Some people like going to a baseball game with their old man, or maybe curating a common stamp collection, but for this pair of USAF fighter pilots, dogfighting is the preferred medium for a little quality bonding time. Capt. Taylor Wight flies the F-15E Strike Eagle, while his dad, Col. Al Wimmer, flies the F-16C Viper. For them, flying fighters is just the 'family business.'
Both father and son are USAF Academy graduates with flying in their blood. Col. Wimmer joined the Civil Air Patrol at age 13 and Capt. Wight decided that he wanted to fly fighters in High School. Living next to major Air Force bases probably helped a little with that decision:
"I remember us living at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and watching from our back porch at all the F-16 Vipers taking off and feeling the thuds from the afterburners as they took off... That's where it all kind of evolved for me."
Although Capt. Wight is still early in his career as an F-15E pilot, having transitioned from instructing on the T-6 Texan, his dad has over 3,000 hours in Vipers, with 450 hours of 'green ink' (combat hours).
The two got to fly a dissimilar air combat training (DACT) mission against one another recently while on detachment to Tyndall AFB, located on the Florida panhandle. Captain White describes this unique and rare experience:
"It's still sinking in... It's very surreal to fly a mission with my dad, and see him in his Viper and here I am flying the Strike Eagle. I feel super blessed, honored and humbled to have that chance. It's been a great day."
Col. Wimmer described his take on the father-son dogfight:
"First of all, it's a dream to fly fighters, to watch my boy fly, and for us to fly together... We were both beaming ear to ear all the way back."
The USAF is reporting that dad, in his sleek F-16C, won the day over his son in the brutish F-15E.
I have a strong feeling that both father and son heard a lot more from each other about this 'generational' dogfighting training hop over Christmas dinner...
A comparison of the Strike Eagle and the Viper:
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com