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Offline Bo

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Fighter Pilot
« on: January 28, 2005, 22:36:40 »
Hey guys,

Found this on another site. Great read.


'It's an admirable ambition and one of many rewarding careers available in the military...but it's not for everybody. Although we may all be members of the Air Force and sworn to defend our country, let's not kid ourselves. Very few of us actually train or commit our careers to engaging the enemy and prosecuting violence. This isn't to say fighter pilots are more important than any other part of the Air Force teamâ ”they're not. It's just that their position at the tip of the sword makes them unique.

So you want to be a fighter pilot? All you have to do is graduate from a four-year college or university, garner a commission in the Air Force, and excel in two years of intense and competitive flight training, When you've done all this, you may like to call yourself a fighter pilot, but in reality you won't be able to fly and chew gum at the same time. In fact, you'll be almost as dangerous to yourself and your unit as you will be to the enemy. In two more years though, you'll undergo a metamorphosis from squadron liability to squadron asset, and grow into a fledgling flight lead. In two more years, you'll think you're the best gunfighter and aviator that ever patrolled the boundless dimensions of earth, and be ready to upgrade to instructor pilot. The circle will close as you mold embryonic fighter pilots to be just like yourself. In the process, you'll experience one of the most demanding, exciting, taxing, and competitive professions imaginable.

Modern aerial combat has become an extremely stressful environment that demands robust physical conditioning, deft mental gymnastics, and precise hand-eye coordination. A fighter pilot is a three dimensional racecar driver, computer programmer, navigator, bombardier, radio operator, flight engineer, nose gunner, weight lifter, warrior, and chess player all in one. At 9 Gs, a pilot's 10-pound head weighs 90 pounds. Next time you're at the gym, hang an extra 80 pounds on your neck, tilt back, and try checking-out your backside. Now imagine doing it in an aircraft as your brain attempts to keep-up with the earth and sky as they both tumble around your universe. As tough as the physical demands are, a fighter pilot's real challenge is in the employment of their weapon system. With aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound and missiles traveling at six times that speed, the difference between kill and be killed can be mere seconds, or the difference between a perfect and nearly perfect decision.

During a major inspection such as an Operational Readiness Inspection, all pilots in a wing are tested on the first day. For fighter pilots this is taken one step further. Not only are they tested on their own aircraft and procedures, but they're tested on the enemy's too. Think you're a professional on top of your career? Imagine having to prove it during testing administered by headquarters. Then try-on a no-notice checkride. Pressure? No way.

Pressure is getting shot at. No-notice testing and checkrides are merely irritants.

Thrills are what most people get out of a roller coaster ride. Excitement is passing beak-to-beak at over 1,200 miles per hour. Excitement is sneaking-up on the enemy while contour flying the earth. Excitement is rolling on your back in the middle of the night to hurl your jet at a bandit skimming across the waves. Excitement is trying to decide between the gun and a Maverick shot. Excitement is betting your missile will time-out before the bandit's missile times-out on you.

After the first 1,000 flight briefings, number 1,001 sounds pretty familiar. After straining against the limits of physiological endurance, hours spent in a combat-air-patrol can be hypnotically repetitive. But all you have to do is put the afterburners into the northwest quadrant once, look back, and watch the world get smaller to realize whatever pain there is in being a fighter pilot is worth it. If the price of admission is periodic testing, thorough flight briefings, and periodic combat-air-patrols...sign me up! It's still a bargain.

Professional development is important to all officers, but particularly important to fighter pilots. Not because being "professional" is an end to itself, but because professional development is a means of increasing our lethality. Officers are judged by many scales, but let there be no doubt what the most important scale is for a fighter pilot ...the ability to successfully employ their weapon system. There are a lot of things that go through an adversary's mind at the merge. Whether or not you've completed Squadron Officer School is probably not one of them. But if SOS helped you plan, coordinate, brief, or lead your formation to a position of advantage at the merge, then your adversary just made a fatal mistake.

