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Like leaving the winning lotto ticket in you pocket....


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Like leaving the winning lotto ticket in you pocket.... when you do the laundry.

Came across this story. http://ktla.trb.com/news/local/la-me-jetfighter19oct19,0,6361651.story?coll=ktla-news-1

A Super Hornet's Nest

War veteran Richard Webb stirred up trouble when he buzzed an airport. The reaction shows how much times have changed.

By James Ricci
Times Staff Writer

October 19, 2005

SAN LUIS OBISPO - At a quarter past noon on Jan. 21, a U.S. Navy F-18 Super Hornet jet fighter flown by a combat-tested pilot named Richard Webb appeared over the Edna Valley and streaked toward San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport.

On its first pass, the Super Hornet screamed along at more than 650 miles an hour, just 96 feet above the main runway. Soon it circled back, touched down on the tarmac for an instant, then went into a steep climb, afterburner roaring, and disappeared in the skies.

Blake Medeiros, a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who fuels planes at the airport, was in his employer's office when he heard the jet. He ran outside and clambered atop a 15,000-gallon fuel tank to watch. He had seen such displays of aerial might at air shows. But for such a sight to appear out of nowhere during his workday was awe-inspiring.

Ernie Sebby was in his house less than a mile from the airport. He ran to the front porch and caught a glimpse of the aircraft. It appeared to be painted in gray primer. He could make out no identifying numbers.

A former volunteer at airport community functions and an erstwhile recreational pilot, the 77-year-old retired corrections officer guessed that the plane was a surplus military jet fighter flown "by some guy that's got more money than brains."

Sebby immediately recalled an incident in Sacramento in September 1972, when an inexperienced civilian pilot crashed a decommissioned Korean War-era F-86 Sabre jet into an ice cream parlor, killing 12 children and 10 adults.

Martin Pehl was in the washroom of the airport's administrative offices near the terminal. For a moment, Pehl, the airport's assistant manager, thought that he was feeling an earthquake.

Then he and nearly everyone else bailed out of the building to see what was happening. He saw the jet fighter's afterburner afire as the aircraft climbed into the sky.

The Federal Aviation Administration designation for the airspace above the airport is Class D, meaning that it has a speed limit of 230 mph below 2,500 feet. "Oh boy, we're in trouble," Pehl thought. "We've got a real PR issue.... "


Like the turbulent wake of a jet, the incident's impact spread outward, with severe consequences for Webb's aviation career.

George "Bud" Day, a Vietnam-era combat fighter pilot and Medal of Honor winner, recalled a time when military aviators were entitled to occasional displays of thrilling bravado.

"Back in the old days, I used to fly by my house on the way back from an exercise and give a little toot on the afterburner just so my wife would know I was on the way home," he said.

Webb's case, however, demonstrates how far fighter pilot culture has evolved.

An important factor is the greater cost and sophistication of today's jet fighters. Although the Super Hornet's cost is often cited in the media as about $60 million apiece, Department of Defense figures collected by the authoritative defense policy group globalsecurity.org place it at about $95 million, when development costs are included and the price is calculated in current dollars.

"The weapons systems today are so complex from an engineering and science point of view that the old idea of who a fighter pilot is has changed," said John Sherwood, a historian for the Navy.

"Right now the ones who make it are perfect physical specimens, and they tend to be engineers, people with a strong math and science background. In the Vietnam War you would still get a lot of people who'd played football and were jocks and brave guys who were willing to risk their lives to fly very unsafe aircraft off of very unsafe ships. But that's changing."

Along with the changes in the aircraft, several highly publicized accidents and the 1991 Tailhook scandal, in which numerous Navy fliers were disciplined for wild drunkenness and overt sexual harassment, have helped shift the culture, as has the emergence of female fighter pilots, Sherwood said.

Darrel Whitcomb, an aviation historian and retired Air Force colonel who flew jet fighters for two decades, including three tours of combat duty in Vietnam, said current standards reflect "a new level of maturity. The level of professionalism has gotten progressively higher."

