There I was...Ever since the year 2000, when the Tutor was retired from the RCAF's No.2 Flying School in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, few of them still fly today. At least ten are still in use with the Snowbirds aerobatic team, and the plane is also in service with Canada's Aerospace Engineering Test Establishment (AETE). - Jeff Vanderford
At one time I was training at 2 CFFTS Moose Jaw to be a Canadian Forces pilot. Hard to believe but it's true. The one thing I remember most about that time was my first flight in a CT-114.
Now, almost every student is offered a choice as to what they want to do the first time up. Oh sure, they have to do a few specific items since it is a familiarization flight to show you the local area, but after that you have several options. You can do a quick low level to scare the prairie chickens, or coordinate and do a bit of formation flying. I really didn't care what the choice would be because I just wanted to get up there and do it.
We took off from Moose Jaw and headed over to Regina for a quick touch and go, at about 5000 ft AGL all the way. Close to Regina we were told to look for a B737 to follow on the approach but my instructor had to point our aircraft right at the damn thing before I was able to spot it. I guess I was blind with love at going 240kts IN A JET even if it was a trainer.
A quick touch and go and then a steep pull up and full 90 degree banked right turn to do some noise abatement had me wondering for the first time what was really keeping us up in the air. No time for dwelling on that because we climbed hard for FL220 and were soon back in the practise area. My instructor then took about 30 seconds to show me from up high where all the training area reference points were. After that he turned his head towards me, and in a very casual voice (as casual as you can be with an oxygen mask on) asked me "Was there anything else I wanted to do?"
WOW! GOSH! GEE WILLICKERS! You get PAID for this???
"Can we please do a loop and a roll?" "No problem," says the intrepid instructor who then proceeds to show me how to correctly set up for a loop "Here, you do the next one" and a roll "You try it now".
This was when the movie Top Gun came out and I was flying 10,000 ft higher than the plane in my happiness. After we did the manoeuvres he again says "Anything else?"
I was so happy at this point I guess I wasn't thinking too much and replied "No, not really... anything you want to do?" WRONG!!!!
Have you ever heard tales of instructors who enjoy doing aerobatics, but enjoy even more the opportunity to see just how much a student can take before he barfs his breakfast into his sick bag? Well this is one of those tales.
I really don't remember much of the next 5-10 minutes of the flight other than the fact we went up, we went down, we turned this way and that and never seemed to be in level flight for more than 5 seconds. Even worse was watching the G meter and realizing after a few minutes that even a reading of 3.0 seemed intolerably difficult to bear (and believe me we exceeded that as well).
Finally we were back upright, level again at FL220 and heading towards the base about 20 miles to the north of us. My instructor gave me back the controls and told me to descend for the approach to rejoin the pattern. Oh thank you thank you thank you I'm going to live...
I started a nice easy airliner approach towards the parallel runways at about 500 fpm when my instructor said "What are you doing? We don't descend like that, I have control" and WHUMP, flipped the Tutor onto it's back GRUNT, pulled the nose UP towards the ground and WHAM, flipped it back upright, now with the nose pointed in what looked like a 70 degree dive toward the ground. "You have control."
The airspeed started increasing and the airframe started shaking and bucking and I started thinking that this wasn't a plane, it was a horse. Thank God this thing has speed brakes, a quick jab with my thumb and out they went, with the ground getting closer and larger every second. I tried to cheat by pulling the nose up a bit but my instructor wasn't having any of it and kept 'nudging' the stick forward to keep the nose low. Finally he said I could pull up so I reefed back on the stick while feeling those heavy G's. Back to level flight again at 1000 ft above the ground 10 miles from the airfield with the speed brakes in.
By now I'm really feeling it, if we don't get down soon I'm going to hurl and it's going to be the worst thing in the world and please God don't let me hurl. So after we called the tower to tell them we were inbound I listened as my instructor described joining the outer circuit to land. Oh yes, airliner approach here I come, I don't have to pull that sicky bag from my left leg zipper pocket yet but if we don't get down soon I will. Ok now a hard right turn to join final and lower the nose slightly... my instructor "What are you doing? Ok I have control we're going to do a break", and me "A WHAT??"
On a break you maintain altitude and speed until over the threshold of the runway and then you immediately go into a 60 degree banked 3 G circling turn while pulling the power back and popping the speed brakes to slow down so that you end up flying 180 degrees in the opposite direction on the downwind at the correct speed to land. You complete your pre-landing checks, then turn again while descending onto final approach for landing.
My instructor loved doing breaks. As my training progressed, the harder the break the better he liked it. In a later flight I experienced grey-out and was then given control on the downwind so I didn't move a thing until my vision returned while my instructor had a few laughs asking me each step of what I was doing as I was fumbling in a daze.
Anyway, back to the landing... overall it was pretty smooth... except for the part where my instructor said "We're going to do a touch and go and then join the inner pattern. Next time you land the plane." Oh cool, I'm really feeling the effects of the flight and that approach but I'm not going to hurl, I'm not going to hurl. We switched over to the inner pattern and again a hard turn onto final and there's me still thinking airliner again. "Tower Apache 214 request the break" calls my instructor...
Let me tell you, I still think that was my finest hour...
Into the break, left 60 degree bank, reduce power, 3 G's comin' on, pop the speed brakes, I got your maintain altitude right here pal, speed is coming down good, pre-landing checks, ok cleared to land, nice left-hand circling approach onto final, no overshooting the centerline, level the wings, power back more, flare, kiss those main wheels onto the runway, hold the nose up for a bit of aerodynamic braking, gently lower the nose wheel, start applying braking, speed brakes coming in, the instructor said "I have control" and...
There I was...
...desperately ripping my oxygen mask off with one hand while fumbling with my leg zipper pocket with the other to get that barf bag out, having difficulty with the damn zipper...
NO... I didn't barf... I finally got the zipper open, pulled out the bag and stuck it over my mouth for the next few minutes while taxiing in but I didn't lose it. We came to a stop, then shut down and opened the canopy. I do admit that I had rubber legs and fell out of the aircraft, almost taking out a ground support person who had been moving to go under the wing to flip a switch in the gear well. My instructor came around the front of the tutor, saw me with my ass on the ground and got a big kick out of that.
Well, I guess the only question would be... would I ever do it again?
YOU BET! IN A HEARTBEAT! WITH BELLS ON! BETTER THAN SEX!