Everyone recognizes the F-14 as the star of the 1986 hit movie Top Gun, but few can readily identify the Western fighter that acted as the Tomcat’s nemesis—a role it was perfectly suited for and still performs for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps today.
On this episode, retired U.S. Navy Reserve Commander Paco Chierici joins us to describe how the Northrop F-5 began life in the 1950’s as the ‘Freedom Fighter’ but became and is now known as the Tiger II, still flying 60 years later as a capable adversary aircraft. Paco—the mastermind behind the naval aviation documentary Speed & AngelsThe height of an aircraft in thousands of feet. and author of the novel, Lions of the Sky—not only answers our standard ‘aircraft series’ questions but goes on to tell us about the time he was involved in an F-5 mishap that nearly cost him his life.
During the listener question segment, Jell-O and Sunshine opine on why a bachelor’s degree is a requirement to be a military pilot and who would have prevailed had the two of them dueled it out in the skies. Negative GGravitational Force. The pull of earth’s gravity that people and objects experience as “one G” in an unaccelerated state or “zero G” when falling. limits, reasons for the Blue Angels’ flight control modifications, and entry-level pay and benefits for military pilots are also covered.
Click here to read the Flying with the Aggressors article mentioned in the interview and check out our Patreon page for bonus content with Paco.
Episode artwork by Janek Krause. Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Jim Hendershot.