I need a backup pilot, and that’s where Jenna comes in. I was the first woman to fly the Harrier in combat. I’m going to do a barrel roll here before we do the approach. These types of maneuvers that we’re doing here are something that a Marine Corps pilot doesn’t do. Performing aerial maneuvers takes its toll on the body, so pilots need to condition themselves to be able to handle it. We have to get warmed up. We have to get refreshed with instruments. We have to get refreshed with how the airplane flies. We have to get our G tolerance back up. G tolerance is the process in which aviators condition their bodies to withstand G forces, the event when blood is pulled away from the brain during high levels of acceleration. If pilots lose their tolerance to G, they can black out in the sky. We’ve got a very short period of time to get our G tolerance back up. That’s why we’ve got to fly today. Truck’s here. All right, let me get the door open. It’s forecast to get warmer, right? No, actually, once the weather starts to clear up, it’s going to temperature drop. [laughing] You’re just full of good news, aren’t you? With a 280-gallon tank, the L-39 can travel 400 miles, and it costs the team $1,500 to fill up. We your only customer today, or you got everybody else trying to fly? No, I’ll have eventually some other customers. The team moves on to fuel the Harrier. Art, go ahead and pull out and we’ll reposition to put gas in the Harrier. The Harrier holds about 650 gallons of fuel, three times the size of the L-39. To fill up, it costs about $3,500. So, you can fill up your truck about 10 times. We turn dollars into jet noise. Just when they least expect it, a leak in the hose bursts, creating a dangerous situation. Hold up…hold up. I got a leak on the hose. What? I got a leak on the hose. Fuel started leaking between the coupling and the hose. The last thing you want is a bunch of fuel around. That’s it. It’s on the other side of the plane, Pete. Pete’s quick thinking finds an old-school solution for the fuel spill… with something you might even find at home. This is kitty litter, or at least aviation version of it, and we use it for oil spills, fuel spills, whatever. We’ll put it on, it’ll soak it up. We’ll give it a few minutes, we’ll broom it around, and then we’ll pick it back up again. I really hope we get this in today. The weather is supposed to clear up. We’ve got a pilot that flew all the way in from Boston. She’s going to be our next superstar. Her name is Jenna Dolan. Hey, good to see you. Art needs someone to take over the reins one day, and Jenna may just be his next pilot. Let’s be ready to go, and in the meantime just keep going over the checklist, going over emergency procedures, get some cockpit time and be ready to go in case we just get the call to go fly. All right. All we have is nitrogen in the nose and fuel. And that’s the only two things we got. The weather you brought from Boston, but, oh well. The forecast is for it to get a little bit better in the afternoon. So well just…all we can do is stand by to stand by. I’m Jenna Dolan, I’m a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves. I flew Harriers on active duty. I was the first woman to fly the Harrier in combat, and I did two tours to Iraq. I met Art almost nine years ago. She said, “I flew Harriers and I flew them in combat.” So I started asking her a few of the Harrier-specific terms, the vocabulary, and she was passing the test. Everything that I was asking her confirmed absolutely she knew what she was doing. It’s clear that Art is impressed by Jenna and thrilled that she accepts to be his pilot. What it means to have Jenna on this team is huge to not only the air show audience but to little girls who are looking for inspiration. It’s just awesome, and I feel like I’m part of the family. I can come down here and just be really comfortable, and it works out well. While waiting on the weather, Art and Jenna go over their flight plan. We’re going to brief both flights here. I got a card for you for the L-39 and for the Harrier. We’ll brief your flight with the L-39 first. You’re in the front, I’m in the back. I’m pilot in command. We’re going to start, take off, go through your normal checks and I’m going to back you up to make sure you didn’t forget anything and whatnot. Rich, you’ll give us a final check before we go. With a break in the weather, Art and the team jump at their opportunity to get Jenna’s test flight going. However, there’s a slight change in plans on which aircraft to use. We’re going to cancel the Harrier flight for today. The wind is just not right. This airplane can handle crosswind a whole lot better than the Harrier can. We’ll just pick a better game day for the Harrier. That’s….it’s just the way it’s got to be. We’ve got blue sky. We’ve got a little bit of wind blowing the rest of the stuff out. The temperatures are good, the winds are kind of stuttered down the runway here. But it’s blue sky; we’re going to go fly. Art will be instructing Jenna from the back of the L-39 as he tests her on her takeoffs, a few aerobatic maneuvers and landings. He is preparing her for the Harrier, which only has one seat and no override in case of emergency. You may have seen me from the back of the airplane. I felt no urgency to grab the controls, to take it from her. Jenna starts with a few high bank turns to get her body used to pulling G’s. So far, she’s doing well, but she wants to practice a stall in case she loses engine power mid-flight. After the brief warm-up, the test begins. First order of business is to get their G tolerance back up. After a couple of months, it wears off and you don’t have as much G tolerance as you had when you’re current and flying. So we go back out and do warm-up flights where we just do 2G turns into a circle, then we reverse and do 3G turns the other way. The purpose of that is to get our body reacting to the G forces again. Get our neck muscles in the right place, our heart pumping the way it’s supposed to pump and you keep the blood up in your head where it’s supposed to be. I don’t like to not be the one flying because I get fairly airsick when somebody else is flying. All right. A barrel roll happens with an aircraft follows a single turn in a spiral. Jenna didn’t pull up enough on the first barrel roll so she goes into another one. We’ll try another one. Next up for Jenna is to practice her landing. That’s Pat. Pat’s watching us. How nice. I think it was her. Nice. I’m all set. After they finish up the test, Art and Jenna discuss what happened. Awesome, huh? She’s learning. No…she did…she did great, she did great. She critiqued her own landing for the first one. The second one much improved, and the third one much improved after that. We had it all ironed out by the third landing. We were just knocking the rust off on the first two, that’s all. We actually had an ambitious schedule, wanting to get everything done today, and we accomplished most of it. We got Jenna up in the L-39, we did slow flight, we did stalls. We did some basic aerobatics and we got our G tolerance back up. Her first landing had a bit of an angling approach. Nothing serious. She’s a professional. Those are minor mistakes. There’s just a little bit of rust there that quickly was off of it. Her third landing was fine. What we did not accomplish… we were not able to fly the Harrier, and I made the call to cancel that. In the two weeks remaining before our first air show, we have some work left to do. The first is we have to fly the Harrier and make sure that all the systems are working and the airplane is working. We’re going to have the parachutes repacked and then we’ve got to make sure all the paperwork is legal for the Harrier and for the L-39, ready to go. In the next episode of “Badass Pilot,” the team heads to Sun ’n Fun. They still have to complete the FAA inspection. But not without getting past some eager superfans first. You cannot be on this side of the aircraft. You can’t go any further. It’s time for all this hard work to pay off. Subscribe to AARP’s YouTube channel and like and share this video so you don’t miss the next episode. Next week, it’s showtime.