If forced to sum-up the life of a fighter pilot in a single word, â Å“competitionâ ? would be an excellent choice. Out of approximately 363,000 military members in the Air Force, less than 72,000 are officers. Out of these 72,000, less than 13,200 are pilots. From these 13,200, only 4,291 are fighter pilots. Comprising less than 1.2 percent of the entire Air Force, the competition that goes into becoming part of this elite group is fierce. What's more, it never stops. In every fighter squadron there is an unofficial hierarchy of pilots, much like a racquetball ladder. Each day, number ten tries to move up a notch while number one tries to stay on top. The debriefs are brutal and always come down to the same thing. Either you succeeded or failed; won or lost; lived or died. As a boy, I always dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. It wasn't until I became a fighter pilot that I realized the sense of esprit de corps and competition found in professional sports is endemic to fighter pilots.'"
« Last Edit: May 06, 2019, 12:44:25 by kratz »
Zapp Brannigan: The key to victory is discipline, and that means a well made bed. You will practice until you can make your bed in your sleep.
 
Fry: You mean while I'm sleeping in it?

Zapp Brannigan: You won't have time for sleeping soldier, not with all the bed making you'll be doing.

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Re: So you wanna be a fighter pilot eh?
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2005, 12:27:13 »
Wow I never knew that Canada had an Air Force of 363,000 members.  :o And 4,000 plus fighter pilots  ??? Ahh just kidding of course. Good read tho, for what I am assuming is dealing with the American Air Force. With such a smaller force I'm guessing Canada's Air Force would be even that much more competitive?

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: So you wanna be a fighter pilot eh?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2005, 11:26:56 »
Nice story, good inspiration stuff for those who want to be the "creme de la creme".....however, FWIW, I believe that "statistically", you are even more of an elite pilot if you're a US Army special ops aviator in the 160th SOAR.

My own personal preference, but I would rather be part of a flying fratenity where honour to one's brothers, both flying and on the ground, takes precedence over all else...than playing some pissing squash ladder of who's the best this week...

My own 2 ¢

Cheers,
Duey


     Brothers of the Creed
     
     In dreams at night
     I remember flight
     With brothers of the creed.     
     
     Through blackest night
     All-weather flight
     The bravest of the breed.
     
     Pilots, crewchiefs,
     With warrior's beliefs;
     As one we gave our all.
     
     After endless briefs
     Oh, what relief,
     To finally get the call.
     
     Into the night
     We carry the fight
     Wherever the Nation's need.
     
     Our friend the night
     Will cover our flight
     With stealth we do the deed.
     
     At dawns first light
     I awake from the night
     With a void, a pressing need.
     
     To remember the flights
     Through the darkest of nights
     With my Brothers of the Creed.
     
     NSDQ
     
     Tony Bizzell, Nightstalker (ret'd)

Offline EightPistons

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Fighter Pilot
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2006, 01:23:50 »
I did a search on heart murmurs and I know that pilots can get their wings with a slight murmur, but I'm wondering if the condition would restrict someone from becoming a fighter pilot?  I have passed many physicals for boxing and now the army reserve, done imaging/ecgs/blood test, and have no problems in fitness standards, but I definately do have a murmur.

Also, a newbie question, if I were allowed to switch into the air force reserve from the army reserve would I be able to begin learning to fly or would I be assigned to another job until i was finished with university and could go reg force?

thanks in advance.

Offline .....

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2006, 02:01:09 »
I have no experience with heart murmers, so I won't go there.

To my knowledge, (unlike the U.S. Air Reserve) Canada doesn't have pilots that train as part-time Reservists. Reserve pilots are people who have served in the Reg. Force for many years and then decide to transfer to the CAF Reserve.

My previous service check from the Army Reserve to Reg. Air Force took 10 months to complete, so plan well ahead!

Offline Inspir

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Offline pipstah

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2006, 22:06:55 »
Sorry Matty but the airforce do train full civilian pilots to military standard. They do take alot of ex-regular force pilot because they dont need to train them. The trick about getting in the reserve as a pilot is that you need to have a log book filled with enought hours for the requirments that the airforce ask. I do know that St-Hubert is training pilot for their OTU. I would suggest you to do a little search on the forum since you are not the first one to ask about that  ;)
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Offline .....

