Thursday, September 4, 2014
Viper Pilot by Dan Hampton
Hampton is a retired F-16 "Viper" pilot who served from 1986 to 2006, including both wars in Iraq. He describes the jarring experiences of flying in combat against sophisticated surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery, and massive sand storms. He reinforces the stereotype of fighter pilots being a swaggering elite, but also gives the reader an understanding of the skill and dedication required to meet the standards of the continual qualifications training for flying high performance jets. The author throws cold water on the naive concept of UAV drones replacing pilots since UAVs are incapable of defending themselves from the multitude of threats in a war zone. Hampton's irreverent and informative account of combat shows the quick decision making ability of pilots will be needed well into the future.