2016 Christmas Contest AARs

This is the official thread for the Mudspike Christmas Contest After Action Reports.

AARs will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity and originality
  • Entertainment and interest value
  • Overall presentation quality

This thread will be closed at midnight PST on Saturday, 12/17, but you may edit and update your post any time before then. Only one entry per user!

The Judge’s Pick (selected by our panel of @BeachAv8R, @FearlessFrog, and @EinsteinEP) will receive a complete Thrustmaster T1600M HOTAS set including Joystick, Throttle, and Pedals, courtesy of Thrustmaster.

The People’s Choice (awarded by the most likes on an AAR post) will receive a $50 Steam Gift card. Any ties will be decided by a dicebot roll-off.

Winners will be announced on Sunday, 12/18.


Rule amendment: We know folks have been busy flying to Antarctica, but there have been some great AARs in that thread, so we are allowing users to take one of their posts from that thread and submit it here.


If we have a few posts over a few hours that consists of a single AAR flight, should we combine those to form one here or is that not allowed?

Multiple posts for the same AAR must be posted within a short duration of each other - no adding posts/sections as the contest progresses along!

Reposted from: 2nd Annual Mudspike Christmas Flight AAR Thread - #255 by TheAlmightySnark


Coffee is love, coffee is life, as I sip the black sludge offered from this avian gods forsaken place in the middle of nowhere. GE called me out because some numpty with the desire to fly a F-14 to the Antarctic couldn’t bother opening the “Me and my first gasturbine engine” kit from Mattel™.

In the end, all I needed to do was step out, throw a clipboard in his face and find the nearest bar to get blackout drunk, because frankly, there’s not much else to do when send out on Aircraft On Ground(AOG) jobs. The Bill of Work(BOW) literally said that, I am not kidding. GE paid me good money to get on a dinky toy, buy a clipboard, attach a picture(let’s be honest, words are difficult for fighter jocks) and throw it in the first face I’d see. I did a complimentary inspection, given that a stamp and autograph was required, something something insurance.

Anyway, 24 hour benders are fantastic but my unfortunate “Party Jet 2016 vodka-train into 2017” is still stuck in Columbia. I’d doubt the scientist and shovels worry too much, I left the bar unlocked and made sure the supply delivery had a sufficient amount of potent potables included.

As luck would have it the swing wing monstrosity has left the vicinity of my visual cortex which pleases me to no end. Those things should have been scrapped decades ago but weirdo’s like those two insist on flying em… Yeah bothers me vigorously… Oh well.

I board the violently bright Airbus whilst slowly regretting the lack of water the night before. Oh well, that is the life of maintenance and company flights! I strap myself in before the engines roar to life, knowing the average pilot loves to break these things, and well. I am rather safe then sorry.

ring ring

What…? No way…


Sure enough, Someone managed to kill the local flora and fauna with their turboprop and insists on a DC-3 maintenance crew to handle the fixer upper job. Sometimes I wonder of everyone but me is suicidal in this wicked world! Since when are DC-3 mechanics experts on gasturbine engines?!

After few layovers and 5 whiskey’s later I am in Mexico, or so I think. The DC-3 crew assists me in removing whatever remains of the birds and after a quick inspection we call it good enough. Managed to make a few bucks off it too! Who knew catering likes birdies?!

Then again, last I heard was something something Antarctic… Is this even real or am I mistaken in everyone gathering down south?! If so I expect a wreckage strewn runway amidst the white desert. Oh well, my trusty twinjet goes everywhere! I wave off whatever was flying this aircraft and focus on what’s really important, finding tequila!
But, not before I make a quick call to my contacts in Columbia and have them find every GE and PW part they can find and load it in the cargo hull. I’ve got a feeling there’s money to made, and when there’s money to be made in aviation it means vast quantities, obscene amounts. Dragon attracting amounts of money, capisce?!

Another few hours later I land in Columbia, soon to be greeted by my half-drunken rag tag band of scientists and assorted aircraft parts that have been stowed in every cranny they could find. Gotta say, I appreciate their efforts!

A few hours later and I’ve got my next leg figured out, this should give me a few hours to sober up for the landing.


Yep, that’s coffee alright.

A clunky noise is heard as I put my mug down on the center pedestal(That’s what MX things radiostacks are for Deal With It). It’s a slightly damp and foggy day in Cali, which combined with the lack of motion in the outside air makes for a very uncomfortable experience in the party-jet.

Not being a inhumane form of non-legitimized offspring I opt for kicking in the ground power and airco. Soon enough I’ve got the INS zipping to life as it desperate yearns for a location fix. Wich, in my grace and fortune decide to allow. I really am a man of the people.

Another switch here and there and air starts blowing through the starter valve’s. Add in a little fuel and ignition and you’ve got yourself a functioning gasturbine!

“It’s not bloody rocketscience”, I grumble to myself as I think back to that weird F-14 driver.

Plug in the numbers and the results will be good!

After coercing the local controller to let me take-off with all my extra goodies(customs made a fuss… bugger me with a fishfork…) and we are climbing away, that means PARTY TIMEEEE!

As my trusty crew of scientists settle in into the optimum vodka consumption position I settle myself in the comfy chair and enjoy mount whatever on the left.

The charts tell me it’s called Nevado Del Huila. I like my name better and briefly consider starting a petition for change. Surely my grace and goodness has made word reach far beyond the horizon?

Hmm, Altitude alerter set, INS set, once I hear the chime all I need to do is move throttle levers back with my foot a little. Not a bad way to sleep I’d say! Onwards trusty Metallic Steed of Enjoyment and Inebriation!

EDIT: Vanity shot


The sudden onset of GPWS(hah, no E, what do you think this is, a modern compliant aircraft?! Pffffft) sounds and rattles have me lurch forward, knock my head against the overhead, and come to the sudden realisation that my alarm clock really should not be used during the flight.

Oh well, as knock on the head and a knock in the head. There’s a nice symmetry of karma or some other mumbo jumbo in there.

Fortunately the CIVA INS has done a splendid job of navigating us through the Andes, bringing us out on the Pacific side of things. As it turns out, muting all the radio frequencies did me no harm today. Perhaps, one day I will find a vigilante controller that has no patient for my shenanigans, but not today comrades!

I wake up to the beautiful sight of fluffy clouds dotting the high moutains. The aircraft has burned through such an amount of fuel that it feels much lighter and has consequently sped up nicely during the flight. This makes me happy till no end for reasons that can only be explained by a kerosine-fumed up cockpit.

Slightly high on fumes and Vodka I set in the decent along the coast. Overflying the next destination and making a arc over the ocean, shaking up any party-goer in the back that has not opted to strap itself in for Snark’s Wild Adventure Ride™, as ratches and bolts sear through the back(okay I might have left my toolbox unlocked… what gives? STOP JUDGING ME).

A swift deployment of flaps and landing gear with a smashing left hand turn brings me in line with the runway.

knock… thud… OUCH

A few muffled screams later, confirming my suspicion that my breaker bar has indeed left it’s comfy foam covered cradle and has taken up it’s life long dream of flight, and we are heading towards a wonderful landing.

For a wild few moments I balance the whole aluminium contraption on the backwheels before slowly lowering the nose and coercing the ol’ engines into showing some thrust on reverse action and we make the next taxi-way. What is left of my sanity(all those worries about my expensive toolbox…) and my aircraft are taxing to the gate…

Well, just a parking with a view. But what a view?!

The Party Jet is in Peru! The scientist have quickly sough refuge in the nearest triage station. Not to fix up their comrades but to booze up and find a place to sleep for the night, as I’ll be cleaning up this tool-laden aircraft. Because, tool checks are important in keeping your work environment safe, and efficient!

Also, someone with a broken engine might come in and I may not feel obliged to go with a cheap rate for my services! :wink:


We had been in Khashuri almost a week. So far all of our missions had been hauling grunts, trash, and supplies from Kutaisi. The Hog drivers from the 45th fighter squadron had been flying some light CAS for the Georgian boots on the ground south of Tskhinvali, but so far everything had been relatively quiet. My Co-Pilot, Tommy, got the chance to swap some stories with one of their pilots yesterday during a run into the city. It sounded like the most action they had seen was a few small arms muzzle flashes from squabbles in the hills. Thus far it seemed like we were there just as a show of force. Contention in this part of the world is nothing new to the Georgian people. Intel so far suggested that this was just a local flare up between the insurgent forces to the north who wish to cause trouble, and the Georgian government trying to hold on to the land they considered theirs.

I was technically on 30 minute alert. Things had been pretty slow, so besides for making sure my gear was packed and the bird was fuelled and pre-flighted, we were mostly just bored. The weather outside was rainy and miserable; like it had been since we arrived. I was sitting in our makeshift bunkroom, really an army-issue tent and a few cots, playing cribbage and euchre with a few of the other pilots when Tommy ran in.

“Grab your gear and meet at the ready tent, we’ve got a pilot on the ground,” he said.

I jumped up quickly, scattering cards all over the cot. Running through the tent flap while snagging my helmet bag I asked, “What? How did he get shot down, I thought intelligence said there were only insurgents with small arms in the area?”

“I don’t know much, but it sounds like they must have gotten their hands on some MANPADS and AAA guns.”

Our Commander was waiting for us in the “ready tent.”

"Gentleman, as of 16:14 local we have a Hog pilot in need of extraction. He has been holding out in the forest northwest of Kornisi and Didi-Tsihiata. His aircraft was shot down by a shoulder-launched SAM this morning while running recon on insurgent movement in the hills around Tskhinvali. Apparently the insurgents have received supplies of IR MANPADS and light AAA guns and have been positioning them in the hills west of the combat zone, trying to catch our pilots by surprise. It need not be said that our pilot is in a world of hurt, and we need to exfiltrate him ASAP.

"His code name for the operation will be ‘Stray Eagle.’ He is equipped with his ELT, smoke and his sidearm. However, if it comes to confrontation we have no doubt he will be captured by the insurgents. We need to get to him before forces from the West and East can converge on his location. He is mobile but hunkered down awaiting rescue.

"Chevy 1 and 2, you will be running the pick-up. Chevy 1 will be primary. Your armament will consist of light machine guns. The rescue team will be on board by the time you hit the tarmac. Chevy 2 will be your light support armed with rockets and miniguns.

“Colt flight, consisting of two AH1 Cobras will provide air support for the pickup. Study the map, especially the suspected AAA positions then get to your birds. The clock is already ticking gentlemen.”

I bent over the map with Tommy. Charlie and Duke, the pilots of Chevy 2, leaned in as well.

“It looks like intel expects guns in every town. We’re going to have run this one low and fast. Swinging wide around the cities would be a good idea as long as it doesn’t put us too far off the pace.” Charlie suggested. I agreed, scribbled a quick map of the area up the river valley and North of Didi-Tsihiata, and looked at Tommy.


“As I’ll ever be. Let’s go, ‘Stray Eagles’ don’t last long cornered on the ground.”

Sure enough, the gunner crew and rescue team were already on board as we trotted through the chilly drizzle to our waiting Huey. Some may scoff at the fact that we were still flying a bird designed before I was born, but she was pulling her weight. She may not be the prettiest of girls, some would even say she looks a bit like a fat toad sitting on the ground, but I loved her. From the iconic “whup, whup” sound of the accelerating rotor to the impressive whine of the Lycoming turbine, she would sing me that sweet song of reassurance that she would get me home time and again.

With Chevy 1 in a ready state, it was only matter of switching on the battery and fuel and pressing the starter. Chevy 1 lumbered awake like a bear from a long nap.

I pulled her up into a quick hover check while 2 finished his start-up, and then lifted off behind me. “Dallas, Chevy flight departing North.”

“Roger, good luck. Bring our boy home.” Dallas FARP replied.

All systems green we smashed the lights and accelerated out over the city. I set the RadAlt to a max of 200 and a min of 50 for our run up the valley. Pulling the collective harder, I pushed the torque up to the read-line. We weren’t cruising today, I was going to squeak every last knot I could out of her.

Ahead, Colt flight took up an over watch position several hundred feet above.

Nearing Ahalsheni, we got a call from the ground on the FM radio. Stray Eagle had spotted us and would pop orange smoke to lead us to his position. Unfortunately that would also identify his location to the insurgents who were presently combing the hills trying to find him. We would have to be quick. I pushed the nose down a bit more and tried to squeeze a little closer to the red-line on the airspeed indicator. This was going to be close.

