Good morning, Fightersweep Fans!  And it is an especially good morning to fans of U.S. Navy Strike-Fighter Aviation!  Today we bring to you a taste of Naval Aviation from the cockpit of a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18C Hornet with yours truly in the ejection seat!  The video you see here is from a day training flight over the Persian Gulf during a recent deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

I’ve already had the pleasure of sharing the intricacies of carrier flight operations around the boat, so some of the things you see might be familiar.  The video starts from “walking” from the O-3 level up to the flight deck, pre-flighting after a brief from the Plane Captain, followed by startup and taxi to catapult 4.

Once airborne, there is some good 1v1 High-Aspect Basic Fighter Maneuvers (BFM) against a Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet!  “Speed and angels,” we call as we set-up the fight, followed quickly by a “Fight’s On,” and a neutral pass soon follows.  The annoying tone you hear is the AoA (Angle of Attack) tone that rings any time a certain angle of attack is exceeded.  Several BFM sets are fought to the bitter end!

An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 launches from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air-power demonstration. Carl Vinson and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, are in the 3rd Fleet area of operations returning to homeport after a Middle East and Western Pacific Deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr./Released)
An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 launches from the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during an air-power demonstration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Philip Wagner, Jr./Released)

We hit our “Bingo” fuel state and, physically exhausted from the exertion and Gs during the fight, and we then head back to “Mom” for the recovery (Sorry folks, but no SHB  on this particular day!)

All in all, just another day in the life for today’s Naval Aviators and all the professionals within the squadron, the maintainers, and the rest aboard the ship.  Naval aviation is unique, challenging, and a lot of fun–especially around the boat, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share it with all of you.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

(Featured photo by Jonathan Derden)

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