Tag Archives: USMC

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:

 

Why Are Those Coveted Navy Pilot’s Shoes Brown, Not Black?

   Jerry Dixon in Columbus 2018

Ever wonder why, unlike all other U. S. Navy Officers, Naval aviators always wear brown, rather than the normal black shoes?  Well, FASF Aviation News Scout, and former U.S. Marine Corps Pilot, Jerry Dixon, (at Left) once again discovered another intriguing piece of U. S. Navy historical trivia.

The piece Jerry discovered was found on a U.S. Navy Aviation Blog site, appropriately enough called “The Brown Shoes Project!”  This story, which is indirectly, also a peek into U.S. Naval aviation itself, was written by retired USN Pilot, LCDR William Estes in his letter to Pat Francis:

“Naval aviation officially began 08 May 1911 with the first order of a “Flying Machine” from the Wright Brothers. (See the photo immediately below, of the U.S. Navy’s version of the Wright Flyer – Model B) This purchase also included aeronautical training of naval personnel who would become the first naval flight instructors who would be the founders in spearheading Naval aviation as we know it today.

Please keep in mind that our First Aero Squadron was also based here at Rockwell Field shortly before it moved back East to Texas, and then on to Columbus, NM, for its role in the Punitive Expedition.  The initial cadre of First Aero Squadron Pilots had been stationed at Rockwell field, as well.

Early photo of the U.S. Navy’s Model B of the Wright Flyer.

To train these future naval aviators in the new Wright Brother’s flying machine, Rockwell Army Airfield was commissioned to be the first U.S. Military Flying School.

Above is a 1914 aerial photograph of San Diego’s Rockwell Army Airfield, the nation’s first full-time Flight School. Although it is now called simply, North Island Naval Air Station, by its current sole occupant, the U.S. Navy.  You should notice that there are no runways in evidence.  This is because runways, as such, had not yet even been invented!

The new airfield was located on the northernmost island (see photo above) of the island chain in San Diego, California.  It was decided that it would be jointly shared with the Navy as the most suitable airfield site in the local area, an area chosen because the flying weather was some of the most consistently good flying weather to be found anywhere in the U.S.

In October 1935, the entire Rockwell Field facility was transferred to the Navy by presidential executive order of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The last Army units departed in 1939. Later, the Army Corps of Engineers was commissioned to dredge the channel immediately to its East, and to also fill in the island’s low areas, leveling the island chain’s surface. accordingly, the name “North Island” emerged as Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California.  See a current photo just below to see how it now appears.

2017: U.S. Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, California.  This photo is taken looking to the South.  The Bay, which was dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers, is to the left above.  The current U.S. Navy Submarine Station San Diego, is immediately out of this picture’s bottom, across the channel’s inlet to the Pacific Ocean, the the right above.

                         Memorial Commemorative Plaque at Rockwell/North Island NAS, San Diego, CA

                     First Aero Squadron personnel with their Burgess Model H No. 26 at North Island in 1915

Now, quoting Commander Estes: “Six commission officers were selected from the surface fleet as the first student Naval aviation aviator trainees to be taught by these naval flight instructors.

These pioneer naval aviator trainees coming from the surface fleet wore uniform low quarter, square-toed, black rough out leather shoes which served best on the coal-burning ships, which commonly produced great quantities of black soot from the ship’s stacks.

Arriving for duty at the North Island Air Field for training flights, the six students experienced a foreign environment of brown dust on the soft surface air field.  They found themselves being constantly required to remove the dust from their black shoes, which was irritating enough to cause them to look for a better alternative to this shoe cleaning nuisance.

In the midst of their training, while often times funding their own petrol expenses, the six discussed alternatives to their problem, deciding that brown shoes might serve best to solve their problem with seniors who were putting what they felt was too much into uniform appearances.  With that, all six decided that brown high top shoes with brown leggings was their solution. On a Saturday morning, the six located a cobbler shop on 32nd Street in San Diego, California whom they commissioned to produce same at a time and price they could live with.

Upon taking custody of their prize a short time later, the test of practical use of their new Brown Shoes and acceptance from their senior cadre members became a function of time.

Within a few days, the practicality of the Shoes of Brown proved to be an acceptable solution to the student aviators. The six then met to discuss how to bring about change of the uniform regulation to include the Brown Shoes and high top leggings as distinctive part of the aviators permanent uniform.

With some discussion on how to approach their proposal, they concluded that a petition to bring about change for a distinctive aviators uniform would best serve their plight.

A few days later, they met to compose a petition which would later be approved and endorsed by their seniors and forwarded to the Navy Bureau for consideration.

On 13 November 1913, the Navy Bureau signed approval to the uniform regulations to include The Shoes of Brown with Brown high top leggings as part of the permanent uniform for Naval Aerial Aviators.

U.S. Navy officers with Black Shoes.

