Tag Archives: USAF

USAF Women – At Work Piloting the World’s Newest Fighter

By far the most advanced fighter ever created, the extraordinarily fast and maneuverable Lockheed “Lighting II,” F-35, is an extremely costly* stealth weapons platform , the likes of which has never before graced the skies.  Not even the one other 5th Generation stealth fighter, the two-engined F-22 “Raptor,” is its match.

Just think.  It doesn’t seem all that long ago when women were banned from even being a pilot of USAF transport aircraft.  When your webmaster was a jet pilot in the USAF, his wife wanted to be one, too, since she was already a commercial pilot . . . but, alas, that “glass ceiling” was thick as could be.  A solid barrier to any chance.  And that’s why he decided to leave the job he loved so much.  It made her too green with envy.  That was not healthy for the young couple’s marriage.  Had they been born just 22 year later, it would have been an entirely new experience, because the Air Force would have welcomed her with open arms.  As you most likely know, that’s when women were first accepted into pilot training.  The date was September 2, 1977, at the same field from which your webmaster also graduated, 22 years earlier: Williams Air Force Base, Arizona, or as it was more affectionately known, “Willie Air Patch. [See Photo @ end of post].

There are three variants of the F-35, all of which are are made by Lockheed Martin.  The Air Force’s conventional take off version, the F-35A model; the Marine’s vertical take off and landing machine, the F-35B; and, initially the most costly of the three, the Navy’s F-35C.  Now the USMC  version is the most expensive model.  You will often hear the dazzling new stealth fighter called a “Joint Strike Fighter,” which means that it will also be sold to the allies of the United States.

The F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. The F-35A will replace the A-10 and F-16 for the U.S. Air Force; the F/A-18 for the U.S. Navy; the F/A-18 and AV-8B Harrier for the U.S. Marine Corps, and a variety of fighters for at least ten other friendly countries.

* Costs to the three services (estimated cost for each in 2022:

  1. F-35A:  $ 77.9 million;
  2. F-35B: $101.3  ”  ;
  3. F-35C $  94.4

So much has changed since then.  At first the female aviators were restricted to only non-combat flying, but in time that changed, when some of them were allowed into the “men only” domain of the heretofore macho fighter pilot.  The Navy allowed women to become pilots even before the Air Force.  The first female Navy aviator graduated in 1975.

Without further ado, let’s look at today skies and come away impressed with not just the extraordinarily versatile new F-35, but at some of the highly skilled women who fly them. First, below, we see USAF Captain Melanie Ziebart.

Major Madison Burgess, below.

Below, Captain Anneliese Satz.

Below, Capt. Kristin “BEO” Wolfe, F-35A Lightning II Demonstration Team pilot, and commander of the Team, on a practice flight at Hill AFB, Utah. earlier this year.  Unfortunately, this video is narrated by a computer “voice,” so please be tolerant about the misplaced emphasis’s and mispronunciations.

Below, the first Female Marine F-35B Fighter Pilot.  Local Boise Idaho TV station interviews in her in her home town.  USMC Captain Anneliese Satz.

These are now but a few of the latest females fortunate enough to by flying the word’s most versatile new jet Fighter.  A number of other women are flying them, and flew the Lightning II before the above aviators did.

Here, below, taken at Williams Air Force Base (WAFB) on September 2, 1977, are the Air Force’s very first ten graduating new pilots.

 

The first 10 female officers to graduate from the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program, Class 77-08, September 2, 1977. (U.S. Air Force) – Just imagine, these young women proudly stand in front of their training ship, the Northrup T-28 “Talon”, but this was taken 43 years ago, meaning that they are no longer “young.” Most are, in fact, if still alive, now in their mid sixties!  Even their predecessors, the WWII WASP pilots did not fly in combat nor were they officially part of the Army Air Force, either.  If any of our viewers, or members, know the names of any of these earliest Air Force female pilots, please let us know by making your comments right on this page, right below, where it says, “LEAVE A REPLY.”  Wouldn’t it be interesting to know what happened to them and if they made the USAF a career?  Thanks!

