F-35 Women are Coming 2018

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neptune

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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 12:20

http://aviationweek.com/defense/us-air- ... f-35-pilot


U.S. Air Force To Get Second Female F-35 Pilot


Lara Seligman
Jan 29, 2018


LUKE AFB, Arizona—
The U.S. Air Force finally is ready to welcome its second female F-35 pilot, now that enough aircraft have been upgraded with a new ejection seat designed to accommodate lightweight aircrew. As of Jan. 23, a government-industry team here at Luke AFB had retrofitted eight F-35As with the new ejection seat, which eventually will equip the entire fleet, maintainers told Aerospace DAILY during a recent visit. That is enough to allow the pilot, who is transitioning from another fighter, to begin training in the F-35 in February, Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse said. The Air Force declined to provide additional details on the pilot, including her name, or make her available for interviews until she progresses further in her training. The first and only other woman to fly the F-35, Lt. Col. Christine Mau, recently retired. Mau, a former F-15E Strike Eagle pilot and deputy commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing Operations Group, completed her first training flight in the F-35 at Eglin AFB, Florida, in May 2015. The Air Force banned pilots under 136 lb. from flying the F-35 in 2015, after discovering the design of the escape system posed a significant risk of neck damage or death during ejection to aircrew in that weight range. The service officially lifted the weight restriction in May 2017, after accepting seat-maker Martin-Baker’s plan to integrate a series of modifications to the seat that would allow lightweight pilots to safely fly the F-35. But integration of the modifications—a lightweight switch to delay deployment of the main parachute and a fabric “head support panel” between the parachute risers to protect the pilot’s head from moving backward during parachute opening—has been taking longer than planned due to challenges incorporating the new seat data into the fighter’s fleet management system, the Autonomic Logistics and Information System, Aerospace DAILY reported in September. Retrofitting more than 200 early versions of the F-35 already out in the fleet with the new configuration of the Martin-Baker seat will not be completed until about summer 2019, according to F-35 Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova.

All new F-35s coming off the production line in Lot 10 and beyond will have the latest version of the seat, complete with the lightweight modification, DellaVedova noted. With the upgraded seat, the F-35 will be able to accommodate pilots weighing 103-245 lb. But until all the F-35s in the fleet are equipped with the new lightweight seat, the number of female F-35 pilots—who are typically smaller than their male counterparts—will be limited. “It is a significant problem,” said Lt. Col. Kathryn Gaetke, commander of the 309th Fighter Squadron and a career F-16 pilot, during a Jan. 24 interview here. Gaetke believes the danger posed by the unmodified ejection seat to lightweight pilots did not deter women from wanting to fly the F-35. But the weight restriction and lack of sufficient upgraded aircraft have "deterred people from choosing women to fly the F-35,” she said. Gaetke added that she “absolutely” saw women come through the pipeline who were routed to a different fighter instead of the F-35. “It’s not like they chose people and then said, ‘Oh, you were out because of your weight,’ but I think there’s definitely, absolutely been some tough decisions,” Gaetke said. “Nobody wanted to make that the reason, nobody wanted to exclude that population. It was just the nature of the beast.”
:)
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 15:15

Salute!

About time for the gals, and I cannot unnerstan why "ballast belts" could not have been used for the weight. But turns out it's not ejection ceegee or such but the chute opening. Back when the Bronco got to 'nam we had to get a waiver for the installation of the survival gear on the chute harness due to the ceegee when the rocket fired. I was the life support dude at Wing HQ as an additional duty.

I did not weight more than 135 or so buck naked until years after retiring. I had friends with similar configurations punch from the Viper and they all said it was a very smooth ride. So turns out the problem was chute opening, and I don't know how weight was a factor. For those that haven't seen the beast, the seat goes thru the canopy shortly after the "detcord" around the rail detonates!!! GASP! Apparently that was a USMC Harrier input to the design. Gets you out real fast when in the landing mode.

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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 18:39

As I understand IIRC weight correlates to neck strength, low weight equals less neck strength to counter the chute shock opening issue. There are a couple of long slow motion video clips showing chute opening with the ejectee rotation. I guess I can make a small clip of it.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Dragon029

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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 19:08

Apparently weight played 2 factors:

1. The reduced weight affected the seat's centre of gravity and so the seat was rotating too much before the chute yanked on it, causing the pilot's head to snap backwards.

2. While obviously you'll sometimes have people that have excellent strength-to-weight, statistically [and risk-management] speaking, the lighter you are, the weaker your neck is, because your head isn't as heavy and your neck doesn't have to deal with as much strain all day. The helmet weighs about the same regardless of your body however, so for lightweight pilots it resulted in a relatively higher inertia attached to their head (like when giving a 100lb person and a 200lb person the same 40lb pack); that in-turn meant that lighter pilot's necks weren't as prepared to deal with that snapping backwards of the head + helmet.

