Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated.
He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a F-14 Tomcat.
If you aren't laughing out loud by the time you get to 'Milk Duds,' your sense
of humour is seriously broken.

Now this
message is for America 's most famous athletes:

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of
your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have. John
Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity,
let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity…

Move to Guam .

Change your name.

Fake your own death!

Whatever you

Do Not Go!!!

I know.

The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was
thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should have known when they told me my
pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station
Oceania in Virginia Beach .

Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named
Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue
eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake — the kind of man who
wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run
the other way, Fast.

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King,
was for years the voice of NASA missions. ('T-minus 15 seconds and counting .'
Remember?) Chip would charge neighbourhood kids a quarter each to hear his
dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him
to say, 'We have liftoff'.

Biff was to fly me in an F- 14D Tomcat, a
ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight,
not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the
night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the
next morning.

'Bananas,' he said.

'For the potassium?' I asked.

'No,' Biff said, 'because they taste about the same coming up
as they do going down.'

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on
my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast.

(No call sign —
like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot. But, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet
in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a
chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

A fighter pilot named Psycho
gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which,
when employed, would 'egress' me out of the plane at such a velocity that I
would be immediately knocked unconscious.

Just as I was thinking about
aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew
a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We levelled out and
then canopy-rolled over another F-14..

Those 20 minutes were the rush
of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80.. It was like being on the
roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel
rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again,
sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased
another F-14, and it chased us.


We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea.
Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of
6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing
against me, thereby approximating life as Colin Montgomerie.
And I egressed
the bananas.

And I egressed the pizza from the night before.

the lunch before that.

I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth

I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was
egressing stuff that never thought would be egressed.

I went through
not one airsick bag, but two.

Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was
coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked
curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla
and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in
history to throw down.

I used to know 'cool'. Cool was Elway throwing a
touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know
'cool'. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves.
I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff
does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He
said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it
on a patch for my flight suit.

What is it?? I asked.



Time for a C-Gar!!


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