NASNINaval Air Station, North Island (US Navy)
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Upon contacting NASNI Tower, we found them ready for our recovery.
SHC (SW) Delfin Perez, NASNI CDO, and MSC (SW) Eric Van Hofwegen, NASNI ACDO, provided exceptional leadership and management while taking full responsibility for setting up the NASNI gym evacuation shelter.
NASNI Galley, under the direction of CWO4 David Anspach, extended operational hours, providing 14 hour, non-stop, hot-meal service to over 1,000 military family evacuees and emergency personnel.
Nearly all the Navy families staying at NASNI CBH were allowed to return to their homes the following day as the fires subsided and were no longer a threat.
Brown airfield has an agreement with NASNI H-60 squadrons to operate after the airfield closes, which is helpful in completing these TACFORM events.
We entered the landing pattern with 15 minutes remaining to make several landings before returning to NASNI. The first two passes went off without a hitch, and neither crew noticed anything unusual at the airfield.
I immediately cleaned up and turned to put NASNI on the nose--initial bearing 026 degrees.
Passing 25,000 feet, I double-checked the F-18's flight-performance-advisory-system (FPAS) page, which showed me on deck at NASNI with 1,900 pounds of fuel.
Just before landing at NASNI, our low-fuel lights illuminated.
The brakes checked fine, and we told NASNI tower the emergency was over, and no further assistance was needed.
Our second clue came moments later when a Southwest Airlines pilot reported a missed approach from Lindbergh field (only one mile from NASNI) and requested vectors to his alternate.
The harried controller replied NASNI tower was reporting 400 feet overcast with five-eighths-mile visibility in mist; they could not see the approach end of either runway, and visibility rapidly was degrading.