This is something that A.J. sent out for the family this past week. It is called a "Stream of Consciousness." It is his perspective of what a night landing on the boat would be. He basically wrote down exactly what would go through his head and what he would hear as he was landing on the boat at night. We all thought that it was pretty neat and I thought it would make a great blog post. Enjoy!
A Night at the Boat
55 56 57 58 59...21:12:00 Pushing on time. Ok boards out, Idle, let’s get going down hill. Ok, 4,000 feet/min down, the VSI is set. 10 degrees nose low, set, Airspeed holding 250, ok, we are set. Did Rabbit make the commencing call, yep I just heard the boat roger us up. Ok, waiting on Platform.
So breakfast was kind of weak this morning, well I guess it was actually more like lunch, but I am getting tired of not having some more normal fruit. Trying to eat a little better is way harder than it should be. Oh well, just have to keep working on it.
How are we looking, still a few thousand to go, still looking good, Airspeed 250, VSI looks good, nose down, yep all good.
Finally getting close to being done with these academics which is good because that email that Mud sent today says we need to get it done in the next few weeks so we can be test complete before the revision comes out and have to do it all over again, I so do not want to do that. But I now I have this CACO thing to do to. I still am kind of surprised that they picked me to be replace Fish and be one of the two guys responsible if we ever have that kind of accident. Was Billy Bob messing with me or was I really picked for a reason. Who knows? I just pray to God that we never have anyone who pays that ultimate price, I don’t know if I can handle telling a family that their Dad, Husband isn’t coming home. Ok…. Positive thoughts, you still gotta land this thing yourself.
Up here comes platform (5,000 ft above the water). Where’s the radalt warning???? Ok, there it is, alright Radar Altimeter to the HUD, Speed brakes in, let’s break this descent. Alright, there is 2000 ft VSI, and still holding 250, Rabbit called Platform, and switched us to the final controller. Left to a heading…. Alright, guess they are going to drive us around tonight, fine by me. Less thinking on my part. Just gotta keep an eye on them. Alright, 19 miles behind the boat, guess they were marshaling us over there to avoid the weather. Oh well, just some extra flight time.
So this flight was pretty good. First time wearing NVG’s out here in the big boy world. The weather made it suck to see much, too many clouds, and this moon is way too bright, but it’s going to get the check in the block. My rendezvous were ok, they are probably going to say they were a little slow, but better than hitting them I think. They will get better. That bombing was nuts though. It was crazy doing 45 deg dives daylight but at night on goggles, I can’t believe that let us do this kind of stuff and they pay me. Not my best roll-ins, but ok, I will allow myself a little slack it has been since January that I tried a roll-in, so I guess they were reasonable for 7 months away from doing it.
Alright, here comes 1200 feet, leveled off, and they are finally turning us to final. It’s about time, were only 12 miles behind the boat. Alright, I can see the guy in front of us… come on tell me to slow down. Good there it is, take speed 225, done. Approaching 8 miles, ok, let’s drop some gear. Gear 1, 2, 3 down and locked, Flaps set to full indicate full. Hook is down lights out, Skid is off, Harness is unlocked, dispenser off, check aft initiate. Good, Rabbit shows the same and he’s got both of us if we have to get out. Alright, tapes on. Finally remembered it so I can watch my pass after we get on deck. Ok, 6 miles, on speed and trimmed up just waiting for ACLS lock on.
Flight is almost over, just keep it off the one wire, keep pushing it up and keep the scan moving. Don’t worry about boltering, you aren’t going to do that. Just fly the ball all the way to touch down. Come on there is a nice warm Mid Rats meal waiting for you after the debrief, come one you know you missed dinner, a little food would hit the spot. All you have to do is land this little jet, on that giant postage stamp. Come on, the moons out, and you can kind of see the ship before tip over.
“106 ACLS lock on 4.5 miles say needles” Ok, there it is “106 Up and On” “106 Concur fly Mode 2” Alright, ACLS is working, looking pretty good, lineup is pretty much squared away, and about a mile to tip over.
Ok, wiggle the toes; take a few breaths, easy day. Nothing too this, its going to be easy, just fly the ball. Here comes the tip over, alright
3 miles, little power off, little nose down. Keep the spermy inside the Velocity Vector. Ok, you’re a little high, get it down
2.5 miles. There you go, little power back on to catch it.
2.4 miles. Looking pretty good, watch the little drift make that correction, little more power.
2.0 miles. Alright, starting to see the ball pop out against the datums, still can’t really tell where it is, looks like I am ok. ACLS still showing me On and On.
1.8 miles. Looking ok, line-up is centered up still, little more power on, keep the ball a little high.
1.2 miles. “Rabbit I got a ball”
1.0 mile. Theres that little yellow ball. Looking good, just above the datums now keep it there.
“106 ¾ of a mile call the ball” Rabbit called “106 Rhino ball 5.5” Alright scan ball, line-up, angle of Attack, keep it moving, keep scanning. “7”(VSI calls in hundreds from the WSO) Big wake, boat is making a lot of the wind, “7” gonna be a big burble, keep adding a little power, looking ok, still a little high, but its gonna come down, “8” watch it were drifting a little right, “8” little correction, power, here comes the burble, “9”come on more power. Were over the deck, little more power, ok there its stopped keep it there, gotta be touching down just about Ugggh!!! 21:23:00
Ahh, that’s never gonna get old. “Good Hyds” Thanks Rabbit. Flaps, Up, Hook Up, gotta get out of the way. My lead boltered. Oh well, everyone has a bad night. Well, that’s over, not the perfect pass. But a Fair 2 Wire. Time to get out of the Landing Area, get parked and allow the shaking to stop. But, another night, another safe trip back to the boat. Guess it was a good day after all. Do it all again tomorrow.