Of course, I am sure (I hope), that flight leader Dick Wharmby was only joking. He had just witnessed me almost killing myself while in his care. We had just flown cross country, which in retrospect, I did quite a bit as a young Lieutenant. It seemed the only way to build flying time, which was a huge deal when you don’t have any.
The A7D had so many really incredible technology advances for its time. One was a very sophisticated air to ground mapping radar. It was used for level bombing and mapping, as well as limited but useful weather avoidance. Since most of my very limited experience up until this event had been short low level bombing sorties, I wasn’t prepared for what had just occurred.
One of the things we were instructed to accomplish on the completion of our flight was known as a post flight. Looking for obvious damages from a possible bird strike, someone shooting at you, or even running into high wires, you would do a post flight walk around – looking at the airplane. As I walked around the front of the jet and prepared to stick my head in the intake just below the radar dome or radome, I was sent flying when a jolt of very powerful static electricity knocked me a good 8 feet and on the ground.
Normally, a grounding wire wasn’t employed to accomplish a static discharge, but simply dissipated over time. I was never warned about this very real hazard. In this case, the radar dome had just dissipated the static charge into my chest. I felt very foolish and quite weak, but at least the 8 feet was on my butt and not 6 feet under.
So, be careful with your equipment. Whether in flight or in the kitchen! But, by all means, don’t stay grounded because of the fear of the unknown. Make this a reason to actually go out and accomplish something new, daily….Whether in the kitchen or elsewhere.