Hornet Display Pilot of 2019 Season Captain Arto Ukskoski
The Finnish Air Force Hornet solo display pilot in 2019 is Captain Arto Ukskoski from Lapland Air Command. This year’s solo includes several high angle of attack manoeuvres.
Captain Arto Ukskoski. Photo: Minna Pyykönen / Finnish Air Force
The F/A-18 Hornet solo display demonstrates, in a versatile way, fighter pilots’ skills and the capabilities of the multi-role fighter. In the display events the Air Force also provides information on its operation, tasks and career opportunities across the country. In 2019 Captain Arto Ukskoski from Lapland Air Command flies the Hornet solo. Captain Jukka Asmundela from Karelia Air Command acts as a deputy display pilot.
The Hornet solo can be viewed, for example, in the Base Open Days events at the Air Force’s units and Utti Jaeger Regiment as well as in other public events and air shows in the homeland and abroad.
Captain Ukskoski shares his thoughts on the position as a display pilot and the manoeuvres of this season’s Hornet solo:
How did you become a fighter pilot?
I come from Tikkakoski. We lived by the airfield, and I’ve been watching planes since my childhood and by the time when I was in high school I had decided to apply for the Air Force. In 2002 I took the Conscript Pilot Elementary Training Course and continued on the Air Force cadet course the following year.
How are Air Force display pilots selected?
Display pilots are usually skilled fighter weapons instructors who have already served for a longer time as officer pilots in fighter squadrons. Normally a squadron commander makes the decision on a new display pilot.
Last year you were a deputy display pilot. What about preparing for this season? Is it different compared to last year?
Routine building is the responsibility of a display pilot; it means that this year I have had the opportunity to plan my own routine.
Last year I trained display flying and flew the routine built by the main display pilot. I managed to fly only a few actual displays, so now I’m really excited to perform in a number of air shows.
In preparing for this year there’s no significant difference otherwise because a deputy can fly the same exact routines as a main display pilot.
What is the Hornet like as a display aircraft?
The Hornet differs quite a lot from a "normal" aircraft because, world-wide, there are not many aircraft that are capable of performing similar manoeuvres. The Hornet can manoeuvre at a really high angle of attack and, in my opinion, these manoeuvres are very impressive.
What other things besides flying are part of a display pilot’s role?
Apart from flying, my role includes attending various media events during the season. For example, I give interviews to the homeland and foreign media and I’m visible on the social media channels of the Finnish Air Force.
In addition, a display pilot usually serves as a fighter weapons instructor in his squadron and performs a squadron pilot’s routine tasks when not engaged in display flying.
Tell us a bit about the Hornet solo planned for this year.
The routine will include two new manoeuvres that have not been performed earlier with the Hornet. So, an interesting display is coming up. It contains many high angle of attack manoeuvres that will offer a splendid viewing experience for spectators. I’m hoping for a good weather so that all the vertical manoeuvres can be flown in the displays.
What is your favourite trick?
Of the new manoeuvres, a pirouette is cool to fly.
Which display events of this season do you most look forward to and why?
It’s nice to have the opportunity to fly a display routine for a big audience, and of the air shows in Finland, Turku Airshow is the one I really wait for. Of foreign air shows, I most look forward to the RIAT Airshow in the United Kingdom because it is one of the world’s largest aviation events, and it’s great to go and perform there with the top-notch pilots from other countries.
Finnish Air Force Air Show Displays in 2019
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