“The first thing you want to do is get the guy to get comfortable,” says Lt.
Col. Jeffery Buell, an operator for the Naval Air Systems Command in Bethesda, Maryland.
“The more he’s comfortable, the more he’ll be a hero.”
Bueell is the director of operations for Operation Warp Speed, an effort to recruit airmen to fly more efficiently by training them in different tasks and with different air-to-air operations.
Warp Speed pilots are the backbone of the Air Force’s fighter fleet.
Their pilots must be highly skilled in air-defense and air-strike operations.
They must also be able to respond quickly and effectively to the threat posed by hostile aircraft.
The Air Force wants to increase the number of people with the right skills to lead the aircrew of its fighter aircraft, Bueill says.
The P-51D is the only aircraft in the Air Forces inventory with the ability to carry out the Warp Speed training, which involves training pilots in air defense and air strike tactics.
The pilots will work with other operators to perform various tasks.
Some tasks include intercepting hostile aircraft and tracking their movements; others involve maintaining a safe distance from hostile aircraft to avoid a collision.
The Warp Speed program is designed to train airmen who have flown in the past.
In a video released by the service, one of the operators, Lt.
Capt. Ryan McBride, shows how the pilots must learn to fly in a hostile environment.
The video ends with McBride pointing to a map of the skies and saying, “There are more airplanes flying in that airspace than there are people.”
Operators will work together to perform tasks in the air, like spotting enemy fighters, detecting and destroying them, and defending themselves from hostile planes.
Operators can perform a variety of tasks, including taking off and landing, and carrying out air-launched weapons.
Buelly says Warp Speed operators are expected to maintain a safe level of proficiency, which will allow them to carry weapons safely.
Bucell says the training will prepare them for the role of the air force’s primary fighter pilot.
“These guys are the heart and soul of our aircraft,” he says.
“They’re the ones who are responsible for the most critical aircrew in the fleet.
The rest of us don’t get to do that.”
This story was produced by The Associated Press under a Creative Commons license from National Geographic.