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The Fighter Pilot Podcast

The Fighter Pilot Podcast explores the fascinating world of air combat: the aircraft, the weapons systems, and most importantly--the people. Each episode features a guest who helps explain the topic at hand such as how ejection seats work or what it's like to fly on and off nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.Strap in and hang on for this incredible show! If you love the roar of a high-speed flyby or are enamored by the poise and confidence of the brave men and women who pilot these aircraft, then this show is for you!

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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FPP052 - F-4 Phantom II (part 1)

Few aircraft so prominently define their eras as the McDonell F-4 Phantom II does the 1960s and the Vietnam conflict. Initially imagined as a fighter and later an interceptor, the Phantom II eventually entered service as a fighter-bomber that set numerous speed and altitude records, was responsible for much of the bombing and air-to-air kills over Vietnam, and was later used extensively in SEAD and reconnaissance roles. The F-4 was a truly versatile—and effective—aircraft.On this episode, former U.S. Navy F-4 Phantom pilot Rear Admiral John “Tiger” Kerr and RIO Captain Jack “Fingers” Ensch, both since retired, join us to answer our standard ‘aircraft series’ questions on this iconic aircraft and what it was like to fly and fight it. They return on the next episode to continue the stimulating discussion.This week, hosts Jell-O and Sunshine catch up on phoned-in listener questions offering advice for getting the most out of the ROTC program, answering when we will feature certain aircraft on the show, opining on career paths for TOPGUN graduates, and discussing what happens when military aircraft crash into civilian infrastructure.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 5mins

22 Jul 2019

Rank #1

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FPP105 - F-105 Thunderchief

The 'Century Series' nears the end but not before an in-depth look at the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. Cohost Trevor 'Boat' Boswell takes the lead on this episode, joined by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel John Morrissey for a discussion on the Vietnam-era fighter-bomber that earned the nickname "Thud" for its high mishap and shoot down rate.Listener questions answered on this episode include whether fighter pilots incur financial penalties for training mistakes--like notionally downing a fellow good guy or neutral airliner, when the show will begin featuring episodes on warbird fighters, and where nuclear strategic bombers would return after releasing their weapons in the event the Cold War ever went hot.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 25mins

24 Feb 2021

Rank #2

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FPP027 - USS Midway Museum

The Battle of Midway was a decisive U.S. naval victory that turned the tide of World War 2. As a result, the name ‘Midway’ has been assigned to everything from a high school in Texas to an airport in Chicago. It is also the name of the longest serving American aircraft carrier of the 20th century.Today, the USS Midway continues to serve as a museum on the San Diego, Calif. waterfront. Hosting thousands of visitors daily, the ship proudly features dozens of static aircraft displays and offers a glimpse of what daily life was like for its crew.On this episode, USS Midway Museum president and CEO, retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John “Mac” McLaughlin explains not only the ship’s namesake battle and storied half-century of service, but the deeper meaning of service and sacrifice in our modern, ever-changing society.During the listener question segment, we discuss whether squadrons undergo specific tactical training based on where they expect to deploy, if shutting down an engine is a viable tactic to save fuel in flight, and whether weight and balance is a constant concern for fighters, among other topics.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Jim Hendershot.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

59mins

1 Oct 2018

Rank #3

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FPP028 - 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 the flawless graphics and imagery, air combat simulation is the next best thing for military aircraft aficionados--without the long deployments!On this episode, Mr. Matt Wagner of Eagle Dynamics joins us to discuss one of the most popular and realistic platforms available today: Digital Combat Simulator. We cover how DCS came to be and what’s coming in the future. We also observe our host Jell-O try the Lot 20 F/A-18C simulation for the very first time while describing just how close it compares to the real thing (hint: it’s pretty darn close and his two years out of the cockpit really show!).During the abbreviated listener question segment we address why some squadrons refer to themselves as “World Famous” and how fighters deal with contrails in tactical situations. …and speaking of gaming, if you want something a little more casual, check out Sky Knights created by one of our Swedish listeners.Episode music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Jim Hendershot.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 18mins

11 Oct 2018

Rank #4

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Holding the Line with "Bus"

Retired U.S. Navy Commander Guy "Bus" Snodgrass, former communications director and chief speech writer for Secretary of Defense John Mattis, stops by the podcast to discuss his new book, Holding the Line.Bus will be back on the show in 2020 for an episode on Air-to-Air Mission Planning.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

8mins

26 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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FPP095 - Surface-to-Air Threats: SAMs

Surface-to-air missiles, or SAMs, are sometimes also called "flying telephone poles" because of their sheer size. ...whatever you call them, these deadly weapons are widely proliferated and credited with downing hundreds of allied aircraft since their first widespread use during the Vietnam conflict.On this episode, U.S. Navy Captain and former TOPGUN instructor Thomas "Jethro" Bodine concludes our two-part series on surface-to-air threats with a look at SAMs. We cover types, guidance methods, and countertactics before Jethro regales us with a story of the harrowing night he dodged several SAMs over Iraq in the F/A-18F Super Hornet's combat debut.Guest cohost "Crunch" returns from last week's AAA episode to help explain SAMs and answer listener questions on survival suits, military—civilian pilot certificate equivalency, and low level routes.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 47mins

