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Turkey
2nd August 2003, 20:32
I was reading 'Splash one' by Ivan Rendall, which is a fairly good book about the history and use of jet fighters.
In the introduction, he makes the following remarks, which being a touch 'flowery',are nevertheless intresting:

"The fighter pilot, or 'driver' in modern jargon, is one of the heroes of the twentieth century, the quintessential warrior of our times, part of a small elite at the top of the tree of military prowess for whom there are only two types of aircraft - fighters and targets. He is master of his craft, a perfectionist who has risen to the most exalted job in avaition by a process of ruthless natural selection in training for his ability to demonstrate a rare mixture of intellectual capacity and natural aggression, mental balance and killer instinct, modesty and profound self-belief, and compeditiveness and coolness under pressure."

While, this seems to be a bit grand for the Irish Air Corps, at present, there is a couple of things occure to me reading this:
[1] Possably some or even all of these remarks relate to all pilots and aircrew engaged in military activity, even helicopter pilots, and espically SAR crews.
[2] If we need too, at any stage in the future, can we find, and more importantly keep, sufficent people who have these qualities.
[3] Do we as a state have a moral obligation to these people to help position them in other occupations, when they are no longer fit or willing to continue with this task.
[4] How much would it cost to train people for this job, and what happens to the people who do not make it?

This is more to do with the'culture of air-defence' I have mentioned before. Just touching the human aspect, rather then all the expensive and shiney ironmongery.
Well, fire away!