PHD #330: Flying Air Shiner
Flying Air Shiner
Summary: Shiner takes a turn in the simulators. Nobody dies, even for pretend.
Date: 22 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Shine On, Shine On and various other 'Shiner strives to pilot' logs
Cidra Shiner 
Flight Simulation - Deck 11 - Battlestar Cerberus
A training room specifically dedicated to honing aerial skills, this area is equipped with several flight simulator pods that allow the pilots to practice maneuvers and tactics without being in a real live plane. The Viper-pods are installed on one side of the room with a little space between them, an attempt to provide a realistic feel for close-range wing training, while a smaller number of Raptor sim-pods are installed on the opposite side of the room from the Vipers. A central computer terminal and overhead display screen sits at the head of the room, where one can input exercises and data to be run in the sims, scroll through score records, and control the training modules.
Post-Holocaust Day: #330

To say that David Wright's introduction to the world of flight has taken place at a leisurely pace would be an understatement. Between the massive ship repairs needed over Tauron and now the preparations for Operation Silent Mastiff, the CAG and Deck Chief both had been much occupied for the apprentice. But, Cidra has managed to carve out some time to see that he's given some proper flight lessons and has reserved the sims for just such one this evening. She's dressed in her flight suit, though it isn't strictly required here. She's setting a good example. She waits by one of the Raptor sim pods. Here a little early, so she's taking the time to have a pre-flight smoke.

Shiner is a keener, however hard he's been worked lately, and is a few short minutes early himself. Well, either he's keen or he's terrified of what Khloe would do to him if she ever found out he was late. He's dressed in his very own flight suit, of which he's inordinately proud, complete with Raptor patch and, oh look! His name! MID D WRIGHT, right across the breast. He carries the helmet under his arm, and his hair is still wet and smelling slightly of chlorine. No secret that he's been pretty much non stop in the pool with the marines, either swimming or lifeguarding, since their EVA training began. "Hey, sir!" he greets cheerfully, beaming Cidra a bright smile and waving his helmet towards her. "Ready to see how awesome a pilot I can be?"

"Wright." Is Cidra a touch surprised he's early? Perhaps. At least, it appears she figured she'd have a little more personal time with her cigarette, for she has to head to the front control console to put it out. Carefully. That one's still partially smokeable. "You are early. Very good. Quite ready, yes. It is well past time we got you properly working in the planes. I shall still need to speak with Chief Damon about some intricacies of your training. I would like you to stay on the Deck, at least in some context, while you are a Nugget. As you lack civilian pilot experience I do think it would be beneficial to get you as familiar with the air craft as possible, Raptors in particular."

"Um, sorry I've not been able to get more training in," Shiner attempts gamely, wrinkling his nose. "Y'know. We've been… yeah. With the repairs and all, sir. But that doesn't mean I'm any less willing than any of your civvie dudes, sir!" he hastens to add, nodding earnestly. "I mean, just because they can fly a crop duster or whatever, I've got some knowledge and stuff they don't have, too. From working, I mean, sir. With the birds and all? I can totally list you off every part of the engine, and do pre-flight checks and everything, honest!"

"I quite understand, Wright. I apologize I have not had more time to devote to your training myself. But, we do as we can. You can do a pre-flight, hmm? Well, let us see what you make of that. Into the Raptor pod. Co-pilot's seat. I will get us into the air, and then you can try to keep us there." And without further ado, into the Raptor pod Cidra ducks. She sits at the main pilot controls and gets the pod online, though she leaves any further pre-flight work to Shiner himself.

Shiner swallows, then dips his head as he enters the pod himself. He pops his helmet on, locking it in place, and folds his hands in his lap once he's seated, waiting for further instructions. Doing as he's told is something he's actually good at. Eyes greedily sweep over the controls of the pod, mentally reciting to himself each part and what it does. And knowing Shiner, probably the serial number from maintenance, too.

Cidra sits the pilot's seat but all she does, at first, is sit. "Get settled in, Wright. And take us through pre-flight. Take your time. Initially it is more important to do it properly than to do it quick."

