Why Military Aircraft Are Hard To Fly?

Why Military Aircraft Are Hard To Fly?
Retired Lt. Col Jonathan Huggins, 1st Reconnaissance Squadron U-2 instructor pilot, prepares to taxi a U-2 Dragon Lady before takeoff July 31, 2020, at Beale Air Force Base, California. The U-2 Dragon Lady is widely accepted as the most difficult aircraft in the world to fly with only about 16 new pilots coming into the U-2 program each year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez)


Civilian airliners and military aircraft serve distinct purposes, each tailored to their specific roles. While commercial airliners focus on passenger comfort and efficiency, military aircraft are designed for combat, demanding a higher level of skill and precision from their pilots. In this article, we’ll delve into the unique challenges and training requirements that set military aviators apart.

Speed and Maneuverability

The speed of military aircraft eclipses that of their civilian counterparts, with the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle boasting a top speed of Mach 2.5. This unparalleled speed necessitates extensive training to handle the increased complexity and maneuverability. Fighter jet pilots often find themselves flying at low altitudes, showcasing their exceptional skills as they navigate challenging terrains.

Training: A Grueling Journey

Becoming a commercial airline pilot requires 1,500 hours of training, a milestone achievable over two years. In contrast, aspiring Eurofighter Typhoon pilots in the Royal Air Force undergo a rigorous process spanning several years. This includes fast jet training at RAF Linton On Ouse, advanced jet training at RAF Valley, and specialized instruction on their assigned aircraft.

Navy Pilots: Landing on a Moving Runway

For naval aviators operating from aircraft carriers, the challenge is even more pronounced. Fighter pilots must master the art of landing on a constantly moving runway. While the training period is shorter than expected, it demands extraordinary precision, concentration, and guidance to execute flawlessly.

What It’s Like to FLY In A Fighter Jet

Wings and Parachutes: The Unconventional Landing

Fighter jets feature small wings designed for rapid, low-level flying. This design results in much faster landings compared to their commercial counterparts, sometimes necessitating the deployment of a parachute for a safe stop. The contrast with the expansive wings of passenger aircraft highlights the specialized requirements of military aviation.

Pressurization and G-Force: Unique Demands on the Body

Pressurization in fighter jets differs significantly from that in commercial airliners. Pilots don oxygen masks for the duration of flights for multiple reasons. Additionally, G-forces exerted during sharp turns or steep maneuvers necessitate specialized flight suits equipped with air bladders. These suits ensure blood flow to the brain, preventing loss of consciousness and maintaining control over the aircraft.

Conclusion: A Salute to Our Airborne Defenders

Mastering the art of flying a military aircraft demands exceptional skill, determination, and perseverance. The men and women who undertake this journey deserve our utmost respect and admiration for their unwavering commitment to keeping us safe and protected. Their dedication to excellence in the skies is a testament to the remarkable individuals who serve in our airborne forces.

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