Flight Training - June 2015 - 40

populated area. Using what remained-and
there appeared little of it-I attempted to
connect a continuous line of doglegs from a
start point to a target.
The Air Force was seeking two separate
routes. The proposed parameters for
usage of 500 feet above ground level (agl)
and 420 knots were window dressing for
the real intended usage-which was 200foot, "on the deck" ops.
After eking out two separate corridors in reverse directions, the proposal
required an in-depth assessment of the
decibel levels emitted from the various
fighter-type aircraft that would be flying
the route, as well as the pollutants emitted
at the power levels necessary to sustain
the intended 420-knot airspeed. I leaned
heavily upon the engineers at WrightPatterson Air Force Base for the necessary
data to fill this square.
Next-a detailed written narrative
describing the area to be flown over was
required.
An in-depth description of the area could
be obtained only by flying over it. This was
a blank check to go survey the real estate
as necessary. Given an F-100D for this purpose and without a wingman, I was alone
and unarmed. The flight plan I filed gave
specifics to time en route and fuel aboard,
but routing as vague as "VFR (visual flight
rules), Upper Peninsula, Michigan." The
only semblance of official Air Force business was a planned refueling at K.I. Sawyer
Air Force Base (now Sawyer International
Airport in Marquette). In peacetime, flying
did not get any better than this.
It was a perfect day for sightseeing and
after passing over the thumb of Michigan,
I cancelled instrument flight rules with
Cleveland Center, and descended to basic
clearance over Lake Huron toward the
eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula. Time
and distance were critical at this point,
as navigation was solely by dead reckoning, and the first turn point on the route
was located just beside the U.S.-Canada
border. This was during the height of
the Cold War and in the days before the
magic of GPS navigation and movingmap displays. By pure chance, a Russian
freighter, trading with Canada, was steaming nearly parallel to my track and I more
40 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

THE CENTURY SERIES
The Century Series was a common
nickname for six production U.S. Air
Force fighter jets: the North American
F-100 Super Sabre, McDonnell F-101
Voodoo, Convair F-102 Delta Dagger,
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, Republic
F-105 Thunderchief, and Convair F-106
Delta Dart. The F-100 Super Sabre was
the first Air Force fighter capable of
supersonic speed in level flight.
Manufactured generally from the
mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, these
were considered the second generation of U.S. jet fighter technology and
represented significant advancements
in aerodynamics, electronics, and
engine design, as well as weapons systems. Swept wings were standard in
this era, and the delta wing was introduced. Most could maintain speeds
faster than Mach 1 in level flight. Some
models remained in service with the
Air Force Reserve and Air National
Guard into the 1970s and even 1980s.

or less passed beneath its starboard bridge
wing-to show the flag, of course.
Nearing the northern shore, I pulled up
to a respectable altitude and commenced
to fly contour while I thundered over the
pencil line that had been drawn on the
chart. Although it was considered early
spring in most parts of the United States,
here the area still appeared to be gripped
by winter, with a significant absence of
humanity-which was the sole reason for
me being here.
Finally it was time for the last and
most critical hurdle: a joint meeting with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
the Michigan Department of Natural

Resources. After initial brief pleasantries,
I was immediately questioned on my
knowledge of the Kirtland's warbler, a
small bird on the endangered species list
that seasonally commutes between Northern Michigan and the Bahamas. They
referred to the bird by its Latin name,
Setophaga Kirtlandii. They were greatly
concerned about the potential for creating
a stampeding effect upon wildlife by the
transit of a jet fighter at the proposed altitude and decibel noise level. I countered
that while initially startling to both man
and beast, it was extremely brief as an
event and similar to that of a thunderclap.
While sudden in occurrence, its duration
ceased as quickly as it was recognized.
A problem was immediately voiced
about the second leg of the route. A bald
eagles' nest was located within three miles
of the drawn centerline. Proceeding to the
map room, which reminded me of a high
school gymnasium, we walked over charts
of the U.P. in stocking feet. The nest was
readily located and graphically displayed
with various data depicted about it as if a
surface-to-air missile site.
"We had an active nest here last
summer," I was informed. "With three
eaglets!"
"Three eaglets?" I said. "How are you
aware of that?"
"Oh, we go out and count them every
year," was the casual response.
"Really?" I said. "Isn't that rather
dangerous-climbing up into the upper
branches of a tree and being attacked by a
mother eagle in the process?"
"Oh, no-we use a helicopter to count
them."
Here these people were having an issue
with the noise created by a jet aircraft a
mile or two distant from the nest, while
they were out hovering about the forest
canopy, counting beaks in a nest while
creating downdrafts of more than 80
knots in the process.
Having vented my spleen regarding
their means of accounting, I was near certain that the entire project would have to
be scrapped. Surprisingly, a month later,
DNR and Fish and Wildlife responded
neutrally, voicing no objection to the proposal. Before final submission to Air Force


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Flight Training - June 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - June 2015

Contents
Flight Training - June 2015 - Cover1
Flight Training - June 2015 - Cover2
Flight Training - June 2015 - Contents
Flight Training - June 2015 - 2
Flight Training - June 2015 - 3
Flight Training - June 2015 - 4
Flight Training - June 2015 - 5
Flight Training - June 2015 - 6
Flight Training - June 2015 - 7
Flight Training - June 2015 - 8
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Flight Training - June 2015 - Cover3
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