VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 02 Oct 2013, 23:25
by neptune
US Navy activates first F-35C squadron

By: Zach Rosenberg Washington DC


The US Navy has stood up its first official Lockheed Martin F-35C squadron in order to train aviators to operate the aircraft.

The squadron, VF(A)-101, has been formed using two F-35s, and more will be delivered. Four additional F-35Cs are at NAS Patuxent River for aircraft testing.

The F-35C is scheduled to be the final version of the aircraft put into service, with an initial operating capability expected in 2019.

Lockheed expects to deliver a total of 15 aircraft to VF(A)-101.

Thanks Corsair!

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articl ... on-391245/

:oops:

RE: VF-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2013, 03:15
by neurotech
It's VFA-101. The squadron designated STRIKE FIGHTER SQUADRON ONE ZERO ONE, Known as VFA-101 "Grim Reapers". VF-101 Flew F-14s out of NAS Oceana as the last F-14 FRS Squadron. I know I'm being pedantic but I would think FlightGlobal would get it right.

Image

RE: VF-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 03 Oct 2013, 05:22
by Corsair1963
I've saw VF-101 perform at Air Shows many time back in the old days. When they flew the F-14A/B/D Tomcat. One time at dusk and in the rain to boot! It was just amazing...... :shock:


FLY NAVY 8) 8)

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 11 Jul 2014, 22:30
by spazsinbad
Grim Reapers
July 2014 Mark Ayton, AIR International F-35 Special Edition

"...Between the summer of 2014 and July 2016, VFA-101 is also tasked with training Navy pilots who will undertake operational tests of the F-35C with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9) ‘Vampires’, as part of the Joint Operational Test Team with its own in-house personnel at Edwards Air Force Base in California....

...CDR Enfield [VFA-101’s commander between August 2012 and August 2013] outlined the method to be adopted: “Our first goal is to build up our pool of instructors and get them trained in time for a F/A-18 unit to stand-up as the first F-35C fleet squadron. To accomplish that, we [VFA-101] trained the maintenance department in how to maintain the F-35C and their pilots how to fly it.

“It’s a very similar model to the one used for Hornet to Super Hornet transition. The entire unit will come to Eglin, learn the new systems and procedures, and start to operate aircraft in a staged way, all under the supervision of VFA-101. When the squadron is ready to go on its own, it will stand up as an F-35C unit and move to its home station to begin unit level training. A lot of the junior pilots and maintainers will transfer over to that squadron as the seed corn – the initial expertise – to help complete its transition. Consequently, we will lose a lot of experienced folks and have a dip in manpower when that happens,” he said.

The first squadron to transition from the F/A-18 is planned for the west coast, but a specific Naval Air Station has yet to be determined....

...In a change of command ceremony held at Eglin on September 13, 2013, CDR Rick Crecelius, a former F-14 Tomcat, Hornet and Super Hornet pilot, took command of VFA-101....

...To declare IOC, the Navy must transition one strike fighter squadron from F/A-18 to F-35C, and do so in time for the unit to undertake the standard air wing work-up ahead of deployment. Crecelius outlined the requirements: “Deployable combat capability is important for the Navy and, in order to declare it, the squadron has to be able to function within the air wing. The carrier strike group is a combat tool available to the theatre commander, that has to be able to synergise with all of its assets as a single functioning unit. It’s not enough just to have the squadron trained in the aeroplane; the squadron has to understand its role and be able to function within the air wing, and the air wing’s capability has to integrate seamlessly, and complement the strike group so that it’s deployable.”

Based on the latest published plan, the first squadron is due to arrive at Eglin in July 2016 and “go to the boat” for carrier qualification in the early part of 2017. This reflects a six- to eight-month syllabus, but the timeline depends on various factors that include how the transition process works, the weather, and aircraft availability....

...Between the summer of 2014 and July 2016, VFA-101 is also tasked with training Navy pilots who will undertake operational tests of the F-35C with Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 9 (VX-9) ‘Vampires’, as part of the Joint Operational Test Team with its own in-house personnel at Edwards Air Force Base in California....

