Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/g30rg3/public_html/_jfj.php on line 1064
Joint Forces Journal

Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/g30rg3/public_html/_header.php on line 12
VOL. 24 - NO. 27
JUL 14 - 21, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

F-16 Pilot: 'It's About the Busiest You'll Ever Be in Your Life'

Sep 08, 2018
by Shannon Heupel
When people watch air shows like the recent "Red Tails Over Montgomery," odds are they have no idea what the pilots above them are going through.

"It's about the busiest you'll ever be in your life," said Capt. Don Roney of the 187th Fighter Wing. He's an F-16 pilot, but for Red Tails Over Montgomery he's the air operations officer in charge of making sure the flying goes off without a hitch.

The flying for this free air show takes place at Dannelly Field, 5187 Selma Highway, the Montgomery Air National Guard base that's home base of the Alabama Air National Guard 187th Fighter Wing.

"Unfortunately, I drew the short straw, so I get to be in charge, rather than fly airplanes," Roney said.

As a pilot, he's more than aware of the extreme conditions and responsibilities that go into flying an F-16. There's not much of anything to compare to flying one of these aircraft. It demands constant attention, and incredible stamina just to stay conscious up there.

"At times you're listening three radios," Roney said. "You've got various instruments that you're monitoring for the health of the aircraft. Your flight instruments. Keeping yourself away from other airplanes and keeping yourself away from the ground."

The F-16 is incredibly fast down low, though conditions at that height are bumpy. "You could do up to 800 knots (that's just over 920 miles per hour) for an air show. That is moving," Roney said.

Somehow, pilots have to "stay ahead of the jet" in their thoughts, Roney said. "You've got to be thinking 10 miles a minute almost that you're doing, planning out your maneuvers," Roney said.

Going that fast takes an incredible toll on both body and mind, mainly because of the gravitational forces (g-forces) during flight.

"Right here on the ground, we're at 1G right now. That's the force of gravity," Roney said. "Imagine nine times that. If you're a 200 pound individual at 1G, you actually will weigh 1,800 pounds at 9G. Imagine the weight of your arms and the weight of your head and the weight of your body, and the blood trying to be forced out of your head. It's trying to black you out and, quite frankly, kill you. If you black out that low going that fast, you're going to hit the ground very quickly thereafter."

Roney said it's also really hot inside an F-16, between the fire-retardant suit, helmet, gloves and oxygen mask. "You're sweating, and you've got a g-suit squeezing you," Roney said.

He said it takes a lot of training for an F-16 pilot to be able to execute duties with all that gear on.

"Thankfully, we've got a lot of training behind us, and it's going to be a safe and a fun airshow," Roney said.

One of the major reasons for the air show is to give thanks to Montgomery for their support in getting the new F-35A aircraft coming to the 187th.

The new aircraft means new training, something Roney and others will be going through sometime after Saturday's air show is done.

"They will go down either to Eglin or to Luke Air Force Base, and they will convert to the F-35," Roney said. "I think that transition course, we call it a TX course, is somewhere between six and nine months of training that we'll have to go through to get qualified on the jet."

After that, they'll come back to their home unit and continue seasoning on the F-35 Lightning II.

"You're talking about a multiyear process to completely convert over to the F-35 and be ready to go into combat again," Roney said. "But it's an exciting time. I know there's a lot of guys that will convert over to it and are definitely excited about it, that's for sure."

* * * * *

Photo caption: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman James Knight, a crew chief, 187th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Montgomery Regional Air National Guard Base, Ala., waits after marshaling to U.S. Air Force Capt. Don “Jab” Roney, a fighter pilot, 100th Fighter Squadron during Red Flag 17-2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air scenarios for aircrew and ground personnel which will increase their combat readiness and effectiveness for future real world missions. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Hayden Johnson)


Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/g30rg3/public_html/_latest_headlines.php on line 11

At 100, WWII and Korean War Vet Honored for his Place in Marine Corps History

Marines in These In-Demand Fields Can Take Home Big Bonuses in 2020

Navy SEAL Looking for Others who Have Taken Photos with Enemy Corpses

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Performing Academy Offers Students the Chance to Act, Sing and Dance

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Children's Fairyland in Oakland Is as Magical for Children as Ever!

AC-130U 'Spooky' Gunship Completes its Final Combat Deployment

Army to Receive 7.62mm Squad Marksman Rifles as Early as Next Year

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Launches 50th Season with a Whimsical Parable "The Language Archive"

TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: The Award-Winning International Hit Stage Production "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" to Be Featured at Comic-Con International in San Diego

Coast Guard Cutter Holds Line on China During Rare Pacific Deployment