Saying Goodbye to the Hornet - My F/A-18 FINI Flight ExplainedMay 05, 2020
They say the two worst days in a fighter pilot's career are the day you get on the plane knowing it's your last
flightand the day you get on the plane not knowing it's your last
flight. Hello Edward Ron. I have to say
goodbyeto you. I have to fire you bing boom boom you're fired Do you know what you just said? I can't remember what I want a close endpoint to be, but just one more in today's video. just going back to the archives i'm going to uh take my finney flight video and uh narrate it just tell you some of what was going on uh what was going on if you remember from my earlier video of how i flew fighters in the navy in the air force i was flying uh f-18 adversary vfa 204 in new orleans from 2012 to 2016 i was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease in 2015 and even though i was transferring to the air force uh the air force transfer was not going well i mean the medical side of this i got nami a waiver to fly back in the f-18 and i thought ok i'll stay because air force transfer you know they weren't too happy with kidney disease either and didn't know if they were going to give it up so that you know i fought to stay and basically the navy said the staff side said you're not deployable the uh uh nami the aviation side said it was full so i had to fly all the way to the end of the fiscal year and you ve got to go find another job so this was uh basically the end of that fight so the last day of the fiscal year i got my flight finney knowing you know i'll never fly the f-18 again and at that point i didnt think i was going to fly anything again you know the transfer was delayed like it was huh and obviously it took two years um i just didnt know it was going to happen so it was an emotional day and a bittersweet day because you know it was a flight awesome got to go out do close air support which is one of my favorite missions and they do basic combat maneuvers so I'll talk about that here as we go so without further ado let's get into the video so my last flight was at the end of September 2016.
We reported it. i got dressed i won't miss the navy gear that harness is totally different than air force air force you don't have to step on anything not that you don't know you don't have to be a contortionist to get in and out they have clips so you hold on and remove the leg straps. I don't know, just one thing I won't miss, also the equipment you don't wear. it's actually on the seat so little things i won't miss from the navy but a thin blue line patch something i wore for my last flight i actually gave it to one of the guys in the squadron coming out of the PR shop and in to maintenance where I met my wingmen they signed the plane in for the last time everyone knew and then we drove to the live l cargo area the kayla uh where the actual flight uh the plane was for the flight uh leaving to the plane to walk get the salute he shows hey all the pins are out of the plane you know the gear pins and all that stuff and then turn around uh in my hand is the brick which is a little magnetic tape cartridge that maintenance uses to download it store all the maintenance information and then pre-fly the bombs these are brand 83 bombs uh thousand pound live bombs that we are going to the shooting range called red leg is out of fort polk, which is west of alexandria, and then, uh, turning around just one last time to see the
hornetbefore, uh, before it was all over, alvin calendar field info really one three five five weather zulu wind tree one zero at six visibility six haze a few clouds at a thousand a few clouds at two five thousand temperature two six started up uh he closed the canopy and then asked for permission uh with the calendar alvin and what he was doing there was the i , so that's the computer that checks the flight controls so we got our taxi out of which you can't see here which I wish we had everyone lined up uh and everyone uh waved uh everyone all the maintainers out there what I mean, it was really hard not to choke, some taxi tears, so we went by taxi after all the check-ins and stuff that was just my normal check-in, based, nothing special, just kind of a taxi. we were running short and had to wait for the F-15s to come back so we actually sat for a long time before they finally cleared us into position and then we were cleared to take off with some F-15s runway four calm wind clear for Takeoff changes, departure traffic seven eastbound, proceeding to initial flight of three F-15s, so Jack just gives me the go-ahead uh I check his plane I give him the go-ahead run it and salute and turn on the afterburner and that's it uh we got the unrestricted climb at uh 16,000 feet and someone was kind enough to get a video of the last take off good thing about the
hornetwith the take off trim you don't really have to turn it it just flies off the runway uh we talked about that in our other video but you know it's very easy you know flying a plane is very nice but it's still the last flight so you know you built up some speed incl use with the bombs in the targeting pod and then uh you went up there unrestricted or what would you do with limited The act got heavier and went west over the city just Jack joined me and we headed into the airspace where we We checked in with the black cat.
There will be a long communication here. for uh you know we're doing close air support so we're simulating we're supporting the guys on the ground uh that we're kind of in a combat situation so you'll see all the control in all the things they have to be written and then we go into what is called a wheel which is a left orbit around the target black cat a river one one 20 minutes at the river one one station ap flair capable of clear edge copy all 22 miles to the east clear situation updates ready for updates from grip home zero three seven eight so that's a lot of information being passed back and forth.
I tell him what I am capable of doing. He tells me what the current situation is and then he gives me a goal and then a talk about uh. the wheel uh this is a roll-in for a uh a live pass where we're doing a 30 degree dive bomb river that sound is the altitude alert i set up so it's a roll-in to make sure that we're in the right place wire what's called uh drop the bomb uh protect the plane so hold the arm as you walk away which is a safe escape maneuver so we're out of the pattern of fragmentation and then as you can see that's what it looks like so uh from there uh simple jack dropped his bombs or
sayingyou know from leeds hits go you k now it's basically a shack and then they asked us to do the which is called a show of force, which is a really cool thing, it's kind of a law enforcement trivia concept, so if you have issues with whatever it is indigenous forces or whatever and you don't necessarily want to become kinetics, they don't want to drop bombs, but they want the bad guys to know that, hey, we're up there, you know, like fighters and we're ready to drop bombs if necessary. or shoot the gun or whatever we can do what's called a show of force and what you know is a low pass really fast loud noise you know to put their heads down you know kind of uh put the fear of god in them uh before things start to escalate so it's a lot of fun to do it as a pilot you know but it's really cool I think it's a cool concept yeah so I checked with them they say ok good job the mission It was successful and then, uh, we went out.
We did a quick battle damage check uh between the two of us and then set up for our Dogfighting so based on our setup we're a little heavy, a little short so it's not exactly the best ideal setup but it was a beam setup, so we start with the chest line and then fight each other. I know as if turning fights into some kind of deal. This is a high looking bfm right now. communications, but it's de
finitely fun, you know, I mean it's not like we would do it when we're perfectly clean in a bfm setup without a targeting pod and all, but you still know the f18 was a very maneuverable plane, huh?
No? I don't have to get a lot of g's to be good and then, you know it was just one last hurrah, fight, you know, so I've got a shot here, well, you know a quick missile shot as we go, I don't. i guess i'll never go into a guns west or anything but i get a couple of missile shots or mock missile shots um but you can tell low energy here because the leading edge flaps and then the vapors come out of the leading edge extensions obviously we slow to cover there and we'll call remove it here in a second once we remove it just Jack rejoins me uh like I talked about in the other video uh very standard he'll go in, i'll give him the signal, that's the battle damage check signal, uh, he'll go high. look at the top of my plane make sure he doesn't know by pulling the g panels there is nothing out of place nothing is falling out of the plane and then he will go under the plane he will cross back under it make sure there are no panels open nothing's wrong with the plane uh you know there's no damage or anything you know we missed and then once you've completed that you know as we're trucking towards the airspace exit home you'll give me the all clear okay and I'll pass the track to him and I I'll do a battle damage check on his plane and it's th Same go high look at the top of his plane and then when you cross below you know you're looking to make sure that there are no panels, nothing like that, everything is fine and then checking the top and then coming home, you know that this is the point. where you start to realize this is it you know this is the last time I fly the plane would you know I'm very active with the sheriff department reserve and you know I used to go back and fly over the sheriff's office in ya you know 1v0 or whatever just to let them know you knew i was flying and this was the last time actually right below that is the law enforcement center so i did a uh you know it ain't low you know it's legal it's 1500 feet but um you know fly and then fly down the causeway uh on the north shore of st tammany parish which is where you know i live and work or volunteer at the office from the sheriff and then we crouch 500 feet uh above the water uh flying down the causeway uh vfr talking about new orleans approach you know it's all completely legal and just one last time you know i mean it's, it's one of those things that you are trying to enjoy the moment, but you are also giving yourself Realize you know I'll never do this again so we ordered the city tour which is a loop through downtown New Orleans in the French Quarter so you know go to the superdome fly over the bridge that connects the city or the central business district to the west bank and then go around and then go straight back to the airport, but it was kind of difficult, I mean, you know I didn't want to let it go because I was flying a fourth generation fighter in my city you know i went to tulane i went to uh you know i lived in new orleans originally i was hired by a10 unit new orleans you know it's my city you know i was a saints fan you know i was um it's really hard put that aside because It really was the perfect setup for me and you know the fact that I didn't work out was a bit disappointing but at the time I didn't think I would fly again you know I thought this was it you know I didn't have a lot of faith in the transfer air force nance because it wasn't going well and you know I was looking at the writing on the wall so luckily it all worked out but yeah it was kind of a hard hard hard back you know seeing it last , but from there we fly straight to initial for overhead and we're going to make the section jump for the carrier break here initial report they had a chopper over the runway no big deal it was gone by the time we got there uh simple jacks there hanging in uh flying formation and now we're coming in for carrier rest that's down to 800 feet and yeah I won't say the speed but we're de
finitely not uh not going slow but uh unlike the air force where you know you'll give them the tone and it's three five seconds or whatever er the section breaks yeah I hosed him down here with the wing motion unfolding but the section breaks you see the hand signal he's coming with me you know , so it is I turned he turns with me so instead of driving straight and waiting and then turning we both turn at the same time and he takes his space just letting go of the g pull downwind so I turn downwind and, uh, I request the touch and I go, uh, for the pattern and then just Jack, um, will request the uh.
Full stop and that gives my friends who would be coming to see me, you know, it's time to head out, maybe they'll notice a pattern or two, uh, as he comes to a complete stop and gets out of the way, you know? It's good that you dohere. so i do the bunt and go after uh simple jack uh doing the final point and then i pull up the gear and actually go out and go back in because i wanted to do another carrier break just one more and i had planned to go up initially and then it comes to a complete stop, but well so on here they are going to ask me my intentions and at first I said yes period and I said yes just one more just hello so yeah that's just the radar altimeter uh since I'm getting closer with the gear up but um yeah that closed last time turned around and came to a complete stop actually it was one of my better landings i mean it was a pretty decent landing the hornet was always always on you know that I wasn't one of the guys that made the carrier landing every time I tried to turn it on and it was very with the planning link and stuff, it was very easy for a plane to land, it wasn't very difficult to have a really smooth landing, that was it, you know, I looked. more i could see my friends hanging out and waiting for me and that chapter of my life was over i appreciate everything after doing the post flight checks and all that stuff you go uh back to the ramp they check you for heat break uh and disarm and then they uh you know final greeting t Hey, and it's all a little surreal at this point.
I can see my friends there hanging out. I can see where my park is. You did not know. but uh it's just a beautiful day to fly not a cloud in the sky and a beautiful day to finish my hornet run so taxi i let out a deep breath knowing uh it was over and i turned off both engines and hoped that one day I would fly again and get lucky and after that the fun starts you get hosed down it's a tradition on your Fenney flight you get hosed down with fire bottles or fire trucks or whatever's around and stuff it's what you might have seen in some other videos it was my fto at the sheriff's office and um the ball head guy is uh i gave him an incentive ride in the f-18 that's also if you watch the flight videos that they're there and it just knocks you down and you say congratulations hug it hug it tight i hope you liked it h this episode of money with the engine uh it's a bittersweet moment but i didn't know i could eventually come back and fly like i saw in my t-38 video that he's back and you know he's back I'm happy to report that it will happen again and I'm going back to the t-38 that wasn't one of those examples yeah I kid you about the two times you get on the plane and you know I've had two Fenney flights now one in the f- 16 one in the f-18 and you know it's hard but it's always better than some of my friends like you've seen in the commemorative video you know they walked up to the plane not knowing it was their last flight you know they were killed in action or you know that it could be a medical problem i mean there could be times where your fenny flies you just don't know what's going on and all of a sudden you're never going to fly again so i was very lucky to have the opportunity to get that flight so of anyway that's it for this episode of money's with move next week talk about the five things i love about being an airline pilot so i'll switch it up a bit thanks for watching and i'll see you guys next time.
If you have any copyright issue, please Contact