Sunday, July 29, 2007

Air Force Brat Reminices with Dad...

Unless you've known me a very long time and quite intimately, in fact, you won't know that I'm absolutely fascinated by military aircraft, fighters in particular. High performance machines capable of such maneuverability, so nimble yet forceful.

I've come to realize that Dad has marked me in many ways---I love to tinker with things (hence my returning home with most of his toolbox and its contents), Country & Western standards illuminate the contradiction in my loathing for contemporary country music, and I am absolutely transfixed by flying jets.

The small liberal arts university I attended was located at one end of a small town where the only other thing of any consequence was an Air Force base, the air training command as it were, for the USAF. Being a women's-only school, there was a natural synergy between the institutions---freshly minted lieutenants just out of the Academy or ROTC learning to soar as well as stretch their own wings socially after long years of academic and military rigor in school, young women intent on their own futures hoping for a little distraction themselves. Between my father and the social opportunities of my college years, we might have guessed that I know more about jets than most girls.

I've often deliberated this inconsistency; I'm such a Dove. But since this world does have fighting planes, I've been captivated by them, regardless of their raison d'etre. I guess that's it---they'd impress me if they were put to other uses...I'd prefer that. But I can't help but marvel at the aerodynamics, the physics, the materials development, the mechanics...

Dad and I have had a great time looking at videos of high-performance flying machines of today, such as the F-22 Raptor with its thrust vectoring and stealth-ish attributes and also reminiscing about the days he worked on F-4 Phantoms... I hope you enjoy the YouTube clip of the Raptor; there are lots and lots of demonstrations on the net if you'd care to see more. This F-22 simply takes my breath away. I never imagined an airplane might have these capabilities---its just one or two steps away from the Jetsons, isn't it? And since we've already realized all of the Dick Tracy fantasies, it seems about time to take them on, eh? Ruh-roh!

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