(Re)-Learn To Fly
Back until sometime in 1999, I always enjoyed flying. I was never very good as a passenger in a car after I was in my first car accident (I always wanted to be in control of the vehicle after that), but I did great as a passenger in a plane. Then, something happened to change that -- I learned what makes flying actually work.
In between shipyard Eng tours, I got "shore duty" on the Carrier Group SEVEN staff, deployed on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). As part of qualifying Flag Watch Officer, we had to learn a lot about flight operations, and working in the Operations Staff "barrio", I heard a lot of sea stories from the pilots with whom I served. As a result of learning more about what could go wrong in the air, I found that I was, frankly, kind of scared to fly -- every unexpected dip made me unreasonably afraid something bad was going to happen. Of course, I ended up flying more in the next 4 years than I ever had before (including six trans-Atlantic flights and two carrier take-offs). I'm doing better now the few times a year that I fly, but I'd still rather drive if I could.
I bring this up because I'm flying off to visit family today in Nebraska -- the Land of the Dial-Up Internet Connection. As a result, expect light posting for the next week. Please use the comments on this post as kind of an "open thread"; I suggest telling about when you were most scared aboard a submarine. (A reader suggested this a while back, so now's as good a time as any.) For me, I was probably most scared during my first deployment on USS Topeka (SSN 754), when we were doing an Opposed Unrep exercise with USS Ranger (CV 61) and her skimmer escorts in August 1992. (For long-time readers, I first talked about this episode here.) We'd done our first "attack" on the ships, gone deep to reposition, and were coming back up to PD to take a look around and re-engage. I was on Fire Control, and was stacking dots when the OOD noticed a sharply breaking DIMUS trace on the AVSDU. We did an emergency deep when we got to about 80 feet, but, looking at the dot stack I had and the really small range I was coming up with, I thought for sure we were gonna get hit. As it was, we were saved by the "Big Ocean, Small Ship" principle. Never again did I fear for my life when on a submarine; even the flooding that got called away during our initial dive on USS Connecticut (SSN 22) didn't worry me too much -- probably because I was aft, the "flooding" was forward, and we were in shallow water.
What's your story?