Shiner looks worried for a moment, but takes a deep breath and nods once. Unfastening himself from the co-pilot's seat, he moves to exit the pod again before noting to Cidra, "Uh… sir? The sim…. doesn't exactly have an airframe to check? I mean, I would, though, right. If this was a proper bird, I'd give it an eyeballing. I've done pre-flight on your bird before, sir, you've seen me, right?"

"Correct, Wright. Particularly if you know as much about the plane as a mechanic. I trust the deck hands to make sure what I am flying is good to fly, but it never does hurt to double-check." Cidra just observes him from her seat. "I am curious. What do you make of how we pilots treat our ships? In general. I am quite sure all of us are rather different beasts."

Shiner grins faintly, nodding. "Well, right. Assume I'm checking the frame and the fuel seals, sir. And then the door seals, too. And the Chief's chit and all that." He leans in to flick a couple of switches, this with practiced ease, as he double checks everything in order. Fuel. Avionics. Mechanics. Pre-flight is something he's had a year and a half doing daily and he barely needs to think about it. "Well…" in answer to her query, "If I'm honest with you, do I get a good kicking, sir? Because… eh… I mean some of you guys are awesome and look after the birds. And some of you seem to go up with the sole intention of seeing just what you can do to them before they actually explode on you."

"I do not kick, Wright." Cidra nods along as he goes through the pre-flight. Approving. Perhaps more approving than she'd though she'd be, but at least he knows his business there. "Our duties put the planes through harsh rigors. Some of that is unavoidable. Some, we could take more care. I do try to instill in my people that we have not an endless supply to spare parts, even with Fabrication up and running." Systems will all read 'green' and ready to go, of course. The sim ships are free of problems that aren't introduced into their programming, and the CAG doesn't appear to have added any traps for him today.

Shiner even gives the fuel gauge a little tap with his fingernail as he boots up the engine, an old trick to ensure that everything's as it should be without relying entirely on computer readouts. "Working the birds is fine, sir, I'm not saying you shouldn't fly them. Just that pushing them every time you go out just to show off or whatever? Well, put simply, sir, that's just being a knobjockey."

"No argument, Wright. CAP is not the place for tricks, anyhow. I shall pass the word along to my pilots, however," Cidra says. Faintest hint of a smile as he boots the engine. Another slight nod. That, she approves of. "Systems green, Mister Wright?"

Shiner gives a single thumbs up, pausing as though he's forgotten something for just a moment, then grinning to himself and flexing his fingers. "Aye aye, sir, all systems checked and green to go. Fuel is 100%, aircraft is unarmed, nothing to report."

"Very good. I am taking us up, then." And so Cidra does. The launch is easy and she has them in virtual, debris-free 'space' in no time flat. "We shall take it easy at first. No obstacles, space clear enough to give us a clear DRADIS read. All fundamentals. We can get more challenging when you are more comfortable. Why did you join up initially, Wright? I do not mean why did flight attract you. The Navy itself, back when the worlds were whole."

Shiner keeps a wary eye on the instruments, a look of sheer joy on his face as the viewscreen changes. "I… you want the honest answer, sir?" he asks hesitantly, "Or what I told the recruiting guy?"

"Honest answer, right. I never ask questions I do not want an honest answer to," Cidra says, taking it ahead nice and steady for now. The difficulty on this run is, indeed, greatly retarded, so she can fly without intense concentration. She keeps her eyes on the computer but talks with Shiner easily enough.

"I got dumped, sir," Shiner admits with a wry smile. "This girl at the pool, Elle, sent me a frakking /text/ to say don't bother showing up to this date we'd got planned. And then I kind of spotted this poster, right? Saying you could get travel and excitement and a cool uniform and stuff, and you didn't need fancy qualifications or anything. So I thought frak it, why not."

Cidra smiles, ever so slight. "I had a fight with my mother and saw a recruiting poster on my university campus," Cidra says. "Well, there is a bit more to it than that, but I must admit that was the genesis of my considering the Navy. All right. I am going to level us out. Wright, I am going to transfer primary control to you on my mark. Just concentrate on keeping the plane level and on course. Think you can manage that?"