 

FASF-Daedalians Bid Farewell to Flight Captain, Roger Nichols

The speaker scheduled for this last Spring meeting fell ill and couldn’t make the luncheon, so the El Paso General “Nick” Nichols’ Flight 24 simply turned its focus back on its own members, and towards making sure its most recent past Flight Captain, Roger Nichols (General Nichols’ son), had a proper send-off.

Roger will soon leave to be near his children and grandchildren in Oklahoma.  Because the Flight had some extra time, because of the absence of the scheduled speaker, it turned its attention towards gaining a more detailed insight into each of the member’s individual careers, both in the service, and in their later civilian lives. Here, below, are the photos of today’s event – and of each member sharing some of their unique personal history.

Today’s luncheon was also one to which the member’s wives and/or guests were invited.  Because Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos, was out of state, Vice Captain, Ric Lambart presided.  He shared a group of photos which were taken over the weekend during the regular annual “Dining Out” celebration held at New Mexico State University (NMSU) by the local Air Force ROTC Detachment 505.  Many years ago, flight Provost Marshall, Alan Fisher, had actually commanded that same AFROTC unit.

Both Mario and Ric had been invited to attend AFROTC event.  Colonel Campos, once an AFROTC cadet himself, was the featured speaker.  He shared what the cadets might expect during their own upcoming USAF assignments based on his own experiences.

(All of the below photos may be seen full-size and in High Resolution, by clicking on them)

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet and Julie Pitt.

L to R: Col. Norm Rice and Roger Nichols.

L to R: Mary Barnes arrives with Flight Chaplain, Roger Springstead.

L to R: Bob Pitt, Virg Hemphill, Pete Brandon, Mary Barnes and Roger Springstead. Col. Norm Rice‘s  is seated in the foreground.

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Mary Barnes, and Julie Pitt

L to R: Mayre Sue Overstreet, Melissa Fisher and Mary Barnes, speaking with Julie Pitt (back of head to camera)

L to R: Flight Adjutant, Colonel Bob Pitt, engrossed in conversation with past Flilght Captain, Roger Nichols

L to R: Alan Fisher speaking with Virg Hemphill. Ulla Rice is in the foreground

L to R: Roger Springstead and Ric Lambart give a thumbs up to photographer, Jerry Dixon

L to R: Virg Hemphill, Mary Barnes, Pete Brandon, Alan and Melissa Fisher, Norm and Ulla Rice, with Charlie and Mayre Sue Overstreet just off camera to the right.

L to R: Jerry Dixon describes his USMC pilot experience as Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead look on.

L to R: Virg Hemphill listens as Roger Springstead shares his Naval Aviator career, while his friend, Mary Barnes listens

L to R: Mary Barnes listens as Pete Brandon describes his extensive USAF and Northrup-Grumman careers

L to R: Virg Hemphill talks about his USAF Fighter Pilot and Airline experiences as Roger Springstead and Mary Barnes listen

Alan Fisher shares his own USAF experiences along with his current active engagements as a pilot with the Civil Air Patrol

L to R: Melissa Fisher talks about her own USAF career as both a RN and her later teaching years

L to R: Colonel Norm Rice relates his own Fighter Pilot experiences in the Air Force – and how he and his wife, Ulla, met, when he was stationed in Great Britain

                                        Larry Spradlin tells of his own USAF aviator experiences

L to R: Charlie Overstreet describes some humorous experiences as both an Air Force Pilot and also during his later 2nd career, piloting for the DEA, as his wife Mayre Sue enjoys the memories.  Julie Pitt is at the right.

L to R: Julie Pitt listens and her husband, Colonel Bob Pitt, tells of his experiences over Viet Nam, flying both the F-101 and F-4 fighters, while Roger Nichols take it all in

           Ric Lambart describes some of the photos taken at this past weekend’s AFROTC “Dining-Out” event at NMSU

L to R: Ric Lambart, Roger Nichols, and Bob Pitt pose, after Roger was presented with a special going-away gift from the Flight

 

Jimmy Stewart Wants You to Join the U. S. Army Air Corps!

