When Sam Carter is introduced to the team going to Abydos, Kowalski is trying to scare her (or prove how cool he is?) by explaining how difficult the trip through the stargate will be. He asks her if she has ever pulled out of a simulated bombing run in a F-16.

Why does he explicitly say "simulated"? Since the tone of the show is otherwise very much "kill the bad guys" I can't imagine that it's to prevent us from thinking that these characters have never been to war, so why not just ask about a "bombing run"?


It's never mentioned that Kowalski is a pilot and there isn't any reason to believe he was one (it wouldn't make much sense to train someone as a pilot to then assign them as ground special forces). Assuming that he isn't, most likely he has never been in a real combat air mission and his flying experience is limited to messing around in simulators.


Kawalsky is assuming that Carter is an egghead rather than a fighter jock with combat experience. He asks if she's been in an 8G bombing simulation because it would be (in his opinion) beyond ridiculous to ask if she's been on an actual bombing run, not least because the number of female military aviators with combat experience in 1997 was a tiny number.

Kawalsky grinned condescendingly. “Um, I think what the colonel is trying to say is…” He searched momentarily for a sufficiently intimidating example, “Have you ever pulled out of a simulated bombing run in an F-16 at eight-plus Gs?”
“Yes,” she said matter-of-factly.
Kawalsky picked up his dropped jaw and riposted feebly, “Well, it’s way worse than that.”

Stargate: SG-1 - Official Novelisation

  • I'm having a hard time finding a source to confirm this, but I'm pretty sure Carter was the only one in that SG1 team that's actually a pilot, and according to the wiki it's mentioned in the episode that she logged over 100 hours in enemy airspace during the Gulf War. Kowalsky almost certainly wasn't a pilot, so of course he had never actually flown a bombing mission, but had probably had some opportunity to play around in simulators, which to him could be an extremely physically intense experience having never experienced the real thing. Jul 13 '19 at 22:17
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    @IllusiveBrian - It's not really clear what her role was in the Gulf War. She could have been flying rescue ops for all we know. tbh the entire sequence is simply to establish her credentials as a 'hard as nails' soldier as well as a big brain in a sexy body, even if her background doesn't actually make a lot of sense.
    – Valorum
    Jul 13 '19 at 22:21
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    O'NEILL: (sitting down) *Oh, this has nothing to do with you being a woman. I like women. I've just got a little problem with scientists. CARTER: Colonel, I logged over 100 hours in enemy airspace during the Gulf War. Is that tough enough for you? Or are we going to have to arm wrestle?
    – Valorum
    Jul 13 '19 at 22:22
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    I think the writers thought that everyone in the US Air Force is a pilot. That aside, my point was more that Kowalski asks about simulated runs because he's never flown a plane outside one. I guess I can just post it as a separate answer. Jul 13 '19 at 22:28
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    @IllusiveBrian O'Neill is a pilot too; he flies F-302s on several occasions (as well as the prototypes). And of course, Cameron Mitchell's whole backstory is that he was a pilot for the battle over Antarctica. Jul 15 '19 at 1:50

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