Fruit from picking a f-22 pilot's brain

Anything goes, as long as it is about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor
  • Author
  • Message
Offline

white_lightning35

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 209
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2016, 03:07

Unread post14 Aug 2017, 02:12

Hello all, I had the honor of not only seeing an f-22 in person for the first time, but also speaking with one of its pilots. She was even better looking than on the computer. (The plane, that is). I would like to share some of what I learned.

Perhaps what I found most interesting was the pilot's thoughts about the bad guys. I asked him about the pak fa and J-20, and he seemed far more concerned about the latter, saying it will be , to paraphrase, a dangerous opponent. After I enquired about Chinese thievery, which we both agreed was impressive, he said the one thing that the they were having issues with were the engines. He also thought the Chinese missiles were no slouches either.

The pak fa was kind of dismissed as a lesser plane, at least to me. I always thought the Russians made a mistake trying to design their own plane instead of copying like the Chinese did.

He definitely liked the aim-9x, and when I brought up a HMCS, and how raptors might get it soon, he replied that they had been getting promised that forever. When he mentioned the aim-9x I couldn't help but stupidly blurt out a question about that recent miss in Syria. He calmly responded by saying he didn't know all the details about what happened. Another thing he talked about was that he was most impressed by how easy the plane was to fly, "almost like a video game".

I felt horribly for him, for the group of people standing around to ask him question was full of idiots. I lost count of how many times he was asked if he flies the f-35, if the plane he was standing in front of was the f-18 or f-14. Ooh, is this the plane that can take off vertically? :doh: His fellow airmen were obviously pleased at his discomfort.

Now I must find an f-35. :drool:
Offline

tincansailor

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 637
  • Joined: 05 Jul 2015, 20:06

Unread post14 Aug 2017, 14:49

It must have been fascinating to get the stuff right from the horses mouth. I'm curious how much he knew about the J-20. We haven't seen it in operational service yet, so I wonder what we have to go on? Are our pilots getting intelligence briefings on the J-20 yet? Did you get the impression that his assessment of the J-20 vs. the SU-57 was based on briefings, or a general higher respect for Chinese technology? Did he voice any opinion about the relative quality of Russian, and Chinese pilots? When you get to talk with someone like that you have so many questions you never get to ask them all.
Offline

SpudmanWP

Elite 3K

Elite 3K

  • Posts: 6926
  • Joined: 12 Oct 2006, 19:18
  • Location: California

Unread post14 Aug 2017, 16:17

white_lightning35 wrote:Now I must find an f-35. :drool:


I had the pleasure of interviewing a pilot from the Green Knights a few years back in San Diego. Unfortunately it was very windy and the cellphone audio was quite painful to hear.
"The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese."
Offline

mixelflick

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1645
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2010, 10:26
  • Location: Parts Unknown

Unread post14 Aug 2017, 18:03

Was this at the airshow in PA or in MA? It was flying in PA, but on static in MA (104th Fighter Wing, Barnes ANG Base in Westfield, MA). I had the honor of speaking to the pilot. Bird was from Tyndall, here's what went down...

I asked specifically about the SU-35. He said (paraphrasing all of this), "Tremendously capable bird, holds a LOT of gas. But then mentioned that they get intelligence briefings regularly about it. So it was as if the info he got in the intel briefings put his mind at ease. He was a lot more concerned with Chinese Flankers and their missile loadouts. Said something to the effect the Chinese take Russian hardware and in some cases, improve upon it. I then asked if the Chinese AAM could out-stick an AIM-120D. He shut that down quick saying he wasn't sure... :)

He DID say the 120D was on the way, they just need to do more testing with it. Likewise he raved about the 9x and what a big capability increase it was. I asked him about the helmet mounted sight and he said they'd been promising it forever. Got the distinct feeling he wasn't counting on it anytime soon, LOL. I then asked if his was a training bird, and if the training birds were combat capable. He said they all were, training or not.

Right next to the Raptor was an F-15 from Barnes. A VERY experienced F-15 driver told me how a pair of F-22's bookend an F-15 4 ship, and how much they could see/how much more situational awareness it brought them. Which I thought was curious, given he said the latest F-15 radar upgrades were "a little better than the Raptor's". Seeing my confusion, he then mentioned the F-22 has a lot more sensors than just radar, then clammed up about the matter. I then asked him if the F-22's could share all that information with them. He said, "great question".. then launched into a non-answer. I didn't push it, but found the entire discussion (with both the F-22 and F-15 pilots) fascinating.

