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CTSW vs. F-14 Tomcat -- The Ultimate Dogfight!


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Well okay, not really.   :D


But I did get an opportunity on Saturday to fly to Huntsville, Alabama to meet up with fellow CTFlier Andy Foster and his wife Connie.  Andy is in the process of restoring an F-14 Tomcat for the US Space and Rocket Center.  In researching the airplane Andy found that he had actual mission time in the back seat of  that airframe, and got involved in returning the airplane to presentable shape after it sat in the blistering Alabama sun for years.


Andy kindly showed me around the Tomcat, let me crawl around it, and pointed out several features of the type I was unaware of.  It was very educational!  In the interest of "pics or it didn't really happen", I present:


Fresh VF-51 paint, it really looked great!




Maverick's Office:





Salesman Andy asked: "What do I have to do, to put you in a Tomcat today?"  Answer: "Just ask!"




Stupidly, I got so excited about the airplane I forgot to take pics of Andy and Connie!  Andy's in the white shirt, you can see bits of him in the pictures.  I'm confident we will meet up again and I'll get some pics of us together.


As for the flight, it's about 175 miles from my home field of WDR to Huntsville Executive, MDQ.  The flight was about 1:20 each way.  It was smooth going, but bumpy coming home in the afternoon so I climbed into smoother air at 7500ft.  I used flight following both ways.  


The only interesting feature of the flight was crossing the Tennessee River valley.  It was completely obscured by low level clouds/fog in a band right along the river.  No problem to cross since I could see the ground on either side, but interesting to see everything completely clear and just a narrow band of LIFR conditions.  I took some video and a couple of pictures of it:



It was a great, fun trip, and a chance to meet another CT owner!

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Andy, I can't tell you how much I loved getting to meet you and have you there.  Don't feel alone about not getting the shots; we ALSO forgot to get pictures of us together...the "CT Andy's"!!  Hope to see you again sometime soon and I'll remember to pull out my camera when we do.


If anyone would like more details about the project, you can go to our website at http://www.vf51tomcat.comor visit the project's Facebook page (VF-51 Tomcat Project).  Most of the work is done; we're just doing final touch-ups and getting the cockpits restored.  I committed to the project partially because the CT could shuffle me from Houston to Huntsville, AL and back.  It's a lot more tolerable to make a 6 hour flight (including one refueling stop) than a 12.5 hour drive!  So much for the CT just being a "puddle jumper"...


We did two legs out there; one from KLVJ to KMCB (McComb, MS) and then from there to KMDQ (Huntsville Executive).  Like you, we used 7500 feet for a smooth cool ride, at least from KMCB once the skies had cleared.  We were up and down due to CU buildups along the cost from KLVJ to KMCB.  After working on Saturday, we flew down to KTOI (Troy, AL) for a grand baby visit and then back home via KMCB on Sunday.

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