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Question: In the episodes where Harm flies F-14s, what does it mean when pilots are told to "call the ball"?

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Chosen answer: When landing on an aircraft carrier, a pilot "calls the ball" by confirming to the landing signal officer (LSO) that they have the carrier, and more specifically its landing guidance systems in sight. Carriers use a Fresnel lens system which is a light only visible at a certain angle, so if a pilot sees the "ball" they are at the correct altitude and glide slope for landing.

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Quotes

Vivian Blackadder: Amad bin Atwa supplied money and explosives to Hasan Mohammed, who executed the attack on the Cole. They're an all-Jihad team that's been together for nine years. If Bin Atwa gives up Hasan, I want in on the kill.
Gibbs: We're not tasked with capturing Hasan Mohammed.
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Gibbs: I know that.
Vivian Blackadder: Then get me in on this!
Gibbs: You're not here to use NCIS as your personal instrument of revenge. You get your head around this murder case, or you pull your tailored suit out of mothballs and you march your butt right back to the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

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Mistakes

In the whole episode, Romania is depicted as a monarchy with the king in a position that allows him to make political decisions. However, Romania ceased to be a monarchy in 1947. By the time depicted in the episode (circa 1997), Romania was a republic and its head of state was the president. Members of the ex-royal family did not hold any positions in the Romanian government and were certainly not authorized to represent Romania in international events.

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Trivia

When Harm is landing the 747, there is a camera shot of Air Force One. (The Presidential seal which is located near the forward doors is briefly visible) There is also a scene immediately afterwards of vehicles following the plane on the runway. These two scenes are from the Harrison Ford movie, Air Force One.

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