After our graduation from Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT), or “Nav School” for short; a small group of us went on to the Tactical Navigation or “Tac Nav” phase of training at Mather AFB, CA.
“Tac Nav” was the phase of training for the graduates from Nav School that had been selected for follow-on assignments to fighters: F-4s or F-111s in those days.
We had done well in Nav School and showed the aptitude and desire to fly fighters; and had been selected for the fighter world by our instructors and squadron leadership.
This is our Tac Nav class photo, and as I continue cropping the photo and narrowing the view – I’m in the middle on one knee so the T-37 “Tweet” can be seen behind me.
The T-37 “Tweet” two seat jet trainer was used for our Tac Nav training; which consisted of aerobatics and low level routes out towards the Sierra Nevada mountains.
This is another version of my initial T-37 orientation flight photo that our crew chief took of me during Nav School; but it also reflects what our Tac Nav sorties were like as well.
I took this self portrait during the Nav School T-37 orientation flight while we were on the ground prior to engine start.
This was my other self portrait in the T-37; which continued my photographic hobby of taking aviation photos that began while flying hot air balloons in Seattle, WA.
In Nav School, our orientation flight included formation flying over the Sierra Nevada mountains east of Sacramento, CA.
Here’s a closer look at our wingman on our right wing during our formation airwork.
We’ve changed position and passed the lead to our wingman, and now our aircraft is in formation on the other T-37’s left wing.
A closer look at the lead T-37 over the Sierra Nevada mountains.
We’ve taken back the lead, and in this picture you can see how lighting and sun angle changes perspectives, as we continue the formation airwork directly overhead a reservoir below us.
Here’s a closer look at our wingman’s cockpit from the previous photo.
Transitioning from sunlight to shade and then back into the sun’s glare, is always challenging and just something that you have to deal with when flying formation.
Another look at the previous photo shows our wingman holding position as we go through graceful loops and rolls across the blue sky.
I’m looking across the pilot’s glare shield over the instrument panel, as our leader on the left leads us through the airwork maneuvers.
A closer look at the previous photo shows the T-37 in the old white paint scheme (that blends in perfectly with any clouds) against the blue sky.
We hold our position as lead banks left and takes us into a turn.
In this closer look you can see the details of the belly of the T-37 “up close and personal.”
Here we’re flying “trail” behind our lead and going through an almost inverted position, which provides a very interesting perspective to this photo that almost looks like it was taken by an astronaut.
A closer look at the previous photo shows our lead aircraft suspended above the Sierra Navadas as we follow them through their maneuvers.