Those Deep Blue Eyes

Every now and then I hear a story that’s just too good not to include. This is one to them…

Last week I was down to San Antonio, TX for a gathering of former ‘Cheetahs;’ members of the 560th Flying Training Squadron (FTS) I flew with throughout the ’80s. As the evening progressed the stories began to flow. Pat shared this one about one of the early female pilots from Willie (Williams AFB, AZ). It seems he launched out on an early T-38 ride with this student, and the ride really wasn’t that good – by ‘everyday’ standards. When they came back into the flight room for the debrief, Pat knew he was going to have to ‘pink’ (Unsat) her for the ride.

As the debrief began, Pat looked up to see her leaning forward with her head resting on her raised arms resting on the table across from him, staring wide-eyed at him, with those deep blue eyes – and a large, bright smile upon her face. And so he began…

“Okay, the departure; you were 10 to 15 degrees off course on the departure, that’s a…” when he looked up at her again and saw those deep, blue eyes. “Well,” Pat continued, “that’s probably a ‘Good;’ everyone drifts off course every now and then on departure.” And so the debrief began.

“And that loop,” he told her, knowing it was terrible, but then looking up at her, with those deep blue eyes! “Well again,” Pat said, “a lot of us come over the top with 20 degrees of bank (when you are supposed to be ‘wings level’). So that’s a ‘Good’ also.” and so it went.

She passed the ride and actually went on to a very successful career as an Air Force pilot. But listening to Pat tell about being on the threshold of failing her at numerous points throughout the debrief, only to look up and see her deep, blue eyes, with her bright smile – well, he just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t fail her.

In one way or another, anyone who has instructed in an airplane has been there. I certainly have, on many occasions. And while, by the book, he ‘should have’ failed her for her lackluster performance that day, he had “that feeling” that he did indeed, had something to work with, so she passed.

Think what you might about this story, but knowing her, and Pat, this is hilarious as hell! Those deep, blue eyes…

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