Winning Your Wings” is the theme of this 1942 U. S. Army recruiting film featuring then Army pilot and Hollywood Movie Star, Lieutenant Jimmy Stewart.  Sit back, relax. and let this 18:42 Long WWII film take you back to another day and age, one which many of us can still vividly remember:

Stewart went on to become a senior officer during the war, in which he flew 20 combat missions.  Because he remained an active USAF reservist during the post war period, he was ultimately able to achieve the rank of Brigadier General before retiring, on May 31, 1968.

By this time, General Stewart had accumulated 12 civilian and military medals, two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes, and numerous Lifetime Achievement awards from different institutes. This talented Air Force and movie veteran passed away in 1997.

Many may not realize it, but Stewart was a pilot before he joined the Air Forces, having accumulated some 400 hours on his own effort as a civilian.

 

Lambart Briefs Daedalians on U.S.’s new Joint Strike Fighter

A F-35 Lightning II test aircraft undergoes a flight check. (Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

All below photos may be seen in higher resolution by simply clicking on them, and the videos all have sound and may be viewed at full screen, also.

The FASF’s Ric Lambart (at left) just briefed the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 on his 2018 visit to Edwards Air Force Base, CA Flight Test Center and about his introduction to the new Joint Strike Fighter, the Generation 5 new weapons system, the most costly ever purchased by the Pentagon. Here is a depiction of its relative costs:

  • The F-35 is not just the most expensive warplane ever, it’s the most expensive weapons program ever. But here is exactly how much a single F-35 costs.
  • A single Air Force F-35A costs a $148 million. One Marine Corps F-35B costs $251 million. A lone Navy F-35C costs a mind-boggling $337 million. Average the three models together, and a “generic” F-35 costs $178 million.
  • And, you might wonder how much it costs per hour of flight time:
  • $41,000 per hour.
  • The U.S. is the first nation to design, manufacture and fly a 5th Generation Jet Fighter.  The new F-35, the second “Gen Five” machine, will be operated by thirteen of our closest Allies. It was designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin, who coincidentally also made its WWII namesake, the P-38 Lightning.  It is produced in three (3) models, or “Variants,” as shown above.  Notwithstanding its official name, the Lightning II, many of its operational pilots have given it another nickname: The “PANTHER.”

L to R: Colonel Alan Fisher and USAF ROTC Cadet, Ammber Valverde of UTEP and NMSU, chat after the F-35 Power Point presentation. Both are FASF members.

The F-35A model, for the Air Force, the B model, for the Marines and the C Variant, for the USN.

 

 

The Marine Corps B Variant can actually take off vertically, just like a helicopter, and can also land vertically.  The below short (1:40) video show how this is done:

Here is another short (1:35) video of this USMC F-35B operating off a small WWII type special aircraft carrier, which has neither a catapult nor a slant deck as do all new generations of USN Aircraft carriers.  Those features simply are no longer needed for this new USMC F-35 Variant:

Unlike all previous fighters, the F-35 “Lightning II” (named after the high-speed prop-driven Lockheed P-38 Lightning of WWII fame) is unique, not only because of its advanced stealth features, but because it is a flying combat information center, with advanced electronics capabilities never before seen in a new fighter.

It can also fly at supersonic speed for over 170 miles without even engaging its afterburner, which is called flying at “Super Cruise.”  The F-35 was designed to work together with the only other 5th Generation fighter, the F-22 “Raptor.” The two ships will work as a team in various combat scenarios, should their help ever be needed.

While the F-22 Raptor is more maneuverable, the F-35 is designed to engage and take out enemy aircraft long before the enemy has even detected the presence of the new flying weapons system. It can carry a wide array of different missiles internally, rather than attached to its fuselage and/or wings.  This of course does a great deal to enhance its stealth capabilities.

The Lightning II is actually capable of shooting down enemy aircraft beyond the horizon.  The pilots of this futuristic weapons system can actually see in all directions; wherever they look: including directly behind and directly below the fighter.  It the pilot looks down between his or her knees, they can see right through the fuselage as though it were invisible.

A number of electronic “eyes” are built right into the ship’s fuselage, and what they “see” is projected right onto the inside of the pilot’s helmet visor – – – a first.  These futuristic helmets alone are some $400,000 each! Here is a short (1:28) video about this unique helmet:

Additionally, Inputs from both ground intel and airborne recon craft are all displayed on the F-35’s integrated glass panel touch screen display, again, unlike any of its 4th or 3rd Generation predecessors.

