Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag


John Stratton is a young American fighter pilot who flies the F-15 Eagle, arguably the most potent and successful fighter plane ever built.  His grandfather was a decorated World War II flying ace, and he intended to follow in his footsteps.

At Red Flag, the international training exercise for air forces of allied countries, many of the world’s best pilots meet for the most challenging flying of their careers.  Red Flag is the final training for pilots and their aircrews before being sent into actual combat.  We follow our young pilot as he makes his way through this extraordinary event held in the desert of Nevada.  He is amazed at how complex, challenging and dangerous the exercises are.

He begins to notice team members who were not a part of his childhood vision of heroism, the support team crucial to a successful mission, and to a safe return home.  In the aerial combat exercises, there are other pilots who aren’t out just to prove themselves, they are helping him — watching his back.  And he is doing the same for them.  He begins to realize that being a hero is not quite as simple as he once might have thought.

Film Information

Director(s): Stephen Low

Producer(s): Michael Williams, Pietro L. Serapiglia, Stephen Low

Narrator(s): Michael Hanrahan

Release: 2004

Runtime(s): 48, 24

Official Website

Awards & Accolades

  • $30 million worldwide box office
  • 2nd most successful film ever at the Smithsonian
  • Winner, Best of Festival, LFCA 2005 (Large Format Cinema Association)
  • Best Aviation Photography Award—Fighter Pilot; Fly Film Festival, Poland, 2011
  • Golden Palm Award—Fighter Pilot; Mexico International Film Festival, 2010
  • Best in Show—Fighter Pilot; Skyfest, Asheville, North Carolina, 2010
  • Golden Reel Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Motion Picture and Television Industries—Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag; Motion Picture Sound Editors, 2006

Other Credits

Executive Producers: Jan Baird, K2 Communications
Director of Photography: William Reeve, C.S.C.

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