I've seen a few AMA requests looking for a fighter pilot, so I figured I'd answer some questions! I'll answer what I can, but some topics will be off limits due to classification (weapon kinematics/capabilities, sensor detection ranges, etc.)

My short bio: Naval Aviator, currently flying the F/A-18E Super Hornet. Six years total flying, 3+ in the F/A-18E/F.

My Proof: Will be sending to mods.

Okay everyone, thank you so much for the questions! Hopefully I was able to get some half decent information out there, I'm off to get some sleep!

Comments: 1382 • Responses: 92  • Date: 

Plague_gU_18 karma

I want to join the Navy and become a pilot, but my high school wasn't exactly superb. If I turn things around in college, is there any chance of it happening?

What's it like to fly? What's your average day like?

What is your favorite plane to fly? Did you ever get a chance to hop in the. Tomcat cockpit at all (or was it just a little before your time?)

What carrier are you on (if you can tell, I know OPSEC)

Thanks! You have my dream job, haha!

C420sailor35 karma

Yes! While sustained superior performance is nice, we're all human, right? Study hard, crush college, and do well on the ASTB (the standardized test you need to take to get into flight school). But don't forget to have fun too!

It's beyond words. Most of the flying we do gets fairly routine (it's just like any other job in that respect), but there are a few things that get my blood going each and every time: cat shots, night traps or pitching deck, the night tanker stack, low levels, and BFM (dogfighting).

My average day varies, but on the ship we typically fly once or twice per day. Each flight can take up a good six hours from the start of the brief to the end of the debrief, so a two flight day is pretty long. Add in mission planning/prep and your ground job (every pilot has a collateral duty in the squadron...schedules officer, assistant operations officer, division officer, etc), so your days can get pretty long! Most people think that we just fly, but the vast majority of our work is done outside the cockpit.

My favorite plane? I'm biased, but the F/A-18E. I'd love to get the opportunity to fly an F-15/F-16/F-22 though. And no, I've never sat in the F-14. I'd stab my best friend in the throat for 5 minutes of stick time in that thing.

USS George Washington.

Pleasedonttouchit11 karma

I read that as Navy Super Horny Pilot. Applicable?

C420sailor28 karma

Please excuse me while I safe up the seat, fold the ejection handle forward, and whip this out...

2wheels308 karma

Is there any scenario where a civilian would have the opportunity to fly with you guys?

C420sailor16 karma

The Blue Angels regularly do celebrity/media VIP flights. You could try writing for a local paper (even a small town one) and put some requests in!

RNAPII7 karma

Would you rather fight 1 hornet sized hornet, or 100 hornet sized hornets?

C420sailor8 karma

By hornet do you mean a hornet or a hornet?

two_off3 karma

What was the duration of your longest flight?

What time of day is your favourite time to fly?

Do you get access to schematics as a pilot?

C420sailor4 karma

Almost four hours. That required multiple in-flight refuelings from a KC-135 tanker.

Dusk. An evening launch, a beautiful view of the sunset, and a 'pinkie' recovery back aboard the ship. Just dark enough to count is as a night trap, but not dark enough to make it suck!

We have basic ones in our flight manual. Our maintainers have very detailed ones. I could ask for them, but I really don't have a need to go into that much detail with the systems.

Filipino_Buddha2 karma

Have you ever been to Guam since you're in the Navy?

C420sailor5 karma

Yes! I was last there back in December. When we arrived, a thunderstorm was sitting right on top of the island at dusk. My flight lead made it into Andersen AFB, but I didn't break out. Their instrument approaches were down, so I ended up diverting to Agana/Guam Int'l. I had to taxi up to a gate at the terminal to get fuel---not something you see every day!

I absolutely love Guam. Beautiful weather, friendly people, and a taste of America.