Top positive review
Inside a fighter pilot's cockpit and his mind
Reviewed in the United States on March 25, 2016
This is an outstanding book. It will take you into the cockpit of a single-seat F16 fighter, both technically and emotionally. USAF fighter pilots undergo a series of selection processes that is as much psychological as physical, progressively skimming off the best of the best, followed by a regimen of intense training and evaluation that never stops. Pilots of the F-16, nicknamed the Viper, were at the pinnacle.
Hampton can also write. He takes you into his mind as well as the cockpit, strapped down and festooned with gear, for a strenuous eight-hour ordeal with five mid-air refuelings, attacking ground targets and dodging ground-based missiles: just one mission of many. He doesn't pretend he is fearless; he forces himself against all instinct to act as though he is. In one instance he admits that despite his cockiness his breathing matches his pulse rate
A few prior reviews have criticized the writer for arrogance. Not so. Machismo, yes. His book knocks non-pilots, other pilots, foreign pilots. As an ex-fighter pilot in the RAF I'd say that's how fighter pilots are, and you're supposed to get it.Still, he knows he and his comrades are insufferable. In an episode in the Officers' Club between missions, charged with "testosterone, adrenaline, and alcohol," he portrays himself as a jerk who gets dressed down by a more senior, battle-hardened fighter pilot.
So if you can sink yourself into this book you will have an experience. But don't expect Lt. Colonel Hampton, the USAF's most decorated F16 pilot -- with twenty years' service, 151 combat missions in Iraq, Kosovo, and the first Gulf War, 21 kills, 12 medals, and a Purple Heart, to be a shrinking violet.