El ultimo vuelo del Tomcat
En el despliegue del Roosvelt van incluidos dos escuadrones de F14 en lo que sera su ultimo despliegue de combate .Es una noticia triste para el que es una de las mejores, si no la mejor, y mas bella aeronave embarcada. Recuerdo la primera vez que vi uno de cerca junto a un Hornet ,la fuerza y majestuosidad del Tomcat dejaban al Hornet a la altura de un mosquito.
Al igual que muchos en la comunidad naval vemos un error el sustituir un magnifico avion por uno que no tiene ni la mitad de su capacidad,pero... el dinero manda aunque muchos seguiremos
Tomcat fighters sent off on final mission
NORFOLK, Va. - The Navy's "Top Gun" planes are on their last combat mission.
The two squadrons of active F-14 Tomcats left Oceana Naval Air Station last week to join the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which pulled out of Norfolk Naval Station on Thursday en route to war duty in the Persian Gulf.
Some 7,500 sailors are on the ships in the Roosevelt strike group. The air wing also includes F/A-18 Hornets, which along with Super Hornets will replace all the F-14s in the next year.
Cmdr. Rick LaBranche, head of one of the F-14 squadrons, said the fighter plane first built in the 1970s has an enduring following.
"It's the pride of any air show," he said during a telephone interview before he flew out Friday. "People come around to see that bad boy."
The very nature of the Persian Gulf mission is hazardous, LaBranche said. But he added: "We definitely want to make sure that she ... goes out on top."
Only 30 of the nearly 300 members of the squadron fly the two-seaters; the rest work to make sure the Tomcats are in shape for safe missions, the squadron commander said.
"Some people have devoted their whole lives to maintaining it," LaBranche said. "To see it go away is an emotional event."
Maintenance is the reason the Navy is replacing the F-14s with the smaller, slower F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets. The Hornets' advanced technology makes them easier to maintain.
When the squadrons return to the Virginia Beach base, the process of converting to F/A-18s will begin. LaBranche's squadron will go last, making the final switch to Super Hornets by late summer of 2006 or early fall.
Museums and military bases will put some of the Tomcats on display. Some will be recycled, and others will be preserved in case they are needed again.