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Supreme Cmdr

A Ride In a F-14 Tomcat

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Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He

details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a F-14

Tomcat. If you aren't laughing out loud by the time you get to "Milk

Duds," your sense of humor is broken.

"Now this message is for America's most famous athletes:

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your

country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have . John El

way, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this

opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity...

Move to Guam.

Change your name.

Fake your own death!

Whatever you do .

Do Not Go!!!

I know. The U.S.Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped.

I was toast! I should've known when they told me my pilot would be Chip

(Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in

Virginia Beach.

Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like,

triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair,

finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic

alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way.

Fast

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the

voice of NASA missions. ("T-minus 15 seconds and counting ..."

Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear

his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds

waiting for him to say, "We have a liftoff."

Biff was to fly me in an F-14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60

million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin

Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before

the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next

morning.

"Bananas," he said.

"For the potassium?" I asked.

"No," Biff said, "because they taste about the same coming up as they do

going down."

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my

name sewn over the left breast. (No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or

Leadfoot ... but, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of

my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to

nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened

me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would "egress" me out of

the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked

unconscious.

Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over

me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing

nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another

F-14.

Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride

lasted 80. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over

Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks

and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical

velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it

chased us.

We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200

feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which

is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me,

thereby approximating life as Mrs. Colin Montgomerie.

And I egressed the bananas. I egressed the pizza from the night before.

And the lunch before that. I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth

grade. I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was

egressing stuff that did not even want to be egressed. I went through

not one airsick bag, but two.

Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as

we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target

and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of

consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw

down.

I used to know cool. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman

making a five-iron bite. But now I really know cool. Cool is guys like

Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves. I wouldn't go up

there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every

day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he

and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it on

a patch for my flight suit.

What is it? I asked.

"Two Bags."

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Great article, got a good laugh here at work this morning

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i went in a flight simulator. Im not sure how many G's I felt, but i felt sick within the first minute because my step daughter was doing barrel rolls and nose diving. and my body felt crushed just as described. im sure i only experienced a fraction of it. but hes right, those guys are made of iron.

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