Post Your: "Experience of a Lifetime"
The F16 vs C130 thread brought this one to mind. Figured it would be an interesting thread to start. Post your most memorable, exciting, frightening, adrenaline rush, etc experience. ONE experience that stands out in your mind/lifetime that you will never forget.
Here's mine. I am retired Air Force and have traveled to many places around the world. I was one of the "lucky" ones that returned from Vietnam in one piece. With that being said, while in the Air Force, I always wanted a ride in an F-4 (that was my era). Because of regulations etc., I was never in the right place at the right time to have an opportunity. My last duty station was Homestead AFB, FL prior to Andrew destroying/leveling it. While there myself and five others on base got qualified thru the Florida High School Athletic Association to call High School football and basketball. One of the guys I called ball with was a Squadron Commander and Instructor Pilot in F-4's. He knew of my desire but never offered nor indicated it was possible, and I didn't ask. I dropped my retirement papers and was on my last week of active duty. My secretary received a call from his secretary requesting I report to his office immediately. Needless to say, as a First Sergeant, in a totally different organization, the "order to report" was quite unusual. However, I did as commanded. I reported in and he had this stern look on his face for about 30 seconds and stayed totally silent. Well, he couldn't hold it in and started laughing, told me to "stand at ease" and hollered for someone outside his office. In walks the folks that took care of fitting folks with helmet, g-suit, etc as well as egress training (how to get out of the aircraft in an emergency) and quickly ushered me out of the office and down to their work area. I began to get excited. The Colonel came down about 15 minutes later, and informed me, that as long as I passed a "mini flight physical", that he was going to take me up in an F-4 for a checkride. five days later, I was back to dress out and get my pre-flight briefing. Off we go to the flightline. My heart was about to beat out of my chest. The crew chief got me settled into the "backseat" of the F-4 and refreshed my memory on what "not to touch except in an emergency". They cinched me in tight, the Colonel climbed in and got settled, and the next thing I know we are beginning to taxi. I knew it was gonna be a go when he lowered the cockpit and made it to the end of the runway for hold. Within about five minutes we were rolling. He hit the "burners" and we lifted off and began a pretty steep climb. Holy Cow!! I got a FOUR HOUR checkride that day. We did combat manuevers, broke the sound barrier, did touch and goes at Key West Naval Air Station , simulated bomb runs over the Dry Tortugas, and best of all, I got to fly the bird for about 30 minutes. I won't say that my stomach stayed calm. As a matter of fact, I used my "barf bag" and pretty much stayed on 100% oxygen the whole flight to keep the nausea down. When we touched down, my wife and several of my squadron workmates, my commander, and a photographer were there. I had pictures taken, they framed my flight log, etc. Overall, it is the most memorable experience of my life.