" I didn't get his name, but I spent about 20 minutes talking with the young pilot seated on the well-armed jet in this picture. He got a B.S. in aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Florida), getting his civilian ratings up to CFII in the process (all single props). Then he applied to the Mass. Air National Guard to be an F-15 pilot.
They sent him for 2 years of USAF training (T-37, T-38, F-15), and he has been flying the F-15 in Cape Cod for one year now. The lucky stiff!
He said one thing that made me feel a little good. He spent a lot of time with F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations before he went to USAF/MANG. He said that before his real F-15 training, he had never survived more than 5 minutes at full realism in the sim. After he started real F-15 training, it finally all made sense, and he started to do great in F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations too.
He says it is amazingly realistic, though he could not comment on certain things about the radar, missiles, NCTR, corner speeds, and others. Personally I have survived for at least SEVEN minutes in JF-15 at full realism (can you say "over-G, over-G!"). But I died many times on the way (taking some of Saddam's assets with me of course).
I found F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations and Fleet Command in a software store for $5 each, so I bought "road" copies, thinking I might revisit F-15 (as I have FC).
But it's a steep re-learning curve, and the 640x480 screen doesn't scale too well on a 1024 x 768 notebook.