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Hagerty Employee

A fighter pilot tells us what the real Top Guns drive to work

John Gillespie Magee, Jr., an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force flying in a Spitfire squadron in Britain during the Second World War, wrote eloquently of having “[S]lipped the surly bonds of earth, and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; … wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence” and “flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.” Though he was tragically killed in a midair collision at the tender age of 19, Magee's poem “High Flight” remains a favorite of pilots the world over. What his moving prose fails to adequately describe is the stark brutality of aerial combat. It’s akin to a knife fight in a phone booth, only with the combatants’ knives worth multitudinous millions of dollars.


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Pit Crew

Sorry! I didn't think about photos at all. I'll fix that going forward
Pit Crew

I'll do better with pics going forward. True story: I have owned a car with an actual, no kidding, linoleum interior...
Pit Crew

I haven't spent much time around helicopter pilots, so I can neither confirm nor deny your perception. Sorry
Pit Crew

Ha ha. You'll have to wait until I'm no longer on active duty to find out if I'm a squid or not...

If it makes you feel better, I have a ZX-14R although I've never flown anything stouter than a Cessna 172
New Driver

More of this!

New Driver

Excellent article.  Seems to me the challenge shared for airplanes, cars, and motorcycles isn't speed.  Its pressing the envelope.  No flight experience, but I imagine the adrenalin really pumps when you're able to make an airplane do things outside its envelope - to push it to the point it begins to protest and then stuff it back in the envelope.  Same for driving or riding on the ground.  A tenth of the speed, but getting that car or bike outside its envelope and then consistently getting it back in may be equally exciting.



New Driver

Back in early '70's, I visited many bases as a Navy Brat. (Dad was career Navy).  I always wanted to do a drive by the pilots Officer's Club to scout-out their rides.  USAF were Saab Sonnets and USN Datsun 240Z's.  Those "Fly Boys" were cool.

Intermediate Driver

Good stories and great writing Josh! We are all waiting for more now.  And Thanks for your service!!


And Thanks JB - this guy is yet another Lap Record you have set!!


Come on josh, you don’t like Top Gun? You must be a Chair Force Pilot. Also, Audi TTs are definitely AF pilot cars.