We’re not much into celebrity buzz here at FighterSweep, but occasionally something from the Hollyweird circle catches our attention. In this case, it’s “Wolverine” going for a ride in the mighty Viper with our bros in Fort Worth. A celebrity getting an incentive ride, usually with the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels, doesn’t draw much response from this crowd–except for an eye-roll and slow shake of the head with thinly-veiled disdain.
Having friends on the team–currently or formerly–we’ve heard a lot of horror stories about how so-and-so was an arrogant jackwagon, or how whatsername was rude, ungrateful, and didn’t want to pose for photos with the team following her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
A friend who was an ACC Demo Team pilot a few years ago told me how he was moved to tears by a terminally-ill child when she smiled and wistfully told him she wanted to sit in an F-16 one day. Not even fly in the airplane–just sit in it. The odds of someone getting to go fly in a modern military fighter, especially at the invitation of the service owning the iron, are very, very slim.
Even among the amazing maintenance professionals who get to work on, launch, and recover these aircraft, most will never get to fly in them. So when I hear of some A-lister treating their incentive ride like an entitlement, or using it to one-up their other A-lister pals, sickens me to the core.
So enter actor Hugh Jackman. Wolverine. The face (and Australian accent) that make all the ladies swoon. The physique every dude wishes he had. He plays the guitar and the piano, is a renowned singer, and enjoys adventure sports as much as he loves to golf. The man’s man…and the guy you despise out of general principle. Yeah–that guy.
We heard about his chance to go fly with the 301st Fighter Wing at NAS JRB Fort Worth and braced for the after-action snide remarks. Instead, what we heard was Hugh was very gracious and humble, friendly, and sincerely grateful for his chance to dress out and go fly in the Viper.
I exchanged texts with one of the dudes there and was absolutely thrilled to hear how disturbingly normal, approachable, and almost “annoyingly grateful” he was for his flight.
So when Jackman says on camera, “I’m very, very excited. I’m a little nervous, but I am aware of how lucky I am to have this opportunity. I’m very grateful for it,” you know he wasn’t blowing smoke.
Jackman was in North Texas promoting his upcoming film, Eddie the Eagle. “Having this opportunity to go out in a fighter jet, which is kind of a dream of most people’s life, is a little bit like what Eddie did. His dream was about to be in the Olympics, and he found about the most dangerous way to do it.”
The film tells the story of Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards, a man who became an unlikely Olympic hero in 1988 as the first ski jumper to represent Great Britain.
And we were delighted to hear that Wolverine didn’t puke in the jet. He definitely gets points for that!