The Combat Edge of Reason: The diary of an ageing F-15C Eagle


Fidget Jones is an ageing F-15C, here is an extract from her diary

Weight: 68,000 lb (but post-Christmas), kerosene units 1400 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year’s Day), lubricants 22 gallons 😦

Consumed today:

9,000 Ib jet fuel (I was hungover!)

1 AIM-120 AMRAAM (too much time on the wing)

2 rivets

1/3 Ciabatta loaf with brie (FOD)

MM/FH: 65 😦 I’m having a difficult day OK!?!

Noon. London: my hangar, Langley. Ugh. The last thing on earth I feel physically, tactically, or emotionally equipped to do is take part in an international war-game with that show-off the F-22 (over achiever- but dresses cybergoth in 2017- I mean who does that?) and those snobby European Typhoons (maybe pretty fast, but short legs- sorry, but it’s true). Embarrassment on walk-around this morning: some of my maintenance flaps were incorrectly secured- why does this always happen in front of the dishy Staff Sergeant? 

My long planned promotion to get an AESA upgrade has been delayed again. Feel like the last F-15C in the world to have a mechanical scanner. Thought my day couldn’t get any worse…

My pilot this morning:

    “Would you like a surprise, darling?”

    “No!” I bellowed. “Sorry. I mean …”

    “I wondered if I could take you to the theater?”

Gobsmacked at this unfamiliar thoughtfulness I blurted out ‘yes’ before I considered what he meant. 

“What are we going to see?”

“Graf Ignatievo Air Base, near Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It’s a Theater Support Package.”

I had been tricked.

11:45 p.m. Ugh. First day of New Year has been day of horror. Cannot quite believe I am once again starting the year in as a non-stealthy fighter. It is too humiliating at my age. I wonder if they’ll smell it if I test my port engine? Having skulked in the hangar all day, hoping hangover would clear, I eventually gave up and accepted the maintainers’ help.

January 2nd

    Oh God. Why can’t tankers accept that we all have off-days? We wouldn’t rush up to them and roar, “What are you armed with today? Been supersonic recently?” Everyone knows that flying in your thirties is not the happy-go-lucky free-for-all it was when you were twenty-two. A cocky F-16 tells me you know you’re old when your fly-by-wire system aches. I haven’t the heart to tell him I don’t even have one.

January 3rd

Caught my pilot watching a Su-35 aerobatics display on YouTube, keep telling him that this is giving him unreasonable expectations of what an airplane is capable of. Feel inadequate. 

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You may also enjoy A B-52 pilot’s guide to modern fighters, Flying and fighting in the Lightning: a pilot’s guideInterview with a Super Hornet pilot, Trump’s Air Force Plan, 11 Worst Soviet Aircraft, 10 worst US aircraft, and 10 worst British aircraftMiG-21s, MC-21s and the overrated Typhoon: In conversation with FlightGlobal’s Stephen TrimbleThe F-35 will fail, until the US learns to shareAn air force of my own #1Top 8 Mach 3 fighters


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  2. Sgt E. A. Presley

    That old lady, she still got it. I like that perky nose cone and I’d like to grab it and slide finger around the pitot tube.

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