28 June 2007

Here is the full list of Combat Wombats; MC-130W Combat Spear

Here you go, you have asked for it and I provide.

These are the C-130s that will make up the MC-130W Combat Wombat (damn it, I mean Combat Spear...I do seriously)list.

87-9284 (c/n 5125)(from the 357th AS, Maxwell AFB AFRC)

87-9286 (c/n 5127) (from the 357th AS, Maxwell AFB AFRC)(here is this baby in Kandahar, Afghanistan)

87-9288 (c/n 5129) (from the 96th AS, Minneapolis-St. Paul IAP, MN AFRC)

88-1301 (c/n 5162)(from the 130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1302 (c/n 5163)(From the 130th AS, WV ANG)
no photo

88-1303 (c/n 5164) (From the 130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1304 (c/n 5165) (130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1305 (c/n 5166) (130th AS, WV ANG) Taken while in Poland

88-1306 (c/n 5167)(130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1307 (c/n 5168)(130th AS, WV ANG)

88-1308 (c/n 5169)(130th AS, WV ANG)

89-1051 (c/n 5198)(from the 155th AS, Tennessee ANG)

90-1057 (c/n 5240)(from the 204th AS, Hawaii ANG)
(no photo)

27 June 2007

RIP Maj. Gregory D. Young

Godspeed Grumpy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - An Oregon Air National Guard pilot who died when his F-15A crashed into the Pacific Ocean was in training that included mock dogfighting with Marine Corps Reserve warplanes, military officials said Wednesday.

He was identified as Maj. Gregory D. Young, 34, of St. Helens, Ore., the Guard said.

The remains were found Tuesday evening nearly 40 miles west of Cannon Beach, on the northern end of the Oregon coast, Guard officials said. The F-15 was destroyed on impact when it went down about five hours earlier, they said.

Air National Guard officials praised fast action by the Coast Guard, saying its helicopters were on the scene in about 30 minutes.

They said the announcement that the remains had been recovered was delayed until Wednesday morning at the request of the family.

Guard officials at a press conference Wednesday would not speculate on what happened and offered few details about such conditions as the altitude of the fighters.

The single-seat F15A is among the older of the F-15 series and is being phased out in favor of a longer-range F15C model. There also is an F-15B, which is a two-seater.

The age of the plane that crashed Tuesday was not immediately available.

"He was a very talented young man with many years of dedicated service to the protection of the freedoms we enjoy today," said Col. Steven Gregg, commander of the 142nd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard stationed in Portland.

Gregg said the ocean was from 700 to 1,700 feet deep at the crash site, but some parts could wash ashore. He urged people who find what might be parts of the jet not to touch them and to contact authorities because the carbon fiber used in its construction can be harmful if mishandled.

The training exercise pitted four F-15s from the Oregon Guard against a like number of F/A-18s from a Marine Corps Reserve unit stationed near Fort Worth, Texas.

It was designed to sharpen fighting skills by giving the pilots experience in flying against a different kind of aircraft, Guard officials said. The training was preparation for an August exercise at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, Guard officials said.

Air National Guard spokeswoman Maj. Misti Mazzia said Young had about 700 hours of flying time in F-15s and more than 1,000 hours in other military aircraft, but had not been on a combat tour.

He had previously been stationed in Texas and Idaho and joined the 142nd in Portland in March 2006.

She said the F-15s commonly train at speeds of around 400 mph but can reach 1,000 mph if they have to.

A fellow pilot reported to searchers from the Coast Guard that no parachute was seen. The Coast Guard sent helicopters, cutters and a C-130 aircraft, and said it had found a debris field.

"The nature of flying combat fighter aircraft is one that implies operating on a razor's edge," said Brig. Gen. Dan O'Hollaren, commander of the Oregon Air National Guard. "Because the 142nd Fighter Wing has performed so magnificently for so long in all arenas, we may be lulled into a sense that all of this is routine and mundane. Yesterday's event confirms that it is not."

Skies were mostly clear with some high clouds when the accident occurred about 1:35 p.m.

The Guard said an Air Force Safety Board would investigate the crash. O'Hollaren pledged that it would "leave no unanswered question on the table."

Mazzia said the fighter wing has suspended F-15 flights for the rest of the week so that the unit can grieve and focus on the investigation. Most of the unit's more than 30 pilots are commercial airline pilots, she said.

