Behind the Wings ®
The Podcast – S3, Episode 30
An American MiG-23 pilot reveals long-held secrets in this in-depth conversation about a declassified program, Constant Peg.
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On today’s show, we’ll meet John Mann who flew in the first-of-its-kind adversary training program, Constant Peg, and take a deep dive into some of the most popular questions we got from you, our listeners. Established in 1977, this top-secret program aimed to train American pilots against the very same MiGs they may one day see in combat. Mann was an instructor who flew the MiG-21 and 23, and co-host John Barry flew in the program as a trainee. This one is going to be cool!
Check out Part 1 here!
Episode 30 marks the end of Season 3 of the Behind the Wings Podcast. We’ll be taking a short break and will be back in the new year for Season 4.
- John Mann served 24 years in the US Air Force where he had the opportunity to fly many aircraft, including the F-4, F-15, MiG-21, and MiG-23.
- Mann first flew as a trainee at Constant Peg and later flew the MiGs as a trainer.
- The MiG-23 was a very fast, beefy airplane, but it didn’t turn well.
- Pilots would attend to overcome “Buck Fever”, learn how the MiGs flew, and practice dogfighting.
- The maintainers at Constant Peg were the backbone of the program, facing specific challenges sourcing parts, with no maintenance book, and often receiving aircraft that were in a compromised condition.
- John Mann’s advice: There are lots of opportunities in aviation. Go pursue your dreams!
- Red Eagles: America’s Secret MiGs by Steve Davies
- CONSTANT PEG: Secret MiGs in the Desert > National Museum of the United States Air Force™ > Display (af.mil)
- Red Eagle Brief
- Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 MLD “Flogger” | Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum (wingsmuseum.org)
- Dark Eagles : a history of top secret U.S. aircraft programs
- AF Declassifies Elite Aggressor Program (archive.org)
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