Second Fight!

Flight by Committee


Body : "Twisting right."

Eyes : "Approaching three O'clock.... Wait... Wait... Now!"

Grumpy : "Fight's on! Fight's on!"

Head : "Twisting right."

Hellcats : "I usually bank about seventy degrees. You're going to have to pull real hard at that angle to keep your nose up! Be ready to relax the bank angle if the nose starts to drop!"

Eyes : "He's turning right!"

Art Kill : "Single circle fight, clockwise!"

Hellcats : "On script."

Sky Warriors : "Pulling! This feels like a couple or three Gs, just a bit stronger than last fight. Call the roll."

Inner Ear : "No problem!"

Back : "This is easy! Haven't had trouble yet!"

Stomach : "You're pulling straight to the seat. No trouble so far. I can't do this all day, though."

Sky Warriors : "No little mice sounds coming from the wing. We aren't near a stall yet. The plane has more turn left in it if we need it!"

Hellcats : "We need it! He's settling into position exactly opposite us in the circle. If we want his tail, we've got to turn a tighter circle! Our nose is still up, though."

Sky Warriors : "I'll pull a little harder, then. Sorry, tummy. It'll end the fight sooner, though."

Stomach : "It had better. No problems yet, but..."

Hellcats : "That will do it! We're gaining on him!"

Sky Warriors : "No mice! There's still more pull available."

Hellcats : "No need! Just hold it smooth and steady."

Grumpy : "Sometimes it's best just to jump the guy quick and get it over with. Let's go for the fast kill!"

Art Kill : "Was it the Red Baron who said, 'Always down your opponent quickly, before your airsickness becomes acute'?"

Hellcats : "We're almost there..."

Grumpy : "This should look familiar. We're just behind him, and a little high. This is the perch position, where we started the Yo Yo drill. Go get him!"

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo drill. Bank more. Drop the nose. Pick up speed. Lead pursuit. Aim our plane ahead of his plane. Since we're still travelling the smaller circle, we'll keep getting closer."

Art Kill : "That's too much lead! Only one or two plane lengths ahead of him! No more!"

Grumpy : "More lead! You've got to turn a tight circle! Get inside him!"

Hellcats : "Art Kill is right! Too much lead and you'll overshoot!"

Sky Warriors : "Guys, we're running a Yo Yo drill here! Don't you want to do a Yo Yo? Any second now, he'll do his turn."

Hellcats : "There goes the turn! I recognize this! He's right in front of us, which is good, but we're looking straight down at the top of his plane, not at his tail, which is bad. He's going to zip off the right side of the windscreen, and it's going to take forever to catch up with him again."

Art Kill : "I told you that was too much lead."

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo maneuver. Step one. A little pressure off the stick, but still a good firm pull. Roll left until wings are about level with the horizon. This starts the climb."

Head and eyes : "Snap from straight ahead to the three O'clock position, as the bandit positions himself past our plane's right wing tip. His tail is pointed towards us, which is good, but our nose is pointed 90 degrees to his left, and 30 degrees up."

Art Kill : "OK. That climb lost us the airspeed we gained coming down from the perch. We should be at our best turning speed about now."

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo, step two. Roll right. Let the right wing drop straight down. Keep pulling. This turns us towards the bandit."

Hellcats : "Dead Meat's following the script. Just like Sky Warriors told him, he's releasing from his hard turn to 'conserve speed.' When we finish this Yo Yo, he'll be right where we want him."

Eyes : "We're turning! We're behind him! We're pointing in the same direction he is! We're still above him though!"

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo, step three. Keep banking further to the right. We're partly inverted, now. Steady back pull continues. Hmm. Step three is just a continuation of step two's right roll while pulling, right?"

Art Kill : "And if we seem to be pulling two Gs, since we're inverted, we're really pulling three. Gravity will pull the nose down without our feeling it. Neat."

Hellcats : "Forgive me for doubting, o ye Master of Yo Yos."

Grumpy : "Put him on the top of your windscreen!"

Hellcats : "What?"

Art Kill : "Yes! Yes! Do it! The top of the windscreen is direction of the lift vector! You have to..."

Everybody, in perfect unison : "...Put the enemy on your lift vector, and pull!..."

Art Kill : (In a slightly hurt tone.) "Keep rolling right... More... More... Perfect!!! Pull!!!"

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo step four. Pull!!!"

Stomach : "Are you absolutely sure that down is still towards the seat? It feels that way. I have no real reason to complain, but..."