In today's environment, Sherwood said, there is little tolerance "for misbehavior in any way, whether it's flying an aircraft outside the flight plan or having a few beers in the officers' club."

The Navy tradition, he said, is to give a ship's captain or aircraft pilot a great deal of responsibility and autonomy, but to countenance not even the smallest mistake. The Navy "has a reputation for eating its children.... If you mess up, there are no second chances."


San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport once practically had been Richard Webb's second home. In 1992, as a sophomore at Cal Poly, he got a job with an aviation service company at the airport. He drove fuel trucks, pumped gas, swept hangars, washed planes and became enthralled with flying. Every dollar he earned, after he paid rent and tuition, went to flight lessons.

"While driving the fuel truck around the airport, the highlight of my day would be when a military fighter jet seemingly appeared out of nowhere and made a high-speed low pass over the runway," he wrote in a widely distributed e-mail months after the incident.

"Talk about motivation for a growing pilot, I'd have a grin on my face for hours after that. Because they seemed to just appear out of nowhere with such force and thunder, these flybys had lasting impressions on me."

After graduation from college, Webb became a U.S. Navy aviation officer. He flew F-14 Tomcat jet fighters in combat over Afghanistan and Iraq, taking off from the deck of the U.S. aircraft carrier Enterprise.

In January, he was based temporarily at Lemoore Naval Air Station in the San Joaquin Valley, where he was learning to fly the Super Hornet, the Navy's successor to the Tomcat. Sometimes he drove to the San Luis Obispo airport to visit and fly with old friends.

One of those friends was Mike Dacey, his former employer at the airport and the owner of a decommissioned Czech jet fighter-trainer. Dacey was astonished by the skill that Webb's multimillion-dollar military training had given him. Of his career as a Navy aviator, Webb told him: "Mike, I love this so much I can't believe they're paying me to do it. I'd do it for free."

In Medeiros, whom he had met on one of his visits, Webb saw himself at an earlier age. He later wrote about how the younger man was "putting himself through school, driving fuel trucks, learning to fly, wants to fly military jets ... talk about a spitting image of myself 13 years ago," Webb wrote in the e-mail. "He'd seem to hang on every word I said and I enjoyed telling him stories and giving him pointers for how to get accepted to flight school."

On Jan. 21, Webb checked out an F-18 Super Hornet at the Lemoore base for a training flight, to add to the 14.8 hours he had logged in the aircraft's cockpit. His superiors assumed that he would fly to a designated military training area above Sequoia and Death Valley national parks, 100 miles to the east.

Webb had other ideas.

"When I made a quick decision to fly down to my old airport and do a flyby, you can imagine what I was thinking.... " Webb wrote. "I could now be the guy who seemed to explode out of nowhere doing a high-speed afterburner pass, leaving a lasting impression on a young kid. Talk about the circle being completed...."


Minutes after Webb's flight, telephone console lights in the airport administrative offices blazed. "Everybody heard it - the whole city heard it," said airport manager Klaasje Nairne. "The phone rang off the hook ... it rocked our world."

About half an hour after the plane departed, Sebby e-mailed Nairne, asking her to find out the plane's identity. He expressed concern that "the tremendous noise generated will set airport and community relations back years."

After airport officials got in touch, the Navy convened an evaluation board to consider Webb's conduct. Webb admitted performing the flyby and knowing that it was against the rules. The board also reviewed two other incidents in Webb's past which, in the Navy's view, involved questionable judgment by the aviator.

Upon learning of the threat to Webb's career, San Luis Obispo airport officials expressed concern about the reaction they had sparked. On Feb. 15, Nairne wrote Webb's superiors that "it was never our intent to be a party to the end of this gentleman's naval aviation career." If that were the result, she wrote, "it would be most regrettable."

Although a superior officer acknowledged that Webb was "an energetic junior officer and talented aviator," the commander of the Naval Air Force Atlantic Fleet, Webb's home command, concluded that his flyby "merits termination of flying status."