My plan had been to hug the river down through Ahalsheni on the East and then cross over past Didi-Tsihiata to the West. I dropped down to around 100ft and gave the door gunners the command to report any tracers and fire back. Chevy 2 pulled back and above a bit in order to get a better bead on anything audacious enough to point a muzzle my direction.

“Tracers, along the road!” Tommy yelled into the intercom.

Without thinking, I yanked Chevy 1 over into a sweeping left climb to outrun the bullets, then aggressively rolled over and pulled the nose down and right into the river valley. It is a good thing the door gunners were belted in. I heard one of them swear loud enough to be heard over the noise of the chopper. Nevertheless it worked. All of the rounds flew harmlessly by and I was quickly obscured by the hills. To his immeasurable credit Charlie followed my maneuver and dropped into the valley behind me. Meanwhile the radio lit up as Colt 1 and 2 started identifying and attacking AAA installations on the south side of the city.

“Smoke,” I said. “Does that look orange to you Tommy?”

“Affirmative, tally orange smoke north by the tree-line. Chevy 2 cover our approach, we’re going to get ‘Stray Eagle.’”

“I’ve got you in sight, I’m running out!” I heard Stray Eagle exclaim.

"Chevy 2. Hills, to the West. Insurgents. Looks like small arms fire. " The deafening roar of M60 machine gun fire rattled through the cockpit as my door gunners opened up on the insurgents drawn by the smoke marker.

“Hold on Tommy, we’re coming in fast,” I exclaimed as I zeroed the collective and dove toward the grassy tree-line. At the last second I yanked back on the cyclic and grabbed a handful of collective in order to snap the complaining helo into a low hover. The boots hit the dirt even before the helicopter had settled to the ground. I kept her light on the skids ready for a quick departure.

It must have only been 30 seconds, but I swear hours passed as I watched neon red tracer fire impact all around my bird. I wondered where all of the bullets I could not see were landing. Instinctively I hunched my shoulders and curled around my vital organs, willing the rounds away from my aircraft.

“All boots on board, Stray Eagle secured.” I heard the door gunner yell before raking another burst over the heads of the insurgents up the hill.

“GO, GO, GO!” Tommy screamed.

I pulled as hard as I dared on the collective, while simultaneously shoving the nose down. A little left pedal and I was blazing south with everything Chevy 1 had.

Colt had done well suppressing the fixed AAA guns, but there were still several defiant insurgents snapping off bursts. I elected to plunge back down the river valley and pop up well south of Ahalsheni.

As my dilated perception of time started to relax, I heard a relieved Texas drawl proclaim, “You Army dudes are insane! I swear I could’ve stuck my hand out and picked the flowers, we were flying so low!” Stray Eagle had apparently maintained his sense of humor while hiding under some grub infested log.

“If you didn’t enjoy the rollercoaster, we invite you to proceed back to the embarking area for a refund on your ride ticket,” I grinned back at him.

As we neared the outskirts of Khashuri, I flipped the lights on and allowed the helicopter to float up to around 500ft as I decelerated.

Colt flight checked back in as well as they crossed the city. “Dallas, Chevy and Colt flights returning with Stray Eagle secured.”

Muffled cheers rang in the background as Dallas replied. “Roger, Chevy and Colt flights cleared to land on the helo pads. Good job everyone.”

I plopped my Huey down on the pad closest to the command tent. Not my best landing, but I’ll give myself a pass on this one. It was hard to disguise the slight shaking of my hands as my adrenaline drained away and exhaustion set in.

The medics rushed out, gathering “Stray Eagle” from the rescue team, whisking them all away to the command tent. I let out a sigh of relief and elation, nodding my head back against the seat back for a moment.

I was glad to be back on the ground and took my time shutting things down.

Somehow the rain didn’t seem as bleak or as cold as we disembarked.


MIA or The Famous Last Words!

It was a dark, stormy night… actually it was not that sad. In reality it was nice sunny day somewhere in Africa. Hot and dry. That was it. Just perfect day to steal an aircraft.

And then me, retired vfighter pilot, wondering how to get as fast as possible to the South Pole. Why? Good question, answer frozen in the ice.

And then there were some poor guys, one of them owning Learjet 45 - fighter between bizjets. Hot and bright. They offered me a close look, still smiling.

Fighter in me woke up - prepare the position, then hit 'n run! Smiles faded as the throttles advanced. Full throttles, turtles! Zoooooooom!

Then the famous last words: I dont know what I am doing!

Speed is life, but not this time. Fighter is, after all, only the second name of this limousine. Vibrations intensified, strange noises mounted, machmeter runs for his life… and mine.

Then suddenly all is quite… except the Foo Fighters of course :grinning:

Tonight I’m leaving going MIA
So you won’t find me I’m going MIA
Say good-bye to me I’m going MIA…

1 Like

Operation Resolute Fury Mission 5

< Date Redacted >, Persian Gulf

In which our hero and his squadron mates have returned to the Reagan, which has now taken station in the Persian Gulf. First up, requalifying for carrier operations after several weeks ashore flying out of Ahmed al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait.

“I swear, I still don’t understand why this ship can’t just have four arresting wires, like every other carrier in the fleet,” Morris complained as we stripped off our flight gear before heading to the ready room for the LSO debrief. We’d just finished our day traps for our carrier requalifications, and if the LSO’s thought we’d done well enough, we’d be finishing up our night traps later that night.

I shrugged my shoulders in reply. “Don’t look at me. I was working eight decks down when they were building this part of the ship.”

We walked into our old familiar Ready Room four and plopped down in a couple of chairs in the front row as we waited for everybody else to come back in. Next in was Lido Flores, followed by Terrence “Token” Hodge. As soon as Lido was in the door, he started up too.

“What the hell is wrong with this ship?! Four wires works just fine for everybody else in the fleet, why not for us?”

I could feel all the eyes in the room resting on me. I looked up from my plane’s yellow sheet and glanced around at the assembled faces looking at me expectantly.

“What? You don’t look at me for the answer,” I said. “When we were building this thing, we joked that Northrop Grumman ran out of parts and sold the Navy on the weight, space, and manpower advantages of leaving a wire off while probably still charging them for it!”

“It’s helping us stay sharp in the pattern,” the aristocratic, arrogant voice of the CAG LSO, Lt. Jason ‘Bird’ Mantelle interjected. All of us nuggets had quickly come to despise that voice.

“If you’re high on the glide slope, you don’t get to count on that training wheel fourth wire to pull you down. You get to take your penalty lap around the Bolter pattern and try again.”