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2006, 01:00:36 »
EightPistons asked if he could "be able to begin learning to fly" in the Reserves. I don't see anything about him being a trained civilian pilot in his question...
« Last Edit: June 21, 2006, 01:07:56 by Matty B. »

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2006, 01:23:52 »
I did a search on heart murmurs and I know that pilots can get their wings with a slight murmur, but I'm wondering if the condition would restrict someone from becoming a fighter pilot?  I have passed many physicals for boxing and now the army reserve, done imaging/ecgs/blood test, and have no problems in fitness standards, but I definately do have a murmur...

8P, depends.  I had a "grade 4" heart murmur on a tricuspid valve when I joined and was cleared by DCIEM to "fly all CF aircraft unrestrictedly, to include high performance jet aircraft."  I don't know what is acceptable and what isn't, but I do know from personal experience that having a murmur does not immediate disqualify you from being issued an unrestricted aircrew med category.

Cheers,
Duey

Offline Loachman

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2006, 12:59:44 »
There are only two routes to become a pilot in the air reserve: ex-regular (and most of them do need training as the majority that we see in Borden come from seized-wing backgrounds - that's why we have a Jet Ranger to do basic hel training) and HELICOP.

HELICOP stands for HELicopter Industry CO-operation Programme. One needs a commercial helicopter licence including turbine time. As several of the original ones that we screened in the Downsview days had only what they got in community college courses - "hundred-hour wonders", they weren't terribly successful. They had very little flying experience and no instrument time. I do not know of any that made it through the full programme. I do not know if the entry requirements have been increased, but I don't think that we'd look at anybody with less than 500 hours today. Very few experienced have pilots applied, and the only one that I know of who's still in is now went reg force several years ago. We have not had any screen or train at 400 Squadron since we moved to Borden in 1996. Not exactly a rip-roaring success, and this was what replaced the reserve pilot training programme that took in two pairs off of the street annually, and returned three or four of them. Granted, it was more expensive, but it worked and despite being canned (a huge mistake) in 1994 or 95, we still have a couple of those guys in the Squadron today, and several others are in the reg force.

So, you cough up large sums of money to pay for your own licence and build up time, or go reg force.

Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2006, 23:42:50 »
You can do that with Multi-Engine as well.  A guy at my Squadron has done it.  He had 9000 hrs commercially and was qualified on the Dash 8 (airplane my sqn flies...)

Max

There are only two routes to become a pilot in the air reserve: ex-regular (and most of them do need training as the majority that we see in Borden come from seized-wing backgrounds - that's why we have a Jet Ranger to do basic hel training) and HELICOP.

HELICOP stands for HELicopter Industry CO-operation Programme. One needs a commercial helicopter licence including turbine time. As several of the original ones that we screened in the Downsview days had only what they got in community college courses - "hundred-hour wonders", they weren't terribly successful. They had very little flying experience and no instrument time. I do not know of any that made it through the full programme. I do not know if the entry requirements have been increased, but I don't think that we'd look at anybody with less than 500 hours today. Very few experienced have pilots applied, and the only one that I know of who's still in is now went reg force several years ago. We have not had any screen or train at 400 Squadron since we moved to Borden in 1996. Not exactly a rip-roaring success, and this was what replaced the reserve pilot training programme that took in two pairs off of the street annually, and returned three or four of them. Granted, it was more expensive, but it worked and despite being canned (a huge mistake) in 1994 or 95, we still have a couple of those guys in the Squadron today, and several others are in the reg force.

So, you cough up large sums of money to pay for your own licence and build up time, or go reg force.

Offline EightPistons

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Re: Fighter pilots and heart murmurs
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2006, 17:34:08 »
Awesome stuff, thanks fellers

Offline IceRealm

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Fighter Pilot
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 20:48:45 »
I've been thinking about working my way to becoming a fighter pilot in the air force. I've heard the eventually stop flying afteran amount of time, which is expected but i'm curious as to the age that most fighter pilots usually stop flying at ?
Note: maybe you should sticky this or something, i'm sure others would want to know this.