Flags drooped at half-staff on the base Wednesday. A memorial service will be set later.

She said it was the first time the wing had lost an F-15, which it started flying in 1989.

She said the wing lost an F-4 that same year and had lost F-101s but did not know when.

Oregon State University spokesman Todd Simmons said Young graduated in 1996 with a degree in civil engineering and a minor in aerospace studies.

In 1996 he was a cadet in OSU's Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps and was one of 46 picked to take part in a 55-week Euro-NATO joint jet pilot training program.

Quote of the week (27 June 07)

"Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable."

-- General George Patton Jr

26 June 2007

Well, that didn't last too long... DC-10 Water Taker "SUPERTANKER" Grounded

DC-10 a near casualty of fire
Media News
Article Last Updated: 06/25/2007 10:45:20 PM PDT

The new, largely experimental supertanker, a wide-body jetliner converted to an aerial firefighting aircraft and placed on call for the state this year by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, almost crashed Monday evening fighting a blaze in Kern County. The California Department of Forestry said the DC-10 was grounded after the mishap and cannot assist in the blazes currently ravaging California until completion of an investigation.

The tanker encountered severe turbulence while operating on the White Fire, causing the aircraft to descend and strike the top of several trees. The flight crew was able to fly out of the turbulence and safely return to their base at Victorville. There were no injuries to the flight crew or anyone on the ground.

- Media News
Supertanker grounded

09:35 AM PDT on Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A firefighting supertanker jumbo jet has been grounded at its Victorville hub while fire officials investigate what caused the plane to make an emergency landing Monday night.
The DC-10 airtanker used by the state firefighting agency, Cal Fire, was forced to return to Victorville about 5:20 p.m. Monday after it struck the top of several trees while fighting the White forest fire in Kern County, according to a statement by Cal Fire.
The plane, which carries 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant, struck severe turbulence near Bison Peak south of Tehachapi, but was able to apply power and fly to the Victorville airport.

A modified DC-10 prepares to drop fire retardant on a wildfire near Idyllwild in 2006. The airtanker has been grounded after it struck the top of several trees while fighting the White forest fire Monday in Kern County, according to a statement by Cal Fire.

An investigation crew will conduct a complete structural overview of the plane this morning in Victorville as part of the incident investigation, according to the statement. The plane will remain grounded and out of service until the investigation is complete.
- John Asbury

25 June 2007

-=WINGS=- C-130 Hercules... Watch this if you love the Herk

If you love the Herk, you have to see this!
I remember seeing this footage (I think it was way before the Wings channel was even on Cable)a while ago. It seams like every school related to the C-130 in the USAF plays this at least once while you attend :) I look back and am so proud of the plane...and proud that it was the only on I was truly assigned to while I was in the service.

22 June 2007

IRAN can't mess with Oz, or their Navy

I have spent a lot of time in Australia and I have to say (Heaven forbid) if I ever had to leave the US the only other place I would go is Australia. The people have the same kind of spirit as we do and I dig it.

From square one, I was disgusted with how the British acted while they were in capture. I would not be able to live with myself if I was one of them. They only fueled Ahmadinejad's flame. Its seams they had no fight, no spine, no soul.

Thank God for the Aussies!!

Iran 'unable to take Australians'
By Frank Gardner
BBC News security correspondent

Iranian naval forces in the Gulf tried to capture an Australian Navy boarding team but were vigorously repelled, the BBC has learned.

The incident took place before Iran successfully seized 15 British sailors and Marines in March.

The lessons from the earlier attempt do not appear to have been applied in time by British maritime patrols.

The 15 Britons were searching a cargo boat in the Gulf when they were captured over a boundary dispute.

'Having none of it'

When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt.

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it".

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.

The circumstances for the Britons in March were slightly different in that they were caught so much by surprise that, had they attempted to repel the Iranians with their limited firepower, they would doubtless have taken very heavy casualties.

But military sources say that what is of concern is that the Royal Navy did not appear to have taken sufficient account of the lessons of the Australian encounter.

In an oblique reference to the threat from Iran, Britain's First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, has recently admitted there was a need for greater strategic awareness in the northern Gulf.

20 June 2007

Hey Rosie, watch this shit.... you cow.

