Fighter pilot
Overview
 
A fighter pilot is a military aviator
Military aviation
Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

 trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 (expressly designed for engaging other aircraft). Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare
Aerial warfare
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift...

 and dogfight
Dogfight
A dogfight, or dog fight, is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short range, where each side is aware of the other's presence. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane...

ing (close range aerial combat). Not all fighter pilots experience combat, but one who attains the mark of five or more aerial "kills" is known as an "ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

".
Fighter Pilots are one of the most highly-regarded positions in any air force.
Encyclopedia
A fighter pilot is a military aviator
Military aviation
Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

 trained in air-to-air combat while piloting a fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 (expressly designed for engaging other aircraft). Fighter pilots undergo specialized training in aerial warfare
Aerial warfare
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift...

 and dogfight
Dogfight
A dogfight, or dog fight, is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short range, where each side is aware of the other's presence. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane...

ing (close range aerial combat). Not all fighter pilots experience combat, but one who attains the mark of five or more aerial "kills" is known as an "ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

".

Recruitment

Fighter Pilots are one of the most highly-regarded positions in any air force. Selection processes only accept the elite out of all the potential candidates. An individual who possesses an exceptional academic record, physical fitness, healthy well-being, and a strong mental drive will have a higher chance of getting accepted. Candidates must also exhibit reputable leadership and teamwork abilities since virtually all fighter pilots are also military officers.

Fitness

Fighter pilots must be in optimal health to handle the physical demands of modern aerial warfare. Excellent heart condition is required, as g-forces have a tendency to suck blood away from the brain. Fighter pilots also require strong muscle tissue along the extremities and abdomen, for mounting an anti-G straining maneuver (AGSM, see below) when performing tight turns and other highly accelerated maneuvers. Better-than-average visual acuity
Visual acuity
Visual acuity is acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain....

 is also a valuable asset.

Offensive

Modern medium and long range active radar homing
Active radar homing
Active radar homing is a missile guidance method in which a guided missile contains a radar transceiver and the electronics necessary for it to find and track its target autonomously...

 and semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing, or SARH, is a common type of missile guidance system, perhaps the most common type for longer-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile systems. The name refers to the fact that the missile itself is only a passive detector of a radar signal – provided by an external ...

 missiles can be fired at targets outside or beyond visual range
Beyond Visual Range missile
A beyond-visual-range missile usually refers to an air-to-air missile that is capable of engaging at ranges beyond . This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor....

. However, when a pilot is dogfight
Dogfight
A dogfight, or dog fight, is a form of aerial combat between fighter aircraft; in particular, combat of maneuver at short range, where each side is aware of the other's presence. Dogfighting first appeared during World War I, shortly after the invention of the airplane...

ing at short-range, his position relative to the opponent is decidedly important. Outperformance of another pilot and that pilot's aircraft is critical to maintain the upper-hand. A common saying for dogfighting is "lose sight, lose fight".

If one pilot had a greater missile range than the other, he would choose to fire his missile first, before being in range of the enemy's missile. Normally, the facts of an enemy's weapon payload is unknown, and are revealed as the fight progresses.

Some air combat maneuvers form the basis for the sport of aerobatics
Aerobatics
Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight. Aerobatics are performed in airplanes and gliders for training, recreation, entertainment and sport...

:
  • Basic
    • Split S
      Split S
      The Split S is an air combat maneuver mostly used to disengage from combat. To execute a Split S, the pilot half-rolls his aircraft inverted and executes a descending half-loop, resulting in level flight in the exact opposite direction at a lower altitude....

    • Immelmann turn
      Immelmann turn
      The Immelmann turn refers to two different aircraft maneuvers.-In aerobatics:In modern aerobatical parlance, an Immelmann turn is an aerobatic maneuver of little practical use in aerial combat, and is a different maneuver altogether from the original dogfighting tactic of World War I from which it...

    • Thach Weave
      Thach Weave
      The Thach Weave or Beam Defense Position is an aerial combat tactic developed by naval aviator John S. Thach of the United States Navy soon after the United States' entry into World War II....

    • The Scissors
      The Scissors
      The Scissors is an aerial dog fighting maneuver, commonly used by military fighter pilots before the advent of high thrust-to-weight fighters in the late 1950s to mid-1960s and later, and before the perfection of the all-aspect air-to-air missile, and reliable BVR weapons...

    • Chandelle
      Chandelle
      The chandelle is an aircraft control maneuver where the pilot combines a 180° turn with a climb.It is now required for attaining a commercial flight certificate in many countries...


  • Complex
    • Pugachev's Cobra
      Pugachev's Cobra
      In aerobatics, Pugachev's Cobra is a dramatic and demanding manoeuvre in which a plane flying at a moderate speed suddenly raises the nose momentarily to the vertical position and slightly beyond, before dropping it back to normal flight. It uses a potent engine thrust to maintain approximately...

