Ok, sit back... This is going to take a minute!
It's Sunday Night. Sorry I couldn't write this yesterday, after the flight...
I was WAY to hyper to type, and then I passed out!
Let's start from where I left off in the last blog...
I woke up yesterday at 3:15am. I was still tired, but I didn't care.
I was going to live out a dream of mine, check something off of my 'bucket list'.
I was going to fly in an F15 Eagle... a 30 million (approx) dollar fighter jet. And I was going to fly with WOD! How did this all happen? Well, thanks to Smitty... That's what I call him... MSGT E. Smith is his 'real name'. He's a recruiter with the Mass Air National Guard. He nominated me for a 'Media Orientation Flight'. Basically, a way to show people what the military can do, through the eyes of a member of the media... Someone like you. A 'regular person'. I guess I'm regular, HA! I still don't know who my 'guy' at the Pentagon is, but someone in Washington is letting me do some REALLY cool stuff! I mean the General approved it, but someone in DC could always say HELL NO!!! and they never do! Humvee's, Basic training, being embedded in Iraq, and NOW A FIGHTER JET? Whoever is looking out for me in DC, thank you. For someone who medically cannot join the military (damn talon) I'm living out every dream I've ever had. That's why I sprang out of bed at 3:15 am with only a few hours rest.
I showered (have to smell good in the cockpit), got some stuff together, including a tooth brush for AFTER I puke, and my adult diaper! Yes, I went to the supermarket on a Friday night and bought Serenity adult diapers! I was paranoid that I would pee my pants in the jet! I've never done it before, pee my pants that is... But, I've also never been in a jet! I was off by 4:15 am, and headed to Boston. I needed to meet Lindsey from our Promotions Dept. at the radio station. I was told that I may not be able to drive after the flight... Plus I needed someone to video and take pics! Lindsey and I hit the Pike and we were off!
I opted for a dry bagel for breakfast and a glass of OJ. They told me to only eat, what I was prepared to see again in the jet! Ahhh, that pilot humor! We arrived in Westfield ON TIME!!! I am NEVER on time... Today I was!
It was time to meet WOD!
WOD was my pilot. I learned that a pilot gets his call sign in an 'informal' (drunk) ceremony, from other pilots, once they have completed their training. Your call sign usually represents something you did wrong during your training, or something they make fun of you for. Roscoe, if you were a cop, (like Roscoe P. Coletrain). Rooster if you were cocky, Howdy if you look like Howdy Doody. A recent 'grad' Sniper got his name and the guys were making fun of him, because now he has to live with a 'Top Gun' kinda name... I still don't know what WOD means. Maybe it's better that I don't.
WOD seemed REALLY serious. Very 'squared away'. At first, I didn't think he liked me. I was told originally that I would be flying with Roscoe. So, that's what I said on the air. Well, WOD (who knew I would be flying with him) just happened to be listening that day. Let's just say the ball busting started as soon as I walked into the pilots office.
He was rushing around with maps, and filling out forms. I had to sign a bunch of stuff, and give them my SS. I hope WOD doesn't buy a new car on my credit! ;) Some of the other pilots were running around too. 4 other jets were going up to train, and do a fly over at a WWII Ace's funeral. I had to ask, how do you become and 'ACE'. "5 confirmed kills" I was told. The Colonel, who was being buried that day was an ACE, and to show honor and respect to a man who served his country in WWII and Korea, they were going to fly over his services. The guys were filled with pride to do this, you could tell.
The F15 I learned, is a jet that fights other jets. It doesn't drop bombs. I have a few ex boyfriends that should be VERY THANKFUL of that! F15 pilots have the job of 'plowing the road' for the bombers to complete their mission. Basically like Top Gun, except that was the Navy. These guys walk with a swagger. They are the best of the best... and they know it. Don't get me wrong, they're not jerks about it. Like a Doctor... they put in their time, and they deserve the praise. They earned it. Besides, the jumpsuits are HOT! There's a reason why everyone else is jealous of the pilots, they get the chicks!
