Just Point Him Toward Sky Harbor…

Mike C. once told me about a young Lt. who took a jet (T-38) out on a weekend cross country with a Flight Surgeon who needed to log some flying time.  This wasn’t unusual, I did it a few times myself.

Apparently this particular Lt. was building a reputation as somewhat of a ‘screw-up.’  Yes, we had them – not many, but we had the.  It was upon his return that Sunday that he got his “name in lights” once again.

Mike was the SOF that day and first became aware that there was a ‘problem’ when ATC called to tell him that one of his jets was diverting from Willi to Luke because of ‘high crosswinds.’  Mike asked ATC to ask the IP how much fuel he had remaining.  As it turned out, not enough to make to Luke, some 50 miles away from Willi.

Earlier, when this Lt. began his descent into Willi that afternoon, the crosswinds were below 15 knots.  But they soon increased to between 15 and 20 knots.  The ‘Solo’ (Student) crosswind limit for the T-38 was 15 knots.  For everyone else, the limit was the T-38 design limit of 25 knots.  This guy thought that, because he was a “solo” pilot flying with a flight surgeon, his crosswind limit was 15 knots, so he diverted!  Yep, we had a ‘few of them!’  So, off he heads for Luke AFB…

Mike then told ATC, “Point him to Sky Harbor (Phoenix International) and tell him it’s Luke.  He’s too stupid to know the difference.!”  And the “solo” pilot subsequently landed uneventfully at Sky Harbor, albeit without much gas remaining.

I later heard that this guy soon received an assignment to T-43s at Mather AFB, CA, with the hopes of having “adult supervision” with him when he flew…


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2 Responses to Just Point Him Toward Sky Harbor…

  1. John L. Ray says:

    So, he went to the Gator — big and slow. Is he a pilot for SW Airlines now? Just asking for a friend.

    • Cheeta17 says:

      Hey John,

      Who knows where he went after Mather… the ‘thing’ I left out was, when they were going through Dyess AFB,TX on Day 1 of their cross country they had a write-up that normally would have grounded the aircraft. Ole “Steve Canyon” erased the write-up then continued on his merry way. When he got to Sky Harbor, he wrote it up again… dumb shit!

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