Much like the mysterious Area 51, the existence of which was never even recognized by the Air Force until relatively recently, Edwards Flight Test Center also presents a similar air of mystery, since access to it is so highly restricted.

While on active duty with the Air Force, this reporter often flew in the vicinity of Edwards, but was always kept at a substantial distance, because the air space around the Base was so highly restricted.  As a result, this recent visit to the facility was anticipated with no small amount of excitement.

The local Daedalian Flight 56, at Edwards, invited a number of fellow Daedalians from around the country to make this special visit, so that they might learn about the United State’s newest and most advanced airborne weapons system. The 461st Flight Test Squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton (at right), played official host to the visiting Daedalians. An AFROTC graduate, Col. Hamilton has flown 30 aircraft from a zeppelin to a MiG-15 to an A-10, and, and managed the entire $3 Billion Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Test program out of the Pentagon for all three services. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.

 

LATE BREAKING USAF NEWS: An officer at Edwards Air Force Base in California last month became the first female test pilot to fly an F-35.  See below:

(L-R) Maj. Rachael Winiecki, the first female F-35 test pilot, and Airman 1st Class Heather Rice, her crew chief.

Maj. Rachael Winiecki, a developmental test pilot for Colonel Hamilton’s 461st Flight Test Squadron, flew her first test flight in the Air Force’s most advanced fighter jet this past Dec. 14, according to the USAF.

 

L to R: Colonel Mario Campos, Flight 24’s Commander, who operated the Power Point Show, and our top Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill. Both are FASF members.

And below, is a final video (2:00 long) showing the F-35 in a number of different combat scenarios and roles as it completed its final test program:

Lambart also gave the history of how Edwards Air Force Base was named, as seen immediately below:

USAAF Captain Glen Edwards.

L to R: Ric Lambart and Laura Kelly, both Daedalians, pose in front of one of Edward’s test F-35’s . Kelly was an Army Helicopter Pilot.

An old archived photo showing some of the Base’s famous Pilots, including Chuck Yeager at the center, with his wife, Glennis, after whom he named his rocket ship.. Yeager was the fist man to break the sound barrier – all at Edwards.

“Pancho” Barnes, (center below) who owned the famous bar and resort, “The Happy Bottom Riding Club,” was one of America’s most famous female aviators in her own right.  Aside from being one of Hollywood’s best stunt pilots, she was actually the organizer of the Hollywood film industry’s first Stunt Pilot’s Union.  It was at the “Riding Club” that her good friend, Chuck Yeager managed to break some of his ribs just before becoming the first human being to break the mythically impossible Sound Barrier in the Rocket Research Ship, the X-1, which bore his beloved wife’s name, “Glamorous Glennis.”  Of course Yeager didn’t tell anyone about his broken ribs for fear of missing this extraordinary opportunity to make history.  This particular incident is an episode in 1983 smash hit movie about the early astronauts: “The Right Stuff.” Yeager is played by actor Sam Shepard.  Pancho’s Bar and Grill was the favorite hangout of all those heroic early aviators who daily risked life and limb test flying our country’s most advanced new aircraft.  The below photograph was for sale at Iconic Auctions, in 2017, at the first offer of $1,000.

L to R: Pioneer Female Pilots: Debie Stanford, Pancho Barnes and Amelia Earhart.

Immediately below, is the 2009 award-winning documentary film’s trailer about the Barnes’ Riding Club and the famed aviatrix herself. It is 2:03 long:

 

FASF’s Villezcas, Takes First CAP Training Flight Successfully

CAP Cessna 182 Slylane (L) opposite USAF Thunderbird F-16 Fighting Falcon.

FASF Treasurer, and native of Casas Grandes, Mexico, America’s first foreign air base (in 1916), Alma Villezcas, took to the sky for her first SAREX (Search And Rescue Exercise) this past weekend out of the Las Cruces, NM Municipal Airport Civil Air Patrol (CAP) facilities.