It was time for our briefing. Basically a meeting with WOD, complete with Powerpoint and maps telling me about the jet and 'our mission'.
He showed me some footage of the F15 in action. How it was designed around it's radar system and built to be fast and mean. Even though this jet is 20 + years old, it still kicks ass. They're making modern improvements every day, but the basics of it remain the same. 9 G's of badass muther f*cker! Our mission? Fly from Westfield to Martha's Vineyard around The Cape, see the sights of Boston and then head up north to Mt. Washington to do some aerobatics, and then back to Barnes. It sounded like a lot... But I wasn't going to complain! WOD went over, and over, and over the safety steps... and said that we would do it again once we were in the jet.
Time to get my gear on!
I went to get my flight suit, G suit, helmet, gloves, earplugs etc. I went into the bathroom and had a conversation with myself. Diaper? No Diaper...?
I chose NO DIAPER! I figured... What the hell, if I pee, I'll know where my call sign comes from! I bet I'm the only one flying around in an F15 wearing a thong today! WOD, You got a thong on? Probably not! I had to remove all of my jewelry... You wouldn't want an earring to bring down a 30 million dollar jet, would you. It was now time to catch a ride to the jet for our pre-flight inspection! Just as we're getting into the van, the General came over to 'visit the side show' ME! I probably should have warned WOD sooner, that I am a 'walking brass magnet'. That means, that if there's an officer or someone 'in charge'... They will most likely come over to me. The guys in Iraq got really tired of 'behaving' because there was Brass around me all the time! But, WOD is a Major, so he's Brass himself. The General thanked me for my support and told me that he had done some research on me. He even looked at the WAAF site and my MySpace page... I have learned that the military is thorough! We pulled up to the jet. The grounds crew was working VERY hard getting it ready for us. Before we got to work, it was time for a photo op in front of the F15.
Normally, an F15 is a single seat aircraft. But they do have 2 seaters... This one was brought in for my flight. It works the same way, it just has 2 sets of everything... YES, I had a set of controls back there! I was in the back seat, with MY OWN STICK!!!
WOD showed me how to inspect a jet. What 'issues' you would see, we saw NONE! At one point we were standing behind the jet, looking into the engines. he said 30' flames would come out of there when we took off! NICE! I felt the pressure mounting by this point. I was starting to get nervous. Before I knew it, I was climbing a ladder, and WOD was buckling me into my seat. he started going over the ejection scenarios that I had learned the day before. I paid attention, he wasn't kidding around right now... This is SERIOUS SHT! "Keep your visor down, just in case of a bird strike' he said... No problem WOD, whatever you say! One of the grounds crew guys had just spent the last 20 minutes trying to find a place to mount my video camera inside the cock pit. I needed evidence that I was in there! But, because I had a full set of controls there wasn't any place to mount it safely. Safety is EVERYTHING to these guys! There was a small compartment, you store your helmet bag in there during the flight. They said I could take the camera, as long as I stored it before any maneuvers, and that I DID NOT video the control panel... That is TOP SECRET STUFF! I agreed.
One final wave to Lindsey on the ground, and it was 'mask on'... Time to fly!
A jet taking off brings everyone out of the hangers, and Smitty told me to wave at the guys on the ground as we taxied away and took off! Most people in the Air Force will never fly in the jets that they work on everyday. I feel bad for them... They are missing out! But, just like Radio, there are 100 people making it possible for 1 DJ to be on the air... There are 1000 people working for that pilot and jet.
I was plugged into the COMM, so WOD and I could talk, and I could hear air traffic control. Havoc 1 was our missions call sign. We taxied down the side of the runway, and stopped for one last pre flight inspection. WOD said this is the worst part. If the guys on the ground see anything wrong... MISSION OVER! All dressed up and no place to go! It's happened to WOD before and he said it sucks. I mean, you'd be thankful to the guys for finding a problem before you take off, but what a let down! It was a VERY LONG minute!
We got the ALL CLEAR, and went to the end of the runway. WOD said "we'll need every inch of this runway to get off the ground' and we did. The G suit is the 'inflatable chaps' that I talked about in the training blog. Every time the jet senses 'serious G force changes' they inflate to push the blood back up into your chest and head. Lets just say, my pants are puffy as we're taking off. I waved like an idiot to the guys on the ground. WOD could see me in his rearview mirror. He must think I'm an idiot!
We took off like a shot, and climbed to 10,000' in a matter of seconds!
He said he's made it to the Vineyard in 5 minutes from Westfield, but we were going to take our time and go over some safety stuff again. It took us 8 minutes to get to Martha's Vineyard! 8 Minutes!!! In those 8 minutes, WOD taught me how to fly the jet. How the stick moved, how the throttle worked. I had back up radio, radar and ejection systems. We went over... 'worst case scenario' what happens if something happens to WOD? If a bird hits the canopy and knocks him out? I'm in a jet going 550 mph over your house... and the pilot is unresponsive. He said, and I'm NOT KIDDING! "Call my call sign on the COMM, if I don't answer you... Take the controls, you know how to use them. Fly us over the water and slow down, descend and eject us." EJECT US? Can you imagine a trained pilot having to teach a DJ how to save his life and the lives of the people on the ground? This kind of thing must be very weird for a guy that is used to flying alone.
Like I said, it took 8 minutes to fly to the islands... They were so pretty! It's really too bad that you have to be rich to live there! But you don't have to be rich to fly over them in a JET! :) We requested a low altitude pass over the Vineyard, but were denied because of the number of small planes flying around that day! I was learning how to use the radar to see where they were. WOD used to be stationed down at Otis, on the Cape... so he knows this airspace well. We went around P-Town, I waved to Mike Hsu, he was on vacation on the Cape. Once WOD was convinced that I knew how everything worked, we headed to Boston. The city looks awesome from a jet... Well, everything looks awesome from a jet actually. Logan Airport air traffic control radioed to ask us 'what our intentions were'? WOD said 'Some sightseeing" I laughed... They couldn't hear me though. They cleared us to fly around and had to move some commercial traffic out of our way. If you were sitting on the runway Saturday, waiting to take off, I'm sorry... That was Me & WOD! ;> We flew over the Harbor, and Fenway, and I showed WOD where the studio is. I looked in to make sure Bob Hannah was awake in there! Air traffic control calling... "How long are you going to be in our airspace?" they asked. They sounded mad... HA! WOD said... "let's go have some fun" I thought we were already! It took us 30 seconds, and we were over Manchester airport... That's right Boston to Manchester in 30 seconds! I go to get me one of these!!!
My commute would be great! I took the camera out long enough to wave at it. I had my visor down and my mask on... But, it's me!
We flew over Lake Winnipesaukee, I was going to be there the next day hosting a bikini contest. I asked WOD if he would 'drop me off' the next day... It would save a bunch of driving. There's Mt. Washington!
This was the best part!
We're at 18,000' over the Mt. Washington and WOD wants to have some fun!
He showed me how to do a barrel roll, and then I did one. He said do 3, so I did. 'Try it the other way'... So I did. I was flying an F15 and doing tricks! Next was the full loop! Like the Black Widow that Riverside Park used to have! He did it, and then I tried...
Perfect, he said!
Then he started showing me 'flight school' maneuvers. Something called a Shondell, and a Split S. I thought he said Split ASS... He said 'NO S, not ASS!" HA! A funny conversation to be having while you are upside down, going 550 mph over Mt. Washington. I still haven't thrown up, so he asked if i wanted to try and 'dogfight'? I said... YES, I wasn't going to say NO to anything! 'This is going to be rough, get ready' he said.
This is where I passed out.
7.4 G's, I made it to 7.3 of them. He didn't realize that I was out... I was only gone for 5 seconds or so. I had to tell him that he 'got me'. I think it made him happy! I was quiet for 5 whole seconds!
