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Fighter Pilots, WTFO?

Posted by Jolly on October 21, 2007

The Fighter Pilot University website is up and running after a long labor of love. The founding fathers certainly hope you enjoy the site in its entirety including the entirely cool FU Stuff 4 Sale. So, check it out, enjoy and give us your feedback!
As the only Navy guy in the “division” of founding fathers, I possess 25% of the vote in this endeavor, and as such my ability to herd the ‘baby blue’ cats in any particular direction is limited at best – “Trigger down, snap. Continue.” It goes without saying that tactical Navy and Marine Corps aviation’s culture is some times vastly different than Air Force culture. So, I will try to address some of these differences here because I know what my ‘Light and Medium Attack’ brethren are saying, “Fighter Pilots. What the f**k, over?”
The single biggest area where these cultures differ is in the definition of a fighter pilot. As you Navy and Marine Corp aviators know, you’re considered a fighter pilot if you fly an aircraft with an ‘F’ in the alphanumeric designator. In other words, you actually fly real world air-to-air missions. Otherwise, you’re considered an attack pilot. This is no slight. It’s just a statement of fact about our culture.
In today’s Navy, all of the fighters on the roof of the carrier are actually dual role strike fighters. They have both the ‘F’ and ‘A’ in their alphanumeric designator. So, today’s Naval Aviator is both a Fighter and an Attack pilot, e.g., Strike Fighter pilot if you will. That being said, they all consider themselves fighter pilots of the highest order.

USN F/A-18C Hornet

In the Air Force, you are considered a fighter pilot if you fly an aircraft that required you to attend Fighter Lead-In Training – similar training we received in the Fighter and Strike phases of our Advanced Jet Training we underwent prior to getting our wings. So, if you fly an A-10 for instance, you are considered a fighter pilot.
“So, what’s your point, Lester?” I can hear this emanating from the soul of Rowdy.
My point in elaborating on the cultural differences, e.g., the cultural definitions of a fighter pilot, addresses the naming of this web site, Fighter Pilot University. This site was established to ensure the propagation of our combat aviator traditions, values, and spirit. Period dot (just a little Air Force jargon to humor the members in my flight).
This website is meant to be an “all inclusive” aviation website that extends its arms to our domestic and international brothers in aerial arms. So, to my Navy and Marine Corps “Light and Medium Attack” brothers, you are welcome and honestly belong here at Fighter Pilot University despite the web site’s name.
After all, what’s in a name? The Air Force refers to the number of aircraft in a flight as ships. Hell, Naval Aviators don’t even refer to actual naval vessels as ships – boats are the correct nomenclature. Again, you will feel right at home on this site based on our commitment to preserve the true warrior ethos.
After perusing FU’s site, I’m certain my Navy and Marine Corps brethren will agree that the site is “Air Force centric.” Not to worry because my charter in this gig is to breathe life into ‘The Ready Room’ – that hallowed place where warriors practice their trade and craft. So, please continue to visit the campus of Fighter Pilot University as Naval Aviation solidifies its place in this infamous institution of matriculation.
Check six and be the ball! 

Go Beavers!


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