Not long ago, my wife retired from the Air National Guard after having previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps. With 24 years of military experience, those that serve are almost always bound to walk away with a story or two to tell. This is one of those stories. In January 2006, Karen was given the opportunity to fly in the backseat of an F-16 (General Dynamics Fighting Falcon). Below, in her own words is what Karen experienced during that flight. She originally wrote this on our family blog that we're shutting down, but I felt compelled to make sure her story lived on within the contents of this blog.
Since retirement, Karen has become an accomplished photographer and is currently employed by a local capital investment group.
By Karen Ruby, Originally posted on January 16, 2006 on bryansplace.com.
Well, I think I had the highlight of my LIFE this weekend - experienced a 1.2 hour F-16 ride with one of our pilots in the 2-seater! It was absolutely incredible! Logan was SOOO excited too - he just loves airplanes of all kinds but especially the fighters! We took off, going from 0 mph to 350 mph in under 10 seconds and went straight up in the air (vertical) to 15,000 feet then it felt like we just kind of stopped before we came back horizontal. We did loops and rolls and a fast stop and I pulled 8.1 g's. That was intense.
You wear a g-suit that inflates and puts pressure on your body to force the blood up to your head since pulling that many g-s pulls all of the blood out of your head and I felt like a had a huge boa constrictor on me! I don't think I could have pulled much more because I was starting to get tunnel vision with that - everything just started getting darker and darker - it was weird! I got to fly the jet and even did 3 rolls with the plane.
I have a heightened respect for what those guys do every day. It can't be easy on the body or the mind. Just as a passenger, I had over 3 hours of instruction just on contingency situations.