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  1. In 1982, my USAF Test Pilot School class visited CV-61 USS Ranger as she was steaming down the California coast. The objective of the visit was to see how the 'other guys' do it. We were shuttled out to the boat in C-1 CODs, spent the night in forward quarters under the catapults - whoosh, bang, wirr continuing through much of the night for A-6Es doing their thing. In the morning, a briefing on carrier ops and then left to our own devices to watch VF-124 Tomcats do their Carrier Qualification exercise. After lunch, off to NAS North Island via CH-46 then a long drive back to Edwards. The deck was relatively empty, but watching the activity for recovering each jet and then marshaling it up to the cats for another go certainly gave one a certain respect for the choreography required to get this done without a misstep or mishap. Made me appreciate the opening scenes of "Top Gun" all the more - I thought the carrier deck sequences were one of the better aspects of the movie. And the Tomcats, great aircraft. My apologies for the lighting. I had asked if we couldn't steam northward to get better light from the Pri-Fly, but the crew would have none of it. Go figure. For those who track such things, MODEX and BuNo: 161771 NJ401 160692 NJ436 160693 NJ437 160911 NJ662 161144 NJ670 161165 NJ674 In 1987, I revisited USS Ranger. As part of my assignment at the Ministry of Defense. I was to be the carrier suitability expert, even though I was a USAF exchange officer. The thinking went something like this from my commanding Group Captain: We (the UK) don't operate carriers anymore, you (the US) operate carriers, so you are going to be our carrier suitability Subject Matter Expert. I went to point to my USAF badges, but our uniform-of-the-day was civilian business suit, so the gesture was kind of pointless. I arranged to get a carrier suitability indoctrination from some US Navy offices in Silver Spring Maryland and then off to Point Mugu to get some carrier ops orientation from VX-4 (operational test squadron). Got a couple of flights each in their F-14s and F-4s going out and back from Pt Mugu to Ranger. The reason for the west coast visit was that there was no carrier doing air ops off the east coast at the time. Unfortunately, my camera was in the shop, though I don't think the USN guys would have let me carry a camera anyway. Thanks for looking, Sven
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