One of the things that have pissed me off almost as much as the terrorist themselves has been the hate America crowd from within. The people who believe that the white house and pentagon were behind the mass killings of 9/11 should be in gitmo as well if I had my way.

Hey Rosie, Do you still think that fuel can't melt steel? Even after the tanker truck destroyed that bridge in San Francisco?

Purdue Press Release

June 12, 2007
Purdue creates scientifically based animation of 9/11 attack

Although most Americans believe they know what brought down the World Trade Center twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, civil engineers are still seeking answers to questions that could save lives in the future.

Structural engineers need to know from a scientific perspective what happened to the buildings during the terrorist attacks in order to prevent future failures. The search for answers continues with the help of a state-of-the-art animated visualization created by researchers at Purdue University.

Christoph Hoffmann, a professor of computer science and director of Purdue's Rosen Center for Advanced Computing, a division of Information Technology at Purdue, says the animation reveals more information than could be conveyed through a scientific simulation alone.

"Scientific simulations restrict us to showing the things
Disintegrating fuselage of plane after impact that are absolutely essential to the engineer," Hoffmann says. "This gives us a simulation that doesn't deliver much visual information to a layperson. Our animation takes that scientific model and adds back the visual information required to make it a more effective communication tool."

The scientific simulation, the completion of which was announced last September, required several test runs before the researchers were satisfied; the final test run required more than 80 hours of high-performance computing. The simulation depicts how a plane tore through several stories of the World Trade Center north tower within a half-second and found that the weight of the fuel acted like a flash flood of flaming liquid, knocking out essential structural columns within the building and removing fireproofing insulation from other support structures. The simulation used lines and dots to show the aircraft and building during the event.

To develop the new animated visualization, Voicu Popescu, an assistant professor of computer science, developed a translator application that creates a link between computer simulations and computer visualization systems to automatically translate simulation data into a 3-D animation scene.

"This translator is scalable and can be used in other simulations," Popescu says.

The animation (122 MB) can be seen online at http://www.cs.purdue.edu/cgvlab/papers/

A faster-loading version (9 MB) of the video can be found at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/mov/2007/HoffmannWTC.mov

In the animation, elements that were not part of the scientific simulation, such as flames and smoke, are clearly rendered, although the visualization does not show the subsequent effects of the fire.

Even though details were added in this animation, Popescu says the visualization was intentionally kept "non-descript" so that they would not be exploitive of the horrific attack.

"For example, on the airplane there are no airline insignia or windows," Popescu says.

Still, Popescu says the visualization has a realism never seen before.

"The crashes and computer models you often see on television are not scientifically accurate," he says. "This provides an alternative that is useful to the nonexpert but is also scientifically accurate, so it provides a more realistic picture of the event."

The visualization begins with a Google Earth map of lower Manhattan as it appeared on Sept. 11, 2001. The video then shows the damage caused by the aircraft as it hit the north tower, follows the disintegrating plane through the interior, and then shows the airplane metal, ignited fuel, dust and smoke exiting the building on the opposite side.

The simulation found that the airplane's metal skin peeled away shortly after impact and shows how the titanium jet engine shafts flew through the building like bullets.

As with an earlier simulation developed by this team that examined the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, the World Trade Center simulation showed that it was the weight of the 10,000 gallons of fuel more than anything else that caused the damage.

"It is the weight, the kinetic energy of the fuel that causes much of the damage in these events," Hoffmann says. "If it weren't for the subsequent fire, the structural damage might be almost the same if the planes had been filled with water instead of fuel."

Mete Sozen, Purdue's Kettlehut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering and a principal investigator on the simulation project, says the researchers worked for years and used the best computing resources available to recreate the event.

"To estimate the serious damage to the World Trade Center core columns, we assembled a detailed numerical model of the impacting aircraft as well as a detailed numerical model of the top 20 stories of the building," Sozen says. "We then used weeks of supercomputer time over a number of years to simulate the event in many credible angles of impact of the aircraft."

Sozen says the actual damage to the building's facade that was observed was identical to the damage shown by the numerical simulation.

"We calibrated our calculations using data from experiments we had conducted to evaluate the energy imparted from fluid moving at high speed to solid targets," he says. "We concluded that the damage map we calculated for our numerical model of the building would correspond closely to the actual extent of the damage."

