That's how the military is though, nothing makes sense ever.
Especially the fact that as a non-flyer, I was able to request a flight and actually got it.
So not only is the military full of oxymorons, it's also full of surprises.
|Gettin' my pickle suit on.|
So on Thursday, my "unofficial" last day of work, I got to take a ride in a MH-60R helicopter. I had my hopes set on a DC low level flight so I could get some awesome aerial photos of the monuments and possibly the white house. We got loaded up and started taxiing to the pad and something went wrong so we had to turn around and go back.
The pilots told maintenance that if they were able to get the issues solved within 30-40 minutes we'd still be able to fly, but he informed me that we wouldn't be able to do our DC trip, and I'm not even going to pretend like I wasn't crushed. I tried to continue to be excited that I did at least get to almost fly, buttt I hadn't.
While I was waiting on not hearing back from the pilots and preparing myself mentally that the plane wouldn't be fixed in time, because that's my luck, I was getting my ducks in a row for my close out eval so I could bring it over to PSD to obtain my DD-214 (aka freedom papers). As I was coming back across the hangar, I saw one of the aircrew who told me the problem was fixed and to grab my gear and head out to the aircraft. WINNNN!!!!
We all headed out to the aircraft and I sat in the back praying there would be no issues.
In a turn of good luck, we were able to go flying!!! I'll just show you the pictures instead of blabbing on...
|Because the door was open, it was hard to hear me on the ICS (internal communication system)|
|We opened the door for our practice SAR (search and rescue)|
|Descending to 10ft over the water|
|At this point, a real SAR swimmer would have jumped in the water.|
|Instead I just took photos.|
|Then I got to "drive" the helo to rescue a buoy from the rear control.|
Then the awesome stuff was over and we had to return to base so I could get to my going-away luncheon. I did get some awesome scenery photos since we had the door open (despite the breeze).
|TJ Solomon's Bridge|
|The sailor who never sailed.|
|Getting our bath|
|1x helo incoming.|
|Helmet hair, WOAH.|
Gentle Readers, this was one of the most awesome experiences I got to have in the Navy. Granted, it was probably because it was special to me. If flying was my job, I'd probably have enjoyed it a lot less.
And if you weren't aware, navy helos (at least) are scary. They rattle and leak and are taken apart and put back together on a regular basis and they shake so hard they make your teeth rattle.
Fun story for you:
The last time I rode in a helicopter, I was at Gatlinburg, TN with Teh Granny, Teh Mom, and Teh Sister. We decided to go on a commercial helo ride and I was pretty excited because I had never flown before. I was allowed to sit up front with the pilot and Teh Granny, Teh Mom, and Teh Sister sat in the back. We went airborne and the pilot told us that we could unbuckle if we wanted to. I considered it for a second, but then got distracted by all the dials and buttons and how far I could see, so I didn't.
As we continued the flight, the pilot banked right to make a turn and my door flew open. I can't even make this up. I felt myself start to slide and I was grabbed by someone and the pilot quickly leveled us out. The door swung back to me and he had me make sure that it was completely closed this time. We immediately started heading back.
Let me repeat that for you. My family and I were thousands of feet up in the air, we had been told we could unbuckle and none of us did (thankfully) and my door that was keeping me inside the aircraft opened mid-flight and I started to slip out of the helicopter. IRL people, IRL.
So this flight was a way of semi-facing a fear. There was a part of me that did NOT want to sit on the edge and put my feet over the side while we were hovering 10 feet over the water, what if I fell out? But honestly, I almost didn't think about it. I was doing it before I could second-guess myself. It wasn't until I was sitting in the door hanging on with one hand and taking photos with the other that I thought about my last helo ride.
I started to get a little anxious when I was sitting in the door, not holding on to anything trying to switch cameras or hand the aircrewman my phone to take a photo or pull off my gloves, but that was it. Fear = faced. Like a boss.