BAILOUT, YOU'RE ON FIRE!
The next story about
Abdul concerns his antics in the traffic pattern.
The tactical overhead
pattern starts at an initial point 3 to 5 miles off the approach
end of the runway at about 1000 ft above the ground. The aircraft
flies along the centerline extension of the runway at high speed
(at speeds up to 250 knots unless the flight manual specifies
a higher speed) until reaching "the numbers" (the approach end)
where it "breaks" to downwind.
Tactical Overhead Pattern
The run-in from the
"initial" point to the numbers is called "initial". The "break"
is a 180 degree steep bank turn. Only a "weenie" would use less
than 60 degrees of bank. Actually, you do play the wind
a little so sometimes the bank is steeper, and sometimes more
shallow. Complete the turn so as to roll out on "inside downwind"
or as it is more commonly called: just plain "downwind".
During the break,
the pilot reduces power, puts out speed brakes, lowers flaps,
drops gear and slows to a normal downwind speed. The pilot flies
the downwind leg so as to execute another 180-degree turn to final.
(The placement of this leg is as far out as a half mile for something
like an F-4 to about 1500 ft for an O-2). There really isn't a
base leg; just one continuous turn to final.
The place at which
the turn to final is initiated is called the "perch" (I don't
know why), and this point varies from aircraft to aircraft.
A real pilot plans the final turn so as to rollout on final and
flare simultaneously. (I've done that a dozen or two times out
of the 800 landings I've had in the O-2). Fighter type aircraft
(and trainer jets) usually have a half-mile final.
The purpose of the
overhead pattern is to keep the aircraft out of small arms fire
as much as possible. Theoretically, the area surrounding the airfield
should be secure. In the case of the O-2, I could execute the
entire pattern within the field boundary. Yes, C-130s, and even
C-141s can do overhead patterns!
Anyway, Abdul is tooling
along initial in his "Tweet1"
with number two engine on fire. The mobile controller notices
the smoke trailing the aircraft and broadcasts "On initial, bail
out, you're on fire!"
No response from the
Abdul calls the break,
and again mobile control announces, "In the break, bailout, you're
Still no response.
The controller recognizes
the call sign (not to mention the accent). Fortunately, he has
one of Abdul's countrymen in mobile control with him to monitor
take off and landing times. He hands the microphone to the Iranian,
switches the transmitter to GUARD2
frequency, and says to him, "Tell him to bail out!" The Iranian
shoots off a rapid order drill in Farsi, and Abdul "punches out"...
So did another Iranian
student who happened to be airborne elsewhere in Georgia at the
time. It seems he heard the voice of Allah on the radio telling
him to do so!
is not an isolated incident. There have been several cases of
"Lead, bailout, you're on fire!" Do you know how many guys out
there go by the name of "lead"?
The next time you
watch original Star Wars scene where 1001 X-wing fighters tangle
it up with Darth and the Death Star (no, that's not a rock group),
you'll hear, "You've got one on your tail". That was supposedly
a long, long time ago. Will we ever learn?
is one of the many names for the T-37 trainer aircraft. It is
also known as "Tweety Bird," the "6600 lb Dog Whistle"
and "The Air Force method for converting expensive jet
fuel into noise" It is another drafted Cessna. In reality, this
one was actually built to government specifications. As total
noise goes, it's not the loudest aircraft in the Air Force;
it hardly "roars" at all. However, at taxi power, it has beaucoup
decibels in the high frequency range. Imagine Godzilla scraping
his fingernails over a black board the size of the flight deck
on the USS Enterprise
MHZ -it's monitored constantly by military radio receivers