The simulation represented the plane and its mass as a mesh of hundreds of thousands of "finite elements," or small squares containing specific physical characteristics. In the visualization, these scientific data points are used to show how airplane components swept through the building and out through the other side as the fuel ignited.

"The aircraft moved through the building as if it were a hot and fast lava flow," Sozen says. "Consequently, much of the fireproofing insulation was ripped off the structure. Even if all of the columns and girders had survived the impact - an unlikely event - the structure would fail as the result of a buckling of the columns. The heat from an ordinary office fire would suffice to soften and weaken the unprotected steel. Evaluation of the effects of the fire on the core column structure, with the insulation removed by the impact, showed that collapse would follow whatever the number of columns cut at the time of the impact."

The animation is the latest in a series of projects by the Purdue team that arose after 9/11 to determine the structural damage that occurs when an airplane collides with a building. Although one goal was to develop structures that can withstand a terrorist attack, the team also has used this research to investigate other scenarios, such as an airplane inadvertently crashing into a building located near an airport.

"This is important work that has many more applications than we first thought," Hoffmann says. "The important thing is that we are learning so much in so many different areas."

The research was funded in part by the National Science Foundation.

Others involved in the research are civil engineering assistant professors Ayhan Irfanoglu and Santiago Puiol, computer science doctoral student Paul Rosen, and civil engineering doctoral students Oscar Ardila and Ingo Brachmann.

Writer: Steve Tally, (765) 494-9809, tally@purdue.edu

Sources: Christoph Hoffmann, (765) 494-6185, cmh@cs.purdue.edu

Voicu Popescu, (765) 496-7347, popescu@cs.purdue.edu

Mete Sozen, (765) 494-2186, sozen@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

19 June 2007

Rumor has it... More Wombats

From a great source, there are two more Combat Wombats (MC-130W Combat Spear) that are being modified as we speak err... As I type?

87-9284 (c/n 5125)


87-9288 (c/n 5129)

Both were reciently flying for the 94th Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve out of Dobbins AFB in GA.

Legendary fighter pilot Robin Olds dies

Robin Olds was the best there ever was IMHO...
God Speed!

6/15/2007 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AFPN) -- Legendary fighter pilot, retired Brig. Gen. Robin Olds, died June 14 from congestive heart failure one month short of his 85th birthday.

He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on July 14, 1922, the son of Maj. Gen. Robert and Mrs. Eloise Olds. He spent his younger years in Hampton, Va., and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was an All-American tackle. He graduated in 1943 as a second lieutenant.

Following graduation from pilot training in 1943, General Olds was assigned to the European Theater at the end of World War II, where he flew 107 combat missions in the P-38 Lightning and P-51 Mustang. He shot down 13 enemy aircraft over Europe and became a triple ace 23 years later during the Vietnam War when he downed four MiGS. He flew 152 combat missions in the F-4 Phantom as the wing commander of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing at Ubon Air Base, Thailand.

General Olds' exploits as the creator and mission commander of Operation Bolo, the most successful aerial battle of the Vietnam War, has been documented in the recent History Channel Dogfights Special series "Air Ambush."

General Olds served his country in assignments to England, Germany, Libya, Thailand and the United States, in positions of squadron, base, group and wing commander, and assignments to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He was assigned to the first jet P-80 squadron in 1946; was a member of the first jet Aerial Acrobatic Demonstration Team; won second place in the Thompson Trophy Race, jet division, in Cleveland, in 1946; and participated in the first dawn-to-dusk transcontinental round trip flight. He was a squadron commander of Royal Air Force No.1 Fighter Squadron, Sussex, England, during an exchange tour in 1948.

General Olds' military decorations include the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with five oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 39 oak leaf clusters, British Distinguished Flying Cross, French Croix de Guerre, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Vietnam Air Gallantry Medal with gold wings, and Vietnam Air Service Medal.

After his duty in Vietnam, General Olds was named commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1967 to 1971. His last assignment before retiring from the Air Force in 1973 was as director of safety for the Air Force.

Up to a few months prior to his illness he was frequently called upon as guest speaker and lecturer for his inspirational and motivational talks. He was married to Ella Raines, who died in 1988, and then to Morgan Olds.

General Olds is survived by two daughters, Christina Olds of Vail, Colo., and Susan Scott-Risner of North Bend, Wash.; one granddaughter, Jennifer Newman of Santa Monica, Calif., and half-brother, Fred Olds of Virginia. He died peacefully at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in the company of family and friends.

