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5 Lift Versus Drag: Find What Gives You ... > THE SCIENCE OF LIFT - Pg. 53

L I F T V E R S U S D R A G | 53 of thrust kicks in. The acceleration is unreal as we gain speed: 150, 200, 250 knots. In seconds we're airborne. I raise the gear handle. I'm already at 300 knots, nearly 345 miles per hour. Deke yells out in the back, "Great Job, Waldo!" And then it hits me: I'm flying the F-16! Exactly two years later I would find myself strapped into another F-16, taking off on a very different mission. Nobody else was with me in the plane, but I wasn't flying solo. My wingmen and I were in combat over Iraq, in skies a lot less friendly than those over Phoenix, Arizona. Weighed down with two 370-gallon wing fuel tanks and a huge assortment of missiles and weapons systems, this jet was a lot heavier and less maneuverable than the one I flew in training. But the new configuration wasn't the only thing that weighed me down. Flying six hours at night through enemy skies, my fear, anxi-