Wow, that question brings back some wonderful childhood memories. I grew up on the south shore of Long Island, NY in a little town called West Islip. This story would have happened likely around 1962 or so. My parents built one of the first homes on our street, we were sort of in the sticks back then. If you look at the area now, it's so built up and packed in that it's hard to believe that back then we were pretty much alone out there.
My swing set was in the yard, I was about 4 years old. It's the darnedest thing, I can still see how the sunlight was and almost smell the cut grass of this day. I was about 4 years old to my best recollection. To the northwest of our home, there was the Grumman plant in Bethpage. A little closer to the northwest of us was the Republic plant at Farmingdale. Further away but to the northeast was the Grumman plant in Calverton.
My swing set faced south, and we lived about 1/2 mile north of the south shoreline of Long Island. Just off shore was the practice area where they would test all the high performance fighters coming out of all these plants.
One day I was sitting out there on the swingset, and I heard this roar coming up behind me, getting incredibly loud and approaching incredibly quickly. I looked up just in time to see an aircraft passing over my left shoulder at very low altitude, going very, very fast. As it caught my eye, the sun gleamed off it's polished fuselage. The pilot pulled up hard, broke into a hard left turn, and promptly broke the sound barrier, with the resulting boom breaking a couple of windows in my house. I don't know which of the three plants he came from, but he certainly was going to the oceanic practice area to wring that bird out for all she was worth, and he was in a hurry to get there. It was at THAT very moment I knew that I wanted to do THAT.
Back then, hearing sonic booms where I lived was a common occurrence. I don't know if the rules regarding sonic booms were looser back then, or if the test pilots from Grumman and Republic at that time were just cowboys having fun in fast and loose times. I sure hope it's the latter case!
Either way, it was a great place and a great time to be a kid watching airplanes zoom around your house.
I am so incredibly fortunate, one of the lucky few in life who was able to turn my childhood dream into reality. I have flow both corporate and commercial jets, spending the last 25+ years flying Boeing's for Continental Airlines, and now post merger for United. I'm looking at FAA mandated age 65 retirement in March of 2023, a little over two short years from now. It's hard to believe that after all that incredibly difficult work to get to where I am, and all the years flying all over the world, it's all soon coming to an end. But that's OK, you know the deal going in. If I could do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing.
Did I remember to mention that I'm a VERY lucky guy?