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Port City Air Fixed Base Operations with Jamie McCarthy

Welcome to the seventy-ninth episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show! This one was done on location so get ready for some cool background jet noise!

My wife and I recently were guests of Port City Air, a Fixed Base Operations or FBO at my first base of assignment Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Port City Air has an incredible reputation among military fliers! I walked the ramp with Port City Air’s Director of Flight Operations Jamie McCarthy while recording our conversation. We had a blast discussing what an FBO does, watching props, jets, and helos coming in and going out… including a scary moment when an engine quit! Jamie explains what it takes to keep military and civilian aviation moving 24/7/365… to include a broken C-5!

This episode of the Lessons from the Cockpit show is financially supported by Wall Pilot, custom aviation art for the walls of your home, office, or hanger. Go by and order one or two of the Ready-to-Print four, six, or eight foot long aircraft profiles printed on vinyl you can peel off and stick to any flat surface. Wall Pilot also creates custom aircraft profiles of your favorite aircraft with your name, tail number and weapons load on the aircraft, from WWII P-51 Mustangs to F-35 Lightning IIs and F-22 Raptors.

While Jamie and I walked the ramp a KC-135 was being refueled for another operational mission the next day. This KC-135 was my personal jet while stationed at Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa Japan in the 1990s. Twenty one years later I flew home Space Available from England on tail number 8874, which had 26,000 hours on the airframe and over 16,000 landings!

All kinds of fighters fly in and out of Pease International Airport now. This F-15E from the 335th Fighter Squadron was the jet flown by one of my guests during the Battle of Robert’s Ridge on 4 March 2002, a low point in Operation Anaconda because of the loss of so many soldiers and a Navy SEAL.

The F-16 is one of the most popular fighter aircraft in the world. This F-16CJ Wild Weasel is assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing and the 14th Fighter Squadron Samuaris out of Misawa Air Base in Japan. The Crew Chief of this jet took a black grease pencil and filled in the corners of the 8s on the tail, the airplane is still called ‘BOB’ to this day. The Crew Chief said it stood for “Bombs over Baghdad.”

Jamie mentioned during the show KC-10s often stop at Pease International while flying missions to and from Europe and the Middle East. This KC-10 is assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB in California. Three KC-10s had left Pease and Port City Air’s ramp the day before we arrived.

There is only ONE fighter aircraft in the history of the world that has never been shot down in combat, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle. This F-15C from Desert Storm was the 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing’s flagship and shot down three Iraqi fighter jets during the conflict.

Thanks once again for downloading this and previous episodes of the Lessons from the Cockpit show, which can be found at or on my website at All episodes are now on my Lessons from the Cockpit YouTue channel also. 

Next week we will finish our discussion with Jamie McCarthy on Fixed Base Operations and what Port City Air does for customers coming through Pease International Airport.

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