Overall, here's what I thought walking away..

1.) Everyone is pretty disappointed we're only getting 187 Raptors - and no more
2.) The F-15 community holds the Flanker series in high regard. They'll still tell you they have the edge, but that in time foreign pilot training would equal their own and thus, the situation would be a lot more dangerous. Specifically, he was talking about fighting Malaysian Flankers (he was part of the deployment).
3.) It's clear the F-22 pilot had a healthy respect for the latest foreign airframes, but as soon as he mentioned getting intel briefings on these aircraft, he seemed a lot more at ease. Not sure what they've learned or how they've learned it (Syria?), but he didn't seem too concerned after that.
4.) The F-15 and F-22 upgrades are really having an impact. Meaning the capabilities of both aircraft are miles ahead of where they were just 5 years ago
5.) I got the sense air dominance would still be achieved given a less than perfect situation (750 F-22's as originally planned). They just seemed disappointed in the military and political figures that stopped production at 187.
6.) The F-15 community is VERY proud of their pilots, their experience and their training. Insofar as air to air, they had no problem in telling you they're the best in the world at it. It was nice seeing that kind of confidence..

I walked away partly feeling sorry for the fact we've given our airmen a less than optimal situation to achieve their mission of flying, fighting and winning. But I also walked away proud. You can't look at those two aircraft sitting side by side on the ground, and especially the pilots and not feel proud to be an American...

* I can second feeling bad for the pilot getting peppered with questions from yahoo's. "How fast can it go"?, "Do you shoot laser beams" and my personal favorite, "What happens if you have to go to the bathroom?

Yes, these and more absurd questions came out of the mouths of many...
Offline

white_lightning35

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 209
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2016, 03:07

Unread post14 Aug 2017, 19:50

mixelflick wrote:Was this at the airshow in PA or in MA? It was flying in PA, but on static in MA (104th Fighter Wing, Barnes ANG Base in Westfield, MA). I had the honor of speaking to the pilot. Bird was from Tyndall, here's what went down...

I asked specifically about the SU-35. He said (paraphrasing all of this), "Tremendously capable bird, holds a LOT of gas. But then mentioned that they get intelligence briefings regularly about it. So it was as if the info he got in the intel briefings put his mind at ease. He was a lot more concerned with Chinese Flankers and their missile loadouts. Said something to the effect the Chinese take Russian hardware and in some cases, improve upon it. I then asked if the Chinese AAM could out-stick an AIM-120D. He shut that down quick saying he wasn't sure... :)

He DID say the 120D was on the way, they just need to do more testing with it. Likewise he raved about the 9x and what a big capability increase it was. I asked him about the helmet mounted sight and he said they'd been promising it forever. Got the distinct feeling he wasn't counting on it anytime soon, LOL. I then asked if his was a training bird, and if the training birds were combat capable. He said they all were, training or not.

Right next to the Raptor was an F-15 from Barnes. A VERY experienced F-15 driver told me how a pair of F-22's bookend an F-15 4 ship, and how much they could see/how much more situational awareness it brought them. Which I thought was curious, given he said the latest F-15 radar upgrades were "a little better than the Raptor's". Seeing my confusion, he then mentioned the F-22 has a lot more sensors than just radar, then clammed up about the matter. I then asked him if the F-22's could share all that information with them. He said, "great question".. then launched into a non-answer. I didn't push it, but found the entire discussion (with both the F-22 and F-15 pilots) fascinating.

Overall, here's what I thought walking away..

1.) Everyone is pretty disappointed we're only getting 187 Raptors - and no more
2.) The F-15 community holds the Flanker series in high regard. They'll still tell you they have the edge, but that in time foreign pilot training would equal their own and thus, the situation would be a lot more dangerous. Specifically, he was talking about fighting Malaysian Flankers (he was part of the deployment).
3.) It's clear the F-22 pilot had a healthy respect for the latest foreign airframes, but as soon as he mentioned getting intel briefings on these aircraft, he seemed a lot more at ease. Not sure what they've learned or how they've learned it (Syria?), but he didn't seem too concerned after that.
4.) The F-15 and F-22 upgrades are really having an impact. Meaning the capabilities of both aircraft are miles ahead of where they were just 5 years ago
5.) I got the sense air dominance would still be achieved given a less than perfect situation (750 F-22's as originally planned). They just seemed disappointed in the military and political figures that stopped production at 187.
6.) The F-15 community is VERY proud of their pilots, their experience and their training. Insofar as air to air, they had no problem in telling you they're the best in the world at it. It was nice seeing that kind of confidence..

