Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
In the spirt of the season I was wondering - what are your absolute favourite memories from your time in military aviation? What made it so special? The jets? The mission? The noise? The burning avcat?
Despite being a WAFU I think mine probably begin in my first experiences of the North Sea ACMI, watching the light dim over either Coningsby or Waddo, feeling the air cool as you did the walk round, passing the Lincolnshire coast outbound, seeing the lights on the rigs in the North Sea, checking in with Freddy or one of the GCI chaps - and feeling the blood pressure go up as they called out the first picture as the other guys came out of Leeuwarden, Leeming and Leuchars - all with a bit of mischief up their sleeve.
Getting home to state of the art debrief - finding out that your SA was..errrr...incomplete...and then heading off to see if the Lincoln run ashore had changed significantly in the last twelve months.
I have fond memories of being sat on the back of a war canoe with all the cockpits crunched together, salt in the nostrils - watching the ship heel with a certain amount of trepidation. Wondering what everyone else was punching into the up front controller, suspecting that the ops room was listening into the aux frequency, hoping the f##king kit would align at some point and that Havequick would weave its magic.
And of course the thrill of watching the Afghan dawn in the winter months knowing that 'You are in support of TIC....etc' was only a matter of minutes away.
Breakfast in the Mess after a night shift on ORP/QRA. A bunch of bleary-eyed, unshaven, scruffy louts being served the most ginormous breakfast by the guys behind the servery, who had gone to enormous lengths to provide the best they could. When the Station was in lock down, lineys were treated with admiration and respect. Even the SWO would look the other way when we were returning to our block.
There was sense of pride that all of our aircraft had been ready to launch if called upon. The ultimate accolade came from an old Chiefy, stating that we were of the same calibre as the guys who kept the Spits, Hurricanes and Lancasters flying during WWII. The Cold War was for real.
Lots of them. Night time cable engagements, spectacular to watch and a real sense of job satisfaction. Setting up Kingsfield Airstrip when a kind Major discovered we hadn't eaten for hours whistled up a bag of egg banjos, they really did taste good! Recently sitting out on the runway in the middle of a night time Barrier net change eating chicken and chips and even this morning, popping out of my office for a smoke and watching F15s and Typhoons taking off into the clear blue sky.
Sat in the borrowed crewroom at Muharraq International Airport on 27 Aug 1990 with the rest of the combined Bruggen/Marham wing after deploying the day before. DetCO (Rocky Goodall) walks in and gives us a decent speech about why we were there etc.
This was the (end of) the Cold War which had been our raison d'etre for so many years, driving all our extensive training and yet here we are in the Middle East. wtf???
Spent the next 3 months with no min height limit!
Then Afghanistan. Mostly flew the night shift and saw some beautiful sights, especially when the moon was out and reflected off the snow-capped peaks. Then having to fly a low-level search for a downed helo, bouncing between VMC & IMC and the jet just coped so well and it felt really.....not easy but comfortable as this was what she was designed to do. Oh, and the low-level was on a 15000ft high plain with surrounding mountain peaks over 20000ft! edit: Oh, and the FAC was 100+miles away so no comms with anyone!
Many, many others.
Last edited by just another jocky; 22nd Dec 2012 at 06:31.
Listening to the elation in the JTAC's voice as the weapon hits the target, and the incoming fire from the individuals under the cross hair ceases. To me, it means that all that training beforehand worked and the guys on the ground get to go home to their families.
Walking back in from first E3D orbit over Albania and being told "no complaints about tanking tonight" CQWI, from SHAR mate,"that was the best call I ever heard from a controller" just after the single Shar and 2xF3 had just shot the whole CQWI Blue force. Last ever sortie controlled from Bunker. 25 Sqn in the bar and debrief on phone. "Mate that was exactly what we wanted can you control us tomorrow, you knew exactly what we wanted and made it happen." What I thought was last trip on E3D recovering from LGPZ, seat 5 and going cloud surfing as we crossed FIR and started recovery to EGXW. Went back 2 years later as ERS WC. The all day post trip beer in Pordenone after a particular busy trip in 99.
Watching the guys arriving back at Odious off the Conveyor and the outbreak of emotion from the families present, when they finally realised their loved ones were all back home and safe..... And realising in other parts of the Country the news would not be so good.
Standing on the deck of Intrepid at 2359 on 30th November 1967 and watching the fireworks of newly-independent South Yemen (Aden). Realising that none of us had to go back. All RAF rotary present and correct.
Like Biggus - Op Bushell as first time I felt I was making a difference.
Second memory was Ancona, April 1994, watching the Det armourer windsurfing using a palletiser truck and home made sail surfing in the prop wash of the reversing Herc. Crew were laughing so much they had to stop and return to the bay for him to have a second go.
Watching Trap Ones E3's and tankers and others from underneath the orbits, when as one they pushed north and turned off the lights. Suddenly, my small bit in this whole show made sense. Still makes the hairs on my neck stand up.