Photo Illustration/Randy Martin

Throughout its history as an independent service, The Air Force has required its aircraft to be piloted by commissioned officers — until now.

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Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Johnson

At least one person was killed after a U.S. Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet crashed in a residential area near Nashville, Tennessee, although it’s yet to be confirmed whether that person was the pilot. According to local officials, the incident occurred around 3 p.m. EST on June 2. The victim’s identity has not been released.

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Photo by Senior Airman Brett Clashman

I’m a professional pilot by trade. I get to jetset all around the world to cool and exotic places, eat new and interesting foods, meet a myriad of different people and generally live the life of James Bond minus the car chases and the explosions --- although those do happen more often than you‘d think. But through all its wonder and amazement, the life of a pilot can be rather difficult. Don’t get me wrong, if I had to do it all over again I absolutely would stand by my decision, but there a few things I wish I had known before embarking on this journey.

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