Webb's wings were pulled. He was exiled to a desk job in Qatar in the Middle East, and left to ponder the four remaining years of his service commitment as a groundling.


Sebby's e-mail wasn't the only complaint the airport received, but Webb fixed on Sebby as the instigator of his problems.

On June 3, he sent an e-mail to Sebby, carbon-copying more than 30 friends and others in the aviation community. Webb told Sebby that his grounding was "a direct result of your indignant e-mail," which he characterized as "scathing."

In regard to his unauthorized flyby, Webb wrote, "No respected fighter pilot worth his salt can look me in the eye and tell me they've never done the exact same thing."

Webb concluded that he was "not apologetic for what I did, and if given the chance, I'd do the same thing again.... It's just incredibly hard to admit fault, and accept such disproportionate punishment, to an action that probably helped recruit many young kids in town that day.... I feel ashamed to have my close friends die to protect your freedom to complain about how we do our job."

Webb's punishment has grieved his friends at San Luis Obispo airport.

Medeiros, who is 22 and plans to enter Marine Corps flight training next year, considered Webb a role model.

"To meet somebody who went to the same school as me and became a fighter pilot, it was very inspiring," he said. "I think he's a great guy."

Dacey, for whom Webb worked as a student, said it was difficult "to see him get hammered. Richard grew up here and he came back to show off a little bit. The kid's dream was to be a naval pilot, and the vast majority of people at the airport were proud of him."

After losing his wings, Webb appeared to be "in a state of shock," Dacey said. "If you wanted to see a kid who looked like he aged 20 years overnight - literally. He looked like he got run over by a train."

Dacey speculated that Webb didn't realize how much the San Luis Obispo area had changed in the near-decade since he had left for the Navy - the expanded population of the city, the amount of residential construction within earshot of the airport. "He'd been gone," said Dacey, whose principal business is as a building contractor. "He'd been in Iraq. He'd been in Afghanistan."

Sebby is not as sympathetic. Webb's missive brought down on him an avalanche of angry e-mails, and some anonymous, harassing phone calls. Sebby contacted Navy officials to complain of what he came to see as Webb's orchestration of a vilification campaign against him.

"I wasn't trying to prosecute anyone or get him fired or grounded," Sebby said in an interview. "I had no idea it was even a military aircraft. This thing he orchestrated against me ... I want the Navy to know I'm not going to let this drop because I'm offended, deeply offended, by this."

In a recent letter to U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Bakersfield) and both of California's U.S. senators, Sebby demanded an apology from Webb and that it be disseminated to all recipients of Webb's original e-mail. He also called on the Navy to further punish Webb for "his harassment behavior against me."

Reached by e-mail in Qatar, Webb declined to be interviewed for this article.


Several military aviation experts who reviewed the evaluation board's report dispute Webb's assertion that flybys such as his are common today.

"I was very much floored when I read this report," said one former F-18 instructor who agreed to be interviewed but was under orders from a commander to not be quoted by name. "This was so far out of the realm of acceptability it's ludicrous.... What he did was practically unheard of, extremely unusual ... 500 knots at 96 feet is way beyond his ability.... That's extreme poor judgment having only 14.8 hours" of flight time in an F-18. "This kid was an accident waiting to happen. It was a blessing they got to him before he killed somebody and that was something that was going to happen."

Webb's case illustrates the balance a modern fighter pilot must strike between aggressiveness and daring on the one hand, and tight adherence to discipline and procedure on the other.

"You want your young men and women to fly aggressively, fly tough, fly mean, so when you need them to do tough things, they can go into battle and win," Whitcomb said. "But that aggression has got to be properly tempered, so when it's not called for, it doesn't get them in trouble.

"Nowadays, you can't accept needless loss. This F-18, this is the top-of-the-line, multi-multimillion-dollar aircraft extremely capable of doing some really amazing things, and we want the young people we bring in to be able to do those extra things, but always under control and carefully directed because it's very easy to lose control of a jet like that."

