Flight Risk – 114

Written by: Jonathan Kaplan; Watch Now: – Sorry, not available on Amazon

[A barely believable episode and not at all the type of JAG episode we are accustomed to.]

Tiner (Ti) looked through a college catalogue for classes to complete his bachelor’s degree thinking of going to law school. Then he commented to Gunny (G) that he thought that being a lawyer was too calm and peaceful using the office as an example of people being so “nice.” Gunny complimented him on his powers of observation. Renee showed a sneak preview of her election commercial for Bobbi Latham to the JAG crew but it was all about anti-military spending and fell flat. She said they weren’t her target audience. Harm (H) hadn’t heard from Sergei (Sg) in two weeks. Renee still nagged Harm to tell his mother about his half-brother Sergei. After all she had raised H alone so “probably wouldn’t break.” He came home one evening to find his mother and Renee in his apartment. Hs mother was on her way back from Venice where she renewed her vows with Frank, her new husband. Renee told H to ask them “where Frank bought their ring.” Harm might have told his mother about Sergei but she revealed that she had “grieved all over again” when she found out that H had evidence he was really dead.

Chegwidden (C) told Dr Walden that the next place they went for lunch had to have vertebrates on the menu, and asked her to the opera for her birthday. Danny Walden came to JAG and told C about usually having dinner at a favorite restaurant of his fathers on his mothers birthday, so C agreed to go change and go with them both. Chegwidden asked Mac (M) to look at, and comment on, his birthday gift, the complete works of Shakespeare. She called it “too thoughtful” and not enough romantic until C quoted a very romantic passage from it. Then Danny was a “no-show” at the dinner and didn’t answer his phone so as to destroy his mothers date with C. They finally found him at home feigning innocence with a grin obvious to C but not to his mother.

Harm and Bud (B) bet on Ms tardiness to work. Harm won $1 for 0:5:12. Brumby (Brum) was there unexpectedly to M and embarrassed her. She told him “surprise, I’ve moved to America; surprise you’re my brunch date; surprise, were working together.” He claimed he “didn’t want to mix business and pleasure” and she said “cut back on the surprises or there won’t be any more pleasure.” Harm and B were assigned to investigate Frohl Technologies where two navy pilots had been killed picking up a refurbished F-14. Brum was representing FrohlTech and dogged them claiming that it was only pilot error, even into their JAG meeting! (?!!) He interfered with their interviews of employees and amazingly H didn’t even comment on it (?!!) Lt. Burke and Cdr Urquizu had signed for the plane from a Lt Cdr Holtsford, who was working at FrohlTech, and then died when it crashed after take off.

Harm and B met FrohlTech’s test pilot, Wilson, who invited H to fly with him sometime. Harm finally talked to a rude mechanic alone who asked “what do pilots use for birth control?” H answered, “their personality,” and asked “what is the difference between a pilot and a jet engine?” The mechanic answered, “the engine stops whining when it lands.” Harm discovered that a plane was ready for pickup except for a CSD (constant speed drive) so Holtsford used the one out of the mishap plane. Then when it was ready he cannibalized the CSD from another arriving plane without paperwork, testing or inspection. Chegwidden agreed to proceed with court martial of Holtsford but Latham (L) came asking for records saying that she had given Holtsford immunity for testifying in her committee on military waste and fraud. She became loud and abusive to H saying that “it’s a done deal” so he demanded to be there during the testimony.

Latham was against project “spyglass” (another FrohlTech project) and H said that there wouldn’t be a hearing if she wasn’t in a reelection campaign. Going to one of the pre-hearing conference Congressman Porter told H that he was on “a fool’s errand” to which L commented “and that makes me the fool?” Porter said that Spyglass was satellites which could read the label on Castro’s cigar. Holtsford asked if he had immunity in the conference and was told “as long as you tell the truth.” He dumped the whole thing on FrohlTech, saying that they never had enough man power, cut corners, hired inexperienced mechanics making it impossible to do the job without cannibalizing parts, falsifying reports and gun decking inspections; just so they could get through this job and onto the next. Harm said it was Holtsford’s job to protect the Navy’s interest and he said that he had been passed over for Cdr twice and was out in a year. FrohlTech had offered him a job too if he just got the planes out on time.

Harm was having mixed feelings about FrohlTech because he liked Spyglass. Porter questioned Holtsford who said that he had never seen Jim Hepperly, the “big boss.” Then Porter revealed a secret tape recording from Hepperly’s office of Holtsford trying to “shake them down” for money in order to “say the right thing.” Hepperly told him to “get out of his office.” The new information convinced L that this issue wouldn’t help her campaign any so she L on in in order to avoid bad press. Harm pointed out that Holtsford had lied which made his immunity void and the court-martial was back on. Now H volunteered to defend Holtsford and C advised that “there were other forums to expose corporate misdeeds.” Brum still dogged Hs interview and was complimented by H about his “complete whitewash, except you forgot to fill in the hole where they crashed.”

Back at FrohlTech, Wilson asked H if he was “still turning over rocks” and H said that “the worms have a lawyer” so he had to leave. He then took Wilson up on the offer to fly and was told it was though H had never been out of the cockpit. They had to hurry back from the flight because the runway closed at 4 pm and he would be fined $500 if he didn’t make it. That made H suspicious and he faked a CSD failure causing the plane to nearly run them into the ground. Like he had hoped the near death experience made Wilson cry out: “damn idiots, they keep doing this!” He still refused to testify for H because if he did they wouldn’t let him fly again; however, he told H where to look. When H asked for records, Brum claimed harassment and M obviously tag teamed with him against H, so the judge denied Hs request for records.

A mechanic revealed that when he came to work at three o’clock the day of the crash, he saw that Wilson had just barely taken off to test the mishap plane. Harm then knew that Wilson couldn’t have possibly done the full 2 hour test if the runway closed at 4pm. So, with the added arm twisting, Wilson finally agreed to testify. He said that FrohlTech had scheduled three tests after noon which couldn’t possibly be done. Mac was shamed into agreeing with obtaining records but FrohlTech swamped them with useless records to obfuscate issues. Latham, B, M and H were going over the mound of records when Brum walked in and confessed that he had been there while FrohlTech’s top echelon were culling papers to submit. He said that he had taken a memo and then gave it to H as the “smoking gun.” The memo was about a “risk/reward analysis” on the refurbishment project and said that FrohlTech would cut their losses by “limiting the parameters of infrastructure support” and that the company preferred a few fines to the continued losses of doing it right. Harm and M bargained for Holtsford’s “negligent homicide with 18 months prison.” FrohlTech got a $10 million fine, a reprimand and they promised to work harder on the spyglass project.

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