We straightened up as Bird strode up to the podium, his pocket brain holding our landing scores in hand. Pausing for dramatic effect, he looked around at us and cleared his throat before he began.

“I’ll debrief you all individually as soon as we’re done here, but needless to say you’ve all been completed your day requalifications and are cleared to finish your night traps tonight. Congratulations.”

“Talon one five seven, this is Temple approach. You’re at one and three-quarter miles, call the ball.”

I looked ahead towards the mottled collection of lights marking the Reagan, and was able to pick out the yellow and green lights of the IFLOLS on the port side of the landing area.

“Temple approach, talon one five seven, Superhornet, ball, ten point zero,” I called back, informing the controllers below deck in CATCC of my aircraft type and fuel state.

I shifted my scan focus to the drop lights running down the stern and fantail to check my lineup before flicking my eyes back to the ball outside my windscreen and the AOA indicator to the left of the HUD combining glass.

“Lineup, meatball, angle of attack, lineup, meatball angle of attack,” I muttered to myself as I made small corrections with the stick and throttle to maintain my lineup and keep the ball steadied in the between the datum arms.

“One seven five, this is Paddles. You’re a little high,” the voice of the squadron’s LSO, Lt. Steve “Hands” Hall came softly in my ear so as not to break my concentration. I squeezed off a touch of power, almost immediately put it back on to stabilize, and pulled half off again.

“That’s better. Fly the ball, and keep it smooth,” Hands admonished as the ball stabilized in the middle of its track.

I forced myself not to look at the deck as the drop lights disappeared from view below my nose. Half a heartbeat later, I felt the jolt as the main mounts made contact with the deck as I automatically ran the throttles up to full military power in case I bolstered. As I felt myself being thrown forward against my shoulder harness I knew I had a good trap and pulled the throttles back to idle and flicked off the external light master switch with my pinky as I felt the plane start to roll backwards from the wire retracting. Following the signals from the lighted wands in front of me, I picked up the hook and added throttle to start me rolling across the foul line to clear the landing area for the next plane behind me. I was directed further up the deck even with the island, where the plane director gave me the signal to hold brakes while my plane was chained down. Since the whole squadron needed to finish requalifications, we were hotswapping as each pilot finished his or her set.

“Talon one five seven, this is Paddles. Congratulations, you’re qualified.” Hands called to me over the radio.

At the same time the plane director signaled that I was tied down, and I looked out the left side of the canopy to see Papercut Harris waiting for me to deboard. I popped the canopy, and as I unstrapped gathered my helmet bag, Papercut extended the boarding ladder. I climbed down, shook his hand, and quickly briefed him on the minor gripes I had with the plane before holding his bag for him as he climbed up into the plane. With a grin and a wave, he closed the canopy as I retracted the boarding ladder for him and ducked under the nose as I headed for the far side of the island and the catwalk that would take me down to the ready room.

The Skipper, XO, and OpsO were huddled around the briefing map in the ready room as I walked in, my flight suit still damp with sweat. As they noticed me in the room, their heads came up.

“Spence, go on and head down to your room to get some rest- we’ll send you down your landing scores a bit later,” Errol Flynn said as he strode over to where I was standing to hand me a sheet of paper. “You’re on the mission schedule in the afternoon, brief in the Air Wing Intelligence office at 1100. Sleep fast buddy, and good job on the requals.”

“See you all in a year!”

I called cheerily over my shoulder as I walked out the door from Medical back into the passageway. Birth Month Recall was never fun, but one of those things that seemed impossible to avoid- Banks had threatened me with serious bodily harm if I’d continued to dodge the flight surgeon, but I’d woken up earlier than expected, and had a couple of hours to kill before I had to be in my brief.

As I started heading aft on the second deck towards the the JO bunkroom I shared with Lido, Morris, and five others, a sudden idea clicked in my head. I stopped, turned around, and started walking back towards the bow. Taking note of the watchbill posted on a bulkhead on the outboard side of the passageway, I continued farther forward, turned left down a passageway inboard and opened the heavy Ellison door I found myself in front of. A blast of air rushed in from my back to feed the negative ventilation and the smells of metal, paint, and chemicals, the same familiar sensations that had surrounded me for so many years, brought a smile to my face. I walked down two decks, lifted the heavy handle of the watertight door I found myself at, and stepped into the ship’s Central Control room.

“Request to enter Central and speak,” I said to the Engineering Officer of the Watch, a grizzled Engineering Limited Duty Officer (LDO) by the name of Lt. Tom Rigall- I know he didn’t remember now, but he’d been my Electronic Fundamentals and Digital Systems instructor when I’d been in Nuclear Field “A” School, nine years earlier. He looked me up and down critically before he responded.

“And what exactly do you want to speak about?” He asked doubtfully, perhaps wondering if I was lost.

I was about to reply when the voice of the Load Dispatcher behind him spoke up.

“He’s not lost, sir- it wasn’t so many years ago that he was sitting in this chair teaching me everything I know about nuclear power,” the Load Dispatcher (LD), Electrician’s Mate First Class (EM1) Jerry Bennett, one of my former proteges, said with an obviously amused tone of voice. “Although at the time I was a lowly EM3 and he was the pain in the ass EM1.”

“Nice to hear you’re still following my example,” I said with a grin as I walked over to the Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW)’s desk and gave my old padawan a hearty handshake. I pulled up the extra chair on the other side of the Load Dispatcher’s side of the desk and sat down between Bennett and Rigall, pausing to look at the various status boards and indicators showing what was going on in both the power plants and throughout the rest of the ship. Footage of current flight operations silently streamed on another large flat screen panel off to one side. We chatted about what had been going on aboard the ship and caught up on old times for a few minutes before I brought up the subject that had brought me down to Central.

:”Hey Jerry, when’s the last time the Watch Supervisor dropped in to review your logs?” I asked as I picked up the clipboard sitting on the desk in front of him.

“Why? Looking for Senior Vetterman?” He asked with a knowing grin as he picked up the J-Dial phone in front of him. “Let me call over to the plant and see if we can get him paged.”

Within a couple of minutes my old friend walked into Central and joined me in front of the status boards.

“What can I do for you, my man?” he asked as he plopped down in the Reactor Officer’s tall, cushy chair behind the EOOW and LD’s seats.