    • Herbst maneuver
      Herbst maneuver
      The Herbst maneuver is an air combat maneuver which uses post-stall technology such as thrust vectoring and advanced flight controls to achieve high angles of attack. The Herbst maneuver allows an aircraft to quickly reverse direction using a combination of high angle-of-attack and rolling...


Defensive

Pilots are trained to employ specific tactics and maneuvers when they are under attack. Attacks from missiles are usually countered with electronic countermeasures
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

 and chaff
Chaff (radar countermeasure)
Chaff, originally called Window by the British, and Düppel by the Second World War era German Luftwaffe , is a radar countermeasure in which aircraft or other targets spread a cloud of small, thin pieces of aluminium, metallized glass fibre or plastic, which either appears as a cluster of secondary...

. Missiles like the AIM-120 AMRAAM
AIM-120 AMRAAM
The AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM , is a modern beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile capable of all-weather day-and-night operations. Designed with the same form-factor as the previous generation of semi-active guided Sparrow missiles, it is a fire-and-forget...

, however, can actively home in on jamming signals.

Dogfighting at 1 to 4 miles is considered "close." Pilots perform stressful maneuvers to gain advantage in the dogfight. Pilots need to be in good shape in order to handle the high G-Forces
G-force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall. This acceleration experienced by an object is due to the vector sum of non-gravitational forces acting on an object free to move. The accelerations that are not produced by gravity are termed proper accelerations, and...

 caused by aerial combat. A pilot flexes his legs and torso to keep blood from draining out of the head. This is known as the AGSM or M1; or, sometimes, as the "grunt."

Defense against missiles

Many early air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles had very simple infrared homing
Infrared homing
Infrared homing refers to a passive missile guidance system which uses the emission from a target of electromagnetic radiation in the infrared part of the spectrum to track and follow it. Missiles which use infrared seeking are often referred to as "heat-seekers", since infrared is just below the...

 ("heat seeking") guidance systems with a narrow field of view. These missiles could be avoided by simply turning sharply, which essentially caused the missile to lose sight of the target aircraft. Another tactic was to exploit a missile's limited range by performing evasive maneuvers until the missiles had run out of fuel.

Modern infrared missiles, like the AIM-9 Sidewinder
AIM-9 Sidewinder
The AIM-9 Sidewinder is a heat-seeking, short-range, air-to-air missile carried mostly by fighter aircraft and recently, certain gunship helicopters. The missile entered service with United States Air Force in the early 1950s, and variants and upgrades remain in active service with many air forces...

, have a more advanced guidance system. Supercooled infrared detectors help the missile find a possible exhaust source, and software assists the missile in flying towards its target. Pilots normally drop flares
Flare (countermeasure)
A flare is an aerial infrared countermeasure to counter an infrared homing surface-to-air missile or air-to-air missile. Flares are commonly composed of a pyrotechnic composition based on magnesium or another hot-burning metal, with burning temperature equal to or hotter than engine exhaust...

 to confuse or decoy these missiles.

Radar homing missiles could sometimes be confused by surface objects or geographical features causing clutter guidance system of either the missile or ground station guiding it. Chaff is another option in the case that the aircraft is too high up to use geographical obstructions. Pilots have to be aware of the potential threats and learn to distinguish between the two where possible. They use the RWR (radar warning receiver) to discern the types of signals hitting their aircraft. The new AESA radar system, outfitted on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
F/A-18E/F Super Hornet
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft. The F/A-18E single-seat variant and F/A-18F tandem-seat variant are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. The Super Hornet has an internal 20 mm gun and can carry air-to-air...

 can use its radar to actively detect inbound missiles.

G Force

When a fighter pilot is performing rapid turning movements in a dogfight or when avoiding missiles, pilots are exposed to high g force
G force
The g-force associated with an object is its acceleration relative to free-fall.It may also refer to:* G-Force , a 2009 film by Disney** G-Force , a 2009 video game based on the film...

s. G forces are expressed as a multiple of the normal gravitational force, e.g. a force of 2G is equivalent to twice normal Earth gravity, meaning everything would feel twice as heavy. Modern fighter aircraft can make much sharper turns and sustain a lot more stresses or g-forces. With the advent of the jet engined aircraft these capabilities exceed that of the human body.

When executing a "positive G" maneuver like turning upwards the force pushes the pilot down. The most serious consequence of this is that the blood in the pilot's body is also pulled down and into their extremities. If the forces are great enough and over a sufficient period of time this can lead to blackouts (called g-induced Loss Of Consciousness or G-LOC
G-LOC
G-LOC, pronounced 'GEE-lock', is the abbreviation of G-force induced Loss Of Consciousness, a term generally used in aerospace physiology to describe a loss of consciousness occurring from excessive and sustained g-forces draining blood away from the brain causing cerebral hypoxia...

