Meet the author who interviewed 450 TOPGUN aircrew

In a video interview with Key.Aero, Brad Elward, the author of 'TOPGUN – The Legacy’ discusses his book which covers the full 50-year history of TOPGUN. The book includes interviews with over 450 former instructors, graduates, and commanding officers, plus references to the development and evolution of air combat and air combat training in the US Air Force and US Navy

An excerpt from the book  'TOPGUN – The Legacy' by Brad Elward which looks at the less well-known F-8 Crusader fighter weapons school that was also established as a result of the famous Ault Report


The Crusader Weapons School

Much the same as their F-4 brethren, those atop the Miramar F-8 community took heed of the Navy’s recommendations that were going into the Ault Report and set about to form an F-8 fighter weapons school.  By late summer of 1968, VF-124 had substantially beefed up its tactics training syllabus and had incorporated real-life situations from experiences in SEA. The Tactics Phase, Phase II of five phases of training, called for a total of 13 hops and 18.6 flight hours broken into two main segments, Basic Tactics and Advanced Tactics, which stressed getting to know the F-8’s capabilities and fighting dissimilar aircraft.  Student pilots would start with PT-1, a 1v1 exercise against an instructor pilot, where they would explore “[b]asic tactics, tactical wing practice, combat spread practice, Hi and low yo-yo, overheads, Hi ‘G’ barrel rolls, aerobatics, [and] gunsight training,” and would culminate in advanced dissimilar air combat training against F-4 Phantoms, A-4 Skyhawks, and A-6 Intruders.  What was still needed, however, was an advanced training program for air combat skills.

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