Lt. Colonel Kurt Tek
My readers and fly boys will be thrilled to see who is guest posting with Retrokimmer today... Kurt Tek, younger brother of my good friend Deniz Tek...
Kurt is stationed in Abu Dhabi the capital and second largest city in the United Arab Emirates. He is an F-16E instructor pilot over there. I asked him to guest write for us and he graciously responded...this is his first submission with more to come...OUTSTANDING!
KURT TEK: Mission: delivering two F-16A’s from the boneyard at Davis Monthan AFB AZ to Turkey for refurbishment, then eventual transfer to the Jordanian AF. These jets were ROUGH- 4G limit on the airframe and 400 knot speed limit because they were so badly cracked internally
Notice how the tail ID’s have been spray painted over, gang-style! Anyway, we stop in the Azores at Lajes AB and have to wait two weeks to get an engine anomaly fixed on my jet.
Doesn’t happen, and Christmas is upon us, so they send us back to the States and say be back about 10 January and we should have it fixed by then. They had to defuel the jets for the long parking wait so they wouldn’t split on the ramp! Not much confidence…
Finally we get back and press on to Turkey. I get a VFR (good weather) forecast for Ankara, which is important, as fuel planning is impacted by whether or not you have to carry reserves for diverts. We take our last gas off the tanker and are on our own.
Weather still looks good, but lots of snow on the ground in Turkey. As we approach Ankara (~130 miles south) I can see a wall of cloud that appears to be just beyond our destination. As we get closer, it becomes obvious the AB we’re going to is in the shit. I radio for an observation and its 200’ ceiling and less than a mile vis.
We aren’t legal to even do the instrument approach, if we had a current one with us, which we don’t because all they could provide us was a ten year out of date one. Better than nothing- at least the mountains don’t move. We are at the point where we need to start our descent and we’re above the cloud cover which is about 10,000’ but with mountain peaks sticking up through the clouds all over, so we have to be damn sure of our position.
I tell my wingman that I’ll go in first, and he can get a separate clearance. He then confesses that his instrument approach copies are in MY jet! WTF!!
Okay, get 2 miles behind me and get a radar lock, and you’ll be following me down. So we get vectors from a Turkish controller through the mountains, and I’m cross-checking the approach I have, and it seems to be correct relative to the controller’s instructions. Thankfully, my wingy’s jet maintains it’s radar lock on me so he’s safe.
I break out of the wx (weather) and land on a blowing snow covered runway with no gas left to go anywhere else, shut down, get out and damn near kiss the ground. Smoked and drank heavily that night! KT