Ms. Villezcas joined the Las Cruces CAP Squadron 24 a year ago with the intention of learning to fly with the CAP, which is a full-fledged Auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF) – (see Air Force photo above with the two USAF Aircraft: A CAP Cessna and F-16 Jet Fighter), which supplies all of the facilities and equipment, including costly modern aircraft, to each Squadron throughout the U.S.  For this reason the CAP uniforms are based upon the USAF’s.

Mission Pilot, Dave Bjorness (L), and Scanner Trainee, Alma Villezcas (R) in the process of conducting their Preflight Inspection of the CAP Cessna Skylane prior to the Mission . . . All photos in this story may be seen in full resolution by simply clicking on them.

The origins of Civil Air Patrol date to 1936, when Gill Robb Wilson, World War I aviator and New Jersey director of aeronautics, returned from Germany convinced of impending war. Wilson envisioned mobilizing America’s civilian aviators for national defense, an idea also shared by other aviation activists.

In Ohio, Milton Knight, a pilot and businessman, organized and incorporated the Civilian Air Reserve (CAR) in 1938. Other military-styled civilian aviation units emerged nationwide and helped train pilots for defense of the homeland.

 In 1941, Wilson launched his perfected program: the Civil Air Defense Services (CADS). That summer, tasked by Fiorello H. LaGuardia (New York mayor and director of the federal Office of Civilian Defense and also a World War I aviator), Wilson, publisher Thomas H. Beck and newspaperman Guy P. Gannett proposed Wilson’s CADS program as a model for organizing the nation’s civilian aviation resources.

Their proposal for a Civil Air Patrol was approved by the Commerce, Navy, and War departments in November, and CAP National Headquarters opened its doors on Dec. 1, 1941, under the direction of national commander Maj. Gen. John F. Curry. Existing CADS, CAR and other flying units soon merged under the CAP banner. Public announcement of CAP and national recruiting commenced on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor..

CAP Personnel in military formation in front of one of their Stinson Patrol Aircraft in 1942.

L to R above: Mission PILOT, Dave Bjorness, Mission Commander and Flight OBSERVER, William Benzinger, and Alma Villezcas, Mission SCANNER Trainee, briefing about their tasks and esponsibilities before their Mission.

Above, Ground Team Personnel, Mike Legendre, (L) briefing Communications Officer, Joe Parea, at right. Each mission, whether a practice exercise operation, or a genuine emergency mission, requires numerous ground based personnel working closely with, and in constant radio communication with the CAP aircraft “eyes in the sky.”

Above, Alma readies for the Mission, which will entail scanning for a downed aircraft and taking hi-resolution color photographs of it and the surrounding terrain for ground rescue agencies’ guidance.

Above, Alma checks out her Intercom equipment, as flight crew readies for engine startup.  She has already opened the side window’s Camera Port.  The High Resolution Professional Digital Camera must shoot all photos through this open window so that no window reflections nor glare interfere with the photo’s high quality.

The aircraft has started its engine and begins to taxi out for take off. The CAP Squadron’s main hangar is in the background above.

Alma and her crew returned safely from their successful 2 hour long SAR Mission Exercise, having finally located the simulated downed aircraft and also it’s ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) radio signal.

The following 7 minute video gives a moving glimpse into what Alma experienced during her very first CAP Training flight.

 

Hard, Exciting & Dangerous: USN Carrier Pilot Pilots at Work

To enable you to appreciate the hard, exciting – and extremely dangerous (particularly in inclement weather and at night) work of today’s U.S. Navy Carrier pilots, we’ll start out with some fair weather operations, all using the Boeing F/A-18F “Super Hornet” strike fighters of the current Navy inventory, and then move on to some videos taken during bad weather operations.  This first video shows you what the experience is like during fair weather, this clip is only 2:06 long.

The below Naval Aviator’s helmet says “No PRO” but after you watch him land his F/A-18F on an aircraft carrier, we think you’ll agree that he is a true professional. When you think about it, unlike Air Force and land based Marine pilots, Naval Aviators on shipboard always have an audience when they land on board a carrier, so they are at least more strongly motivated to perform at a higher level.  But, regardless, audience or not, this type of landing a high-speed jet fighter is vastly more dangerous than landing the same type of fighter on land – – – at an airfield.