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 20:51:18 »
All pilots in the CF can fly up until CRA or if they get promoted enough.  Most fighter pilots become instructors or decide that they want to become serious aviators and learn how to fly larger fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters.
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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 21:06:40 »
Most fighter pilots become instructors or decide that they want to become serious aviators and learn how to fly larger fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters.

May I quote you on this next time I see CAS ?  :nod:
This posting made in accordance with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 2(b):
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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 21:18:02 »
All pilots in the CF can fly up until CRA or if they get promoted enough. 

I'm sorry if i sound stupid, but what is a CRA ?

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 21:21:55 »
http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/pd/pi-ip/14-04-eng.asp

Quote
Age 60 Release

The age specified at Table H to QR&O 15.17 (officers) and Table E to QR&O 15.31 (Non-Commissioned Members). Upon reaching age 60, the member shall be released unless an extension is authorized.

Compulsory Retirement Age (CRA)

This is the age beyond which a member of the CF may not serve, unless an extension to CRA is authorized. The age that is applicable to an officer or NCM of the Regular Force will be in accordance with the appropriate table to QR&O 15.17 (Officers) and QR&O 15.31 (NCMs). The age that is applicable to members of the Primary Reserve will be as authorized by the CDS.

Offline GAP

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 21:23:56 »
Hmmmph.....and here I thought it was Crash Related Accident....... ::)
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Offline SupersonicMax

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2010, 23:13:43 »
I've been thinking about working my way to becoming a fighter pilot in the air force. I've heard the eventually stop flying afteran amount of time, which is expected but i'm curious as to the age that most fighter pilots usually stop flying at ?
Note: maybe you should sticky this or something, i'm sure others would want to know this.

You fly until you're sick of it, your body can't take it anymore (medical) or you get promoted to a point where you can't be posted in a flying position anymore.  There is no fixed age.  As long as your body is good to go, you can fly (until CRA obviously)

Now, flying jets is demanding on the body.  It can destroy your neck and back and many have suffered this faith.  However, with a little care and specific exercices, it's possible to have a long career flying fighters.  There are guys on Squadron that have flown during the Gulf V1 (1991), so that's 20 years of flying the finest fighter plane in the world.

Offline Loachman

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2010, 11:18:07 »
Note: maybe you should sticky this or something, i'm sure others would want to know this.

Note: Maybe we shouldn't, as most people can use the Search Function thus sparing us from stickying everybody's pet thread.

And please capitalize properly.

so that's 20 years of flying the finest fighter plane in the world.

Whatever. The wings can't turn as is right and natural. Fortunately, the truly blessed fly helicopters.

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Re: Fighter Pilot: When do they retire on average ?
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2010, 18:19:47 »
May I quote you on this next time I see CAS ?  :nod:

Absolutely - since he is a reformed fighter pilot turned serious aviator - flying AWACs and CC-130s.

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Offline SupersonicMax

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Fighter Pilot
« Reply #22 on: November 08, 2011, 11:01:45 »
I received quite a few emails asking for information about what it takes to be a fighter pilot, what is the daily routine, are such and such rumour true, etc, etc.  This post is my attempt to answer as many questions as possible about the way to being a fighter pilot and what a fighter pilot does.  Do not hesitate to ask further questions.

First, let me tell you where I come from.  I joined the military at 16, under the ROTP program.  Went through RMC and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering).  I did my Primary Flight Training in between years at RMC.  After RMC, I waited for 7 months for pilot training.  I did Basic Flying Training, Advanced Flight Training, Fighter Lead-In and Operation Training thereafter.  I have been posted to a fighter squadron ever since.

