Two members of flight 1 are also able to take Lightnings, instead of Thunderbolts, when needed.
Aeronautica has different scenarios and missions have different point values. Ideally, a flight consists of four fighters, either four Thunderbolts, or two Thunderbolts and two Lightnings, but depending on the mission, there may be only two fighters escorting a bomber or a transport.
Why I Started This Army
When Aeronautica was first released, I had just finished reading Double Eagle, by Dan Abnett. In that book, a special Imperial Navy elite club, the Apostles, is described. They always number eight pilots - when one dies, they recruit their choice of replacement from the best active pilot in another regiment anywhere else in the system. They are described as having their planes painted white, to stand out from any other planes in the theater and draw more enemy attention. It just sounded too cool not to do when I had to pick an Aeronautica faction.