The Buzz

Video: I Learned Why Flying Fighter Jets in the U.S. Air Force Isn't Always Fun

In this clip, Vodka 3—myself and pilot Tsar—are headed back home to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, after flying as an aggressor during Atlantic Trident 17.

After being unceremoniously shot down by a Royal Air Force Typhoon, we were ordered to return to base because of the need to maintain higher than normal fuel reserves in case we had to divert to another field. Part of the problem was that other airfields in the area including NAS Oceana were also socked in with awful weather. That meant we would have to fly a long way if we did have to divert—and as I mentioned before—even though there were tankers flying with us, the T-38A does not have aerial refueling capability.

You can see some of the awful weather as the clip progresses. One thing with flying is that no matter what cockpit you’re in, there is one truism that holds with all of aviation, this: Flying is hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of stark terror (no terror on this flight, but definitely a lot of transit time—but such is life).

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.