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Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective

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Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:31 pm
  • We just returned home to New Mexico after executing the Air Force flyby and what an experience! Below are some thoughts on what went into it and how the Seahawks organization treated us


    The preparation - The Seahawks put in the request in for the flyby via the US Air Force Public Affairs. I found the event and almost lost my my mind with excitement. I grabbed the phone and touched base with the military rep. He told me that the F-15s in Portland were thinking of doing it, but had them as a backup. Being a Seattle native and Seahawks fan, I told them that nobody puts the Hawks in the corner/makes them a backup and that we would do it. After running some paperwork on our side and coordinating with maintenance, we were a go.

    The FAA - We worked with them to carve out a holding area that we could "push" from (start our run). Originally they wanted us holding one mile south of the stadium. I knew that was was too close and orbiting wouldn't allow us to control our timing versus a straight-line run where we could accelerate. They agreed with us and provided the north end of Vashon Island as our hold point. It was an interesting choice as we found ourselves wedged between seaplanes and Cessnas.

    The Organization - When I was a cadet at the US Air Force Academy, Chad Henning (an alum/defensive tackle for the Cowboys during their three Super Bowl dynasty) spoke to us about the Cowboys and their operations. Before joining the Cowboys he met with a couple teams. He stressed the night and day difference between the Cowboys and the others. From the Secretary to the General Manager, everyone knew the mission of the team and was bought in. Well, I'm happy to report that the Seahawks seem to be the same way. Everyone I interacted with was incredibly professional, humble and focused. They were a class act from top to bottom.

    Getting there - everything about our trip was stressful. I flew my jet with my name on it and I should have known better. It never works out like you want. While over Utah I received a warning light that my oil system was losing pressure and could seize. We made an emergency landing into Hill Air Force Base. I was devastated. I was convinced that the flyby was gone at that point. To our great fortune, some phenomenal Americans met us at our jet and started trouble shooting the problem. They were transient alert contractors that happened to have 30-years experience as maintainers on F-16s. They sprayed out some cannon plugs and tightened them down and sent us on our way. I can't even tell you the emotional swing I had in those two hours.

    The Weather - our next big hurdle was the weather. I'm sure you all remember the insane thunderstorm the night before. Being stationed in New Mexico, it was my experience that thunderstorms collapse, the outflow creates a gust front and the wind blows out any residual clouds. That was NOT the case that night. After refreshing the forecast at least one million times, I went to bed dismayed but hoping for the best. Waking up in the morning I felt like a kid hoping for a snow day. I rushed to the window and was met with a miserable sight. The city was wrapped in a thick blanket of sea fog. Visibility was two miles at the airport due to a heavy misting and fog. The Seahawks liaison texted me and told me that he informed his superiors that he thoughts our chances were slim. I replied that we had 50/50 odds, but that we would hold short of the runway until we ran out of time. We did not fly all that way and go through all that maintenance drama just to give up.

    The flyby - To set the background, the Seahawks provided us ten tickets for friends and family. My wife flew in and I took my closest high school friends and her. My wingman brought his parents to the game as he is from the area as well.

    As all fighter pilots do when given a tasking, we worked our way backwards from the target. We had never heard Cupid's rendition of the anthem before and thus didn’t know his cadence. From YouTube we knew that most anthems were between 1+30 to 1+50. Based on this, we planned our route to fly slow towards the stadium giving ourselves the ability to accelerate in the case he sung faster. We also wanted to fly from the southeast to the northwest due to towering buildings right off the end of the field.

    Hearing the first notes of the anthem we pushed from Vashon Island. The adrenaline in my body told me to accelerate and rip over the stadium, but I knew I had to trust my instruments. Creeping across the bay, we hit the train yard to the south of the stadiums right as Cupid was belting out the “rockets red glare.” I realized that we were too close and if we didn't change something, we would be mid field at “ the land of the free." In order to buy some time, I snaked to the east towards I-5. Based our FAA brief, I knew we couldn’t go too far due to SEATAC’s approach corridor. Based on this, I cut back to the west/the water when I heard him approaching “the land of the free.” I decelerated to my slowest practical airspeed and wished I was in a helicopter and able to hover. I found myself at the southwest end of the stadium out of real estate and there was no more waiting to be had. He paused for the last verse, I pushed the throttle into afterburner and we went for it.

    If you were there you saw that we arced over the stadium. That was our last turn as we had to get out on the northwest edge. It made for a cool site as most flybys are level. Watching my friends videos it appears we were over the 50 yard line at the high note.

