MacDill Air Force Base, FL – It's nearly impossible to describe this feeling, zero to thirty thousand feet in seconds.
My 45 minutes in the cockpit was adrenaline fueled- excitement and exhilaration mixed with momentary white-knuckle alarm.
Before I could sit in the cockpit I had to sit in on a pre-flight briefing. I’m told what to expect and how to keep myself from passing out with something called the “hick maneuver.” It’s where you flex your muscles to force the blood back into your head.
Then there’s something the Navy calls a bonus ride. We’re not going to be doing that today.
It’s time to meet my pilot, Lieutenant Commander C. J. Simonson. He’s been flying Navy jets for eight years.
Airborne in the F/A-18 Hornet, it’s going through the paces. There are rolls and loops, sometimes 7 times the force of gravity.
Time for that hick maneuver and it works. I never passed out but did all that twisting and turning make me sick. Yes, but it didn’t last long and soon we’re bouncing through the clouds again.
All too soon, it’s over. The ride of my life I’ll never forget.
Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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