and this time, instead of making things more complicated(or more expensive), they aim to make things easier for passengers.

The new rules eliminate some of the fine print that comes with booking flights online, and “eliminates a lot of the skulduggery from airline pricing,” Charlie Leocha of the Consumer Travel Alliance told the Associated Press. They involve disclosing hidden fees, notifying customers about delays, and making advertising prices more accurate. 

Related: 35 secrets your pilot won’t tell you

Some airlines are fighting the changes — Southwest, Spirit Airlines, and Allegiant Air argue that other industries don’t have to include taxes on advertised prices. And David Berg, the general counsel of Airlines for America, a trade group of the biggest carriers, warned that the new rules will hurt the travel industry.

“It’s basic economics,” he told the AP. “History tells us (that consumers) will see higher prices and buy less.”

Here’s what you really need to know about the new airfare rules:

1. Airlines will have to include taxes and fees in their advertised prices. But starting Thursday, consumers will have a more-accurate idea of how much their tickets will really cost. The change applies to mandatory fees, however, not optional charges for bags and on-board entertainment — though those fees must be more prominently displayed on airline websites as well, and they can’t automatically be tacked on to your fare. Some airlines are concerned that customers won’t understand what the higher prices are really all about. “We’re not raising our fares, but it will look to the consumer like we’ve had a big price increase,” Robert Kneisley, Southwest’s associate general counsel, told the Associated Press.

2. You’ll have 24 hours to cancel your reservation. As long as you’ve booked your flight at least a week in advance, you’ll be able to hold your reservation (without having to pay for it) or cancel it without a penalty for 24 hours after making it — even if you’ve made the reservation through a travel website instead of directly with the airline.

3. Airlines have to tell passengers promptly about delays. With the new rules, airlines will have to notify you by email, over the phone, or with a sign at the airport if there are any delays longer than 30 minutes. They also have to let passengers and the public know quickly if there are flight cancellations, if flights are diverted, or if a plane is delayed on the tarmac.

4. Baggage fees must be disclosed in advance. Instead of finding out about checked-baggage fees when you’re at the curb or counter, airlines now must let you know how much you’ll pay for your luggage when you make your reservation. (It can be pricey: Continental charges economy passengers $25 for the first checked bag and $35 for the second, as does Delta. American Airlines charges $25 for the first, $35 for the second, and a whopping $150 for the third — and that doesn’t count additional fees for extra-heavy bags.) The new rules also state that airlines have to disclose any baggage fees you might have if you’re changing flights or switching from a major airline to one of their affiliates during a single trip.

5. Airlines can’t raise prices after you’ve purchased your tickets. It sounds crazy, but it can happen: Some airlines stipulate in their contracts that they can raise prices after you’ve booked your flight, and charge you the difference before you board. According to the Associated Press, Allegiant Air has considered raising prices on already-purchased seats if oil prices rose.

This blog is prepare by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com)

CASH TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

The Learjet, a Great Cash-hauling 'Capitalist Tool."

 

 

Of the many areas for the political pundit “talking heads” to capitalize on, it looks as if Mitt Romney’s few hundred million U.S. dollars in the Grand Cayman banks are of major concern. Although the international banking commuity has made it a bit more difficult for the “one percenters” to hide their mega-millions in off-shore banking accounts, there are still loopholes to be capitalized on. Since I hauled at least 10 million dollars of cash in the chartered Learjet to Grand Cayman for opportunistic entrepreneurs I was compelled to include a mention of such in my book.

The following is an excerpt from page 84 of The Rogue Aviator:

{The big-money flights did not always center on the boys, as there were many legitimate businessmen who despised the idea of paying taxes and, instead, shuffled their monies out of the country into offshore accounts. Many flights to Grand Cayman were flown with the baggage compartment stuffed with large suitcases filled with cash. It was particularly interesting to observe the nonchalant fashion of the airport authorities at Grand Cayman as they opened the suitcases, observed the many millions of dollars, and very expeditiously processed the entry forms for the wealthy tax evader. Grand Cayman was a popular scuba diving resort, but offshore banking was the crux of its economy, and the massive quantities of cash were readily welcomed. The locals enjoyed a relatively high level of economic security and a very comfortable lifestyle. Money laundering is good work if you can get it! Ace and his flying companions often got wind of reports of famous and prominent aviation entrepreneurs who took their company to bankruptcy and were later seen taking private jets to Grand Cayman. The U.S. dollars that have been illegally deposited in offshore accounts in the last four decades would pay off the national debt and provide the American citizenry with free medical and dental care for many years.}

This blog was prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com)

The Learjet, a Great Cash-hauling "Capitalist Tool."