...“Then, of course, we undertake landing pattern work both at Eglin and Naval Air Facility Choctaw, which is located to the west on the coast. Choctaw is equipped with a Fresnel lens and arrestor gear for FCLPs. We send a Landing Signals Officer [LSO] there for all landing pattern work,” enthused the skipper. “We are currently limited in our rate of descent for landing, which prevents us from doing true carrier bouncing [a naval term for carrier style touch and goes], but we do fly a standard Navy pattern at 600 feet AGL [182m] with a standard approach turn, as used at the ship. We can’t fly that type of pattern at Eglin.”

Prior to receiving NATOPS qualification, the pilot has to be chased by another jet: either an F-35C or an F/A-18. The fam syllabus culminates with a NATOPS emergency procedures check in the simulator. Once the check ride is complete, the pilot is NATOPS qualified. His next objective is to complete 15 more hours currency training before starting the IUT (Instructor Under Training) syllabus. This is a qualification that allows an instructor to teach the basic fam and formation phases of the standard syllabus.

Going to the Boat
Lockheed Martin is currently finalising the configuration of two System Development and Demonstration aircraft (CF-03 and CF-05) that will deploy aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) for Development Test Phase One, or DT I. This is the first period at sea for the F-35C, currently scheduled for October. There is a vested interest in DT I at VFA-101, and to the maximum extent possible it intends to send its LSOs to each F-35C carrier evolution. “They may not fly, they may not get a chance to qualify, but they will be on the LSO platform and work with the air boss and the carrier’s commanding officer to make sure they gain experience of the challenges of carrier integration,” said Crecelius.

“If we are able to accomplish that on DT I, two or possibly three LSOs from VFA-101 will actually carrier qualify [make arrested landings on the carrier flight deck for the first time] at the end of DT II, which is the second carrier evolution currently planned for the summer of 2015. If DT II does not work out for us, then we will look to schedule a specific carrier to qualify our LSO cadre, and possibly one or two other instructors. And if there is a DT III, which would occur sometime in the summer of 2016, that’s when 101 would go to the ship,” he said....

...Flying the F-35C...
...“Based on the way it handles in the landing pattern I would say it certainly wouldn’t be any more difficult to land on the ship than a Super Hornet. The F/A-18C Hornet is one of the most enjoyable aeroplanes to land on the boat, because you can put it exactly where you want it to be. Based on what the engineers and test pilots say about the F-35C, with flight control law upgrades, it should also attain pilot-friendly landing pattern handling characteristics that resemble those of an F-18C – that’s good for a single-engine aeroplane.

“In the fleet I have always flown twin-engine aeroplanes, so jumping into a single-engine type opens your eyes to different considerations when compared to flying an F/A-18. When flying Tomcats and Hornets I was always very aware of where my diversion fields were. In the F-35, that sense of awareness is heightened just because I’ve got one motor. If you have a problem you don’t have anything to fall back on. So it’s a subtle, but very distinct, change in mentality, especially flying over open water, and you pay very close attention to where you are going to go if you have an issue.

“The saving grace is that Pratt & Whitney has a fantastic track record with the Raptor’s F119 engine, so the expectations are very high for the reliability of this engine, too,” concludes CDR Crecelius. “We also have to train differently and do precautionary flame out approaches in the simulator, which we don’t do in F/A-18s. It’s a new animal, something that we have to train to. The mentality of flying a flame-out approach is new stuff for us Navy cats.”

Source: AIR International F-35 Special Edition July 2014

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2014, 01:49
by spazsinbad

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2014, 17:28
by neptune
spazsinbad wrote:[....Going to the Boat
Lockheed Martin is currently finalising the configuration of two System Development and Demonstration aircraft (CF-03 and CF-05) that will deploy aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68)..


Thanks

:)

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 29 Oct 2014, 18:27
by spazsinbad
:devil: Yep :doh: there is just TOO MUCH information on this board eh. :mrgreen: Missed it - by that much.... :drool:

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 14 Nov 2014, 11:27
by spazsinbad
Well worth watching this video for the F-35Cs in it:

http://abc30.com/news/f-35-strike-fight ... es/394890/

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 15 Nov 2014, 07:02
by geforcerfx
spazsinbad wrote:Well worth watching this video for the F-35Cs in it:

http://abc30.com/news/f-35-strike-fight ... es/394890/


That has to be one of the most well informed F-35 news clip I have ever watched, they need to run that on the major networks lol.

