oregon adventures

Sunday, November 26, 2006

My F-15 Ride


Wednesday I got to ride in an F-15. Once a year they hold a lottery to give out 2 rides for the year and I won last year. I've been in the Air Force/Air National Guard 26 years and this was my first and probably only ride.

Started at 7:30 Am getting fitted for a flight suit. Mike the life support guy also ran the Turkey Trot and said he had run the Hood to Coast relay 3 times. After getting fitted I had to go through emergency procedures in the simulator and then hang in a parachute simulator. My friend Kevin works on base, so he was allowed to come over and take pictures.

After that my pilot Major Poorman ("papa") gave me a briefing and some maps of where we were going. We were going to buzz Reiser stadium to practice for the fly-by during the OSU-UO civil war game and then along the coast. The weather was extremely crappy, rainy and low clouds, but we went out to the plane and got ready- notice the big smile I'm wearing?

Got strapped in and the pilot went through his checklist while I looked around. Looking at the cramped cockpit and the weather and I decided to let Kevin keep the camera and get take-off and landing pictures.


Taxied out and armed the ejection seat and the tower said you can go. It was time!! Papa said here we go and we started up and then he said going afterburner and in a second or two we were airborne (top picture), and then we did a gate climb which was straight up to 15,000 feet. The G-suit around my legs inflated and I tensed up and did yoga puff type breaths. It was only a couple of seconds and we were flipping over and leveling out at 15000 feet. Unfortunately it was a cloudy day and all I could see was white. It was a very strange sensation and sight- sitting in a bubble completely surrounded by white. Then we went down to 5000 feet trying to find some clearing. The instruments said we were going down and the sinking feeling said we were going down, but the white didn't change at all. That on top of a slight head cold I believe did me in. I started to get dizzy and nauseous, so I unhooked the mask and looked at only the instruments. It seemed like only a couple of minutes and we were descending on Corvallis to see the stadium. We came down to 3000 feet and we came out of the clouds and I could see the town of Corvallis and then we flew over the stadium and then up into the clouds again. On the ascent I lost it and used the air sickness bag. A few minutes later we were at the coast and came down to 2000 or 3000 feet over the water and flew along the coast looking at Newport and Lincoln City and the whitecaps on the ocean. It was great and weird at the same time sitting on air in a bubble floating along the coast. We were supposed to do a bunch of aerobatic moves then pulling G's and doing flips, but I was in bad shape so we did one slow roll so I could say I'd been upside down and we did it. I had time to say that was cool and then really lost it, so Major Poorman took it up in the clouds and zoomed back to Portland. The flight plan had us going over St Helens, if I weren't sick that would have been great, but all I wanted to do was stop and get out. Finally I stopped losing it and we descended into the Portland area over Sauvie's Island which is where we came out of the clouds. I could see the roads where I'd ridden and then downtown Vancouver and then on the runway and into the base.


As you can see by the pictures I'm not smiling as I got out. Even though I got sick it was still cool to fly in something like that. I didn't get to take the stick or do big G's like a normal ride, but I guess I'm not good with motion. I've never been motion sick before- not fun. But I did get to do a gate climb. And I got a view of the coast I would never see normally.

When I got back to my shop, they took one look at me and I was off for the rest of the day.
This Saturday after swim-spin at the club, we talked about Bigfoot full and it turns out only 12 people did it last year and Denise (my coach) said that wouldn't be fun being out there by ourselves. So now the choices are Vineman full (California in August) or Grand Columbian full (Washington in September with a 5000+ bike climb). Everybody will vote next week and decide.

11 Comments:

  • Hey Jeff! How fun is that?! I had a client that was a Pilot in the Air Force Reserve and he took me up in a Black Hawk. Very cool! Looks like you had a good time but might be better off on the ground! ;)

    By Blogger Deb, at 4:23 PM  

  • aw, bless your heart! -- i'm sorry you got sick, but like you say possibly a once in a lifetime experience so i'm glad you were able to at least get up there.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:02 PM  

  • You know Jeff I never get tired of seeing pictures of the base. I work out there but don't get on the flightline much. Glad you had a good time.

    My vote is for Grand Columbian.

    By Anonymous Kevin, at 5:45 PM  

  • Wow, that is so cool! I would have gotten sick too, I'm sure. But what an amazing adventure!

    Jodi

    By Blogger Jodi, at 5:42 AM  

  • Wow, that sounded great, although I was sad to hear you got sick. I also spent 26 years in the USAF and to give you a perspective on the time I was in, I managed to ride in an F-105G and an F-4E twice, besides all the C-130, C-141 and KC-135 travels.

    Hope you are enjoying all parts of your life!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:34 AM  

  • Kewl ride!

    By Blogger kara, at 6:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger kara, at 6:00 PM  

  • I think I would have peed my pants.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:39 AM  

  • I would have turned green!! You crazy man you!!

    By Blogger Lora, at 11:23 AM  

  • Oh wow, I am totally jealous. Sorry you got sick, but what an awesome opportunity!!! I would love to take an F-15 ride, but that'll prolly never happen. The craziest thing I've ever flown is a Pitts S2B.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:43 AM  

  • Thats awesome!! I have always dreamed of flying in an F-15, If you don't mind could you email me how to sign up for this lottery?
    At--hunterbw07@hotmail.com

    By Blogger Hunterbw, at 5:11 PM  

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