|Squadron 80's home at RHV airport.
For the aircrew, the idea was to conduct several different visual search patterns, and to enable the MS-Ts to practice their search techniques in each. The weather had other plans and threw in some challenges on both Saturday and Sunday!
|General briefing from the "briefers" perspective.
|General briefing from the "brief-ees" perspective.
|Maj Brown, having just flown one of the aircraft from LVK.
|Maj Ironfield (L), Lt Hollerbach (2d L), Lt Col Luneau (2d R) and Capt Heldt (R), talking about the weather...
waiting for the cell to clear out before launching.
|Waiting for that dark grey thing on the left to pass.
During that same time, we heard that the ground team, which was out overnight on Saturday, was being sleeted on. That might have been good training for them, but it did mean that the aircraft assigned to practice air-to-ground communications was unable to fly in that search area.
|SM Vazquez Gonzalez ready for her first sortie!
|They had the right idea: Lt Pierce (L) and Lt Col Luneau (R)
(no longer Maj, despite what his safety vest says).
Sunday’s weather looked better, and everyone was excited about the possibilities. Two sorties later, I concluded we definitely had fewer clouds and rain to deal with but still challenging conditions. By the afternoon, everyone was relieved at the continued improvement and clearing and figured the flights home would be a lot easier.
|Proof that we really did fly this weekend!
|Yep, low ceilings.
While landing, we were treated to a gorgeous double rainbow! Moments after we refueled and put the plane in the hangar, the rain and microburst began. Shortly thereafter we heard it had been hailing in the hills nearby. I was very happy to be warm, dry and safe in the hangar by that time.
The trainees did great – as did everyone organizing the SAREX. Many thanks to Incident Commander Lt Col Luneau, and his team for all their hard work!
Participating from Squadron 188 were:
|SM Towns is ready to go flying.
- Maj Ironfield – Planning Section Chief
- Maj Brown – Air Operations Branch Director
- 1st Lt Hollerbach – Mission Pilot
- 2d Lt Roudnev - Mission Radio Operator
- 2d Lt Sharma – Mission Observer Trainee
- SM Vazquez Gonazalez – MS-T
- SM Binninger – MS-T
- SM Ferland – MS-T
- SM Folger – MS-T
- SM Towns – MS-T
- SM Mello – MS-T
|SM Vazquez Gonzalez and Lt Hollerbach back at OAK. The second (outer) rainbow had faded,
but the inner one was still largely visible. Photo by SM Binninger.