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 05 Sep 2015, 15:56
by zerion
'Grim Reapers' begin testing F-35

FALLON — The continual training for Navy aviation in the 21st century begins at Fallon.

The next step for Navy fighter pilots has begun over the Nevada desert as the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center is working with F-35C crews to refine their tactics, techniques and procedures with the Fallon Range Training Complex. Community leaders talked to experts at the air station on Thursday, while the media had their first glimpse of the newest fighter jet in the United States military arsenal.

The first F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to train with NAWDC is also conducting familiarization fights with local F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, said Zip Upham, spokesman for Naval Air Station Fallon. Pilots are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), the only single-site F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron that’s a subordinate unit of the joint 33d Fighter Wing (33 FW) at Elgin Air Force Base, Fla. The “Grim Reapers” of VFA 101 have flown thousands of flight hours in the F-35C...

According to the Pentagon, each Lockheed Martin F-35 ready for flight costs more than $200 million.

Rear Adm. Scott D. Conn, commander of NAWDC, said VFA 101 is training for the first time at Fallon to learn more about tactics and the capabilities of the F-35C, the newest fighter jet that will be assigned to aircraft carriers. For NAWDC, this is only the beginning.

“The aircraft is going through various tests and the aircraft continues to mature to the next level,” Conn said. “That’s why the first squadron and its air crew will fly that aircraft to its full specifications as it was designed.”

The role of NAWDC, according to Conn, is for pilots and their crews to be properly trained when their squadrons are deployed aboard aircraft carriers. Conn said in a few years training cycles will ensure pilots will know their roles and will be familiar with the jet. Although the F-35C is the Navy’s jet of the future, he said the F/A-18 Super Hornet isn’t disappearing.

“The Hornet will be around for 20 or 30 more years,” Conn said. “The F-35s, the (EA-18G) Growlers, the Super Hornets will work together in the Navy within the joint force and with our partners.”

In addition to Navy pilots assigned to Elgin AFB, Marine Corps aviators and their maintainers are training at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort (South Carolina), and the U.S. Air Fore and all international partners are flying out of a base near Phoenix. In 2011, the Pentagon announced the F-35 Lightning II would replace the F-16 as the primary training aircraft at the Luke Air Force Base.

Eventually, Conn said carrier air wings will have one, possibly two squadrons, consisting of F-35Cs.

The “Grim Reapers” commander, Cmdr. James Christie, said this is the only F-35C squad in the Navy. “If Fallon wanted F-35 integration, it was going to be VFA 101,” said Christie, who was assigned to NAWDC before transferring to Elgin AFB in the spring. “The brilliant tacticians here will make this plane better.”

The bond between F-35C pilots and NAWDC is strong because many aviators have either trained or taught at Fallon. Christie figures at least half of his 22-year career has been spent at Fallon in one capacity or another. Furthermore, he added several pilots with the squadron have deep connections with NAWDC.

Christie, who has enjoyed flying many Navy jets, said some similarities exist between the Super Hornet and F-35C. “It’s a breeze to fly,” Christie said, “but there is so much information to absorb.”

The Washington State native said the F-35C represents the future for both the Navy and its pilots.

“This is a whole new animal,” Christie said. “Some of the basic tactics we use on other airplane, but in many regards, it’s a whole new ballgame, and that’s what makes it fun and academically challenging.”

http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/180296 ... sting-f-35

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 06 Sep 2015, 02:09
by neptune
zerion wrote:'Grim Reapers' begin testing F-35..The first F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter to train with NAWDC is also conducting familiarization fights with local F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets, said Zip Upham, spokesman for Naval Air Station Fallon. Pilots are assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 101 (VFA-101), the only single-site F-35C Fleet Replacement Squadron that’s a subordinate unit of the joint 33d Fighter Wing (33 FW) at Elgin Air Force Base, Fla. The “Grim Reapers” of VFA 101 have flown thousands of flight hours in the F-35C.....


