the primary research i was completing was for the Air Mobility Command Historian's office, writing a chronology of the C-9 (a plane used for aeromedical evacuation). the program was 6 weeks so my hosts wanted to make sure i got to enjoy some real air force experiences. i got to ride on a C-9 (as aircrew!) on their western loop of the country, stopping in idaho, california and texas. i even got to make the announcements. i also got to ride in a KC-135 and lie down in the boom operator's seat as it refueled a B-52. but the most awesome incentive was getting to fly a fighter jet.
st louis is just across the border from the base so i was able to visit the st louis national guard. they took me up in an F-15 as part of a four-ship simulating a dog fight with 2 F-16s. it was an amazing experience! we pulled 7 Gs and i nearly blacked out at one point but i recognized the symptoms of hypoxia (thanks biology class!) and quickly took measures to stay conscious. the pilot let me take the controls for a bit but i'm not going to lie. that was the most intimidating thing i've ever "controlled" and i gave him back the aircraft before long. and i'm happy to report that i never got sick. sometimes they like to force newbies to use the barf bag but i was a tough cookie.
so even though i'll never be a fighter pilot, i can still say i've flown a fighter jet...