Thursday, March 16, 2017

Fun with Stick and Plane

It's all getting too much. Far too much serious chatter goes on in the Tavern and it was getting high time for a change of tempo and subject. Both were solved by a squadron of  pilots swanning in through the front doors (the doors with the carvings). This old Taverner loves the air and planes and poleing around the skies. I am getting past it though.

So indulge me here. And indulge yourselves too. It is an opportunity to break out the good stuff; the Glen Morangie, the Glenfiddich, and even the Phipps IPA. Sound chaps' drinks. It has been a while and some things have changed. Time flies and compresses.
The Gnat gives an itch that has to be scratched from time to time  

Once was that these guys (my lot) would start off on Jet Provosts: graduate to Gnats; and thence to fat, ugly, fighting steeds. 

Now it is back to props (albeit turbine driven) in the Tucano and onto Hawks. Then to sleek and really quite smart machines that appear to have been designed with small boys' toys in mind.

I do rather like the Tuc though. For a lad (or as is increasingly the case, ladess) to cut his/her teeth in the flying game one might as well start with some cognitive pressure. And even the basic training in these machines provides ample opportunity for that. 

Here we go then. Shorts Tucano from 1 FTS, RAF Linton-on-Ouse, North Yorkshire. Strap in and hold tight.

Enjoy that? The music doen't usually play in the cockpit. You do have to be sharp to get through that phase. Many are called and only slightly less many get chopped. But what a ride eh? It will stay with those who do not make it.

Then the stage winners of the greatest reality show on earth move on. To Hawks.  

Now, how can we capture the sense here. It is like, say, having a rich mate saying, "Fancy taking my Maserati for a spin". 

I am (was) very familiar with the airfield shown below. It is Valley in North Wales.  Back then it was Gnats that I went all over the place in.  Superb, tiny planes that accelerated going straight up !  They, like the Hawk, were designed to be fighters even though the RAF wanted trainers.  So, fighter performance.

 Keep a close eye on the rear-view mirrors !  The Gnat didn't have them. 

Graduate from those and it will be off to the OCU. If you do well it will be a warplane OCU. Tornado: Typhoon. Fast, demanding, the 'warrior' life. Not so well and its the lumbering heavies for you. Passenger planes, Supply planes. Hey, its a good life. Don't knock it.  There will be more time to get things done and you can have a coffee and go to the loo.

In a fast jet there are 'pressures'. Time shrinks, there is so much to do. You have barely done what is needed at one point when suddenly you are 20 miles away and need to do a lot more.  Your mind must be trained to work that fast and with such absolute accuracy. And your body is put under huge forces.

Now, those huge forces..... these fast jets can pull more 'G' than your body can stand. In positive 'G' your body weight increases. 2 G: twice. 3G: three times. Think how difficult it woould be to lift a foot or a hand that weighed 9 times as much. The blood is pulled downwards, away from your head. You can fall unconscious. A pressure suit helps but only for a few moments. Then imagine the situation reversing itself and suddenly the blood rushes the other way ! 

Imagine going from 9 to -3 in a few seconds. a 12 G shift.

It can be very wearing. Mistakes can ensue. Judgement can be affected. If you are lucky you will walk away, to the bar, and have a good stiff drink.

*Note.... you may have to click on the 'You Tube' symbol to see this clip. It is instructive. There are two sorts of pilots: Those that have made a pig's ear of a landing, and those that are going to. If you can walk away, its OK.

Flying is fantastic. Everyone should give it a go at least once or twice. If any opportunity comes along to fly in a 'performance' plane, your life experience will be enhanced (or your drinks are on the house until further notice.) 

Here is a young woman who seems to be giving it a go. Just look at the joy !! 

In fact it is her plane. 

She was used to flying it rather be being flown.

What about a woman not used to it?

Let us see.

Hey. That's what the long and complex training is all about.

But it pays off. 

There is a very important lesson here, if you look hard. 

It is not much use believing you can fly just with your head. Or with your heart. Even with your whole head and heart.  It doth not a pilot make.

Its like Christianity. It takes hard work. Discipline.  Few try it: even fewer pass. Simply wanting is not enough, no matter what the gurus say. It will always remain a dream until you make it real, and to do that means work. 

Simply saying you believe is not enough. You have to 'Believe'. That is 'Live your life by'.

It has to be automatic and deliberate at the same time. At speed. Under immense pressure. Accurate. Correct. 

By the tried and tested Rules, that have been devised over a very long time and after many, many disastrous errors have been eliminated. 

And you do not go to a fly-by-night school (or church) either; one set up by a bloke who thought he could do better by cutting a corner here, a rule there, changing the manuals 'just a bit' and giving it a fancy title and cover.  The chap who says, "What He meant was....". "In the King James version of the Manual it says.....".

'Versions' ain't good enough. Not original.

Those pilots in training are to see 'action' in Wars that they did not ask for, against enemies who appear from over the horizon, out of sight.  Like Catholic Warriors they need purity. 

When Arjuna was sent into battle in a war he did not wish to fight, he recieved his orders from Krishna, who not only drove his chariot but made it clear that, as he was not yet pure, he should not look upon the Divine face. 

You want wings?

Angelic ones?

Get it right and you get the highly disciplined Freedom that brings ecstacy.

Meanwhile, gentlemen and ladies, here's to fliers everywhere, especially the modern Knights and Catholic Warriors. The bar is open.



  1. Love it! True heroes to me :)

    I like the comparison of flying to Christian discipline, Amen. Neither are for the faint of heart :)

    I watched the first 2, but as I'm working (and taking entirely too much time to write this) I'll have to come back and watch the rest of the videos when I have more time later. In the meantime, the reporter video reminded me of another video, so here's one for you, press bravado vs. reality :)

    I used to lived in Pensacola, Florida, home of the Blue Angels, who flew over us after each hurricane that year (2004-2005), tipping their wings at us to boost our morale, so they are nearly sacred to me :)

    Jim "Hurricane" Cantore, The Weather Channel phenom who correctly predicted the eye of each hurricane (and reportedly them a bit too gleefully for my taste) was famous for his weightlifting and doing pushups during hurricane force winds, took a ride with the Blue Angels a couple of years ago, 10 years after that hurricane seasons, fulfilling their promise to him.

    Though the pilots coached him on breathing, Cantore was no match for the G's and passed out ;) (I couldn't help but giggle - America's tough guy was no match for the REAL tough guys, Blue Angel pilots :) )

    PS - Just gotta add here, dear, there is a lady Blue Angel now, Captain Katie Higgins (daughter of a famous male fighter pilot), but she's really good! She's still flying the Fat Albert C-130, but that's the typical role for all new Blue Angels until they learn more and she's happy to do so, continue learning.

    It honestly wasn't political, they can't take the risk of life or money just to please politics - Blue Angels have to pass rigorous testing, are recommended to the team, then voted in by the angels - which means she passed all of the above and was voted in by her male peers. It may be rare, but it happens. If ya got the right stuff, genes plus talent plus discipline - go for it, I say :)

    I always wanted to be a fight pilot, but an inner-ear/motion sickness problem prevents it (among other things lol)

    1. I am really pleased you liked that. The skills are hard won by dedicated, intelligent, hard striving men - and woman. I have featured women pilots several times and acknowledge that they are amongst the same tippy-top super-folk. Genes, talent and discipline. Yes indeed.

      I hope you do come back and see the other video clips. They are all short. But each tells a tale to those who watch and listen.

      Chardonnay on your table by the window.

    2. Hi Amfortas - thank you so much for wine, the window and the wings, we've all enjoyed them :)

      I have noticed you've featured women pilots, actually. Honestly, their gender doesn't matter to me, they clearly do more than I could ever do on my best day regardless! But they do inspire us to continue to reach for the sky with our own personal goals :)

      PS - *Sigh* Seems some women complain you don't post about women positively enough and some men think you "push" women pilots ;)

      Please allow the ladies who can see things a bit more clearly found round here to pour YOUR drink today by saying thank you for noticing jobs well done regardless of gender - we couldn't help noticing you noticed :)

  2. Thank you for sharing some fine flying machines piloted by extraordinary men. I am a bit of a Chally 2 girl myself ;-)

    “When Arjuna was sent into battle in a war he did not wish to fight, he received his orders from Krishna, who not only drove his chariot but made it clear that, as he was not yet pure, he should not look upon the Divine face.”

    The external and internal battle that perpetuates through the ages.

    We need to strive to make ourselves pure :-)

    1. We really do need to have a tank gal stand in the bar and strut her stuff. :) Yes, the battle continues and fine young men and women through the ages must confront it. It is a sad fact that most are woefully unprepared for the final count.

  3. Those videos were quite a sight. They don't, however, compare to the real thing, as you and I both know. Excellent comparison of flying and faith. Studying the manual helps in the execution of the mission. Here's a little humor & truth now...Pilots believe in clean living. They never drink whiskey from a dirty glass. I raise a glass as I fly a loop today (and it won't spill as there will be positive G throughout). Blue skies and fair winds.

    1. I had you very much in the fore of my mind when I put that together. The first few planes - Tuc and Hawk - are similar to the ones you are used to. Keep your boys, home made and borrowed for a course, clean and honed. Purity comes slowly, like that 'situational awareness'. And only to a few.

      Yes, the 'real thing'. I sit at my computer these days flying a very much smaller 'Sim' and it does not have that physical sensation and forces for me to deal with. Forgive my envy (it is not enough to be sinful :) ). You have the best of several worlds.

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Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..