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In my medieval-fantasy world, there’s a secret civilization with modern technology.

A “powerful” dragon accidentally came across them and they became good allies. The dragon was introduced to the concept of aircraft and it wasn’t long until she decided to ride one. The dragon shrunk into a more humanoid form, with the appropriate limbs and digits.

The dragon loved to fly in a fighter plane, so much so that she refuses to fly under her own power as much as before.

Why would this be so?

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    $\begingroup$ I can't imagine she would... that's like saying that, having discovered cars, you decided to never walk again. There may be a certain aspect of laziness, and wanting to fly a jet as often as possible is certainly plausible, but I suspect she'd also sometimes want the tactile experience of unassisted flight, and I doubt she would refuse to fly under her own power ever again. (Unless we're talking about contextual refusal only, i.e. won't fly for military purposes under her own power.) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Feb 21 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ Calvin and Hobbes: Dinosaurs flying F-14's.....knowyourmeme.com/memes/t-rex-jet $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Feb 21 at 21:31
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    $\begingroup$ +1 For a mental image that made me laugh out loud $\endgroup$ – Gilad M Feb 24 at 15:06
  • $\begingroup$ There's an anime on netflix right now that's all about Dragons that pretend to be F15s and such. netflix.com/title/80241960 $\endgroup$ – Morris The Cat Feb 24 at 15:47
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I can think of four* reasons why the dragon would want to pilot a fighter plane rather than fly in its dragon form, with the three reasons leading to the most important fourth one.


Novelty

One reason would be similar to why people watch movies or play games; to do something novel that they normally cannot do. Rather than flying with their own body, they can control the plane to do maneuvers, like a sort of game.


Aerodynamics, Speed, Stamina

Apart from that, a dragon’s normal flying form is probably the last thing anyone would think of when considering aerodynamics. A dragon, assuming without the use of any magics, would probably fly no faster than a bird when in the air. To fly quickly at a reasonable speed would also quickly consume the dragon’s stamina or magic as well.

Compare that to a fighter plane, which can easily hit subsonic or supersonic speeds, and consumes no stamina to run, only the measliest of fossil fuels. It would also be much more agile and potentially deadly, being able to fire missiles rather than using up the dragon’s magic powers.

Not to mention, in the event of emergencies, the dragon still has its dragon form as backup, with a full tank of stamina and magic.


Organic vs Mass-Produced

Finally, considering the existence of fighter planes in such an age, a dragon in dragon form would be nothing more than a sitting duck. Due to its slow speed, it would practically be a stationary target for fighter planes. Even if it has magic, if it is swarmed by fifty or five hundred fighter planes it would probably eventually run out of magic and be forced into a sorry state.

Even though the secret civilization is the only one possessing such a technology, who knows if that will be so in the future? By forming an alliance, the dragon gets to try out the new technology and find its weaknesses, giving itself an advantage should other civilization adopt similar technologies.

This problem mainly exists because the dragon is a single, organic entity, meaning it has a limited amount of magic and stamina. The fighter plane is the culmination of the efforts of countless human beings, and can be mass produced. As a single organic entity, the dragon cannot withstand the might of an entire civilization, and thus, needs to make use of their efforts to improve its own efficiency.


King of the Skies

Inspired by the discussion in the comments

The most important reason, since the dragon itself has probably considered the prior three. Assuming the dragon is extremely powerful, and capable of magic (due to shape-shifting), giving it a fighter plane would be the equivalent of making it the King of the Skies. In dragon form, there are weaknesses that allow enough enemies to swarm it and tire it out, but what if that same dragon was in a fighter plane?

Assuming a dragon, to fly, would need to use magic to reduce drag, function as an air-brake, and alter its ability to withstand high-G turns and maneuvers, can't these things be applied to the fighter plane too? You would then have a fighter plane that is much quicker than its peers, capable of doing inhuman maneuvers mid-air, and piloted by a dragon with faster/better/stronger reflexes and an insane amount of aerial combat experience. Even if they sent hundreds of fighter planes to go after such an opponent, would anyone be capable of shooting down or even catching up to such a fighter plane?

Using the human technology would allow the dragon to remain the king of the skies, no matter how much human technologies progress.


Summary

In conclusion, the fighter plane is probably novel to the dragon, and also allows it to fly faster, save energy, and be competitive in a tough job market. By making use of the highly advanced fighter plane, with its experience and magic, the dragon would remain the dominator of the skies.

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    $\begingroup$ This is a case of dragon sharting fire out of its rear vs a dragon shooting it out of its mouth. $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Feb 21 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Inthenameofthestory the problem is air resistance, even if the dragon is sharting fire out of it’s rear, the faster it goes, the more air resistance there is (increasing exponentially). This means the faster it goes, the amount of energy it consumes goes up massively. At a certain point, probably the sonic barrier, the energy needed would completely drain the dragon. Besides, just lighting a fire doesn’t make something move. A fighter jet’s fire is actually used to push out fuel to propel it, a dragon has no such fuel to push, even if it lights a fire behind it. $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Feb 21 at 13:26
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    $\begingroup$ The dragon shooting fire out it's rear will eventually evolve delta wings and resemble an F-16... $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Feb 21 at 21:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides that is totally absurd. I love it XD. The dragon would tuck in its neck, arms, and wings and transform into a fighter jet $\endgroup$ – Enthus3d Feb 21 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ At least the dragon isn't transforming into a truck..... ;-) $\endgroup$ – Thucydides Feb 22 at 3:46
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Convenience and speed.

Unless your dragon has some magical powers helping it along, there is no way she ever could achieve the same speeds as a fighter plane.

Also, who doesn't prefer driving a car over walking? If it can be easier, then why not use the possibility?

Now how she will afford the fuel is another question. We all know how stingy dragons can be about parting with their hoard.

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    $\begingroup$ This. Why walk when you can drive the (heavily armed) sports car? $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Feb 21 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ Imagine a medieval army’s surprise when they see their worst foe within their other worst foe... $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Feb 21 at 12:59
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    $\begingroup$ If the powerful dragon is still able to use their magic on top of flying a fighter jet... Safe to say I wouldn't like to have them against me, now or in medieval times. $\endgroup$ – Plutian Feb 21 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ "Why walk when you can drive" : Because walking is safer $\endgroup$ – ClmentM Feb 21 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, lots of people choose to walk at times. Walking is a different experience from driving. Some people just enjoy the physical exertion, it's less mentally taxing, and much more "tactile" than being in an enclosed vehicle. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Feb 21 at 17:25
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I'd say that the best reason is that she can't fly properly anymore for some reason, and flying an airplane is the closest she can get. Maybe she has something like a torn wing that didn't heal properly, so she can't fly very well naturally anymore. If she were injured helping someone from the secret civilization, this could be why she was given an airplane in the first place.

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