The Apache simulator was awesome. One of my pilot friends chuckled a little when I walked into his tent the night before and asked, "so, how do I fly a helicopter?" So he gave me some pointers.
I can't take pictures of it, but its about what you'd expect. A big screen 180 degrees around the front of you, graphics straight out of Flight Sim 2000, and a real apache cockpit. Guess what, I'm too tall to be comfortable. Surprised? When I pushed the brakes in, my shins hit the dash, but who cares, I was was "flying" a helicopter right? It was real enough that when I banked from one side to the other a little too fast I got wooosey, and I thought, "Whoa dude, chill out. Its just a simulator." Once in the air, I picked up the flying part pretty quickly. Landing took a couple tries, and taking off took a little while. The instructor said the apache is the hardest bird to hover because its designed to be maneuverable, so that made me feel better. I just didn't hover, I took off and immediately flew forward. And apparently, I did quite well mostly because I listened to the instructor. I put the eyepiece on and flew in the dark. The gun points wherever the person is looking. Kinda neat. So, theoretically, if someone started the engines for me, I could fly an Apache helicopter. I plan on going back once a month or so.
So remember when I was telling everybody that I wasn't too worried about the heat here because its always dry? Well, it got humid this week as the wind shifted from the dry NW wind to a SE wind off the Persian Gulf. Complete bullshit. 120 and humid. WTF. Indescribable. Ok, I'm done now. But seriously. . .
So here are some pictures of what I do. Kinda blah, I know, but I'll get more. Ahmed is the crane operator. He operates this beat up 1975 Kato 30Ton crane his dad owns. His dad is an operator I work with as well. I can't remember the other dude's name, but he's always wearing that red thing on his face and looks menacing. I can almost kick his ass at empty-water-bottle-soccer. If anything I can just body-slam him. . .