    I don’t know the singer, but we took two F-16s and danced to the sound of his voice in front of 70,000 people.




    Reflecting on it on all, I was once told that life doesn’t have a soundtrack and that you need to make your own. This is especially true flying fighters as we keep the radios silent the vast majority of the time leaving just you and the sound of the motor.

    Sunday was different. While approaching downtown, Hawk’s dad (our radio operator) was on the platform with the Toyota on the south end of the stadium. He just put the radio in the air and keyed the microphone. In my helmet I got to listen to our anthem and watch/feel the fire works explode ahead while accelerating in afterburner towards the crescendo. Knowing that my wife and best friends were in that stadium, racing towards the high note, soaking in Seattle and the skyline, with the anthem washing over, it was surreal. This was our house, our families and our city and we were here to represent.

    STRIKE!
    Falcongoggles
    Last edited by falcongoggles on Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:26 pm, edited 6 times in total.
    falcongoggles
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  • From a fellow Airman let me say thanks for your service. I love these flybys. They really add something special to the stadium experience.

    Thank you for sharing all this.
    Seafan
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:05 pm
  • Cool story. Thanks for sharing. :2thumbs:
    LymonHawk
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:49 pm

Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:51 pm
  • That's quite the awesome experience! Post the video already!
    Seahawk Sailor
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 10:52 pm
  • Wow, what an awesome story, I’m jealous.
    Can’t wait to see your video.

    Thanks for your service. :)
    Sports Hernia
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:06 pm
  • Fantastic!

    Thank you for that perspective from behind the canopy. We rarely get to know your perspective, though most red-blooded men would love to have the chance to fly such a machine. You made it real for me, as a general aviation pilot.

    Glad you were able to celebrate with the team in a win, too, with your family and friends.
    Ad Hawk
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:14 pm
  • So sweet and it was perfect timing. Tell your crew we appreciate all the work making it happen.

    Off we go into the wild blue yonder!
    Wenhawk
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  • Amazing stuff. Really cool to know how this kind of thing goes down.
    UK_Seahawk
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  • WOW!!! That was awesome, love reading your perspective. Thanks for sharing all that and thanks for your service.

    Go Hawks!!!
    oregonhawkfan
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  • Really cool!!
    coorslighthawk
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  • This is the best thing I have read about the game :D
    2_0_6
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  • Thank you. Great perspective that we would never get to experience without you. Sounds like a rollercoaster of emotion, but you knocked it out of the park! Thank you for your service. Go Hawks!
    nwHawk
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  • Great experience. Thank you very much for sharing that.
    As an American it makes me proud.
    As a Seahawks fan it makes me happy.
    MD5eahawks
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  • You make it sound so routine. Almost like a Sunday drive. So professional. Thanks You
    TreeRon
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  • One of the coolest threads/posts that I can remember on .NET. Thanks for your service and thank you for the write-up!
    JGfromtheNW
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:06 am
  • Thank you for your service and our safty.

    I've never said this to anybody in here before, Thank you for being a fan of my beloved Seahawks!
    Chawker
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:17 am
  • Thanks for doing this and for all the preparation and sweating of the small details that made it great.

    Thanks as well for your service, it ensures our freedom.

    GO SEAHAWKS!
    jammerhawk
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:57 pm
  • Awesome. Can't imagine the experience for an avid fan of a team to do the flyover for that team with family in the stadium. Just unreal
    mikeak
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  • Awesome post! We flew into Sea-Tac around 11 and couldn’t see much. I was wondering how the flyby would go. Glad to hear things cleared up for you. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Knuck Chox
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  • Probably the coolest post I have read here, perhaps ever! Bravo Zulu! As a passionate aviation and Seahawks fan (and someone who loves to fly jets a lot smaller than yours), that was a fantastic read! I was standing in line waiting to get in when you guys banked left...What a view! What a sound! Look forward to the video! Stay safe and happy landings always!
    Aros
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  • If anybody else has any video they can upload, I'd love to see it - I wish I'd been recording myself - sitting in the Hawks Nest I got a good vantage of how you guys kind of dropped into position for your run over the Stadium, and I don't think I remember a flyover we've had that was quite as exciting as this one.

    I also loved being able to tell people that it was an actual Hawks fan and active Seahawks.NET poster who was one of the people doing the flyby :)
    Chrome_Seahawk
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  • A proud Air Force vet here ( 1967-1971) Thanking you for your service, and sharing of your fantastic experience. :vodka:
    scutterhawk
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  • Timed it perfectly. Awesome job you have there and thank you for your service. Highlight of the game!
    Cyrus12
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  • Definitely worthy of the archives. How many .netters get to do that before a game!
    Cyrus12
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  • Cyrus12 wrote:Definitely worthy of the archives. How many .netters get to do that before a game!


