Operation Rubidoux Sundown II: The Unparalled Success of the Rubidoux Raiders

Bob Waldmiller

Originally published March 1994

Jan Johnson, dictator of EAA Fiefdom 1, and her aerial defense forces set up some extraordinary obstacles against all would-be attackers (including our own benevolent, beloved, tough-but-fair Project Police), during their annual EAA Chapter 1 Open House at Flabob Airport on 26 Feb 94. They appeared to be ready for anything. But little did they know that the Project Police, in their omnipotent ways, had deviously planned their attack in excruciating detail--plans that would rival those of Yamamoto, Patton, MacArthur, or our favorite, Jimmy Doolittle. To give EAA Chapter 1 a fair fight however, the Project Police leaked some information on the impending assault known as Operation Rubidoux Sundown to EAA Chapter 1 weeks in advance. It wasn't enough to prevent the inevitable.

By 1000 hrs, 26 Feb 94, the planned rendezvous time for the Rubidoux Raiders, we amassed a mighty strike force consisting of 2 Thorp TF-18s, a Cherokee FB-140, one Beech EF-Sundowner, a Pietenpol RF-85 Aircamper, a single man guided Teenie II drone, a Davis Pocket Rocket Cruise Missile, a KC-182, an RV-4C, an RV-6 Mk-1, and finally, a Lancair 360X as an airborne spare. This rendezvous at Apple Valley Airport conveniently became our Forward Operating Location (FOL) where we could quick-turn the aircraft and aircrews to prepare them for the next sortie. Weather reports over the target area were not favorable but this gave aircrews a chance to consume some high fructose breakfast munchies, a staple of the Project Police machine, and once again I briefed the incredibly complex mission. "Don't hit each other and don't do nuthin' dumb."

By the time we walked out of the cafe, the recon flight had departed and the rest of us devised ways of penetrating the rapidly set up smoke screen (smog & haze) that was dispensed by EAA Chapter 1 for airfield defensive purposes. Visions of attacking downtown Baghdad flashed through my mind momentarily but quickly faded as we mounted our aircraft--the mission was of prime importance--no time for daydreaming! We launched in pairs and headed south over "The Hump" and down into the scud filled valley. Almost all useable landmarks were obscured but this defensive tactic always works three ways--if we couldn't see them, then they couldn't see us, and we couldn't see each other either. Everyone was about to be surprised. We tightened up our formation and other anatomical features.

Resembling a half dozen Volkswagen, Continental, and Lycoming powered cruise missiles only minutes from their target, we descended faster to get under the next obstacle identified months earlier by our intelligence sources as EAA Chapter 1's Distant Early Warning radar network just north of Flabob. It would have been more effective except for the fact that it was clearly marked on the map and deviously mislabeled as the Ontario Class-C Airspace. We snuck under it as if it weren't even there.

At 1130 hrs, the GPS receiver in the lead aircraft pinpointed the airfield and took us directly to the target area where we unleashed tons of nuclear, conventional and tri-cycle geared ordnance. Clearly, this attack was a surprise to EAA Chapter 1 and everyone else in the pattern too! We pounded the airfield heavily for nearly 10 minutes setting off seismicams with every landing. There were people screaming on the radio, "Did you see the way he blew that landing to smithereens?" Unopposed, my wingman and I taxied to the parking area with our "Project Police Aerial Assault Vehicle" posters prominently displayed in the windows. The Project Police had arrived and everyone knew it. By 1145, the Project Police Ground Assault Force, easily recognized by the cans of Aeroshell W100 oil strapped to their black baseball caps, and armed with posters for the Third Annual EAA Chapter 49 & EAA Chapter 1000 Pancake Breakfast and BBQ Lunch at Rosamond on the 21st of May 1994, began scouring the airfield--the look of urgency filled their eyes until they found the Port-O-Lets. By 1300 hours, just about everyone on the field had seen a poster and we gathered to take a picture to immortalize the Project Police raising the flag over the Iwo-Pietenpol. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring the flag and had to settle for a couple of snapshots.

By 1400 hours, EAA Chapter 1 was happily beaten into submission as we bought hamburgers, hotdogs and sodas. Boy were they happy--they were smiling loudly as they counted our money! By 1500 hours most of us had left Flabob for other places. We left the diplomatic power of EAA Chapter 1 in place and promised to be back next year--maybe even stay for dinner.

To all those Rubidoux Raiders: Y'all did good--I'm proud of ya! - Bob

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Revised -- 22 February 1997