Does a fighter pilot who flies the F/A-18E have permission to fly the F/A-18F for training a new pilot? Or does an F/A-18E pilot fly with an F/A-18F for night bombardment?

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    $\begingroup$ This would very likely depend on the specific country/military branch. Are you wondering about any specific countries in particular? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


Typically yes, but they generally won't be training a new pilot one day and flying a night bombing sortie the next.

Two seat trainers are intentionally very similar to their single seat counterparts. (for obvious reasons!) A pilot training in a squadron to replace front line fleet F/A-18E pilots will likely conduct early stage familiarization flights in the F model, but later solos will be in the E model. And once training is complete the operational squadron he/she is assigned to will only fly the E model.

After an operational tour, if a pilot is assigned to an instructor tour there might be a refamiliarization flight in the F model as part of the IUT (Instructor Under Training) syllabus, plus a written test on any procedural or limitations differences. Since the front seat of the two seat trainer is in the same location as the seat in the single seat model, the student will sit in front for most flights, with the instructor in back. The IUT syllabus would emphasize the change in perspective when flying formation, and performing or observing other maneuvers while sitting in the rear seat.

In summary, a pilot would be cleared to fly either model as part of the training process for being designated as a qualified instructor.

They then might fly the F model for early stage flights, and the E model as formation lead for flights later in the syllabus. But they wouldn't go on a night bombing mission as a shore-based instructor, unless of course it was a training flight.

  • $\begingroup$ "But they wouldn't go on a night bombing mission as a shore-based instructor", or it was war time and there was desperate need for pilots... (Just saw some shows on what the Nazis did during WWII as they ran out of pilots.) $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, and this happened during Kosovo when I was an instructor. But those instructors who volunteered to go were temporarily assigned to an operational squadron. Generally training and combat are kept separate. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ It should be mentioned that an instructor has to learn to fly from the rear seat, which is much bigger difference than between the front seat and the single-seat variant. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan Hudec, Good point, I made an edit. Please let me know if you think this could be improved further. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 4, 2020 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ I would suspect that a pilot qualified on a Super Hornet could move between the two air frames just fine. Near as I know they both go through the transition course at NAS Lenore. But aside from the Blue Angels I don’t know of any strike fighter squadron that uses both -E and the -F Super Hornets simultaneously $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 0:23

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