The Phantom to 'Hog Blog

Binge Watching

Binge Watching

Tired of watching Detectives, Spies, Alien Creatures, Cowboys, Zombies, Steamy Sex Scenes and Bad Language during lockdown?

Here’s another option: A crusty old fart talking about fighter pilots, fighters and a culture that once existed in the Air Force many years ago.

You won’t find these films competing for Oscars, BAFTAs or anything else–and they are terribly exclusive, un-woke and politically incorrect (just me and the guy doing the interviewing–no attempt at all to pander to any race, religion or sexual orientation).

Nevertheless, if you’re interested in aviation, particularly that relating to fighters, and an era that’s sadly no longer with us, you might find these interesting. They’ve assaulted your senses on Facebook in the past, but I’ve compiled them to give you one stop shopping. There are a couple more in the mill and I’ll be adding them to these originals as they’re produced.

I hope you enjoy them–Queue the Drum Roll!

Mondays with Mover Box Set–Four episodes 11-28 Jan 2021

Live Q & A–Mondays with Mover 14 June 2021

Aircrew Interviews part 1 (F-4) 30 May 2021

Aircrew Interviews part 2 (A-10) 30 May 2021

Aircraft Interviews live Q & A 30 June 2021

The Fighter Pilot Podcast 8 April 2021

PilotPhotog Podcast Video 26 April 2021

Scale Modeling Now Review

Tall Tales with Taco Part 1, the F-4, 10 May 2022

Tall Tales with Taco part II the A-10 Warthog


6 Responses to Binge Watching

  1. Having been a USAF “shoe salesman” for seven years (4 in a TFWg) and the military Brat son of a USAF “baggage in the back seat” aviator for twenty-two years, I tossed your book after the 31st gratuitous insult.

    Really good leaders do not denigrate the people whose hard work makes it possible for them to shine.

    • Good afternoon, Joseph

      I’m disappointed that you found elements of my book insulting. Perhaps you’d give me a few moments to clarify some of the issues you highlighted.

      First of all, full disclosure. I too am a Brat, the son of a USAF bomber navigator. I also spent three years as a “baggage in the back seat” aviator, thanks to a misguided USAF personnel policy that consigned all Pilot training graduates who earned an F-4 assignment to the back seat to ‘increase available pilot numbers.’ Consequently, I see the world from a slightly broader perspective than you may have imagined.

      I’m assuming you didn’t get as far as the sub-chapter entitled ‘Trust’ (page 162 in the hardback edition). This anecdote is a sincere and unashamed tribute to the men and women who maintain the aircraft, weapons systems, munitions, and personal equipment. We entrust our lives to those who nurture our aircraft and equipment so I hope you will appreciate why we, as fighter pilots, have a closer kinship with these folks than we do with the administrators, finance, legal, personnel and myriad other indirect support elements. Nevertheless, none among us is oblivious to the fact that the Air Force could not function without competence in all these other specialties.

      I don’t know what your AFSC was, but the (admittedly derogatory) term ‘Shoe Clerks’ has been around a lot longer than you or me. I suspect the troops had equally disparaging nicknames for those of us who flew—and we probably deserved them. So be it.

      I will have to elaborate briefly on the psyche of the fighter pilot. As a group, we are good, bad, and ugly–admittedly arrogant, narcissistic, and egotistical as I’ve pointed out many times in the book. It is these traits, along with other more positive qualities, that make us what we are. As a rule of thumb, we are highly competitive, and most sincerely believe we are a cut above those around us and the fighter pilot who doesn’t feel this way is likely not to be at the top of his (or her) game.

      Consequently, our banter can be seen to deride just about everyone: Targets included bomber navigators (although Dad always gave at least as good as he got), Shoe Clerks, Navy, Marine, and foreign aircrew, and most savagely our fellow fighter pilots. I’m not going to apologize for this—we are what we are, but I am sorry you’ve taken it personally. It most assuredly is not.

      Best regards

      Steve Ladd

  2. Fabulous memoir and some salutary tales.

    However what comes across is the mans great love of life and his buddies.

    However it MUST be read with the timeline in mind.

    I joined the RAF in ’79 so could immediately slip into it. We lived with the threat of thermonuclear holocaust ALL the time.

    This had the effect of making us work hard and play even harder, something the yearlings today find difficult to grasp.

    The culture was fit in or f… off. So you fitted in and enjoyed the ride.

    We called all aircrew derogatorily “grow bags” [google it] due to their love of looking like a dishevelled green grow bag, stores/logistics were blanket stackers,obviously because that’s all they do [sarcasm], NATO ~POTATO or NATO # Not Able To Organise etc etc.
    And being techies we ALWAYS wore hair long.
    Well apart when the Queen came to give us a second standard.

    Spain? Pah try Norway. Asked the station met man once (during a no notice squadron deployment) what the weather was going to be like. Changeable he said. If you’ve been there you’ll understand….

    Sat [hunkered down for you spams] on Northern QRA many a week. Had a F4M [FG1] GTS catch fire properly [no air start required, these phantoms catch fire all by themselves] on a scramble start, used every extinguisher including the ones on the GSE to put it out. Q. Why did they make the flags, noddy caps and ATOD covers in flammable shit?? Ho hum all in a days work then back to the uckers league.

    Can’t decide which of your tales made me cry the most, pissed up growbags suddenly realising they WERE in a bullring or The Golf. Dunno, both crackers think The Golf shades it for sheer deviousness and putting the mark down.

    Did 23 years until the RAF had changed so much it was time to go.

    Last 3 as a REMF and proud of it! Then did the same as a citizen 😉

  3. Hi Andy

    Thanks for writing. Great comments! I like the grow bag tag. I’m sure our techies (who couldn’t get away with long hair) had equally colorful names for those of us who abused their airplanes and negated their hard work by breaking them. I’ve always felt a special bond with the guys and gals who had the worst of keeping the fleet airborne without any of the fun! You and your colleagues have my undying respect.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

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