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firemanbill
10-02-2006, 06:13 PM
Written by the C-130 Pilot:


There we were, at six thousand feet over central Iraq, two hundred eighty
knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical
September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and
I'm sweating like a pig. It's moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a
Steven King novel. But folks, I'm sporting the latest in night-combat

technology, namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs) thrown

out by the fighter boys.

My old 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an obsolete,

yet semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS

makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the
missile explodes into your plane. Oh well, nobody lives forever.

At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like
the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight. These NVGs are the cat's ass.
But I digress.

The preferred method of approach tonight is "the random shallow." This
tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an
unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly secured perimeter of
the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy surface-to-air-missiles and small
arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my butt on that theory but the
approach is fun as hell and that's the real reason we fly it.

We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop down to one thousand
feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred eighty knots. Now the
fun starts. It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herk to six
hundred feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree
left bank, turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading.
As soon as we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two
hundred seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some
aeronautical Ph.D. genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy."
Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the
point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to
configure this pig for landing.

Flaps Fifty! Landing Gear Down! Before-Landing Checklist! I look

over at the copilot and he's shaking. I take a short peek at my steely-eyed

flight engineer. His eyebrows rise in unison as a grin forms on his face.

I can tell he's thinking: "Where do we find such fine young men?"

Flaps One Hundred! I bark at the shaking CP. Now it's all aimpoint and
airspeed. Aviation 101, with one exception-there are no lights, I'm on NVGs,
it's Baghdad, and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black sky.
Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I quickly grease the Goodyear's on
brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then
force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my
four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad
air. My huge, one hundred thirty thousand pound, lumbering whisper-pig comes
to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet.

We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government-issued Army
grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from their
sweethearts, kids, moms and whatever, and look for war booty. Walking

down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F, 9 millimeter

strapped smartly to my side, I look around and thank God, not Allah, I'm an

American and then, I thank God I'm not in the Army. Knowing once again

I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am I doing in this mess at

my age? Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your ass.

It is however, about time to get out of this hole. Hey copilot, check the

fuel top off. And how's 'bout the 'Before-Starting Engines Checklist.

God, I love this job!

NUTS
10-02-2006, 09:03 PM
I Love It! It kind of reminds me of Dr Strangelove.
Regards,
Nuts

firemanbill
10-02-2006, 09:47 PM
I like this too Nuts,

Brought back memories for me as well. I was not a flight crew but a very good friend of mine was, he was a sensor operator and was killed when his AC-130 Gunship was shot down over the Gulf in '91. :(

ForestCam
10-02-2006, 09:53 PM
This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the landing zone in an
unpredictable manner
Here I was doing a military menuver every time I land and I didn't even know it! :D