The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

77° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

From the cockpit

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Capt. Rick Birt, a pilot in the United States Marine Corps, took a group of four students and one professor up in a King Air 200, a twin-propellor aircraft, during a training session in which the passengers each took turns controlling the plane during mid-flight.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat Capt. Rick Birt, a pilot in the United States Marine Corps, took a group of four students and one professor up in a King Air 200, a twin-propellor aircraft, during a training session in which the passengers each took turns controlling the plane during mid-flight.

Daily Wildcat photographer Mike Christy went along for the ride aboard the King Air 200 with several other UA students as part of the free Marine Corps Flight Orientation Program. The program gives college students and faculty the chance to fly a plane.

But even though Christy got a chance to take the controls, there was a price to be paid.

My adrenaline was pumping when we took off. Here I am riding at 9,500 feet in a twin-prop airplane at 8:30 a.m., hours before classes would start.

There are eight people aboard including the reporter and myself. I figured that I would only have to sit through about six turns of students flying before we began the descent back down. Not too bad.

But when the first student’s turn at the controls hit the 10-minute mark, I was sheer sweat, like seven-rounds-with-Mike-Tyson-sweat.

Everyone was staring.

The Marine (Corps) pilot turned around to look at me at this point and asked me if I was okay.

I gave a feeble thumbs-up while simultaneously grabbing a Ziploc bag from behind the seat next to me and turned to hide my shame so I could hack up the breakfast I didn’t eat.

Two vomit sessions later; the pilot asks us if he can do some “”dynamic”” maneuvers.

They all looked at me for permission. I said to hell with it, just go for it.

That’s when the plane’s wings went from a level, non-nausea-inducing position, to nearly straight vertical.

Of course, I’m the only one on the plane having problems. Enter Ziploc bag number three.

But heck, at least I got to fly the plane.

More to Discover
Activate Search