The True Routine of a Fighter Pilot in Indian Air Force(Not What Movies Show Us)


While the lifestyle of a fighter pilot may seem all fashionable and adrenaline filled from outside, the truth is that the daily routine of a fighter pilot is extremely stressful and physically demanding. It is not just about wearing those aviators, and walking across the tarmac in your G-suits as depicted in many popular movies.

The day starts as early as 0500 hours where the entire squadron assembles for the main briefing. The briefing includes a met-brief from the meteorological officer which includes possible wind speeds, directions, cloud levels, weather at diversionary airbases and direction of runway to be used. This is followed by a small session on emergencies. An emergency is simulated by one of the pilots in front of the squadron. Pilot orders and SOPs are also addressed from time to time in these briefings.

Right after the briefing, the entire squadrons heads out to see the flying programme and depending on the time of the sortie, the rest of the day shapes up. If you have been named in the first detail, you straight away run towards the hangar, strap up and wait for clearance from ATC. If you are in the second or third detail, you sit and prepare for your sortie. Each sortie has a purpose according to the laid down syllabus, and a proper presentation has to be given to the CO with all your flight plans well before the sortie.

If it is an armament sortie, the on-ground preparation and checks are in much more detail. Once you are done with flying, the work is still not done. You either prepare for the next sortie. Sometimes you may be flying two details on the same day. Most of the modern aircrafts have an onboard display system into which most of the route can be fed. An aircraft like Jaguar needs manual plotting of maps. That takes a lot of time and most of the Jaguar pilots can be seen running around plotting their maps.

IAF Fighter pilot

Flying is not the only thing you are required to do in a squadron. You need to update your flying log regularly which is a huge task as it has to be accurate and has to be approved by the CO. Apart from all these, each officer is also assigned a secondary and tertiary duty inside the squadron. Some are made in charge of the mess, some are in charge of the entertainment activities, some are made in charge of the flying programme, some are responsible for handling all the allocated funds.

If after all these assigned works, you leave for home as the sun sets you are pretty lucky. God forbid if night flying is planned for the day. You would be back again in the squadron after having a light dinner!

Being a fighter pilot is not easy, hence only a few selected ones are able to cope up with it!