My Logbook: First 1,000 F-14 Flight Hours...with VF-24 One-Year Activity Summary at Bottom

The table and chart below summarize my first 1,000 F-14 flight hours. I finished the F-14 RAG with 91.2 hours, and got the remainder in 29 months with my first squadron VF-24. It was a fairly steady pace of flying, and a lot of experience in a short time. This may appear strange if you've never thought of "flight hours," but private pilots and other aviation-experienced people should be able to relate. The time that RIOs logged was "Special Crew Time."

Month - Year Monthly Flights Cumulative Flights Monthly Hours Cumulative Hours Comments
VF-124 (RAG) 57 57 91.2 91.2
  • First F-14 flight: 19 Sep 1980
Apr-81 4 61 7.7 98.9
May-81 18 79 31.8 130.7
Jun-81 24 103 42.6 173.3
Jul-81 14 117 35.1 208.4
Aug-81 24 141 46.0 254.4
Sep-81 11 152 20.9 275.3
Oct-81 12 164 26.6 301.9
Nov-81 16 180 33.6 335.5
Dec-81 15 195 36.9 372.4
Jan-82 17 212 34.3 406.7
Feb-82 15 227 33.1 439.8
Mar-82 24 251 53.7 493.5
  • Highest hours in one month. Deployed aboard USS Constellation (CV-64).
Apr-82 10 261 17.1 510.6
May-82 14 275 35.9 546.5
Jun-82 25 300 48.8 595.3
Jul-82 19 319 36.4 631.7
Aug-82 23 342 45.4 677.1
Sep-82 26 368 32.4 709.5
Oct-82 32 400 47.8 757.3
  • Most flights in one month. Many were for the Topgun class, which were short and intense.
Nov-82 6 406 7.2 764.5
  • Lowest number of flights and hours for a full month -- payback!
Dec-82 22 428 36.9 801.4
Jan-83 18 446 18.5 819.9
Feb-83 16 462 24.3 844.2
Mar-83 13 475 22.7 866.9
Apr-83 20 495 35.2 902.1
May-83 18 513 43.2 945.3
Jun-83 17 530 22.9 968.2
Jul-83 10 540 16.3 984.5
Aug-83 13 553 26.5 1011.0
  • 1,000th F-14 flight hour: 8 Aug 1983, less than 3 years after first F-14 flight in the RAG. 547th flight. During first 29 months in VF-24, averaged 17 flights and 31.7 hours per month.
  • First-tour F-14 total
1268.3
  • After passing 1,000 Tomcat hours, averages reduced to 12.7 flights and 23.4 hours per month for final eleven months in VF-24.

Chart that summarizes the table above:

Upon logging 1,000 hours, the aviator received a patch and commemorative plaque from Grumman. Here's my plaque (actual size is approx 7" wide by 9" high). By the way, when I hung up my spurs I'd logged 2,499.7 hours flight time as an F-14 Tomcat RIO, and 688 carrier landings. I also logged 461.8 flight hours in the F-5F Tiger II, and roughly 130 hours in the T-2, T-39, and TA-4 combined.

Training Activities Over 12 Months for F-14 Squadron VF-24 "The Fighting Renegades"

In 1983 Commander Bertsch, VF-24 CO, wanted to show new personnel how busy the squadron was over the preceding year so he had the Ops Dept prepare the following list. This gives a good idea of the variety of great training and flying events a typical Tomcat squadron would do in one year. I've added comments to a few items....

1982

15-28 July: FLEETEX 1-82: Fleet Exercise, deploy aboard USS Constellation

16-28 August: COLONEL USHER exercise, deploy aboard USS Constellation

7-24 September: TAP 1: Turnaround Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) Program #1

4-7 October: Constant Peg (that is all I will say; if you want to know more, Google this one)

18-29 October: Air-to-air gunnery flights

6-20 November: Red Flag exercise, Nellis AFB (I did not attend, having recently completed Topgun)

6-10 December: Host a USAF F-15 squadron visit to Miramar

8-17 December: Exercise Rising Fighter (I participated in this, and it was great! The story will be included in my book BEFORE TOPGUN DAYS.)

Various dates: Intercepts of SR-71s (I missed these...unfortunately)

13-17 December: Fleet Air Superiority Training (FAST -- see Glossary)

1983

4-14 January: Air-to-air gunnery flights and "High Noon" competition

17 January-7 February: FFARP: Fleet Fighter ACM Readiness Program and "Fighter Derby" competition

15-10 February: Carrier qualification (CQ) aboard USS Ranger

26 February-7 March: Airwing weapons detachment, NAS Fallon

18 March-1 April: REFTRA: Refresher Training aboard USS Ranger

12-22 March: Underway training operations aboard USS Ranger

28 April-20 May: READIEX: readiness exercise aboard USS Ranger

7-14 Jun: ORE: Operational readiness Exercise aboard USS Ranger

Note: One month later, 15 July 1983, VF-24 began a 7-month deployment aboard USS Ranger.