    I'd been dreaming about the opportunity for a long time. I still can't believe we pulled it off.
    falcongoggles
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  • falcongoggles wrote:We just returned home to New Mexico after executing the Air Force flyby and what an experience! Below are some thoughts on what went into it and how the Seahawks organization treated us


    The preparation - The Seahawks put in the request in for the flyby via the US Air Force Public Affairs. I found the event and almost lost my my mind with excitement. I grabbed the phone and touched base with the military rep. He told me that the F-15s in Portland were thinking of doing it, but had them as a backup. Being a Seattle native and Seahawks fan, I told them that nobody puts the Hawks in the corner/makes them a backup and that we would do it. After running some paperwork on our side and coordinating with maintenance, we were a go.

    The FAA - We worked with them to carve out a holding area that we could "push" from (start our run). Originally they wanted us holding one mile south of the stadium. I knew that was was too close and orbiting wouldn't allow us to control our timing versus a straight-line run where we could accelerate. They agreed with us and provided the north end of Vashon Island as our hold point. It was an interesting choice as we found ourselves wedged between seaplanes and Cessnas.

    The Organization - When I was a cadet at the US Air Force Academy, Chad Henning (an alum/defensive tackle for the Cowboys during their three Super Bowl dynasty) spoke to us about the Cowboys and their operations. Before joining the Cowboys he met with a couple teams. He stressed the night and day difference between the Cowboys and the others. From the Secretary to the General Manager, everyone knew the mission of the team and was bought in. Well, I'm happy to report that the Seahawks seem to be the same way. Everyone I interacted with was incredibly professional, humble and focused. They were a class act from top to bottom.

    Getting there - everything about our trip was stressful. I flew my jet with my name on it and I should have known better. It never works out like you want. While over Utah I received a warning light that my oil system was losing pressure and could seize. We made an emergency landing into Hill Air Force Base. I was devastated. I was convinced that the flyby was gone at that point. To our great fortune, some great Americans met us at our jet and started trouble shooting the problem. They were transient alert contractors that happened to have 30-years experience as maintainers on F-16s. They sprayed out some cannon plugs and tightened them down and sent us on our way. I can't even tell you the emotional swing I had in those two hours.

    The Weather - our next big hurdle was the weather. I'm sure you all remember the insane thunderstorm the night before. Being stationed in New Mexico, as it was my experience that thunderstorms collapse, that creates a gust front and that blows out any residual clouds. That was NOT the case that night. After refreshing the forecast at least one million times, I went to bed hoping for the best. What I got in the morning was a city wrapped in a blanket of sea fog. Visibility was only two miles at the airport and it would misting heavily. I told our Seahawks liaison that I gave it 50/50 odds we would make it, but that we would hold short of that runway until we ran out of time. We did not fly all that way and go through all that maintenance drama just to give up.

    The flyby - To set the background, the Seahawks provided us ten tickets for friends and family. My wife flew in and I took my closest high school friends and her. My wingman brought his parents to the game as he is from the area as well.

    As all fighter pilots do when given a tasking, we worked our way backwards from the target. We had never heard Cupid's rendition of the anthem before and thus didn’t know his cadence. From YouTube we knew that most anthems were between 1+30 to 1+50. Based on this, we planned our route to fly slow towards the stadium giving ourselves the ability to accelerate in the case he sung faster. We also wanted to fly from the southeast to the northwest due to towering buildings right off the end of the field.

    After pushing from Vashon Island and approaching the train yard to the south, I heard “rockets red glare” and realized that we were too close and would hit “land of the free” if we didn’t change something. In order to buy some time, I snaked to the east towards I-5. I knew couldn’t go too far due to SEATAC’s approach corridor. Based on this, I cut back to the west when I heard him approaching “land of the free.” I decelerated to my slowest practical airspeed and wished I was in a helicopter and able to hover. I found myself at the southwest end of the stadium out of real estate and there was no more waiting to be had. He paused for the last verse, I pushed the throttle into afterburner and we went for it.

    If you were there you saw that we arced over the stadium. That was our last turn as we had to get out on the northwest edge. It made for a cool site as most flybys are level. Watching my friends videos it appears we were over the 50 yard line at the high note.

    I don’t know the singer, but we took two F-16s and danced to the sound of his voice in front of 70,000 people.




