Extended Trail on a Qual Check

Just after Rick checked out as a T-38A Flight Examiner we had two Brits show up as Exchange Officers. Nick W. was being assigned to the Squadron, and Bill H. was going to Command. It turned out that they were both scheduled for their P-Qual checks on the same day, with scheduled takeoffs three minutes apart. Well, hell… the wheels began turning.

P-Qual checks for rated pilots are fairly straightforward.  And, having had the exchange tour I did, I knew that allied air forces didn’t send “slugs” to represent their respective air forces. I also knew, from their demeanor, that Nick and Bill could fly.  So, why not take the opportunity and introduce them to T-38 formation flying, and have some fun?  I approached Rick with the proposition, and he went for it.  Why not; nothing explicitively prohibited it… 

Bill and Nick were thrilled.  They couldn’t believe that the two of us were so “progressive.”  Well, again, why not?  And besides, I knew if the word ever got out, it would really piss off the ‘Command Queers.’  So did Rick. 

We briefed the mission essentially as a two-ship formation ride.  We would depart as a two-ship formation for a formation low approach at the Sequin Auxiliary Airfield, then separate for individual single-engine heavyweight touch and goes.  We would then individually head out into the area to complete the requirements of the P-Qual check (stalls, slow flight, recoveries, etc.) before rejoining as a two-ship formation. Then, after a basic formation orientation profile, we planned to recover into Sequin for some pattern work.  That done, we would once again rejoin for the recovery back to Randolph for a formation approach and landing. 

The sortie went slick, and no one was the wiser!  Bill and Nick were thrilled, and Rick and I got a lot of “giggles” from that ride for many years following.  Not only was the ride a lot of fun, we felt like we got “one” past the ‘Command Queers;’ that we put it to the Man! 

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