Military pilots gather for the Checkered Flag exercise

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 8:38 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - To fly like this takes a lot of training.

Training that we got to see firsthand.

“Checkered Flag is the D.O.Ds largest air-to-air exercise,” Major Keranen, Checkered Flag Exercise Director, said. “Primarily designed to train our combat-ready units for potential conflicts they may encounter.”

The pilots go through intense training during the exercise.

“With the Gulf Coast Test and Training Range, it offers us a very large airspace where we can execute full-scale fights that we can normally not execute in our local training airspace,” Major Keranen said.

Don’t worry, they aren’t actually firing live ammunition at each other.

“We execute simulated combat missions with blue and red forces,” Major Keranen said.

The 2nd week of this checkered flag event invited pilots from all around the world to train, here, at Tyndall.

“Exercise Checkered Flag has both the United States and joint partners flying in it,” Major Keranen said.

The two-week-long exercise involves all sorts of aircraft.

“The aircraft we have participating in this Checkered Flag is F22′s, F35′s, F15Es, F16′s, F18′s,” Major Keranen said.

And pilots walk away better and better every time.

“From a pilot’s perspective, exercise Checkered Flag is an amazing training opportunity in the fact that we have access to some of the best training ranges the United States has to offer,” Major Keranen said. “As well as some of the largest fights that people have participated in, in their career.”

All to continue air dominance.