CJ AEGIS, on Feb. 01 2003,07:41, said:
Here's one you'll like in the 'just how gullible can anyone be' category.
Ark Royal (the predecessor to the current one) was in the yard being refitted and tests were being carried out on the steam catapult. In order to test them you have steam catapult test pieces (basically a big lump of metail) which you fire and you can work out trajectories and velocities etc. An announcement went out through the ship that they were looking for a 'steam-catapult test-unit pilot' and they got a message from some lowly ME in the engine room who must have thought it a great opportunity to get some fresh air.
They (who shall not be named) †brought him up from the engine room, then told him that he'd need a physical to make sure he was healthy enough, so they headed for sickbay where he spent the whole of the next 3 days being poked and prodded by a doctor and eventually was given the all clear. The day after that they got him suited up in full flight gear, took him to the pilot's brieing room and explained to him what was involved, that he'd have to sit on this lump of metal while it got fired off the end of the carrier.
Then they went up to the flight deck, and there was this test piece set in position, with an ordinary wooden chair masking taped to it (at this point you'd think he'd have smelled a rat) and then they showed him what would happen, they triggered the catapult and this lump of metal went flying,literally, off the end of the ship and landed in the sea with a huge eruption of spray but the guy was still up for it.
He subsequently spent another 3 days in sickbay coughing up riverbed and he still didn't realise it was just a practical joke.