1Push It Up!Attitude Plus Action Determines Altitude

THE BRIEFING ROOM hums with the nervous chatter of thirty-three trainees awaiting their official in-briefing. We’re newly commissioned second lieutenants, stationed at Williams Air Force Base in the scorching heat of a Phoenix summer. The next twelve months are known as UPT—undergraduate pilot training—and the only thing any of us can think about is jumping into the Cessna T-37 “Tweet” twin-engine jet trainer and pushing up the throttles. The future is finally beginning.

Maj. Jerry Free, the flight commander of “Scat Pack” flight (part of the 98th Flying Training Squadron), walks in the door. Capt. R. J. Stuermer, our assigned student liaison, calls the room to attention. We stand rigid and ...

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