This change carried itself through World War II to 1944 while logistically, the brown shoes were not in production due to priority war efforts. However, in stock supply would be issued and the wearing of same was still authorized. At the end of the war in 1945, production of brown shoes was again continued and issued until July 1976.

Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., USN, was a two term CNO from 01 Jul 1970 to 01 Jul 1974. An Admiral from the surface navy (Black Shoe) had a desire for significant change within the Navy and its policies. With that, one of his initiatives was to end an era of Naval Aviation with the removal of the Brown Shoes from the Navy.

With the stage set, at midnight on July 1, 1976, the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations), by instruction to Naval Uniform Department of NMPC (Naval Military Personnel Command), ended an era in tradition of naval aviation distinction and pride. “A Naval Aviation tradition came to an end when Brown Shoes were stricken from the Officer’s and Chief’s uniforms. The tradition distinguished the Brown Shoe Navy of the Aviators from the Black Shoes of the Surface Officers.”

U. S. Naval Aviator, a Commander, in Khaki Uniform – but with an aviator’s traditikonal Brown Shoes

In September 1979, I was assigned to TRARON Ten as a T-2B/C “Buckeye” flight instructor (The Dirty 100) at NAS (Naval Air Station) Pensacola, Florida. With my keen interest in history, I began initiatives to resurrect The Shoes of Brown as part of the permanent uniform for Naval Aviation in the same spirit as those in lead who first set the initiative.

With several cross-country flights to the Naval Archives at NMPC in Washington DC, I researched for the original aviators petition in an effort to author, in kind, the same which would be reborn at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, the Cradle of Naval Aviation.

Receptive and in support of the Brown Shoes initiatives, Captain Jude J. Lahr, USN, Commodore, Training Air Wing 6, gave the “Thumbs Up with a Sierra Hotel” for same.

With that, I drafted a petition which was headed by and reads: “RESURRECTION OF THE BROWN SHOES – WHEREAS, In the course of history of Naval Aviation, the “SHOES OF BROWN”, first adopted in November 1913, have held a position of revered, cherished esteem in the hearts of all those associated with Naval Air, second only to the “WINGS OF GOLD”, and – WHEREAS, in the course of human events it becomes necessary to recognize an overwhelming desire to return the esprit of heritage amongst the cadre of AIRDALES (The affectionate name Navy personnel use to describe their Pilots and aviation support crews), now – THEREFORE, let the feelings be known that we the undersigned, all duly designated NAVAL AVIATORS, NAVAL FLIGHT OFFICERS, FLIGHT SURGEONS and FLIGHT PHYSIOLOGIST, do hereby affix our signatures and designators to this petition calling for the immediate change to the Naval Uniform Regulations which would allow the “SHOES OF BROWN” to once again take their rightful position below the “WINGS OF GOLD.

The first and most fitting to sign was Captain Jude J. Lahr, USN followed by senior CNET cadre members to include Captain Robert L. Rasmussen, USN, parent Command­ing Officers (NASP, NASC, NAMI, NAMRL) and other command seniors, mid-grades and juniors alike and was unanimously received and signed as presented.

Numerous requests from commands throughout the United States, foreign ashore activities and carriers on the line requested the petition be sent them for signing via telephone, message and post mail.

Upon completion of my shore tour, I was then assigned to USS MIDWAY (CV-41). I continued initiatives with the Brown Shoes petition after receiving a “SH” approval from Commanding Officer, Captain Charles R. McGrail, Jr., USN.  After an overwhelming receptive Carrier Air Wing 5 and ships company cadre, Captain McGrail later signed out the petition in Red with “forwarded Most Strongly Recommending Approval” to the CNO/NMPC on commands letterhead stationery with a personal note.

LCDR William Estes, USN Retired Aviator and Resident of Salzburg, Austria, “Flew West” on October 12, 2013.  A memorial was held in his honor at Pensacola NAS, FL.

 Following my 2.5 year Midway tour, I returned to Training Air Wing 6 as a T-2C Buckeye flight instructor with TRARON Ten.  On the morning of 12 Sep 85, while airborne on a APM/Spin Hop with a student, I received a UHF radio call from the squadron duty officer (SDO) to “BUSTER” return to base with no explanation. On return to squadron spaces to meet with the SDO, the Skipper escorted me to his office where he moments later received a telephone call from SECNAV, The Honorable John F. Lehman, Jr. (a Tailhooker himself) who congratulated me as being the spearhead in Resurrecting the Brown Shoes back to the “AIRDALES” (affectionate name given by the Navy to its aviation crew members) of U. S. Naval Aviation.  SECNAV (Secretary of the Navy) Lehman informed me that he was going to announce that month, the return of the Brown Shoes at the 1985 TAILHOOK Convention and that he wanted to personally authorize me to be The First to wear the “Coveted Shoes of Brown” before his announcement.”

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

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.