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The Crossed Legs Syndrome

Turbo Tarling's private casebook:


416 AW(F) Lynx Squadron, CFB Chatham, NB (1974-77)   -   CF-101 Voodoo 
Captain Turbo Tarling & Captain Harry Redden

One of our least favourite exercises was the one-nighter. Why? Because you came in for half a day to do whatever, went home to "get some rest" which translated into cutting the grass, helping with chores etc. After supper you then tried to grab a few hours sleep, which was difficult with the rest of the world cutting grass with the annoying putt-putt-putting from their new gas mowers. Then, shortly before 2300 you got up, feeling not too bad since you hadn't been tired in the first place, attending "briefing" just before midnight, then sitting around drinking coffee. This coffee, by the way, usually accompanied us on our flights unless you had been clever enough to sneak in a "nervous one" before the scramble order came.
 
This particular night had been going fairly well, and my nav, Captain Harry Redden of the wry, dry wit, and I had already completed one mission and were in descent at the completion of yet another successful mission. Harry seemed to be content to let me do the driving and was obviously just sitting back enjoying the ride.

 

As the approach lights came into view, Harry pipes up with, "Hey! You awake up there?"   "Yeah, Harry... why?"   "Jezus", says Harry, "I fell asleep back here!"

 

I allow myself a little chuckle since that meant that Harry was (a) very relaxed and confident with my flying, (b) lulled to sleep with my silky-smooth descent and approach, (c) totally bored with the whole exercise, (d) very tired or (e) all of the above. After a barely-audible 'squeak' (the tires touching the runway), a slight 'tug' (the drag chute deploying and doing what it was supposed to do), and a gentle ''whiiiirrr' (the canopy opening), we climb out and prepare to eat some more and drink some more coffee.
 
By the way, the Voodoo did have a relief tube but it was seldom used - too little suction and you were in trouble; too much suction and you could be in big trouble! 'Just right' only happened in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I solved the problem by keeping my legs crossed, which only became a problem during the landing and rollout as my feet tried to figure out which pedal they were supposed to be pushing.
 
Back to the story. After just forty minutes on the ground we're scorching down the runway into the black night on our third scramble, with full jugs (18,500 lbs of JP4 or 2-2 1/2 hours worth of boring holes in the sky, fun and noise). I contact GCI with a cheery, "Golf November 03 is with you ..." immediately followed by GCI's equally cheery, "Roger, 03, we have no trade (targets/work) for you; looks like we'll be having fade out (end of the exercise) pretty soon."  

 

Me - "03 checks. Oh well, it's a nice night for flying, anyway."  
GCI, "Yeah, I guess every night is a nice night for flying for you guys, eh?"  
Harry, in a plaintive voice, "Hey, do I get a vote in this?!"   


And to think, they actually paid us to do this!