Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bad Day for the Boys in Blue

There's a light at the end of the tunnel. At first we thought it was a train, but it turn out that the powers that be remembered that we were here and sent those poor bastards from the unit who is scheduled to replace us for a visit. What was already a pretty tightly scheduled “See 4 FOBs in 5 days all for $19.99 in AAFES pogs” tour got derailed before they even made it to the right country.


As our tour guests were loitering in Kyrgistan waiting for their ride to Metropolis, they got word that they would be delayed a bit due to a slight problem at their destination airfield. The slight problem was an aircraft approximately the size of Lower Manhattan blocking the runway. A C-17 landing at Metropolis the night before had drifted just a touch off the center of the runway and its right main gear was dragging in the dirt a bit.


This normally wouldn't be much of a problem since the C-17 is a pretty sturdy aircraft until you take into account that the airfield is also used by Marine aircraft who practice carrier landings from time to time. Now there's a big iron rod drilled into the ground along side the runway where the Marines can secure an arresting cable to stretch across the runway to practice their sudden stop landings. Short of trying to describe the entire scene, suffice it to say that we now have reason to believe that a C-17 can do a carrier landing...once.


In the meantime, Specialist Aranzamendi, on board a C-130 bound for Metropolis following his R&R leave is diverted due to our cargo plane carrier landing. Shortly after changing direction, this airplane decides it doesn't like it's new destination and one of its engines fails. Flying in a C-130 is not exactly the lap of luxury to begin with, but when one of the four engines decides not to work, it gets you attention. At least most people. Now with mechanical difficulty the aircraft changes course for a 3rd destination which has a higher density of aircraft mechanics and for some reason, the aircraft decides it likes this even less and another engine fails..on the same side of the aircraft. I'm not sure how many people can truthfully say they've done a barrel roll in a C-130, but Specialist Aranzamendi is now one of them. He says that at one point he recalls hanging onto the bottom of his seat with his legs hanging hanging above or below his head as the case may be.


Well, the airfield is clear again, a C-17 crew is trying to figure out how to enter “Carrier Landing” qualifications in their Air Force flight records, our adjutant is searching for a “C-130 Aerobatics” badge for Specialist Aranzemendi, and most importantly, our replacements have arrived at Metropolis for their sneak preview.


Anonymous said...

Did you get pictures of the damaged aircraft?


Rich said...

armytimes has 1 pis in frontline photos for aug 10th

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip.