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Leg 42 KLGA La Guardia to GCLP Gran Canaria

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Leg 42: KLGA La Guardian to GCLP Gran Canarias

The last couple of legs I have flown have had a strange feeling about them.  I think that this is because there seemed to be a lot going on behind the scenes.

There was the gun battle at Panama City which I was kept isolated from, and then there was the entire Royal Navy ships thing, which I am beginning to think was a diversion to keep me away from other things closer to my expected route. Something was distinctly fishy, and I wanted to know what was going on.  Questions put to Jasmine and Clive were met with a quick dismissal with an accusation that I was getting paranoid and that there was nothing to get worried about.

There was some feedback from Panama though. It seemed that Putinfeld was actually there to direct his men and had narrowly escaped capture or worse. He was becoming bolder and perhaps more desperate. This news had been extracted from prisoners taken at panama when they were “processed” deep in the bowels of Vauxhall Cross House. Also extracted was news that Putinfeld was not actually the top man of the organisation he works with. He merely ran the procurements section of a larger organisation which we had known nothing of before.

This news was alarming enough.  How could a huge organisation such as this escape detection by any security service in the world?

What did we learn about this organisation?  Well, not much really except for its existence, its name and a very small amount about its leader.

The organisation was called Temperance. This was an acronym for the wordy:

Terror Extortion Murder Prostitution Embezzlement Robbery Arson and Narcotics Crime Executive.

MI6 investigations discovered that they were registered as a charity called ‘Temperance ’ in the Cayman Islands and are purported to come to the aid the of prostitutes, drug addicts and alcoholics across the globe. In fact this aim brings them into contact with vulnerable people that they can recruit into their criminal ranks or can exploit in their wide ranging prostitution and drug smuggling operations.

The directors of Temperance are innocent do-gooders who have been duped into believing that they are running a genuine charity. The real head of the organisation is a shadowy figure known only as ‘The Geography Teacher’ and is hard to pin down. There are few photos of him, below is the best there is.

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The Geography Teacher

And this is an earlier photo when he was caught in background of a Japanese tourist’s photo.  He is thought to be conspiring with a high ranking IRA leader:

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He is known to have connections with the IRA, several Arab terror groups including Isis, (he was a supporter of both Arafat and Bin Laden), some African extremists and with many criminal groups such as the Sicilian Mafia, Russian and Serbian criminal gangs, Central American narcotics gangs and many far eastern criminal organisations such as the Triads, and the Yakuza.

Rather bizarrely he is said to be both a teetotal and a vegetarian, completely in line with his organisations front, but totally at odds with its real objectives.

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 Temperance “Helping the vulnerable to achieve new goals”

Note: Whose goals that are being achieved are not stated in their by-line. In reality it is the Geography Teacher’s criminal goals that are being achieved. The only release from his slavery is the grave.

Such was the state of things as I headed to New York for a leg that would see a large step in the direction of home.

Getting to the big apple from Uruapan to anywhere wasn’t easy.  First I took 12:43 Volaris flight to LA International, and then after a two and a half hour wait, I caught the 16:45 flight out of LA International to JFK.  I arrived at JFK at 1:16 and on time, but by the time I had cleared customs and immigration it was almost 3am. What is it with US immigration personal? Do they go to “how to be miserable” classes?  I think they must do. The Russians have sent people to “how to smile” classes for the world cup, so it’s not impossible.

After that it was into New York City and to an expensive hotel just for the luxury. Sorry Joe but the last few places have been at best okay and at worst a prison cell, and now I needed a hotel with a laundry and a room with a big extravagant bathroom. I took a suit at the Four Seasons Hotel at 57 East 57th Street Manhattan and presented the Mutley’s credit card for the bill.

Oh God was it good.

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Four Seasons Hotel

This is where I am supposed to say that after a couple of weeks I was getting fed up with lounging around doing nothing, and longing for my next leg to start.   Well if you think that is true then you would be stark raving mad! And so it was with mixed emotions that after answering a knock on the door at an unsocial hour in the morning I was bought back to the real world and reunited with Jasmine and therefore with trouble.

‘We will be with Chuck soon get dressed.’ She said pushing me back into the room.

 I staggered over to the window to draw back the curtains and to let the light of morning stream in. There was no light.  It was still dark.  I looked at my watch, 03:30 AM.  I must have my watch on back to front. I didn’t. ‘What the hell time do you call this Jasmine?  Are you insane? … No don’t answer that, you are insane, I am going back to bed!’

‘Oh no you’re not, sunshine’ she said ‘you are coming with me. Your aircraft awaits’

‘Sunshine?  Sunshine? The whole point is that there is no sunshine for another three or four hours! What do you think you are doing?’

‘We”, she said for emphasis, ‘We have a long journey ahead of us, and we are due to take off just before first light and we have work to do before then. So pull your finger out and get your stuff together’.

I extracted said digit and quickly packed the few things I had as was ready to go in five minutes. It took five more to check out with the Mutley card and we set off to the airport. Only we weren’t.

We crossed the river into New Jersey headed away towards the airport and but stopped in Union St. at the 109th Precinct, that’s the 109th nick in English, and went inside. Jasmine spoke quickly to the desk sergeant, who then made a call, and after which asked us to wait. He made a second call as we sat down, and then we waited. After a few minutes a handcuffed, and rather sheepish Chuck appeared with another officer and was bought out into the public space. Chuck was then uncuffed and then given back a bunch of confiscated stuff, one of which was the baton, and made to sign for them.

'You’re free to go' the desk sergeant grumbled. Outside we relieved Chuck of the Baton and after some profound thanking directed at us, we went our separate ways. Isn’t amazing what a UK spook can do?

We drove to the airport and when we arrived we went airside through a gate in the peripheral fence lit by a single street light.  Thus we avoided all the faff in the terminal. There was a perfunctory check on our passports, a quick dig around in my backpack and that was it, we were through.

The car took us up to the terminal parking, and there she was, a Tornado GR1, fuel tanks under wing and under fuselage, a BOZ-EC Countermeasures Pod, a Sky Shadow ECM pod and a couple of AIM-9Ls mounted to boot. Not much of a punch, AA only, but a good range and plenty of protection. In fact just about everything you could get with the Sky Shadow and the BOZ mounted. Missile warning, radar jamming, 360 cocktail flares and chaff, towed decoy and the kitchen sink between them.  

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Transportation has been arranged.

Flight panning had been carried out by Jasmine already and so after a twenty minute briefing we were ready to go, with her in the back seat. The flight was to be direct, a distance of some 2950 miles, beyond the ferry range of the aircraft.  In theory this would mean only one in-flight refuelling, but as we were crossing the Atlantic, and therefore couldn’t afford to miss that mid-air meet, we opted for two top-ups, roughly one third and two thirds along our route. This way, should we miss one rendezvous, it wouldn’t be compromising our fuel status. There would be a further two tanker aircraft available as ‘spares’ should one of the tankers become unserviceable or some such other fuel emergency occur.

To this end, the RAF has stationed two tanker aircraft in Gibraltar, and the USAF were making two tankers available at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, north of New York.

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Flight plans of the tanker aircraft and our own.

The two tankers were to run ‘race track’ flights along our route, we would have two large windows to refuel in. Jasmine entered the flight plan from the back seat while I settled in and started on the check lists.

We were to take off at 05:00, just before dawn, and with a flight time of about seven hours, perhaps a bit more with the refuelling, our ETA was about 17:00 Local time because of the time difference. Jet lag wouldn’t be a problem as we would be compressing twelve flying hours into just a net five clock hours.

Jasmine and I set about our respective checklists and were soon ready for push back.

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Ready for pushback

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Taxi from the Pilot’s perspective

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Taxi from the Navigator’s perspective

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Awaiting clearance

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Take off

At a little after five AM we were accelerating down the runway, afterburners lighting up the runway as we left the ground and climbed quickly to our cruising height of 40,000 ft.

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Climb

Later we would dip down to 17,000 ft to refuel, but for now 40,000ft and a settled cruise was our aim.

We didn’t expect any issues, the aircraft had just had a major overhaul and was on top line. Never the less, Jasmine set up all of our threat detection systems as routine and continued to monitor them as we cruised.

Every so often Jasmine call out a course correction and occasionally she would report a contact but it was always some airliner below us and no threat. We cruised on, the sun rising as dawn matured into day.

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Cruise

A few hours into the cruise it was time to start looking for fuel. There was nothing on the radar at first, but a half an hour later a blip appeared and Jasmine confirmed that it’s IFF confirmed it was friendly military. A quick radio exchange determined that it was indeed our tanker.

We descended to 17,000 ft to approach the tanker from above, when the aircraft was in visual range we slowly dropped to 100ft below the tanker. We moved to 50ft below the tanker when close up, inching up until the probe was in the basket and there was just enough forward pressure to see the hose bend slightly.

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Tanker approach from the cockpit

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Tanker approach

The fuel started to flow and I concentrated keeping the dock in place.  The last thing I wanted to do was make a tit of myself by losing contact or worse still snapping off the basket.  The latter would be a disaster as we not only would we be forced to stop the refuel but the broken basket would lodge firmly over the probe.  This would put an end to our flight as we wouldn’t be able to get enough fuel to fill our tanks, and we wouldn’t be able to refuel again until we had landed and removed the basket. We would have to turn back.  The Boss would not be pleased by the baton’s delay, but he would go apoplectic at the cost of the failed flight which would no doubt find its way onto the credit card.

Leg42-16

Refuelling.

Refuelling successfully over we were full as a cow in calf. We climbed back to 40,000 ft and settled into the cruise again.  There were less aircraft for Jasmine to report as we were now in mid-Atlantic with nothing to see but sea. I set up the auto-pilot and settled in for the long haul.

Fast forward to the next part of the flight that wasn’t a game of eye-spy where everything spied began with ‘S’ and was either sky or sea.  We approached the next tanker racetrack area, again without any such aircraft in sight.  Like the last tanker, it was probably at the eastern end of its track. We had been using our external tanks and still had some juice left in them, although not a lot. Our internal tanks were still full and we could make our landfall in the Canaries without a refuel if we needed to, with a safety margin included.

We cruised on but still with no sign of the tanker. Our radar screen was blank. It was still blank as its range probed over the eastern end of the planned track. Where was the RAF?

Jasmine asked the same question of me, like I knew!  Just then the radio crackled into life. It was the tanker. Jasmine spent two or three minutes on the radio to them and then came through to me. ‘My calculations say we can make to Grand Canaries on the fuel we have, do you agree?’ I agreed that we could. Jasmine went back to her conversation with the tanker.

After the conversation she spoke to me. ‘We have a problem.’ This was not good. ‘The tanker was intercepted by a Mig 23 and warned off, they had returned to base.  However the reserve was now in the air and would be available in about two hours. The bad news was that the Mig had long range tanks and could be loitering’.

Ok, this was not good at all. My guess is that Putinfeldt was back on our case. As if she had read my mind, Jasmine spoke up again. ‘That’s not all. The tanker crew got to see who the pilot was. When the Mig closed with them the pilot moved in really close and deliberately removed his mask.  It was Putinfeld himself. The guys in the tanker think he wanted everyone to understand it was him and that makes me think he is coming after us himself’.

‘I think it sounds like you might be on the money there. I guess it is a case if you want a job doing well then…….’

‘…..Do it yourself’ jasmine chimed in.

We were at 40,000 ft and still in the cruise, five minutes later the last few pounds of available fuel in the external tanks were used up and I switched to the internal tanks. Given the potential threat from Putinfeldt, between us we decided to be as ready as we could for any action. So with this in mind I dropped the empty tanks and immediately felt the reduction in drag.

