Long before “Miracle on the Hudson,” I’ve been fascinated ~ in awe if you will you ~ by the brave men (and women!) who pilot both commercial and military aircraft.
I think this fascination stems from my own Cowardice when it comes to abandoning good old terra-firma! For practicality reasons, yes, I’ve flown here, there n’ everywhere without incident … but still make a conscious effort to offer a sincere thanks to our pilot at the conclusion of each safe journey.
During the 70’s, I remember our covey of gal-pals being capital-letter-Envious of a chum who actually dated a Thunderbird. In fact, one of Sherri’s bedroom walls was dominated by an over-size photo of the two posing in front of his aircraft. What’s curious? I’d be hard-pressed to recall his name or face … he may have looked like a troll, but s’true what they say about a man in uniform! Forget football … you gotta be an Air Force hero to get along with the beau-ti-ful girls!
Now Hubby is a huge fan of military aircraft and devotes long hours to RC ~ building and flying scale aircraft. Hence, I’ve become a (reluctant) participant, watching hours of grainy combat video and hearing impassioned debates re. the merits of certain wing structures. (Yawn.)
Shouldn’t have come as a surprise then, when he presented me the opportunity to visit an F-16 simulator. I was repelled, but anxious at the same time to confront my fears. So, I allowed myself to be buckled in a 6-point harness (8-point? 10-point? …. think completely trussed!) I promised to keep my eyes open … remember to breathe … and try to enjoy the surround-audio/video.
Well, I didn’t throw up … but was thoroughly chagrined at my inability to keep my feet on the floor. Come the first roll-over, both legs “took flight” in a startling and most UNattrative dance above my head.
Afterwards, I asked in all sincerity … when rookie pilots train for these sorts of maneuvers, are they outfitted with little stirrup-thingies bolted to the floor in which to place their feet?
Incredulous looks. Although we couldn’t really afford it, I was Determined to give her another try; to focus on keeping both legs firmly planted on the floor. (“Up in the air, Junior Birdman, up in the air, upside down!”) Ya, right.
So, these days when we’re sitting in the back and Luke AFB finest come streaking overhead, I still get goose bumps … and thank God for their talent and passion.
But just in case anyone knows, how IS it they learn to keep their legs in one place?........ will you please let me know?