“The maneuvers of the F-15 are different than those of the F-16” The “Knights of the Twin Tail” F-15A/B/D squadron and the “Northern Knights” F-16C squadron held a joint practice, in which new pilots conducted various “dogfights” aimed to introduce them to different aircrafts
Shachar Zorani | Translation: Liran Ackerman
As new aircrews becoming part of operational squadrons following the flight course, they must undergo retraining in order to learn how to deal with a different fighter jet then the one they knew at the course.
Parallel to theoretical lessons, the aircrews undergo practical trainings, in which they fly with their new jets and learn how to fight and maneuver in different ways.
One of the many trainings is the one-on-one “dogfight” simulation that was held by the “Knights of the Twin Tail” and the “Northern Knights” squadrons last week. “This practice simulates fighting an F-15”, said Lieutenant Itay, a pilot from the “Northern knights” squadron. “The maneuvers of the F-15 are different than those of the F-16, and by flying with it, we prepare for a future ‘dogfight’”.
As mentioned, this training is a part of the pilots conversion stage, in which they become familiar with their new fighter jets.
“This is an important stage for the operational training of the pilots”, explains Major Guy, deputy commander of the squadron. “This practice simulates fighting against an unknown fighter jet, which may occur in a state of war”.
“The training increases vigilance”
The aerial training was simple and aimed to give the pilot tactical and aerial flying basics. The aircrews practice “dogfights” maneuvers and are taught to fly next to other aircrew from different squadrons, while focusing strongly on safety.
“This is not a familiar training for the aircrews”, says Major Guy. “This training, unlike casual activity, does not include joint debriefing prior to the mission. The communication between the pilots takes place only at the end of the training when they review the results together on the phone. The challenging training takes the aircrews out of their comfort zone: They cannot predict the capabilities and reaction of the fighter jet in front of them”.
“That kind of training increases vigilance and strengthens the confidence of the pilot”, stated Lieutenant Itay.
The joint training, led by the “Knights of the Twin Tail” F-15A/B/D squadron, was established gradually. Every stage of the training takes the pilots one step further – the flight rules get stricter and the cooperation between the squadron intensifies.
In the first stage of the training the pilots conducted one-on-one “dogfights”, involving one jet from each squadron. Afterwards, the pilots move on to double “dogfights” – two jets from each squadron.
“The double ‘dogfights’ begin at the point where one jet has an advantage over the other”, stated Lieutenant Jonathan, the training officer and a pilot from the “Northern Knights” squadron. “The advantage can be a stronger engine or more advanced weapons systems”.