THE FIGHTER PILOT PERSONA

“THE AVERAGE NAVY PILOT, DESPITE THE SOMETIMES SWAGGERING EXTERIOR, IS VERY MUCH CAPABLE OF SUCH FEELINGS AS LOVE, AFFECTION, INTIMACY AND CARING. THESE FEELINGS JUST DON’T INVOLVE ANYONE ELSE.”
This anonymous quote (probably from an ex-wife) was printed in the Wall Street Journal and all of us who remember the glory days of being a fighter pilot will recall the Navy’s “Tailhook Conventions.” These gatherings of fun-loving pilots took the meaning of decadence and debauchery to a higher level. How we yearn for the “good old days.” I would like to point out , as I did in my book, The Rogue Aviator, that I have great respect for any pilot that can land his air-machine on an aircraft carrier.
The swaggering fighter pilot is nearly extinct but for those folks who are not appalled by tough guys who fight from their airplanes, please read on.
Written by Brigadier General Greg Stroud, USAFR-Retired — a former Anchor-Clanker Navy Jet Pilot who minces no words.  He tells it like it has become with the present day Air Force that is headed by Politically Correct Whoosies.

By BGEN Greg Stroud (Ret)

 

 

 

Some of you know that I was recently “retired” as the 162 Fighter Wing Commander.
The decision was made by Brig Gen Mike Colangelo, the Arizona Air Commander, who replaced me because he “just wants to change the culture at the 162nd” — not for cause or performance or any other reason.
This officer never commanded anything bigger than an Air Control Squadron, and somehow he wound up in charge.  Heck, the guy probably got beat up in grade school everyday.
I think it is indicative of what is happening in our Air Force and reinforces what Bruce MacLennan and the anonymous author have to say below.
Well, I also have something to say about our changing Air Force and it’s quickly disappearing Fighter Pilot culture.
How many scope-dope drone operators does it take to change a lightbulb?
Two. One to change the bulb — and one to kiss my ass.
That’s right. I said kiss my ass — ‘Cause I’ve had it.
The air superiority fighter and its PILOT are not dead and the Chinese are so far not impressed with drones.
I am tired of Fighter Pilots suffering at the hands of all the pencil pushing REMFs and ladder-climbing opportunists and shitty non-rated managers (who think they are leaders) just because the Air Force is currently more interested in feelings and sexual orientation than fighting.
Not all officers have what it takes to lead warriors, yet too many of them are in charge in our military.  At this rate we may lose the next real war.
These shit-bird officers need to be run out of leadership positions and get out of my face already.  We have too many people in our military that feel the need to play political victim and go to court instead of just dealing with it themselves. No one can have any kind of fun anymore.
Men and women can’t flirt, hug, look at anyone sideways, or drink beer out of mermaid mug because of you ‘victims’ and your lawyers.
Are you happy?
And while I’m at it, Fighter Pilots, who are willing to die so that we can have low prices at the gas pump and shop at the mall, should be able to throw the wildest parties they can manage without one uptight biddy coming in and stopping it.
There were scads of women at The ’91 Tailhook party who were having the time of their lives, voluntarily being just as debauched as any of the men were.  Everyone who flew a plane, or even knew someone who flew a plane, knew how wild those parties were and what went on.
What does our society expect — a prayer service?
It’s worse now than it was then.
‘Victims’ need to just throw some punches of their own whenever guys, gals, lesbos, or homos get out of line.  Doesn’t our tax money go to teach all of our military how to fight?
I’m not trying to make the idiotic ‘she had it coming’ argument here, which would go something like ‘of course they grabbed her breasts, look how big they are.’  Plus, just reaching out and grabbing some boob is wrong no matter what.
When I was at Tailhook, even at our most drunken admin parties we never acted like that.
No matter how hard I try I can’t think of an excuse good enough to do something like that. But it’s still nothing to lose a career over or get your panties in a wad.
Besides, fighter pilots are supposed to be aggressive assholes. That’s how we used to train them.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a military of fighter pilots who are gifted at giving sensitivity seminars.  I want mad-dog, rabid killers going to battle for me and mine. Man or woman.
When our homeland is threatened by Middle-Eastern Muslim radicals, or when we want to force our form of government on some poor, unsuspecting poppy growing shit hole, or when uppity North Korean despots develop nuke weapons, I want to be able to call on men and women who like to fight and drink.
I want an officer who knows how to whack some drunk in the balls when he grabs her tits, not call a press conference and a lawyer.  If you’re a wimp who doesn’t know how to find the exit at a rowdy party, go fly a kite — not a jet fighter.
Fighter Pilot should always be capitalized because it is a hard-earned title. So there!
Perhaps it’s time for me to retire. Greg “Mongo” Stroud
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of  The Rogue Aviator   (www.therogueaviator.com)

“First Rule of Liberalism: Government failure always justifies more government.”

