’MADHATTERS’

STRIKE EAGLE SQUADRON

Combat Aircraft gets an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle unit — meet the ‘Bolars’ of the 492nd Fighter Squadron.

‘Bolar 11’ flight near the Isle of Wight, on the south coast of the UK. All photos this spread Jamie Hunter
A ‘Madhatters’ aircrew starts the engines for a morning mission from Lakenheath.
Cover image: Jamie Hunter

IT’S 08.30 AND the distinctive howl of Strike Eagles starting their Pratt & Whitney engines reverberates across the damp Suffolk morning. Inside RAF Lakenheath, maintainers have been working since before dawn, ensuring that a line of pristine fighters awaits the pilots and weapons systems officers (WSOs) for the start of the day’s flying program.

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