the dissident frogman

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A comment by Arch on Iran is your friend, Bush is a Manichean God-worshipping wacko

In the 1970s, the Imperial Iranian Air Force bought F4D & F4E from McDonnell Douglas. Their aircrews went through pilot training at Wichita Falls, Texas and F4 upgrade training at Luke AFB outside Phoenix, where I was stationed. Their students weren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. Worse yet, their culture is critical of those who admit mistakes. It's dangerous to fly with these guys.

In 1974, oil prices were high and the Shah of Iran paid his student pilots 150% of what we made as instructors. They were here unaccompanied, so they ran the women - something not allowed back home. It was the age of the custom van, with shag carpet swivel chairs, refrigerators and big stereos. One student decided to buy a van to impress the ladies, so he drove to a car dealership.

The second he set foot in the showroom, a salesman saw a chance to reverse our balance of payments on this one deal. He showed the kid a van and started loading it up options. "Do you want cruise control?" he asked.

The puzzled student replied, "What is 'cruise control'?"

"You're a fighter pilot. Cruise control is like an autopilot." He ordered cruise control.

Weeks later, the van arrived and the kid got a ride to it up. On the way, they stopped and bought a case of Coors (another thing they couldn't do at home). After a quick test drive, the salesman helped him put the beer in his fridge and they were off.

The guy's friend followed the van out onto the Texas interstate. The van driver got to 75 MPH, engaged the cruise control, released his seat belt, swiveled his driver's seat, stood up and opened a brew. The interstate turned right. He didn't.

The kid woke up in the hospital with a USAF ground safety officer hoping to get a statement before he died. "Mohammed, what happened?"

The answer, "Autopilot failure."

Rational? I don't think so.

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