Check, Please!

     Today was my instrument/qual checkride.  The tactical portion was pretty simple; our task would be to play two of a three-ship of Red Air for Quattro’s IPUG Force Protection ride.  He was dragging an MQT student, and so was his IP of record.  They didn’t want anything crazy anyway.  We got up really early in the AM, briefed up the sortie through a busy morning, launched into the partly-cloudy blue sky, and rallied up in the special-use airspace to start what would be a quick commit to a simulated death by AIM-120 from Blue Air.

     After the presentation, Lt Col T and I flew to back to Misawa’s HI-TACAN initial approach fix, Shoju.  I didn’t intend to stop for any holding, and was punished with two turns.  After holding, we commenced the approach and asked for vectors to the opposite direction runway for a PAR.  We finished the TACAN approach, climbed out to the southwest, and held for a couple minutes.  Meanwhile, about eight other flights showed up to beat up the pattern, and approach told us to plan to hold for 15 minutes while they brought everyone else home on runway 28 before we could shoot the approach to runway 10.  Having only 15 minutes of fuel all told, we knocked off the PAR attempt and went straight to high key to shoot a simulated flameout approach.  We got punished with two more turns in holding at high key, and I was about to knock it off and just go back to land when Spidey showed up at East IP and offered to hold for us while we shot the SFO.  The SFO worked like a champ, and I called for a closed pattern to a full stop, with the chase aircraft to re-enter at East IP.  Naturally since it was a checkride the landing couldn’t go completely smooth; I flared high and dropped it in, but at least I landed in the first 1,000′ of the runway!

     Today was a pit-n-go day, so I would theoretically get another chance to shoot the PAR to runway 10.  As it happened, we lined up for takeoff on runway 28, and after we got cleared for takeoff, the JASDF controllers decided to swap over to runway 10, so we decided to go straight out to the area since we’d be certain to get the PAR on the way home.  But wait! Not so fast. . . Lt Col T got an EQUIP HOT light in his jet.  He turned everything off and went back to base immediately, burned down to a landable weight, and put his jet on the deck.  After finishing chasing him, I shot another two SFOs and a couple VFR patterns, then called it a day. 

     But wait, there’s more! Since we have a set of advanced simulators at Misawa, we’re allowed to shoot our instrument approaches to update currency and they can be evaluated for checkride purposes.  So Lt Col T and I drove over to the sims, I hopped in, the sim crew set me up just northeast of Hachinohe, and I flew the ILS to runway 25 at the city just south of Misawa. 

     After that, we really were done. Done for one more year, until the next instrument/qual checkride comes up!

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