) , because not enough blood is reaching the pilot's brain. To counteract this effect pilots are trained to tense their legs, arms and abdominal muscles to restrict the "downward" flow of blood. This is known as the "grunt" or the "Hick maneuver", both names due to the sounds the pilot makes, and is the primary method of resisting G-LOCs. Modern flight suits, called g-suit
G-suit
A G-suit, or the more accurately named anti-G suit, is worn by aviators and astronauts who are subject to high levels of acceleration force . It is designed to prevent a black-out and G-LOC caused by the blood pooling in the lower part of the body when under acceleration, thus depriving the...

s, are worn by pilots to contract around the extremities exerting pressure, providing about 1G of extra tolerance.

Notable Fighter Pilots

Notable fighter pilots include:
  • Antonio Bautista
    Antonio Bautista
    Antonio M. Bautista was a Filipino pilot of the Philippine Air Force.Colonel Antonio "Tony" Bautista was a pilot of the Philippine Air Force and died in action in 1974. In the early 1960s, known as the PAF's Glory Days, he was squadron commander to one of the PAF's aerial acrobatic teams, the...

  • Karl W. Richter
    Karl W. Richter
    Karl Wendell Richter was an officer in the United States Air Force and an accomplished fighter pilot during the Vietnam War. At the age of 23 he was the youngest pilot in that conflict to shoot down a MiG in air-to-air combat.-Early career:Karl W. Richter was born October 4, 1942,the youngest of...

  • Oswald Boelcke
    Oswald Boelcke
    Oswald Boelcke was a German flying ace of the First World War and one of the most influential patrol leaders and tacticians of the early years of air combat. Boelcke is considered the father of the German fighter air force, as well as the "Father of Air Fighting Tactics"; he was the first to...

  • Georges Guynemer
    Georges Guynemer
    Georges Guynemer was a top fighter ace for France during World War I, and a French national hero at the time of his death.-Early life and military career:...

  • Manfred von Richtofen
  • Francesco Baracca
    Francesco Baracca
    Count Francesco Baracca was Italy's top fighter ace of World War I. He was credited with 34 aerial victories.-Before World War I:...

  • René Fonck
    René Fonck
    René Paul Fonck was a French aviator who ended the First World War as the top Allied fighter ace, and when all succeeding aerial conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries are also considered, Fonck still holds the title of "all-time Allied Ace of Aces". He received confirmation for 75 victories ...

  • Hermann Göring
    Hermann Göring
    Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

  • Billy Bishop
    Billy Bishop
    Air Marshal William Avery "Billy" Bishop VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED was a Canadian First World War flying ace, officially credited with 72 victories, making him the top Canadian ace, and according to some sources, the top ace of the British Empire.-Early life:Bishop was born in Owen Sound,...

  • Richard Bong
    Richard Bong
    Richard Ira "Dick" Bong is the United States' highest-scoring air ace, having shot down at least 40 Japanese aircraft during World War II. He was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces and a recipient of the Medal of Honor...

  • James Jabara
    James Jabara
    James "Jabby" Jabara was the first American jet ace in history. Born in Oklahoma, he lived in Kansas where he enlisted as an aviation cadet at Fort Riley after graduating high school. Jabara attended four flying schools in Texas before he received his pilot's wings and was commissioned as a ...

  • Frank Luke
    Frank Luke
    Frank Luke Jr. was an American fighter ace, ranking second among U.S. Army Air Service pilots after Captain Eddie Rickenbacker in number of aerial victories during World War I . Frank Luke was the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor...

  • Ernst Udet
    Ernst Udet
    Colonel General Ernst Udet was the second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I. He was one of the youngest aces and was the highest scoring German ace to survive the war . His 62 victories were second only to Manfred von Richthofen, his commander in the Flying Circus...

  • Max Immelmann
    Max Immelmann
    Max Immelmann was the first German World War I flying ace. He was a great pioneer in fighter aviation and is often mistakenly credited with the first aerial victory using a synchronized gun...

  • Adolf Galland
    Adolf Galland
    Adolf "Dolfo" Joseph Ferdinand Galland was a German Luftwaffe General and flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. He flew 705 combat missions, and fought on the Western and the Defence of the Reich fronts...

  • Chuck Yeager
    Chuck Yeager
    Charles Elwood "Chuck" Yeager is a retired major general in the United States Air Force and noted test pilot. He was the first pilot to travel faster than sound...

  • Sailor Malan
  • Nguyen Van Bay
    Nguyen Van Bay
    Nguyen Van Bay was a jet fighter ace for the Vietnam People's Air Force during the Vietnam War. Piloting a MiG-17F while assigned to the 923rd Fighter Regiment, Bay claimed 7 aerial combat victories while engaged against aircraft of the USAF and USN: 2 F-8s, 1 F-4B, 1 A-4C and 1 F-105D...