...four planes, two weeks..more two weekers, later.. :)

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 06 Sep 2015, 03:31
by spazsinbad
Another story with video here:

http://www.mynews4.com/mostpopular/stor ... 8ZUsw.cspx

USN story here [with photo below]: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=90941
&
PHOTO below is actually from NAS Lemoore visit earlier: http://www.navy.mil/management/photodb/ ... 90-006.JPG
Caption: "LEMOORE, Calif. April 14, 2015 Two F-35C Lightning II aircraft before a break maneuver with an F/A-18E Super Hornet from Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore. The flight is part of a six-day visit by the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101 to NAS Lemoore, the future basing site for the F-35C. The F-35C will complement the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which currently serves as the Navy's premier strike fighter. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Cmdr. Darin Russell/Released) 150414-N-SS390-006"

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2015, 06:08
by tritonprime
"F-35s hone dog fighting skills at Top Gun for 1st time"
By Meghann Myers, Staff writer 5:59 p.m. EDT September 11, 2015

Source:
http://www.navytimes.com/story/military ... /72048704/

NAVAL AIR STATION FALLON, Nevada — The Navy's sole F-35C squadron made its first trip to the hallowed strike fighter ground here to hone tactical skills and fly for the first time with F/A-18 Hornets.

Strike Fighter Squadron 101's "Grim Reapers" wrapped up two weeks of training with Top Gun fliers at Fallon's Naval Strike Air Warfare Development Center on Friday, the fleet replacement squadron's latest step in putting the F-35C Lightning II through its paces toward its initial operating capability in 2018.

"The first thing is, it’s cool. The cool doesn’t wear off," pilot Lt. Cmdr. Patrick "Turtle" Rice said on Thursday. "It’s just a lot of new toys."

The Eglin Air Force Base, Florida-based squadron flew four of its 18 aircraft to Fallon on Aug. 28, VFA-101 commanding officer Cmdr. James "Cruiser" Christie said, with three main goals.

First, he said, was to assess established strike fighter tactics, techniques and procedures with a new dynamic: joint strike fighters and Hornets flying missions together, as they're scheduled to do until the F/A-18E-F Super Hornets are retired in the 2030s.

It's a big change, Rice said, because flying Hornets is so predictable thanks to decades of experience. Now they're learning how the F-35C handles as they go along.

"Something I’ve noticed with the program — it’s still being discovered in real time," he said. "It’s contrary to our habit patterns, where almost everything is a known quantity."

Because the Navy is the last service to start integrating the new platform, he added, they're fine-tuning lessons learned from the Air Force and Marine Corps variants, who went first.

The next test is executing another detachment with the F-35, which will become a regular part of its training cycle, as it is with all squadrons.

"It is really cool to be taking this aircraft to the first places it ever goes," said Master Chief Avionics Technician (AW/SW) Mike Baker, VFA-101's maintenance master chief, who spent 25 years working on Hornets and Super Hornets before transitioning to the Lightning II last year.

"We've got four planes, doing real missions with real exercises going on out there," he said of the Fallon trip. "We’re the first ones to do this, so we own that, too."

And last is to give NAS Fallon a taste of what it will be like to fly F-35s when NAWDC receives their order in 2022.

Top Gun will be home to six JSFs, according to NAS Fallon spokesman Zip Upham, which will require infrastructure updates like outdoor canopies for the aircraft, to protect the cockpits from desert heat, for example.

Paving the way

Both Baker and Christie, who have half a century of strike fighter experience between them, said that while switching from F/A-18 to F-35 is a challenge, they're more than up for it.

"The new aircraft — it has four tires, it creates lift, it makes a lot of noise when it takes off. Other than that, it’s a completely different aircraft," Baker said.

In particular, he added, the JSFs are used across three services and several other countries, so the maintainers are sharing their knowledge far and wide.

For Christie, the Fallon trip was a homecoming, after serving as the CO of Top Gun and the Naval Strike Warfare Center, both based there.

He studied the F-35 from an academic perspective in the past few years, but he got to put it all into practice when he took command of VFA-101 in July, where he could "fly the airplane that I knew from a glossy brochure," he said.

