Video: What It’s Like to Land a U.S. Air Force Fighter Jet
In this final clip, Vodka 3—myself and pilot Tsar—come in to land at 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. You can see some of the awful weather as the clip progresses.
Once the aircraft lands and taxis back to the 71st Fighter Training Squadron ramp, you can also see some of the other activity on the base as other aircraft head back out to participate in the exercise. Overall, flying during the exercise helped to provide me with a new perspective on fifth-generation fighter operations.
My thanks to Col. Peter Fesler and Jeff Hood for this unique invitation to fly with the 1st Fighter Wing during Atlantic Trident 17. I would also like to extend my gratitude to all of the technicians at the 71st FTS for all of their help in outfitting me for the flight and for putting up with me during an entire day of SERE classes. And finally, I would like thank my pilot Tsar, Fangs and Score for allowing me to fly with you. It was an amazing experience.
Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @davemajumdar.