YANKEE AIR PIRATE 16 - Misty 31 Feet Wet - Part One
680413 Misty 31 Feet Wet
YANKEE AIR PIRATE - AAR"This is a three-part odyssey, new from Yankee Air Pirate, as these guys really push the envelope! No kidding, I spent hours printing and reading the new mission briefings, planning my flights and finding myself totally lost in the unfolding stories. How amazing it is to read the authentic account and then go and fly the story-line yourself."
13th April 1968 - 14:00
Making our way south along the coastline, it's a nice day, some scattered powder-puffs float past and the sea glitters a bright azure. The F-100F-15 two-seater is rock steady and my GIB (Guy-In-Back) is also quietly enjoying the view.
"Gunslinger at Waypoint two", the radio message is from a couple of Phantoms, which have caught up with us and are obviously snooping this part of the coast. Well, we happen to be the nearest FAC, so the hell with it, we roll over and scan the shoreline. This particular area, close to Quang Khe Ferry, is a hot-zone well known to us.
"Got a couple of guns in the tree-line ahead", GIB informs me,
"OK, where are the uglies?" I inquire, I'm busy lining up the Hun for the shot.
"Right with us boss"
"Good, let's smoke 'em!"
Now it should be noted that there is a way to attack guns, if you dive right at them, you are easy to track and will probably die. The trick is to approach obliquely, roll in at an angle and make yourself more difficult to track. We do precisely this, spotting the gun and tracking it past us to the side, then we roll in."Remember this, because looking at what YAP has in store for us there are likely to be many more gun-duels, so practice!"
Tracer boils up at us from the site, as we dive on them and continue to turn in, the pipper comes around. Sighting the source of the tracer, I give him a burst of Wily Pete and pull out, still pulling the turn, belatedly dropping the tanks and lighting the burners to help her along. The tracer flies past us, it's close, but they can't get a bead.
The two Phantoms flash past the left side of the canopy in perfect formation. I continue to pull around, climbing into the puff-balls and steadying her up, burner off, nice and smooth.
"Wanna watch the show?"
"Sure why not?" agrees GIB
The Phantoms hammer the spot and pull up with burners alight, beautiful. Job done, we drift north and I begin a smooth turn south (out over the sea) to resume course home.
"Whoop-dadada, whoop-dadada..." The eerie warble in our headphones signals disaster, we pull around searching for the doomed aircraft.
"One of the Phantoms?"
It's Gunslinger-Two, Gunslinger-One is now orbiting close to us. What the hell happened there? Then we see the smoke billowing blackly from the shoreline, the narrow, dense column indicating an airplane crash.
"Anybody see them eject?", we drop down and fly towards the crash site.
"There, in the water, red smoke", GIB has got both pilots spotted, I see them now in their individual survival rafts. I make a low pass and waggle my wings to reassure each man, help is at hand.
Suddenly tracer whizzes past the plexiglass, what? - I'm turning and burning by instinct as we scan the sea again. Damn I think they hit us there too! Sampans, these guys have discovered the plane wreckage and no doubt seen the pilot's locator-flares. They will both be captured or killed in minutes - Not on my watch! - Cranking it around again, we can clearly see the wake of the armed sampan as it moves towards one of the downed pilots.
Not only is the armed boat moving at some speed, those guys are really good shots and have already raked the side of our Hun while we were looking the other way, we are damn lucky not to be joining the downed pilots! Maybe it was the sampan that shot them down!
I spiral down and level it for the snap shot. The boat is moving fast so I have to straighten up - Bang! - That was almost fatal, as we hose the boat he gets another shot off too, one hit each. Our dive angle is steep though, and the shot accurate, the sampan explodes as our rounds find their ammo boxes.
She rumbles in the pull-out, I force myself to ease up on the controls until the rumble stops and the sea abruptly drops away from us again, "I got a wet ass there flyboy,"is GIB's laconic comment.
Gingerly, I test the controls while scanning the instruments, the caution light is on, hydraulic pressure is way up, roll-rate feels mushy and she pulls left. GIB cranes around to get a view of the wing and reports holes and half the port aileron missing, that was close!
"We still have another boat down there," GIB is the voice of doom, "A little fast job, three armed guys in it."
We roll in carefully and approach from the north at high speed, I give them everything we have left, Wily Pete, 20 Mike-Mike, we empty the lot into the unfortunate sampan, leaving a greasy stain on the water as we race southwards towards DaNang."Now we have got out of worse scrapes than this, and I faithfully promise any Yankee Air Pirate player reading this, that the damaged aircraft has to get back on the apron safely or it's no deal! The WoV damage model is actually very good, I have much experience with it. In common with a lot of sims, the 'HARD' flight-model actually makes the aircraft a lot easier to fly in all situations, but especially when damaged."
On egress I throttle back and hold her gently level while we assess our chances. The immediate danger with any damaged jet is a sudden explosion and break-up, we are ready to go in a New-York-second. The Hydraulic Pressure is nudging the red, loss of flight-control on approach will certainly kill us. The engine looks OK, we have less than 60 klicks to DaNang and if we take it steady, we will make it. So I watch the Hydraulic Pressure gauge and throttle right back to work the engine as little as possible. We slip over to DaNang on momentum and will-power, gently entering the descent curve and the point of no return.
"If you want to get out and walk home, now is the time", I advise GIB.
"No way you talentless wiener, I'm riding it in to make sure you don't screw up!"
I grease that turkey down and park on the dirt away from the hangars, just in case, "Everybody out!" - Wow, look at the holes in her! Sorry Commander Shelton, I just scratched up another of your beautiful airplanes! It wasn't all my fault, blame the Charlie Navy!"