A memorial service will be held at the U.S. Air Force Academy within the next two weeks. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association toward scholarships for the children or spouses of armed forces aircrew members killed or missing in action.

17 June 2007


My best redeployment was one that landed us home on Father's Day a few years back. My wife and I had no children then but, seeing such joy on the proud papa's face was priceless. I was lucky that I had only one deployment after having my boys and I tell you, it was so hard leaving them yet so easy because you are defending not just your country, but your family as well. It takes a special person to pick up and leave your most loved to serve your country...

I salute you all.

God Bless and Happy Father's Day

15 June 2007

Jumbo Jet Poised To Fight Wildfires In Southern California

VICTORVILLE, Calif. -- A DC-10 firefighting air tanker capable of dropping 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant is ready for Southern California wildfire missions.

"We think... it is going to be a game changer," said Rick Hatton, a managing partner for jet owner 10 Tanker Air Carrier. "It is very effective, especially when trying to contain a large fire."

A $15 million, three-year contract with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection takes effect Friday and continues through Oct. 15.

The air tanker, which can create a fire line three-quarters of a mile long in eight seconds, demonstrated its prowess Wednesday.

The Victorville-based jumbo jet, which debuted last year with a limited evaluation contract, won praise in fighting six wildfires in California and one in Washington.

The contract means the jet will be available immediately, rather than on a call-when-needed basis.

This is going to be a great tool," said Mike Padilla, the agency's chief of aviation. "This aircraft has the speed and capacity to go to any fire in California."

Back home from my trip...

Man, I love San Diego!
Rubio's Fish Tacos are the best!
My family is doing great and it was so nice to see them again.

I have never taken off from runway 9 out of SAN so I thought I would take a little movie of it...

05 June 2007

Off to San Diego...

Well, I get a little break and I thought it would be nice to go and see my family. I have not been home since my Dad died and it will be nice to see everyone again.

Man, I miss it there... If only I was rich :)

04 June 2007

20 Years ago, a small single engine plane defeated the USSR

The west German Matthias Rust from Wedel near Hamburg, an only 19 years old hobby pilot takes a Cessna 172 for a breathtaking illegal flight to Moscow.
Rust took off in Uetersen near Hamburg and flew at first to Iceland, then via Norway to Finland, where he landed at Helsinki airport Malmi on 25th of May 1987. From here he flew on 28th to Moscow. Soviet air defense quickly detected and identified the intruder as Cessna 172 and two MiG-23 interceptor took off to intercept Rust but flew parallel to his Cessna as TV takes show. No decision was made regarding the Cessna 172 and after 5 1/2 hours, Rust circled his sport plane over the red square and Kreml in Moscow at 18:15. At 18:40 he landed on a Moskwa bridge and taxied to the Basilius Kathedral. Rust exited the Cessna and spent Haribo´s to the surprised people.
He was sentenced to four years in a Soviet labour camp and served 432 days but he was allowed to return to Hamburg in 1988.

Sergej Sokolow, defense ministre and Alexandre Koldunow CinC of the soviet air defense and some further officers had to be relieved following this event by Michail Gorbatschov. This may be a political move of Gorbatshov to expell political adversaries.

Here is a personal account from "The Observer" in 2002...

Name: Mathias Rust
Date: 28 May, 1987
Place: Red Square, Moscow
Facts: German-born Mathias Rust, 34, made headlines as a 19-year-old when he landed a Cessna light aircraft in Red Square. He was sentenced to four years in a Soviet labour camp and served 432 days. He returned to Hamburg in 1988, where he now lives with his second wife, Athena
I got my private pilot's license in autumn 1986.

I was 19 and very political. I was interested in relations between East and West, particularly the Reykjavik meeting between Gorbachev and Reagan. I realised that the aircraft was the key to peace. I could use it to build an imaginary bridge between East and West. I didn't tell anybody about my plan because I was convinced my family or friends would stop me. I didn't think much about what would happen afterwards. My main focus was on my mission to get there and land. I believed that something would work out.

