Keighley's Top Guns!
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By Cdt B 'Javlin" Darvill - 2431 (Keighley) Squadron
On Saturday 12th December 2015, 3 cadets from 2431 (Keighley) Squadron ATC experienced what it is like to be a fighter pilot at the AOAC at RAF Linton-on-Ouse.
The F 16 Fighting Falcon is one of the most dynamic fighter aircraft ever built. On the course we got to experience the true power of them through the flight simulators at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. The Stage 1 course is about air to air combat and basic handling.
We started our day by arriving at RAF Linton-on-Ouse at the ridiculous time of 9:00am. When arriving at the AOAC building we jumped into our flight suits and received our call names. We got call names as an alternative to our last name, mine was "Javelin". Then we were put into flights, me and Cdt Greenwood (Fresco) were in B flight and Cdt Bradley (Export) was in A flight. After that we did the usual brief on safety on the plan for the day.
Then we were given an exercise that had to be done in flights throughout the day. It was a booklet with a mission on it. A president was planning to take over a neighboring country and we had to stop him. We were given a list of targets and a list of friendly assets including planes, boats helicopters and aircraft carriers. We had to destroy all of the targets over a three-day period with the available resources. We had to plan it strategically as we had limited fuel and ammunition. We also had to consider our defensive strategies so they couldn't attack us and also support as in refueling and support aircraft. At the end of the day we had to give presentations on how we would a defeat the enemy. This was part of the flight competition as well.
As for the simulators we had a go at the Tucano simulator first to get the feel of it before having a go with the F-16's. It was a good simulator but compared to the F-16 the movements it felt a bit clunky and hard to control.
To start of the F-16 training, we did some basic handling and some basic manoeuvres. We then had a presentation on the weapons of the F 16 and how they are used in the simulator. The F-16's we were using had three weapons. The AMRAAM which stands for advanced medium ranged air to air missile. This was used when you were 5-20 miles away from the target. The other missile is a sidewinder which is a short ranged missile targeting distances of between 1 and 5 miles. The last weapon was the Vulcan 6 barrel 20mm cannon. It fires 6,000 22mm rounds every minute, which is 100 rounds every second.
The next F-16 simulator experience was weapons and targeting. We tried both the missiles and got a feel for the targeting and firing. The last thing we did was the "Top Gun tournament" which entailed 10 minutes of kill or be killed. The object was to get the most points by shooting down other planes using the variety of weapons. You had unlimited missiles but only 500 rounds for the gun which is about 5 seconds of constant fire. You got points deducted for firing a missile but gain even when a target is destroyed. If you shoot a parachute your points get halved. But not only did you have to worry about other pilots but your altitude, airspeed and fuel. During the tournament, I managed to score 25,000 points, making me the ‘Top Gun’ of the class. As a squadron we also managed to win The Best Squadron Award with an average score of 21,000 points during the entire tournament.
This was a brilliant day for anyone, and even if you didn't enjoy it you still came away with a certificate and a badge. I would recommend this course to everyone as it is informative but also really fun and awesome rewards are up for grabs for anyone who loves a bit of competition.
For more information please visit the Squadron website