032 – Air-to-Air Missions

Sweep, point defense, close escort, high-value airborne asset protection… These are just a few of the many air-to-air missions modern US fighter pilots may be required to perform in the course of their duties. Each requires significant pre-mission planning to…

031 – Air Intercept Communications

Taken out of context, Stephen Hawking’s comment, “all we need to do is make sure we keep talking,” does not apply to aerial engagements. In complex and dynamic scenarios with multiple fighter elements on both sides—some closing on each other…

030 – Expendables

Advancements in weapons technology and lethality have spawned countermeasures for as long as humans have been warring. With the broadsword came plate armor. For arrows it was shields. And with the advent of radar, infrared tracking, and active missiles—came chaff,…

029 – Fighter Pilots in Space

Ever wonder why so many astronauts are (and were) former fighter pilots? Could it be that flight training is good preparation for astronaut training and thus acts as a natural selection process? Maybe. Or it could be that flying fighter…

028 – Air Combat Simulation Gaming

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly a high-performance military jet fighter but now anyone can enjoy the incredibly realistic air combat simulation platforms available on the market today. From the astonishingly accurate aircraft recreation to…

027 – USS Midway Museum

The Battle of Midway was a decisive US naval victory that turned the tide of World War ll. As a result, the name ‘Midway’ has been assigned to everything from a high school in Texas to an airport in Chicago….

026 – The MAGTF

There may be a no more lethal or effective fighting unit than the Marine Air Ground Task Force. Comprised of combat Marines on land, in the air, and from the sea, the MAGTF is equally capable massing its formidable firepower…

Intermission – Tailhook Reunion 2018

Jell-O and Sunshine met up in Reno, Nevada with hundreds of other Naval and Marine aviators for the annual Tailhook Convention and Reunion. It was a great time to get together to not only celebrate life but to discuss different…

025 – Flight School (US Navy)

Doctors attend medical school. Attorneys go to law school. …Plumbers acquire the skills of their craft at a plumbing trade school. So where do fighter pilots get their start? Duh. At flight school, of course. The US Air Force and…

024 – Helicopters!

Troop transport, MEDEVAC, CSAR, ASW, VERTREP, special operations, ground attack… these are but a few of the many missions rotary-wing aircraft perform for militaries the world over, day in and day out. But how do helicopters even fly? How difficult…

023 – The Distinguished Flying Cross

Besides notoriety, what do astronaut Alan Shepard, actor Clark Gable, aviatrix Amelia Earhart, and president George H. W. Bush all have in common? Each distinguished him- or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. Each acted…

022 – Test Pilot School

A who-what-when-where-why and how discussion on the US Navy’s Test Pilot School with our youngest guest yet.

021 – The Real ‘Viper’

Few pilots ever have an opportunity to meet an enemy aircraft in aerial battle. Fewer yet come out victorious. And even fewer still—in fact, only one—then go on to be involved in arguably the most influential pop culture aviation film of all time…

020 – After the Cockpit

Military aviators are generally hard-working, improvement-seeking, self-motivated individuals who are accustomed to working well under pressure, on tight deadlines, and with limited budgets. It’s no wonder they typically find follow on success after leaving the service and very few—if any—end up homeless…

019 – Air-to-Surface Weapons

Today’s combat aviator enjoys a wide variety of munitions from which to choose when attacking surface targets. From free fall general purpose bombs, to laser- and GPS-guided weapons, to glide and forward firing rockets, missiles, and guns—the extensive arsenal is full of complex, yet highly effective ordnance.

018 – Air-to-Air Weapons

Just as a viper relies on its venomous fangs and a hornet its stinger to deliver a lethal attack on adversaries, so too do modern combat fighter aircraft depend on guided missiles and cannon fire to engage aerial foes.

017 – Desert Storm MiG Kill

We’ve all heard that ‘war is hell.’ But this week on The Fighter Pilot Podcast, we hear it from a different perspective: that of a young pilot, new to the fleet and the F/A-18 Hornet, who finds himself fighting far from home in the fog of war, on the heels of the death of a beloved squadron mate.

016 – The Air Boss

On this episode, retired US Navy Vice Admiral Mike “Shoe” Shoemaker, whose last tour on active duty was Commander, Naval Air Forces, joins us to discuss the current state and future of naval aviation. We touch on numerous high-level strategic issues and spend several minutes answering listener questions.

015 – Night Carrier Landings

Turn out the lights, add an overcast, and that’s what you get in the picture above.  Yes, it’s dark.  Really dark.  And it’s scary.  Add some ocean swells and it’s downright terrifying.

014 – Day Carrier Landings (part 2)

Meatball – lineup – angle of attack. Nothing matters more to a fixed-wing naval pilot during the final 17 seconds of a landing on an aircraft carrier than those three parameters.

013 – Day Carrier Landings (part 1)

Landing a high-performance jet aircraft on an aircraft carrier is the most difficult and challenging task any pilot will ever face, and it is what distinguishes US Naval aviators from all other military aircrew.

012 – Aircraft Carriers (part 2)

This week we continue where we left off the previous episode with US Navy Captain Eric Anduze: discussing what the various flight deck jersey colors mean and then how a catapult launch works–including the hardware that makes it possible and what happens in an emergency.

011 – Aircraft Carriers (part 1)

The nuclear-powered American aircraft carrier: the largest, most lethal warship to ever sail the high seas.  And the U.S. has 11 of them, each equipped with a myriad of advanced combat aircraft. 

Intermission – FB Live Q&A Highlights

We’ve been at it pretty steadily since launching on January 1st and the kids have been on spring break this past week, so we’re taking a little pause from our normal programming routine.

010 – Maintenance

When observing military aircraft in flight–be it at an airshow or during the flyover of a sporting event–most of us, most of the time, think nothing of the immense costs and effort required behind-the-scenes to get those aircraft flying.

009 – Vietnam Ace

On May 10, 1972, US Navy lieutenants Randy “Duke” Cunningham and Bill “Willy D” Driscoll launched from the aircraft carrier Constellation in an F-4 Phantom II, callsign Showtime 100, on what should have been a “routine” flak suppression mission over North Vietnam.

008 – Aircraft Nomenclature

Ever notice that a B-52 Stratofortress is a bomber, an F-14 Tomcat is a fighter, and a T-45 Goshawk is a trainer?  What a coincidence!

007 – TOPGUN vs Top Gun

On this episode, US Navy Commander Andy “Grand” Mariner, the TOPGUN commanding officer, joins us to describe how the school came to be, how it operates today, and what it’s like there for both students and instructors.

006 – Pulling Gs

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

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. 

004 – Ejection Seats

Ever wonder how ejection seats work or how it might feel to ride one?

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. 

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.

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’? 


In this short initial episode, I introduce myself and explain how and why this show came about.

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