Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boss Lift 2009

We have had several details and paint jobs to do at our shop. As they are done in the same building as my sailboat I had to halt work on my boat for the month and not make or disturb any dust in my area.
I managed to catch up on all the undone chores around the house and participate in Boss Lift 2009.
If you have a reservist as an employee you can be nominated to attend; its two days of hands on "lets show them what we do" events and displays. I was delighted to be nominated and attend, it was an eventful two days I will never forget. We flew in C-130's, blackhawk choppers, fired weapons sims against terrorists, drove the M-4 tank simulator, flew the A-10 warthog simulator , called in fire support, launched drones, and climbed all over and thru a variety of vehicles and equipment, and aircraft.
It began at 0630 with a C-130 transport picking us up at the Coeur d Alene airport heavy lift ramp. We all climbed aboard and strapped in and off we went.

Once up to altitude they oppened the ramp so we could have a look out

 They closed the ramp and invited us to unbuckle and explore the aircraft. Gary and I headed up to the cockpit to check it out.


When we arrived at the airbase we were given lunch and had a welcoming ceremony and then it was off to experience a sampling of the training that takes place.
They laid out a bunch of weapons for us to fire on the simulator range. They are real weapons that recoil and behave as if they had live rounds in them.
We fired at a terrorist scenario at a refinery, it was pretty cool.
After that we were given a demonstration of the up-armored Humvee trainer. They roll it to thirty degrees, then 90, then 180 and practice evacuating the vehicle in a roll over and setting up a defensive perimeter.
The doors on the up-armored vehicle weigh more than 700 lbs so when its on its side they are to heavy to open and the only way out is through the roof turret.
Gary checks out the Humvee
Then it was off to the Abrams tank where we got to climb all over it and sit in it and then go into the simulator and try our hand at targeting and firing on enemy vehicles........ok,....this one was a lot harder than I thought it would be and I was very surprised to learn that the temperature inside the tank is well over 100 degrees when used in the desert.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside of  the tank or simulator.
After a very busy afternoon they laid out a very nice dinner for us in the officers mess and we called it a night.
The next day we were up early and at it again! We boarded Black Hawk choppers for a flight out to the desert where they were practicing and had set up some displays for us.


 They launched a drone for us and then we went into the command tent where they called the shots and observed them at work.
The pilots of drone fly it from inside a container that can be transported on a Humvee, we were suprised to walk around the back of it and open the door to see the pilots flying the drone while the container is on the truck. Now that's a mobile unit!
After checking out the displayes we boarded the choppers for a flight back to the base.
Once back at the base we got to fly the A-10 warthog simulator. As a pilot this was the highlight of the trip for me. It was a truly amazing experience! The multi-million dollar simulator had a moving view everywhere you looked,..above, behind, down on both sides of the aircraft, was amazing to fly. I did a strafing run on several targets (got em all!) and then pulled up and rolled inverted. She was not real happy inverted so I rolled her back over to 90 degrees and put her into a very tight left turn. It cornered like it was on rails!
I came out of the simulator trembling from the adrenilin that was still coursing through me.
Regrettably, the simulator is clasified and all cell phones, cameras, and devices capable of recording images or sound was confiscated before we were allowed to enter the area so I was unable to get any pictures of it.
After that it was back to the flight line to climb around and check out the aircraft.
Gary checks out an F-15
My favorite; the A-10 warthog
They had several F-15s and A-10 buzzing around while we were on the flight line. It was hard to get good pictures of them with the delay of my digital camera.


Bruce said...

Hey Cuz... wow... I can't believe you stopped working on your boat so that you could galavant around the country. What a waste of time... ah... just kidding. WOW... what an opportunity. I shall be eternally jealous you had such a great time without The boat looks great btw. Keep up the good work. Regards to all. cheers, bruce.

p.s. The A10 Warthog is also my fav. plane... still have the video game around here somewhere... I used to run it on my 8088 in monochrome.

Bruce said...

Happy Birthday!

Don said...

Thanks Bruce :-) We had a great time there!
Thanks for the B-day greeting too!
Things are settling down now at the shop and I should be able to get back on the boat soon.

Cheers, Don