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How much can pilots really do?

Last post 01-20-2007, 7:16 PM by KenV. 4 replies.
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  •  01-09-2007, 8:52 PM 3916

    How much can pilots really do?

    Are USAF Pilots allowed to plan thier missions. Like if a pilot is going to bomb a certian place, does he get to make his plan on how he will get in there or not. Also is he allowed to make adjustments in the air. I have been told that a pilot once in the air can only do exactly what 1. his handbook tells him 2. what the guy over you says. you arent allowed to vary off course at all, and you never get to free fly. Is this True? Mostly do you get to free fly?!? /How much are USAF pilots allowed to do? Can a pilot please tell me....



  •  01-10-2007, 6:15 PM 3918 in reply to 3916

    Re: How much can pilots really do?

    Hi Kendall

    I am a Danish and not a USAF pilot, but our training patterns are pretty similar.

    To a large extent they do their own planning. In certain cases like if their formation is part of a larger package of aircraft they have to follow a certain flow for deconfliction purpose. But still in that case a lot is left up to the various formation leads. If you are referring to fighters they hardly ever fly around as single ships. So yes, if you are just a wingman you pretty much do as you are told. You will however quickly become a lead yourself and be the one making the decisions.

    You have rules, regulations and standards you have to follow, but they leave you a lot of different options, so you are allowed to "vary off course" Otherwise you would end up with a bunch of narrow minded pilots that couldn't think for themselves.

    Most of the time we try to make every second of our flying hours into valuable training and the training itself is most of the time a joy in itself, but there is still time for a little cloud chasing every now and then.

  •  01-10-2007, 7:25 PM 3919 in reply to 3918

    Re: How much can pilots really do?

    that makes me feal really good because i was worried once you were a pilot you became a mindless zombie, i had to do what they told me andf i couldnt ever make my own decisions.
  •  01-11-2007, 2:27 AM 3920 in reply to 3919

    Re: How much can pilots really do?

    Not at all. It is one of the best jobs in the world - if not the best Smile

  •  01-20-2007, 7:16 PM 3961 in reply to 3916

    Re: How much can pilots really do?

    Both USAF and USN pilots have tremendous leeway in flying their missions.  They do all their own mission planning and have all sorts of individual laptop computer programs to assist them in that.  And once the mission is planned, they have tremendous latitude in executing the mission and can modify the plan pretty much at will to accomodate unplanned events caused by things like weather and/or enemy action.  Its their butt in the seat and they get to make LOTS of choices.  In fact, they are expected to.  That's why all USAF and USN pilots are commissioned officers with college degrees.  They are expected and required to be able to think for themselves.  That's when flying operationally.  And they train the same way they are expected to fight.

    As for flying by the "handbook", that's pretty much a given.  USAF calls their flight manual a "dash 1" and USN calls it a "NATOPS" manual.  Military aircraft are very complex critters.  You want to operate them by the book if you want to stay alive and healthy.  That being said, there is lots and lots and lots of freeedom beyond the details of the flight manual.

    There's an IMAX movie out called "Fighter Pilot - Operation Red Flag".  It's a little staged and Hollywoodized, but in many many ways VERY accurate.  Go watch it.  It'll provide a many insights.

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