Select a question below to view an answer. If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us or call us at 1-800-522-7590.
- How Safe Is It?
Air Combat USA is absolutely committed to safety. Our aircraft are maintained in strict accordance with Federal Air Regulations and our instructors, both military and civilian, have enviable credentials. Most are former military pilots from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps., several are graduates of Red Flag and the Navy Fighter Weapons School. The military rules of engagement establish safe minimum altitudes and distances between the Aircrafts throughout the maneuvers. Our proven training techniques will put you at ease at the controls and give you the confidence to execute even the most complex air combat maneuvers for an amazing flying adventure
- Will I suffer motion sickness while engaging in air combat?
Based on our experience, less than 10% of our guest pilots suffer from motion sickness. We attribute this low rate to the fact that you are in control of the aircraft. You are far less likely to become ill while in control than as a passenger. Secondly, you will be taught to focus on your opponent at all times; not the horizon. This will not only ensure you get the kill, it will provide a more stable reference point. Nonetheless, this is your experience. Should at any time during the flight, you begin to feel uncomfortable, simply lighten up on the controls and tell your instructor. He will do what he can to make your flying adventure more enjoyable.
- What kind of people do this?
Air Combat USA’s customers come from all walks of life and ages. Katrina Mumaw flew her first mission at age eight. Helen Wallace is a great-grandmother from Washington and after flying Phase I, has returned to fly Phases II and III. In general, 90% of our adventure flying customers are either armchair fighter pilots who dream of such an experience, or adventure seekers who are continually stretching the edges of the envelope.
- Do I need any flying experience?
Most of our customers do not have a pilot’s license, and many have never flown in a single-engine aircraft. Any advantage a pilot may have over a non-pilot is soon neutralized when they take the stick of the Marchetti and engage in aerial dogfights and other flying adventures.
- Can I do this? Will I have fun?
Absolutely! Second only to safety is our pledge for you to have FUN! FUN! FUN! It is a flying experience you will talk about and remember forever. Everyone can do it. During your flying adventure, you will be continually coached by your instructor pilot to ensure a successful mission, and you will walk away with a unique sense of achievement that will be difficult to top.
- How do I sign up for Advanced Phases?
A customer may register for all four Air Combat adventure flying phases by calling our National Headquarters in Fullerton, CA. Advanced Phases focus on more complex maneuvers and appeal to the frustrated fighter pilot or aviation enthusiast. For best results the phases should be spread out over four days to allow ample time to assimilate the video tapes from each flight and prepare for the next phase. Several Air Combat USA locations make great family getaways with reasonable lodging and a variety of local attractions.
- What is the difference between the "Phase I" and "Fighter Lead-In" Programs?
- The Phase I is one mission (approx one hour) and the FLIP is 2 missions (approx. one hour each).
- You become a squadron member when you have completed the FLIP, which entitles you to fly at the current Squadron Member rates.
- As for what you will learn, they are basically the same. The FLIP takes the same tactics and maneuvers you learn in Phase I but gives you more practice. The first flight concentrates on the practice and is toned down so that you build tolerance to the g-forces. While, the Phase I has about 15 minutes of practice and then you go right into the dogfights.
- Can I request a specific pilot from your pilot instructors?
You can request a pilot from the instructors sent on a given deployment. Usually there are 3 – 4 assigned to a location. You are welcome to choose one of them. We don’t always know who is going on a deployment until the month beforehand due to their schedules. All of our instructors are excellent and bring a wealth of experience to the program.
- How many hours does the Phase I require?
Expect to be with us 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Upon arrival you will suit up in a flight suit and attend the ground school portion of our program. You will learn safety procedures, tactics and maneuvers, rules of engagement and the physiological effects of g-force. Then you’ll grab a parachute and helmet, head out to the aircraft, and climb into the cockpit alongside your instructor pilot for the actual air combat mission. Your entire experience is recorded on mini DVC and is reviewed in the post-flight de-brief. The tapes are yours to keep.
- Is the program the same at the New York location as it would be in Fullerton?
When we travel, the program remains intact but the surroundings change. Sometimes we work from the most elegant of jet centers and sometimes a small flight training school or FBO. Whatever it is, you will find yourself immersed into the world of the fighter pilot.
- Can I log the time in my pilot logbook?
It is best to refer you to the Federal Aviation Regulations, Section 61.51. In layman’s terms, you may log flight experience in your logbook. However, if it is to be counted toward a specific rating or certificate it must be endorsed by an authorized flight instructor defined as a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor). Some of our instructor pilots have their CFI rating and may endorse the time. Otherwise the entry is for your own reference only.
- What can I read to prepare for what I will be doing with Air Combat USA?
The best reference guide for fighter combat maneuvers is called FIGHTER COMBAT Tactics and Maneuvering, by Robert L. Shaw. It is published by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD and is available at Amazon.com.
- What are the age, height and weight requirements?
Our guest pilots range in age from teenagers to 90 years-old, with the majority between the ages of 25 – 60. We have not set a minimum age. However, we like participants to be at least teenagers since they will be doing 90% of the flying and most likely flying against an adult. The height limit is 6′ 6″ tall and the weight limit is 250 pounds. Each guest pilot will sign a “waiver of liability” at the airport before they fly. If they a under 18, they will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to sign the waiver on their behalf.