One of Waterloo’s sons is flying high with the U.S. Air Force, as Aron Aycock recently became an F-15 pilot.
“I always thought it would be really cool to do,” Aycock said of becoming a pilot.
The 26-year-old Waterloo High School graduate has known he was going to be a pilot for several years because he found out around his senior year in college at the University of Missouri.
While in school, Aycock joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.
After getting his commission, Aycock spent two years in what is known as undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.
There, he learned the basics of flying by practicing with such airplanes as the T-6 and old T-38 Talon. Those are both planes the military uses for training.
During undergraduate pilot training, Aycock was selected for the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program. That was the world’s first multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for NATO.
When he graduated from that training, getting his wings in the process, Aycock found out he was going to be an F-15 pilot.
He then took an eight-week course on fighter fundamentals, practicing dog fighting and similar skills.
He needed to complete that because the F-15 is an air superiority jet responsible for enemy aircraft. It is 104-0 in combat.
With that class completed, Aycock traveled to Klamath Falls, Ore., to get the basic training done for that jet.
He completed that on July 19, ending nearly three years of training.
“It feels good,” Aycock said of finishing training. “It’s going on three years now, so it feels good to pretty much be mission qualified.”
With that being said, Aycock said he enjoyed much of his training.
“It was a blast,” the recently engaged man said. “It was pretty stressful at times. There were some of the flights that were pretty high-pressure flights, so they were stressful. But there were times when it was just the coolest thing you’ve ever done. We did all sorts of awesome stuff.”
He may get a chance to do more fun things at his first mission in Okinawa, Japan. His orders are to fly a F-15 in the 67th Fighting Cocks squadron, which operates out of Kadena Air Force Base.
While there, Aycock will do more training and fly training missions and training exercises with his squadron.
Now that he is a pilot, Aycock does not have any plans for the next step of his career, but he knows what he wants to do now.
“I’m just trying to be a good wingman right now,” he said. “Just flying is all I’m worried about right now. I don’t really have any huge goals for the future other than, hopefully, staying in the cockpit.”