Petrolheads with a need for speed dream of fighter jets and outflying other pilots.
PHOTOS (TOM CRUISE) PARAMOUNT PICTURES/SUNSET BOULEVARD/CORBIS, (F-14 TOMCAT FIGHTER JET) 123RF.COM
IT is easy to see why most guys who have watched Top Gun are so fascinated with the film. The opening scene alone, which features F-14s being launched from an aircraft carrier as the intro from Danger Zone plays, is enough to get our hearts racing. Speed is addictive to enthusiasts. Whether it’s zooming down the main straight of a racetrack or “bahnstorming” one of Germany’s unrestricted autobahn stretches, we enthusiasts simply cannot get enough of the sensation of going fast.
Although no longer in service, the F-14 is still admired by aviation enthusiasts.
But since going fast on land has its limits, we look to the skies to overcome these restrictions. That’s where the fantasy of piloting a fighter jet comes in. A fighter jet can propel you past the sound barrier. No supercar can top that. In addition, a fighter pilot’s gear is more awesome than a racecar driver’s. Racecar drivers experience g-forces, but they don’t wear g-suits or don oxygen masks to help prevent blackouts. Fighter pilots, on the other hand, require both these items. Besides, aviator-style sunglasses only look cool on aviators. I’ve never flown in a fighter jet before.
But when I attended the Porsche Sport Driving School two years ago, it felt like being in Top Gun, where we “flew” Porsche models. I was ready to hear the chief instructor say: “You guys are the best of the best – we’ll make you better.” But that didn’t happen. What did happen was two days of intensive training in “piloting” techniques. Each day ended with a timed gymkhana course, which I imagined to be a dogfight. Naturally, I aimed to be the best. My ambitions crashed and burned, though. Like the protagonist Maverick in Top Gun, I was “outflown” on both days by another participant. “Mr Iceman” made zero mistakes and relegated me to second-best, which led instructors to conclude that I was fast, but flawed.
Jeremy still graduated from “top gun” school, but there’s no option for him to return as an instructor.