David and Sajjad met one another on an expert panel of a discussion on ‘air power’ in light of the ongoing global financial crisis during the Singapore Air Show in 2012. They exchanged contact details and remained in touch over the next couple of years until they met again during the 2014 Asian Aerospace exhibition in Hong Kong, both as representatives of their respective aerospace companies. By then the veteran pilots had felt the winds of change as more countries adopted the Argentinean model. Both agreed that despite the cutbacks, the global situation presented a golden opportunity for the more “enterprising” pilots. Hammering out the details of their idea over lunch, the pair agreed to recruit two new members each for their proposed endeavor. Calvin was recruited by David through a mutual contact in the Royal Canadian Air Force, the young pilot eager to take the opportunity in light of an uncertain future. Hojo caught Sajjad’s attention through an internet forum for military aviation enthusiasts and veteran aviators, where his experience and expressed desire to pursue his dream made him a prime candidate. By the early part of 2015, the core of Griffin Flight had been formed.
Sajjad "Beady" Azzam - Air to Air- Flight LeadEdit
Following in the footsteps of his father, a distinguished PAF fighter pilot, Sajjad joined the PAF at the age of 23 and has 14 years of flight experience, having spent time flying the F-7P, and then the F-16A/B in No. 11 Squadron, the aggressor squadron known as the “Arrows”. Like many in his unit Sajjad was a graduate of the Pakistani Air Force’s Combat Commander School. In his last two years he was transferred from the Central Air Command base in Sargodha to Base Shahbaz in Jacobabad to fly the newly-acquired F-16C/D aircraft when the United States finally allowed the transfer of a number of those aircraft to the Pakistani Air Force. A father of two, Sajjad retired from the PAF to join the private sector so that he could afford to send his son to Cambridge and his daughter to Johns Hopkins. After his retirement Sajjad took on civilian aviation for a year before taking on consultancy work for several aerospace projects, notably working with the Chinese on the development of advanced air-to-air missiles. Then came the spate of military restructuring and the subsequent rise of private contracting. This offered Sajjad an opportunity to earn more than enough to support his children’s education while using the knowledge and skills he gained over nearly a decade and a half of service and training. Needless to say, he took it. Professional to the core, Sajjad is strongly motivated to accomplish whatever mission he is given to the best of his abilities and then some. In spite of his fighter pilot background, Sajjad is well aware of his mortality and that he is no good to his family dead. As such he is strongly motivated to return to his family in one piece. That said he has tucked away a tidy nest egg for his wife and two children in case anything should happen to him.
Dietrich Fleischer was born in the East German town of Laage, and grew up watching the flights of the nearby Jagdgeschwader 73 flying over the town on occasion. At the age of 20 he signed up with the German Luftwaffe, during the height of the tensions over Afghanistan. During training he gained a great deal of notoriety for ending his very first solo flight with a gear-up landing, managing to land with the plane mostly intact. Later investigation cleared him of any fault, but inexplicable avionics failures continued to dog his career. Though he applied for entry into the aggressor Jagdgeschwader 73 squadron based in his hometown, he eventually he was assigned to Jagdgeschwader 71, flying the older F4F Phantom, in 2003. An even worse crash landing into a rural pig-sty during an otherwise routine flight proved the straw that broke the camel's back and signaled the end of his military career in 2006. Fleischer went on into what would have been an otherwise unremarkable career in commercial aviation, first with Luftthansa, then later British Airways and Singapore Airlines - save for the growing influence of private air defence contractors, in which Fleischer saw a chance to go into some more meaningful employment. In spite of the ups and downs over his career, Fleischer has kept a fairly sunny and optimistic disposition and maintains there is no better thrill than trying to rein in a "crippled bird". He has developed a knack for stable flying in adverse conditions and his experiences have taught him how to handle avionics failures in mid-flight without panic, as well as emergency landings
Born in San Francisco to fairly typical Chinese parents, he was exposed to a wide range of activities while being pushed to succeed academically. He went to UC Berkeley for his bachelors degree in engineering and, while there, he joined the NROTC program. As a child he was always fond of the fishing trips he'd take with his grandfather and it with the time spent in the Boy Scouts combined to get him to try out the program. The experiences stuck with him and, graduating after 5 years, he entered into the Navy and flew EA6s for a time. At least until he was reassigned to EA-18s, which he flew for the last 3 years of his career in the US Navy. During a joint exercise in 2009 involving Commonwealth forces, he was introduced to and joined an exchange program which had him working more closely with nations allied to the US or on friendly terms with the Commonwealth. This allowed him the opportunity to make quite a number of foreign contacts both in the military and arms industry. One of those contacts, Colonel Edward Pullam, from the Canadian Airforce got in touch with Calvin one day. It wasn't unusual to hear from Pullam, but the timing might have been. Calvin had recently been offered the opportunity to finish up his career on a half term with a job as a civilian liaison. This cast certain doubts on Calvin's future, and what he heard had potential. There was a pilot named David Peled whom he wanted Calvin to meet...
