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« E-2D Advanced Hawkeye - Death By A Thousand Cuts? | Main | You Caption it Friday 3-13-09 »

March 06, 2009



"Killer" didn't you and "Slapshot" do the demo @ Miramar in '88 or '89?


F14 Airshow HUD at NAS Moffett, was Lcdr Larry "Lips" Rice and LT Tom "Deputy " Dawg. I was in Abbottford that weekend with my Rio LT Neil "Cowboy" Zerbe.

Fred "Killer" Kilian


from a good friend and yarn spinner:



This video really brings back some memories. If it doesn't show up as a hyperlink - well, you know what to do.

Back when I was an F-14 RAG Instructor (VF-101), one of the very few F-14 flight demo qualified guys was returning to a fleet squadron, so I convinced our CO, Cdr. Dave "Frostie" Frost (VAdm, Ret.) that I should be the replacement guy to travel the air show circuit and show the capabilities of the Tomcat. I won't say he made a bad decision in approving, because I did the demos well - but there were always the trials and tribulations that seemed to follow a weekend trip for one reason or another and that often resulted in my Monday morning appearance at parade rest in front of his desk.

My first trip was for demos at Meridian, MS and P-Cola, FL. I went with Alex "Rattler" Rucker as his back-up. We went to Meridian where weather and aircraft problems resulted in me proceeding solo to P-Cola to do their show. The weather was no better there but they decided to do a "low-level" air show under the overcast. I watched a T-28 do an impressive demo and decided that us modern aviators would not be outdone by vintage aircraft. When it was my turn, I guess I kinda ignored the "keep it VFR" policy briefed that AM. I must admit that during the flight, I didn't always have a horizon, but the show was great and I provided huge amounts of tail fire and noise (fire and noise is what it's all about to civvies). Upon my landing, I was brought before the local FAA rep who informed me that my violations would result in the "appropriate reports". Where do you think I was on Monday morning?

Anyway, later at the request of friends I had developed through the air show circuit and at the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assn), I went to the "EAA Fly-In" at Oshgosh, WI. What a surprise all that was. 6000 foot runway, VHF only (they brought in a mobile UHF to talk to me). I spent at least an hour orbiting over Lake Winabago trying to figure out how I, as a heavy Jet, could fit into a traffic pattern that had some 10,000 (mostly light, experimental and vintage) aircraft showing up for the event. I eventually landed with great trepidation only to have multiple aircraft fly over me, drag their landing gear between my twin tails, and land on the taxiway ahead of me after I had exited the runway.

Turned out that the USAF F-15 that had also been invited backed out when they found out we were coming. We were asked to fly both their AM slot and our PM slot for five days. "Go Navy" - we agreed and did two shows a day.

All this said and done, we ended up doing the first "all Grumman Cat" missing man formation that had a jet in it. It showed up in an early 80's Naval Aviation News volume. I think they even mentioned my name. Had an F6F, F4F, F8F F2M , F7F and me in an F-14. By the way, during that event, Quantas Airlines had their inaugural 747 flight to/from the US and flew a 747 at about 10 feet off the runway at maybe 350 MPH.

A comical aside - my RIO on that trip was Walt "Ether Lips" Rodgers. Please note that this was a totally civilian event and therefore we had to use Cadillac chits (you old guys remember those plastic bags full of forms and whatnot you'd use to pay for things, that "material control" would give you when you left on an "across country" trip). Walt was my money man, as I suspect was the standard for all of us pilot guys back then.

Walt signed for all the AVGAS we used - no Gov JP in Oshgosh, all Civ JET-A from an Exxon source. Several weeks after the event, I was approached by a very frantic Walt who said he had received a bill at home for $23K from Exxon for fuel. I couldn't help myself and just kind of shrugged my shoulders and said "sounds like a personal problem". I immediately ran down to material control and convinced our LDO Div O to drag it out as long as possible. It was, of course, eventually paid by the Navy, but was the source of great humor for years.

R/ Jon


Sounds a little like 'Hulk' Inman at the controls or even Killer Killian. The RIO might have been Slapstick. I think they were the demo team for VF-124 in 1989. The Tomcat always was a show-stopper.

John Carmichael

Thanks Killa for the gouge!

Ok, so after 25 years of torturing my memory cells with multiple, mas cervesa parties (and those 5 years at San Diego State) it was indeed Sunday, not Friday (I was there for both days, so the blending together is understandable.)

Didja ever get a tally on the windows?


Pat Kilkenny

The date of the high speed pass was May 6, 1984, the Sunday airshow at Miramar.The pilot was Cdr. Pat Killa Kilkenny, RIO was Lt.Gary "Check" Svatek. Both were members of the VF-114 Aardvarks. Our story was .96mach. Atmospherics did us in, right.


In the F-14 retrospective book "Bye Bye, Baby!" there is a story towards the back that mentioned VF-51'S XO "Killa" Kilkenny was the pilot of the supersonic pass. Killa, where are you??? Let's get the story!

John Carmichael


Yes, 1985 sounds about right. I too would love to see a video. Or even photo for that matter.



Was that supersonic pass at Miramar back in 1985 or so? I was there. 5 years old, and I still remember the thunder. Then again, I wasn't paying for the windows either. Someone, somewhere, has to have that on video.


That is Moffett.
We hold our Navy League meetings about 100 yards away from the west doors of Hangar One.

Thanks, John!

Parrothead Jeff

Yeah, I remember growing up in Poway, just a short distance from Miramar and I, too loved the sight of Tomcats doing their FCLP. The highlight of every year was going to the NAS Miramar airshow.

I moved to Las Vegas in October of 2004 and have made it to Miramar once since then, but have gone to Nellis every year and I'm truly thankful that I got to see the demo in the video in person. That 2004 demo team ROCKED the whole flight!

Taxiing by the crowd, the RIO held the American flag outside the cockpit and there's few sights as lovely as Old Glory flying from a Tomcat with a grim reaper on the tail!

Thanks for a great post!

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