The U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt is a beloved military icon. Developed and manufactured by Fairchild-Republic, the Warthog has been in service close to 40-years and counting. Introduced as a fixed-wing close air support, forward air control, and ground-attack aircraft; the A-10 Thunderbolt Warthog has surpassed any and all expectations during its distinguished career.
This video treats viewers to a prime seat aboard the Thunderbolt. In this cockpit footage, the Warthog pilot describes different air maneuvers during an airshow as they happen. It’s a Warthog fan’s treat and also a fascinating glimpse into the pilot’s perspective during an air show.
Once Captain Matthew Kouchoukos gets the all-clear for take-off, it’s time to roll out. He runs the engines and makes a few confirmations, and the cockpit camera shows his whole performance.
Watch the video below:
The aircraft accelerates quickly, and rotates at around 150 knots. It then lifts off into the air immediately and he raises the landing gear up. He levels off at 30 feet and accelerates to about 300 knots. He then establishes a 45-degree climb and heads away from the crowd.
Kouchoukos explains he looks to establish the perimeter for the crowd below, identifies reference points, and estimates how far away from the spectators he should be. He levels off at 300 feet AGL and prepares for a vertical 360-degree turn. He then goes into a descending maneuver starting at 8,000 feet before heading toward the show’s center down to 300 feet AGL.
At about 180 knots he hangs upside down. The opening and closing of the speed brakes on the A-10 allows the plane to achieve a faster roll rate. Next, he performs a 270-degree roll for the crowd. While he can’t perform a real strafing run with live rounds as he would in a firing exercise, he performs the evasive maneuver required to avoid the explosive pattern of the bullets on the ground.
Off to the west and with a slowdown from about 300 knots to 200 knots, and Kouchoukos lowers the gear handle and flaps to fly slowly down the show line.
Kouchoukos says once he is done, he takes a good look at the size of the crowd and gets ready to enjoy the show.