Well I wanted to write a wee something, because a film this man directed changed my life and inspired me to take a career pathway, that may not have come to fruition, but was a fun endeavour.
It was at Emma Ball’s 12th birthday party, I got to watch a film that my mother would never have let me see, since it was certified 15 and I was 11. This film was to change what I wanted to do with my life. That film? Top Gun.
Yes, yes, I know most youngsters back then wanted to be fast jet pilots. Girls swooned at the men in their flying suits and the boys did too. All wanting to emulating this perceived glamorous lifestyle. Our hearts went out to Tom Cruise playing Maverick and his broken soul and cried when *SPOILER ALERT* Goose (Anthony Edwards) dies.
The film started my geeky passion for all things aviation. Back then, I could tell you the names of all the fast jets (even the difference between a Tornado GR1 & GR4). I was the chairperson of the avionics society at school. I even got to kiss a Dutch F16 pilot who had emulated the tower fly past from the film, for us school girls visiting 617 Squadron when they were still at RAF Marham. More exciting was the opportunity to sit in both a F16 Flying Falcon and a GR4. Just so you know, the F16 is far more comfortable than the Tornado, thought I have to truly thank both, sets of pilots, for fuelling my desire to be one too.
Now back then girls didn’t go into combat, and they didn’t fly fast jets. This was highlighted by the RAF recruitment officer when I was 15. (Who actually said But you are a girl 100% for observation chum). I didn’t let this stop me, I moved focus from the RAF to the RN. I joined the Yorkshire URNU and my wonderful boss, Jock, inspired me to try to be a helicopter pilot. (my sons were both quite impressed when I told them this).
Unfortunately Fortunately, I met my husband and the path to becoming a pilot changed. I did get to work with an avionics firm, that made lots to doo-dads & whathchimecallsits for aircraft (& yes I know what they did, but I can’t tell you about them). They did include the helmet for the Eurofighter, a plane I thought would be in commission when I left school. I even got to try one of the prototypes which was just awesome.
So as I hear of Tony Scott’s death today I want to take time to thank him for creating the inspiration to one of my passions.
What were your childhood influences? Did you get to follow your passions? I do hope so, I had much fun chasing mine.