Air International 2016-08
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D.van Doorn - Sundowners /Military/
Sundowner 104 and 115 head out to the range.
Pilots assigned to VFC-111 fly an average of 200 hours per year
The high demand for adversary training combined with a low operating cost base means VFC-111 is likely to continue operating the F-5N until 2020.
An F-5N returns to the VFC-111 ramp after a mission against F/A-18 Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron 122 (VFA-122) 'Eagles’ based at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California.
VFC-111 's Sun Downers nickname originates from Fighter Squadron 11 (VF-11) and refers to the unit's mission to shoot down Japanese fighters or suns during World War Two.
With over 250 days of sunshine each year, Naval Air Station Key West offers favourable flying conditions almost year round.
P5 air combat manoeuvring pods are mounted on a wingtip rail to capture positional and flight data during all aerial duels flown in the Key West range.
VFC-111 's aircraft are painted in different colour schemes; just one aspect of the squadron’s adversary mission. Each col­our scheme is designed to replicate different types of potential enemy fighter aircraft.
F-5N BuNo 761562 seen at Key West without VFC-111 markings. The aircraft had recently returned from its annual phase inspection undertaken by Northrop Grumman at its St Augustine facility in Florida. Maintenance at Key West is performed by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.