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104th Fighter Wing trains with Royal Canadian Air Force

Lt. Col. Nathaniel 'Kona' Zajac and Maj. Mark 'Mr. Chow' Silvers, 104th Fighter Wing pilots, walk onto the flight line prior to training with the Royal Canadian Air Force April 25, 2019, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. The 104th FW and the RCAF spent five days conducting dissimilar aircraft training together.

Lt. Col. Nathaniel 'Kona' Zajac and Maj. Mark 'Mr. Chow' Silvers, 104th Fighter Wing pilots, walk onto the flight line prior to training with the Royal Canadian Air Force April 25, 2019, at Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts. The 104th FW and the RCAF spent five days conducting dissimilar aircraft training together.

WESTFIELD, Mass. – The 104th Fighter Wing conducted dissimilar air combat training with the Royal Canadian Air Force 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron from April 23-26.

The training opportunity gave the 104 FW F-15 Eagle pilots the chance to practice fighting against the Canadian F-18 Hornets, while maintainers from both organizations trained together and exchanged best practices.

“It is mutually beneficial training,” said Canadian Lt. Col. Tim ‘Donor’ Woods, 425th Tactical Fighter Squadron commanding officer. “You never go to a combat and dogfight an airplane that performs exactly like your airplane. It either performs better or worse in some areas. You want to rehearse how you exploit those differences, and get used to flying against another capable airplane.”

For Capt. Mark ‘Mr. Chow’ Silvers, 104th FW pilot, this was the first time he has trained against an F-18, and the training was beneficial, he said.

“You see the same thing over and over again when you fly Eagle versus Eagle,” said Silvers. “Then when you fly against an aircraft that has different characteristics, you have to fight it in a different way. It has different strengths and weaknesses. You have to figure out, ‘how do I change my strategy?’”

The 104th FW conducts dissimilar aircraft training once every few months, and most recently trained against F-16 Fighting Falcons at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

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