The case also points up another dilemma: How tolerant should a civil society be toward a warrior whose behaviors have been influenced by the experience of fighting on its behalf?

"The kids we want to fight our battles for us are probably not the best in peacetime," said Dacey, "not the best flying over your local airport."

The problem, Sherwood said, is hardly new.

"If you take the king's shilling and go to war, you put yourself in harm's way and you've fulfilled the ultimate contract with the military. He did that and he may have felt a certain level of entitlement. Maybe we're being too strict in our treatment of officers. You can't ask a bunch of altar boys to fight a war."
Copyright © 2005, The Los Angeles Times
If you're unwiling to pay the fine.... don't do the crime!

There was a time when it was "acceptable" to "borrow" an SMP truck for joy rides out in the bull pen... vehicles were damaged and lives were sometimes left at risk (saw Ambulance stolen - and busted).

For this pilot to use the old excuse "everyone else does it" doesn't wash for me.
Enjoy the beach in Quatr and don't let the door hit your ass as you go out.

I've been in the position as a Helicopter Det Commander onboard a Frigate.  One of the things I was really on guard against in my Det was "hot-dogging" with the airplane.  There are just too many ways to get killed doing things the right way, let alone making up your own stupid tricks.  Doing a low pass like that lacks judgement, is unprofessional and is illegal (he violated a couple of FAA regulations, not to mention a bunch of Navy Regulations, plus he basically stole the aircraft, since he was authorized to go one place with it, and he went another, without authority).

If I was his boss, he would not fly again while I was in charge, based on what I have read above.
Just so you know, his flight profile (from what the article wrote) sounded almost exactly like a "carrier break" (the approach that all carrier borne fighters fly prior to landing on a carrier). It's also extremely close to a "battle break" (CF equivilant) which I've seen (and continue to seee) countless times at CF fighter fields.

More to the point, a "low approach" to an overshoot is done every day at airports all over the world. Speed's a little high, but profile's the same.

We need a balance between warriors and bean counters.

This could have been most easily resolved through a good blast of poop from the Sqn Commander.

Sorry Garry - but 96 feet is too low for all of those manoeuvers that you mentioned.  Battle-breaks are usually done at 1000' AGL and I can only imagine that the Carrier fly-by of Top Gun style is done at 500' AWL.  Even airshow pilots that fly the fighters do not fly below 250' AGL.  A low approach to an overshoot is also predicated by a minimum altitude - if it is planned.  An overshoot due to an obstruction on the runway can be started at any time, but the least amount of time is spent at low altitudes.  Performance decreasing wind shear is not something that you want to experience when you are low and slow.

This guy was hot-dogging it and he got busted - it sucks to lose his wings, but he is lucky that he didn't kill anyone.  Those sort of antics are best played out in the simulator - you can always reset it after you crash.
Just so you know, his flight profile (from what the article wrote) sounded almost exactly like a "carrier break" (the approach that all carrier borne fighters fly prior to landing on a carrier). It's also extremely close to a "battle break" (CF equivilant) which I've seen (and continue to seee) countless times at CF fighter fields.

No one does carrier or airfield circuits below 100 feet AGL at 560Kts, In CLASS D airspace (he was about twice the legal speed limit), with 14.1 hours on type, after lying to your boss about what you are doing with the aircraft.

I count 4 pieces of questionable judgement in that one incident.  Not someone I want flying in combat with me...

I'm with Garry on this one.

I've done GULAPs (Gear up low approaches) in Moose Jaw in the Harvard at 250+ kts but the alt seems to escape me at the moment (me thinks it was around 200 ft or so). Followed by a 5G pull into the closed pattern, all done with an instructor. Speeds can be whatever you want, as long as it's cleared by ATC. H*ll, every CF pilot has done closed patterns with a little over 50hrs total time, you lay the throttle to her, get off the ground, gear up, flaps up, boards in, and accelerate to around 180 - 200 kts at around 100 ft and then pull 20 degrees nose up and bank over to 60 degrees bank, all of which is done less than 500 ft AGL. You end up level at 1100 AGL in a matter of seconds.

