|The mighty P-3 with a Soviet "Victor" class submarine during the Cold War|
Yup, I guess all good things must come to and end...including the everlasting might P-3C.
The "Tridents" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 begin their last deployment with the P-3C Orion aircraft with a send-off of their first two planes out of Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Jan. 22.I remember logging many long flights in the might Orion...with it's awesome 56K computer and incredible 256K of drum memory..the P-3 version of a hard drive...aww..the joy of sextant shots and hoping your inertial navigation systems don't start diverging halfway through a flight...there was also the joys of helping to load sonobuoys into the internal racks and discovering just how much gee dunk you could fight in the bomb bay "luggage rack"
The historic occasion was attended by senior leadership, family and friends of VP-26 Sailors and members of the Jacksonville community.
"This is a historic deployment for you," said Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter, commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. "You are the last operational P-3 squadron on the East Coast. Once you go, we are a P-8 only force. That does not diminish anything you do with this aircraft. America has given us the best, and this aircraft is still a very capable airplane."
Carter knows firsthand how much the P-3 community has contributed to the success of the Navy's mission. He served as both executive officer and commanding officer of VP-26, and he told the Sailors just how special it is to wear the Trident colors.
"We have been flying this aircraft for 50 years," said Carter. "The whole squadron, from the admin department, the maintainers and the aircrew has continued to go out and do great things, and I know you are going to go out on this deployment and do great."
And my favorite thing...the not to be repeated NSFW conversations that went on the airplane intercom during a long, long 8 hours of sighting on sonobuoy fields trying to detect a VICTOR or FOXTROT class Soviet submarine...ayyy matey, those Cold War days are long gone.
So now the Navy has the P-8...truly a marvelous airline simulator for those capitalists MPA pilots and a more capable aircraft for the NFOs...the guys who do the real work!!