Shiner takes a deep breath, then grips the control column. "I reckon I can give it a go, sir. On your mark, I have control," he dutifully states. Somebody's been reading all those books he's been given after all. "Level and on course," he adds under his breath, frowning in concentration. You can almost hear his little brain going 'don't screw it up! Don't screw it up!'.

"Mark." And with that, Cidra puts the ship in his hands. She's still right there, of course. And it is a fake ship, so the worst he can do in 'crashing' it is here displeasure. She watches him sidelong, weighing.

There's a definite wobble, and a certain amount of veering. Reading the books is apparently no substitute for actual flying experience, and that look of deep concentration is soon replaced by an ever more fearful look of desperation as the simulated Raptor appears quite content to do its own thing. "Frak, frak, frak, frak, frak," he mutters under his breath, adding for good measure a select few "cock gobbling ass whore"s and at least one "cuntybollocks!" as the fake horizon jumps all over the place under his guidance.

"Steady as she goes, Wright," Cidra says, not sharply but with definite firmness as they jolt and wobble. "Remember, you are in control. Always remember that. The ship is an extension of your will. It is an instrument through which you complete the mission given. A fifty-ton instrument and a very powerful one, never forget, but in the pilot's seat you bend it to your wishes."

"I have control," Shiner insists to himself, gritting his teeth as he continues to overcorrect every time, bobbing and lurching the simulated Raptor around the simulated space until the casual observer could become spacesick. "Frakking thing! Do as you're frakking told!"

"You are overcompensating," Cidra says, holding her seat. She'd strapped herself in firmly, which is for the good. "Fifty tons or not, these machines shall respond to the lightest changes in control. Level out and do it slow. Do not try to yank it. Just get us even with the horizon line and allow the plane to do as you will it. Do not force it."

"I am not!" Shiner retorts hotly, "It's not true what they say about men and big vehicles!" He glares at the screen, because that's sure to help, tugging the control column hard left again as he tries to level out. And fails. Apparently the more irritated and frustrated he becomes, the worse the overcorrection becomes.

"I do not care how endowed are you, Wright, but if you keep yanking on the controls like that you are going to wrench my simulator," Cidra says. "Calm down. Worse thing you can do in the pilot's seat is panic. You will just make things worst. Trust me. Loosen your grip, nice and slow, ease us level. Do it as light as you can. Pretend the plane was made of glass. Tossing is about and you will shatter."

Shiner mutters under his breath some more, before taking a long breath and exhaling. He eases his grip somewhat, reducing his movements in kind until finally, finally he has the aircraft at some semblance of level. Off course, but level.

Cidra will take level after that. "All right. Good. Concentrate on keeping it level for now. Just fly straight ahead. We can deal with course correction later. Flying like this, the Raptor will do most of the work for you. Just keep your eyes on the instruments and fly straight and true. On most flights you will have an ECO monitoring the DRADIS from their console. It is more powerful than your readouts here. But you should try to keep a bead on what is going on yourself, both with the electronic displays and visuals."

"What should I be watching, sir?" Shiner asks, risking an attempt to turn and then level out again. It's not ideal, but he's not lurching all over the fake sky quite as badly this time. Once he's managed to get the bird vaguely level again, he tries once more, turning back the other way as he chases the bearing he wants. "I mean, like, mostly. Don't tell me to watch everything, I'm not Superman. I keep my undies on the inside."

"When you are farther along with this, Wright, you *should* pay attention to both your visuals and instrument readings," Cidra says. "For now, concentrate on visuals. Eyes out your viewport. Get a feel for flying. The rest shall build upon that."

"I've got a feel for falling about all over the sky," Shiner notes wryly, nose wrinkling as he nonetheless nods, concentrating hard as he maintains his current course. "It's not as easy as it looks, huh? Maybe I should stop taking the piss out of you guys."

"It is not as easy as it looks," Cidra affirms simply. "Though neither is taking these beasts apart and putting them back together in ways that does not result in a pilot and plane both quite dead. We both sides of our duties take each other too much for granted at times. Do not worry about falling, Wright. Not now, at least. That is the beauty of operating in space. No gravity to contend. We shall not have you flying in atmosphere for a time yet. It is rather more…challenging than this." Not that this is particularly easy.

