Here’s an interesting report from a new Stars & Stripes reporterette who got to fly at one of my alma matter squadrons.
The Air Force likes to try to make sure our Public Affairs staffs and some corresponding media personnel really understand what it’s like to operate in the aerospace environment. The best way to do that is to take them up for a familiarization orientation flight in a fighter. It looks like she got selected to on a 2v2 ACT ride, and at one point her D-model wrapped up with one of the Red Air into a BFM engagement to the floor.
Any Viper driver in the world would walk away from a flight like that with a sense of absolute ecstasy. Going all the way from a CAP to a merge and BFMing the bad guy all the way to the floor for a simulated ‘kill’ is something like the ultimate expression of what being a fighter pilot is; it’s like training for hunting a lion knowing that at the end, you wrestled it down with your bare hands.
From reading the article, it didn’t sound like our fearless writer came away with anything like that worth mentioning. I can’t really blame her, we spend over a year training for this type of flying. Still, I wish she’d talked more about the flying and less about how sick and sore she got.