  • Robin Olds
    Robin Olds
    Robin Olds was an American fighter pilot and general officer in the U.S. Air Force. He was a "triple ace", with a combined total of 16 victories in World War II and the Vietnam War. He retired in 1973 as a brigadier general....

  • Kurt Welter
    Kurt Welter
    Kurt Welter was a German Luftwaffe fighter ace and the most successful Jet Expert of World War II.For a list of Luftwaffe jet aces see List of German World War II jet aces A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat...

  • Heinrich Bär
    Heinrich Bär
    Oskar-Heinz "Pritzl" Bär was a German Luftwaffe flying ace who served throughout World War II in Europe. A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft during aerial combat...

  • Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer
    Heinz-Wolfgang Schnaufer was a German Luftwaffe night fighter pilot and is the highest scoring night fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare...

  • Giora Epstein
    Giora Epstein
    Colonel Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein , today Giora Even , is a retired colonel in the Israeli Air Force and a jet-to-jet fighter ace, credited with 17 kills, 16 of which were against Egyptian jets, making Epstein the Ace of Aces of modern, supersonic fighter jets...

  • Władysław Turowicz
    Władysław Turowicz
    Air Commodore Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz, SP , SK , TP , SQA [MI], SI [MI], usually referred to as Air Cdre. W. J. M. Turowicz, was a prominent and noted Polish Pakistani military scientist and an aeronautical engineer. He is considered as one of the chief architects of the Pakistan Air Force...

  • Hans-Joachim Marseille
    Hans-Joachim Marseille
    Hans-Joachim Marseille was a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and flying ace during World War II. He is noted for his aerial battles during the North African Campaign and his bohemian lifestyle. One of the best fighter pilots of World War II, he was nicknamed the "Star of Africa"...

  • Nguyễn Văn Cốc
    Nguyen Van Coc
    Nguyễn Văn Cốc was a North Vietnamese MiG-21 PFL fighter ace of the Vietnamese People's Air Force's 921st Fighter Regiment.- Biography :...

  • Gerhard Barkhorn
    Gerhard Barkhorn
    Lieutenant-General Gerhard "Gerd" Barkhorn , was the second most successful fighter ace of all time after fellow Luftwaffe pilot Erich Hartmann...

  • Erich Hartmann
    Erich Hartmann
    Erich Alfred Hartmann , nicknamed "Bubi" by his comrades and "The Black Devil" by his Soviet enemies, was a German World War II fighter pilot and is the highest-scoring fighter ace in the history of aerial warfare...

  • Mohommed "Sky Falcon" Rayyan
    Mohommed Rayyan
    Colonel Mohommed Rayyan, nicknamed "Sky Falcon," was a fighter pilot with the Iraqi Air Force during the Iran-Iraq War. He claimed 10 air combat kills, making him an ace and the most successful Iraqi fighter pilot of that war....

  • Jalal Zandi
    Jalal Zandi
    Brig. General Jalil Zandi was an ace fighter pilot in the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, serving for the full duration of the Iran-Iraq War. His record qualifies him as an ace and the most successful pilot of that conflict....

  • Scott O'Grady
    Scott O'Grady
    Scott Francis O'Grady is a former USAF Captain and former United States Air Force fighter pilot who gained prominence after the June 2, 1995 Mrkonjić Grad incident, in which he ejected over Bosnia when his F-16C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb SA-6 while he was patrolling the no-fly zone...

  • Ted Williams
    Ted Williams
    Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 21-year Major League Baseball career as the left fielder for the Boston Red Sox...

  • Buzz Aldrin
    Buzz Aldrin
    Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

  • George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

  • Donald Rumsfeld
    Donald Rumsfeld
    Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

  • John McCain
    John McCain
    John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

  • Rick Gallup IV

See also

  • Flying aces
  • Fighter aircraft
    Fighter aircraft
    A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

  • Military aviation
    Military aviation
    Military aviation is the use of aircraft and other flying machines for the purposes of conducting or enabling warfare, including national airlift capacity to provide logistical supply to forces stationed in a theater or along a front. Air power includes the national means of conducting such...

  • Manfred von Richthofen
    Manfred von Richthofen
    Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen , also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service during World War I...

     (The Red Baron)
  • Sabiha Gökçen
    Sabiha Gökçen
    Sabiha Gökçen was a Turkish aviatrix. First Turkish female combat pilot, aged 23. She was one of the eight adopted children of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.- Early life :...

     (The first female combat pilot)
  • TOPGUN
  • Operation Red Flag
  • List of aces of aces
  • United States Air Force and NATO Report RTO-TR-015 AC/323/(HFM-015)/TP-1 (2001)

External links

Museums
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK