Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Side-Slippery route to success


Bf has just come home from his sim check like a child coming out of a theme park. He’s absolutely on top of the world…  Obviously he had passed with flying colours (pardon the pun), but at the end of their assessment; they were still ‘airborne’ and the training captain told bf to just turn it around, point it at the runway and land it.

Bf said they were way too high to land right away, but since he was not being assessed any more, he decided to turn it around and side-slip it down to lose height, whilst looking at the runway out of the Captains window, and then landed it, on-speed, perfectly.  He had never even attempted the manoeuvre before and wasn’t even sure if it was possible from the situation he was in.

It must have been an impressive piece of flying, because both the captain and the training captain turned around and looked at him afterwards and the Captain remarked:

“WOW!  What did you used to fly before these?  FIGHTER JETS?!”

Understandably, Bf enjoyed their praising words and was proud of his result.  He counts himself very lucky to have got this time in the sim to experiment with something like that, in a safe environment, without the pressure to perform under review at the time; though it goes without saying that in the real world he would not have attempted it unless he damn well had to.

For any of you who don’t know what the term side-slipping means. This is a video reconstruction of an Air Canada Boeing 767 side-slipping into a crash landing at a disused runway after it ran out of fuel. It’s quite different to the scenario that Bf had, because he had not run out of fuel, and wasn’t under pressure that these pilots were, but it will give you an impression of how it looks (2:30 for the explanation 5:00 for the visuals on how it looks… This is part 3 of 4 of Air Crash Investigation, ‘Deathly Glide’)

This also reminds me of another time when Bf was able to have some fun time in the sim…  Early in his airline career, before he up graded his type rating he turned up for a sim training test with another FO he trained with as a cadet, and due to a technical glitch no captains had been rostered to train/check them. They asked whether the sim time could be refunded to the airline, but unfortunately it could not, so he and the other FO were offered the opportunity to use the time in the sim as they pleased. This was something that Bf had always dreamed of doing, but would be unlikely to ever have the disposable income to justify the cost; so it was really a once in a lifetime opportunity.  He and his friend had a blast. As well as trying some more serious flying scenarios, they managed to barrel roll a 757 over central London!  I’ll never forget how excited he was after that…

He’s celebrating his success today with a big class of red wine whilst singing Christmas songs… Lucky boy. I can’t celebrate with him because the medication I’m on is from the same group of drugs as they prescribe to recovering alcoholics to make them violently sick if they try to indulge.  It’s making me constantly nauseous, and singing is the last thing on my mind! I can’t wait to feel normal again!

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6 Responses to “Side-Slippery route to success”

  1. Good for bf! My SO is the same, I think it’s like a big computer game to them! I hope you are better soon, nausea is the worst feeling!!

    • I think all guys are like it to some degree, but pilots do seem to be especially gadget and fun orientated.

      Thanks Debs, so do I!! Oh well, it’s not forever, just got to get these damn meds over and done with.

      Nausea is horrid. I also have a permanent acid taste/feeling in my throat at the moment. GROSS

  2. First off, I just want you to know that is it a huge blessing to have people who can relate to my life. I actually googled “how to make a relationship work with pilot”. Lame, probably. But, my scenario is quite a bit different than everyone’s I’ve been reading about. I am dating an f-15 pilot. We met about a year ago when he was stationed at a local air force base finishing up his training. He has since then graduated into “captain” status and is now living in VA at Langley. Langley AFB is an operational base meaning they go on missions whenever duty calls. I am a full time college student but will graduate in a year but currently live a lonnng way away from him. Our relationship has been very up and down. My primary love language is Quality Time…..and secondary is Physical Touch…neither of which I receive on a daily basis. I struggle with trusting him constantly because I am always part of his evening when he is winding down for bed…Therefore, we have a phone or skype conversation for about 5 mins a day. HELP! There have been some days where I’ve tried to end things completely and forget all about him and then there are others when I hurt to the core of my bones because I care about him so much yet dont feel like its returned. He says he cares “very strongly for me”. But how can I make a relationship work when there’s barely a glimpse of the next chance I will see his face or be held in his arms. I am looking for the one and am a very committed woman who can and will make the military wife relationship work. I’m just having trouble discerning if I’m just a conveinence for him or if its genuine. Any advice?

    • It’s always such a relief to find other people that can relate to you when you feel like you’re ‘the only one’… That is really why I started writing this blog to be honest! If you leave comments, readers will more than often post replies, possibly not on this post so much because it’s attached to one where the title doesn’t imply anyone is looking for support, but some of my posts have over 140 comments going on between readers!

      You might also want to look at some of the support groups Rach. This is one I haunt a lot, just because I’m a bit of a Facebook bunny… But there are plenty of other groups out there on the net too… Just a word of caution, if you do join the Facebook group, make sure that all your Facebook privacy settings are ammended so that discussion posts/threads are restricted if you don’t want your posts showing up on news feed

      http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2444761099

  3. Hey Rach,

    I am a military pilots SO in the UK so I fully get where you are coming from. We had to live apart for 3 years when I was a student too. If things are right then there is light at the end of the tunnel, we have been together for over 5 years now, we own a house together near his base and although he is away pretty much more than half of the year I love him and my life and things are better than ever. There is alot to get through but if you both want it then you will!

    Partner of a pilot….super on the BF, bet he loved it! It is nice for you too though, it is always nice to see people happy about their job! Glad the Nausea is wearing off,xxxx

    • Thanks for that, yes, the nausea is starting to lessen. I managed to eat three mouthfuls of food tonight without feeling like I was done! LOL. Ah well, it’s all good for the waistline in the run up to Christmas!


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