Six people from different states took a sailing adventure on the York River, with two of them celebrating birthdays. They got to see a US Navy cruiser named The Sullivans stop traffic to transit the Coleman Bridge.
One of the birthday celebrants was Scott Reinhard, whose wife Magdalena surprised him. “I told him that he works too hard and needed to take time off from 11 to 2 on Monday for a surprise.”
Among six aboard, Scott was unquestionably the most adroit on the helm. He’s a fighter pilot with ATAC. “We have 28 planes that we fly against Navy jets to train their pilots in defensive and aggressive maneuvers. It’s cheaper to outsource to us than to use their experienced pilots and expensive jets. We’ll typically fly in a straight line to let the Navy pilots figure out how to weave in and out to attack us. We can do dogfights, but that’s trickier. Last week I spent a week in South Carolina training Marine pilots.”
I showed everyone the concept of CDBG, or Constant Bearing Decreasing Range, aka Collision Course. You look at another boat and watch behind it to see if the horizon is moving relative to the boat. It’s vital in boating but invaluable in a fighter jet. Commercial pilots have jet, no horizon to mark so they put a thumbprint on the windshield and have a millisecond to respond to a collision situation.
“You don’t have a millisecond to put a thumbprint on the windshield to test the theory,” Scott said of fighter pilots. “So we use parts of the canopy itself to measure the bearing. If the scene through the canopy suggests he’s not moving, then you’re going to meet him very quickly. In a dog fight, you want to come in behind him to shoot him down.”
Air Force vs. Chickens
The Bradeur brothers and friends were intrigued. Warren Bradeur kidded Scott, “When I was in the Air Force in Louisiana years ago, you guys caused me a lot of trouble. You’d break the sound barrier, and the noise would shock thousands of chickens on the ground in poultry farms. They panic and bunch up and wind up smothering each other, as many as half of them. I was assigned to go out to the farms and try to settle claims with the farmers for maybe $1 or $2 per chicken. So thanks for that.” We laughed.
Lakes of Poland
Scott’s wife Magdalena is from Germany and was looking to learn how to sail.
“This is so beautiful out here, so graceful. We sail on lakes in Poland that are so big you can’t see the other side. The lakes are connected so you can go from one to the other for miles and miles. Once we lost the thing you have for the lines (drum) and had to pull by hand the entire time. That was very difficult but it was still a wonderful ten days.”
When the Navy ship came into Yorktown, traffic stopped on the bridge to open it. Magdalena said, “Oh! My sister is a civil engineer and wanted to see this last year when she came to visit Williamsburg. But we missed it.”
Let’s Go Sail, on a Birthday
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