Last year, I got an unbelievable opportunity to fly in an Aero L-39 Albatros.
This is a Czech designed and built aircraft with some Soviet Union parts, like the engine. It is still in use today by some Soviet allies. I talked about my ride last August, but it was brought to the forefront of my mind today when I read a story about my buddy, Dan Bailey, former Oklahoma State University football kicker, and now the ever-consistent kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, going on a ride very similar to mine. His ride was with the Blue Angels.
Here is the link to his flight prep and some of the footage of him in the flight.
Just like Dan, when our jet left the runway, we started a steep climb and banked hard to the right. It kind of takes your breath away when you realize, "of course I am sitting back hard in my seat,
I should have expected we would get right to it."
I have similar video of myself during my flight, and it makes me know I need to get that edited and put up on You Tube. I sat down to do that once, and with two cameras, each with over 90 minutes of video,
it became time consuming and overwhelming.
In Dan Bailey's video, he keeps his composure. In his video, he has a stern or serious look on his face. In my video, all you can see is my teeth, I am smiling so big. I am yelling, I am talking, and I am asking questions. After what feels like 30 minutes, I get quiet. The enormity of what I am doing and how I will probably never do it again sets in. I start to look around in every direction. There were beautiful clouds in the sky that day, and I will never forget the silence and the 180 degree view from my left shoulder all the way up and over to my right shoulder.
Apparently, I have a stomach of steel. And I was able to fly, control, roll and loop-tee-do our jet. Dan doesn't mention whether or not he got to actually steer or fly his plane. I'm sure he did. My bet is on the fact that he is not allowed to talk about it. He pulls 7 G's. Pssssshhhhhhh............
Yeah, well, I can't kick a football between the uprights.
Yet again, being an NFL player must have its perks, because I was not allowed to consider riding along on a U.S. military jet. I believe I was permitted to accompany my friend, Dan, (different Dan) the pilot, on a training mission" after signing my name in 23 places on some document taking full responsibility for my choice to ride along and holding no one responsible by doing so. The video I have really is quite amazing. As soon as I can find the time, I will pull that together.