Next, below, we’re going to show you what’s involved during bad weather and night operations, using the same FA-18 Hornet Aircraft.  Here, then, are two  Continue reading

1st AF Female Hispanic Ftr. Pilot to Emcee at AirVenture 2018

                                                         Lt. Olga Custodio winning her USAF wings

American Airlines Captain, Olga Custodio

May 31, 2018Hot off the newswire from the EAA:  The EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize has added another highly regarded aviation expert to the lineup for the Tuesday night competition during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. Retired Lt. Col. Olga Custodio, the first female Hispanic fighter pilot in the United States will be the emcee, presenting the five finalists in the live showdown. The Founder’s Innovation Prize, presented by Airbus, is in its third year and challenges EAA members to share their best solutions for lowering the rate of in-flight loss-of-control accidents, the leading cause of fatal accidents in the general aviation community.

Custodio retired from the U.S. Air Force Reserve with 24 years of service. Among her countless achievements, she was the first Hispanic female to graduate from U.S. Air Force undergraduate pilot training, became the first female T-38 UPT (Undergraduate Pilot Training) flight instructor at Laughlin Air Force Base, and then became the first female T-38 pilot instructor training flight instructor at Randolph AFB. She was awarded the Air Force Air Education and Training Command’s Aviation Safety Award for superior airmanship during a bird strike and engine failure emergency and for executing a safe heavyweight landing in weather minimums.

After resigning her U.S. Air Force commission, Custodio entered the Reserve as an officer training school instructor and began her 20-year career flying for American Airlines. She has logged more than 11,000 hours of flight time.

See Custodio and the five Founder’s Innovation Prize finalists at An Evening with Innovators on Tuesday night July 24 at Theater in the Woods.

Those who still wish to submit their idea for the competition must do so before 11:59 pm CT on Friday, June 1, for a chance to win one of three cash prizes.  Visit www.EAA.org/prize to learn more.

Below is a 7 minute long video is of an interview by FOX NEWS TV of Retired USAF and American Airlines Pilot, Olga Custodio.

Our F-35 Stealth Fighter vs. the Russian S-400 SAM System

This following (top) analytical video (6:32 in length) was produced by “Covert Cabal.” Although your editor has not yet been able to ascertain the actual personal identity of the producer of this military analyst’s documentary, it was decided to feature it, anyway.

Under normal protocols and precautionary procedures this fact would alone prevent us from publishing the video below, but the apparent objectivity and competency of the video itself inclines us to share it with our viewers, regardless of its anonymous nature. Once we are able to identify the owner of “Covert Cabal,” we will of course let you know.

Thanks to the Society of the Daedalians and the Air Force’s 461st  Test Squadron, your Editor just completed a rare “inside” tour of the F-35 Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base in California this past Wednesday and Thursday, but has, as yet, not received any of the tour video or stills of this newest and highly touted U.S air services multi-role asset.

Your editor was expectedly prohibited from taking any photos or videos of his own, by virtue of the extreme secrecy surrounding this versatile F-35 military weapon system and platform. Any pertinent graphics of the visit we are able to share here must first be cleared by the Edwards’ and/or the Pentagon’s security offices. New F-35 Test Operation images and videos from this recent visit should be posted at some time in the near future – – – so please stay tuned.

Regardless, we’d like to take this opportunity to laud the high caliber of all the personnel encountered on this visit to Edwards; all of whom, from the security guard airmen at the Base’s entry gates to the leaders and Airmen of the Test Squadron, who hosted the visit.  These Air Force and Civilian contractors proved beyond hospitable, gracious and informative to the extent permissible, considering the highly classified nature of their Flight Test Operation.

In particular, we’d like to complement the following individuals who did so much to make the visit meaningful: Steven Zapka, Public Affairs, who personally guided the visit; Stephen K. Robinson and Tony Moore of the AIR FORCE FLIGHT TEST MUSEUM at Edwards; and Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton, highly experienced Test Pilot, and Commander of the 461st Flight Test Squadron. The up front coordinator of the event was Lockheed-Martin F-35 Test Pilot, Scott “Shark” McLaren.

