Battered And Brused

Day four of the Accelerated Free Fall Instructors course and I’m beat.  As in beat up.  I’m covered in bruises from candidates trying to hang on to me on exit and then trying to catch me in free fall when I get away.  for the most part they are all doing well but even the best of them gets a little too aggressive and hits me kind of hard.  Not only does this hurt but it gets them an unsat on the dive making them do it again.  Up until now they have been doing classroom work and practice dive but today they go “Hot” which means every dive counts.  If they score too low or get too many unsats they fail the course costing them to have wasted a week of their time and about a thousand dollars so you can imagine pressure.  Seeing me limp around the house this morning moaning and groaning my wife told suggested that I take the day off and not jump today.  It’s an appealing thought but I’ve worked too hard on these kids to take a break now.

Black Betty

I stumbled across this picture of my 1960 BE-65 Queen Air that someone took as I was leaving Oshkosh last year.  I was pretty excited to find this because It’s the only photo I have of Black Betty in flight and seeing that I’m the only one who flies her this is the first time I’ve gotten to  see what she looks like in the air!  I think I’m in love all over again.

N800EQ, 1960 Beech U-8F C/N 60-05390, Airventure 2012

Your Weekly Lex, For Strength


A bad weather day


Sometimes the mission doesn’t make much sense.
Sometimes you do it anyway.
Everyone has a store of sea stories that makes him looks like a hero.
This is not one of those.
Fighter aviation is mercillessly unforgiving of weakness of any sort, personal, professional, or character. The pressure to compete and succeed is remarkable – sometimes it can be fatal.
I loved it. […]
This story reminds me of how WAY too many ferry flights ended.  When your flight is up to ten hours long and the weather forecast was already a few hours old when you took off the conditions you could expect when you finally got to your destination were frequently surprising, and never in a good way.

Let The Games Begin

Well it’s that time of year again.  Time for a few brave skydivers to see if they’ve got what it takes to throw innocent young students out of perfectly good airplanes, let them go and see if they can catch them again when things go wonky.  Yes it’s time for our annual Accelerated Freefall Instructors course.  Despite my right hip giving me problems, don’t ask, I’ve stupidly bravely volunteered my expert services to act as the worst out of control student the candidates have ever seen.  I might bitch about being subjected to repeated freefall collisions, low pulls and morons tracking away with my pilot chute, TWICE!  but I keep doing it because I love it and because it’s important to keep renewing my pool of instructors.  I also love it because it’s a hell of a lot of fun.  Not only do I mess with the candidates in the air I get to do my best to trip them up on the ground.  To do that I take on different persona’s that each have their own individual set of problems that the candidate has to overcome and still be an effective instructor, my favorite is Billy Balls.  Billy Balls is a 70’s era ex-porn star turned film maker who just can’t seem to pay attention to what he’s supposed be concentrating on when women are around.  He’s constantly hitting on the women and trying to get them to star in his next movie.  In the plane when the candidates are trying to get him to go over what he’s supposed to do on the next skydive he instead will turn around and caress the thigh of the jumper behind him and ask them “Do you want to be a star?”  Good fun.  At the door I do things like wave to the camera or other jumpers, adjust my goggles or try and ask a question while hanging halfway out of the plane, them of course I just let go and curl up in a ball trying to flip over on the exit.  If the candidates can somehow manage to get me stable they’re supposed to let me go at which time I flip over on my back and begin spinning uncontrollably.  The candidate’s job is to catch me, flip me over and pull my simulated ripcord before passing through the 3500 foot hard deck.  It does make for some interesting jumps, stay tuned.