The first time I took the aircraft controls away from a copilot, it was from a Marine Corps aircraft commander. He’d flown in Iraq. He’d balanced his Sikorsky CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopter — a twin-rotored behemoth — off the edge of a San Francisco high-rise while troops “on exercises” stormed out the back.
Me? I’d gotten my private helicopter license less than three weeks earlier in a Robinson R-22, a runt of an aircraft — the same helicopter we were now flying along the LA coast.