2008: The Russian Air Force, for the
first time in over a decade, is giving its fighter pilots enough fuel to train,
but also to play some of the silly Cold War era games not seen in a long time.
One such entertainment involved Russian fighters making high speed runs for
Norwegian air space, just off the northern coast (where both nations share a
border), than veer off at the last moment. Russian pilots scored extra points
if this triggered a flight by one or more Norwegian fighters, to investigate.
You lost points if you screwed up the 180 degree turn, and actually entered
Norwegian air space. That caused a diplomatic incident, which displeased air
Russians are doing this in daylight, in clear weather, so that anyone in the
area can take pictures of the jet fighter contrails making the distinctive "U"
in the sky. Ah, the nostalgia of it all. But it also means that Russian pilots
are getting their chops back. For many years, Russian pilots were lucky to get
an hour or two a month in the air. Now they appear to be getting 50-100 hours a
year. That's still less than half what Western pilots get, but a big
improvement over the recent past.