This guy had been flying F-14s for quite some time, including probably hundreds of carrier landings. It's not like he was total nugget.

Low flying is dangerous, but to be an effective military pilot you must be proficient at it. Especially the jet and TacHel types. Hell, TacHel'ers do low level nav at 15 ft (that's not a typo, fifteen feet), even lower at times, as in 4 ft seems to ring a bell.

SKT, I know you've been in a Sea King at 40ft before and landed on a ship at sea with the tip of your rotor arc 12 ft from the hangar, or done power limited take offs at 5-10 ft while accelerating to 70 kts. All entirely legal but dangerous.

Now having said that, rules are rules and if you're going to break them, you better take your punishment like a man. Don't get me wrong, I don't condone flying under bridges or other things like that, but low approaches while at an airport don't seem all that bad to me. Airports don't have many obstacles, especially ones that infringe on the runway that he flew over. The Snowbirds do their entire show under 500 ft, including inverted head to heads with over 600 kts closure.

My point is that military flying is a dangerous job, and while safety of flight is paramount, the truth of the matter is that the only way you're going to get any experience flying nap of the earth or that sort of thing, is to do it. The guy should have got a peepee slap and a few extra duties, certainly not his wings pulled.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one.  Please allow for the possibility, however, that your prospective on this type of thing may change in a few years once you are an Aircraft Captain, Crew Commander, or Detachment Commander- mine certainly did (ok minus the Aircraft Captain part- I'm a Navigator...)  ;)

SeaKingTacco said:

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this one.   Please allow for the possibility, however, that your prospective on this type of thing may change in a few years once you are an Aircraft Captain, Crew Commander, or Detachment Commander- mine certainly did (ok minus the Aircraft Captain part- I'm a Navigator...)   ;)


I'm sure it will at some point, but I guess that all depends on the ability of the guy sitting next to me.

Though if the CDS gets his way, I envision 15 ft navigation for the Cyclones too.  ;)
Might accept your argument but... this fella filed his flight plan to go one place and went to another completely different place to cause his mayhem...
Doing some practice landings and aborted landings on your home field is one thing but taking your sh#$ to someone else's is a nono in my books

I'm all for aggression, but we have to control it, especially when you consider the weapons systems we use today.  We don't let soldiers do live fires off the range for the sake of making warriors.  When the US Aviation community can (and does) take the cream of the crop, you have to expect that the lack of judgement displayed by joyriding the taxpayers 60-90 million dollar aircraft is going to earn a serious ass-whipping.
Lots of "I thinks" going on again, few "I know's": thought y'all knew better than that.   If you're going to state a fact, better make sure it IS factual. If it's an opinion, best to state that as well.

This may seem inconsequential to the thread, but bear with me.......

MDA/DH/MEA etc (how high you fly) are a function of Nav aid/approach aid, surounding terrain (and if the dept was TERP'sd or not) airspace clasification, tupe of flight, and many other variables.

Minimum altitudes on approach are also governed by the aircraft operator (owner). Many Air Forces (for instance) will graduate tickets, so that even though the approach may have a (lower) MDA, the Pilot will be restricted to a (higher) MDA.   In the same vein, there are Civilian companies that allow their pilots to fly an approach much lower than we "think" they should- yet restrict their departures to a higher weather requirement than the approach. (go figure)

The class of airspace that you're operating in (as well as type of flight) all have an impact on what set of rules applies to your flight. 

It's all about risk mitigation.

Big thing here is that minimum enroute altitudes and airspeeds all drastically change when on approach to a runway. There are no Universal limits
( at least that I'm aware of) specifying the altitude required when on a VFR low approach to a runway- those are all Company (read Air Force, Air Canada, ATC, etc) self imposed limitations. Transport Canada certainly doesn't care.

