The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
And now for something completely different.....My Hawk Flight
Posted Thursday, 28 May 2009 at 10:28

 

 

 

Before I write this blog I should clarify that not a penny of tax payer’s money was used during the Hawk flight. I literally ‘hitched’ a ride on a training flight.

 

On a daily basis I find myself more interested in defence and the status of our military. I think it began on my first visit to an air base in my constituency and realised that the families of serving personnel did not receive the same access to dental or health care as the serving member of the military, despite the fact that families had to go through upheaval and leave their existing healthcare arrangements each and every tour.

 

The price our forces pay for our freedom, sometimes with a life, is the highest possible price and I do not believe that nearly enough respect or appreciation is shown.

 

I am also as concerned as everyone else that our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan were expected to fight with sub standard equipment and I feel that this level of inferior care and attention to detail is one which is reflected in the British attitude towards our hero’s.

 

On Friday a WREN asked me was I a Conservative, and then followed with “great, the Conservatives are always good to the Military”. In the midst of a turbulent week, that made me proud.

 

My visit to RAF Boscombe Down was one that many MPs with an interest in defence undertake and the trip in the Hawk was a way of demonstrating the level of expertise and training which our pilots undergo in order to be ready for combat.

 

The Hawk is used to train pilots who then fly the Typhoon/Eurofighter.

 

My pre-flight briefing took a while. If I was told once “we want you to have a positive experience”, I was told it a hundred times. Which made me very suspicious!

 

The ejector seat briefing was quite long and included a detailed step by step video. I wanted to tell them half way in that they had completely lost me. I made the decision there and then that if I ejected, I would just pray pretty hard.

 

The big pack behind me in the photo is the ejector seat pack. It has so far saved the lives of around 120 pilots.

 

The word eject is never mentioned in the cockpit, ever. I was relieved to hear this as my biggest worry had been hearing the word eject, and not being sure. When you first enter the cockpit, just before take off the conversation is – “don’t forget if you hear the word we don’t mention to close your eyes”. This is because once you have pulled the lever; the cockpit explodes to let you out.

 

The squiggly lines on the picture I took in flight are in fact the explosives.

 

On my trip we pulled 4.5 G and flew at 480 miles per hour.

 

I was amazed that the whole time the pilot flew with the map in his left hand and was constantly looking out of his window for other planes. The entire flight is on visual.

 

When we saw a flight above us to the east, Gaz, my pilot wiggled the wings to make sure we had been seen and the other plane wiggled his back to let us know he had spotted us.

 

I can not describe in words how pulling G feels. Gaz, took me up in incremental stages. 1.5, then up and up. The feeling starts inside your skull, it’s like your brain is collapsing in on itself and your cheekbones are being forced down.

 

When we got to about +2 the anti-G suit began to kick in. A very weird experience. That starts in your legs and works its way up.  At 3.5 it was almost full on, the pressure of the suit pushing the blood back up from my legs back to the vital organs.

 

You can see by the post flight picture how pale my pallor is. It does do weird things to you for a little while afterwards.

 

I was told I would take the day to recover and be wobbly afterwards. I wasn’t wobbly and didn’t feel any different at all when we landed.

 

In terms of the fun stuff, we did two loop the loops. Gaz did the first one and then I did the second, (or so he let me believe!). We did some very hard turns and then a half Cuban 

 

http://www.geistware.com/rcmodeling/aerobatics/maneuvers/half_cuban_eight.htm

 

It is a very weird experience looking up from the glass bubble and seeing rooftops!

 

The hour flew by. I still can’t believe that at 300mph we banked right, and low over a lake, so low, I could see sticks floating on the top as I looked straight down into the water. I found it hard not to suppress a giggle into the O2 mask at this point.

 

I did not vomit. A badge of honour apparently. David Davis, as in ex SAS, did vomit when he took his a few years ago. Even though I say it myself a grin of begrudging respect did cross his face when he heard this information.

 

I also ate a full lunch, including a chocolate muffin, half an hour before we were airborne.

 

I was in awe of Gaz. His knowledge, skill, expertise, bravery, commitment, intelligence, experience. How lucky we are to have such people serving in our forces.

 

As far as I am concerned, defence is possibly one of our most important budgets. One of my three and comes under the heading, ‘keeping people safe’.

 

Thanks guys for a fantastic time. Thanks Colin for coming in especially for me. Thanks to the G suit fitters who SO, so, so obviously thought I was never even going to make it as far as the tarmac, and was in fact wasting their time J

 

And finally, thanks to the Air Commodore for arranging the flight, it was a truly amazing experience.

 
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
No doubt a subtle message hear from Ms Dorries that if The Daily Telegraph keep up their campaign, there will be a bombing sortie on telegraph towers headed up by Nadine 'Maverick' Dorries... I feel the need !!
 
 
James said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
I read that all the way through to the sound of 'Take My Breath Away' playing in my head.......now I can't get it out of my head.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
I can't help feeling that after Nadine's slightly breathless deion of this there will be a Kelly McGillis style video in the pipeline soon... "Thanks guys for a fantastic time. Thanks Colin for coming in especially for me." Ooohh, Matron !! I can see why the colour has washed out of your cheeks, your hair is rumpled, but it is reassuring to know that the g-spot fitters have ensured that the blood has returned to your 'vital organs'. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and drew attention to a worthwhile cause.
 
 
Nigel Allery said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Nadine, just to be transparent, who paid for lunch? Personally I think it's OK if it was in the canteen funded by the taxpayer but we had better be up front with the Telegraph, hadn't we?
 
 
Quentin said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
The Hawk has RAF Centre for Aviation Medicine enscribed upon its side.The Centre for Aviation Medicine is based in the constituency at Henlow and I believe North Luffenham and Farnham are connected in some way with aviation medicine so I assume the Hawk came from one of those bases.So why Boscombe Down?
 
 
Navy Red said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Quentin - I think the lack of a runway at the Aviation Medical Centre is the biggest factor. That and Boscombe Down is the home of the Empire Flight Test School (were all the test pilots fly from) and they are the ones that do the work for the Avn Medics.
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Just because they are RAF Bases does not mean they have aircraft flying from them anymore
 
 
The Guy on the Naughty Stap said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
@Second Ananymous - MEGA-ROFL !! If I shuffle across a bit, there's plenty of room for you here on the naughty step. I'd love to produce a 'Downfall-style' video featuring Nadine 'Maverick' Dorries, but my video editing skills are crap. That's the best laugh I've had today - thanks. :-)
 
 
Tony said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Who said M.P.'s are boring? Good to see you back on top form Hang on in there
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Guy on the naughty step. Cheers - Clearly 'deion' should be 'deion' ! Sorry, got a bit carried away...
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
You look even better in the suit than you do in the commons...oustanding.
 
 
Paul Pinfield said:
Responded: Thursday, 28 May 2009
Nadine, I think you fancy Gaz. I think we should be told...
 
 
Anonymous said:
Responded: Saturday, 30 May 2009
Nadine, you may fancy Gaz,we all fancy you
 
 
 
Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at: nadine.dorries.mp@parliament.uk
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

 
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