"When you have over 3,000 hours, the physics of flying doesn’t change, and the thrill of flying never leaves you," he added. "Flying is still fun and exciting, and I’m just lucky that I’m not in khakis at the Pentagon right now."

The biggest difference, he said, is the intuitive way it flies. Where flying a Hornet is a constant dance of steering and adjusting speed with the throttle, the F-35 simplifies that balance by self-correcting its speed.

"That’s necessarily incorporated into the airplane basically because the mission sets that this airplane executes are so complex," he said. "It’s based off of so much information coming into the cockpit that you need to be able to have an airplane that’s easy to fly instinctively, so you can devote the majority of your mental faculties to absorbing and processing that information."

VFA-101 made its way home to Eglin on Friday — a 4 and a half hour flight with one stopover — just as naval aviation's annual Tailhook Association Reunion kicked off in nearby Sparks, Nevada.

The F-35C is on track for delivery to the fleet in 2017, with the first deployments going out the following year, Upham said.

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 13 Sep 2015, 13:58
by Jon
Was this the first deployment for VFA-101? Or had they been to Pax yet?

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 15 Sep 2015, 10:15
by beepa
"Whether you love the aircraft or hate it, Grim Reapers F-35Cs at Fallon is a sign of progress–always a good thing when it was lacking for extended periods of time. Once all of the F-35 units, across all three services, are at their full operational capability (FOC) is when we can really start to get a grasp of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Until then it would be wise to exercise patience, no matter how challenging it is at times, and no matter what uninformed media sources try to feed us."

Now that quote makes sense.....with a couple of good pics to match...

http://fightersweep.com/3023/grim-reape ... it-topgun/

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 27 Sep 2015, 11:36
by spazsinbad
Hah - youse thought Dave Grohl wrapped in silver foil was funny. Check this - F-35Cs outside on the line at NAS Fallon - seats covered in foil. Photo in Air International OCTOBER 2015 Vol.89 No.4

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2016, 02:57
by spazsinbad
F-35C Training Activities [Refer 'tritionprime' post on page 1 this thread.]
28 Jul 2016 Jeff Babione

"While the F-35A and F-35B made a splash in the U.K., the F-35C will be making some news of its own in the coming weeks. Next week, four F-35Cs assigned to the Grim Reapers of VFA-101 head to NAS Fallon, Nevada to participate in Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) training, commonly referred to as TOPGUN, to provide 4th/5th Gen fighter integration training which is now part of the TOPGUN syllabus. This is the third time for VFA-101 to provide support to such activities in what has now become a routine detachment for the Grim Reapers, in addition to serving as the Navy’s only F-35C squadron responsible for training all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp F-35C pilots.

VFA-101 F-35Cs will also support future Carrier Air Wing integrated strike training when available. With two years to go until F-35C IOC, the Grim Reapers are already playing a key role in the development of future Navy and Marine Corps SFTIs and early tactics development for Navy IOC."

Source: https://a855196877272cb14560-2a4fa819a6 ... _28_16.pdf (0.7Mb)

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 30 Jul 2016, 05:39
by mk82
spazsinbad wrote:
F-35C Training Activities [Refer 'tritionprime' post on page 1 this thread.]
28 Jul 2016 Jeff Babione

"While the F-35A and F-35B made a splash in the U.K., the F-35C will be making some news of its own in the coming weeks. Next week, four F-35Cs assigned to the Grim Reapers of VFA-101 head to NAS Fallon, Nevada to participate in Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) training, commonly referred to as TOPGUN, to provide 4th/5th Gen fighter integration training which is now part of the TOPGUN syllabus. This is the third time for VFA-101 to provide support to such activities in what has now become a routine detachment for the Grim Reapers, in addition to serving as the Navy’s only F-35C squadron responsible for training all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp F-35C pilots.

VFA-101 F-35Cs will also support future Carrier Air Wing integrated strike training when available. With two years to go until F-35C IOC, the Grim Reapers are already playing a key role in the development of future Navy and Marine Corps SFTIs and early tactics development for Navy IOC."

Source: https://a855196877272cb14560-2a4fa819a6 ... _28_16.pdf (0.7Mb)


Getting that TOPGUN 2 vibe :devil: . Cmon Tom Cruise and company...just do it already!

