You might say that Osprey pilots are neither fish nor fowl.
- By John Croft
- Air & Space magazine, September 2007
(Page 5 of 5)
Other squadron pilots had transitioned from fixed-wing aircraft, like Smith, or from helicopters, like Spaid. "My original intent was to be a Marine," says Spaid of his time as an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, where he majored in geography. "I had no preference for air or ground." It turned out that the only slot available was for a pilot, and one demonstration ride in a T-2C Buckeye a week later sealed his fate. "I was hooked," he says.
In early 2004, after a stint flying CH-46s with the -263, Spaid submitted an Osprey transition request. "I love the -46, but missions could get kind of boring," he says. "You do the same long, slow [missions], day in and day out. With the Osprey, there are a variety of missions you can do in one event—take off as helo, flying high, doing aerial refueling, external loads, and landing as a helo. Time goes by superfast when you're flying [the Osprey]."
Smith has similar feelings: "What is truly cool for me is sitting 50 feet above the ground, just hanging there at zero speed, eyeball level with other aircraft. Then I'm 250 knots. That's still a rush."