I'll never hear another fighter jet flying over south Mississippi without thinking of my time inside the cockpit of Thunderbird #7. My hour-long flight was without a doubt, the most exhilarating experience of my life. But you only saw about a minute of it on WLOX News. Here, I've compiled about seven and a half minutes of my favorite moments in the air.
You'll get to see all the crazy maneuvers my pilot, Major Tyler Ellison, put me through. No, it wasn't a test of my endurance - it was more a show of the agility and power of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, as well as Maj. Ellison's extraordinary ability to pilot it. You'll also get to hear the moment I realize a ladybug hitchhiked a ride with us in the cockpit! Or how about the time WOLF (Maj. Ellison's call sign) asks me if I'm ready (referring to the next maneuver), and all I can say is, "for what?" Each turn, flip, and afterburner bolt was an adventure because I didn't know what to expect!
Two days after my flight, I watched Thunderbirds one through six perform over Keesler Air Force Base. Like you, I got chills. I was filled with pride to know they demonstrate the power, precision, and respect of our United States Air Force. In a word, they are awesome.
There truly are no words to describe what it's like to fly inside this sleek fighting machine, much less with one of the world's greatest pilots. But hopefully this extended video from my flight will give you a better understanding of the experience from the skies. I'm humbled and extremely honored to have been selected for the "Thunderbird Familiarization" flight. Thank you USAF Thunderbirds, for inspiring this wannabe fighter pilot; thank you for inspiring tomorrow's airmen to follow in your footsteps, to be a part of the greatest air force in the world.