We took a 4-ship of T-38s from Randolph Field, TX to Tyndall AFB, FL one weekend, just to enjoy the weekend on the beach. I was flying with Nick A., our squadron commander. Good guy.
Enroute we had a planned stop at England AFB, LA – at Alexandria, LA – for a gas-and-go. When we departed Randolph the weather at ‘Alex’ was forecast to be okay. It was suppose to ‘go down’ later that evening.
Nick did the takeoff and flew the better part of the leg to Alex. During the descent we were advised that the ceiling was dropping sooner than expected. At that time, maybe 40 – 50 miles from landing, we still had VFR (Visual Flight Rules) weather. As we continued to drill in closer, the ceiling continued to drop. The cloud deck above us was kinda thick so visibility was also dropping, to the point where we needed radar vectors to Initial.
About 5 or 6 miles out we picked up the runway. It wasn’t raining but it was misty. As we reached 2 or 3 miles out Nick said, “Why don’t you fly for a while Bob?” Swell; but no worries. I took control and began planning for the pitch out.
I had no idea what our altitude was at the time – I was focused on remaining below the clouds. And at this time we didn’t have the gas to split up for instrument approaches.
I pitched out and glanced at the altimeter – 800 feet above the ground! And I was just below the cloud deck! (Our minimum ceiling for an ‘overhead visual pattern’ was 2,500 feet or so.) Oh well – you do what you have to do.
We all eventually all got down, and nobody said a word. “Why don’t you fly for a while, Bob?” is all I could think about!
After we got our gas, we took off in two 2-ship formations. The weather wasn’t good enough for a 4-ship flight to Tyndall!
(I had forgotten all about this flight until a friend of mine was reminding me of it the other day. He was in one of the other jets, and we laughed about it – now! LOL!)