Military Aviation

[Video] Former Eagle Driver Col. Andrea Themely breaks down every button in an F-15C cockpit

With 1100 hours of experience piloting F-15’s, Col. Themely expert eye is ready to guide you each step of the way.

Filmed at the 144th Fighter Wing in Fresno, California, by Ars Technica, the cool video in this post brings you inside the pilot’s seat of an F-15C Eagle fighter jet to break down every button in the cockpit.

Join retired US Air Force (USAF) pilot Col. Andrea Themely as she walks you through everything at your disposal, from emergency features and communication controls to navigation features and weapons and defense.

With 1100 hours of experience piloting F-15’s, Col. Themely expert eye is ready to guide you each step of the way.

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As Themely explains in the clip, the F-15 has a highly sophisticated weapons and defensive system. It’s controlled with HOTAS. HOTAS stands for hands on throttle and stick and pretty much everything that the pilot needs to manipulate and control the radar and the weapons are on the pilots throttle and stick. On the throttles all of the switches are different shapes. And that allows the pilot the ability to feel what they’re doing without having to look down.

On the control stick, there are seven different switches. There is the pickle switch. It’s a weapons employment switch. It’s called the pickle switch because in World War II, the B-17 bomb sight was so accurate it was said to be able to hit pickles out of a pickle barrel, hence the name pickle switch and it has stuck for 75 years.

Then there is the castle switch, it looks exactly like a turrets of a castle, so that’s why they’ve named it that. According to Themely, this switch has multifunctionality depending on right, left, side to side, straight up and down and it does various things with the displays to be able to put whatever the pilot needs when they want it on the proper display.

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Then there is the switch-trim button here. The trim button is found on every aircraft everywhere. The faster you get, the more pressure the pilot feels on the aircraft to be able to maintain level flight. And that trim button actually just takes that pressure off and allows the pilots to take their hands off the controls and the aircraft will maintain level flight.

The button in the front of the stick is really important and it’s the trigger: the trigger is what actually fires the gun. Each F-15C is loaded with 940 rounds of 20 millimeter ammunition and you can fire it at about 6000 rounds per minute. That equates to just under 10 seconds worth of gun. ‘Usually you squeeze the trigger for about two to three seconds at a time so that you don’t jam the gun itself,’ Themely points out.

Video: Ars Technica

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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