Why’s There a Hot Air Balloon in the Traffic Pattern? Episode 50

SLAF sitting in the cockpit of a Harrier

Take to the skies with the adrenaline-pumping story of SLAF’s adventures flying the iconic Harrier jump jet. In this gripping show, SLAF shares his journey from aspiring pilot to Harrier Instructor and offers valuable advice on perseverance and overcoming obstacles.

SLAF recounts for Fig & RePete some of the most heart-stopping moments of his career, including witnessing a fellow pilot eject from his Harrier not once but twice within 11 months. The question of whether the dangers of flying this aircraft were worth it for this pilot loomed large.

But it wasn’t just life-threatening incidents that made flying the Harrier a challenge. SLAF relays the intense training that AV-8 pilots underwent, learning to use the plane as a weapon in addition to the mental challenges of operating in the V/STOL envelope of flight.

The consequences of making mistakes in the cockpit became readily apparent on SLAF’s very first week in a gun squadron. A violation of the 500-foot safety bubble during dog-fight led to a mid-air collision which destroyed one airplane and severely damaged another. But rank had its privileges that day.

This week’s show culminates with the excitement of participating in air shows and a recognition that flying airplanes, particularly tactical jets, is a privilege few get to experience.

So buckle up and get ready to soar with this exciting tale of triumph, danger, and camaraderie in the high-flying world of Marine Attack aviation.