318 – (My Flight with) The USAF Thunderbirds
Guest: Jason Markzon, Jafet Ojeda Host: Markus Voelter
Shownoter: Bastian Hundt, Jochen Spalding
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.
A small correction: I suspected wrong regarding the code word TIMBER SWEET. In fact, it means that the Link16 data link between the two F-16s works. It’s great to have competent listeners :-)
Videos and pictures are available at omegataupodcast.net/thunderbirds.
United States Air Force Thunderbirds | Medical certifications for pilots | Flight Surgeon | Motion sickness | G-Force | G-Suit | Tunnel vision | G-force induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) | Ejection seat | General Dynamics F-16
Aircrew Flight Equipment00:24:50
Flight suite | Nomex | G-Suit | Parachute | Survival pack | Flight Helmet | Foreign object damage
Afterburner | Formation flying | Aerobatic maneuvers | F-16 Cockpit | Side-stick | Throttle | Intercom | Ejection seat | Multi-function display | Side-stick | Coordinated flight
General Dynamics F-16 | Hero shot of Markus | Aero surfaces | TACAN | ATIS | Clearance Delivery | Transponder Code | OmegaTau Episode about flying the F-16 | Military operations area | Aerobatic maneuver | Separation | Tanker | Glider | Final approach | Crew chief
Takeaways from the Flight02:01:05
The Interview with Maj. Jason Markzon02:08:40
Colored smoke (Smoke oil) | Thunderbirds Diamond Roll | Thunderbird Delta Roll | USAF Thunderbirds Website | U.S. Navy Blue Angels
Thanks and Reflections (with Nora)03:09:45
Congratulations Markus! The F-16 has been my mental image of what a fighter jet “should” look like ever since I was a little kid; I’m so happy you got to fly one!
Did you have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun ’til her daddy took the T-Bird away? ;)
Now we just need to work on getting Nora a dog.
How did they manage to get you out of the aircraft at the end of the flight? A squad of MP and a crane? Congratulations!
I cooperated and got out voluntarily :-)
Right: Mission Noradog :-)
To say it in german: „Ganz großes Kino!“ excellent and absolutly amazing episode! Congrats, that your dream became real! Mein Neid ist Dir sicher ;)))
Congratulations Markus, you worked very hard to make your dream come true while educating us all on so many science and engineering topics. Although my favorites have always been the aviation episodes.
I have been a listener for a long time and always appreciate your podcasts, the detail that you go into makes sure that any listener with an interest will be able to have a reasonable grasp of the basics after listening to the podcast.
This episode was very special for me too as it has been my dream to fly in a fast jet and the closest that I have come so far is to fly the real sim for the Sea Harrier and also sit in a Mig29. Once again, congratulations to you.
Next to the Concorde and Captain Nick’s – Chasing Bears this is by far one of my favourite episodes. USAF went over and beyond – you gave us excellent running commentary. Great episode.
Can there be a “best podcast I ever listend to”? YES – it’s this one!
But the episodes about Fusion and Space are also very good ;-)
Congratulations and thank you for this effort in delivering this episode.
Listening to this podcast was the next best thing to actually being there myself. I envy you, Markus, but also really, really appreciate you bringing this to life in such detail and with such clarity. Thank you! Thank you!
I feel you are a kindred spirit of mine. I have learned huge amounts from Omega Tau and continue to do so. Your interests are so close to my own and your exposition is second to none. I am very glad you had this experience and shared it with us. I can’t think of anyone more deserving.
And next I will send an e-mail to the Thunderbirds to thank them for giving you this experience which you shared with all of us.
Thanks Steve :-) And very nice idea sending an email to the Thunderbirds!
Thanks for letting us tag along! Amazing. Congratulations and well done! Thanks to the U.S. Air Force, the Thunderbirds, and all their crew as well.
So happy that you got to fly with TB! And the episode is a real treat, excitement is really palpable from every second of it. Thank you for sharing the ride of your life!
What a wonderful episode Markus and experience. I am truly happy for you that your dream came true. You are a demonstration that if you work hard and never give up, you can indeed achieve what you set up for yourself. Well done. I enjoyed every second of the episode, during my commute to work. A bit dangerous at times, as I was so caught up in what was happening in the cockpit that it was hard reminding myself that I just driving a car and not a F-16 ;) Anyhow, now that you’re open to fly on other high-performance aircraft that are not a Viper, what about to ask the Blue Angels to fly with them…you know just for a comparison between an F-16 and F-18 ;) Once again, thanks for sharing your experience
Thanks for your nice words, Davide :-) Blue Angels won’t work: the two teams coordinate to make sure a single person does not fly with both.
Markus – you are so lucky! I have a question, though. When I trained (back when the dinosaurs walked the Earth) I was taught the command words for ejection were “Eject! Eject! Eject!”.
When I was listening to this episode, MAJ Markson said the command words would be “Bail out! Bail out! Bail out!”
As late as 2012 it was still ‘Eject!’ but I see that ‘Bail Out1’ was in use since at least 2017. Any idea why they changed? The US Navy still use ‘Eject!’.
Many thanks, BZ, fly safe, fly Navy.
It’s explained here: https://www.pprune.org/archive/index.php/t-624705.html The question on the site was triggered by “listening to a podcast where a Thunderbirds pilot was briefing his passenger”. Who might that have been :-) ?
I’m normally not interested in military aviation but this episode was wonderful. The photos and videos you posted were very interesting as well.
Of all “passenger” episodes of OT, this is the greatest one so far. What is your next dream to come true? SpaceX?
Speechless! I literally had tears in my eyes watching this! I’m so happy for you.
I’m 30% through the podcast and only completed watching the video now and I couldn’t believe my eyes: you weren’t just a passenger, you flew that thing yourself! 4g turns and a 5g looping!! In an F-16 – the coolest fighter jet ever!
Thanks for sharing this experience with us!
One of the best podcasts ever produced. Congratulations!
Congratulations, to your dream fulfilled.
Thank you both for your superb podcast.