According to Regbo, that’s the official nomenclature for this phenomenon, at least among Naval aviators. Which appears to be a lot more common than we cake-eating civilians would like to think.
Sometimes when nature calls, there’s just nothing you can do about it. Like if you’re sitting in the cockpit of an F/A-18F fighter jet, cruising along at 30,000 feet, and your body decides that now is the time to evacuate your lunch of lobster and coffee.
Published at The Autopian early this year, naval aviator Bobby Mackay recounted in detail just what that is like.
During a deployment to the Arabian Gulf, Mackay was piloting an F/A-18 during a late night training mission to practice employing High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles.
As Mackay wrote, he had spent the afternoon dining on steak and lobster, as well as plenty of coffee, and had already taken care of some pre-flight “‘bubble guts’” to avoid a situation like, say, shitting oneself in the cockpit. Mackay’s digestive system apparently had other plans.
“As soon as we started accelerating at about three times the force of gravity, I felt something move in me,” he wrote. “When I took the controls I immediately had the thought that this might be a long hour and a half.”
Mackay first used several relief bags to urinate, but that was apparently just the beginning.
“‘Dude, I think this might be the night. I have the bubble guts and I need you to put your mask on,’” Mackay told his weapons officer, who was seated in front of him in the cramped, and very sealed, cockpit.
After a fruitless attempt to maneuver in the cockpit and create a makeshift relief bag, Mackay was left with no choice but to just let it all out.
“I simply relaxed, and let the warmth spread across my seat. It was so hot, it felt like a hot tub. It bubbled and oozed and was revolting but strangely comforting,” wrote Mackay.
Momentarily relieved of his gastrointestinal distress, Mackay of course now had to alert the aircraft carrier of the sticky situation onboard the plane. Recalling an older incident in which a pilot tried to remain vague, Mackay chose the blunt approach.
“I simply said: ‘This is the pilot in aircraft 202. I shit my pants. I need a cleanup crew.’”
MacKay went on to bolter on his first attempt to trap back aboard the carrier, and wound up suffering a secondary assault, so to speak. But even then, he still got off pretty light compared to Reggie’s B/N who, on a tanker hop back when Reg was still flying A6’s, suffered “O-ring failure” on launching from the carrier deck. No surprise that such a thing might happen, given the extreme physical stresses brought on by being violently hurled off the end of a moving ship by a powerful steam catapult.
The problem being, on a tanker hop you fly circles above the carrier for four-five hours, waiting to gas up the returning fighters before they hit the deck. Reg said his poor B/N was in a most pitiable state by the time they trapped, his delicate nether regions having been marinating in stomach acid—which is actually, y’know, hydrochloric acid, no foolin’—for all that time. By the time they helped him out of the cockpit, the guy was literally weeping from the pain of it.