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 have 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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