    Reflecting on it on all, I was once told that life doesn’t have a soundtrack and that you need to make your own. This is especially true flying fighters as we keep the radios silent the vast majority of the time leaving just you and the sound of the motor.

    Sunday was different. While approaching downtown, Hawk’s dad (our radio operator) was on the platform with the Toyota on the south end of the stadium. He just put the radio in the air and keyed the microphone. In my helmet I got to listen to our anthem and watch/feel the fire works explode ahead while accelerating in afterburner towards the crescendo. Knowing that my wife and best friends were in that stadium, racing towards the high note, soaking in Seattle and the skyline, with the anthem washing over, it was surreal. This was our house, our families and our city and we were here to represent.

    STRIKE!
    Falcongoggles

    **Embedded Youtube Video to follow**



    This is one of the coolest things I’ve read and seen in a long time. Thanks!
    PateratoWilson
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  • Seafan wrote:From a fellow Airman let me say thanks for your service. I love these flybys. They really add something special to the stadium experience.

    Thank you for sharing all this.


    +1. As another fellow Airman, thank you for your service and the flyby! Awesome story and video. Really makes me wish I could've been there to experience it in person.
    Erebus
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  • Falcongoggles,

    Amazing recap. I am glad I had the opportunity to see you in the air then on the field from the stands.

    From this green suiters perspective: I'm sitting in the south west endzone and watch your plane come over south to north and when you head west you look like you dip low hang then jump out between the buildings and the stadium.

    Your flyover was the best I have seen, and I have seen them since husky stadium.

    Great Job sir and congratulations.
    Fudwamper
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  • As awesome as that was it’s even cooler to know that a true blue Seahawks fan was in one of those! Thanks for the glimpse from that altitude!!
    oldhawkfan
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:48 am
  • Hey falcon, it looks like you tried to include the video but it doesn't show...Any way you can provide a direct link for us? Would be great to see it!

    Edit: Never mind...Found it in the inspect code...

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/yuPqdMYMKH4
    Aros
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:26 pm
  • falcongoggles wrote:We just returned home to New Mexico after executing the Air Force flyby and what an experience! Below are some thoughts on what went into it and how the Seahawks organization treated us


    The preparation - The Seahawks put in the request in for the flyby via the US Air Force Public Affairs. I found the event and almost lost my my mind with excitement. I grabbed the phone and touched base with the military rep. He told me that the F-15s in Portland were thinking of doing it, but had them as a backup. Being a Seattle native and Seahawks fan, I told them that nobody puts the Hawks in the corner/makes them a backup and that we would do it. After running some paperwork on our side and coordinating with maintenance, we were a go.

    The FAA - We worked with them to carve out a holding area that we could "push" from (start our run). Originally they wanted us holding one mile south of the stadium. I knew that was was too close and orbiting wouldn't allow us to control our timing versus a straight-line run where we could accelerate. They agreed with us and provided the north end of Vashon Island as our hold point. It was an interesting choice as we found ourselves wedged between seaplanes and Cessnas.

    The Organization - When I was a cadet at the US Air Force Academy, Chad Henning (an alum/defensive tackle for the Cowboys during their three Super Bowl dynasty) spoke to us about the Cowboys and their operations. Before joining the Cowboys he met with a couple teams. He stressed the night and day difference between the Cowboys and the others. From the Secretary to the General Manager, everyone knew the mission of the team and was bought in. Well, I'm happy to report that the Seahawks seem to be the same way. Everyone I interacted with was incredibly professional, humble and focused. They were a class act from top to bottom.

    Getting there - everything about our trip was stressful. I flew my jet with my name on it and I should have known better. It never works out like you want. While over Utah I received a warning light that my oil system was losing pressure and could seize. We made an emergency landing into Hill Air Force Base. I was devastated. I was convinced that the flyby was gone at that point. To our great fortune, some phenomenal Americans met us at our jet and started trouble shooting the problem. They were transient alert contractors that happened to have 30-years experience as maintainers on F-16s. They sprayed out some cannon plugs and tightened them down and sent us on our way. I can't even tell you the emotional swing I had in those two hours.

    The Weather - our next big hurdle was the weather. I'm sure you all remember the insane thunderstorm the night before. Being stationed in New Mexico, it was my experience that thunderstorms collapse, the outflow creates a gust front and the wind blows out any residual clouds. That was NOT the case that night. After refreshing the forecast at least one million times, I went to bed dismayed but hoping for the best. Waking up in the morning I felt like a kid hoping for a snow day. I rushed to the window and was met with a miserable sight. The city was wrapped in a thick blanket of sea fog. Visibility was two miles at the airport due to a heavy misting and fog. The Seahawks liaison texted me and told me that he informed his superiors that he thoughts our chances were slim. I replied that we had 50/50 odds, but that we would hold short of the runway until we ran out of time. We did not fly all that way and go through all that maintenance drama just to give up.

