Being a fighter pilot is dangerous and difficult for a number of different reasons. I'm not here to list all of them, because then we'd just be here all day. But, something you may have never thought of when it comes to being a fighter pilot is the complicated process of landing at night.
I wouldn't blame you, because I know it's not something I ever considered before. At least, not until I watched the above video from the Smithsonian Channel. Here, we get a look at what it's like to land an F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jet when it's pitch black. And, let me tell you, it'll make you nervous just watching this. Let's just say this definitely isn't something you learn Day 1 on the job.
Where was this scene in Top Gun? Maybe there was a night landing scene after Maverick, Goose, and the boys belted out "You Lost That Loving Feeling" in the bar, but it got scrapped on the cutting room floor.
In all seriousness though, this whole process looks like a logistical nightmare. You can barely even see what's going on in the video. Just imagine what that has to be like in person. The "shooting off into a black hole" line really puts things into perspective.
As you can see, the lights on the deck of the aircraft carrier need to be kept low for security purposes, so a great deal of skill, patience, and courage is required to get this done. Not to mention, effective communication is absolutely crucial, so a great deal of trust has to exist between the pilots and the folks on the carrier. As if we needed more proof that fighter pilots are complete and total badasses.
This post was originally published on April 24, 2020.