Having acquired a 4-day Trade pass to the Singapore Airshow 2012, KF-US chats with delegates about their jobs in the Aerospace industry.
Interview with United States Air Force (USAF) personnel; Major Newell (N), and Colonel Konickski (K)
Good afternoon, it is nice meeting you.
N, K: Same here.
The aircraft on display have names on them. Does that mean that they are only supposed to be flown by the named crew?
K: No. Any crew can fly on the aircraft if they are qualified on it. We field any available aircraft and crew when the situation calls for it.
USAF aircraft all have tail markings. Could you please explain what these tail markings mean?
K: Sure thing, the letters denote the location where the plane is based.
N: If the plane has tail code “WW”, it means that the plane is based in Misawa, Japan
K: The digits below the tail codes denote the production serial number of the aircraft. It starts with the year of production, followed by the production line number for the customer.
I understand your aircraft is used for “Wild Weasel” missions. Could you give me an insight into what they do?
N: You’ve come to the right person. I’m a “Wild Weasel”. Our motto is, “You’ve Gotta Be Shittin’ Me” (or YGBSM). No joke, it’s definitely not a job for the faint hearted. It really takes guts for a pilot to go in and silence the enemy’s air defences. Hence our motto. (Laughs) Our steed, the F-16 CJ Block 50 is the most advanced F-16 in the US Air Force. We carry anti-radiation missiles such as the AGM-88 HARM (High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile) which are purpose-built for taking out enemy air defences such as radar installations and missile batteries.
Which is the better aircraft, the F-15 or the F-16?
N: Definitely the F-16, because I fly it myself! (Laughs) It’s a very agile and versatile aircraft-quick, nimble, small and able to fulfill a wide range of operational requirements.
K: Your Republic of Singapore Air Force pilots do come and train with us often. They really love the space that Luke Air Force Base and Mountain Home California provide: a training area five times that of Singapore to conduct a variety of exercise manoeuvres.
Good to know. Anyone considering flying with the RSAF? Click here.
In Part 4, KF-US talks to an A*Star engineer… stay tuned!