16 Feb 91
Today sucked. In to work at 0615, found out I'm supposed to fly tonight until 2130, so back to the tent I went. A real fun mission was planned, follow the CO around on NVGs...Well, to make a long story short, I sat around all day wondering how much fun it really would be. Luckily, when we came in at 1830 the CO decided to go out single ship. So yea, we skipped the zero illum night formation flying, or at a minimum hazy Low Light Level goggle flying. Turned down another one of those missions a few days ago, they asked if we could fly a few guys out to a battleship after sunset a few days ago. Based on the low vis conditions, over water and not wanting to drag a wingman with us in those conditions we told them no. They said OK, why don't we fly them out in the AM when it is clear and a million? Good idea, and a Frog took them out the next morning. We try to go everywhere as a section in case someone has a mechanical and has to land out in East BFE, but some of the haze and rain we have had recently is really challenging that principle at night. We don't do Instrument Form flying. ANd based on recent events the CG 3d MAW put out a message saying that there's nothing so important that it can't wait until morning, except for maybe a Medevac. Guess the recent mishaps got some folks thinking. That follows a message right after we first got here where an A-6 hit a tower, a Cobra crashed and our squadron skipped a Huey off of a sand dune. The directive then was no night flights under 300 or 500 feet (can't remember). Not the answer then. Not the answer now either for a blanket statement, but I see what the intent of the message is. Sometimes the vis is good, sometimes it's not. The conditions are fluid, and the answer lies in knowing where your comfort level is and experience level, and not exceeding them for a non combat frag. Skippers are the only one who can decide operational necessity and launch a crew.