Fly Like a Fighter

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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.

Fly like a fighter: F-15s, a taxicab, and a road grader

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 02 04

A 90-minute flight in an F-15 turns into a 10-hour ordeal culminating with a ride home in a 35,000-pound road grader.

Fly like a fighter: IFR in the cockpit

Fly like a fighter | 2013, 01 08

In the blink of an eye, everything in the cockpit of the T-38 fogged up. Accelerating through 80 knots, an instructor and his student were faced with a dilemma: conduct a high-speed abort into the grass, or continue the takeoff, flying blind?