"Because what I really need is more challenging," Shiner replies with just the hint of a smile, shattered confidence slowly building again as the aircraft levels out. "Sir? Can I ask a question?"

"Questions are how we learn, Wright. You should be asking them," Cidra replies. While he's eyeing the road, as it were, she does keep her eyes on his instruments. More making note of how he's flying than anything else. Her hands are in her lap, and she seems content to keep them there.

Shiner nods slowly, easing the aircraft into a mild bank to the left. "Is it true you snog the women nuggets, sir?"

Cidra blinks. *That* was not the question she was expecting. She frowns. "Keep the plane level, Wright. And keep your head on flying. If you have enough time to think on matters like that, you would kill us both were this the real thing."

Shiner looks suitably chastened for a moment, levelling out, before a sly grin appears. "So it /is/ true, then," he affirms quietly to himself.

Cidra frowns. "Try to get us back on course, Wright. Nice and slow. Do not try to swerve too quickly, or you will only jostle things further. Then I shall take us back down."

Nothing is confirmed or denied.

"Can I try it, sir?" Shiner asks, risking a glance towards her in order to most effectively put on the puppy dog eyes. He nudges the stick, banking the aircraft round to the right course or close enough, perhaps a little sharply it's true, but nowhere near as bad as it was.

"Landing is probably the most difficult thing to learn when you are first starting, Wright. Even moreso than take-off, which we will get you doing next time. But, give it a try." One can't really die a fiery death in the sims, after all. Cidra lets him give it a go.

"Pack of smokes says I don't kill us all," Shiner challenges cheerfully. "You'll talk me through it though, right, sir?"

"Five smokes, Mister Wright. I do not give away packs so easily," Cidra says. "Get us back on course and bring us about. The key to landing a plane safely is timing your deceleration with your descent. Too slow to ease off and you will come in hot and miss your landing mark. Or put yourself clean through the hangar bay. Too fast you will stall out before you are safely home."

Even with the warning of the many ways in which he can screw this up, Shiner gives a pleased, surprised smile, nodding. If she lowers the wager it must be because she thinks there's a risk she might lose, right? And that means that she actually thinks he might be able to do this. He sets his jaw, taking a long breath, then frowns at the viewscreen, turning the aircraft around slowly. "Going about, aye aye, sir," he repeats. "Uh… which one's deceleration again?"

"That would be the throttle, Wright. Back on it - easy - as you are going down. Landing is all about timing, hitting your mark as square and perfect as you can." Cidra checks their altitude, and the distance to their virtual 'hangar' home. "You are back on course now. Should be ready to start going down in two minutes."

Shiner grins. Going down. Hur hur hur. Still, he bites his tongue. Maybe he's maturing or something, or maybe he's just concentrating. Probably the latter. "Throttle, sir, aye aye," he agrees, glancing to the lever and resting a hand on it ready. "Just, so, go straight, yeah? For now?"

"Straight for now," Cidra affirms. "Begin angling down in thirty seconds. Slowly. Throttle down when you begin your descent. Again, but cautious not to do it all at once."

Shiner nods to that, sucking on his teeth as he slowly aims the nose downwards, throttle easing back carefully in his other hand. Luck. Must be luck. It's almost right and everything, although the power is perhaps a little lower than you'd want, and the course considerably wobbly.

At this point Cidra prefers too slow to too fast, so she lets him go on that. The wobbling makes her brace herself against her seat. This is going to be a bumpy ride. "Good. You are doing well. Continue on course down, do not take power down any further for another thirty seconds. Do not worry about doing it pretty, just get us home."

Shiner nods carefully, eyes glued to the screen in front of him. "Thirty seconds until power down, aye aye, sir," he responds, weaving around the ideal transit like some kind of drunken hummingbird, never quite holding the exact course for more than a split second. He grips the throttle, just waiting for the signal from Cidra.