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Tanks Gone

We had two AIM-9L all aspect sidewinders to attack with. Only two shots. Fortunately defence was robust with both the Sky Shadow and the Boz to defend ourselves. No gun ammo, and most of the stores weight and mount points were taken up by the drop tanks. Thank god Jasmine had insisted on the Sidewinders. Oh for a F3 now instead of this GR1 mud mover!

Puttinfeldt couldn’t have a full load of ordinance as he too would have to have drop tanks to intercept us this far out in the Atlantic, but he would have more offensive weaponry as he would be fitted out for an intercept and not a cruise. Cautiously we cruised on south-south eastwards towards our destination.

Only five minutes passed when Jasmine’ voice interrupted my thoughts. ‘Threat at two o’clock low, ten miles and closing fast. We are being painted by a targeting radar, it’s a Russian AA2 Atoll. It’s a heat seeker and not all aspect so he won’t fire until he gets behind us.’

Immediately we both switch to and concentrated on our combat roles. She tracked the target and readied the countermeasures; I armed and set up the missiles. Then from Jasmine; strain in her voice, ‘Missile incoming, dead ahead pull-up ….NOW!’ I yanked the stick back, my blood rushing to my feet, my G-Suit fighting back, breathing hard, two thuds, flares and chaff being launched by Jasmine, and a missile passing under us desperate to catch a flare and not a Tornado. A close one, but a mistake to fire a heat seeker head on, this guy was an amateur as far as mixing it up air to air.

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A head-on attack using a heat-seeking missile is easily foiled with flares.

Jasmine: ‘He is still coming at us the fool, turn to port … NOW,  Stick to the left and backwards, more Gs, struggling to breath, the Mig flashes past, our turn brings him in front of us Jasmine’s call timed perfectly, a great view of his jet pipe. The growl of the sidewinder, a sound I hadn’t consciously heard until now, changed to a piercing tone, ‘Fox two!’** I shouted. The missile streaked away greedy for the Migs heat, flares were fired, and the deceived missile spun earthward. I hung on to the Mig’s arse for all I was worth, only too aware that I had wasted half of the weaponry I had. The second missile was screaming at me now, desperate to make friends with the Mig. “Fox two!” I pressed the tit to let it off the leash and prayed it would do its work. This time Putinfeld fired off flares again, but had left it too late. There was a wink of light in front of me as the missiles proximity fuse detonated the warhead, smoke haemorrhaged from the Mig for a full second, and then a ball of flame expanded and collapsed into smoke and flaming debris where the aircraft had been.

**

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Splash one Mig

‘Target contact lost’ piped up Jasmine, cool as a cucumber.  

‘Splash one Mig’ I replied. ‘Any more contacts?’ I asked of Jasmine.

‘None’ she replied. I levelled the aircraft, and asked for a course to our destination. It was given and I flew the aircraft onto the course. We had lost five thousand feet during the combat which had lasted but three minutes. I climbed the ship back up to 40,000 feet and resumed the cruise to Grand Canaria as the sweat dried on me.

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Back in the cruise

It was then that I could relax a bit and think about what had happened. It dawned on me that there had been no ejection, no sign of a rocked powered seat hurling from the burning Mig, indeed no time for that to happen between the missile detonation and the fire ball. Putinfeld was dead. Putinfeld was dead! He was actually dead! It was over, he was gone.

I shook my head to clear away these thoughts and checked our fuel.  Despite the combat which would have been thirsty work I calculated we still had enough fuel to get to our destination. Jasmine concurred, and was on the radio to let our controller know what had happened, and our fuel state.  The second tanker refuel had always been a ‘nice to have’ option in any event, but we were told that it would still be available up to 100 nautical miles from Canaries.

The remainder of the flight was unremarkable and we were relieved to start our final approach without further incident. I slowed the aircraft down, the wings moving forward by degree as we lost airspeed until we were on short finals with the wings fully configured for landing.

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Jasmine’s first view of the Canaries.