23 Oct 2020

Rank #6

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FPP086 - F-86 Sabre

Every conflict has its quintessential fighter: in World War II it was the P-51 Mustang. The F-4 Phantom symbolizes the Vietnam conflict and in Desert Storm it was the F-15 Eagle, arguably…. Well, there’s no argument about the iconic fighter of the mid-50’s Korean War—it’s unquestionably the North American F-86 Sabre.On this episode, retired U.S. Air National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Jim “Skinny” McLennan, who piloted many aircraft over a 30-year career from the F-84 to the F-100 and later the A-10, joins us to discuss his favorite: the F-86. Skinny expertly covers our usual ‘aircraft series’ topics while Mr. Paul Wood, last week’s intermission guest and founder of the Warbird Heritage Foundation, returns as guest co-host to help us better understand the Sabre.Listener questions addressed include fighters escorting rescue helicopters, the 2008 PBS Carrier series, the apparent demise of toy fighter planes for kids, the various titles for Naval Flight Officers, and more. Read about the F-100 that inadvertently shot down a B-52 in 1961 here.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at The Muscle Car Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 5mins

13 Jul 2020

Rank #7

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FPP009 - Vietnam Ace

On May 10, 1972, U.S. 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 a “routine” flak suppression mission over North Vietnam. The strike force was met by dozens of enemy fighters and in the ensuing melee Duke and Willy D downed their third, fourth, and fifth enemy MiGs, becoming the Navy’s only aces of the conflict. But the eventful mission was far from over as Showtime 100 never made it back to the “Connie….”Hear the rest of Willy D’s captivating story and the lifelong lessons he drew both from his combat experiences and subsequent interviews with dozens of other air combat aces around the world. Then find out how he turned those lessons into riveting presentations designed to improve the performance of a variety of audiences from TOPGUN classes to Fortune 500 executives. His experiences and lessons are articulated in his critically acclaimed book Peak Performance, How to Achieve Extraordinary Results Under Difficult Circumstances (Triple Nickel Press, 2012). Visit Willy D’s website to learn more about this true American hero.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

56mins

11 Mar 2018

Rank #8

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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. However, we didn't want to go completely dark so here are highlights from the two Facebook Live sessions that took place earlier this month. If you already caught those then there's nothing new here, although they are lightly edited for content and relevance.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

58mins

1 Apr 2018

Rank #9

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FPP104 - F-104 Starfighter

The 'Century Series' speeds by with a discussion on the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter, a mach 2-capable interceptor designed by the legendary Kelly Johnson. Former Canadian Armed Forces Captain Rob "Flecko" Fleck joins us to explore this distinctly shaped Cold War fighter with guest cohost Bruce Gordon adding his usual color to the discussion.Listener questions answered on this episode include whether downing an unmanned aircraft constitutes an "aerial victory," why medical requirements differ between the U.S. Air Force and Navy, whether prior military experience is required to become an Air National Guard pilot, if technology renders obsolete second crew members in fighter jets, and more.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 20mins

14 Feb 2021

Rank #10

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FPP076 - F-15E Strike Eagle

F-15 Month concludes with an in-depth look at the two-seat strike-fighter variant. Whereas the A-D models profess to have "not pound for air-to-ground," the Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle was designed to sling mud from the get-go. And does so exceedingly well.On this episode, a F-15E pilot and WSO crew, Lieutenant Colonel Richard "TAC" Turner and Captain Mark "Smack" Smith, both active duty U.S. Air Force, tell us all about the mighty "Mud Hen" including how one scored an air-to-air kill with a laser-guided bomb. Read how the Strike Eagle and Super Hornet compare in this article.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Jim Hendershot. This episode produced by our friends at The Muscle Car Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 21mins

23 Mar 2020

Rank #11

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FPP093 - U-2 Dragon Lady

You might think that by now, in the early 2020's — with advanced satellites and unmanned aerial systems so prolific — that we wouldn't need to go through all the trouble of spending days preparing a pilot for a manned spy mission in the upper reaches of our atmosphere wearing what amounts to an astronaut suit in a plane that enjoys only a few knots between stalling and over speeding. Think again.On this episode, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael "Lips" Phillips explains why the 60-year-old Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady remains in such high demand today, often times being tasked at the highest levels of government. As an aircraft series episode, Lips discusses the variants, armament (or not), and performance of this aircraft while also describing what it was like to fly, which began a day before the mission.Past guest Tra "Fish" Calisch returns as cohost and helps answer listener questions on how search and rescue missions are initiated, whether Air Force aircraft could land on a carrier (they do have tail hooks, after all), and what sounds F/A-18 crews can hear in the jet when on an aircraft carrier flight deck.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 43mins

