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Michael M's Experience

Experience description:   

We were moving our MiG-21 from Brown Field (South of San Diego) to Miramar MCAS for the annual air show. We do this every year. I have made this particular flight at least 5 times. I have had 27 flights in the MiG. I am not a pilot. I am definitely not a MiG pilot. The pilot does allow me use the controls and "Fly" when we are at altitude. The aircraft is a very serious aircraft. It is capable of Mach 2 and has incredible power. We have functional ejection seats. We treat each flight as a very serious affair. The pilot has had experience flying fighter aircraft in the RCAF during the 1960's. He then continued flying for a major airline. He has at least 26,000 hours of flight time and is certified in numerous airliners and other aircraft. To be certified in the MiG, he was checked out by two former Astronauts who had gained MiG flight time while in the U.S. Armed Forces. They had flown the MiG-21 during U.S. evaluation of the aircraft. My pilot is a total professional, not a clown with a "Checkbook thicker than a Logbook". We were making a standard departure on 26 Right, had attained 220 Knots, and had rotated the nose gear off the runway when the front canopy opened. It opens to the right and is distinct from the canopy over my rear seat. Why it opened is open to question. The pilot grabs the frame of the canopy with his left hand and prevents it from opening completely. He held it down to a gap of about 12-18 inches. The noise is stunning even through the helmet. Communication is impossible.

We are now at about 80-100 feet of altitude and moving at 240-250 knots. I am video taping this with my left hand. The engine noise decreases slightly. He has taken his right hand off the stick to move the throttle back. Too much airspeed and he will not be able to keep the canopy down. It will fly open to the right, tear itself off the airframe and go back and probably tear off the horizontal stabilizer. When he moves his hand back to the stick he has clearly lost "Situational Awareness". We have drifted to the Left and are now pointing at the ground. Time slows. We are too low to eject in the old Soviet seats. I am processing this. I shout twice at him to "Pull it Up". This is the nano-second where I had the "Experience" I grab the stick and pull it back to the right. The "Experience" is gone. The aircraft goes almost to the vertical at low forward speed, much like Concordes death. The main gear impacts a low 'hillock", the nose come down, we roll on the ground for about 80', get airborne, fly through the top of a 30' Eucalyptus tree at the airport perimeter fence and continue over a junkyard at about 30-40 feet, gain some acceleration and pull up to safety. The landing attempts are another story and not relevant. We live.

That afternoon we fly the aircraft to the Miramar Show. We arrive before our timeslot and have to return to Brown. No Miramar in 09. I return to my home. My wife and I are separated, but I have to tell her of this flight. She watches the video and is stunned at how cool I behave during the event. I survived 13 months as a Marine Grunt in Vietnam in 67-68. Before college and Med School. I have made 850+ civilian parachute jumps, several of which required emergency actions.

I am an Anesthesiologist. I do not "Rattle". I tell my wife that it was a miracle we survived etc, but I keep adding the phrase "I saw something, I know everything is going to be OK". I do not know what I saw or why I know everything is going to be "OK". I just know it. It bothers me a bit but I credit it to just some emotional component in my flat line brain. I let it ride. Then, one week ago, as I was in the twilight area of sleep, it came back. I sat up in the bed and started weeping. I do not weep. I was outside the aircraft and was looking at a horizontal band of white light. The background was dark and the ground below was featureless. The MiG had flattened out into a plate like sheet of gray. The sensation of "Everything is going to be OK" was simply "There". I did not see my body. There was no sound. The horizontal band was about 10 degrees in height, not pulsate, not particularly intense.

Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes     The sensation itself. Very difficult to express and I am a champion BS'er.

At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event?          Yes     Canopy opening on take-off in a civilian owned MiG-21U. Pilot in front seemed to lose "Situational Awareness" and/or was struck by portion of canopy and aircraft was rolling to the Left and directed at the ground.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    The experience was very brief. The fraction of a second between realizing that we were indeed "Going In" and grabbing the stick to do something. My physical action stopped the "Vision". How we survived has confounded the experts. The set of circumstances cannot be duplicated. The FAA interviewed my pilot for three hours. They have not contacted me, although they have heard that I have the entire flight on video. My pilot has remained stone faced and silent during this entire time. We do not talk about what he calls "The Incident". I am waiting for the feds to hammer him. The evidence of our passage on the ground and through the tree is clear. I kept visiting the scene of our "Incident" over and over, taking rolls of video and camera film.

How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness?    More consciousness and alertness than normal

If your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience was different from your normal every day consciousness and alertness, please explain:            The experience was very brief. The fraction of a second between realizing that we were indeed "Going In" and grabbing the stick to do something. My physical action stopped the "Vision". How we survived has confounded the experts. The set of circumstances cannot be duplicated. The FAA interviewed my pilot for three hours. They have not contacted me, although they have heard that I have the entire flight on video. My pilot has remained stone faced and silent during this entire time. We do not talk about what he calls "The Incident". I am waiting for the feds to hammer him. The evidence of our passage on the ground and through the tree is clear. I kept visiting the scene of our "Incident" over and over, taking rolls of video and camera film.

Did your vision differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any aspect, such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)?  Uncertain      The white band was not really that remarkable. It was simply "There". The aircraft had morphed into a rounded shape. The ground below was without any features, a murky gray/brown. The background of the band was black.

Did your hearing differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any aspect, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness, etc.)?
            Uncertain      It was totally silent.

Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body?     Uncertain

What emotions did you feel during the experience?            Just that things were "OK". No great sense of euphoria. And that they would REMAIN "OK". No Problema. I realize that this sounds "Lame", but it was a very subtle but VERY powerful mood. As if, No debate...Things are OK and will remain that way.

Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure?          No      

Did you see a light?           Yes     White band, as described above.

Did you meet or see any other beings?           No      

Did you experience a review of past events in your life?    No       No great revelation. Just a sense of "OK". Not to worry. No Problema. Things are just fine. Very annoying, but very comforting in a sense.

Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later?          No      

Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions?           No           

Did you have any sense of altered space or time?   Yes     I have watched the video 3 times. I want to spare it for future noise analysis. To see if you can hear me firmly tell the pilot to "Get it up". The physical time is very, very short. The band experience seemed longer than possible by simply timing the tape. Time had to have slowed for the Band viewing.

Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose?     Uncertain            Just the lame-ass sensation of "OK". I guess that that IS significant in our current World.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No      

Did you become aware of future events?       No           

Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience you did not have prior to the experience?     Uncertain      I seem to be able to get more empathy with my older patients. One, in particular. 78 year old woman who was scheduled for a bronchoscopy to rule out aspiration pneumonia. The nurses etc were discussing "Comfort Care" as if the woman was terminal from a disease or event. The Old Girl was mute. The chart said that she was "Demented". Her Right ear canal was full of blood. I was stroking her head as I tried to ascertain what was going on. She was totally non-responsive, yet I "knew" that she was neither demented nor really that ill. It was very odd. Her daughter then arrived and told me that Mom was definitely not demented and had been a journalist/author associated with "Stars and Stripes". She was also FRENCH. I put her to sleep with great care. She did not have a pneumonia, simply a large amount of dried secretions in her oral pharynx. She was quite dehydrated and possibly a diabetic. Pre-Op I had interrupted the specialist (Who was measuring this woman for a coffin) and told the daughter that her Mom was going to be fine. The young specialist was quite pissed but then had to eat her dismal words of gloom. Post-Op the daughter threw her arms around me and started crying. I almost started crying. I do not know. Was I a better physician? Was the Old Girl communicating with me? It was very remarkable. My Nurses were very impressed and I was quite embarrassed by the raw emotion of the Daughter. Beautiful woman. Mom had been quite the Looker in Vichy France. Just odd event. I am going to try and duplicate it with similar type patients.

Have you shared this experience with others?         Yes     The near crash was the First of October. My realization of why "OK", less than a week. My Son is home from Johns Hopkins undergrad for Thanksgiving. Kid is way beyond "Bright". I gave it to him matter of factly. He is fascinated, non judgmental. He has read a lot of Philosophy and is more familiar with figures mentioned in D'Sousa's book. I bought the book after my weeping in bed episode. D'Sousa seems a smart ass debater more concerned with winning against Atheism than the actual NDE. I emailed him and have had no response. I then tried to discuss it with a very sincere RN who is very firmly Christian. I got "The Look" and dropped it. No more. I have my own little secret and I do not feel like proselytizing it. She has her Faith to sustain her. I admire that. I feel like I have proof of something else out there. It is terrifying in some ways, but comforting in others.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?    Yes     My Father-in Law died while under hospice care in his own bed. I was attending along with my Brother in Law. The Old Guy definitely saw and was talking with someone and seeing "The Light" as he died. My hearing was damaged in Viet Nam and my Brother in Law heard most of the conversation. It was very eerie and very real. Not mentioned since. People do not like talking about this topic. Glad that I found your site. I feel like I HAVE to talk with another human about this, but I am hesitant. I would not have put much credence in such talk prior to my experience. This NDE cannot be explained by Ketamine, Morphine, or some strange endorphin. It was real. D'Souza has that part correct. I just do not like his tone. I cannot even finish the book. I am going to continue my research. Will try to analyze the audio of the video to get timing down. Although I know all will be "OK", I feel deeply disturbed and am having wild swings of emotion. Not PTSD. I know what that is like. Very different. I must maintain my demeanor as I try to sort this out.

How did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:            Experience was definitely real    Still really in the first week or so of realization. I will see how it changes.

Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you?    It was too brief. Slam! There it was. Slam! There it went. My attempt to survive stopped the show.

How do you currently view the reality of your experience:            Experience was definitely real    Still fresh in my mind. Whenever I try to debate the reality of it, it drags me back. It is simply THERE. Not fuzzy at all. Not getting round at the edges. Not fading or changing, just there and sticking like Super Glue.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?           No            Separated from Wife. I do not intend to tell her why things are "OK". My futile attempts to try and understand why things were OK were frustrating to Her. She wanted to know specifics. I really did not have them until my weeping experience. And my specifics are pretty vague even to me, now. A lot of what I am reading about NDE seems bogus.

Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?           
No            Lapsed Roman Catholic. NDE was at about 80' over Brown Field. I do not intend to find answers by going to a church. I am not sure that there IS an answer. I am not sure that there is even a QUESTION.

Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience?         No       And I do not intend to get in such a situation again. Once was plenty. I got the point. I got the message. Something else is out there.

Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience?        Thanks for letting me vent. I may seem sarcastic, but this thing was HUGE. It was REAL. I would like to meet another genuine NDE victim. Possible?

Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience?         Yes     You have done good job on an almost impossible mission. This is similar to a male gynecologist describing childbirth to a woman. It cannot be done unless you have been there. Similar to combat. This is why genuine combat Vets enjoy each others company. They do not tell war stories. They are content to simply sit there and look at each other. They know the secret and they sure as Hell are not going to try and explain it to non-combatants. An irritating and futile waste of time. Thanks Again, Mike

Are there any other questions we could ask to help you communicate your experience?   I would like to meet another victim. I use "Victim" because I definitely did not ask for this. I may eventually be grateful for the experience, but at present I feel as if my head is getting ready to come off my shoulders.