Back in the day, we ‘occasionally’ got to do some fun flying against our ‘adversaries’…

Many times those flights originated from Kef. This is obviously nice weather, and you can see a couple of P-3s parked on the ramp. The town of Keflavik is in the background.

These were fun flights, we’d take pictures of them, they’d take pictures of us, we’d show them Playboys, they’d show us bottles of Vodka… The fun part was trying to figure out ‘which’ one of the Tupolev Tu-142 (Bear F) variants each one was (you had to get pretty close).

We’d be working hard to keep up with them as their cruise speed was 30 kts faster than ours, and their top speed was about 90 kts faster than we were. We’d play a while, and then they’d get pissed a pull away from us…

Spoilsports… sigh… 🙂


TBT… — 14 Comments

  1. That picture looks like late 1970’s Kef. No air terminal yet, Air Force is still flying the F-4E, Lots of things missing from the hangar that I know were there in the 80’s. Kef in the 70’s was a lot of fun.

  2. My dad, who was in the AAC, was stationed there for 16 months in ’42 to ’43. It was interesting to hear what he had to say about that time there. Thanks for this post!

  3. The Soviets were good enemies. Deadly serious, yes, but also sane, and with a sense of humor.

  4. I agree with McChuck. Back in 63-64 in the Formosa Straights we had a Rusky DD join us (uninvited) for some maneuvers. Eventually they pulled up beside us and eased in so close we could slap hands with them if we leaned out far enough. They had a great helmsman to pull that off. All we had to do was go straight.

  5. Ray- I ‘think’ that was taken in 82. I think… The air terminal was across the ramp (out of the picture) to the right.

    Nylon- I can imagine, especially the winter weather… Brrr…

    McC- Yep!

    CP- They played by the ‘rules’ unlike the Chinese… sigh

  6. Great photos. It was a great career that you had Old NFO. I know, with all of this there comes the bumps and bruises, but all in all, what could be better?

  7. LL- Not much… LOL

    WSF- Yep! Now considerably ‘improved’ from where they started… 🙂

  8. Is that a C&C bird on the far ramp? and looks like a C-17 by the blue top hangar. Can’t make out what the smaller one is closest to the hangar. My brother was stationed up there at the same time I was Italy. he was USArmy, and kept wanting me to swap duty stations with him. Can’t imagine why?

  9. Ev- It’s a C-141. There were a ton of them that came through Kef, damn near daily in good weather. And that is an AWACS sitting over there.

  10. Iceland Rule Number One.
    NEVER try to out drink an Icelander. You WILL loose.

  11. Hey Old NFO;

    The Soviets did play by the rules, they knew the rules and we knew the rules…it did help keep the cold war from going hot. Thanks for the story.

  12. Huh. My one time in Kef was transiting through, overnight, while crewing the C-5 Galaxy, mid-90s. Dead of winter. Deicing a C-5 Galaxy is a challenge when you have the right equipment – a Condor deicer which can reach high enough to look down on the top of the T-tail, 66′ in the air.
    Which, naturally, Kef did not have. So the Landoll deicer had to arc the fluid in a ballistic curve to get the top of the tail, blind. And I had to stay outside and monitor the operation, then climb up the Jefferies tube in the tail, pop the hatch at the top, to ensure that the tail was properly coated and ice-free. Cold and wet was off-scale low.
    Not high on my scale of fun things to do. That, and USAF Survival School, also dead of winter. FML

  13. Stretch- Oh so true!!!

    Bob- Yep!

    WN- At least it wasn’t Thule! 🙂 Nice thing about P-3s, we had our own deice equipment courtesy of the Snow King. 🙂