Taking the Plunge(s)

With a few splashes, a few solid thuds, and the roar of a helicopter over the bay, API has drawn to a close for class 0637. Last Friday was the dreaded helo dunker, which turned out to be not nearly as bad as I thought. One of the rescue swimmers on hand took some video footage, which I’ll try to get posted as soon as I can find a way. Monday was our last day in the pool, with practice escaping from parachutes in the water. Yesterday we practiced escaping from a parachute harness while being dragged across a field (by three classmates) and descent procedures in a virtual-reality parachute flight simulator. We also practiced parachute landing falls into a gravel pit.

The technique we practiced for parachute landings came in really handy for today’s training: overland parasailing at a grass airstrip in Alabama. The parasailing was a blast. I was a little nervous about being dragged through the sky behind a pickup truck and then falling down like a sack of potatoes. But I had two good rides and we got done by a quarter to ten.

All that’s left between me and primary flight training at Whiting Field is a one-hour checkout briefing tomorrow and a handshake from the CO on Friday morning.

The physical challenges of “Disney Week” have reminded me how much I love this job. I’m not the kind of person who likes to do manual labor outside all day, but it would also drive me nuts to be stuck in a cubicle doing drawings of wing nuts or counting beans or something. This is a perfect blend. And no two days at work are really the same. The job literally changes with the weather. I can’t wait to get my hands on a T-34!


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