2:35 PM

Baddest 737 on the planet.

A 737 is minding it's own business, inbound on very short final to Mojave Airport, when some nutcase in a Baron 58 decides he is God and cuts the -37 off...no radio call, no intentions, nada. It is a classic case of assbite with too much airplane in the pattern, and the Captain in the 737 has about had enough. He flips open a little switch cover on the panel, throws the switch to ARM, and gently touches a bright red yoke-mounted button with his left index finger. Immediately after pushing the button, flaming missiles erupt from under each wing, tracking the Baron's exhaust as they rocket towards the 58. Seconds later, the aforementioned assbite is TOAST as his Beechcraft explodes in a ball of fire. The 737 Captain then leans towards his First Officer and calmly says, “I guess we taught that clown to mess with CAT-Bird.”

O.K., that incident never happened, and it will not happen. It is strictly fun with words, a bit of editorial comment after I read this on the Bakersfield Californian website:

The Joint Strike Fighter Cooperative Avionics Test Bed aircraft, codenamed “CAT-Bird” is being converted by BAE Systems at its facility at Mojave Airport. It is part of a $6 billion testing and development program for Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, the next generation military stealth fighter expected to become operational in about 2015. "All the mission systems for the F-35 will actually be installed on this aircraft," said Doug Pearson, vice president of Lockheed Martin's testing effort. "It has the same nose as the F-35 and the little wings added to the CAT-Bird are similar to the wings on the F-35."
This, my friends, is a brilliant concept. By testing the F-35's many complex systems in actual flight long before the first fighter prototype actually flies, Lockheed Martin will save major dollars and get far better R & D data to further the Lightning II project.

Not that they NEED to save money when there is this much money to be had:
Over the next two decades, the Pentagon plans to spend hundreds of billions of tax dollars to buy 2,443 of the jet fighters at a cost of up to $60 million each. In an unprecedented partnership, eight U.S. allies are paying part of the $276 billion cost to develop the F-35, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter.
Whoa. Sixty million a pop for a fighter? It just begs me to ask this rather obvious question: If we are still the big superpower that we've always boasted to be, it makes sense that there are not too many countries that would take us on. Maybe China, maybe Russia, but nobody else would stand a chance against our current fleet of military jet fighters. So do we really need to spend $146,580,000,000 of our grandchildren's tax dollars on the JSF?

Just something to ponder.

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