    The flyby - To set the background, the Seahawks provided us ten tickets for friends and family. My wife flew in and I took my closest high school friends and her. My wingman brought his parents to the game as he is from the area as well.

    As all fighter pilots do when given a tasking, we worked our way backwards from the target. We had never heard Cupid's rendition of the anthem before and thus didn’t know his cadence. From YouTube we knew that most anthems were between 1+30 to 1+50. Based on this, we planned our route to fly slow towards the stadium giving ourselves the ability to accelerate in the case he sung faster. We also wanted to fly from the southeast to the northwest due to towering buildings right off the end of the field.

    Hearing the first notes of the anthem we pushed from Vashon Island. The adrenaline in my body told me to accelerate and rip over the stadium, but I knew I had to trust my instruments. Creeping across the bay, we hit the train yard to the south of the stadiums right as Cupid was belting out the “rockets red glare.” I realized that we were too close and if we didn't change something, we would be mid field at “ the land of the free." In order to buy some time, I snaked to the east towards I-5. Based our FAA brief, I knew we couldn’t go too far due to SEATAC’s approach corridor. Based on this, I cut back to the west/the water when I heard him approaching “the land of the free.” I decelerated to my slowest practical airspeed and wished I was in a helicopter and able to hover. I found myself at the southwest end of the stadium out of real estate and there was no more waiting to be had. He paused for the last verse, I pushed the throttle into afterburner and we went for it.

    If you were there you saw that we arced over the stadium. That was our last turn as we had to get out on the northwest edge. It made for a cool site as most flybys are level. Watching my friends videos it appears we were over the 50 yard line at the high note.

    I don’t know the singer, but we took two F-16s and danced to the sound of his voice in front of 70,000 people.




    Reflecting on it on all, I was once told that life doesn’t have a soundtrack and that you need to make your own. This is especially true flying fighters as we keep the radios silent the vast majority of the time leaving just you and the sound of the motor.

    Sunday was different. While approaching downtown, Hawk’s dad (our radio operator) was on the platform with the Toyota on the south end of the stadium. He just put the radio in the air and keyed the microphone. In my helmet I got to listen to our anthem and watch/feel the fire works explode ahead while accelerating in afterburner towards the crescendo. Knowing that my wife and best friends were in that stadium, racing towards the high note, soaking in Seattle and the skyline, with the anthem washing over, it was surreal. This was our house, our families and our city and we were here to represent.

    STRIKE!
    Falcongoggles


    I’m crying. I don’t even know why. Thanks for sharing that. It had to have been amazing.
    sc85sis
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  • First, Thank you for your continued service. Second, I worked on an old F-5 radar for some portions of my service to my country...finished my duty working on it too. So I do understand what the maintenance guy means. And you too my friend. Third....the fact that you were able to pull it off and make it happen.....KUDOS....You are da MAN. And finally.....NO ONE PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER. YOU ROCK.

    :2thumbs: :2thumbs: :2thumbs:
    Seahawkfan80
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  • May as well shut down .net

    Nothing will ever top that.
    bigskydoc
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:18 pm
  • bigskydoc wrote:May as well shut down .net

    Nothing will ever top that.


    Can't agree more.

    #NETthreadWinnerShutThePlaceDown
    Aros
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Re: Seahawks Flyby - The Pilot Perspective
Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:10 pm
  • That was freaking amazing. The timing was perfect and i couldn't get over how you pulled that off! My daughter jumped up out of her seat and cheered! She was so excited, and said "Dad! Thanks for bringing me to this game!I

    This was my first Seahawks game, and initially Amanda was all "Ho Hum," but the National Anthem and the flyover, AND the Crowd, changed all that! She's ready to go again!

    I'm curious, what was your airspeed? It looked like you were going so slow, and when your wingman banked left, it looked like a scary steep turn to me. From the ground, my perspective is a little skewed, and since all I've ever flown are Bug Smashers, I would have no clue what kind of flight characteristics a State-of-the-Art Fighter might have. And I've never had the opportunity to fly in anything as fantastically cool as a fighter jet.

    I too am envious, but thankful that the United States has the most Elite Pilots and Aircraft in the world. Thank you for representing, and for sending chills down my spine!
    ivotuk
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  • Incredible. I got chills reading the OPs post.
    RobBaker7714409
    NET Rookie
     
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