Here's where the "bear with me" finds fruition: For all of you that don't know what MDA stands for, what on earth are you doing frying the pilot? Kinda like an Air Force guy jumping on the bandwagon and castigating a guy who was fried for, say, changing a shock on a track with a stump vice a torpedo. (wrong, but who here hasn't done it???)

For those above who know what an MDA is, yet still persisted in applying CF rules to a US pilot, well you ought to know better. Sure, the pilot was wrong- but do we really know HOW wrong he was? Know what rules he broke?

If you're going to hammer someone, best to know exactly what rule he/she broke, and why.

PS- I chose not to prove several of the above posted "facts" as dead wrong- I don't believe in public castigation. Hammer my views here, no sweat. ...but if you want to argue the rules governing airspace, PM me.



geo said:
Might accept your argument but... this fella filed his flight plan to go one place and went to another completely different place to cause his mayhem...
Doing some practice landings and aborted landings on your home field is one thing but taking your sh#$ to someone else's is a nono in my books


Where do you see that he filed a flight plan? I flew today without filing a flight plan, in fact, I haven't filed a flight plan since June and I've flown almost 100 hrs since then. You certainly don't need a flight plan to go flying, I don't know why you would even think that.

I've done GULAPs in Saskatoon and Regina as well as Moose Jaw. The guys go on cross countries and request GULAPs at almost every airfield they go to and tower will usually clear them depending on the traffic at the time.

Garry, well put amigo.
I was not going to wade back into this but...

To me, this incident still boils down to bad airmanship, based on the admittedly limited snapshot this article provides.  I don't care what the "rules" may allow, it is not always prudent to fly down to the limits of the rules.  For example, a CF Sea King may fly as low as 40 feet while over the water.  Do we do it all the time?  No, because sometimes, based on weather, crew capability or serviceability of various aircraft systems, it may not be prudent to fly that low.  I expected my crews to exercise their judgement on when it was appropriate to fly to the limits of the aircraft.

With the above subject, the issue is not that he flew at 94 feet above a runaway or did a touch-and-go.  It is not that he flew 650 kts in controlled airspace (let's assume for a second that he had been cleared by ATC for that- I wasn't clear to me from the article that he had been), it is not that he had only 14.5 hours on type (it has been stipulated and accepted that he was an experienced fighter pilot from the F-14 community, although I have my doubts that the F-14 flies often in "the weeds".)  What bothers me are the following:

1. He combined all of the above into one act.  I'm not willing to believe that too many Sqn COs in any air force would be very amused to find out that one of his /her pilots was practising VERY low-level flying by beating up an airfield near a built up area.  I mean sure, do the touch and go and maybe a burner departure, but really, a low pass at 94 ft and 600Kts plus at the same time?  Come on!

2. It is my impression from the article, that he was on a student trip and as such had a duty to be one place (the local flying training area) practising whatever he was assigned for that flight.  He appeared not to have done that.  I freely admit to not being sure what the US Navy rules are, but I can scarcely believe that they differ from the CF rules, namely, you are authorized to have the aircraft to carry out a defence function ie- it is NOT your private plaything to freelance with as you please!  If you want to do a little "flypast" at your favourite local haunt for old times sake, most COs I have known in my short flying career would allow you to do so- if you asked first and if you promise to not embarass the unit!

As for losing his wings over it, none of know what the "other two incidents" involved.  Could it be that this was the icing on the cake for the Admiral and that he had enough?  I don't know and neither do you.

Please understand me- military aircraft sometimes fly low, sometimes fly fast and sometimes both at the same time.  It is a dangerous job carried out by highly skilled crews.  Sometimes, however, some aircrew have egos that get themselves and others killed because it gets in the way of their judgement.

For those of you who think the above flypast was a cool stunt that harmed no one, I invite you to read the following link:


It is an article by Maj Tony Kern about the crash of Czar 52, B-52 bomber at Fairchild AFB some years ago. 

Good night all.
Well, I ain't going to argue all the technical stuff, and as TACCO pointed out, the article said this wasn't the first "incident" - he must have done something wrong to get the yank.
Well, to be honest here, technically...I only see him having busted the 250 kts in Class-D airspace regulation (FAA-wise, I don't know NATOPs so I can't comment on Navy regs). 

