HOW TO BE MARRIED TO A MARINE FIGHTER PILOT--A Marine Corps pilot's wife: F-4s, F/A-18s and aviators from my perspective.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Aviation Brief XXII: Flight Procedures

This is not the correct two-finger start signal
(edited to protect the guilty)

1.    Strap in
2.    Pull the ejection seat pins
      a.    Done by the plane captain. 11 to 12 pins. Shows them to pilot between his/her fingers to 
          make sure all are out. Seat won’t fire if they’re in.
3.    Put away map bag and any other gear
4.    Check switch positions
5.    Make sure ICS is on (Inter-Cockpit System--mike with RIO)
6.    Give two-finger start up hand signal.
7.    Plane Captain checks plane to make sure all the flight surfaces work and there are no leaks
8.    Taxi out
9.    Take off
      a.    Both planes roll--release the brakes--at the same time
      b.    Execute section take-off so flight clearance can be made for both
      c.    Put in burner
      d.    Communicate with hand signals to other pilot
10. No touch-touch
11. Avoid clouds full of rocks

The job of an aviator requires the use of an aircraft. Flight procedures help ensure the plane takes off and returns, or at least gives the aviator a chance to eject if something fails. For want of a pin, an ejection seat failed to fire? It’s the little things that make a big difference.

Strap in. For fighter pilots that means connecting the torso harness to the coch fittings at the shoulders and snapping the lap fittings.That’s important. Just saying ‘Strap in’ means business--means ‘take it seriously’--means ‘get ready’. Everyday I need to strap in, get up, put my contacts in, look the day straight in the eye and mentally prepare myself for what might come.

Putting away any loose gear prevents my life’s debris from hitting me upside-the-head when fighting gravity and maneuvering at a high rate of speed.

Making sure I can talk to my co-pilot. That’s what has whomped me in the head this week. Damn. I thought we talked. I thought we kept each other on a hot mike. I just learned that nothing is heard if he doesn’t press the ICS switch on the throttle--or if I don’t put my foot down (there’s a button on the floor for the backseater).

I’m tempted to give a one-finger start up hand signal. We need a third party to make sure our flight surfaces work. Where’s a plane captain when I need one?

Photo 1970 Iwakuni, Japan of Lt. Andrew R Sargent and Lt Morrone taking a picture with someone else’s camera. Surprise!

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