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 11 Oct 2016, 15:42
by ngroot0
spazsinbad wrote:
F-35C Training Activities [Refer 'tritionprime' post on page 1 this thread.]
28 Jul 2016 Jeff Babione

"While the F-35A and F-35B made a splash in the U.K., the F-35C will be making some news of its own in the coming weeks. Next week, four F-35Cs assigned to the Grim Reapers of VFA-101 head to NAS Fallon, Nevada to participate in Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor (SFTI) training, commonly referred to as TOPGUN, to provide 4th/5th Gen fighter integration training which is now part of the TOPGUN syllabus. This is the third time for VFA-101 to provide support to such activities in what has now become a routine detachment for the Grim Reapers, in addition to serving as the Navy’s only F-35C squadron responsible for training all U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corp F-35C pilots.

VFA-101 F-35Cs will also support future Carrier Air Wing integrated strike training when available. With two years to go until F-35C IOC, the Grim Reapers are already playing a key role in the development of future Navy and Marine Corps SFTIs and early tactics development for Navy IOC."

Source: https://a855196877272cb14560-2a4fa819a6 ... _28_16.pdf (0.7Mb)


Is there any more information about this? Which four F-35C's participated? I can't find any news about this trip to NAS Fallon.

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 15 Feb 2017, 22:08
by spazsinbad
Grim Reaper finds his rage
13 Feb 2017 Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson, 33rd Fighter Wing

"EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- As he stands at the step desk, you wouldn’t miss the subtle differences in his uniform. His brown leather boots seem foreign next to the sage green ones accompanying him. As is custom in the 58th Fighter Squadron, pilots roar “RAGE!” throughout the building. However, today this pilot is given a more fitting send off. He begins to turn the corner as a smirk creeps across his face. He nods with approval and marches out of the building as “Danger Zone” blares in the background. Rather than taking his familiar path to the stenciled grim reaper wielding his sickle; today he will beat his chest and fly with the Mighty Gorillas.

For only the second time at Eglin Air Force Base, a Naval Aviator has been selected to dual qualify in the U.S. Navy’s F-35C and the Air Force’s F-35A. Lt. Cmdr. Charles Escher, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA-101) operations officer, experienced the F-35A for the first time during his initial flight on Dec. 1, followed by a check ride the next week with Col. Lance Pilch, 33rd Fighter Wing commander.

“(This is) hopefully the start of a program where we have pilots crossing over to help each other by teaching and learning tactics and determining things we can improve, thereby making the squadrons operate more smoothly together,” Escher said....

...Escher was selected to fly the Air Force’s variant because of his knowledge and experience across a wide variety of aircraft. After starting his career as an F-18 Super Hornet pilot, Escher went to Empire Test Pilots’ School in England where he would fly more than 25 different aircraft alongside British Royal Air Force and other international pilots.

“The knowledge and experience you gain from flying that many different aircraft, and aircraft that are outside of your comfort zone, whether that’s helicopters or heavies, aerobatic aircraft or fighters from different countries, it makes it a smoother transition,” Escher said.

The F-35A and F-35C were intentionally designed to be very similar aircraft. While flying systems are virtually the same, Escher noted differences in the way the jets fly because of its physical characteristics. The largest task to overcome however wasn’t the aircraft, but the difference between branches. “The way the Air Force does some things and the terminology are different than in the Navy,” he said. “There are quite a few differences that are eye opening and it makes you want to bridge those gaps.”

Those gaps, in part, are why the 33d FW and VFA-101 have taken this opportunity to share knowledge. As other services gain ground on announcing F-35 Initial operations Capability as the Air Force did earlier this year, the three branches will work more hand-in-hand with one another.

Escher says he can already see the benefits of the relationship and looks forward to experiencing enhancing/continuing the flow of information to promote growth across the fleet. “With the Navy, Marine and Air Force aircraft, we’re each flying our own mission in our own separate entities, but we can definitely share lessons learned on tactics,” Escher said. “When we put together a large strike package we will already know what the capabilities and limitations are based on our own experience.”