Airmanship-wise...it's not the safest thing to do, unless he did a sweep with radar and confirmed that there was no other conflicting traffic...which the article doesn't note.  I don't really see an issue pilot-wise with the altitude vs. capability thing...he was several wingspans above the ground...many of us fly only a fraction of a rotor diameter over the ground at close to 100mph.

Superiors "assuming" he would go to a training area doesn't sound like a flight plan to me, nor does it sound like the superiors properly briefed Webb on what they were authorizing for his mission.  Furthermore, were previous incident anecdotal or confirmed cases with some type of equivalent to C&P?  If he did something dangerous previously, he should have had a review conducted of his conduct then...text doesn't really note the level of formality of any type of corrective measures.

Personally, my biggest issue has nothing to do with the conduct of the flight, but rather Webb's conduct after his suspension and the letter-writing campaign...both smack of not wanting to do the time for doing the crime, and infantile, retributive behaviour...not overly honourable in my books!

BTW, he also broke the cardinal rule for this kind of stuff!  "One pass, haul a$$!"...first pass can be (poorly) explained as "inadvertant"...second pass is an "airshow"! ;)

p.s.  SKT, while everything in life happens to various degrees and there are many shades of grey between black and white, I personally don't see the long history of LCol Bud Holland's blatant disregard for flight safety, USAF regulations, AOIs as well as the USAF's inability to properly discipline Holland and the final tragic end of Czar 52's flight as relating to this case to nearly the same degree.  Yes, regulations were broken, but nowhere near the legacy or irresponsibility of Bud Holland's conduct.  I would dare say everyone has broken a regulation in their lifetime, some that had implications of danger to other people.    I don't see Webb's conduct as much dangerous as I see it dishonourable...


My 2 cents,


Sorry- didn't explain myself as well as I could have.

I brought up CZAR 52 as a case study of where a guy is allowed by the system to consistently "hotdog", make up his own limits, and basically treat the the laws of physics and aerodynamics as if they did not apply to him.  It seems to me that the legacy of this crash may be why the USN jumped down this particular F-18 pilot so quickly.  We also have no idea what the "other two incidents" in this guy's career were, so we have no real idea why the Admiral pulled the trigger on him.

This whole debate came up in the mess on friday (who knew so many people in Shearwater read Army.ca...).  One of the pilots remembered being at an airshow in Argentia, NFLD in the early 90s.  He watched a B-52 piloted by Bud Holland pull a B-52 into a hammerhead stall above the showline.  He remembered thinking to himself at the time that there was no way that an airplane that big should be in that attitude of flight...

I find myself examining my biases in this case.  Most of the pilots who have posted, seem to have wanted to at least give the pilot in this instance the benefit of the doubt.  Me, on the other hand, I am not impressed when an airplane is flown to it's limit for no obvious good reason.  Is it because I am strapped into that back and largely powerless when these things (on rare occasion) happen?  I'm not sure...

Bottom line for me, I am for disciplined, skilled flying.  I am not for free-lancing and for impromptu air shows.  Call me a kill joy, but night dipping at 40 feet in a 43 year old helo is plenty of excitement for me...


Fair enough, SKT!  You might be right...in fact, the only person who hates being in the back worse than a Nav is a pax-Pilot! ;D

For me, I see Webb's personal/military conduct as a greater motivator for my distaste of how he handled the situation than I did how he actually flew the aircraft.  If I were a CO or WComd, he definitely would have been doing the "hatless shuffle" for sure...not sure I would have gone as far as the Navy went.

Here's an interesting take on things...Harry Schmidt is still in the Air Force, ground duties only, just like Webb..........


p.s.  Was it a good TGIF?  Haven't been to YAW's O Club since Donny Leblanc brought his hot girlfriend to TGIF wearing a "tailored" 1950's pattern USAF flight/g-suit. :eek: