Living in the present, remembering the past 4
This is the Monday after Easter, why did this memory come to me? No way to explain- perhaps it's my age 80, but I was drawn back to my time in Undergraduate Pilot Training Webb AFB, Big Spring Texas, 1964. Primary training - Cessna built T-37 twin-engine with Continental Centrifugal flow jet engines - louder than anything on Earth, likely why my high-frequency hearing is affected. Oh, and as an afterthought, I am partaking of a Bud light and chips, (PERHAPS THAT'S IS WHY I GET MELANCHOLY) anyway to continue.
My USAF Instructor is 1st Lieutenant Brame, a Texas A&M graduate I am an Iowa State University Graduate with a B.S in Animal Science -go figure. Our little squad of students number 4, I don't remember all their names, but in the archives of our class, they are still among us after all these years. Thus: We go through briefing after briefing of the maneuvers we are to be introduced to on this mission and all subsequent missions. I admire his patience and precision, we are such knuckleheads that repetition, repetition is the only thing that keeps us progressing forward to the next lessons, contact flying, aerobatics, navigation, instrument flying, formation, and finally the final exam which puts us in numerical standing with our classmates - then we move on to the Northrup T-38 Supersonic trainer.
Each flight is graded and critiqued - U (unsatisfactory), G (Good), E (excellent). We all got a few Us, mostly Gs, and an occasional E. Surprisingly I got mostly Gs and where it counted a few Es.
Anyway on this particular flight Lt Brame exposed me to a flight situation I had never experienced before. Think - we normally deal in a two-dimension environment - flight is three-dimension environment. Anyway here I am totally out of control, not knowing what the hell to do, and Lt. Brame is saying, Stiegelmeyer, (sometimes I was called "Baron" because of my surname) do something, even if its wrong do something. Well, I did something, it turned out to be the right recovery and I received a G for the flight.
What is the lesson? Hang in there, keep trying, eventually, it will turn out O.K. Survival is the goal.