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Re: USN and USAF pilots (was: 50 years ago today - 3 July 1950)
* One or two reason for the observations you made regarding
Navy vs Air Force pilots.
First, carrier "airfield" move across the water, preferably in
patters. But like moving across the surface of water, a ship does not
make 90 defree right turns. Same perspective for a pilot making a
landing, one must judge altitude and angle in constantly changing
sea states and angles to the ship. Hence, easier to make curving
approaches - all of which looks less formal.
Second, You cannot coop up an airwing of three thousand guys, with
some 85 or so aircraft at a 1.5 to 1.75 ratio of pilots to aircraft,
for 30 to 60
day line periods, with the typically Air Force regulation style of
You spend all that time in a relatively small box ....there's nothing
Navy style pilot discipline.
If you had ever been to Hong Kong after a long line period, what was
at the infamous Tailhook convention is exactly how one blows off
and tension caused by wartime operations. You just don't leave the base
and go home to mommy and the kids!
Besdies, pilots risk their lives day in and day out, with hazards of
far greater than AFB's. I've seen the best of the Air Force at Nellis
agree, still believe the Navy / Marine pilots are still a step or two
ahead of them.
Besides, carriers pitch and roll, giving Navy / Marine pilots a certain
> In a message dated 7/8/00 1:35:14 PM, KEACLA1@aol.com writes:
> << << I met a lot of them who were stationed on the aircraft carrier "Boxer".
> Really nice guys but much different from air force pilots.>>
> Can you elaborate on this a little? What were your observations on the
> differences between them?
> Keith Allen
> Haymarket, Virginia
> Hi Keith-
> Sure, but keep in mind these were only my impressions. I learned to fly
> when I was a teen ager in an old fabric covered 800-900 lb., 65 hp. tail
> dragging bird called an Aeronca. I was in the Air Force Security Service but
> had a lot of friends who were Air Force pilots, so I'm not anti Air Force at
> all and not at all stuffy. One of my buddies had washed out of flight school
> because he had landed on a road in Bells, Tennessee to impress his girl
> friend. Hey, we were kids.
> My observations were that the Air Force pilots were "by the book" pilots,
> kind of stiff, and the Navy pilots were mavericks, they walked different,
> dressed different and were given a lot more freedom in how they could fly.
> Tom Cruise, in Top Gun comes to mind. I mentioned before they carried nickel
> plated 38s in leather holsters as side arms and the Air Force carried Colt
> Example, Air Force pilots would fly a strict "box" approach to landings,
> enter the pattern and then precise 90 degree turns. Air Force pilots were
> taught to approach at precise altitude, high and cool and by the book.
> Navy pilots on the other hand liked to come in low and hot with no
> discernible approach pattern for altitude and at full throttle. Sometimes not
> much separation between aircraft!
> I was at a small axillary AF base on the coast at one time and the carrier
> Boxer was having her fight deck resurfaced so that they were using our
> facility for awhile. We were on the beach and there were several sand dunes
> at both ends of the runway. I would watch those Banshees fly in screaming
> just a few feet above the dunes, they would actually hip hop the dunes, and
> then cut their engine at the end of the runway and set down. I've seen Air
> Force guys grounded for stuff like this.
> We used to sit around all night in the mess hall drinking coffee from tin
> cups that would rot your stomack, and BS, nothing else to do.
> Generally, I thought the Navy pilots were better pilots than the Air Force
> pilots and maybe having more fun ... but Air Force pilots had better
> To kids, perception makes a big difference.