 

 

THE FABULOUS F-4 PHANTOM RETURNS

F-4 Phantom Predators Searching For Prey

Before you read this posting, be sure and whet your fighter pilot appetite by watching this You Tube Video: http://military.discovery.com/videos/top-ten-fighters-f4-phantom.html

The fabulous McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom, the stalwart, mainline fighting air machine of the US military, could possibly return to haunt us! On Friday evening, January 13, the NBC evening news showed a film clip from the area of the Straits of Hormuz that revealed F-4 Phantoms operated by the Iranian Air Force that were patrolling the area. As the saber-rattling intensifies the possibility of NATO or US military forces incurring battle with American-made F-4 Phantoms increases. Perhaps as the old saying goes, “what goes around comes around.”

The more interesting question regarding this issue that we shall now ask is, “How did the Iranian Air Force acquire American-made F-4 Phantoms?” For that answer, I will send you rummaging through my previous blogs.  The first bit of research will require a review of the January 3rd posting (John Lear), Refer to the brief passage regarding “October Surprise” (A little known but powerful incident in international geopolitics). As you will soon discover the high speed spy plane a “Blackbird” or SR 71, (see January 11, of posting regarding Area 51) and connect the dots. The conclusion will reconfirm that President “Ike” Eisenhower was very prescient in his statement, “beware of the military industrial complex.”

And now back to the primary theme, “the fabulous F4 Phantom aircraft,” that was first flown on May 27, 1954.  It was the workhorse in the air war over North Vietnam, and saved thousands of American GIs, in its ground support mission in South Vietnam. McDonnell-Douglas built 5057 F-4 Phantoms and in Japan, Mitsubishi built 138 F-4 Phantoms.  Approximately 275 F-4 Phantoms were lost in the Southeast Asian conflict.  In 1966 and 1967 McDonnell-Douglas was producing 63 Phantoms per month. Even as late as 1991 the F-4 Phantom was used by US military forces in the Desert Storm invasion of Iraq.

Currently there are eight nations that are still using the F-4 Phantom as a military tool.  At one time nearly every country in Europe and the Middle East and Southeast Asia had F-4 Phantoms in their aviation inventory. Additionally there are nearly 100 F-4 Phantoms in aviation museums in the U. S. A lengthy litany of this aircraft’s accomplishments, along with its speed and altitude records, places it very clearly as the greatest fighter jet ever built. The cover of my book The Rogue Aviator has a picture of an F-4 Phantom. During book events and presentations, and particularly at air shows, nearly everyone immediately identifies the F-4 Phantom.

Off all the good fortune that has been bestowed upon myself, flying this amazing aircraft rates at the very top. Two years ago at the Oshkosh air show, as I was signing books at Author’s Corner when I heard the loud high-pitched squeal of J-79 engines that powered the F4 Phantom. It immediately got my juices flowing, and I soon discovered there was an F-4 Phantom at Oshkosh. Unfortunately, it was grounded for the duration of the show with a freak mechanical problem. The rookie GIB (guy-in-the-back) was told by the Aircraft Commander to close the canopy. Murphy’s Law intervened and the GIB pulled the canopy jettison lever rather than the canopy close lever.

A bit of a follow-up to this story is that I discovered that it is possible for a civilian to get a back-seat ride in the F-4 Phantom. A group called the Collings Foundation, operates an F-4 Phantom that is located in Houston, Texas at Ellington Air Force Base. For information regarding a back seat F-4 Phantom ride.  You can call the Collings Foundation at 978-562-9182. It will require a large bite out of the platinum American Express card. In lieu of that, you can read, The Rogue Aviator and watch F-4 You Tube videos. Be sure to fasten your seatbelt, cinch down your shoulder harness and keep your air speed up in the turns.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator, (www.therogueaviator.com).

THE MYSTERY’S OF AREA 51

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=SDbQ5xvsrIU   Enter this address in your browser  and view this youtube video; it complements the verbiage  below about the SR-71 aircraft

Area 51 has been an area of concern and controversy for more than a half of a century. A very diligent author named Annie Jacobsen has completed her extensive research and it is nicely bound into a book with the title of, what else, AREA 51. For those that may not be familiar with Area 51 I will suggest that it holds more mysteries than all of the Agatha Christies in the world.

It all began with the landing of the alien people (Martian-like) according to the press in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico. The remnants of this crash were supposedly taken to Area 51, a large area of several thousand acres of barren wasteland located about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. The “Roswell Incident” has created an untold number of discussions regarding the concept of alien invaders visiting our planet. Perhaps it is a leading catalyst for the burgeoning civilian space programs.

