Long before EMC was his interest and, I daresay, his passion, Dad flew airplanes for a living. It was during an era unto its own. Norm had a load of stories and loved to tell them, throwing in an occasional embellishment. His flight training was in Big Springs, Texas “where elephants went to die,” as he would say. He eventually racked up four thousand or so hours of flight time, including the fast and high kind of flying and the low and slow kind. He was checked out on single and multi-engine planes and jets, requiring loads of preparation, which served him well.
A Jungle Survival Story from Norm Violette
One of his stories was how he scored a cold beer during jungle survival training during Vietnam. Getting that cold pop in the middle of the night–in the middle of the jungle–had something to do with proper preparations, too.
But before we get to that, a bit more about planes. One of the planes my Dad liked to reminisce about was the F-106 Delta Dart and when you kicked that afterburner, man did you go! With a landing approach speed of 180 knots, it was a fun plane to fly.
Peruse airplane collections and designs from the late 50s and 60s and one finds a veritable box of chocolates of flying machines. Contrary to the Swiss Army-Knife approach of today’s procurement—witness the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter where a single design concept forms a platform for all the services—the heydays of experimental airplane design gave birth to dozens of different birds of various breeding: engineering Darwinism. View More