Hawgsmoke 2006: An Interview with A-10 Pilot Major Dan “Beef” Manning Page 3

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The A-10's gun gets a lot of attention.

20mm: The A-10’s gun gets a lot of attention, deservedly so. And I’ve got a question about the sound it makes. Specifically, we’ve heard several recordings of the gun from range firing and they are very different in how they sound. I recall a couple of them were at the Hawgsmoke (now Hawgwash) 2004 Internet site. Any idea why that would be so?

Beef: The sound of the gun all depends on your perspective when it is fired. Inside the plane, you don’t hear any of those noises. The first time I heard the gun from outside was on a conventional range. I was about 3,000 feet away from the impact area on one side and about 3,000 feet from the A-10 on the other side. The combination of those noises was much louder than I expected.

20mm: No matter which recording we’re talking about, it’s an awesome sound.

The A-10 has had a reputation as being the ugly unwanted stepchild of the fighter community. In your opinion, with all the acknowledged success of the aircraft in combat operations, has this perception changed among the pilots? Among the “powers that be”?

Beef: It is hard to tell from my perspective. I don’t think that much has changed in the fighter community. However, the senior leadership of the Air Force does recognize the value of the A-10 more now than before. In the Global War on Terrorism, deep strike air interdiction and carpet bombing aren’t often required. But, everyone recognizes the value of a CAS platform that can make an impact in a close Troops-in-Contact situation.

20mm: That’s good to hear from all of us that appreciate the outstanding job the A-10 has done and continues to do.

Looking at the future, what do you think is in store for the A-10? Where does it go from here?

Beef: The A-10 will continue to be employed in the GWOT for the foreseeable future. The A-10C upgrades will make it a more flexible platform in theatres, but the gun will still be the primary weapon.

20mm: Speaking for myself, as one who gets to see the Hog flying pretty much everyday here in Tucson, I hope it stays in active inventory for a very long time.

As you know, SimHQ is a computer simulations Internet site for enthusiasts of all persuasions, ranging from Naval, Land Combat, Motorsports, and of course, Flight Simulations. You’ve had experience with the Air Force’s A-10 Simulator. What did you think of it, and how well does it simulate the real-world aircraft?

Beef: The simulator is very good for instrument flying, emergency procedures, and basic cross-check for bombing. It isn’t the best for learning or practicing tactics. The quality of training for the new students is much better now than it was before the sim. They can learn the basics in the sim and then get more in-depth training airborne.

20mm: So, it has its limitations, but in certain areas can be an effective tool, especially for new pilots?

Beef: Correct.

20mm: Talking about simulators, do you have any experience with computer or console sims, and if so, which ones and what’s your opinion of them?

Beef: With computer simulations, I was aware when LOMAC was released, but didn’t buy it. Some time afterwards, I happened to see it on sale in a Best Buy. When I saw the container cover art, I had to buy it. I mean, the aircraft on the cover was the plane that had my name on it, how could I resist?

What I found was that the graphics were very good, but it was far too difficult to fly. In most sims, they want to make the game have as many options as the actual airplane through a myriad of keyboard shortcuts. When you are in the real deal, things are much simpler, more intuitive.

I like the PS2 game, Ace Combat, because to me the flying maneuvering is more realistic… although a 450 KIAS A-10 certainly isn’t.

20mm: That’s interesting, I’m sure our members will be curious about that.

Let’s talk some about the upcoming Hawgsmoke 2006. Have you participated in one before? What are you expecting?

Beef: No, this is my first Hawgsmoke. The chance to be in a group of Hawg drivers from different bases, experiences, and generations is unmatched. The competition is a part of it, but the camaraderie is the real highlight.


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