0650: Met with Maj "Rowdy" Pieper and Maj Booth, got all paperwork in order.
0710: PreFlight briefing, Maj Booth briefed on what was going to take place.
0745: Went to life support to suit up for the flight, peed about 15 times due to all
the water I was drinking. The equipment you wear fits snug. I did't do up the
crotch straps unitl later. Didn't want the boys to suffer for too long.
0800: We stepped to the ACFT, By this time I am so excited that I had to pee again,
However there are no bathrooms on the flight line. So I ask Rowdy for one of his
piddle packs. (better safe then sorry) I get into the cockpit and strap in, which
consist of hooking up your G-Suit hose, you survival pack "butt pack", lap belt,
2 shoulder straps(which are hooked to the parachute) and finally hooking up
your oxygen hose and comm. cord. "wow I'm already tired"
Rowdy gets strapped in and we fire up the engines, my seat was set wy to high
so when the canopy came down it hit me in the head. It took a liitle while for the
avionics to come on line for me to adjust the seat.
Ok, seat is adjusted and I'm settled in good. We start going
through our pre flight chklst. Once we got done with that we had to wait because
the other crew in the 2nd plane wasn't ready yet. So I got the Crew Cheif to take a
few photos, which was cool because they weren't going to let us.
What can I say he was a acft mech not a photographer, I only have two stills and 2 video
OK on to the good stuff, we finally taxi out to the EOR (end of runway) and get our final
checkout and arm the chaff/flare. We then taxi out to the runway, sitting side by side me
and the other guy getting a ride start doing handjestures at each other, hoping neither of
us puke. Rowdy puts in a call to tower for clearence to do a max climb take off, about
2 minutes later tower comes back and says we are clear to take off.
The first jet throttles up and releases brakes, boom hes gone. Rowdy does his final check
with me and follows suit with the 1st fighter. The force at which the acft starts rolling
pins me to the seat. We lift off the ground and follow the runway at about 50' off the ground
next thing I saw was blue skies infront of me, I turn my head to look at the ground which is
leaving me very quickly. Once we reach altitude, which was around 15000' in about
3 seconds he makes a hard bank right. Whoa!!! Talk about pressure, I thought I was going
to die. I look at the MFDS and see that we only pulled about 2.8 g's. Oh yeah I'm screwed.
We catch up to the first jet to do some visual checks on each others acft. This was
awesome, you get so close to each other. They each kick out some chaff and flare, then
we roll over the top of the 1st jet and then underneath it. After a few minutes of formation
flying we arrive at the range where the ass kicking takes place. I'm looking over at #1, who
rocks his acft right just a tad. Little did I know that was a sign. A sign to put me in a world
of hurt. Rowdy break HARD left and drops about 5000' putting me into about 7.0 g's.
7 times my body weight is heavy! Rowdy checks on me, I tell him I'm good but they didn't
warn me, he just laughed. We proceeded down lower in altitude towards the mountains. This
is where he really put a pounding on me. Bitchin Betty was screamin "altitude altitude" as we
yank and bank through and over the mountains. It was crazy, we would come up to a peak
and he would roll us over then drop the nose down into the canyon. We did this for a while.
Finnaly came time for me to give it a try, I take over the controls and follow Rowdy's
directions, "roll it over, now pull back on the stick" my breathing intensifies as we start
pulling G's. "That was a split S" Rowdy said. I did a few aileron rolls and some other
manuevers. I knew I couldn't do it as well as him so I asked him to take back over. Which he
did with force. After a few more minutes Rowdy informed me that it was time to pull 9.00 G's.
I sucked in all the air I could and grunted to let him know I was ready. He banked it left and
throttled up, I'm just grunting like wild pig trying my best not to pass out. Just like that we
were straight and level after pulling exactly 9 g's. I do a little celebrating, Rowdy just laughs
at me. He handed the controls back over to me, we did a loop and flew upside down for a
while. Thats pretty crazy, negative G's are weird. Rowdy said that I've hit 9 g's now it's time
to go supersonic. I would have never known if it wasn't for the mach indicator. You can't feel
anything, but who else can say they've been faster then the speed of sound. I am absolutley
beat to death by this time, I ask for a minute of level flight to get my breath back. Allright I'm
good, just as soon as I said goo,,,, we were yanking and banking again.This time my vision
gets blurry, I am so out of breath that I was unable to breath correctly for G's, I never passed
out though. Bitchin betty starts up with "Bingo Bingo" which means we are low on fuel. So we
find the other fighter and get into formation. I tried to do this it is way harder then it looks.
The F-16 side stick is sensitve and does not require much force to maneuver. We do a battle
damage check of both jets by flying over and under of each other. Then we fell back into
formation, we were about 2 feet from wingtip to wingtip. The base appears just in front of us
and we break off from one another, landing gear came down and we coasted in. Taxi'ing back I
was sad but glad that it was over, I think after a bathroom break and a drink I would be ready
to go again. (oh yeah I forgot about haveing to pee once we started flying around). Not once
did I feel sick during flight but once I got out of the acft I felt like shit. It took me a good 5
minutes to pry myself out of the cockpit.
That had to be the greatest experience of my life, I have a new found respect for pilots. What
they put there body through day in and day out is amazing. I am sore and tired, I have bruises
on my legs from the force that was put on me. I don't think I will ever do it again.
YEAH RIGHT, in a heartbeat.
Yeah Lot's of pee, lol. I'm just glad I didn't.
Where is the line for that ride.......and how many tickets do ya need???
Yo, Yo, Yo, MQ....
Now you be a part of da "G" Unit....
All jokin' aside Bro, that was a great story. Too bad you couldn't fly on a real bombing mission over the Nellis Range. Now that would be way cool.
Glad you had a good time and made it back to earth with your "innerds" intact.
Great post! I enjoyed the whole thing (esspecially the pee parts )!
J/K about the pee parts...
....absolutely AMAZED at your detailed recollection; would've all been a blur to me. (like I'll ever get the chance!)
Sounds like the "creme de la creme" and I envy you the experience.....
ETA: how long were you airborne???????
Sounds like you had one hell of a ride; and a darn good time!
WOW..............I would go in a minute.
l'll send you and your crew packages when you get over to the sandbox.
Outstanding! Good recounting and congratulations again on the recognition.
Congratulations, Im envious as hell. Always been a dream. Im an airforce brat. Dad is a retired Leut. Col. Spent alot of weekends going to Calif. to Norton AFB for reserve.
Sweet. I'm bettin your cheeks are sore from all the ear-to-ear smiling.
I'd offer a ride in the gunners hatch on one of our gun trucks, but somehow I just don't think that'd compare. And besides, the last time I had a rider (a wrench bender) in the gunner's hatch I wound up putting a tourniqet on a haji's arm even though the mechanic-turned-gunner was aiming his M16 at haji's tire.