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Retirement Gig

Posted by Jolly on October 12, 2015

bubbas.jpg

DRAKEN DRIVERS (L-R)

Smitty, Stroker, Wizard, Nomad, Jive, Snort, Bunsen, Buick, Bloke and Stretch
 

a-4stetch.jpgI’ve often thought about what the ultimate retirement gig would be for an old codger like myself.  Hauling rubber dog crap around the planet pays the bills, but is that really something a retired fighter pilot wants to belly up to the bar and pontificate about?  I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious.  One of the jobs I considered was playing piano in a bar with a nice “social” atmosphere.  A bar like the one in this song below.

WARNING - if you are part of the PC Mafia, skip the song and move along, Jeti mind trick: these are not the fighter pilots you are looking for!

Play Piano

 

I really thought that kind of job appealed to me after retirement.  That was up until I 2a4s.jpgstarted getting pictures and updates from Jive and Stretch about their retirement gig.  It’s not an A-word job and is definitely worthy of bellying up to bar and making that classic fighter pilot statement, “Well enough about me, let’s talk about my jet.”  Yes, guys like Stretch and Jive still get to live the dream everyday -- lucky bastards!  They may have the coolest job ever invented on God’s green earth for old codger fighter pilots like ourselves.  They get to fly fighters for a private company called Draken International (http://drakenintl.com/).  
 
ecm.jpgThey provide “Advanced Contract Services” to the DOD including, Air to Air threat simulation, Air to Ground ordnance delivery, Electronic Warfare support, JTAC/FAC training, Naval Fleet Defense training, Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT) for future fighter pilots in the training pipeline, and Test Pilot School support.  So let me get this straight, they get to do all the stuff we used to love doing everyday without having to worry about Air Command and Staff College or some short notice PCS assignment to a garden spot on the planet away from our family?  Holy Shiza, sign me up!
 
Jive is the Company Operations Officer and Stretch runs the operation they have at taxi_out_volk.jpgNellis.  The company has done an outstanding job hiring pilots that most of us would consider “rock stars” in the fighter world.  40% of the pilots on board are graduates of either USAF Fighter Weapons School or Navy Top Gun with experience in every fighter known to man.  
 
Draken has an Air Force most countries around the planet would be jealous of.  70 total tactical aircraft consisting of:
 
- 28 x L-159 (new aircraft being delivered as we speak)
- 14 x A-4K/N
- 9 x MB-339
- 5 x L-39
- 27 x MiG-21 (yes I said 27 Fishbeds)
 
cantalope.jpgThat some aggressor squadron!  In fact, it was just announced that Draken will be augmenting training at Nellis as the Air Force aggressor squadron downsizes.  Makes sense, I’m sure they can do it cheaper without the threat of PCS moves or required queep (aka BS) we burry our own active duty fighter pilots with.  Additionally, Draken’s aircraft have the capability to replicate 4th Generation Fighters and have advanced radars to simulate both long and short burn Gomer Missiles.  They also have jamming, Chaff, and Flare capability.  With all the experience and toys the Draken Drivers have I would bet they can present one hell of a pre-merge exploding cantaloupe!  
 
taxi.jpg
Bottom line, I may be playing piano in a house of ill repute, but I’d much rather be turning and burning my retirement days in the skies over Nevada with all the Draken Bubba's!  Ok, one more fighter pilot song for the Draken Drivers that is probably more appropriate.  I say again -- Lucky Bastards! 

Last of a Breed - By Dos Gringos


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If you have a specific design combination you want, just e-mail us at Jolly@fighterpilotuniversity.com and we will get it loaded up for you.  Additionally, there will always be discounts if you have a large order.  Before placing your order, call our vendor at 1-888-8ZAZZLE (892-9953) or (408) 983-2800 to see if there are any discounts available.

aggressor.jpg  F16gomer.jpg

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Comments:

Posted by Shansky on
I hope that's not the same Stretch that used to work in Chicago at a department store. He has trouble understanding what ladies are ordering. XO
Posted by LannyCox on
Sign me up! I have 1,200 hours in the A-1 Skyraider, the TA-4F Skyhawk, and the A-7E Corsair II!
Posted by dleatham on
To bad this wasn't around when I retired 13+ years ago. I retired with 1500 F-4D/E time and 2400 F-15E time. With 5+ years in the 422 at Nellis. It would have been a great gig. Have fun you guys.

Cheers, Wade "Lefty" Leatham
Posted by jmuxen on
Jolly----I truly appreciate your keeping me updated on all the activity of the
Fighter Pilot University !
Even though I've never flown a fighter or any other air-plane, I still stand in awe of all your heroic and patriotic service to our country.
You and your fellow-pilots are my heroes.
My contribution to the military was small in comparison !-I was a Corpsman on a
Search and Rescue chopper, stationed on an Alaskan USCG air-station. Our main function was to chase after all the drunken fishermen on the Bering Sea.
Posted by Pic on
Reminds me of an operation that runs out of Willy in Phoenix that flies former Israili A-4N's. (formerly ATSI, now Top Aces) I stopped in to drop off an application about ten years ago (man I'm gettin' old). I had second thoughts when I found out they recently had lost a pilot when his ejection seat malfunctioned after an engine failure. I guess they're still going strong though: http://www.topaces.com/
Pic
ps. Love the "Piano" song! My Uncle played piano in a seedy bar in Wales back in the day.
Posted by TaraDrakenIntl on
For pilots looking to fly with Draken International, please send your resume to tsalinas@drakenintl.com. We are looking for fighter pilots with at least 750 flying hours. Tara Salinas, Human Resources Administrator at Draken International
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