Thursday, May 27, 2010

Night flight

Not long ago I got to go on a night mission with some of the guys in my new Battalion. I'd been on lots of night flights while in Iraq, and while they were generally cooler than daytime missions (only in the mid-100s some nights, rather than in the mid-120s), there wasn't as much visual interest as would be the case during the daytime.

At least when we were flying around Baghdad at night, there would be some lights from cars and houses and street lamps, but when we were out in the boondocks, there was nothing at all to see.

The night mission here was much different, because I was able to borrow a crew chief's helmet and use night-vision goggles. Wow! What a difference!

We did a lot of flying over heavily wooded areas, where there is not much in the way of artificial lighting. Without the goggles (I turned them off at one point), I could see almost nothing. (There was an almost-full moon that night, so there was some ambient light.) But with the goggles engaged, the landscape was eerie shades of green.

Some of the guys had explained that newbies to the night-vision experience would often get really bad headaches or become nauseous, but I had neither.

I just had a great time for the rather long time we were out there flying around!

Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ
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