Wednesday, January 28, 2015


A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet of the type that flew low over Berkeley 
on Tuesday. 
Photo: U.S. Navy
I was at the computer yesterday when I became aware of a deafening roar.  It took me a few seconds to realize it must be a plane, and I went to the window.  Deafening.  I mean really really scary loud, like something bad was about to take place, like a fighter jet was about to crash.  I couldn’t see any plane from my window and it soon passed.  But not before Miki and Bounce came bounding up the stairs fast as their little legs would carry them and then stared at me with an unmistakeable look of “What the hell was that!?” in their innocent little doggie eyes.  They stuck close by for the rest of the day.

I just now found out what it was.  A fighter pilot was saying hello to his brother on the UC campus.  He flew in at 3500 feet over the Golden Gate Bridge, then dropped suddenly to 2500 feet and apparently went to full afterburner (= loud!) when he got to Berkeley (a second or two later) and was soon back up to 17,000 feet by the time he got to Dublin/Pleasanton. 

The commentary to this item in the local paper shows that most people thought the stunt was “cool.”  Buy the pilot a cup of coffee, says one loyalist.  Think freedom.  Keeping democracy alive.  So what if a few elementary school kids freak out.  They need to know we’re Americans and we love our FA/18-E Super Hornets.  Don’t like it?  Go back to Russia.  Most kids thought it was cool.  The ones in elementary schools, and the ones in their thirties alike.

Random Parent  says, “The kinders at LeConte elem LOVED it!!! They were all screaming with joy and excitement. C'mon everybody, relaaaaax. It was pretty cool.”  LeConte is a block from my house.  I guess the windows at LeConte must have been closed.  I didn’t hear the screams of joy.  Or maybe the windows were open (it was in the 60s here yesterday) and the plane noise drowned them out.

I suppose if you’re the glass-half-full type, you can put a positive spin on it, as “Borracha Linda” did: “At least in Berkeley they aren't bombing civilians.”

Have a look at the video that shows somebody tracking the flight.  It took me a minute to figure out how it works: There’s a pointer, and at the tip of the pointer is flight 3361 – the plane in question – marked in yellow.  You can see the flight path and the altitude he flies at.

Now that I know what it was, I find myself joining the folks who think it was “cool.”  Even if he messed up a whole lot of Berkeley folks at yoga and meditation.  Miki and Bounce take after their daddy in the short-term memory department, so don’t worry about them.

I’m not a warmonger.  I’m really not a warmonger.

Photo credit

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