All I wanted to do was.... info
Like the post I maid in the hardware forum, this is from the great book
"Six O'clock Position, as Usual- Stories of a Mirage Pilot" by Itamar Neuner. This is a funny little story, so here it is:
All I wanted to do was.... |
"Neuner," The Operaions Officer caught me on the balcony. "Quickly, eat, get back here, and get on alert".
That is the style in the war of attrition. Its our way of life. a constant pressure of Operational flights, Training flights, and alerts. We never get to sit down and eat quietly, course after course, to chat and rest afterwards. Always "run" and "fast", always theres someone on alert waiting to be replaced, so he can eat on the rush too.
The Officers Mess Hall is Markos kingdom. And Marko serves me the dish. Today on the menue: "A chicken that ran on a mine", and it looks good and smells great. I make my self comfertable, loosen up the G-suite, stick a fork in, and start to eat. Mmmm...Not bad...Delicious, even...A red, juicy well made souce, with alot of spices. My apatite is picking up, I'm starting to really enjoy myself, and....A siren!
"Damn it, they wont let you in peace!"
I throw the plate, push the table, almost knocking Marko down, run to the pick-up and race to the squadron.
"Take the 31, its in Pen 50"
With my hat and a lifejacket I race to Pen 50. Fall into the 31, put my flying helmet on, and radio "Waiting".
And the wait beugins.
Nothing happens. On the Radio plane take off and land. Runway 33 is in use. Slight windage from theright, four Skyhawks are landing.
On the other channel silence. There was a dogfight before, but now silence. I suck the remains of "Chicken on a mine" from my teeth, trying to remember what desert I missed out on, calculating if Ill make it on time to finnish my meal.
The Mechanics are waiting around the plane, laying on the floor in the shade of the wings, chatting, teling jokes. The 31 is a good plane, like all of the Mirages. But it had a few problems lately. Sight problems. For some rason the range results arnt pleasing. In ground checks the sights seem to be well adjusted, but in the air the 31 misses. And today the 31 has another problem, it is not carrying missiles, only guns.
We wait. Im digesting the chicken, dreaming about a good cup of coffee, and slowly I start tonotice that I have to...Pee! This is a problem. Unpleasent. Oh well, the shift will change soon and than I will have time. But the problem is I need to pee now!
I swirve uncomfertably in my chair. Ever motion unpleasent. What if we actually need to scramble?
"Guys," I surrender and turn to the mechanics, "Bring a bottle or somthing, I need to pee..."
Emberessing. The mechanics are emberesed too. They dont know if they should laugh or grin, but bring me an empty soda bottle. I open my zipper, position the bottle and wait. Togather with me the entire ground crew is waiting. Dosens of eyses are looking at me with open curiosity. A pilot who needs to pee?! There is no such thing!
I try, but in vain. It wont go. cCncentrate and loosen every muscle in my body, but its no use. I try to avoid the stares, look up at the sky, Maybe if I whistle?- Nope....
"Carpenter, scramble! heading 060. Full throttle to altitiude 10!"
An empty bottle to the ground crew, cannopy closed, starter switch and fule, signal from the mechanic all is checked, breakes down- and Im on my way to combat.
Four of us. With me are Vinetrob, Koby and Dani Shlider. We are heading to the Golan and we are doing it with speed.
The controller is pushy: "Carpenter, heading 0808, full throttle, to enagement!"
Exitment, prepertations for the fight, guns switchs on. I don't have missiles and I will have to do with out. "Oh god!"-I suddenly remember- "This is the 31! It cant hit anything wit hits guns!" I have a problem and Ill have to deal with it somehow. I have forgotten my other "problem" long ago...
"Four of them, altitude 10, heading for you"
"Carpenter, fule tanks!" And we drop our exterior fule tanks from our wings, keeping the one underneeth the fuselage to the last second.
And the fight beugins, with the shouting-
"3 and 4, right and up, get on their six"
"Heads up they split to pairs"
"OK, Ill take the second pair, They are engaging"
The Syrians are eager for a fight. Now that we are angaged they seem to know their job well.
"1, heads up 9 o'clock!"
"Roger, breaking to him, you take mine"
"The higher one is rolling,might be comming down to you."
