Zip “Flash” Gordon is a 6-year-old from Claremore, Oklahoma who has Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP). FOP is one of the rarest, most disabling genetic conditions known to medicine; it causes bone to form in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Bridges of extra bone develop across joints, progressively restricting movement and forming a second skeleton that imprisons the body in bone. There are no other known examples in medicine of one normal organ system turning into another one.
On Feb. 19, Zip “Flash” Gordon was able to spend the day as an honorary pilot through the Tulsa Pilot for a Day program.
After a warm welcome into the 125th Fighter Squadron, Zip “Flash” Gordon changed into his flight suit and was given a golden key for access to the base. Flash and his family were taken on a tour of the Operations building, where he was able to experience the pilots pre-flight checks and step brief, before the four ship of F-16’s took off.
Flash observed the take-off from the flight line, an experience he will surely never forget.
After watching the flight take-off, it was time for Flash to tour the main hangar. Here, Flash and his family, were able to take a close up view and actually sit in the cockpit of the F-16!
Following his tour of the main hangar, Flash was able to get suited up in his full flight gear, in Aircrew Flight Equipment. At this point, Flash and his pal Ethan both were able to try on their flight harnesses, helmets and even night vision goggles! This seemed to quickly be both boys’ favorite experience.
Following Aircrew Flight Equipment, Flash was able to de-brief the pilots returning from their mission. In the de-brief, they discussed what happened during the mission and Flash received a signed lithograph, and several patches, from the 125th Fighter Squadron.
“Thank you so much for everything! It was an amazing day! We all sincerely appreciate the kindness and warmth you all welcomed us with,” Flash’s mother, Amy said.
For Flash, he said his whole day was awesome. His favorite thing for the day was getting to use the night vision goggles in Aircrew Flight Equipment and watching the jets take off from the flight line.
Zip “Flash” Gordon is a 6-year-old kindergartner from Claremore, Oklahoma. His parents, Jacob and Amy Gordon, and best friend Ethan Sikes attended his Pilot For the Day tour. Flash likes to play football, video games and go swimming.
by SrA. Jasmine Stone
138th OSS, Public Affairs Representative