21 April 2010

More bad influences, courtesy of Top Gun

To say that Top Gun imparts horrible ideas upon a young aviator is an understatement.

Years ago, we received word of a young aviator who attempted to re-enact one of the most iconic scenes of the movie. Specifically, the scene where Tom Cruise flies by a control tower at approximately 400 knots, rattling the tower so hard that the air boss spills coffee all over himself.

In retrospect, I'm not certain why it surprised anyone that some flight school student might actually try to pay homage to this scene.

On his first solo flight--a flight conducted without the aid of an instructor pilot--one enterprising young lieutenant prepared to take a ride into the danger zone. Okay, maybe just the traffic pattern. Taking off, and circling the airfield in the pattern, he turned from downwind to crosswind, preparing to line up for his final approach into the stage field.

The lieutenant, presumably hearing Harold Faltermeyer's Top Gun Anthem in his head, clicked the microphone switch on the aircraft's cyclic and called the air traffic control tower.

"Tower, this is 54E-Solo [the aircraft's "buzz" number, plus the "Solo" suffix], requesting a flyby"

There was a brief silence on the radio, with a suspicious voice answering back, "54E-Solo, say again?"

"Yes, this is 54E-Solo, request permission to buzz the tower"

I'm not even certain why he even felt the need to reply back after the tower's suspicious response, especially with his aircraft tail number. Maybe he thought he'd call back a third time, this time hovering in front of the tower for dramatic effect, while asking for permission again.

"Uh, 54E-Solo, I think you need to land and taxi to parking. Like now."

Suffice to say this was the last--and only time--a flight school student requested permission to buzz the tower. Who would have thought Top Gun was fake?

Focus: Has Hollywood lied to you? Did you try something in the military that you'd previously seen in movies or games? If so, please share.


Reach 364 said...

When I was in pilot training at Moody AFB, one of my instructors told me a great story. One of his students got pulled over by the police shortly after being issued his helmet. The student was wearing his helmet while driving, and had the oxygen cord plugged into his air conditioning vent.

And you can always count on a group of new UPT students to show up at a bar in their flight suits to pick up girls. One of friends, a female instructor pilot, was off duty at a bar when a UPT student in a flightsuit tried hitting on her. She led him on, and before long he was dangling his car keys and telling her they were the keys to his fighter jet.

MikeF said...

"Charlie Don't Surf." I thought the Armor mentality was surfing, drinking, and kicking ass in the Air Cavmobile. Then, Denzel taught me that all I had to do in a complex problem was to have all my tankers turn on their headlights and everything would be okay. Damn it. Hollywood Lied to Me!!!

shaun said...

"like now" hysterical.

limabeanium said...

Buckaroo Banzai was epic with the Navy pilots back in the mid 80's and there sign off for every briefing was "Cause, remember: no matter where you go... there you are".

Well, after about 36 straight hours working on a new computer system to forecast the ASW environment, plus training personal, I had every 12 hours this message that went out to the Battlegroup and the host of other countries Navy's that took part in the RIMPAC.

I had run up to the wall with finding new ways to describe that square of water in the Pacific. So after a short lead in sentence I added the quote. I chuckled to myself and when to bed.

Thinking that it would be removed in the chop I awoke to find Battlegroup Commander's (3 Star) staff running around like wet hens as the quote was transmitted to all the ships in that RIMPAC.

Well, my Division Officer was none to happy, but I was saved only by the fact that the Battlegroup Commander was a fan of the movie.

Mike said...

First tour to Afghanistan:

PV2 Me: So, uh, where's all the beer?

PSG: What?

Me: The beer! You know like you see all those guys in Vietnam drinking after every patrol and in guard towers and shit.

SPC Buddy: Dude... I could use a beer.

PSG: How about you two keep each other company in tower 3.

Me: So... there's no beer?


Holywood lied to me!

Starbuck said...

But Mike--they have Astra and Coors N/A. Don't those count?!

Starbuck said...

Tim--I knew a company commander who used that quote from Buckaroo Bonzai as the signature block in his e-mail.

Paul said...

Mike — They weren’t lying about Vietnam. The beer flowed like water. And they had these things called houses of ill repute right outside the gate where you could, er, relieve your stress after a mission with someone of the opposite sex who didn’t look like a bag lady. And porn — nobody cared; they had more important things to do, like fight a war. Oh, and you didn’t have to armor up and go out the gate in an MRAP, you could actually walk out or hop in a jeep and drive out. But I guess it all works out — we didn’t have Baskin-Robbins and Pizza Hut.

I really think we have to start finding some war zones with better indigenous amenities. Iraq and Afghanistan really suck in that department. Next time, lets invade France.