“Just a favor for you and the rest of the old hands if you guys have the time tomorrow night.” I replied, lowering my voice as I leaned in closer to where he was sitting. “I’ll be flying a strike, and if you and some of the other guys want to come up and put some personal messages on our bombs for Mitch, I’ve already cleared it with my CO and the CAG. If you meet me in Flight Deck Control at about 1930 we’ll get you guys on deck before things start getting hectic up top.”

Jim smiled and nodded his head. “Thanks Ted, really. I appreciate it, and I know it’ll mean a lot to the other folks as well.”

I excused myself to head back to the O-3 Level as Jim headed back to his rounds of the plant- it was going to be a long day, and I had paperwork to finish before the briefs started.

The Air Wing section of the 03 level was busier than usual as I walked through on my way to the Intel office- aircrews from other squadrons were walking around in every direction, most in full flight gear. Above my head I could hear the thud of planes recovering on deck, and the crash of the catapult shuttle into its water brake as other planes were launched. Apparently air operations had been going on for some time already today, and from the frequency of the launches and recoveries, it was going to be a busy day.

As I entered the Air Wing intel office I saw that the space was already tightly packed with other aircrews, including six other pilots from my squadron, several of the Fist guys, and two Marine Captains in their tan desert flight suits. As I was trying to figure out where to stand, a buddy of mine from the VAQ squadron, Tank Abrams walked through the door.

“Hey Tank, how’s it going?” I called as I waved him over to where I was standing. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”

He shook his head, a blank expression on his lined, tanned face.

“No clue whatsoever. All I know is we’ve got two planes getting ready to go up in a couple of hours.”

“Attention on deck!” a loud voice boomed out, and everybody in the small space instantly snapped to attention as the CAG, dressed in full flight gear, strode in through the doors leading from the Air Operations Office, the DCAG only half a step behind.

“At ease, people,” he said as the folks at the front of the room cleared some space around the primary air charts and the main briefing boards. “I know it’s crowded in here, but I wanted to give everybody the rundown before we start the more specific briefings.”

“Now, while several of us in here were enjoying our vacation in the desert for the last month, the Ike and Reagan battle groups have been enforcing the embargo of all Saudi oil shipments with a blockade of all their ports. This afternoon we’re going to be making strikes on oil tankers that have been attempting to run the blockade. Commander Stone, if you’ll take over.”

The first two slides popped up on the main briefing boards as the short, muscular Air Intelligence Officer took in the officers assembled around him before he continued where CAG had left off.

“Before we can launch those air strikes on the tankers and other strategic targets in the area, we do have three bumps in the road to handle first.”

The next slide came up on the screen, showing images of three small, angular ships obviously not of American origin.

“I present to you HMS Al Riyadh, HMS Makkah, and HMS Al Damman. The Saudi Royal Navy moved these ships from their bases in the Red Sea to King Abdul Azziz Naval Base before the shooting started. These Al Riyadh class frigates are based on the French La Fayette class frigates, but with an enhanced anti-air warfare capability, and of course the capacity to carry the Exocet anti-ship missile. I know that most of you are too young to remember what happened to the U.S.S. Stark, but needless to say we cannot safely operate with the impunity this war is going to require until those frigates, and their missiles, are at the bottom of the Persian Gulf.”

Tank raised his hand. “Commander, when you say enhanced anti-air warfare capability, what exactly are we talking about?”

Stone smiled grimly before he replied. “That’s where it starts getting good. In addition to the Arabel radar for the fire control suite, the Saudis had their good friends at Raytheon upgrade AN/SPS-49 radar sets to use for primary search and ranging.”

There were groans and murmured comments from the crowd- all of us were getting sick of running into our own hardware being used against us.

Stone cleared his throat as he continued. “As a result, these frigates will show up on your Radar Warning Receivers as a Perry-class Frigate. In addition, they’re packing the Aster 15 surface to air missile, comparable in range and capability to the SM-1MR.” Commander Stone took a step back, and CAG stepped back up to the front.

“Today’s mission is going to be what we used to call an Alpha Strike. A Division of Superbugs from 115 are going to be the primary strike package to sink those frigates. I’ll be leading four of the Fists as air to air cover while the Cougars will have a Prowler aloft to handle Standoff Jamming in the direction of the frigates. At the same time, another section of Superhornets will be hitting SAM sites in and around King Abdul Azziz Naval Base while the strike birds make their attack run. Because of the extensive network of antiaircraft defenses and the capabilities of the Al Riyadh’s as antiair warfare platforms, we’ll be going in at high altitude to take full advantage of the standoff capacity of our Harpoon, SLAM, and HARM missiles. I’d also like to welcome Captains Wallander and Thomason from VMM-261. They’re parked up top to pick up a few things, and I wanted to invite them down here, since their mission will take them through the same area we’re going to be working in.”

The two Marine Captains waved their hands at the assembled crowd before stepping back in.

CAG continued with the points of the overall brief before the individual squadron elements filtered back to their ready rooms to go over the fine details of each aircraft’s role in the coming mission. I found out I’d be flying in the anti-ship strike with Wrench and Sick Nick as the first section, while the Skipper and Token would be SAM hunting off the left side and below our formation.

Because nobody was sure about how the La Fayette based ships would do against the Harpoons, Wrench and I were also carrying a pair of SLAM’s each; with their higher cruise speed, the smaller missiles might have greater luck getting through any gunfire or other countermeasures. Hopefully the HARM’s we were carrying would be able to knock out the fire control radars of the Al Riyadh’s. In addition, Wrench was carrying a FLIR pod in the hopes that it would help with targeting and keep us from attacking the wrong ship- with the stealthy features built into the ships, they would give off a radar return closer in size to a small yacht or sailboat.

Within an hour we were on deck, waiting for our turn to launch. The Marine MV-22 Osprey ‘picking up a few things’ was being readied for take off directly ahead of me, and at the same time the ungainly looking bird was cleared to take off, CAG’s section of F/A-18C’s screamed past overhead in their holding pattern, waiting for out strike package to lift off.

Finally the Osprey was clear of the ship’s immediate airspace, and the flight deck directors came to life as we were given the clearance for our own launches.

Minutes later I was airborne and joining the rest of the formation above and ahead of me. As I closed into the formation, the other aircraft of the strike tucked in and assumed their places in the formation.

“Ninety nine Badman, this is Badman one,” the CAG came over the radio. “All planes are aboard, form up as briefed and let’s head out.”

Forty five minutes later we started getting the first peeps from the Al Riyadh’s radars on our EW pages and HARM displays. At the same time, Tank announced that his EA-6B was on station jamming.

“Mackerel flight, this is Mackerel one. Emcon off. Let’s see if we can’t find these guys on radar since they’ve already found us.” Wrench called.

I flipped my radar to active, brought up the air to ground master mode, and locked up a target on the SEA mode radar on the second sweep. The target designator diamond in my HUD lined up perfectly with the HARM targeting box already painting the SPS-49 radar from one of the frigates.

“Mackerel One, this is Mackerel three,” I called, “I have one of the frigates locked up on my scope. HARM targeting and radar have the same target painted, range seven eight miles, bearing two eight zero.”

“Copy three,” Wrench called back. “Good idea with the HARM targeting. Mackerel flight, let’s see if we can’t light them up that way.”

I readied my own missiles for the attack as we continued to close the distance. If Wrench and Sick Nick weren’t able to score enough hits with their attack, Horse and I would follow on a second run to finish off any remainders. Suddenly, we popped out of the clouds and I could see the wake trails of the three frigates ahead of us.

“Mackerel three, Mackerel four, this is one,” Wrench called. “We’re in range for our attack run. After we fire our Harpoons, stand by to attack with HARM’s as soon as we’re in range.”

“Three, copy,” I called back, “I’ve got a positive lock on the lead ship, Mackerel seven one, magnum!” I called as I launched one of my HARM’s, switched to another ship, and fired a second one in rapid succession. At the same time, Wrench and Sick Nick broke hard across our noses to get the proper bearing separation on their missile shots.

The Harpoon and SLAM missiles flew true towards their targets, and with the added protection of HARM missiles that had done their job of eliminating the air to air radar capabilities of the frigates, each and every one of the cruise missiles fired homed in on a target, setting the ships afire before they quickly disappeared beneath the waves.

“Mackerel flight, this is Badman. I’m seeing those frigates burning and sinking,” CAG called from his vantage point slightly ahead of us. “Good work, everybody. Let’s form it up and head for home.”

“Mackerel flight copies,” Wrench called in reply, before calling back to the rest of us to return to the formation and start the trip home. Within minutes we were back in friendlier airspace and heading for home. A quick check of everybody’s fuel state showed we had enough to make it back without stopping at the nearby tanker, and before my heartbeat had even gone calmed back down to normal, I was able to make out the distant wake trails of the Reagan and her battle group ahead and below us. We started our descent behind our escorts from the Fists.

We entered the break, separated into the pattern, and one by one, made our approaches and landings.

CAG was all smiles at the debrief as the Intelligence staff processed the data from our planes and collected our after action reports. The strike had been an overwhelming success, with all three of the frigates being completely destroyed with no collateral damage, and most importantly all the planes involved in the strike had come back in one piece.

“I tell you people, that was great flying!” Capt. Lalor said with a grin as he lit a cigar before offering the rest of us his cigar box. “We keep flying like this, and we should have these Saudis whipped by Labor Day Weekend!”

I sank into a chair to finish filling out the paperwork from my flight as the rest of the crews from the strike filtered back in. Tank grabbed a seat next to me, sweat still plastered to his face and hair as well.

“Well, that was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be,” he said with a satisfied grin. “I was expecting us to be shot at a lot more, but they didn’t send a single SAM anywhere near where we were. It was strange- they were obviously watching us, but they only lit up their EW and search stuff.”

“Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?” I asked half-jokingly.

“Only every time I’ve flown a hop since we got on station,” my friend replied with a shake of his head.

The skipper walked up to where we were sitting.
“Good work, Spencer. That was a good idea to compare the HARM targeting to the radar to confirm the frigates. We just found out that Second Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Azziz had his private yacht cruising about five miles away from those three frigates. Intel hasn’t been able to confirm if he was onboard or not, but five will get you ten that it was planted there on purpose because they were expecting our attack. We can only hope it wasn’t our own guys that were kidnapped yesterday.”

I felt a shiver run down my back. I’d read accounts of leaders hiding military targets in civilian areas to use them as human shields, but for a father to use one of his sons…
“Get some rest,” Commander Nemeth continued. “Now that we have those frigates out of the way, there’s going to be a lot more fighting and flying to do here soon.”


I think this was about the Christmas Flight AAR’s, this seems to have gone more in the “any AAR direction”. Or am I missing something?

My understanding is it was any AAR you wanted. They just specifically allowed the Christmas flight because a bunch of us were flying it.


Aah fair enough, I presumed it was about the same thing. Alas, a chance wasted.

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Christmas contest AAR. not Christmas flight AAR :wink: You can submit anything you like.

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I came. I saw. I conquered.


AAR topics are unrestricted for this contest.

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Cutting it close, but here we go with an AAR from the new Spitfire

What’s that a new planes is in the hangar? Me and my squad mate, “Wolf Bait” as he’s known round here, go running over to see what it is. “Ooh would you lookie there, Spitfire L.F. Mk IX. I’ve heard reports of some Jerry’s hanging out over Georgian airspace, want to go see what they got?” but before I was even finished saying that Wolf Bait was already suited up and halfway in the cockpit.

Off we flew like a rocket and after a few minutes we spotted 2 contacts. “2 Jerry’s at 1 o’clock I hollered.” But it was already too late and Wolf Bait already had one of them on his tail. I pursued the bandit on his 6 while the second one looped around to try and get behind me. I’d have to be quick to save both our tails.

I got in firing range and squeezed off a few rounds, well away from my target. “Damn I probably should have taken a look at the manual at least first” but it was too late for that now. Doesn’t look like I should bother much with the Gunsight, I should probably just turn it off but I don’t know where the switch is, oh heck with it, I thought. I let loose more machine gun bullets then unloaded with the cannons.

One smashed right near the canopy and the FW took a dive down towards the ground. Remembering that other one that was on my tail I checked my six and banked hard. Seeing what happened to his friend I think he decided to peel off and hunt down old Wolf Bait instead.

He was pulling away and onto Wolfies tail, so I dove down a bit to gain some more speed and positioned myself to cut him off. I was worried I wasn’t going to make it in time. I closed quickly, and missed my opening shots. Crap I was going to overshoot, so I tipped my nose up moved to the side and tried to barrel roll right back on his 6. It was close enough that I’m gonna say that’s what happened anyway.

I pulled the trigger again and boom boom boom, and I see his wing get sawed in 2. “Not bad, not bad at all” I thought to myself. But now we had a problem, we were going to need to land. As I made my way to base my lack of knowledge of the plane nearly cost me. Not paying attention I failed to read my speed correctly. Must have a strong landing gear though as it staying in one piece even at the ridiculously high speed at which i deployed it.

I meandered in and just before the end of the runway I see Wolf Bait fly overhead. I hit the ground a lot harder than I was expecting. Bounced around a good bit and certainly rubbed some paint off the wing tips, but kept it up right and free of major damage. I asked Wolf why he flew overhead then, he said “I was just trying to see how you did it. I figure there was no use in both of us crashing on the landing…”

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For over 5 decades my country and our southern neighbours have been best of friends. We even fought a great war against our western neighbour who sought to conquer us for our resources and our territory. During those years and the years that followed it, it seems that nothing could bring our friendship to ruin. Now, the people in the south have changed. They are looking for personal oppertunity, the chance to have more than someone else does. That’s all fine by me, as long as you buy and trade for the things you need. But the people in the south have been motivating themselves to just take what they need, to just take what they want. They’re looking to take what is ours. It would seem that yesterday’s ally will become tomorrow’s enemy.

Today I am starting up my plane to perform one last exercise before shipping out to a field close to what will be the frontline.

Taxiing out onto the active runway.

Airborne and enroute to the bombing range.

The practice target blends in with the terrain to simulate a more realistic scenario. Finally, I notice something on the ground.

Lining up…


Time was also spent one last time practicing dogfighting and interception techniques. After this it was time to head home. Load up external tanks and head for the front line.

Taking off for the last time in a long time from this airfield. Despite the fog I can still see the lake I spent some time philosophising at. What’s the meaning of life? During the coming weeks I’ll spend more time pondering the meaning of death than anything else.

Me and two making our way to cruising altitude. We have jotted down a series of ARC and RSBN beacons for radio navigation. But despite the fog visibility is good enough for visual navigation. We’ll be flying along the coast for a few hundred kilometres untill we’ll found our cue, a port and airfield near a large town, to head in a north-eastern direction towards our destination airfield.

For now the mission is easy. Keep the hills and mountains on the left side, and the sea on the other.

Impressive visuals as fog fills the gaps and valleys inbetween the hills.

We reached our waypoint. Time to make a lefthand turn and start setting up the radio navigation for our next waypoint.

One last peek at the sea below two. We won’t be seeing her again for a long time.

Passing by the ARC beacon. It’s time to dial in to the RSBN beacon of our final destination. A few seconds later, the RSBN lights turn on. The distance indication turns on as well, telling me I am 107km away from the airfield. The radiocompass tells me my destination is 45° off to my right. I exhale through my nose rather violently, this is not what I had expected. 45° offset to the right is the fault position. My finger finds its way to the left wall panel, and flicks a switch from ARC to RSBN. The radiocompass springs to life.

Much better. I take a look at my airspeed. About 750. I take another look at the distance indication. It seems I need about 4 seconds to travel one kilometre. I run some simple math in my head. 250 metres per second, times three is 750. one sixth of 250 is 150. I’m doing 900 across the ground. I pull the throttle back a little, press the big red button on my stick and trim slighty nose down to start my descend.

All lined up! As good as it needs to be, 65km away from the airfield that is.

It took a bit of squinting, but I can finally see the airfield.

Despite the weather being good enough for a visual approach, I decided to set up the PRMG precision landing system so I can visualise the approach should I need to land at night or in adverse conditions. Atleast there are no obstacles to worry about!

Touch-down! For the forseeable future this base will be my new home. Behind the mountain peaks, rising above the fog in the south, hides our enemy. We spent a few weeks at this base, studying maps and the terrain to look for landmarks. Every night, we listen to the broadcasted news. Every night the prospects are looking more grim as diplomats and politicians argue.

ALARM! It looks like the enemy finally made the decision to attack. Our SIGINT installations in the mountains detected their intent to attack an airfield due south of here. The airfield is not large enough to support fighters like ours but could be used to supply the frontline. While not technically a scramble, we’re getting airborne in a timely fashion to defend our airfield. A pair of fishbeds are already getting airborne and heading for the rendezvous point.

Orbiting while waiting for the rest of my element to get airborne.

On our way to the battlefield. Some Fishbeds will enter the battle area from high altitude to engage their fighter escort. Others like myself will stay low and try to engage the strikers from below.

Passing by the airfield we’re supposed to protect. It’s good to know we’re on time. We rush out a little farther, hoping to engage as fair away from the airfield, as close to the mountains as possible. My friendlies are starting to report contacts and my RWR begins to light up, it’s time to flick on the radar.

Wow. I guess this is really happening then. I look up into the sky, to see if I can spot one. I do, I pitch up to go after him, I try to get a lock but I can’t, the contact is dropped from the scope. I have to make a split second decision. I flick the IR/SAR switch into the IR position, and toggle the weapon selector in the 3/4 position.

I settle in so I’m sure I won’t lose the lock and squeeze…

Splash! or? Inconclusive? I’m sure it was a hit but the striker seems to go on with no problems.

A second R-60M seals the deal though.

Left hanging on a chute as their plane goes down. I’m starting to scan for more gomers.

It doesn’t take long to find one. I get on his tail but I can’t get a lock.

Woah! I was giving chase and all of the sudden he gets hit by a missile and explodes. I look around, who took this shot? There was no raygun or fox call. Was this fratricide? Am I next?

Suddenly, I can see the smoke trail. It’s coming from… It’s coming from the ground! The base defenses took him out. Quite scary, they only have AAA and a few IR guided weapons. If something would have gone wrong they would have taken me out instead.

The fishbeds that were high up merged with the fighters long ago. And some of them are leaking through to reinforce their strikers. I look around for targets when suddenly…

That guy has my number! A fishbed is giving chase but I’d be long dead if I tried to rely on him. I immediatly jink away.

He ends up on my six. Lose sight, lose the fight, but I simply have no rearward visibility at all. I stay slightly evasive and try to use my TWR advantage to get away from that Tiger.