Sky Warriors : "Oh yes. As long as I keep a firm pull pressure on this here artificial gravity control stick, down is towards the seat, even if we are partly inverted and in a fairly steep dive. Up is down. Down is up. You should be just fine."

Brain : "Stardance. Ender's Game. In a three dimensional environment, the key to adapting is the ability to change reference systems... The seat of your pants is down?"

Stomach : "It had better be."

Eyes : "But if the seat of our pants is down, how come most of the sky is full of hills and lakes?"

Sky Warriors : "The seat of your pants is down? No! You can't just forget about the planet! We're inverted. If we stop pulling for a moment, Mr. Stomach will complain violently!"

Art Kill : "And we're in a dive. While we're still slow now from going up the Yo Yo, we'll pick up speed real fast if we hold this line for long. Don't forget that."


The seat of your pants is down?

Hellcats : "And yet... If the seat of the pants is down... If the top of the canopy is not only the lift vector, but the top of the monitor... If that T34 down there accurately represents a Zero done in 8 bit color... If this thing in my right hand is a joystick... This is familiar... I've done this attack before... I like this attack! I have the airplane!"

Sky Warriors : "Hey! This is my Yo Yo drill!"

Art Kill : "And that's my lift vector you're pulling down!"

Sky Warriors : "He seems sure of himself, though."

Art Kill : "Who is going to argue with him?"

Grumpy : "Pull! Pull! Pull!"

Hellcats : "Pull, yes, but not too hard. Can't go to far, too fast. We only have time to do this once, so we have to do it right."

Art Kill : "Have you ever noticed how arrogant and overconfident fighter pilots are?"

Hellcats : "He's thirty degrees off the our nose. Twenty degrees.. Ten... Dead Meat... What? That round thing on top of the instrument panel is blocking my view! This monitor doesn't have any cross hairs! What's happening?"

Grumpy : "Kill the bastard!"

Sky Warriors : "That round thing is a reflective gunsight. My body was just twisted right to follow the bandit through the Yo Yo. To use the sight, the eyes must be right behind the gunsight. I'll just center myself in the chair. Got to have perfect posture. Just a second."

Hellcats : "I need that gunsight now!"

Sky Warriors : "Yo Yo drill is over. Tracking drill. I need control of the hands."

Hellcats : "Leave the hands alone. They know what they are doing. Look what they did while you were trying to line up the gunsight. Our wings are rolled level with his. There are continuous up down corrections going to the elevator, and right left to the rudder. You don't even remember the roll, do you? How much flight time do you have? One hour? Leave the hands alone! Give me that gunsight!"

Sky Warriors : "Got it! Lost it! Could you hold the plane steady for a bit?"

Hellcats : "Arrrgh! I don't need no (expletive deleted) gunsight! Just hold down the (expletive deleted) trigger!"

Computer : "Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Sky Warriors : "Got it!"

Computer : "...tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Sky Warriors : "Lost it!"

Computer : "...tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Art Kill : "His nose is coming up!"

Computer : "...tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Sky Warriors : "He's doing another hard turn! I'm starting a roll left. Yo Yo, step one... Going up!"

Computer : "...tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Hellcats : "OK, roll! But hold the trigger down! We should be right on him!"

Computer : "...tat-tat-tat-tat..."

Eyes : "Smoke! He's smoking!"

Hellcats : "Break left! Reverse the circle! In a real simulation, there'd be parachutes, wings and stuff flying all over the place."


Art Kill : "Did he just say, 'real simulation'?"

Mongo : "Knock it off! Knock it off!"

Sky Warriors : "This is a real simulation."

Voice : "Sloppy. But I suppose anything that works..."

Hellcats : "You have the airplane."

Sky Warriors : "Me? What do I want with an airplane which is nose down, one wing low, and heading vaguely towards a mid air collision? I've never flown before in my life."

Hellcats : "Yah, you. The fight's over. What do I know about flying a real airplane?"

In Closing...

It has been several years now since my one sortie. Most of me wants to go back, to relive once more a definite 'high point' of my life. Alas, no matter how much the rest of me disagree, Wallet and Stomach still have the upper hand.

Still, who knows what will come, should I find myself in the Atlanta area some day. Dogfighting is without doubt the ultimate adrenalin sport.

A last memory of the flight? The approach pattern came in over Six Flags amusement park. One of their larger rides, clearly identifiable from the air, was a a tiny little parachute tower.

Hellcats : "Yah. Right!"

Bob Butler