Hand-picked, pressure-tested, and full of astronaut gung ho, the young pilots of Eye of the Viper are poised for the toughest assignment of their careers: the exhaustive six-month training course at Arizona's Luke Air Force Base, at a cost of $2 million each. Luke, the world's largest fighter wing, is the only F-16 fighter training base in the United States, and each year it produces one thousand pilots who will fly the F-16 in places like Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
But being among the elite pilots who are selected for the course is by no means a guarantee that they will earn the right to fly the F-16, perhaps the most agile jet fighter ever sent into combat. Only a few select individuals will have what it takes.
Award-winning journalist Peter Aleshire, having been given unprecedented access to the pilots and teachers at Luke, provides a full blast of the rigors and intensity of the course-the personalities, the incredible machines, the irreverence, the bravado, and the toughness, not only of the hand-picked students seeking a place in the warrior subculture, but of the veteran pilots who must teach them how to stay alive.