Born in the small oasis town of Al Kharj to a Military Doctor and a Translator for Saudi intelligence, Faisal would watch with wonder at the local patrols and training flights of the RSAF and USAF forces based in the nearby Prince Sultan Air Base where his parents worked. This childhood fascination was not with flight per se but rather the aggressive combat manoeuvres that went with air combat. Watching movies like "Top Gun" as a child certainly didn't help matters. At the age of 18, a huge argument erupted with his parents over his decision to not go to college and attend the flight academy instead. Ironically, both his military parents were unsatisfied with their career choices and wanted a more "respectable" job for their eldest son. Eventually, they reached a compromise; He would only enlist in the air force after completing a college degree. 3 years passed and Faisal limped through King Saudi University in Riyadh and managed to cram enough studying to get a Bachelor of Business degree. He immediately enlisted on his graduation day. Al Qadi did well in the academy and graduated with good grades though not particularly outstanding and was assigned as a F-15S pilot in the RSAF's 3rd wing in Dhahran. He had logged less than 24 hours of flight time when a seemingly insignificant altercation with a fellow pilot turned things for the worse; the other pilot was a Saudi royal and a higher ranking officer. For this, Faisal was resent to train as a C130 Hercules pilot and would fly the aircraft for 3 years. This sequence of events would sour Faisal's opinion of the RSAF and lead him to quit after only 4 years in the air force. His parents were initially ecstatic as this meant an end to his military ambitions. His experience in a C-130 meant he could easily transition into a civilian airline pilot and indeed their son seemed resigned to this fate. It was with a stroke of luck that the massive escalation of PMC activity just across the Red Sea gave him another chance at being a fighter pilot. A chance his parents were incredibly displeased he took. As his flight took off from King Khalid Airport, he hoped it wasn't the last time he would see his parents. It would be a damn shame to have parted ways with them like that.
Victoria "Secret" Grafton - Electronic WarfareEdit
The youngest daughter of a retired naval aviator Victoria grew up listening to her father's (Jake Grafton) stories of flying the A-6B Intruder in the skies over Vietnam. She grew up idolizing her father and knew what things like home-on-jam meant before she hit puberty. By the time she graduated high school she had a private pilots license with jet certification, multi engine certification, and all weather instrument certification. Victoria graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 2010, #3 in her class and was selected for pilot training. In 2011 she deployed to Iraq flying the EA-6B Prowler. Despite the lack of enemy AAA and SAMs to target, the Prowler provided valuable service supporting ground forces by jamming cell phones used to detonate IEDs. Thanks to her father's connections Victoria managed to stay in the Navy after the 2012 economic crash. When the Navy retired the Prowler early to save money on rising maintenance costs, Victoria was fortunate enough to transition to the new EA-18G Growler. However, Victoria's luck didn't last forever and she was honorably discharged in February of 2015 in a new round of budget cuts. She began searching for work as a freelance pilot.
Feodor Andropovich "Chump" Pravdin - Air to AirEdit
Born and bred in Murmansk, at the far north of the then Soviet Union, Feodor grew up to be a smart boy of medium stature. After the dissolution of the Union, his father, officer in the Red Fleet, chose an honorable discharge and raised his son to believe in the great history and glory of their motherland. Once Feodor's compulsory military service came up, his father pulled some strings to ensure that his son would serve in the Navy. Soon it was found that his particular skill set could be used better in Naval Aviation. It became apparent that he had found his calling, choosing to stay in the navy, working his way up the ranks. His squadron was the 279th Shipborne Fighter Aviation Regiment (Severomorsk-3), the only one of it's kind in Russia. Starting his training on the carrier adapted Frogfoot, then using the SU-33 for the most of his career it came as a shock that the navy started replacing them with Mig-29K's, because they were cheaper and more readily available because of India's large order of them. The crash of 2012 ended Russia's experiments with carriers for now, and Senior Lieutenant Pravdin was given an honorable discharge. Not ready to stop flying, he has wandered off into Yemen, where the rumours say work is to be found.
David Peled is the eldest son of Ethiopian Jews who had immigrated illegally to Israel in the sixties on student visas, well before the recognition of their Jewishness or the later waves of Ethiopian movement to Israel. He was born on the opening day of the 1973 Yom Kippur war and grew up in Haifa, where he excelled in school- frequently as a coping mechanism in response to racist attitudes toward Beta Israel- and was rewarded in 1991 with his selection as a pilot candidate in the IAF. He distinguished himself with his desire to succeed, his tough attitude in the face of adversity, and his remarkable skill at ACM.
He served in the Air Force for 11 years, flying the Kfir C-2 and F-16C/D. With the 109th Squadron at Ramat David he took part in the retaliatory air strikes in response to the Al-Aqsa Intifada and may have been involved in the targeted killings of militant leaders. Leaving the Israeli Air Force in 2002, Peled moved to the United States for a short stint with ATAC flying the Kfir C-7 in an aggressor role, then in 2004 he move to Canada where he settled in Toronto to work as an aerospace consultant. As the economic crisis deepened Peled found that fighter pilots were in high demand and, perhaps as a result of turmoil in his personal life, sought employment in the private military sector. Peled continues to maintain his residence in Toronto and is in the process of attaining his Canadian citizenship. He speaks several languages fluently, runs daily and plays in a local soccer league. He married a Canadian, Rachel Park, in 2002. The couple remained childless and were divorced in 2009, though they remain on good terms. Peled’s two younger brothers remain in Israel, while his sister has lived in the United States since 1998.
After a few flights in Yemen, Peled found that mercenary work did not appeal to him. Wishing luck to the rest of Griffin, he embarked on a transport home.