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Approach

We touched down, and when all three wheels were on the black stuff I engaged reverse thrust, heard the ‘buckets’ swing forward and the aircraft slowed dramatically.

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Reverse thrust

After a short taxi to the parking slot reserved for us I shut the engine down. I grabbed the baton from it secure place and exited the plane. We were met by a replacement crew and a bunch of RAF ground personnel who set about reading the aircraft for its onward journey to the UK. They all seemed keen to see the empty pylons, knowing we had been in combat by the missing tanks and missile, but not knowing anything else about it.  The rumours would be running rife this evening.

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On stand

I was approached by a somewhat quizzical flight sergeant. ‘Hello sir, I was given to understand you were carrying four drop tanks and two missiles. Am I wrong sir?’

Jasmine interjected showing her ID. ‘Sergeant, the drop tanks were dropped and we used the missiles.  That is all you need to know’

‘Very good Ma’am’, He saluted, turned on a heel and marched back to the aircraft.

We wandered into the airport and were guided to a debrief room. Clive was waiting for us. He said just one word. ‘Well?’

Jasmine described the events of the flight, after which Clive said a single sentence. ‘Good, that never happened, ok?’ That sentence held authority.

It was fine by us. I had always thought that Clive was just Jasmine’s colleague or even a subordinate. Just goes to show nothing in the dark world they inhabited was what it seemed.  Clive was definitely Jasmines boss. I think. He must be. That must be it. Maybe. 

After a pause he carried on talking. ‘Putinfeld is dead.  The Royal Navy fished enough bits of him to enable a DNA test. It was definitely him piloting the aircraft and he didn’t eject.

If you think it’s all over you are sadly wrong. We have managed to get a mole into temperance. He is only a lowly foot soldier but he passes on what he can, when he can.  The word is that Putinfeld made too many mistakes. Temperance gave him one last chance, a kind of trial by ordeal if you like. He was to take you on in a dog fight.  If he won then he lived, if not, well let’s just say the ejection seat was probably disabled.’

Jasmine and I looked at each other. I opened my mouth first. ‘Does that mean that it wasn’t just personal with Putinfeld?

‘Yup, Temperance has punished Putinfeld and still has a score to settle with you two.’

We were still screwed. I would never be able to get life insurance again.

‘Now piss off and find Jess with blue thing of yours.’ Clive stood up and left.’

 

Flown using P3D v4.3 and Just Flights Tornado GR1 (Probably the best addon in the world).

Edited by J G

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Oh wow, that was a terrifying flight JG.

I wont shed a tear for Putinfeld, but if he was only the toe rag, who's the toe?

Superb PIREP as always JG, very imaginative. I've had the bank on the phone again and indeed, you DID have a good time at that hotel :fool:

 

EDIT: BTW, I always knew Corbyn was a Ruskie puppet, I am sure he had a hand in this.

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Good stuff JG, :good:  a shame that Mig had to fly into the water to put those flames out. :yahoo:

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On 30/07/2018 at 19:32, mutley said:

I wont shed a tear for Putinfeld, but if he was only the toe rag, who's the toe?

:thumbup:

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Oh what a fantastic PIREP JG, I think you should be writing, and following in the footsteps of Len Deighton, David Baldacci, or my personal favourite, Tom Clancy! Once again, you have brought me to the edge of my seat, and twisted a perfectly crafted yarn..  I can now breathe again!

 

Thankfully Putenfeld is no longer, although they do say that those that come before are nowhere as harsh as those that follow... I hate to think what has been unleashed with Temperance..

 

'Sharon' is getting another makeover.. jeez this is expensive! [Joe, can i charge some to the MH Card pretty please?]  and i'm having to rethink the usual movements around the globe.

 

A point to the wise... travelling with the same company may be a hindrance..

 

 

Be well

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Superb tale JG. I agree that you better be secretly working on a novel sir...terrific fun read.

I honestly was most impressed that you managed to plug a refuel probe into a tanker hose. Mad Skillzzzz.

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