Cidra winces at the weaving. "Try to keep it on course, Wright. Landing is all about marriage of speed, trajectory, and timing." A rough marriage this'll be but, one way or another, they *are* going down. "Twenty-three degrees port, then straighten it out and power down. We shall take it back into the hangar at a slow hover. You kill fuel that way and it is a *horrid* habit to build, but it should make things simpler."

"Port two-three, sir," Shiner echoes, chewing hard on his lip as he complies. "Two three degrees of port wheel on, sir… uh… or whatever." Oh, shame. And he was sounding so professional for a moment, too. Straightening out he's slowly improving and albeit somewhat listing to port, he manages to achieve something resembling level flight. And then he kills the power. Literally. Engine off.

If they were in atmosphere, this would be plummeting time. As it is, the Raptor just comes to a dead 'stop' in computerized space. Cidra grimaces, but she just nods to herself. "Ah. My fault. Power *decrease*, Wright, never kill your engine completely until you are back on deck. Or unless you want to stall in space for some reason. Presently, we do not. Engines back online."

Shiner pulls a face, reddening and swearing under his breath as he powers back up, the engines taking a moment to buzz into life. "Engines online, sir," he notes, tone somewhat more subdued. "Um. Should I make them go forward a bit, sir?"

"Forward and down, Wright. Forward and down," Cidra replies. She actually does not look displeased. Well, they're both still 'alive'. "In ten seconds dial back on your main engines and fire thrusters into a 'hover.' It shall be slow as swimming through tar, but you should be able to put it on deck without over-shooting your landing mark."

Shiner nudges the throttle and stick both forward, grimacing at the viewscreen as they approach. Closer. Closer. And then he loses his nerve. "Can't do it, sir, take over! Take over!"

"No," Cidra barks short. "I have enough cigarettes. Clear eyes and steady hands, Wright. You are nearly there. Just close the deal. Nothing worse than your pride can be bruised in the simulators, and you have come too far to just toss it now. Down another ten degrees. Bring us in dead center of the hangar opening to keep as much space between you and the doors as possible. Then put it down on deck. Hover slow, dial engines back nice and easy."

Shiner looks close to tears, nonetheless gripping the column with renewed effort as she directs him. "We're going to crash, we're going to frakking crash," he breathes, horrified, as the Raptor weaves and wobbles towards the hangar opening. He jabs for the thrusters, knocking on full floodlights as well in the process, and the already slow descent turns slower. "Shit shittity shit shittio… frak you, motherfrakking… assbiscuits! Yah! Sweaty ballsacks!" he manages, voice strained as the power slowly eases back and the bird heads wonkily for the deck.

"Set her down…now." There's a note of supreme satisfaction in Cidra's voice as she says it. Profanity or not, floodlights blinding what would be the poor air control crew or no, he can definitely get down without killing the pair of them at this point. Which makes the CAG smile, not even bothering to hide her surprise.

Shiner points the nose down as ordered. It's not pretty, and if this were a real Raptor there would be some awkward scratches on the paintwork to explain away, but the simulator seems satisfied, artificial horizon settling level. "Hoooooly shiiiiit," Shiner manages, taking a few long breaths. "We're not dead, right? I mean… I know we're not dead dead, but… are we 'dead'?"

"We are not dead." Cidra is actually beaming, and she reaches out to clasp him hard on the shoulder. "You did it, Wright. We will work on never doing it quite like that again, but you did it. Got your bus and your passenger back to the barn in one piece. The rest of it we can polish, but for a Raptor driver that is what matters most at the end of the day. And it is done."

Shiner slowly smiles, unhooking his helmet and tugging it off into his lap. "I frakking did it, didn't I?" he notes in wonder. "Shit on a stick, I /did it/, sir! I totally flew and didn't kill /anyone/! Dude!!" He laughs, relief evident along with the surprise. "I frakking /flew/, sir! Me!" Turning to her, then, he holds up a hand for a high five.

Cidra laughs, shaking her head. But she does, indeed, high five him. There's an awkwardness to the gesture. The CAG is not particularly good at playing 'dude.' But high five she does. "I owe you some cigarettes, I do think."

Shiner grins broadly, shrugging. "I don't smoke, sir."

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