This newest Lockheed Martin multi-role 5th generation fighter, the “Lightning II,” is named after the company’s legendary twin-engine Lockheed “Lightning” fighter of WWII fame.

Below is a short (3:20) video of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter showing off its unique capabilities.

Another comprehensively explanatory clip of this newest Joint Task Fighter in action (7:28 long), courtesy of Military.Com and DISCOVERY HD, follows below:

 

Watch the F-35 Show Off its Capabilities at the Paris Air Show

The F-35A made its aerial demonstration debut on June 19, 2017 at the Paris Air Show in front of crowds of thousands. Watch this impressive display of 5th Generation innovation in military aviation. This video is courtesy of Lockheed-Martin, the aircraft’s manufacturer.  The ship is currently undergoing a rich plethora of tests at Edwards Air Force Base, the Air Force’s principal Flight Test Center.  The demonstration video is 6:39 long.  Remember your sound needs to be on, and you might want to open the video full size, since it is in HD.

And, another comprehensive video, only 2:00 minutes long, below, shows this versatile new fighter in various configurations for different mission purposes.  The F-35 program has accomplished the final developmental test flight of the System Design and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the program. The developmental flight test program has conducted more than 9,200 sorties, accumulated over 17,000 flight hours, and executed more than 65,000 test points to verify the design, durability, software, sensors, weapons capability and performance for all three F-35 variants.

One of these variants includes the capability to take off vertically, without the usual long runways required of such advanced fighter aircraft.  Be amazed as this fighter does things seemingly impossible.  You will see one of its variants taking off straight up, and doing so from an Aircraft Carrier, also.  The F-35 will be used by all three aviation branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: The USAF, USN, and the USMC. Learn even more about this fighting machine right here.

New Navy and Marine Pilots Qualify for 1st Carrier Landings

Once again, from our ever alert Aviation News Scout, Virg Hemphill, comes another great video post regarding Naval Aviator in training – – – when they are ready for their first attempts to land  a fast moving jet on the mother ship – and Aircraft Carrier.

Virg and I were USAF jet pilots, so we didn’t have to endure this experience, in fact we not so jokingly used to refer to all Navy landings aboard ship as either good or bad “controlled crashes.”  That’s because, as you can see, there’s simply no such thing on an Aircraft Carrier as a “smooth” landing.

The arresting gear that so suddenly jerks your hurling machine to a sudden stop, simply cannot provide a “smooth” end of flight experience.  In fact, when you stop to think about the Navy shipboard landing process, if the pilots were not tightly constrained by a strong shoulder and seat harness, they’d likely be gravely injured or even killed by the sudden stop – as would they be had their plane hit a brick wall.  Of course the jets are purposely designed to be exceptionally strong, enough to safely take the sudden stops involved with every Carrier landing.

Without further ado, here’s “The Day of the Tests.”  It is 6:52 long.

When Air Force model aircraft are re-designed for Navy Carrier Service, they must be especially reinforced to be able to withstand the extreme landing forces they’ll have to endure.  The result is, of course, that the USN version of the jet will be considerably heavier because of the extra weight of the reinforcement metals involved.

As you can see in this video, there’s a tendency for understandably nervous new pilots to come in too high – – – and to thereby miss the arresting cable altogether.  One pilot even forgets to put his tail hook down.

One of the most difficult parts of the new carrier landing technique is for the fledgling pilots to remember to immediately put on full power the instant they touch the deck.

This must be done to be sure that, should the pilot not snag the arresting cable, they’ll have sufficient power to “go around” or make another attempt to land.  Missing the arresting cable is called a “bolter.”  Doing this sudden application of power upon touching down is an unnatural or non-instinctive procedure, yet critically necesary.  If it’s not done with precise timing, they risk rolling straight off the Carrier’s deck and into the ocean.

Your editor spent three years in the Navy before switching to the Air Force and found this videos’ pilots’ reference to the “Boat” as startling.  When I served in the Navy, one never used the term “boat” for a large ship, such as an aircraft carrier, so the acceptable language has certainly changed in the past fifty years!   We were literally scolded, if we referred to our ship as a boat!