What does it take to be a fighter pilot?  You need to be a fast learner.  All along your flight training, you will be evaluated on your daily performance.  Based on that, you will be ranked amongst your peers.  Your ranking has a big influence on whether or not you get what you want and even if you can go jets.  There are a lot of good candidates and, depending on who is on your courses, it can be challenging to finish in the top of your course.

Being a good stick is not all that is required. You need self motivation.  You need to be able to motivate yourself to learn and perform, even in the hardest of times, when you are down the drain (and it will happen). 

You need a fighter attitude.  You need to be aggressive, but able to contain and focus that aggressiveness.  Most people that know me would probably not tell you I am an aggressive person. I just contain and focus that aggressiveness to accomplish the objectives of the mission.

You need to be able to analyze things quickly and make a decision quickly.  Time, unfortunately, is not always a commodity we have and decisions have to happen.  And you need to be right... Most of the time.  This quality is assessed during all of your pre-wing flight training.

Those are, in my mind, what a fighter pilot needs to be successful in his job.

Now, what do we do as a fighter pilot?  There are multitudes of things.  There are a few big misconceptions about the fighter world.  One of them is that we don't do anything operational.  Not quite true.  Even without the recent events, we conduct operations on a daily basis. Defending Canada, through NORAD is our biggest mission.  We always have pilots and aircraft on alert waiting for the call.  And it does happen, fairly often.  Also, when crap hits the fan, we deploy overseas.  Granted, it didn't happen very often, but when it happens, you are at the tip of the spear.

A lot of people ask me about my routine.  Well, there is no routine.  We sometimes fly day, night, we go places for exercises often.  But let's try to break it down.  As I said in the previous paragraph, we have pilots on alert at any given time.  This means that on average 2 times a week, you have to be that guy that sits by the jet, waiting for the horn to go off.  The good thing about it is that you normally get to fly during those days.  At the squadron, you have a secondary duty.  This will take up most of your time when you are not flying.  When you fly, depending on the type of mission, it will take up most of your day for a 1h30 of flight time:  Mission Planning 3h45 before take off, briefing 1h45 before take off, walk to the airplane 45 minutes before take off, fly the mission, land, review the mission and debrief the mission.  This can easily get to an 8 hour day right there.  On days that you are not flying you may have to work on the Operation's Desk, where you monitor the missions, you may have to do some ground training, give/get briefings on our systems/other nation's systems, etc.  On top of that, you will normally study for your next "upgrade"*.  A normal day will be 10 hours for me and I have already been at the squadron for 20 hours.

You will be gone from home a lot.  In the last 7 months, I have been at home for 19 days.  On average, you can expect to participate in 3-4 3-4 week exercises per year, plus the odd small 1-2 week deployment.  Roughly 3-4 months away from home a year.

As far as flying hours go, you can expect 200-250 hours a year.

*On the topic of upgrades.  When you finish your fighter pilot course, you are not yet qualified to go to combat.  You need to do a Combat Readiness Upgrade at the squadron.  More senior pilot will lead you on different type of training missions and you need to achieve a certain standard.  At the end, you have to do you Tactical Evaluation where a Tactical Standards Officer will monitor the mission and grant you a Combat Ready Wingman qualification or recommend remedial training.  There is also a written exam portion.  Once you acquired enough experience as a wingman, that people see you as ready to be flight lead and the resources are available, you will be put on the Element Lead Upgrade.  You then learn to become a lead, and an instructor.  Same idea as the Combat Readiness Upgrade. After that, you get your Section Lead Upgrade and finally, your Mass Attack Lead Upgrade.  Note that not everybody makes it up all the upgrades.  Pretty much everybody makes it to Element Lead, a fair amount make it to Section Lead and a few make it to Mass Attack Lead.

I hope it answers a few of the questions you had in mind, if not, post it here and I'll do my best to give you an answer.

Cheers


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Re: So, you want to be a Fighter Pilot?
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2011, 12:17:02 »
So, Goose, when do I get my handle?

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Re: So, you want to be a Fighter Pilot?
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2011, 12:40:24 »
is it true that one can switch to a nav at any time during training? and can you please explain the roles of navs in "alpha jets"?
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