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006 – Pulling Gs

On this episode, US Navy aerospace operational physiologist Commander Susan Jay explains how flying high-performance jet aircraft takes a toll on the human body.

We discuss pulling Gs, air sickness, decompression sickness, trapped gas, and spatial disorientation.

Check out the FPP006 – Pulling Gs playlist on our YouTube channel for footage of pilots struggling to control G forces in a centrifuge.

005 – Aerial Refueling

On this episode, retired US Navy Captain Fitz “Dud” Lee explains how and why military aircraft refuel in flight, as well as which aircraft are capable of doing so.  We also exchange a few “sea stories” related to how managing aerial tankers is vital to flight operations at sea aboard an aircraft carrier.

Be sure to check out the FPP005 – Aerial Refueling playlist on our YouTube channel for actual aerial refueling footage from both the tanker and receiving aircraft’s perspective.

004 – Ejection Seats

On this episode, US Navy Commander Rafe “Bloach” Wysham offers an in-depth look at ejection seats including a brief history, how they work, how aircrew inspect them before flight, and why–in multi-place aircraft–it is important to have the ‘Eject Select’ switch in the proper position.

Bloach wraps up the discussion with a harrowing story of the time an ejection seat saved his life from a doomed F-14 Tomcat.

Check out the FPP004 – Ejection Seats playlist on our YouTube channel for a few examples of ejection seats in action.  The keen observer may recognize the audio featured on our intro bumper music!

003 – Flight Clothing and Equipment

On this episode, US Navy Lieutenant Commander Aaron “Vern” Vernallis explains the flight clothing and equipment F/A-18 aircrews wear in flight.  We go inside-out, bottom-to-top, discussing flight suits, boots, g-suits, torso harnesses, survival vests, helmets, and more.

Hard to visualize on a radio show?  Yup.  Check out our 5-minute YouTube video where Vern demonstrates donning the gear we discuss on the show.

002 – Callsigns

On this episode, US Navy Captain Brian “Ferg” Fergusson and I talk callsigns–those whimsical, often juvenile nicknames many military aviators go by instead of their real names when flying and on the ground.

Only in the movies do fighter pilots end up with cool callsigns like “Viper”, “Iceman”, or “Maverick”. In the real world, callsigns are generally plays on names (e.g. “Notso” Sharp), reflective of a pilot’s physical resemblance to some well-known character (“Shrek” Olsen), or the result of a mistake the pilot made at some point in his or her career (“Skids” Pennington). Callsigns are at times derogatory, and frequently not politically correct, but they are almost always funny.

Ferg and I discuss how callsigns are assigned, whether they ever change, and why it’s actually a good thing when a new fighter pilot despises a newly-assigned callsign.

001 – What is a ‘Fighter Pilot’?

In this inaugural episode of the Fighter Pilot Podcast, US Navy Commander Brian “Sunshine” Sinclair and I sit down to answer the question, what is a ‘fighter pilot’?  We discuss what a fighter pilot is, some characteristics typical of most fighter pilots, and the various paths to become one.  We also debunk cliché Hollywood stereotypes while discussing what a fighter pilot is not.

Towards the end of the show we discuss a few of the jets used in civilian organizations, including the F-21 Kfir and Hawker Hunter flown by ATAC, the Super Tucano, and the L-39 Albatros.  Click on each to learn a bit more.