March 30, 2008

>Catapult launch! / !Lanzamiento de catapulta!

" Even now I close my eyes and hear the clickety-clack of the shuttle, as it moves aft for the next launch. The exhaust from the powerful and reliable F-110 engines fills my nostrils until we drop the canopy and bring our jet to life. Air roars through the ECS. Systems power up. Soon we're parked behind the cat, waiting our turn. I roger the weight board -68,000 pounds! Grasp that if you can! The jet blast deflector comes down and we taxi into place, my pilot deftly splitting the cat track with the twin nose tires. And then -even after decades of doing the same thing- the adrenaline starts to flow as we start into the deck ballet unique to the Tomcat. The nose strut compresses, giving the fighter the look of a rail dragster. The launch bar drops down. Wings motor forward. Flaps lower. Outboard spoiler module circuit breaker is engaged -an old RIO gotcha. Our four hands go up as the ordies arm the missiles, bombs and gun. The cat officer's arm is raised. My pilot puts the throttles to mil power and wipes the controls -stick forward, aft, left, right, rudder left, rudder right. "Mooch, you ready?" he asks. I run the fingers of my right hand across the top of the lower ejection handle -just for orientation purposes, of course- and answer: "Ready." He trades right-handed salutes with the cat officer. We both lean forward slightly into the straps -no self respecting Tomcatter would take a cat shot with his melon against the headrest, a good way to get the old bell rung because of the way the airplane surges down before it jerks forward. A couple of potatoes* and we're off. Airborne."
Ward “Mooch” Carroll
F-14 Tomcat RIO for 17 years, author of the Tomcat trilogy starting with 'Punks War'.
(permission by him to reproduce previous text, from Tomcat Bye-Bye, Baby...! by Parsons/Hall/Lawson, Zenith Press 2006, p. 6)
*potatoes: word used to count seconds: one potato...two potatoes...three potatoes…
07-06 T.Roosevelt/F-14 series H R

An F/A-18C about to be launched.

>Bye Bye Baby! Last Tomcat Take Off / Último despegue del Tomcat

On July 28th 06, the last 8 Tomcats in service, made their historic last landings and take offs from the USS Theodore Roosevelt. After the last operation, the Tomcats took off to land on NAS Oceana, in Virginia Beach VA. Before that, there was a flight demonstration between a Tomcat & a Hornet, a Tomcat's transonic pass and a goodbye diamond flight formation of 4 Tomcats surrounded by 12 Hornets. The F/A-18 Hornet had been taking the place of the Tomcat and would substitute it definitely.
"Everything looks normal. Pilot and RIO of F-14 Tomcat no. 112 of Fighter Squadron VF-31 “Tomcatters” make the final control checks on catapult no. 3 on the waist of aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, at 4:42 pm of the 28th of July 06. It is not. Tension is in the air. The plane and crew are about to do their last catapult launch aboard an F-14 ever, for it will be relieved from service. They surely feel nostalgic after flying that powerful and beautiful plane. Seven shooters instead of one move stylishly, giving the catapult operator the signal to release the plane, as a way of saluting the aircraft goodbye. In three seconds it is shot and in the air.
This favorite plane of many is being retired after 33 years of service because the cost/time of maintenance is four times higher than the F-18 Hornet’s. The F-14 crews will move on to fly this plane. Its last combat operation was in February with VF-213 “Blacklions” and VF-31 “Tomcatters” in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, the last squadron remaining on a carrier, the distinguished VF-31, will fly to NAS Oceana until its retirement in September.
For years I dreamt of watching the Tomcat on a carrier, and today I am here in the very last chance to witness its last operations in service! I am the only Spanish speaking journalist. Dreams, at least most of them, are realizable: after a hundred letters, emails and calls, the confidence of this fills me. Here I am, overjoyed, photographing the Tomcat.
The Tomcat was made for the cold war and yet it could well continue to serve. It has the most powerful radar ever used by a fighter, the long range Phoenix missile, only usable with this radar, it is faster and has more weapons load capacity and more range than the Hornet, and with its variable geometry wings it is highly
Pilot Lieutenant Justin “Jugs” Halligan puts it this way:
(…) the Hornet is not an excellent plane, it is just good, it does the job, and for the way combat happens nowadays, you don’t need more…but for flying, I’d rather get in the Tomcat and hit the afterburners!!!"

P.R. 07/06 (Article published in 'Entrelineas, la pasión de volar', magazine(bilingual), year 5 #26, Sept-Oct 2006). , 07-06 T.Roosevelt/F-14 series. H R

March 27, 2008

>Walk, walk, walk / Camina, camina, camina

Venezia, Verona, Mama mia una cosa per non dimenticare!, two very romantic places. Their colors have the habit of climbing to your skin, and you let them guide you to no destination, only the road, the streets, the meandering paths to discover your own colors. Walk. In the end you know you'll find the way back. 09/05 Venezia, Verona series. L R

>Cartoon putting hat and winking / Caricatura poniendose sombrero y giñando

Est-ce que c'est incroyable, n'est ce pas!? One of the masterpieces of Le Corbusier: Notre Dame du Haut, chapell at Ronchamp, France. I spent the day there and would discover different faces of it as the light changed. It is alive, like it's moving. One of those perceptions is a cartoon face (big photo), putting its hat on and winking, with its mouth to the side. The hat is the roof, the hand the frontal end of the western wall, the eye the clean area witout window at the upper right side of the eastern wall, and the mouth is the altar. 07/00 Ronchamp serie. L R

>Acuatic UFO / OVNI Acuatico

On vacation, at night, in the water. Alone in the water, floating, playing, looking. A different element. The light, the bubbles, my feet and suddenly my eyes. They see an ovni comming towards me through the water, pulling me with its beam of light. And then, my camera, shot until no more pictures, no more 'trisssc', no more battery... 07/03 Alberca serie. L R

March 24, 2008

*Destiny / Destino

Entrañas de fuego
nostalgia de vida
suspiro de noches obscuras y días lunares
cabello largo y corto y ausente
fuga de todos los vientos
suave tacto que me ablanda
silueta imaginada que aparece en sueños
y dice cosas que he pensado
coincidencia exacta de tiempos
conspiración de dioses, espíritus, animales, hombres
plan bendito del universo del que no podemos escapar
destino que nos logrará aunque no lo logremos.

"Nosotros", PR 10/05

Ceci c'est l'Hotel de Sens, in the heart of Paris 4eme. It is a gothic building in the middle of a modern city. I used to sit and watch it as if it was part of another era, lost in time. A gate to another dimention. I doubled it to show the paths of life: the options and decisions we take, or decide not to take, or the karma that defines our experiences, or that our experience defines. Two sides, two paths, two people, same building, same buildings, same life, lives, different karma, different views and decisions. And to top it, on black and white. 07/00 Paris B & W serie. H R, D E

March 23, 2008

Window to another dimension / Ventana a otra dimension

I have always been attracted to things that change my perception. Nothing is solid. Everything we know has been taught to us by others; let's discover our own world, our own free, spontaneous, version of things, let's see the way things are, exist & relate.
Here we can see a portal, in my garden, that connects to another universe. This is how I get all my superpowers. The window is just a metal pitcher that mirrors everything around.
09/03 Reflejo Esfera serie. L R