Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"The Sonic Boom Salesman" Flies Again!

One of the greatest thrills I’ve had so far in the 21st century was the day I blasted off the runway at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland in an F-16 Viper along with the pilot-in-command, Brigadier General David Wherley.

The flight included a supersonic run twenty-five miles off the Maryland coast with speed building to Mach 1.5, one and a half times the speed of sound (1000 + MPH). Aerobatics followed that with aileron rolls, barrel rolls and a loop. The flight was topped off with a high performance vertical climb.

It was quite a ride and given as an orientation for the two half-day programs I presented for the Washington, DC Air National Guard the day prior. The morning program was Leadership When the Heat's On for officers and non-commissioned officers. Then in the afternoon I presented to the recruiters my There Are No Limits program.

Breaking the sound barrier was not new for me. I have broken the barrier almost 2000 times in various high performance fighters I flew in the Air Force, which included the 1200-MPH "Voodoo." In lay terms that's twenty miles per minute or one mile every three seconds!

At those speeds you can break plenty of windows and knock off great chunks of plaster. That's how I picked up the nickname, "The Sonic Boom Salesman." I went out to the communities hard hit by these "booms" and spoke to the hostile, upset civilian audiences. My speech title back in those years was "Better Boomed than Bombed"––a hard hitting speech!

And, yes, I can handle any audience you put in front of me.

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