767.9 miles per hour

Maj. Kirby Ensser is a highly trained pilot. In fact, Ensser is such a master of flying, he is a member of the elite United States Air Force Thunderbirds.

The pilots are not dumb grunts. The mental skills and fortitude to hold the flight patterns set these pilots apart from the general population. On top of that, they have to be able to endure g-forces more extreme than the biggest rollarcoasters.

thunderbirds.airforce.com

thunderbirds.airforce.com

Thanks to all of these factors, Maj. Ensser was able to avoid what could of been a front page disaster. On his way to an air show in Battle Creek, Mi., warning alarms began to ring in Ensser’s ears while traveling just under the speed-of-sound.

Something was wrong with his engine.

“It is harder to pull over up in the air,” Ensser said at a press conference.

That is why he decided to land at the Quad City International Airport in Illinois.

“It is one of those (where you) probably could continue but the safest call is to (land),” Ensser explained

Now Ensser has to wait for a maintenance crew to come to the Quad Cities to ensure his machine is running in tip-top shape. When one is flying near the speed-of-sound, even minor problems can quickly escalate into life-threatening situations. Essner’s discipline to land when he could have easily gone on is testament to what makes a survior, knowing when to stop.

Remember, summiting Mount Everest is the easy part, it is knowing when to turn around so you can making it back down alive and with all your digits that is the real challenge.

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