By Crystal Wylie
Register News Writer
On Friday, Madison Southern High School students went on a mission to destroy a weapons storage facility. They braved a halo jump out of the side of a C-17 military transport aircraft, took a bumpy motorcycle ride across the desert and destroyed the facility in just under six minutes.
The Air Force Rapid Strike combat/flight simulator made a stop at the high school Friday to give students a unique simulated military experience. The simulator is fashioned to look like a real F-22 Raptor fighter craft, said Jaran Barnes, a government contractor who travels with the simulator all over the country.
The 15-seat “aircraft” has no belts or harnesses, he said, but handrails were provided.
“Just hold on,” Barnes warned before entering the simulator.
While inside, students did their best not to squish one another as the F-22 dipped and dived.
The motorcycle ride in the desert felt like driving over a fresh load of gravel that had just been dumped on the road.
In the final scenario, the shot zoomed in on the weapons storage facility and the sequence ends with the destruction of the target. The simulation made it seem as if you were riding on the missile itself.
“I want one of these (simulators),” one student said in the dark.
Outside of the F-22, freshman Tanner Bowman, 15, said he liked the Air Force simulator better than the Army simulator he had experienced in the past.
“The C-17 simulation looks identical to the real thing,” said Sgt. Jodi Friman, who took a ride in the actual transport aircraft while in Afghanistan.
But, she never jumped out of the plane, like in the simulation, she said.
Friman is a member of the 332nd Air Force Recruiting Squadron B-flight and recruits in Madison County.
Southern’s aerospace science instructor Chief Curtis Meurer was excited that his school was chosen. “This is a fortunate event; normally this goes to much larger population centers,” he said.
Crystal Wylie can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, Ext. 6696.