Hopefully you are sitting in a comfortable chair, gazing out your floor-to-ceiling windows, pondering what you will make your family for dinner tonight, and taking note that you should get your Steinway tuned (haha!). I'm just here to remind you what it was like back in the day. You know, during that week of your life when you made your first helicopter flight and you thought you were literally on top of the world.
You thought life really couldn't get any better than stepping in your flight suit, lacing up your boots, and putting your helmet on in anticipation for something a lot of people only dream of...and there you were, little old (well, actually young) hotshot you, climbing on an MH-47G for your job!
You had a hard time placing those ear buds just right and an even harder time hooking your helmet up and getting comfortable, but you didn't care. You were excited to get the egress training and learn the workings of a Chinook in flight. You were grateful for SFC Boss in the back helping you strap into the harness and saving you from certain death while ramp-surfing.
Your abnormally cold self was pleasantly comfortable hanging out the window in search of nearby traffic and your little friend Diabetes, well he was rock solid at 160 throughout the flights. It seemed you had finally found your niche...a cozy spot, high above the terrain of the eastern US, among company that had seen more, done more and knew more than your little, naive brain could ever understand. Yup, you had made it. All those years of hard work were finally worth it, and the months-long battle with the FAA melted into the cool crisp air blowing in your face. No one could take these moments away from you now.
And when you landed, after a sky-view of the great Saturn V, you realized you have so much more to learn, so much more to contribute, so much more to experience. You were full of exuberance and excitement, a feeling of accomplishment, and a yearning to experience more. You were surprised how fulfilling it was to be a flight test engineer.
You are probably thinking, "Wow, I was so dramatic back then...I was that excited just to fly in a Chinook?" But you were, you really were. And maybe by now you have experienced even greater things, and I hope you have. Just remember, everyone starts somewhere, and a crisp afternoon aboard an MH-47G was not a bad place to start.
Sincerely, 23-year-old Nerdy April