There are not many jobs out there which are as adventurous and fascinating as that of a fighter pilot. Only the best of the best get selected to fly the most sophisticated aircraft in the world. The primary job of a fighter pilot is to engage in air-to-air combat during a war. No doubt it is a dream job for many, but it has its ups and downs as well. Contrary to what is shown to us in movies, the job of a fighter pilot is very strenuous and risky. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for a mission and planning it before the fighter pilot gets to fly his aircraft and disappear into the sky.
Here is a list of 10 interesting facts about fighter pilots which you probably don’t know:-
1. Normally, a fighter pilot flies at an altitude of 30,000-40,000 feet.
2. The physical fitness of a fighter pilot is of paramount importance as the standards required for this job are very high.
A fighter pilot has to go through a very hard medical examination where even a smallest of ailment can be a reason for their rejection. The heart should be in a perfect condition so that it can sustain the strong G-force in the sky. Even after being commissioned, they go through a routine check-up after every 3 months.
3. The average flying hours of a fighter pilot is around 200-300 hours per year.
The number remains more or less the same for all the air forces of the world. It might look a bit less when compared to average flying hours of transport or helicopter pilots but it is so because the fighter aircraft require high maintenance hours per hour of flight.
4. In order to become a fighter pilot, one should be good in subjects like Physics and Mathematics.
It is expected from them to have a thorough understanding of the important concepts of Physics and Aerodynamics. They should also be good with numbers as they need to perform calculations in seconds when they are in the cockpit. During the training period also, they go through a lot of exams and most of their time goes in studies.
5. Sabiha Gökçen was the world’s first female fighter pilot.
She was a Turkish aviator who at the age of 23 became the first woman fighter pilot.
6. They experience a gravitational force as high as 9-G while flying at high altitudes which makes their job extremely difficult.
1-G force is the gravity we experience in normal conditions. So 9-G force is nine times that gravity which means that while flying, the weight of the fighter pilot becomes nine times their actual weight. Just imagine flying an aircraft at high speed with a head that feels 9 times bigger on your shoulders.
7. The fighter pilots wear a special suit called as the G-Suit to tackle the acceleration force.
When a pilot feels a very high G-force while flying, the blood starts to move towards the lower part of the body which results in less supply of blood to the brain. This causes G-LOC (meaning g-induced loss of consciousness) among the pilots. The G-Suit prevents this condition by exerting external pressure on the legs thus restricting the drainage of blood from the brain.
8. Fighter pilots who shoot down at least 5 enemy aircraft are called ‘Flying Ace’.
Erich Hartmann (nicknamed Bubi) was a German fighter pilot during World War II. He is known to be the most successful flying ace in the history of aerial warfare and is credited with shooting down 352 allied aircraft.
9. They are trained to eject out of the plane in case the aircraft gets damaged and is going to get crashed.
The ejection is the last thing a pilot would want to do, but when they have no choice left, they eject out of the plane to save their life. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it. In many cases, it causes severe injuries to the pilot as the ejection is carried out at a speed of more than 1000 km/ hour.
10. All fighter pilots carry a sidearm while flying which is generally a pistol or a revolver.
It is given to them for self-defense in hostile situations. They are also given jungle survival training and are taught to resist interrogation by the enemy even when subjected to third-degree measures.
They are some of the smartest people who are passionate about flying and are considered the most elite among all the pilots.