It is good to be Jim

Yesterday, Joan and I flew to Chicago. Today, our nephew Jim will marry Jenna.* As the family says, “It is good to be Jim.”

Jim is a pilot in the Air Force. He went into the Air Force in peculiar way. While attending college thinking he would follow his Dad and Mom into medicine (his father is head of Gastroenterology at UNMC and his mother is an oncology nurse at UNMC who works with patients in clinical trials for breast cancer), Jim decided to take up flying lessons. He got his license and was hooked. After graduating with stellar grades in tough courses (he was National Merit scholar), he applied through a special program to become an Air Force pilot. He was accepted, and his career literally went airborne.

After extraordinarily extensive training, he started off flying about the biggest plane the Air Force flew and he (probably) did that over Afghanistan–he could never say. Here is a photo of the KC-10 Extender he flew:

In addition to refueling other planes, this things carries up to 70 passengers and cargo.

In addition to refueling planes (including other tankers), this thing carries up to 70 passengers and cargo at the same time.

Jim quickly became a “first seater” and moved up the ranks. And then a hard but wonderful assignment followed when he was selected as the executive officer (or something like that) to a commander.

Jim had the opportunity to pick his next assignment (sorta).  He picked one of the smallest planes the Air Force flies. In the business world, that is called a Gulfstream III-IV. The Air Force uses that plane to ferry high-ranking officials all over the world. Here is a photo of a similar plane:

This plane is in official "livery" service.  Some carry no markings.

This photo shows a plane like Jim’s in official “livery” service. Some carry no markings.

After the couple takes their honeymoon, Jim and Jenna will head to the East coast. Jim will be schooled on a souped-up version of his present plane. It is “ultra-long range”–carrying up to 16 people in standard seating configurations, and able to fly up to 12,000 km.  According to Wikipedia, it

is capable of cruising at 51,000 feet (16,000 m). Features include enhanced weather radar, autopilot and head-up display for the pilot. Safety features include Enhanced Vision Systems that allows increased visibility in adverse environments. The aircraft is also equipped with commercial and military communications equipment to provide secure voice and data capability. The U.S. Air Force equips the C-37A with a basic crew of two pilots, one flight engineer, one communications systems operator, and one flight attendant.

After several weeks of training, the couple will head back to Jim’s duty station overseas. It is in a lovely part of the world. Truly, it is “good to be Jim.”

Not Jim's plane.  Biplane in Lincoln, NE airport.  The airport is old. Also, because the runways are very long since the airport trained bomber pilots in WWII, "Looking Glass," (the "doomsday" 747), flies from SAC in Omaha to Lincoln to practice touch and goes. That is awesome to watch from our building downtown.

Not Jim’s plane. Biplane in Lincoln, NE airport. The airport is old. Also, because the runways are very long as bomber pilots were trained there in WWII, “Looking Glass” (the “doomsday” 747) flies from SAC in Omaha to Lincoln to practice “touch and goes.” That is awesome to watch from our building downtown.


*Jenna is smart, independent and never salutes Jim. Among many other things, I like that about her.

3 responses

  1. Good for Jim on a number of fronts.

    “Looking Glass” (the “doomsday” 747) flies from SAC in Omaha to Lincoln to practice “touch and goes.” That is awesome to watch from our building downtown.

    As an aside, another impressive sight, one you’ll likely not be able to see in Lincoln, as the technology has moved on, is a MITO, one of which I had the opportunity to see at KI Sawyer AFB on the UP. A Minimum Interval Takeoff is an exercise in flushing an airfield, or launching everything that’s flyable because the Russians are inbound and it’s needful to get everything that can out of the nuclear blast radius for survivability and future use.

    Of course the exercise is expensive, and not a little dangerous–that minimum interval gets quite small–so it wasn’t done very often. Anyway, on this occasion, the Base decided to do a combined MITO with its entire complement of KC-135s and B-52s. It was very impressive watching the KCs go first, with their water-injected engines (to increase take-off thrust) spewing steam out the back (and all that implies for runway visibility), followed by the B-52s, with the smoke spewing out of every one of each BUF’s eight engines (because that was the quality of the technology in those days), with the KCs turning hard left as they broke ground (and after they had Established A Positive Rate Of Climb), and the lead BUF standing on its right wing (almost literally) to break hard right while just breaking ground as it threatened to overrun the last KC on their takeoff rolls.

    It would have been exciting to be the Pilot in Command of that lead BUF. Maybe it’s good that Jim never had to fly those things.

    Eric Hines

  2. Pingback: Free Exercise–Holy Family, the Kyrgyz cab driver and Haifa « Hercules and the umpire.

%d bloggers like this: