Posts Tagged ‘miramar’

Now Now Now

9 June 2010

Dear J-

The last few nights have been marked with tons of air traffic overhead — either the Marines are stepping up operations at Miramar or we’ve had a lot more criminals hiding out in the neighborhood (the police are particularly fond of circling in helicopters and using the PA system to talk to us on the ground like some strange voice from on high). Given the near-constant roar without the chopper noises, though, it’s much more likely to be the good folks at MCAS Miramar. It’s a strange sort of thunder over the horizon, but it’s turning into part of the background here, like rain on the roof or the wind through the trees elsewhere.

It’s hard to think of San Diego as an aviation sort of town, as the coastal setting and Naval presence (three major bases, a shipyard, hospital — and that’s not counting the Marines) make you think of of the sea and ships instead, but there you have it — we live within fifteen miles of three airports or air bases, and there’s always been some air traffic overhead. It’s strange to consider traffic in three dimensions, a mishmash of vectors and altitudes, as we follow asphalt lines on maps without incident every day. Yet it’s the way our lives unfold, a thousand directions all at once that could only be represented in real space and time.

One of the guys I work with is not only a pilot, but a pilot instructor as well; I’ve thought of that as one of those someday life skills to pick up: yeah, someday, maybe. There’s a certain gravity to his manner, a calm dignity in explaining things to everyone, be it the simplest or most complex things we do, and I can already imagine his air demeanor. If I’m really going to be teaching people — whether coworkers or family — like I imagine, I’d do best to contrast the background roar with those calm words; I always have so much work to do with patience.


Local News

8 December 2008

Dear J-

Our big news of the day is that a military jet on a training flight — to be exact, an F/A-18 off the Lincoln — struck houses in the University City neighborhood of San Diego today around noon.  The jet reported experienced engine trouble shortly after takeoff, and was instructed to divert to Miramar; en route, the second engine cut out and the pilot, unable to get back to the ocean, aimed at a deserted canyon.  If you’ll recall, Miramar is the former home of the TOPGUN school

The local news has a small squadron of reporters deployed on the ground, one anchor in front of the main crash site and others, in descending order of importance, in front of other random sites:  one where the canopy landed, draped over someone’s side fence; one in front of the Naval Hospital, where the pilot was taken after ejecting (photos show he’s physically okay — he walked away from it).  The houses struck were gutted and the residents were killed.

I ride my bike near the crash site every day to and from the vanpool; I mumble under my breath at the thoughtlessness of city planning (there’s a bike lane that keeps disappearing and reappearing along Governor Drive) that’s warned me into religiously charging my lights and making sure I’m as visible as possible to traffic; I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to thread the needle with a fighter without power.  I’ve hiked in that canyon which is, aside from the railroad tracks, as deserted as can be.  I pray for the pilot’s continued sanity tonight.