3 Oct 2020

Rank #12

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FPP106 - F-106 Delta Dart

The 'Century Series' concludes with a look at the Convair F-106 Delta Dart. Retired U.S. Air Force Major Bruce Gordon joins us—not as cohost this time but as the star of the discussion on the big brother to the F-102 Delta Dagger that served well into the late 80's. Single engine, mach 2-capable, ground-based data link, and nuclear air-to-air missiles... the "Six" is the quintessential 'Century Series' interceptor.Listener questions answered on this episode include how far in advance training pipelines are shut down before an aircraft is retired, what goes through a naval aviator's mind when lining up on the catapult, why general aviation aircraft focus on airspeeds whereas military use AOA, and more. Check out Bruce's book Spirit of Attack here.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at the MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 17mins

4 Mar 2021

Rank #13

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FPP064 - B-17 Flying Fortress

Here on the Fighter Pilot Podcast it's Bomber Month!First up is the venerable Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and joining us is Mr. Mike Rowland, former curator of the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Georgia where a B-17 is being meticulously restored. Also joining us on this episode is retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Crawford Hicks, a former WWII B-17 pilot who was shot down on his 10th mission in the European Theater and held prisoner until the end of hostilities.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at The MuscleCar Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 38mins

2 Dec 2019

Rank #14

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Intermission - The REAL "Only Man to Down 3 Enemy Planes in the last 40 Years"

We're taking a break this week and instead replaying portions of our summer 2020 Happy Hour discussion with retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cesar "Rico" Rodriguez, the real "only man to shoot down three enemy planes in the last 40 years" (come on, Ed Harris, pfft.)The full video discussion can be found on our found Patreon page and be sure to check out Jamie Hunter's article about Rico at The Warzone.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 8mins

13 Dec 2020

Rank #15

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Intermission - Listener Questions

We've been cranking out quite a bit of content lately and need to take a little time off while the kids are on spring break. So for this week's episode, Sunshine and Jell-O banter a bit before answering a few listener questions.  We end with an edited replay of Jell-O's January 9, 2019 appearance answering yet more listener questions on the show Aircrew Interviews.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 6mins

2 Apr 2019

Rank #16

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The Flying Tigers with Sam Kleiner

A brief discussion on the American Volunteer Group with Sam Kleiner, author of Flying Tigers, The Untold Story of the American Pilots who Waged a Secret War Against Japan.If you enjoy reading military aviation history, you'll enjoy this great book.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

18mins

12 Sep 2020

Rank #17

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FPP072 - F-117 Nighthawk

Lockheed Skunk Works is well known for its outrageous aircraft designs and cutting-edge technology. From the long list of visionary platforms comes today's subject--an aircraft Lockheed wasn't even originally invited to contribute a proposal for: the F-117 Nighthawk, also known as the "Stealth Fighter."On this episode, retired Michigan ANG Major Robert "Robson" Donaldson joins us to describe this once-top secret mystery craft including all the usual 'aircraft series' topics as well as a DESERT STORM story that will have you equally rolling with laughter and trembling in fear.During the listener question segment, guest co-host Tra "Fish" Calisch addresses how the term "cockpit" came to be, the use of drop tanks, and whether high altitude training can reduce aircrew susceptibility to hypoxia.Bumper music by Jaime Lopez / announcements by Clint Bell. This episode was produced by our friends at The Muscle Car Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 10mins

13 Feb 2020

Rank #18

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FPP081 - The Canadian Forces Snowbirds

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, are a Canadian icon comprised of Canadian Armed Forces members and National Defence Public Service employees—pilots, technicians, mobile support operators, resource management support clerks and more—working as a team to bring thrilling performances to the public. The Snowbirds demonstrate the high level of skill, professionalism, teamwork, discipline, and dedication inherent in the men and women of the CAF and inspire the pursuit of excellence wherever they go.On this episode, former RCAF F/A-18 pilot and two-time Snowbird LCol Robert “Scratch” Mitchell joins us to describe the ins and outs of this amazing team, including the exhausting and sometimes unglamorous life on the road between shows. Scratch doubles as co-host this week and answers a few listener questions specific to his experiences and what he sees as the future for the Snowbirds.Bumper announcements by Clint Bell. The Royal Canadian Air Force March Past was performed by the Central Band of the Royal Air Force. This episode was produced by our friends at The Muscle Car Place Podcast Network.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 23mins

13 May 2020

Rank #19

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FPP024 - 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 is it to fly them? Why do most have two pilots? In the event of total power loss can they glide to an emergency landing like some airplanes? How and why can some helicopters perform aerobatics but not others?On this episode, U.S. Navy Commander and H-60 Seahawk pilot Ron “Chadwick” Martin schools the host and explains all things helicopters. And, yes, there are confirmed cases of helicopters shooting down fixed-wing aircraft.During the listener question segment we discuss military flight operations while transiting allied territory, carrier hopping for airwings and squadrons, and more on drones.Bumper music and audio clips borrowed from Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola) and Full Metal Jacket (1987, Stanley Kubrick) / announcements by Jim Hendershot.Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/the-fighter-pilot-podcast/donationsAdvertising Inquiries: https://redcircle.com/brands

1hr 11mins

21 Aug 2018

Rank #20