Ever Fly in a Jet Fighter?

Ever get to fly in an F-16 fighter? I have. Many of my friends have. Sometimes I forget that everyone doesn’t get to do this.    For the record. I got two rides.

incentive ride
1979- Me in the F-4.

While stationed at George AFB, morale was a little low. The 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron commander popped in on us during weekend duty and asked what would improve morale. We all said “Rides!”. So two a day until everyone flew.  I went up with my pilot “Stitch”. Mount Shasta was weathered in so we hung a right and went to the Grand Canyon and Death Valley.  We engaged our wing man, who happened to be my neighbor, in a little air to air combat. I’m proud to say I got AIM-7 hits four out of six times.

The High Yo-yo. We were the attacking aircraft.

I asked Stitch to show me a High Speed Yo-yo.

He got our speed up and yanked us into a 4 G pull up. At the top we got a couple of negative G’s as we rolled.

While rocketing towards the desert floor Stitch came on the intercom using his best “Airliner Voice”.

“As you can see from our preflight briefing, we are now demonstrating the F-4 in a maximum performance dive. Note that your V.V.I is pegged out and your H.S.I ball is completely black. Uh Oh. Talked too long, have to pull her back.”

At that point, the stick was rammed into my belly and we started to pull out of the dive. As the G load came on I fought the tunnel vision and watched the G meter needle climb.2….3…..4….5 and a half.  At this point, the Angels started to sing to me. I got a real bad “Don’t give a shit” attitude. We’d been yanking and banking. This didn’t happen before. But then I looked down and saw the end of my disconnected G-suit hose waving at me like a snake. Uh oh. I didn’t pass out, but when he unloaded the G, my beef stew lunch came right up.

After stowing my stew in a bag and going to 100% oxygen, Stitch let me fly the jet. “To help get you right again”, he said. After some straight and level with not too much negative (because negative G’s are a bitch), he asked if I wanted to try a roll. “Sure”. I tried three times to roll the aircraft but each time I did a split S. Each time Stitch pulled us out and I tried again. On the third time, he told me I “Had the jet”. With the intercom on “Cold mic”, I could still hear him ralphing in the front seat. When he took the jet back I asked, “Hey did you go cold mic for what I went cold mic for?”  He said, “Roger that. We’ll throw the bags out at the end of the runway. No one will ever know”.

zza f-16 ride
My F-16 ride in ZZA.

In Zaragoza Spain, I got a ride in an F-16. I wanted to fly with my pilot “Mikey”. When he saw me all suited up he asked me how my flight was. I told him I’d been waiting for him to get back. “Oh shit”, he said “I have to debrief. Do you know how to read our maps?’  Yes, I did. He took me to the planning room. “Plan us a route through France on Low-Level One. Pick this lake as waypoint number one. Enter France here. Then give us the range coming out of France and then back to base.” He looked at me. “Got it?”, he asked. “Yes, sir”.

“Mikey” that day.

So I sat down with the computer and planned our mission. I had it just about done when he came walking back in munching a sandwich. “Looks good, print it”.

In the briefing room, we met the other crew. “Glenbo” was taking another crew chief up. He asked Mikey if he was going to brief because Glenbo hadn’t planned anything. Mikey said “Squadron rule is he who plans, briefs. Walt is doing the briefing”. Glenbo just stared.

Once Mikey got the engine started and we were ready to taxi out he said, “Do you know where the arm/dearm area is?”


“Take us there”. Oh boy! I got to taxi us out of the spot and down to the arm/dearm area.  Mikey had more in store.

“Do you know where the Hammerhead is?”


“Take us there”.

Now I’ve got the hang of it and put the jet on the runway. Once I lined us up, Mikey ran up the engine.

“It’s a good one. Brakes out”, he said and we began to roll. At 108 mph he said…

“Take us up Walt.”


“Yes you. Hurry up we’re running out of room”.

So very gingerly I brought the stick back and we left the ground.

“No. Like this.” Mikey said.

Mikey flipped the jet over and hung me in the seat. 30,000 feet, straight down!

He yanked us into the vertical and suddenly I was riding a hundred mile an hour roller coaster straight up. We had a blast rocketing through the French mountains. We did bombing passes at the range. He showed me the “Dutch Wiggle”. Then I got my 9G pin. Nine G’s was rough, I’m not kidding. But at least I didn’t throw up.

On the way back to ZZA, Mike said look over my right shoulder.  “HOLY SHIT!”, there was Glenbo sucked up so tight I could’ve reached out and touched him.

Tight like this. T-Birds eat your heart out.

F-16 ride cup
Buy your coffee cup.


The Best of Chippie’s List

Have you ever read “Skippy’s List”? Also known as “213 Things that Skippy is no Longer Allowed to do in the Army”.  Not to be out done, I began “Chippie’s List” a while back. 111 things (and counting) that we did in the 313th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Hahn AB, Germany.  Things that really should not have happened.  Every word is true. The names have NOT been changed to protect the innocent.

I really can’t believe I haven’t posted this gem before. So without further ado, I present for your reading amusement…..in no particular order……

Chippie’s List

1. When applying face paint you cannot imitate KISS.

2. Do not address the commander as “Mom”.

3. Do not use the phrase “This is all BULLSHIT!” during an Article 15 hearing.

4. Do not park your car in the ditch in front of the Security Police desk.

5. Opening a bar while the C-130 is in flight is forbidden.

6. You cannot run a bar out of your dorm room and undercut the prices at the NCO club.

And Then….

10. When doing a maintenance run, it is not authorized to “run her up” to blow the softball back into play and there by ruin a perfectly good home run.

24. Back flips, dancing, sexual simulations or anything the Navy does are not authorized hand signals during a aircraft launch.

25. You will not pull anyone off of weekend duty to go play paintball.

38. Do not take newbies to Spanish Gay bars saying it’s just a regular Spanish bar and leave them there alone.

39. You cannot take members of other squadrons hostage and ransom them for beer.

48. Do not involve the Secretary of State during your unauthorized vacation to Sweden by declaring Diplomatic Immunity.
52. You cannot piss in the ditch next to your shelter and then direct the Ammo troops to take cover there during a Red.

63 Do not pick up the Officer’s rental car and carry it anywhere.

65. Jet engines will not be hung from the ceiling by cargo straps.

That’s 16.3 MIllion Dollars laying on the floor.

88. Never piss on the front door of someone’s apartment while waiting for a cab.

93. While on Nuclear Alert, never tell the undercover psychologist that there is no drug problem at Hahn, “We get all the drugs we want.”

95. When the undercover psychologist asks what your favorite MWR facility is, “My neighbor’s wife” is not the correct response. [ed note: MWR= Morale,Welfare and Recreation]

96. Dwarf Tossing in a Turkish bar is frowned upon.


During an ICT, do not park the jet so that it’s exhaust heats up a Mk 86 and spins up the fuse. Things become waaaaay too exciting.

111. At any reunion, you will not claim your extremely drunk friend is in diabetic shock to get a wheel chair from the casino/hotel staff.

Who was Chippie? What was Chippie? We could tell you. But then we’d have to kill you.

Read all of Chippe’s List here.