tap tap…is this thing on? Many thanks to Murdoc for offering up this opportunity to help fill in some possible quiet spots over the next few weeks or so. I’m looking forward to posting along with Nicholas, in a combined sort of way (as opposed to a joint sort of way), seeing how we’re allies and all. I have a little blog called Instapinch where you can usually find something associated with naval aviation, and for at least a few more months, the F-14 Tomcat. My 30 second bio? Tomcat RIO for about 8 years, still doing the reserve thing down near Naval Air Station Oceana, and currently hanging the civilian hat at a large multi-sided office building in the northern Virginia area. And with that out of the way, launch ’em!
I spent the last few days back up in Long Island at a wonderful event hosted by the Northrop Grumman folks to mark THEIR farewell to the Tomcat, which is being retired after 33 years of service. I spent 90-92 up there in Calverton, their main aircraft assembly plant, on Navy orders as Operations Officer and part of the flight acceptance team for the F-14D program – Grumman would build the jet, their own test pilots would perform the first flight on the aircraft, then they’d give it to us and we’d fly a specific acceptance profile to check out all the systems. Those hops, as mundane as they sounded, could actually have a bit of fun in them. The British Airways/Air France Concorde was, of course, still flying back then, and they would begin to accelerate to their mach 2 crusing speed just southwest of our military operating area (MOA). As part of the radar check out, if our acceptance hop coincided with the Concorde scheduled departures, it was always fun to lock up the big beast and watch the speed readouts climb through the roof.
I’ll have a bit of a longer post over at the Instapinch on the events of these last few days soon, but in the meantime here is the Long Island Newsday link to there rather….paltry…coverage. I mean really, guys! Put some meat in the story! This isn’t a Hornet, fer cripes sake!
BTW, two Tomcats came up from Oceana for those two days – the first F-14s to grace those skies since the early-to-mid 90’s – thanks to Puck and his boys for bringing them (see pic).
—Posted by Pinch