It was an early morning ‘go;’ one of the first that clear, cool spring
morning in San Antone.  The briefing was straight forward and thorough –
routine, if a T-38 two-ship flight can be called ‘routine.’  Nothing
remarkable at the SOF (Supervisor of Flying) desk for us.  Not sure they
were completely awake yet.

On the way down to the ‘chute room, a couple of us stopped by for the
obligatory ‘departure pee.’  Then into the chute room.  Peg 52.  G-suit
first, then helmet check and finally 40 pounds of chute.  Routine so
familiar, yet so distant today.  Soon were ‘stepping:’ out the door unto the
waiting van.  ‘What’s that tail number captain?” asks Mon-roe, our driver.
Doesn’t matter that I’m a major, everyone is “captain” to Mon-roe…

Quiet ride down the flightline.  It’s cool inside the van.  All the doors are
open, and the sun is just beginning to rise.  It will be a hot one, later
the day.  You can hear the flightline coming to life with the sounds of the
air carts starting momentarily to clear their hoses.  The van comes to a
stop and we all depart – our jets are close together today.

The walk to the jet is a short one, and again conducted in silence.  Both I
and my student are alone in our individual thoughts.  Our crew chief greets
us and tells us we have a good jet.  A ‘form’s’ check and walk-around
validates his claim.

Now its up the ladder and into the cockpit.  You don’t climb into a T-38;
you strap it on.  With that mindset, its imperative you are strapped in so
tight its almost uncomfortable.  But at the same time, it feels great!

Interior cockpit check complete and now it isn’t long now before we are at
our briefed start time.  We are “lead” today, and I’ll be making the

Engine start and taxi are again, uneventful.  We are departing to the North
this morning, on Runway 32R, 32 right.  Cleared for takeoff…

Calm winds this morning, and “Two” is on the right side.  He will be taking
8-second spacing this morning.  Run-up signal, both engines stabilized in
Mil, look back at Two – his motors are good.  Tap the helmet, head back,
hesitate then forward and release brakes.  Routine.

Nosewheel steering released, rolling straight.  If I wait a second or two
before selecting ‘burner,’ I’ll get a bigger kick in the ass as they light.
(Technique – I love that feeling!)  Glance down at the engine instruments,
everything within limits and stable.  Min accel check speed at 1,000 feet,
back on the stick at 125 knots, nose coming up.  Now airborne, gear and
flaps – clear out front.  Just after getting airborne I typically lean
forward to check freedom of movement within the cockpit.  Still
accelerating.  Gawd, this is fun!  At 280 knots it’s out of burner, and
check the motors again.  They are fine.  I can’t help but look down to the
left and see the traffic backed up on Pat Booker Road; the “shoeclerks”
lined up bumper-to-bumper still half-asleep commuting to their big, steel
grey desks and their staff summary sheets for the day… I am so glad I am
an aviator!

Now I have to get my head back into the game – it’s a shallow climbing right
turn out to the area.

I suppose upon reflection I too, am ‘commuting’ to work.  But I reckon its
different – for when we commute, we “commune” in a language known only to a
few; yet deeply understood and never forgotten – there are days today, when
I really miss it…

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