Posted: Oct 29, 2011 9:10 AM by Tracy Wirtz
Updated: Oct 30, 2011 4:44 PM
The day started with a visit with the flight surgeon. He made sure I was fit to fly at those speeds, and that my body would withstand the amount of force it would be subjected to. He explained what would happen when we pulled more than 2 Gs. Basically, if you don't breathe right and tense the right muscles... frankly, your gluts... the blood doesn't make it to your brain and you can pass out. He said remember two important things: tighten up and release the mask if you get sick! That's what the bag is for!
Next, I got fitted with my very own flight suit... boots and all! Then came the helmet and face mask.
I had an enjoyable meeting with my pilot... call sign Buzzer... who was fun and kind and clearly loves what he does. He's been a combat pilot for 17 years so I knew I was in good hands.
And it was time to go... gear in place... including my name on the plane (how cool is that?!?!) We are ready to fly!
Takeoff felt like I was being launched from a slingshot, and then it was straight up. Buzzer encouraged me to look at the ground and it was very cool to see it rush away. And then we rolled. No problem! I got this!
We flew to airspace cleared for maneuvers and decided to do some major turns. We pulled about 4 Gs on the first turn and then came the next one. Just over 5 and a half Gs. And that's when my brain and body decided to disconnect... and lunch made a return trip.
I tried everything to bank the nausea but I couldn't. Buzzer was absolutely wonderful. He kept the plane level as we continued on to texas, keeping up friendly conversation. But my stomach refused to cooperate and I felt every turn, no matter how slight.
As sick as i was, it was the ride of a lifetime! The whole Thunderbird crew was amazing and made me very proud that these men and women are on our side!
For more on the Thunderbirds, visit http://thunderbirds.airforce.com/