Pilot's tale of landing a C=130 in Baghdad
Got this in an email so I can't vouch for authenticity but it's funny
Subject: Fw: C-130 Pilot's Description of Approach into Baghdad
There I was at six thousand feet over central Iraq , two hundred eighty
knots and we're dropping faster than Paris Hilton's panties. It's a typical
September evening in the Persian Gulf; hotter than a rectal thermometer and
I'm sweating like a priest at a Cub Scout meeting. But that's neither here
nor there. The night is moonless over Baghdad tonight, and blacker than a
Steven King novel. But its 2006, folks, and I'm sporting the latest in
night-combat technology - namely, hand-me-down night vision goggles (NVGs)
thrown out by the fighter boys.
Additionally, my 1962 Lockheed C-130E Hercules is equipped with an
obsolete, yet, semi-effective missile warning system (MWS). The MWS
conveniently makes a nice soothing tone in your headset just before the
missile explodes into your airplane. Who says you can't polish a turd?
At any rate, the NVGs are illuminating Baghdad International Airport like
the Las Vegas Strip during a Mike Tyson fight. These NVGs are the cat's
But I've digressed. The preferred method of approach tonight is the
random shallow. This tactical maneuver allows the pilot to ingress the
landing zone in an unpredictable manner, thus exploiting the supposedly
secured perimeter of the airfield in an attempt to avoid enemy
surface-to-air-missiles and small arms fire. Personally, I wouldn't bet my
pink ass on that theory but the approach is fun as hell and that's the real
reason we fly it. We get a visual on the runway at three miles out, drop
down to one thousand feet above the ground, still maintaining two hundred
eighty knots. Now the fun starts.
It's pilot appreciation time as I descend the mighty Herc to six hundred
feet and smoothly, yet very deliberately, yank into a sixty degree left bank
turning the aircraft ninety degrees offset from runway heading. As soon as
we roll out of the turn, I reverse turn to the right a full two hundred
seventy degrees in order to roll out aligned with the runway. Some
aeronautical genius coined this maneuver the "Ninety/Two-Seventy."
Chopping the power during the turn, I pull back on the yoke just to the
point my nether regions start to sag, bleeding off energy in order to
configure the pig for landing. "Flaps Fifty! Landing Gear Down!, Before
Landing Checklist!" I look over at the copilot and he's shaking like a cat
shitting on a sheet of ice. Looking further back at the navigator, and even
through the NVGs, I can clearly see the wet spot spreading around his
crotch. Finally, I glance at my steely eyed flight engineer. His eyebrows
rise in unison as a grin forms on his face. I can tell he's thinking the
same thing I am .... "Where do we find such fine young men?"
"Flaps One Hundred!" I bark at the shaking cat. Now it's all aim-point
and airspeed. Aviation 101, with the exception there are no lights, I'm on
NVGs, its Baghdad , and now tracers are starting to crisscross the black
sky. Naturally, and not at all surprisingly, I grease the Goodyear's on
brick-one of runway 33 left, bring the throttles to ground idle and then
force the props to full reverse pitch. Tonight, the sound of freedom is my
four Hamilton Standard propellers chewing through the thick, putrid, Baghdad
air. The huge, one hundred forty-thousand pound, lumbering whisper pig
comes to a lurching stop in less than two thousand feet. Let's see a Viper
We exit the runway to a welcoming committee of government issued Army
grunts. It's time to download their beans and bullets and letters from
their sweethearts, look for war booty, and of course, urinate on Saddam 's
home. Walking down the crew entry steps with my lowest-bidder, Beretta 92F,
9 millimeter strapped smartly to my side, look around and thank God, not
Allah, I'm an American and I'm on the winning team. Then I thank God I'm
not in the Army.
Knowing once again I've cheated death, I ask myself, "What in the hell am
I doing in this mess?" Is it Duty, Honor, and Country? You bet your ass.
Or could it possibly be for the glory, the swag, and not to mention, chicks
dig the Air Medal. There's probably some truth there too. But now is not
the time to derive the complexities of the superior, cerebral properties of
the human portion of the aviator-man-machine model. It is however, time to
get out of this hole. Hey copilot, how's 'bout the 'Before Starting Engines
God, I love this job! Semper Fidelis!
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