To The Cockpit, The Very Hard Way

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Some people just land on their feet. And for Kyle Martin it was a potentially devastating fall from a cliff that gave him a shot at being an Air Force pilot. The well-liked cadet at the Air Force Academy had everything going for him. He was second in his class, a potential Rhodes Scholar, and had a lifelong desire to be a pilot. Trouble was, he was six foot, five inches tall, an inch taller than the Air Force standard. His only hope at being a pilot was the granting of a waiver and then fate stepped in. You've probably guessed the rest. He was rock climbing with friends when he misjudged a hold and fell about 50 feet, landing on his feet and falling backwards. Somehow he escaped permanent disabling injury (although his recovery was a long one) and the Air Force deemed he was fit to become an officer. And because of the compressed discs in his back resulting from the fall, he's shrunk to within the maximum dimensions of a pilot. He begins flight training next spring.