Some of my favorite rides in T-38 PIT (Pilot Instructor Training) as an instructor were the “syllabus” rides we flew with the students. These were rides wherein we (IPs) flew as UPT (undergraduate pilot training) students, and our PIT students conducted themselves as IPs – from the initial briefing through to the debriefing. We could only come out of our roles only in the event of an inflight emergency, or some other “anomaly” in one way or another. I loved these rides, for the most part.
One day I was flying with this female student. As we taxied for takeoff, me as the student, I saw a Navy F-14 on the ramp, and as a typical UPT student might ask, I asked her, “Ma’am, what kind of a jet is that?”
It got real quiet. Then after 10 seconds or so, she replied, “A big gray one, Sir.” No words…
She went on to perform the check ride in a “very adequate” manner. When I came “out of character” in our debrief, the only comments I had to offer where those focused on “Professionalism.” I reckon I spent perhaps 30 minutes talking with her about what it means to be an Air Force pilot! Things like Pride, Honor, Integrity, Respect and so forth. Continually honing our skills and being prepared. (Absolutely NO MENTION of diversity or inclusion, btw!).
“A big gray one, Sir”…. aggggggg!