We always liked Lex. We liked his blog, for its subjects and its range and its awfully good writing. He had a feisty, combatant’s attitude, and he was a great guy to talk to. Unfortunately, he perished in a crash of the F-21 Kfir aggressor he flew as a civilian contractor at the Navy’s “TOPGUN” school. Initial indicators are that he was attempting an approach in bad weather.
On his last flight before the mishap flight, he had a drag chute malfunction on landing. “It’s funny how quickly you can go from “comfort zone” to “wrestling snakes” in this business. But even snake wrestling beats life in the cube,” he wrote on his always-interesting blog.
There are many remembrances of him online, but 2nd-generation Naval Aviator “Pinch” Paisley has probably the best obituary — from which I lifted the above photo. (Read the comments, too). A few facts about the accident will be posted by the FAA here in a day or two (there’s nothing there right now, but their file names are predictable),
Combat aviation tends to attract very similar personalities to special operations, actually, and aviators and operators get along like a house on fire, usually. In war, we’re interdependent: they pull our chestnuts out of the fire with artfully placed ordnance, and we scoop them up if they have to step out of the cockpit and walk the earth. A number of guys cross over (usually from SOF to aviation, but one guy we knew came back to SF in the Guard, even while he still flew for his civilian job), and a civilian pilot’s license is a pretty common accessory in an SF guy’s personal tool bag.
But Lex wasn’t just a great pilot, and a great guy, he was a great blogger. Go there and see what we mean, and you’ll mourn him too.