the wild blue all to myself
The opportunity to take a jet for a spin all by myself is a wonderful, rare thing these days. In pilot training, particularly the fighter track, students have so many solos you almost get to the point they are boring... almost. They are casual at the very least. Ordinary. Flying T-38s, I figured I would be heading to a single-seat fighter and everyday would be solo. I took them for granted. Now my job requires me to have someone else in the other seat. Everyday, every sortie. And for the most part, they don't know what they are doing, simply due to lack of experience. Seriously, who else but the military flies formation at three feet? It takes most people a few rides to catch on.
But anyway, so for a person who has always wanted to fly that single-seat fighter, those solos, however few and far between, are a breath of fresh air. And yesterday was my first fresh air of my instructor career. Strange doing all the maneuvers and practice emergency patterns that students are not allowed to accomplish solo. But nothing beats total silence (minus the radios of course), no student maneuver requirements, no dead weight in the other seat. It was glorious! There is no better way to slip the surly bonds.
Except maybe if it was a solo formation....