A Q&A With Major Erick "HOM" O'Connor

11/01/2021

Hello all, I had the chance recently to talk to Canadian Air Force CF-18 Pilot HOM. Here is the Q&A, hope you enjoy!

1) What made you want to join the Air Force?

Answer: From a very young age, I was attracted to military life with my grand father having served in WW2. I joined the Naval Cadets followed by Air Cadet at 13. The Air Cadets made me fall in love with aviation. It felt like a natural progression to become a military pilot.

2) What is your favourite moment/experience you've had flying?

Answer: That is a tough one as I have been exposed to amazing flight experiences such as flying for the United Nations in Haiti, NATO and bring the first RCAF Helicopter to cross into Kosovo to flying the F-18. But flying my F1 Rocket allowed me to see both my daughters fly their first flight with me. Seeing their smiles and giggles made this a truly special experience.

3) What is your worst moment/experience you've had flying?

Answer: That's the 1st time I've had that question and it made me think. I would have to say crossing the Canadian Rockies and pushing the weather too much with the intent of getting home. As pilots, we often get caught with the "Get Home-itis" and even with a great level of experience, I made the mistake of pushing beyond my weather limits. This was a few years back and it reinforced my strong belief in setting your limits in advance and sticking to it. Have back-up plans and build buffer in your flight planning.

4) What is your favourite plane and why?

Answer: All planes bring you a different flying experience. Flying the F-18 in a BFM fight is exciting and gets your heartbeat racing. Flying a Carbon Cub brings you a totally different flight experience. To fly at 50mph and feel every little burble on your flight surfaces, land and come to a complete stop in less that 250' is absolutely awesome.

The F1 Rocket gives me a full experience. I get to maintain and modify the plane. I get to make it better by improving it's panel and interior. I get to fly friends and family and experience the joy of flight through their eyes and smiles. I get to hang out with the incredibly passionate General Aviation crowd. Ultimately, I get to travel where I want and when I want to see all my closest friends. This could not of been more apparent in 2020.

5) What plane would you like ton fly if you never flew the CF-18?

Answer: Unfortunately that's not a simple answer. It's like going to the buffet line and asking one to pick only one food

I would love to fly an airliner to travel the world, a Carbon Cub to fly backcountry, fly a C-17 for the sheer performance and ability to go off the beaten path.

But if I only had one choice, it would have to be the V-22 Osprey for it's unique capabilities and configuration.

I would like to personally thank HOM for agreeing to answer these questions. I hope you all enjoyed reading!

Cheers!