With the Thunderbirds at Grand Forks Air Force Base this week, I’m more than a little nostalgic for the Thunderbirds "demonstration" flight I got to take. It was years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.
After going through all the manuevers that the Thunderbirds go through during an air show, we still had some fuel left to burn. True story. So, I got to "buzz" my house (much to Ginny’s surprise) and to take the "joy stick" (or whatever it’s called) to pull what I would term a backward roll. Cliche that is, it was the thrill of a lifetime.
Someone at work this week asked me what the flight was like. It’s like the best amusement park ride imaginable times at least a hundred. I swear it’s the most fun a person can have–sitting up.
The second question I got asked this week was, "Did you get sick." The answer is no. I did not barf. To be honest, though, it took me an hour or so on the ground before I was feeling like myself. I remember I fared far better that day than my esteemed counterpart from the Grand Forks Herald. I don’t remember his name, but I do remember he was a he. I also remember that, not feeling so well, he had to abandon his car temporarily at Grand Forks Air Force base and call for a ride back to town. On the other hand, I drove myself back to town, manfully.
About ten years later the Navy’s Blue Angels made an appearance at the base. I rode with one of their pilots as well, even though a reporter is supposed to have just one flight per lifetime. I lied. (It’s not the first time I’ve lied to the military.) For another chance to fly, I’d do it again, too. Note to air show officials everywhere: Keep an eye on me.
My Blue Angels flight was about ten years later and I was about ten years older. My recovery on the ground took a little longer. Nevertheless, I did not get "sick" on that flight either. My cup runneth over with testosterone.