The Naval pilot plans to use what he learns from his experience with the 33 FW to help the F-35 enterprise grow. He looks to join a group of test pilots at Edwards AFB, California, where he will have the opportunity to be the Navy’s voice for the aircraft weapons and vehicle system development. Beyond that, he is glad he has the greatest job in the Navy and the Air Force as an F-35 pilot. “I’m happy to be able to fly both variants. It’s a super big treat.”

Source: http://www.aetc.af.mil/News/ArticleDisp ... -rage.aspx

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 16 Feb 2017, 04:01
by 35_aoa
ngroot0 wrote:Is there any more information about this? Which four F-35C's participated? I can't find any news about this trip to NAS Fallon.


Probably the 4 up jets they had at the time :)

VFA-101 will be deactivated next year

Unread postPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 21:44
by spazsinbad
VFA-101 will be deactivated next year
08 Dec 2018 Alert5

"The U.S. Navy has decided to deactivate VFA-101 next year. The squadron is based at Eglin Air Force Base as the service’s initial F-35C fleet replacement squadron.

The unit’s personnel will move to VFA-125 at NAS Lemoore."

Source: http://alert5.com/2018/12/08/vfa-101-wi ... more-72862

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 12 Dec 2018, 06:52
by spazsinbad
Why the Navy will deactivate an F-35 Squadron next year
07 Dec 2018 Mark D. Faram

"The Navy will deactivate the Grim Reapers of Strike Fighter Squadron 101, consolidating all Joint Strike Fighter operations and training at California’s Naval Air Station Lemoore, officials confirmed on Friday....

...The move of the Grim Reapers' 15 aircraft is slated to be effective on July 1, according to OPNAV notice 5400. “The Navy is moving forward with the deactivation of VFA-101 at Eglin AFB next year, and the re-alignment of F-35C assets into Strike Fighter Squadrons to support VX-9 Detachment Edwards AFB, Air Warfare Development Command (NAWDC) at NAS Fallon and maintain Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) production at VFA-125, while transitioning Navy and Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet squadrons to the F-35C Lightning II,” wrote Lt. Travis Callaghan, a Naval Air Forces spokesman, in an email to Navy Times.

The shift to California should see the Grim Reapers' 29 officers and 239 enlisted personnel replace their patches with those of the “Rough Raiders” of Strike Fighter Squadron 125, Lemoore’s F-35C replacement squadron. “This will co-locate the fleet replenishment squadron production of pilots directly into the operational squadrons scheduled for transition to F-35C,” according to a note in the directive ordering the move.

The extra aircraft, pilots and maintainers at Lemoore are expected to help the Pentagon meet its testing and evaluation requirements for the Navy’s first operational fleet F-35C squadron, VFA-147. That major milestone for the Navy’s JSF program is still slated to happen in 2019. The maiden overseas deployment of VFA-147 is anticipated in 2021 while embarked on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson....

...The Grim Reapers could be resurrected if the Navy chooses to have an F-35 replacement squadron on both coasts. The OPNAV note requires the Navy to “maintain VFA 101 squadron lineage (name, UIC, insignia, call sign, etc.) for future reactivation.”

But bringing the Grim Reapers back to life likely won’t happen for at least a decade. That’s because the Navy has yet to start the process of naming a home base for its East Coast F-35Cs. It requires extensive environmental impact studies before senior leaders make the final decision on where the squadrons will go. And that, Navy officials say, isn’t expected to start until the mid-2020′s at the earliest.""

Photo: https://www.armytimes.com/resizer/P6vcr ... uality(100)/arc-anglerfish-arc2-prod-mco.s3.amazonaws.com/public/NF6FJJWLNNDGBM7ZBJZ2L7LDIQ.JPG


Source: https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-nav ... next-year/

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 25 May 2019, 10:19
by spazsinbad
Navy Deactivates VFA-101 Grim Reapers, Consolidates F-35Cs at NAS Lemoore [long article best read at URL]
23 May 2019 Megan Eckstein

"EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – The Navy deactivated one of its two F-35C Joint Strike Fighter training squadrons today and will consolidate all its fifth-generation fighter activities at Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. The move creates efficiencies on the maintenance side and allows the Navy to focus on getting its first operational F-35C squadron on deployment and integrated with its fourth-generation counterparts in the carrier air wing....

