ONLY a generation ago, military pilots started training knowing that they had chosen a dangerous career. This was because military flying which supplied airlines with most of their trained pilots in those days, killed in accidents between 20 and 25% of pilots. Even in wartime, about a third of the losses were for reasons other than enemy action. In one typical Navy class of 20 pilots, 5 were dead within five years of starting flying. These fatalities occurred in typical accidents such as spinning, hitting high ground in bad weather, arrester hook failure, in‐flight explosion or night catapult launch. Against this background, survival soon became an important theme for the young trainee. He thought and talked a lot about emergencies and learned to approach every flight and every aircraft, as well as everybody and everything connected with them as a potential cause of his sudden demise. A robust and healthy suspicion was the order of the day, reinforced by a good sprinkling of hairy experiences.
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