The F-14 Tomcat is one of the most iconic fighters, certainly among its generation. In this episode we talk with Nick Pirnia about the aircraft’s development and history as well as about flying it with former pilot Okie Nance. The aircraft is also available in the DCS flight simulator and the third part of this episode is a conversation with the development team from Heatblur about how to implement the F-14 in DCS; if you haven’t yet, check out some of their videos, this thing looks unbelievably realistic!
When I was in Bordeaux with the DLR to report about their science campaign in September, I also talked to the team from AirZeroG/Novespace about the technical and aviation aspects of parabolic flights. These interviews are in this episode. I chat with Jean-François Clervoy about the history of the company, with Eric Delesalle about piloting the parabolas, with Hervé Normand about the reasons for the potential sickness, and with Nicolas Barbotin about cabin safety. At the end of the episode I also provide some details about the technical problem that prevented parabolas during my own flight with the A-310 ZeroG.
In July I visited the NATS tower at Heathrow Airport to interview my guest Adam Spink. We chatted about some of the mechanics of air traffic control at Heathrow and the unique ways of optimizing throughput. A few days later we met again on the tower of Fairford during RIAT 2019 and chatted about the specifics of ATC’ing during an airshow.
In June 2019 I had the pleasure and honor to fly in an F-16D with the USAF Thunderbirds. The episode covers the medical briefing about how to prevent motion sickness and how to deal with Gs, suiting up with flight suit, g-suit, harness, helmet and mask, the briefing with my pilot Maj. Jason Markzon, the flight itself with commentary, an interview about the Thunderbirds with Jason, as well as a reflection on what the flight meant to me, recorded together with Nora.
Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying — Shemya could be quite challenging.