Amongst the many “goings on” that have occurred at Area 51 is the development and use of the CIA/ Air force spy plane, the U-2 and its successor, the SR-71 “Blackbird.” In 1968 while passing through Kadena Air Force Base one of my Phantom pilot colleagues took a photo of a taxiing SR-71 and within minutes large numbers of Air Police had surrounded his airplane and he was whisked away. He joined us a few hours later after an interrogation and the confiscation of his camera. A few months later as I was sitting at the mobile control tower at Kunsan AFB in Korea, a SR-71 showed up on short final and the imposing looking “Blackbird” created quite a furor amongst the security folks as the aircraft was immediately cordoned off and surrounded by Air Police. Within two hours a C-130 and KC-135 tanker aircraft landed to provide the needed support to get this big black spy back in the air. It had been headed over Russia to take a few photos when an emergency resulted in a diversion to Kunsan.

On its final flight, the Blackbird, destined for The Air and Space Museum sped from Los Angeles to Washington, DC in 64 minutes at an average speed of 2,145 miles per hour, setting four speed records.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator

Image

Another”fish story”

Another “fish story”

Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone?

We used to go to the Officers Club or NCO Club Stag Bar on Friday afternoons to drink, smoke and swap lies with our comrades. Think about this when you read the rest of the letter below. What happened to our Air Force (or Military)?

Drinking then became frowned on. Smoking caused cancer and could “harm you.” Stag bars became seen as ‘sexist’. Gradually, our men quit patronizing their clubs because what happened in the club became fodder for a performance report. It was the same thing at the Airman’s Club and the NCO and/or Top 3 clubs.

Now we don’t have separate clubs for the ranks. Instead we have something called All Ranks Clubs / community clubs. They’re open to men and women of all ranks….from airman basic to general officer. Still, no one is there. Gee, I wonder why.

The latest brilliant thought out of Washington is that the operators (“pilots?”) flying remote aircraft in combat areas from their duty station in Nevada or Arizona should draw the same combat pay as those real world pilots actually on board a plane in a hostile environment. More politically correct logic? They say that remote vehicle operators are subject to the same stress levels as the combat pilot actually flying in combat. —– REALLY!!!???

Now that I’ve primed you a little, read on.

There are many who will agree with these sentiments, but they apply to more than just fighter pilots. Unfortunately, the ones with the guts to speak up or push for what they believe in are beaten down by the “system”.

Unfortunately there is a lot of truth in the following text – supposedly, Secretary Gates has a force beating the bushes to learn who wrote this….

Subject: Where Have All The Fighter Pilots Gone?

Good Question. Here is a rant from a retired fighter pilot that is worth reading:

It is rumored that our current Secretary of Defense recently asked the question, “Where are all the dynamic leaders of the past?” I can only assume, if that is true, that he was referring to Robin Olds, Jimmy Doolittle, Patton, Ike, Boyington, Nimitz, etc.? Well, I’ve got the answer:

They were fired before they made major.

Our nation doesn’t want those kinds of leaders anymore. Squadron commanders don’t run squadrons and wing commanders don’t run wings. They are managed by higher ranking dildos with other esoteric goals in mind.

Can you imagine someone today looking for a LEADER to execute that Doolittle Raid and suggesting that it be given to a dare-devil boozer – his only attributes: he had the respect of his men, an awesome ability to fly, and the organizational skills to put it all together? If someone told me there was a chance in hell of selecting that man today, I would tell them they were either a liar or dumber than shit.

I find it ironic that the Air Force put BG Robin Olds on the cover of the company rag last month. While it made me extremely proud to see his face, he wouldn’t make it across any base in America (or overseas) without ten enlisted folks telling him to zip up his flight suit and shave his mustache off.

I have a feeling that his response would be predictable and for that crime he would probably get a trip home and an Article 15. We have lost the war on rugged individualism and that, unfortunately, is what fighter pilots want to follow; not because they have to but because they respect leaders of that ilk. We’ve all run across that leader that made us proud to follow him because you wanted to be like him and make a difference. The individual who you would drag your testicles through glass for rather than disappoint him.

We better wake the hell up! We’re asking our young men and women to go to really shitty places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, have little or no contact with the opposite sex, not look at magazines of a suggestive nature of any type, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-shitter at night in a dust storm because it’s a uniform.

These people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer.

Who are we afraid of offending? The guys that already hate us enough to strap C-4 to their own bodies and walk into a crowd of us? Think about it.

I’m extremely proud of our young men and women who continue to serve. I’m also very in tune with what they are considering for the future and I’ve got news for whoever sits in the White House, Congress, and our so-called military leaders. Much talent has and will continue to hemorrhage from our services, because wanna-be warriors are tired of fighting on two fronts – – one with our enemies, another against our lack of common sense.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of  The Rogue Aviator; (www.therogueaviator.com)