How to fly an F18 Hornet in the RAAF

I can't remember where this came from (probably from a friend of mine who is an RAAF air traffic controller!). I thought I'd lost this little rib-tickler, but I found it again after firing up an old hard drive I thought I'd erased. Enjoy

  1. Approach the aircraft with a reckless, devil-may-care attitude. This makes a big impression with bystanders.
  2. Ask the techo what day it is and mark it down in grease pencil on the nose of the aircraft. Then ask what time it is and write this down also. Stow your grease pencil in a convenient place forfuture use. Note: We have found that just inside the intake duct is a most convenient place. However, one tends to lose grease pencils this way.
  3. Conduct your pre-flight in a rapid but deliberate manner. Be sure to kick vigorously all the tyres. When you come to a complicated part of the aircraft, like a wing butt or speed brake, stare at it seriously for several seconds; this creates a favourable impression with the techo and makes him think you know what you are doing. Try to avoid shaking your head and clucking your tongue during pre-flight as this upsets him.
  4. When you have finished your pre-flight, check the tail number of the aircraft, then proceed rapidly to your assigned aircraft and repeat steps 1 to 3.
  5. To enter the aircraft, approach it from the left side and leap lightly onto the access ladder without looking.
  6. Pick yourself up off the tarmac, carefully replace the access ladder, then climb the steps. (Note: try to control the tense feeling in your stomach, and above all, don't look down This is the most difficult part of the whole flight and must be done with precision). Enter the cockpit in any manner you choose, except that (if possible) try to avoid going head first.
  7. This is the disentangling step in which the pilot endeavours to sort out and arrange oxygen hoses, radio leads, shoulder straps, hard hats (bone-dome), gloves, knee pads, seat pins, inflateable life rafts, gum wrappers, old issues of "Ralph" and "FHM", and any other loose articles he may find in the cockpit.
  8. Next, check the throttle positions. If the stick is in your left hand and the thrust levers are in your right hand, you're in the cockpit backwards. Don't panic; smile at the crew chief, wave to the bystanders, and slowly rotate yourself 180 degrees. Now arrange all the switches, levers and buttons in a pleasing and eye catching manner. Prepare to start the engines.
  9. Upon starting the engines, advance the thrust levers to military power and stand by for the techo's signals. When he begins waving at you, resist the temptation to wave back. Rapidly rearrange the position of all the switches, levers and buttons until the right combination is reached, whereupon the techo will stop waving at you.
  10. When the signal is given to taxi, advance the thrust levers to the afterburner detent and roll smoothly over the chocks. Retard the thrust levers to military power and try to avoid further use of afterburner whilst taxiing as this irritates the ground crew.
  11. If, after out of your hardstand, you see another Hornet taxiing toward you at a high speed, stop quickly, turn around, and taxi back up the taxiway towards the other end of the runway. You have committed a rather serious blunder.
  12. Upon arriving in the vicinity of the take-off position, begin calling the tower at regular intervals. This accelerates the takeoff process, and gets you airborne a lot quicker. Wait until during the takeoff roll to extend your flaps as this gives the tower personnel a thrill.
  13. After leaving the runway, rotate the aircraft smartly to a 50 degree nose up attitude, close your eyes, and count to ten. If contact with the ground has not occurred by that time, continue the mission as briefed. Note: you may open your eyes for the remainder of the flight if you wish. However this is optional, and is up to your discretion.

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