He asked if I knew why I passed out, and I did. I messed up on my grunting and I didn't squeeze my butt cheeks hard enough. 'You gonna let it happen again' he asked? HELL NO, and off we were again! Grunt, Grunt and I'm squeezing my butt as hard as I could. Didn't need that diaper, didn't puke and I didn't pass out again! I am a BADASS!
We're running out of gas, fun is over.
Time to head back to Barnes.
We flew over Orange and I got to see Jumptown, where I learned to skydive. Air traffic control warned us that jumpers were in the air... If they only knew who was flying in that jet over them!
Havoc 1, requests a flyby!!!
WOD taught me how to radio the base, and tell them we were coming home safe.
He also told me to tell them 'He was the best fighter pilot ever', but he already knows that. They're not going to let 'just anyone' fly a civilian over Boston in an F15. He's the balls!
We did 4 low passes aka flyby's over Barnes and the pattern was 'never full'
You'll have to see the video to believe it.
It was time to land, we had burned 18,000 lbs of fuel in 1 hour 7 minutes. Not very good on gas when you're doing 'Mach 2 with your hair on fire'
We landed, and my dream ride was over.
I was still a bit loopy and I had earned Narco as my call sign... I fell asleep, even though it was only for 5 seconds!
But, all of my vomit bags were EMPTY!
I waved one of them to everyone waiting for us on the jet way!
I disconnected my 'puffy pants' and climbed out of the jet.
I don't think I have ever been that high! It was like the best drug EVER!
If I wasn't too old and and medically ineligible, I would have quit WAAF and joined the Air Force right there! I missed my calling in life! I should have been a fighter pilot. Who knows, maybe I was an ACE from WWII reincarnated, but whatever it is... I loved every second of it! I have never felt anything that amazing, EVER! and WOD gets to do it every week! Bastard! No wonder pilots swagger... I would too, if I could do that every week. They are 'the sh*t'!
They gave me a framed picture of me in the cock pit and a poster of my take off. They move fast over there! It's SO COOL! Me and WOD's little heads sticking out of that HUGE JET! It's already on my wall!
I went back to change and I was so sweaty... YUCK! My face hurt from the mask, and I couldn't stop smiling. I had a great buzz! The other pilots came in upon returning from the fly over, to see if I puked... They were proud that I didn't! But, I had to tell them about my little nap! I'm not that cool after all! WOD left with them for some kind of 'super secret pilot briefing', I wasn't invited. I hit the chow hall, I could eat now with no fear of seeing my lunch again.
Then, I saw the General again, and he 'coined me'.
Off to the hanger, to thank the maintenance guys for doing a great job!
The jet flew great, and it's because of them!
It was time to go, I was sad.
A final thank you to Smitty for making it all happen, and it was back to Boston for me...
It took us almost 2 hours to drive what I had done in 6 minutes earlier! Driving sucks!
By the time I got home, my buzz turned to exhaustion! I fell asleep early.
I woke up today, sore... really sore.
I hurt all over. and I have some very strange bruises...
Most of all, I'm sad. I know, I should be happy that I got to do something that most people never will. But, now that I have done THE MOST AMAZING THING EVER, I have to deal with the fact that I will never do it again. At least I don't think I will. You never know I guess, but it's not likely. Unless WOD is looking for a partner? But, I think he'd rather fly alone. They give him missiles when he flies alone! Roller coasters, motorcycles even skydiving... BORING! I'm hooked to a drug I can never have again! I'm actually depressed about it. I'll never look at the sky the same way again!
I'm not sure what I can do to top this, but if 'my guy' at the Pentagon has any ideas... I'd love to hear 'em!
WOD IS THE GREATEST FIGHTER PILOT, EVER!
'You can be my wing man anytime!'
Dammit, I cannot stop quoting movies!
F15 fighter Jet = 30 million
Training WOD = 10 million
18,000 lbs of jet fuel = $30,000
Serenity adult diapers = $9.99
Best day of my life? Priceless!
Thank you to all of the members of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Mass. Air National Guard!
Become a pilot, they get chicks for a reason!
The Flight Â»
Wanna be a member of the 104th?