Fly Like a Fighter

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Fly like a fighter: 'Unable'

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 07 06

Even in a T-38 jet trainer, sometimes the appropriate response to a clearance is, "Unable," recalls retired Air Force pilot Larry Brown.

Fly like a fighter: Blindfold cockpit check

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 06 08

Use a fighter pilot's tip and close your eyes to visualize locations of key controls and cockpit switches before flight.

Fly like a fighter: Spin cycle

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 05 06

A "simple" power-on stall got really exciting, but then turned into a nonevent because of the training the pilot had received.

Fly like a fighter: Operation empty Sic-Sacs

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 04 07

After getting sick on his first five flights in a T-37, an Air Force pilot made it his goal to create an experience in which none of his passengers would get sick, whether he was flying reporters or controllers in an F-15 or T-38 or friends in a Cessna 172.

Fly like a fighter: Slightly lost

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 03 09

A low fuel indication sends an F-15 rookie pilot back toward home base away from his training team. While troubleshooting the problem, the pilot follows the wrong landmark. Find out the lessons that he learned and now applies to every flight.

Fly like a fighter: Dress for egress

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 02 09

Many pilots won't fly over large bodies of frigid water necessitating a wet suit, but the same principle for preparedness—dress for egress—applies wherever you fly. Retired Air Force pilot Larry Brown shares his lessons learned from flying an F-15 over the North Sea in a "poopy suit."

Fly like a fighter: Double trouble

Fly like a fighter | 2015, 01 06

During a two-ship F-15 training sortie, one Air Force pilot experienced a complete radio failure in his jet while the other experienced a failure in one of his jet's hydraulic systems. Find out how they made it back to base, and how you can prepare for similar emergencies.

Fly like a fighter: Smoke in the cockpit

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 12 08

Passing 3,000 feet and only 9 miles from the field, smoke started coming out from between the seats of the T-37 the Air Force student was flying with an instructor pilot.

Fly like a fighter: 'You can't bust me'

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 11 12

An Air Force student gets a surprise when his solo flight is deemed unsatisfactory for safety of flight. You might not be graded on every flight, but a “You can’t bust me” attitude is dangerous.

Fly like a fighter: Lessons learned from 400-knot overtake

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 10 08

An Air Force student egged on by his instructor overtakes the three-ship he is supposed to join at 400 knots. Find out why he urges pilots to, "Set your limits and stick to them, even if you have a cheering section inside (or outside) of your airplane."

Fly like a fighter: Inner voice

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 09 08

An Air Force pilot offered the opportunity to fly a risky show with the Italian Frecce Tricolori air demonstration team had a choice to make: Fly with them in an airshow or go out with an Air Force nurse he had just met. Something inside told him to go with the nurse. During the airshow, the demonstration team suffered a midair collision.

Fly like a fighter: O say, can you see?

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 08 04

On his first lesson in defensive dogfighting in an F-15B, an Air Force pilots learns that stepping up to the new aircraft is harder than he thought. In a 7-G turn at 420 knots, he couldn't lift his head to look outside the cockpit, forcing him to fly blind off his instructor's commands.

Fly like a fighter: Are you ready for a systems failure in IFR?

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 07 07

With warnings of a looming systems failure in a T-38A, an Air Force instructor weighs his options for getting the aircraft safely on the ground under instrument conditions.

Fly like a fighter: Lessons learned from a fatal bailout

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 06 17

Could the time-tested fighter pilot saying, “lose sight, lose the fight,” have misled a pilot to improperly strap in an RF-4 and contributed to his drowning after a successful ejection over the ocean?

Fly like a fighter: ‘Bail out, bail out, bail out’

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 05 05

A training engagement between an F-15 and two RF-4Cs goes terribly wrong when the F-4 pilot uses ailerons to roll left and see the F-15. The jet immediately departs controlled flight.

Fly like a fighter: Gunshot

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 04 07

How can learning how an F-15 pilot uses a gunsight help make you a more precise pilot? Retired Air Force pilot Larry Brown explains.

Fly like a fighter: Missile shot

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 03 07

With a closing speed of about 900 knots, Air Force pilots on a training mission have seconds to aim and shoot heat-seeking and radar guided missiles at a drone target. Their success came from repeated rehearsals. But as author Larry Brown writes, “there is nothing like the real thing to gain experience.”

Fly like a fighter: Circling approach

Fly like a fighter | 2014, 01 08

After a practice circling approach in an F-15, an Air Force pilot receives a call from the tower to “call the commander.” The pilot worries what he’s in for as visions run through his head of the Top Gun scene where Maverick and Goose are reprimanded for their tower fly-by.

Fly like a fighter: Radio silence

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 12 03

Your mission: Fly with eight F-15s to the Philippines, rejoin, refuel with air tankers, engage an unknown number of Red Air fighters, refuel again, and then return home to Okinawa. And fly with radio silence up to the first contact with the Red Air fighters.

Fly like a fighter: Tackle snarling crosswinds

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 11 04

Variable gusting winds can force a runway change on short notice. Pilots should be prepared to switch runways even on short final, as retired Air Force fighter pilot Larry Brown recounts from his training at the Air Force Academy.

Fly like a fighter: Lost wingman vertigo

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 10 07

Rolling out on a 15 mile final, the T-38 instructor-in-training lost sight of the lead aircraft three feet to his left in clouds.

Fly like a fighter: A humbling situation

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 09 09

With unforecast crosswinds at the destination airport that exceeded landing limitations, an Air Force pilot found himself stuck in a military trainer without a backup plan.

Fly like a fighter: Don’t let your guard down

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 08 20

When a group of fighters let their guard down on a training mission, their counterparts attacked with such force the mission lasted just 3.5 minutes. "Negative contact" in the military doesn't mean fighter pilots can relax, and a silent CTAF at an airport doesn't mean you can let your guard down either.

Fly like a fighter: Join the gaggle

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 04 04

While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, flying the F-15 I made periodic trips to the Philippines to fly in Cope Thunder exercises—the Pacific version of Red Flag. They would schedule up to 70 aircraft in a very dynamic war training event with airplanes split Blue Air against Red Air.

Fly like a fighter: Predicting the weather based on patterns

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 03 01

Learning local weather patterns can make it easier for you to make a go/no-go decision, whether in an F-15 or Cessna P210.