By Nate S. Jaros

I am often asked what it is like to be a fighter pilot. Sure, we boast about how fast we fly, how to shoot missiles, drop bombs, and generally scorch around the sky in our hot jets. But honestly, there is a lot more to it than that, including an air of professionalism and perfection that is rare in other jobs.

Let’s take a deeper look into a day in the life of a fighter pilot.

Planning – 0600 Local

Generally speaking the squadron’s scheduling shop will build and publish a schedule for the week. This schedule includes all types of training rides, upgrade sorties, and various other ground events and so forth. As a pilot, you can look at the schedule and know with reasonable certainty what you are doing for that week.

Your day begins when you arrive at the squadron. Yep, you have to plan your mission or sortie, and it’s not very glamorous unfortunately. When you find yourself scheduled to fly, you need to begin mission planning. Depending on what kind of mission you are on, and your position in the two-ship or four-ship you will get in touch with the other members of your flight (and possibly any adversaries too) and begin planning.

Old time mission planning. Courtesy USAF Reserves