Laura McNerney is a pilot, engineer, skier, climber, mountaineerer, kite-surfer, van-lifer, mountain biker, and the textbook definition of a badass. She ranks among the youngest women ever to join Delta Airlines as a pilot. Today I speak with her about her experience going from building components for intercontinental ballistic missile systems, and having no piloting experience, to becoming a first officer with Delta in merely three years. We also talk about her love for the outdoors, along with the joys and perils of climbing mountains and glaciers.
I find her story of relentless, singular focus on her goals to be very inspiring and I think it needs to be heard. Laura is a model for folks who want to make a career pivot into something they love.
Music: “The Big Guns” by Silent Partner.
Today I bring you an interview with my dad, Lieutenant Colonel Scott Roberts. As I’ve mentioned before, this podcast is going to jump around a bit between focuses on technology, history, aviation, and travel, as I come across interesting topics and interesting people. I know, it’s somewhat low-hanging fruit to interview your own father, but he’s had a storied career and gotten a chance to fly some of the world’s premier fighter aircraft, including the F-4 Phantom II and the F-15E Strike Eagle, something only a tiny fraction of men and women get to do. With my eyesight there’s probably little chance I could have emulated my dad’s path. Not to mention the obstruction presented by my fear of death.
One apology in advance: We pick up quite a bit of background noise in the house during the interview. Somebody was putting dishes away and occasionally the drone of the laundry machine kicks in, so, sorry for that. But, overall, it’s clear and I think it’s a great rundown of what it’s like to be in the seat of a fighter jet.
Music: "Burnt" by the Jingle Punks
A brief history of nuclear escalation and its nail-biting byproducts
Script and sources: https://medium.com/@nickrroberts/broken-arrows-and-almost-annihilations-ca0ff71cdec8
Referenced in the podcast:
"The Bomb" Making Sense, Sam Harris: https://samharris.org/podcasts/186-the-bomb/,
The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War, Fred Kaplan,
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser
Checkpoint Charlie: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checkpoint_Charlie