Edit:

Here's my little animation I did to explain it a while back; the angles shown are just approximations but are what I understood to be the issue based on things like Bogdan's explanation of the issue in 2016, etc:

https://youtu.be/9s7-3EUXC_w?t=368
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 19:24

:applause: Great explanations - thanks very much for that. :notworthy:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 21:02

We've got plently of girls in Oklahoma that weigh-in over 135....they're just recruiting the wrong demographics.
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 22:06

outlaw162 wrote:We've got plently of girls in Oklahoma that weigh-in over 135....they're just recruiting the wrong demographics.


Exactly :D
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 22:29

yeah, it's akin to resizing the Mercury capsule to accomodate 7 foot astronauts.....

soon they'll be looking at accessibility requirements for fighter aircraft
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Unread post30 Jan 2018, 22:32

outlaw162 wrote:We've got plently of girls in Oklahoma that weigh-in over 135....they're just recruiting the wrong demographics.


Perfect for the Bee; Marines do love their larger ladies! :lol: :lol:
I'm a mining engineer. How the hell did I wind up here?
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XanderCrews

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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 00:23

southernphantom wrote:
outlaw162 wrote:We've got plently of girls in Oklahoma that weigh-in over 135....they're just recruiting the wrong demographics.


Perfect for the Bee; Marines do love their larger ladies! :lol: :lol:



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rheonomic

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Unread post31 Jan 2018, 03:26

The first and only other woman to fly the F-35, Lt. Col. Christine Mau, recently retired.


Lt. Col. (ret) Mau is now an F-35 training instructor for LM... https://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/ ... -team.html
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Unread post02 Feb 2018, 03:45

Salute!

As a weight-limited pilot with a"normal" neck diameter vs length, I do not think I would have had any problems with the Viper seat. My deputy dog was exactly built like me and had a very nice ejection experience, although the jet was not tumbling. Then we had one of the first FLCS shutdown ejections and all the pilots came out O.K. except the one that was too low for the chute to open fully. One guy ejected in an inverted spin ( Wolfman, who later flew the F-16XL) .

So I think it's the chute/seat/harness design that is the problem.

Secondly, after you fly the Viper a few weeks and pull more gees for longer than ever before, your neck gets very strong. My own neck size went up almost an inch within first six months, and I noticed this with my shirts and ties. So I stand with my chute-to-seat-to-harness configurtion problem.

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Unread post02 Feb 2018, 07:25

Heheh. I guess we come from the KNUCKLEdragging generation. :doh: The Vampire had no G-suit and just ordinary non enhanced flight controls but we could only go to 6G (7G if we wanted to explain to the Senior Pilot why we should continue flying). First the Winjeel - ordinary flight controls also then a couple of years VAMPing my right arm had great muscle power; whilst my throttle left hand was withered and weak. Throttle was either FULL or IDLE - none of this inbetweener stuff. :mrgreen: Great stomach muscles for the anti-G strain. All day every day HOSE (I guess it is JOSE). :roll:
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post02 Feb 2018, 13:58

Here is a less sensational story.
Luke F-35 seat modifications expand aviator pool
Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel, 56th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs

"LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Since October 2015, pilots weighing less than 136 pounds has been restricted from
flying the F-35A Lightning II due to concerns of possible neck injuries that could result during ejection seat procedures.
In May 2017, three modifications were implemented to the F-35A ejection system allowing Air Force leadership to
remove the weight limit restriction and begin the implementation of new seats into the Air Force’s F-35 fleet....

..."Currently, Luke has eight aircraft with the upgraded seats," said Senior Master Sgt. Jonathan Brannon, 61st Aircraft
Maintenance Unit assistant superintendent. "Over time, all F-35s, including partner nation aircraft, are scheduled to
receive the new modifications at Luke. Forty-four seats are still awaiting upgrades at this time."

According to Martin-Baker, the manufacturer of the ejection seat, more than 200 modification kits have been shipped for
the F-35 program Air Force wide. “This modification allows Luke, and the F-35 program as a whole, to broaden our scope of training by lifting the required weight restrictions,” Brannon said. “This is extremely beneficial by opening the spectrum to lighter weight pilots and gives us the ability to greatly increase our numbers.”

Over 50 percent of female pilots in the Air Force weigh below 136 pounds. This new modification not only improves
safety measures, but also allows a more diverse number of future Airmen to become pilots. “The modification will eliminate the potential for injury to lighter weight pilots and allow our aviators the ability to operate with zero concerns of their safety during egress,” Brannon said. “The future state for the seat modification looks very promising. The F-35 is being produced under low rate initial production and in the future, all F-35s that come off the production line will arrive with the new modification.”...."

Photo: "Airmen assigned to the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron guide an F-35A Lightning II ejection seat onto a cart for maintenance at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., Jan. 11, 2018. In May 2017, three modifications were implemented to the F-35 ejection system to remove the 136 pound weight limit restriction. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel)"


Source: http://www.jsf.mil/news/docs/20180129_L ... r_pool.pdf (0.8Mb)
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post02 Feb 2018, 16:44

Hardhats... Really?

:doh:
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