Did you see the programme on BBC Two tonight about the Red Arrows? It took me right back to my RAF days, which was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because I remembered all the fun and laughter of the Mess and the gritty, good feeling when a job was well done. Curse because I was chucked out in my prime and could have gone so much further. Had the RAF decided to treat me, rather than punish me, (see before) I might have stayed in. The programme reminded me what it was like to fly in a fast jet - I've flown in a Phantom, a Tornado and a Lightning - that fantastic feeling of defying gravity and just going really, really fast. I've also flown in quite a few helicopters and the Hercules. Oh, and the VC10. During the work up to the Falklands War, I was offered a trip in a Mirage with a French pilot, but my Boss wouldn't let me go! Bastard. I've been up close and personal i.e. clambered all over every aircraft the RAF had during my time - Vulcans, Victors, Harriers, Sea Kings to name but a few. I even loved the smell of aviation fuel and I've been through the sound barrier. It was a pretty good life, really. And I worked quite hard as well.
My old Boss from Germany was 91 last week - a brave and clever man. He flew Lancasters as a Bomb Aimer during the latter stages of the war and then banged out of a Meteor over the Malayan Jungle.. He then spent a lot of time at Farnborough, testing new types of aircraft. He ended up as the Protocol manager in RAF Germany, when I was the Protocol Officer. He has the best one liners that I've ever heard, and some of the funniest jokes. Happy Birthday Frank and glad you're enjoying the voddie.
Well, I might try bed, I think. Or I might not.
I spent 16 years in the RAF defending the Free World , then got bunged out unceremoniously for being bipolar. I and was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD. Funny old world, isn't it?