NWOC 2017 Summary

NWOC was in Virginia Beach again, with a hotel that was directly under the landing pattern of the Navy’s F-18s.  Sounds of Freedom! There was good attendance after a year hiatus.   

The featured speaker was 95 years young Bud Anderson!  Bud recounted his WWII experiences, friendships, and a detailed discussion of his preferences of model of P51.  With 16 ¼ aerial victories he knows what he is talking about. Bud is still the consummate gentleman and is eager to share stories of flying, friendships, and planes.

A Saturday evening dinner was held at the beautiful airport and museum of Gerry Yagan, and extraordinary facility.  Gerry owns the beautiful newly restored Mosquito (we all know the plane).  The Mosquito was staged next to the 4800 foot grass runway for all of us to drool over.  After close up photos and inspection, we watched Bud Anderson and the pilot climb in, crank up those magnificent inlines, and taxi out and fly. It was a spectacle to behold.

Speaker, Dr. Susan Northrup, FAA,  gave a detailed discussions of physiological issues with pilots, aging, medical issues, titled “Aeromedical:  Are You Fit to Fly”. Northrup is a retired Air Force Doctor, Colonel.  Thanks for your continuing service Colonel.

John Lohmar, Air Safety Investigator, spoke about pilots self-policing and mental traps we fall into.  His top 10 tips to keep safe were enlightening.  Read up on John’s tips as they are a must read.

Doug McNair from EAA, is our direct liaison to the FAA  concerning rulemaking, legislation, and Government Advocacy.   One problematic issue is the push by the airlines to privatize the FAA and giving control of the airspace to a favored stakeholder, the airlines.  This would be devastating to general aviation, business aviation, as it would give the airlines control of who uses airports and airspace.

Congressman Sam Graves, (R) MO, joined us to give us an up close and personal look at legislation, the positives and negatives, and what the new Congress is trying to accomplish.  Sam owns and flies a T6, so he’s knowledgeable in a unique way and highly qualified to address all issues regarding the FAA.

Eric Trueblood of AirCorps Library and AirCorps Aviation demonstrated their new collection of warbird manuals. The manuals, parts, airframe, technical orders, etc, of vintage airplanes have been scanned and are searchable. If you are looking for a drawing, simply put in the part number or name of the part, the parts page will show up and link directly to the manual which shows the exploded view.  It’s an amazing resource.  Eric said that the manuals being scanned are being donated, either to keep or to scan and return. Some manuals AirCorp has completed are taken from manuals of which there is only one known copy.

Do you wonder what good a 2 D or 3D drawing can do for you when you cannot find the part?  Eric passed around to the audience an exhaust part from a P51 they made with 3D printing, taken directly from a published drawing. Made from aircraft quality stainless steel. The finished product was astounding!  It bolted directly to the exhaust manifold, all holes perfectly aligned, its face square and true.  The partgs has been fitted and run on a Merlin to verify its performance.  Inspection shows no prolems.  Eric said that the drawings of the part were fed into a scanning computer, all measurements taken and confirmed, which produced a 3D visual model for the printer.  The stainless powder was laser welded onto the base and the computer controlled a layer by layer addition to the base until two finished products were completed a day later, identical to 1/1000th of an inch (3 microns) in all axis. 

Al Silver gave his parachuting and parachute presentation again.  It is great recurrent training for all of us.  Silver interjects his very serious topic with snippets of humor that keep it interesting, no matter how many times we’ve heard his talk.

Capt. Rick Meadows, commander of NAS Oceana, gave us a talk and invitation to the air station.  Oceana is an F18 Hornet training airfield with several squadrons moving at the same time.  We toured the facility, including maintenance and tower.  If anyone has any doubts about the capabilities of our air forces and our serving member they would lose those doubts after such a tour. Frankly, these guys are a LOT more qualified, and lot better group than those of my era.  My hats are off to them.

Saturday evening’s dinner was a great success. Our evening guest speaker was Heather Penny. Many of us know Heather, both as an Air Force pilot in F16s, racer, and through her father, a guy named John Penny.  Heather’s Air Force career was pretty much normal until September 11, 2001.  Heather was on duty near Washington DC when the terrorist attack took place.  Most squadrons were “down” at the time because they had just returned from Red Flag the day earlier. From Heather’s field, 4 aircraft were finally released to cover DC with their F16s: unarmed, without rockets.  They had a limited amount of cannon ammo.  So as she and her lead ran to their respective aircraft to cover DC, her lead stated “I’ll take the cockpit, you take the tail”.  (Think about that statement for a minute).  Their normal 20 minute start and systems check was done in under 2 minutes and they were off. 

Penny was one of several people who flew cover after the attacks without missiles for offensive use. But they went up knowing their duty.  It turns out that the attacks were over, the damage done.  No pilot questioned what they had to do. They just did it.  Some of the pilots were released from high cover to do some low cover, maybe in afterburner, low altitude.  Just to tell everyone “We’re watching!”. The pilots reported great waves and cheers from the people on the ground thanking them as they flew past.  Penny says it was an honor to serve her country that day and afterward.

Penny talked about the coordination between FAA controllers and the Air Force. As all aircraft were grounded except the US military, FAA controllers were not familiar with handling military aircraft, but were given brief but detailed instructions. Penny said the controllers learned very quickly, were superb in their duties and efforts, and took over coordinating military operations as they took place. Penny said they often gave one minute instructions of what they wanted and what terminology to use, and the FAA absorbed how to move military aircraft as if they had trained for years as a specialist.  (Maybe some other unsung heroes from 911).

Saturday afternoon we broke out into groups by type, jets included.  Out group consisted of Charles Largay, A37;  Mark Johnson, Jet Provost; Kevin “Tootsie” Roll, L39, Ron Wheeldon of South Africa, Hunter and T2; and Nathan Jones, Code One Aviation L39.  Topics discussed in detail were ADS-B, 8130 and its revisions, maintenance and specific issues, ejection seats and cartridges, legislation.  A long and in depth discussion centered about pilot behavior, reckless operators, and the damage one individual can do to the entire community.  Everyone agreed such behavior could only be stopped with peer pressure and good training.  Brief, fly the brief, and debrief the flight.

Charlie Largay


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