...During the fall and winter, the two squadrons [VFA-101 & VFA-125] worked together multiple times as an integrated FRS team, and Cmdr. Adan Covarrubias, commanding officer of VFA-101 who will take command of VFA-125 next month, told USNI News after the deactivation ceremony that “it was probably the best thing we could have ever done.” “We integrated (VFA) 125 maintenance practices into what we were doing, and then vice versa, (VFA) 101 into 125. We kind of took the best of everything, figured out what worked for everybody, and then came up with the best process,” he said.

Covarrubias himself will lead the single, larger FRS squadron, and many of his maintainers and pilots from VFA-101 are coming out to Lemoore with him in an effort to keep as much F-35C knowledge in the community as possible....

...McCoy [Capt. Max McCoy, commodore of the Joint Strike Fighter Wing in Lemoore] said VFA 147 is exactly where it should be ahead of its planned 2021 deployment with Carrier Air Wing 2 aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Maintenance personnel are building up their capabilities, but at this stage the squadron has only received two junior pilots out of flight school and is still awaiting more senior pilots who are transitioning to the F-35C from other aircraft types. So, efficient pilot production is the name of the game to keep VFA-147 on schedule – and deactivating VFA-101 and consolidating all FRS activities to VFA-125 in Lemoore will help the Navy do that.

“When you have more maintenance personnel and you have more aircraft, it gives you the capability to fly more sorties on a given fly-day on the schedule. You now have spare aircraft that can be turned into flyers if you need them. Because you have more maintenance personnel, you can work a longer maintenance shift, or you can work more days,” McCoy explained. “Having one large FRS gives us the flexibility to do more and to weather those moments where there’s unexpected or pop-up requirements. When you’re spread thin with people and airplanes, it just makes it more challenging and there is no buffer to cover down on executing the flight schedule.”

Additionally, for the long-term health of the F-35C force, “when we have all of our people and airplanes in one place, it allows us to balance sea-shore rotations with sailors and officers and pilots, because now it’s easier to flow folks from an operational tour to a shore tour, whether that’s working at the [Fleet Replacement Squadron] or at the wing.”...

...There’s still plenty of work to be done on concepts of operations, McCoy said, but “I have a very optimistic outlook in the sense that I think we’re going to really appreciate what F-35 brings to a carrier strike group – and I think that not only aviators but the other warfare commanders will fully appreciate those same capabilities.”...

...Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, spoke at the deactivation ceremony both as a naval aviation leader and as a former Grim Reapers pilot, back when the squadron flew the F-14 Tomcat. Kelley previously served as the director of the Joint Strike Fighter Fleet Integration Office and said he was pleased to see this day come after some earlier delays in fielding the F-35C.

“It was a rocky road. It wasn’t a path that was direct and easy; it was evident we were going to have some challenges. The Navy had an idea or a concept of what we wanted for the capability, and so the type of software we wanted for those capabilities meant we had to wait a little bit,” Kelley told USNI News after the ceremony, referring to the Block 3F software that the Marine Corps moved ahead without on its F-35B but the Navy waited for on the F-35C.

“That (delay) challenged us as we looked at our inventory of aircraft that we had, the fighter aircraft onboard an aircraft carrier. So we continue to buy Super Hornets, and a lot of people ask questions about, why are you doing that?” Kelley continued. “It’s because we want a mix. We want the capabilities that we have with the Super Hornets right now; we want fifth-generation capability in the future. We see those working together. The concept that we have is that the F-35 is truly going to be the quarterback for the carrier air wing, with the systems it has onboard, the fusion it’s capable of, of bringing information together. It’s significant. So having them being the eyes and ears and the directors as we move the carrier air wing forward is important.”

Asked if the capability the F-35C brings was worth the wait, Kelley replied, “yeah, it was, there’s no doubt about it.”..."

Source: https://news.usni.org/2019/05/23/navy-d ... as-lemoore

Re: VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

Unread postPosted: 25 May 2019, 14:26
by mixelflick
LOVE the big wing on the C.

Will love it a lot more, once it gets the new/up-rated engine... :)