Bring the HEAT
XBradTC's thoughts… deep thoughts.
Thanks for everything, Lex.
An era in my life has passed. While I will maintain contact with some of the more prominent of the commentariat at Lex’s place, it’s over, alas. Bad things is that it, and I am convinced of this, it wasn’t Lex’s or his steed’s fault. Policy has taken the life of another man. A policy that insisted on maintaining a technology developed in the late 40s, early 50s, that has been long rendered obsolete by Instrument landing systems.
Fuzzy Bear and I asked Lex why he hadn’t brought his wife to the last meet up in July. Lex said she asked “Isn’t it just the people from your blog?” We reacted in a playfully negative way and said “you know you have to bring her next time, don’t you?” He smiled at us as we laughed about it. He paid the tab for everyone (I didn’t know this until I asked for my ticket. Flit cussed about it, even though he bought the first round). I looked forward to meeting Mary this summer.
Now, I’m dining on ashes with the normal grief and regret that goes along with such things. Anyone that has lived around military aviation much knows death follows hard after pilots. I knew of several pilots who died in operational accidents, but this is different, with a much larger impact.
Lex had a lot more left he could give, and the reservoir to accept from others was just as large and deep. A man may be judged by the quality of his enemies. But a better man is judged by the quality of his friends.
Farewell Lex. I hope you knew Christ and had a relationship with Him because I want to see you again. To experience life anew in Christ. To know you in a place where there are no more tears, no more pain, no more death. Life forever, and maybe you can teach me formation flying between our trips to the stars.
As he spent his life defending others, I believe there is no doubt whatsoever that Lex is in heaven. He followed Christ’s claim that we are indeed, our brother’s keeper. VX said on the Whisper thread that Mary hopes that the Lexians will keep posting on the site, so I shall honor her request, and drop by with an observation from the Badger’s Burrow once in awhile. I suppose that the Blog was something she knows he enjoyed, and if it keeps going, he is just that little bit still around, that that part of him will go on.
I’m still completely in shock over this. I didn’t always read over there, and only commented once or twice, but … jesus. I’m just … I still don’t even know what to say about it.
QM, that’s probably the best comment about Lex I’ve heard yet. If you measure a man by the friends he has and the impact he had on their lives, then Lex was one hell of a man. And those corporate, Air Force trained bastards at ATAC STILL don’t have an announcement on their website. Guess they don’t want to admit that one of their pilots got killed flying a piece of shit Kfir and getting the worlds worst GCA steer. Hope those boys in ATC can live with the knowledge that their terrible steer (the second that we know of) got a damn fine man killed.
And yes, I’m still mad about it. Cajuns keep a mad for a long time.
This Kraut will remain quite annoyed for some time as well.
Gentlemen, please, no speculation on what happened. There’s a reason accident investigations take so long- there’s a lot of things that could have gone wrong.
As for ATAC, while I was surprised that they haven’t posted an announcement, don’t forget, they’re pretty busy right now, and hurting as well. If you look at the bios of the leadership, just about all of them are former tactical pilots. It’s not like they treat their people as expendable.
Anger and frustration, I feel it too. But until we know…KNOW what happened, let’s let the system work. And concentrate on Mary and the children.
Byron, if you’d like to swap a few emails about this don’t hesitate to drop me a line or two at
mrgcoengr at hotmail dot com
That was my educated speculation over at Lex’s place, and I did not talk with anyone at Fallon on the matter. I have talked with several pilots who were active during the hey day of the GCA era, and era I thought was long passed.
We can take it off line and not clutter Brad’s place.
I’ve been very careful about my comments regarding the cause of the crash. I have NOT made any on Lex’s FB page because the family could (and according to Beth at the San Diego party, did) read what is said there. Still, I’ve been pissed since I found a comment at Lex’s blog by someone who talked to someone else at Fallon that Lex got a steer onto a taxi way. I’ve read enough about how much runway the Lawn Dart needed to undestand that unless we’re talking about a runway used by BUFFs, that Lex was screwed the second he could see enough out of the canopy; too slow to go around, not enough room to break and obviously not enough or not the right seat to punch out.
Guys,someone posted on Lex’s place that the Kifr supposedly had been retro-fitted w. a zero-zero seat, so I don’t understand why Lex didn’t punch out unless the seat malfunctioned (been known to happen–had a buddy of mine in F-4s have the seat go off as he was taxiing out onto the active at Holloman–squashed him like a bug as the canopy didn’t blow and there is no canopy breaker on the seat in an F-4 Also, initially the F-4 didn’t have a O/O seat and it took awhile to get them all modified–the C-model I flew in as a GIB at DaNang didn’t have one, while we got them in the D-model at RAF Woodbridge half-way thru my tour) But of course there is seemingly always the bird that hasn’t gotten the mod yet for one reason or another,Also, I didn’t notice when I looked at a small resolution photo, but on larger blow-up one can see that there is a grey obj. hanging down from the tall-cone indicating a partial deployment of the chute that hadn’t cleared the ac. I wonder if this was the same ac he had previously had the streamer in? Possibly a double whammy of maint & ATC screw-ups? But it IS best to wait. I had the “pleasure” of being on an accident investigation board when a bird from one of our sister squadrons in the UK went down at t.o on a super foggy winter Sunday morn at Furstenfeldbruck near Munich. There are ALWAYS surprises and/or mysteries, so best not to have pre-conceived notions. (Although forensic techniques today make ours back then look stone-age and the civilian side does a much better job with more experienced heads and better capabilities))
It is very easy to be angry and hurt, because we’ve all lost a friend in Lex. As we all know, he was no fool, he knew the risks and chose to fly. I’ve often wondered, in light of this tragedy, what would he post? I have read and even commented on his blog, years ago. This is just my opinion, I believe, Lex would challenge us to wait for the process. Lex had the unique ability to cuss you out and not use one bad word. But, when ever he criticized you, it was always constructive. I would suggest a question for your contemplation, “In this tragic situation, what would *Lex* write?
My biggest concern? That no one writes this off to “pilot error”. That would truly pop off my relief valve.
I’m convinced it wasn’t the pilot or the AC. I posted what i thought happened over at Lex’s place. I doubt I’m far wrong, if at all.
Byron and Quartermaster, I hope the investigation does not show “pilot error” or the aircraft. There would be a “follow–up question”, what physical evidence do you have that would prove your assertion? The absence of other possibilities does not automatically conclude that it was “pilot error”, you must prove your decision with concrete visible evidence.
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