Monday, August 24, 2009

Snowbird Passage

We're flying across Saskatchewan, at least I think it's Saskatchewan. You can see how that poor guy got lost in the vicinity of Red Deer. It's flat and laid out with straight lines and fields as far as the eye can see. A voice comes on the radio, 126.7, to say he's VFR from Saskatoon to Biggar at 2500' over highway 14. It sounds like a call anyone would make, except that at the beginning of the call I'm pretty sure he said "military tutor jet." Sure enough he ends the call with "... conflicts, it's Snowbird eleven."

You don't see one Snowbird tooling around that often. I wonder why he's going to Biggar. (Despite the name, it's littler than most places you'd want to go). I'm surprised that he goes by "Snowbird eleven" when it's just the one plane, and not by some ordinary call letters. I'm picturing the little jet bombing along down there at 2500', thinking maybe it's just an ordinary training solo flight and he's going to visit his mom or something. I mean why not. If he has to fly so many hours to qualify or keep current or whatever, I have no objections to military hardware going to make someone's mom happy.

Another voice comes on the radio. Someone else has also been thinking about the little jet on a cross country jaunt. "I'm jealous," he says. No callsign, just that.

The Snowbird voice answers back, "I'm not even flying!" I'm guessing that means that the guy in the back other seat was doing the radio, as opposed to just being on autopilot.

12 comments:

Wirelizard said...

When I did my first solo XC for my PPL, there was a CF18 on the ramp at Nanaimo.

Me, very tentatively, "Nanaimo Radio, can I park next to the jet?"

Nanaimo: "Sure, just don't ding the paint, OK?"

Turns out the pilot had family in Nanaimo, and had brought the big grey thing home for the weekend - required XC time also satisfied, of course...

Oh, and my camera was on my desk at home, dammit. A 152 tucked up next to a CF18 would have been a sweet photo!

Angus said...

umm...no back seat in a Tutor!

Aviatrix said...

Sorry, Angus "other" seat, not back seat. I forgot it wasn't a tandem configuration. Too much Top Gun :-)

Anonymous said...

While in the US Navy for about 8 years our pilots would frequently take cross country trips to places where they just so happened to know someone getting married or who happened to have access to about 200 pounds of fresh Maine Lobsters.

SwL-Wildcat said...

Wirelizard how about your truck parked up beside a pair of 18's? http://www.novalogic.ca/wildcats%20pickup.jpg
Last summer in Whitecourt at the airshow we put on.

duckman said...

To have such freedom and airtime allotments.
Dutch AF pilots have to rent or buy their own aircraft to stay current, they get only about 25 hours a year (per person) in their F-16s to save cost and prevent wear and tear on the airframes.

And they still wonder why they keep crashing due to pilot error...

Aviatrix said...

Duckman, that's really quite extraodinary. I know I couldn't do what I do with twelve hours of currency a year.

I'd really be interested in learning about other countries' policies for military pilot currency and cross country. I guess in the Netherlands there's the problem that unless you're flying in tight circles, you can't jump in a jet and fly for a couple of hours without having to negotiate with half of Europe to use their airspace. I know Canadians wouldn't be cool with military pilots from other countries just coming to practice in Canada when they weren't part of an official exercise.

And Wirelizard, I would have loved to see that photo. Better than my C152 next to Dash-8 one.

SwL_Wildcat said...

I guess I could have made that link clickable... My bad.

SwL_Wildcat said...

I'll get it yet... For Sale. 1 slightly used computer. Seems to be a loose nut behind the keyboard.

townmouse said...

There was a big fuss here in the UK when it turned out Prince William was using military helicopters to go and visit his girlfriend, although it was supposedly for the same reason (to get some practice in). Out here in the sticks we get loads of military aircraft tearing up the skies - not just British, we'll have French and other air forces too on joint excercises but I don't know whether we'd allow the French (or Dutch) in just to tool around. Unless they're royalty of course...

steve said...

Aviatrix said "(Despite the mane, it's littler than most places you'd want to go). "

Freudian slip? or is it really a one-horse town? ;-)

Aviatrix said...

Ha ha, fixed. It's probably a six or eight horse town.