I walked away partly feeling sorry for the fact we've given our airmen a less than optimal situation to achieve their mission of flying, fighting and winning. But I also walked away proud. You can't look at those two aircraft sitting side by side on the ground, and especially the pilots and not feel proud to be an American...

* I can second feeling bad for the pilot getting peppered with questions from yahoo's. "How fast can it go"?, "Do you shoot laser beams" and my personal favorite, "What happens if you have to go to the bathroom?

Yes, these and more absurd questions came out of the mouths of many...


We were at the same place. You might have seen me, I was the guy creepily coming back to the f-22 display a few too many times. :mrgreen: I didn't ask the pilot about the 4th gens, but as I said he seemed not as concerned about the pak fa as the J-20. He also mentioned how both Russia and China are working hard on counter tactics to bring the f-22s down, and how the tactics for American pilots were being rewritten every year.

Mixed in with the gazillion questions about whether his f-22 was actually the f-35, someone asked the pilot how they would do against each other. He gave the politically correct answer, responding that they had different missions, the f-35 being air to ground while his f-22 cleared the skies.

Another thing I asked about was about his training. Did the f-22 make it tough to train properly, being so much better? How much time is spent in the simulator? His reply to the first question was that deck was definitely stacked against him during training by being.outnumbered, which shouldn't be a surprise to anyone on this site. He also made it seem as though he didn't spend much time in the simulator. Although they are apparently very accurate, they aren't the same thing as pulling a bunch of g's, unsurprisingly.
Offline

mixelflick

Elite 1K

Elite 1K

  • Posts: 1645
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2010, 10:26
  • Location: Parts Unknown

Unread post15 Aug 2017, 14:49

Yeah I visited multiple times too. I mean, why not? It's not every day you get to see an F-22, especially in these parts. Listening to that pilot was fascinating, along with the F-15 driver I spoke with. I was told by several personnel on base that they thought they were going to get an F-35 for the show, but he backed out at the last minute!

Overall it was a good (but not great) show. They kept it moving better than any other airshow I've been to, but there were too many WWII/propeller stunt planes vs. fast jets for my liking. The Navy legacy Hornet demo was the highlight IMO. And although the 104th flew a few F-15's, I wouldn't exactly call the few passes they made a demo. A dedicated F-15 demo would have been a nice touch. I left just before the Thunderbirds went up, having seen them many, many times. I probably won't be excited to see them until they get new jets, which is going to be awhile from what I understand.

One thing I could have done without was the CONSTANT reminding of the audience about how they had a woman F-15 pilot flying. Women in aviation, women in aviation and more women in aviation PC nonsense. Really, if it isn't such a big deal then why constantly make a big deal out of it? I don't think we should be sending women to war, because people are going to get killed as a result. And it'll be a lot worse in grunt roles which are physically demanding. It's all PC BS, and it really ruined the show the way they kept droning on about it.

I did find out that Navy legacy F-18 pilot was also qualified in the Super Hornet. As with most shows, all the high performance aircraft flying were 100% clean. Normal loadout for the F-15's I see flying regularly are two wing tanks and an AMRAAM or two. They did have a nice segment where the weapons loading crew demonstrated how they arm the F-15 with a few AMRAAM's and a 9x. I was surprised to find out 3 men manually loading a 9x could do so faster than when they used the forklift like truck. That same truck though is necessary to load AMRAAM's, apparently being too heavy for several men to lift.

The F-15 pilot confirmed they routinely fly with the AIM-120D, although the AMRAAM's used in the load demo were A's and B's. Surprised by that because I thought they were all out of the air force's stockpile by now. He also said the 9x was a fearsome weapon, and really helped level the playing field considering other jets have caught up to the F-15 in the turn and burn department.

WIth respect to the F-15's engines, I spoke to several maintainers. They generate 23,750lbs of thrust in full re-heat, which struck me as something less than optimal considering Pratt has an F-100 variant rated closer to 28/29,000lbs. Believe those are what power the Thunderbird's F-16's. The two F-16's on static were GE F-110 powered birds, and the pilots just raved about those. When I asked the F-15 pilot if he could use more thrust, he shrugged his shoulders and said they had plenty. Then mentioned something about they tested engines with more thrust on the F-15 but didn't find any dramatic improvements.

I found that an awful curious statement...

Return to General F-22A Raptor forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests