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Thread: Panther91; A-29 Incentive Ride

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    Panther91; A-29 Incentive Ride

    On 28 June 2018 @ 0930L (local), 1330Z I got the opportunity to get an incentive ride in the back seat of an A-29 assigned to the 81st Fighter Squadron at Moody AFB. For those that don't know since approximately 2014 the 81st has been responsible for training Afghani and Lebanese A-29 pilots at Moody AFB, Georgia. Below is the after action report on the events leading up to and what occurred during the sortie.

    Wednesday 27 June 2018
    1230L (1430Z) I had to report to the 81st Fighter Squadron (FS) building Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) section to get fitted for my flightsuit, helmet, gloves, oxygen mask, and G-suit. After that I went through A-29 egress consisting of how to hook myself into the Martin-Baker MK10 ejections seat. As someone who has lost count how many A-10 and F-15 pilots I’ve assisted in strapping into the ACES II ejection seat the MK10 is a lot more complicated to strap into. The ACES II has a lap belt, two clips that attach to the survival kit and two parachute risers. The MK10 has two straps that you have to attach to your legs, a six point harness to hook up, and a strap that goes over your shoulder and connects to the survival kit. In the below image the ACES II from an A-10C is on the left and the MK10 as it’s configured for the A-29 is on the right.

    From there we went on to discuss what do to if I had to execute a ground emergency egress. The pilot would come over the intercom saying “egress, egress, egress.” That was my direction to get out of the aircraft as quickly as I could. Everything had a quick release but it sounded more difficult during the briefing but that was mostly because the training was the normal Air Force way aka death by PowerPoint. Now on to the “fun” part, what do to if we had to eject while in the air. This was especially important to me seeing as how an A-29 crashed last week while participating in the Light Attack Demo flyoff between the A-29 and T/A-6. One of the pilots didn’t survive the crash, although details aren’t available yet you can read on the subject at the following links:

    In the event that we would have to eject from the aircraft the pilot in the front would come over the intercom with “bailout, bailout, bailout.” The aircraft are currently set up so each pilot has to initate ejection themselves, the pilot providing me egress training didn’t go into details but stated that the automated sequence has “issues” and until that is corrected they always have it set to single. Because of that during the “bailout, bailout, bailout” call when I hear the second “bailout” I need to extend my legs so my knees don’t impact the center console, grab the ejection handle with my right (or dominate hand) and grab my right wrist with my left hand. This is to keep my left hand from flying uncontrolled during the ejection and to make my body as compact as possible for the ejection. He stated expect to pull about 14 g’s and you’ll likely pass out waking up wondering where you are.

    From there we discussed what to do if the parachute lines are tangled, if the chute didn’t fully deploy, and that even if deployed fully could steer the opposite direction that it could. And of course what to do if I couldn’t steer to a clearing and ended up tangled in power lines or trees. Lastly on we discussed how to land so hopefully I wouldn’t break a leg or hip. Thankfully I didn’t need to use any of the emergency egress, ground or in the air, training. I left the 81st for the day with everything I needed to be ready for the next day.

    Thursday 28 June 2018
    0645L (1045Z)
    reported to the 81st Fighter Squadron briefing to change into my flight suit and get ready for the morning briefings to start.

    0700L (1100Z) Crew Briefing; Fargo (my pilot) went over again what we would have to do if we had to conduct an emergency ground egress or eject while in the air. Additionally he asked if I felt anything was wrong with the jet or just didn’t feel right to tell him “knock it off,” tell him exactly what was wrong (like smoke in the cockpit, fuel leaking from the external tanks, or any fluid leaking from the wings, and of course the ever possible backseat pilot leaking (aka vomiting lol).

    0715L (1115Z) Coordination Briefing; Fargo, myself, our Wingman (an Afghani pilot in training) and his IP backseater met with the individuals who would be driving the truck acting as the convoy during the training sortie. The discussion was pretty basic.

    • What their Callsign would be (Packer 11)
    • What the primary radio frequency would be and what would happen if radio communication was lost.
    • How many vehicles they’d be operating
    • What type of vehicle and color they would be driving
    • How would the vehicle be marked. For this training event the vehicle would have a mirror to flash the aircraft as well as a bright orange flag draping the top of the truck initially.
    • What is the convoy’s game plan if they take fire. For this event they would attempt to “push through” aka drive as fast as they could through the fire. If required they would take a defensive position and defend themselves.
    • What threats are potentially in the area. For this event small arms and RPGs

    0730L (1130Z) Mass Briefing; all the pilots that were flying that day and their back seaters where applicable (to inlucde myself) were giving the mass briefing for the day. It basically covered the expected weather for the day, the EP (Emergency Procedure) for the day, and any NOTAMS for airfields in for Alabama, Georgia, and Northern Florida. The EP of the day was what I found the most interesting. The Top 3 (the pilot running the operations desk in the fighter squadron) asked one of the pilots in training what he would do if on takeoff, at just under 1000 feet AGL what are the bold face procedures. The pilot ran through the procedures and was corrected a few times. I like this and think I will start to do this for the A-10C in DCS world during 476th briefings prior to training sorties (or any sorties for that matter).
    0745L (1145Z) Flight Briefing; we then broke off into individual flights. For our 2-ship we were Panther 91 and Panther 92. Fargo first went over the Objectives of the training sortie. These objectives were to support the ground/convoy commander with:
    • 100% Convoy/Friendly situational awareness
    • 100% target identification
    • 100% valid weapons delivery
    • 100% contract adherence

    We then went on to discussion of the planned flight plan and convoy route and the general plan for lead (cover for the convoy) and #2 (recce of the route).

    Convoy Route and Flight Plan

    Fargo then moved to discuss the mission data card (MDC). The main items he briefed were the main and auxiliary (in flight) frequencies and the general flight plan. One of the training objectives was to have #2 create the flight plan manually instead of using his data transfer cartridge (DTC). The MDC was very generic, the version we use in the 476 vFG contains a lot of additional data that when I asked Fargo after the flight they would include on the second page as hand written notes most of the time.

    MDC for Panther91

    The last part of the Flight briefing covered the general plan for the sortie. He briefed we would depart Moody via Tucano visual departure and fly directly to waypoint 9 (objective 1) and that lead would fly cover while #2 conducted recon on the convoys objective. In the below image these items are covered in “RECCE OBJ1.” Fargo described two types or orbits that could be used. The first is offset the waypoint using a racetrack pattern so if someone on the ground was watching they wouldn’t know for sure if the were being observed. The second was a box pattern with the waypoint in the center, although a valid tactic Fargo suggested not using this because it highlights where the aircraft is looking. He then described two types of search patterns using binoculars. Once being circular, starting in the center and moving away. The other, and the way he prefers to do it because he feels it’s easier to keep track of where you stopped when you have to make your turns. He also said “autopilot” use it when in the straight parts of the orbit. But he repeated multiple times to verify verify verify the autopilot was on before going back to searching. When I have more time I’ll draw out the two types of binocular search patterns he described and post in this thread.

    Once #2 had completed the recce of objective one they were to delay to #1 what they saw (vehicles, large groups of people, buildings, etc) giving references (color, numbers, etc) so lead could relay to the convoy.

    The rest of the briefing went over the remaining items in the below image. One thing I found interesting was the pear pattern Fargo described when flying cover for the convoy. It basically allowed him the opportunity to remain in a position to tip in and attack quickly if the convoy took fire from the enemy. He drew that out and you can see that in the below image as well.

    Briefing room dry erase board

    0820L (1220Z) we then went to the Ops Desk to get the latest weather information, the location of the aircraft we were flying, and what the active runway was.

    0830L (1230Z) Then of to AFE to put on our g-suit and get our equipment ready to head to the aircraft.

    0845L (1145Z) We walked out of the 81st building and walked to our aircraft. When we got out there one of the crew chiefs (the A-29s are maintained by contractors) was a prior active duty guy I deployed with two years ago. Smitty worked fuel systems when he was active duty, told me he use to give us shit strapping in pilots and now he’s doing that as a civilian. Got a good laugh out of that. A handful of guys I deployed with retired from active duty and work for that contractor now.

    I climbed up the side of the aircraft and into the back seat, with Smitty’s help validating I hooked up everything correctly I strapped myself into the MK10 ejection seat, put on my helmet and gloves, and waited for Fargo to finish his dash 1 walk around inspection. Once he was done Fargo got in, strapped himself in and we did an intercom check to make sure we could both hear each other good and adjust the volume if needed. He then asked if my arms were clear and when I said yes he shut the canopy.

    Now ready to start up he called Moody ground, not asking for clearance to start up but just checking in. Once they acknowledge and validated the latest ATIS letter Fargo started the aircraft. It was relatively smooth with only a slight vibration once the engine was up to idle RPM. I’m use to a launch that takes an average of 30 minutes on A-10s with all the items we verify are working (you can see an example of that process on my twitch channel at Basically, a quick cycling of the flight controls Fargo directed the crew chief to pull chalks. Radio checks with #2 accomplished and then directed the chief he was clear to disconnect. We raised our hands so we couldn’t move any flight controls and they disconnected. Another radio call to Moody ground for clearance to taxi to runway 18R and we were on the move. One thing that is different than how we do it in the virtual 476th was he didn’t request taxi to the end of runway location but that he would hold short of runway 18R. The tower came back and gave him permission to taxi to 18R via Hotel, Golf. He throttled up, brake checked then we proceeded. As soon as both 1 and 2 were taxing on taxiway hotel Fargo initiated the swing check. For those that don’t know that is going through each waypoint to verify the information is the same for both aircraft (although slight variation in distance is acceptable since obviously both aren’t at the same exact spot).

    We pulled into EOR and the EOR crew pulled the safety pins. We weren’t carrying any live munitions, just two external fuel tanks so EOR was very quick. Fargo then contacted Moody tower requesting permission to take runway 18R for the Tucano visual departure. Tower approved and we proceeded to accomplish 20 second interval rolling takeoffs.

    Panther92 rejoining after takeoff

    Grand Bay Range, you can’t see in the picture but from my perspective I was watching A-10’s doing high altitude gun runs

    Overflying Moody AFB

    Center Console

    More to come, I have to pack for my vacation. I’ll post the flight details when I return home on the 9th of July.

  2. The Following 13 Users Say Thank You to Snoopy For This Useful Post:

    Baxter (30Jun18), Black (30Jun18), Bummer (30Jun18), Dojo (30Jun18), Emmy (30Jun18), Entropy (10Jul18), Hansolo (09Jul18), Hiccup (30Jun18), Kimi (01Jul18), Lynx (11Jul18), Neck (01Sep18), Panther (30Jun18), Vitormoura (30Jun18)

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    Junior Member Vitormoura's Avatar
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    Great stuff Snoopy!

    Looking at the cockpit pics, I can see that insane fuel flow of 90 kg/h! That's 200 pounds of fuel per hour (65% NG), the TF34 consumes 550 lbs/h at idle!

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Vitormoura For This Useful Post:

    Snoopy (10Jul18)

  7. #5
    Excellent writeup! Thanks for sharing!

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Emmy For This Useful Post:

    Snoopy (10Jul18)

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    Member Entropy's Avatar
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    WOW!!! Thanks so much for the detailed write-up!!!

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to Entropy For This Useful Post:

    Snoopy (10Jul18)

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