There he is! But he is lagging behind to much now to go for guns. It’s hard to say but he looks winchester in terms of stores. The friendlies ended up cleaning him up. There’s not many left now, only a few stragglers.

The last one kisses the dirt after being hit with a missile by someone else. It’s time to RTB.

Passing over the airfield we’re supposed to protect to inspect for damage. One of the warehouses has been destroyed. The runway is intact. Time to head home.

On my approach!

HOLY! Does number 15 not know that the wind blows from the east!?

Despite the near collision, everybody made it home safely.

But this is only the beginning…


Reposted from:

South America is well and truly behind us, and we have entered the Tomcat’s natural habitat: open ocean.

We radioed a (mostly) correct report back to the Peruvians with regards to their mystery jet, and are now on a more or less direct course for Easter Island which is some 1,800 nautical miles distant. As is now the the routine, the tanker is some miles ahead of us, on the same track.

Gibbo and I make small talk to pass the time. We’re both in agreement the F-4 is a studly aircraft, though we both think Klar should have grabbed an F-4J or S, then he could have tagged along with us. I ask Gibbs what the situation between he and tanker co-pilot is, and I swear I can feel the blush radiating off of him through three feet of avionics, an ejection seat, and my survival suit. He’s got it bad.

Eventually our mighty AWG finds the tanker, on course and sixty or so miles ahead of us. I climb to allow us a faster speed for less fuel spent so we can catch up, and we’re both eager to catch up for a few reasons.

Most glaringly is that without gas, we’ll obviously be in for an extended cruise of the South Pacific Ocean, I didn’t sign up for that. Gibbo wants to make flirty eyes with the tanker co-pilot, which I respect as annoying, but essentially valid. I however, through meticulous intelligence gathering techniques and the sneakiest of recon (i.e. overhearing tanker co-pilot tell Gibbs about it), have discovered that the tanker crew has amassed a collection of Milton Bradley’s finest board games.

I’m going to dominate these suckers at Trivial Pursuit.

Rejoin and tanking proceed as you’ve seen every time before. Compared to the nightmare murder house that was the Andes, refueling over the relatively peaceful Pacific (tautology!) Ocean is a sedate affair. The deed done, I set the plane in a loose formation off their right size and engage the autopilot. We’ve got 1400 miles to go, and I’ve got four ANG sucka’s to school board games.

#1200 Miles

Boom Operator: What is the name of the clock tower london
Me: Elizabeth Tower
Tanker Jock: It’s Big Ben, mook.
Boom Operator: It’s Elizabeth Tower, Pie Slice for you
Me: Big Ben is the clock, and who says mook anymore?

#1000 Miles

Tanker Jock: I’m telling you Batman would win!
Me: Are you insane? Superman can fly super sonic, has the ability to manipulate time, could destroy everything on the planet in like an hour and shoots freaking laser beams from his freaking eyes!
Tanker Jock: But he’s, at best, like moderately intelligent. Batman’s a genius! He’d be able to out plan Superman, lure him into a trap, and kill him with, like, a Kryptonite Batterang
Me: Which he has to throw at a man sized target moving fast enough to manipulate space time!
Tanker Jock: Can’t move that fast if you’re trapped in Kryptonite!
Me: And you couldn’t make a trap if your brain just got scrambled from space with a laser
Boom Operator: It’s moot! Both would never fight because they represent two sides of the same fascistic ideology of circumventing established rule of law, and creating a society ruled by marshal force and extra judiciary executions and punishment. Also the answer is clearly Iron Man
Tanker Jock, Me: Shut up!

#800 Miles

All: “You’re my Laaaaaaaday! pause Lady of the mooooo ooooooo rning!”

#600 Miles

Tanker Jock: How the hell am I supposed to know that?
Boom Operator: I didn’t write the card, sir.
Tanker Jock: I dunno, 1983
Boom Operator: Incorrect
Me: You think we invented the internet in 1983?
Tanker Jock: Damnit Sarah, why did you tell them we had this!
Tanker Co-Pilot: Because this is hilarious

#500 Miles

Me: So was that good for you?
Tanker Co-Pilot: Giggles
Tanker Jock: That joke’s older than my parents, and it was unfunny then too.
Me: But still effective
Gibbs: So immature

#300 Miles

Tanker Co-Pilot: So then we had to dodge out the back of this bar, and the owner was so mad!
Gibbs: Oh really? that’s so interesting!
Me: That’s it, hey Sarah, want to see Gibbs puke?
Gibbs, Tanker Co-Pilot: What?
Me: Hold my beer!

Me: [Maniacal Laughter]
Gibbs: You suck!

At 120 Miles, it’s time to say good by once more. I give the tanker driver a one fingered salute, then push the throttles all the way forward, rocketing away.

I weave my way through the clouds as I bust through the Mach. The feeling is immense.

Easter Island apparatus out of the haze, and I’m intent on giving the islanders a show they won’t soon forget. Then disaster strikes

Remember when I promised danger? Here is danger.

I’ve either exhausted the feed tanks with excessive use of afterburner at low level, or a ramp scheduling bug has given me a fan stall. The result is the same: simultaneous double engine failure. Fuuuuuuuuuudge

I’ve flown the A Model tomcat, so while this is excessively rare for the B, I’m well rehearsed with the engine restart procedure. However I can’t engage it until I drop below the mach. For now I’m flying the worlds heaviest supersonic glider as I pass over the southern point of Easter Island.

We decelerate sufficiently that I can unstow the engine ramp without fearing that aerodynamic forces will shred my engines. I Immediately start cranking the left engine. Time is a factor here, right now the jet is being powered by the windmilling fan blades, if they drop too low I’m going to be dead sticking a Tomcat, which isn’t a survivable prospect.

Engine one comes back to life, but engine two’s EGT rises into the red zone. I can’t restart it without risking an engine fire. I’m down to one engine for this landing. I roll right for an expedited landing at Isla de Pascua.

As I line up with the runway, I’m forced to throttle up the engine. The wide spacing between the engines on the F-14 causes huge yaw forces that I have to correct with full left rudder. I’m lucky the jet is light, otherwise this has a habit in ending in an aggravated flat spin.

Besides being a bit off laterally and very crab-y, the landing goes surprisingly well.

What are the odds there’s a General Electric sales man on this island? We might be stuck here for a bit pending inspection of my starboard engine. I expect the island’s bars to profit greatly, and it’s liqueur supply to suffer horrendously in the mean time.


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