Colonel Steve Thompson works for the United States Air Force. When he was in 9th grade, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in being a pilot.
Colonel Steve Thompson works for the United States Air Force. When he was in 9th grade, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in being a pilot. Even though Steve didn't like this particular subject, he had to study it in order to fulfill his dream. This subject was… Math.
There are a lot of calculations in this job that Steve or sometimes the navigators perform beforehand. But some of these calculations have to be on the fly, in order to keep everyone safe.
The plane that Steve Thompson flies is a C130, which costs about $35 million to construct. And that doesn't even include the price of gasoline for even just one mission. This plane consumes about 5000 pounds of gas per hour, which is about 833 gallons of gas!
During his presentation in my math class, he had us do a mission simulation. He walked us through all of the steps of completing a mission successfully, from studying the map of the flight (learn your coordinates) to actually dropping 22 Navy SEALS to their call of duty to their country.
While flying the C130, there are many equations to be solved. The pilots must fly 400 feet above any obstacle within a 3 miles radius. One equation they don't have to worry about is calculating time changes. The U.S. Military uses the same type of time: Zulu time! 0000 Zulu time is 12:00 on the Prime Meridian. Using this method of time, the airplane crew doesn't have to worry about time conversions.
However, the crew has to be careful to avoid having to solve this particular equation when flying low: P+U+K+E!!! They have to fly in low valleys, high mountaintops, and other things that could certainly make your stomach upset.
I asked Steve what the most important part of his job was. His answer? "Running the crew, and having to work with everyone. We have simulator training together beforehand. I always work to be the best leader that I can be!" he answer.
He has studied hard, and boy had it paid off. He has accomplished his childhood dream, and done it with flying colors.