I hired a Cessna in Hamburg and flew to Moscow via Helsinki in May 1987. My plan was to land in Red Square, but there were too many people and I thought I'd cause casualties. I had thought about landing in the Kremlin, but there wasn't enough space. I wanted to choose somewhere public, because I was scared of the KGB. I approached Red Square three times, trying to find somewhere to land, before discovering a wide bridge nearby. I landed there and taxied into Red Square. As it turned out, the day I chose - 28 May - was the holiday of the border patrol. I suspect that's how I got away with it.

My landing caused plenty of confusion. People came up and surrounded the plane and soon the police arrived to take me away. The defence and air defence ministers were both replaced and more than 2,000 officers lost their jobs. I was sentenced to four years in a labour camp, but spent my time in the interrogation prison because the KGB couldn't guarantee my safety.

I was locked up for 22 hours a day in a 10sq-metre cell, but at least nobody could harm me.

My parents came to visit every two months and brought plenty of books. I had one companion. He was a teacher from the Ukraine who spoke English so we could communicate a bit. I learnt a few Russian words, but it was hard to concentrate. Imprisonment hit me so hard - much harder than I had thought.

After my trial, my flying club got permission to bring the plane back to Germany. It was originally worth about 75,000DM [£24,000], and I think they sold it for 160,000DM [£51,000]. It's owned by a Japanese businessman who's stored it waiting for the value to go up. He compared it to Charles Lindbergh's aircraft!

Arriving home in Germany was difficult, as I faced a lot of negative media attention. It affected me badly: I lost 10Kg and had stomach problems. It took the legs out from under me. I couldn't go out for weeks because there was always someone shouting at me in the street, and I received many death threats. My parents were angry, but they were relieved that I was in good condition. They had been afraid the Russians would torture me. They told me not to do it again! You have to be young to be able to do things like that. Now I'm more cautious. I'm proud that I was able to do what I did - psychologically it was a great wall to climb - but sometimes I regret it.

My problems came to a head in 1989. Everyone in Germany does a period of obligatory service in the community, and I was doing mine in a local hospital. I met a young nurse and wanted to invite her for coffee. We were in the changing room and I think she was scared. I asked whether she wanted to go out with me, but she started to curse and offend me. It caused a blackout.

I ended up injuring her with a knife I had on me. I can't really remember what happened.

I later worked out with the psychologists that my encounter with her must have triggered off something. I'm a peaceful person, but all the anger and aggression that was stored up came pouring out. She got a flesh wound - but she was in the hospital, which was good luck. I'm very sorry.

I was sentenced to two years, but I was released after five months. After that I couldn't show my face outside. I lost my identity and balance. I was still living with my parents, and they were my only friends. For so many people, this thing with the nurse was confirmation that I must be mad or mentally ill. I moved away for three years and went to Trinidad where I met my wife, Athena.

I now work for a finance company in Luxembourg with projects in South America and the Caribbean. I don't have my pilot's licence anymore, but I'm still very political. My newest idea is Orion and Isis (www.mathiasrust.com) - a kind of think-tank. We're currently working on a plan to find peace for the Middle East. I'm going to Israel at the end of October to get in touch with some key people. All Orion and Isis members are anonymous - it works better that way. It allows everyone to work together without jealousy or personal issues. Currently I have about 25 people involved - scientists, former Nobel Peace Prize winners. Top people capable of finding solutions.

Once this key conflict is eased, it will have a huge impact on the world. It will take time to find a solution. It's similar to the situation between East and the West at the time of my flight. Then the Cold War finished and then Germany reunified. I think the flight triggered it, because it gave Gorbachev the chance to get rid of those military hardliners. I'm still convinced that my idea was the right one. It showed anything is possible.

At the time this shocked the hell out of me. How could something so basic and small defeat the radars set up to prevent US bombers from entering the USSR. A report came out in 1989 from the RAND Corp basically saying how their radars were not up to par because of the lack of training which I could also see now as well. The PVO had a lot on their plate and by 1987 there was so little money.
I thought about this incident again in 2002 when we had deployed up to Kyrgyzstan to fly into Afghanistan. We would hop around the once proud regions of the former Soviet Union and I was shocked how they never had a clue where we were. and folks, you can see a C-130 on ANY radar. We would have to give them hourly position reports just like we would if flying over open ocean. This was not just in Kyrgyzstan, this was ALL the former blocks. How could they be that degraded all at the same level at the same time? I am not sure but, I do not think that our bombers would have had too much trouble at least penetrating the border.

What are your thoughts?