27 Jan 89
160176, 2M4, 0.4, 450, Mankid
Interesting day, scheduled to fly 5.5 hours of Command and Control, TacForm and night form. A few changes along the way. 1st, one bird goes down, so the form hops are canx. 2nd, we are late being spotted because they scramble Harriers. 3rd, our #2 generator won't come on. 4th, the Cobra in front of us is sliding around because the deck is rolling so much (and it's chained down) that it ends up sliding over one of its chains, and they have to work it off. 5th, the Boss asks us to shut down or lift off. We ask where our pax are, he says they can't be found. So we say we'll shut down, Boss says lift off and go into the Starboard Delta. We say ok, so the Harriers can land. 6th, in the Starboard D the other generator surges a few times. 7th, we are cleared to land and shut down. 8th, we're ready to shut down, Harriers have to launch, Boss says for us to launch along with the ship's Huey Triple Nuts and come back. Our Crew Chief gives us the once over and spots a fuel leak by the intake, so we declare and emergency and shut down. Flight Deck Control can't decide what to say to us, and screams at 000 to get off of the deck. We are pulled off the spot and slashed in about 3 minutes. The number 1 side of the bird was pretty soaked in fuel, going down the intake, not sure where it was coming from. A lot of work for a 0.4 of flight time.
Anyway, the rush was because we were going to be overflown by 2 Russian Bear reconnaissance aircraft. They flew over about 15 minutes later, made a wide turn and flew back by us on their return home. The Harriers intercepted them about 25 miles out and escorted them out to about 100 miles. Makes us feel important that the Russians send two Bears 1600 miles one way, to take a look at us. Perhaps because today was the day we "chopped" (CHanged OP control) to the 7th Fleet. We are the cutting edge now. ANd we were sure to wave at Ivan as he flew by at 500 feet. Pretty motivating.
AV-8B launches with AIM-9 Sidewinders. Our Huey awaits by the bow.