"Carpenter"-The controllers voice is clear and calm, he is not loud and exited as we we are-"Seems that there are no more bogies in the air"
"Roger, if they show up try to give us a timely warning." Good news. No need to worry about more Migs joining in. Four against four, even forces.
The pressure is up, the fight is tight, air speeds are low. All the planes are piled up in a circle. Up-down-cut-release. Mutual warnings on the radio, instructions, advise. Each of the eight pilots is trying to isolate an enemy plane, close down on it, and shoot it down before a threat shows up from the rear.
The 31 is acting strangly, akwardly, like ten missiles are on it, although it is smooth. suddenly I find my self between stone walls in an arab village, trees on the sides, some houses, a path snakes underneeth me. A Mig behind me and infront of me, and I'm stuck with no speed, falling out of the sky! Whats up with the 31? Why is it flying like a roadkill?
The fuselage fule tank!
The thought hit me like a lightning bolt. We tossed the Wing tanks but kept the fuselage tank to the last minute. And I forgot to drop it!
A finger the button. The tank drops instantly. The 31 jumps back to life, and we go back to fighting with extra vigor.
"Brake!" someonse shouts. I break hard to the left. Behind me a Mig was closing in. But he brakes too, and with good reason, Vinetrob is on his six. But this Mig dose more than brake. He dose another thing, a strnge thing. He is lowering landing gear. Honest! He is flying with wheels out!And thats how he is trying to brake! With wheels out! Is this some new patent the Migs have? Did he lower it by error? I dont know, but he has his gear our in a fight do the death, and he is trying to brake towards Vinetrob. Suddenly- He swirves. Whats happening to him? Hes in trouble! He gets whacked! All of a sudden he flips over and wham! He splatters on the ground.
I will never forget that sight. At a distance so small, that I could see every little detail, one of the dogfighters flys into the ground. Why did he lower his wheels, why? If he hadnt done that he would have broken away and kept fighting. What an idiot, crashing in the middle of our game?!
But it is no game. It is an airfight. We are 30 miles into enemy airspace and the fight is not over yet. I return to the Mig I left. He is after Shlider.
"Behind you!" and Shlider breakes.
The Mig lets him go and pulls up. Im after it. he rolls right and Im with him., closing down. He levels his wings and trys to pick up speed. I dive under him getting all the speed the 31 can. Its smooth, no missiles, and accelerates well. The Mig is heading east. Im preaparing to shoot. Can he see me? Is he aware that a Mirage is on his 6?I put my sight on his afterburner and...He brakes.
Easy, easy, no pressure. He just got me closer into range. He tries to run eastwards again. I put my sight in him and...Fire!
A second burst of 2 Mirage 30mm guns....The Mig keeps flying.
I could swear the sights were dead on him!
The 31! Its sights are not adjusted. Again! Quickly!
I try agains, setting my sights slightly to the right. Fire!
He is hit! In the root of his wing. He is on fire. And he is breaking hard towards me! I level my wings and pull above him, getting ready for anoher run.
Where? He is down! Nevermind him. Home.
But where am I?
I am all alone in an unknown land. Around me a vast, flat waistland.
Far in the north east is a small mountain, lone against a flat horizon line. Could that be the Hermon? That small?
Westt, go west. Home.
I go low and fast. 600 knots, 18 kilometers a minute. Its a tremendous speed, but it seems slow to me. I fly like mad and getting nowhere. Only a barren wasteland. Wait a minute! Is home really west? Maybe Im confused? In the war of atrition we fly to Egypt as well,and down there home is to the east...
Maybe my campus is jammed? Broken? I check the emergency campus. The W gracefully wabbles against the white line. I check the electronic campus. It says west as well.
So why am I not getting anywhere?!
So I cruise at a tremendous speed and suddenly- a village. fields, hils. Someone is firing AA at me. El Hamma springs. Sea of Galilie. Im home.
Should I buzz the squadron or Pen 50 in victory? Sorry guys, not today. I glue the plane to the runway and stop with a screech. I taxi to Pen 50 at an alarming speed, and shut down the engine. The ground team masses around the plane, cheering , preaparing to carry me on their shoulders. There is a camera man as well.....
But I have far more ergent buisness. I drop down the ladder, sneak under the plane, across the concrete, with my last strength I gallop behind a wall, and water the eucliptus tree with a great stream....
Last edited by SHERMAN; March 28th, 2009 at 10:07..