Descending through a heavy layer of thunderclouds as the pilot worked the radio, I gripped the handrails. Rationally, I knew I was safe—Lt. Col. Kevin Walsh had flown combat sorties in Iraq and Afghanistan and surely had hundreds of difficult landings under his belt. Still, looking up through the F-16’s bubble canopy at the dense gray fog enveloping the jet, I fought panic. Swallowing hard to clear my ears, I tried to remember my training. Body position is crucial in an ...

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