The AC-130 is extremely good at its role, but its role isn’t the same as that of the A-10. The AC-130 isn’t designed to operate in an environment where there are substantial air defenses, while the A-10 is. See for example the wiki section on durability of the A-10:
In comparison the AC-130 is quite fragile and vulnerable to ground fire.
OK, not sexy, but badass. I lack the ego of a fighter pilot, but if I had to back up some bravado I think I’d be firmly in the A10 camp. Sure, it’s hard to score a hit on a Raptor before The Grim Reaper already has your address, but nothing delivers an in-your-face smackdown with quite the same style as the Warthog. Go ahead, shoot it. Shoot it with a tank. With five tanks. Bust it damn near in half. Doesn’t matter, bro–it’s coming for you, and it’s going home for suds when it’s done.
It takes all kinds. A friend who is an Apache pilot was describing the different peronalities that end up being different kids of pilots. It goes back to who they were in high school, he said.
Apache pilots are the jock/bully type.
Chinook pilots were the dorky introverts.
I don’t remember who the Blackhawk pilots were. It made a lot of sense though, and also makes sense that there are pilots who would explicitly want to fly A-10s. They would have been my first choice, for example.
I’ve always wondered why the US doesn’t sell the A10 fleet to Israel. Israel isn’t a huge country in terms of flying distance and the heavy ordnance load of the A10 seems like it would be an ideal fit for the conflicts the aircraft might encounter there. The IDF already rocks Achzarit and Namer APCs, which are tanks converted to troop carriers. Why not a tank converted to an aircraft too?