F-35 "brake problem" - 03 May 2007

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habu2

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Unread post10 May 2007, 15:39

I meant to ask this earlier, does anyone know which pilot flew the jet on the flight in question? Was it Jon or Slim? Regardless of who it was, kudos to their performance!
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idesof

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Unread post10 May 2007, 17:28

Let me address the issues raised by habu2, vprguy and parrothead all at once. First of all, my previous negative comments regarding the F-35 were, I thought, evidently meant to be taken in the humorous spirit in which they were written. I obviously failed to amuse anyone by them, and that is my fault. In context, however, considering what I had written in the past, I thought it was obvious I was being facetious. I have been one of the staunchest defenders of the F-35 on this board, in my capacity as a "civilian", not a reporter. So let't make that clear: my personal bias regarding the F-35 is slanted in favor of it, not against it.

Regarding facts versus cojecture, whatever speculation as to the cause for the emergency landing on this board would not be fit to print, except perhaps in context and clearly identified as speculation. I don't know how many times I have to say that there are facts that can be reported here. Fact: F-35 made what appeared to be an unscheduled emergency landing. Fact: the pilot exited the aircraft in the middle of the runway. Fact: internet sites have been abuzz with speculation as to the nature of the problem, if there was in fact a problem. Fact: LM and USAF have so far remained silent about the situation. Fact: the airplane has not returned to the air since (although this is one I would have to double check if I were writing a report on this issue, which I'm not). There are enough facts to go on, and enough public interest in the project, that it would be more than enough to run a story about.

As for the number of successful flights, I don't know in what world some of you live in, or if you follow the news at all, but I have read literally dozens of stories in dozens of media outlets about the course of the F-35 flight test program. Some of you are either being ignorant or disingeneous when you suggest the media have conveniently ignored the successes of this program. Give me a break, guys: whenever the F-35 so much as took an itty-bitty baby step, the media reported it. First roll? Reported. First afterburner take-off? Reported. First wheels-up flight? Reported. If such minutiae of flight testing is being trumpeted by the manufacturer for PR purposes, to showcase its extraordinary creation, then it becomes subject to scrutiny by those of us who are not in the business of regurgitating press releases. Okay, so, you've now told us that the F-35 can, by god, roll inverted. How wonderful. Now tell us what happened here in these pictures that suggest there was a significant enough failure to bring back the airplane for an emergency landing. Of course, LM hasn't put out a press release about it. So you need to ask questions. Whether LM chooses to answer is up to them. But LM initiated the PR blitz by finding it necessary to tell the world that, golly, the F-35 has a freakin' afterburner. To print the press release stuff, and not follow up: that, my friends, is lazy and irresponsible journalism of the worst kind.

You have to understand that there is a natural conflict of interests, if you will, between journalists who cover a controversial subject and those who have a vested interest in portraying the particularl subject in the best possible light. The former tries to get at the bottom of things, the latter tries to spin the tale. And it is in a journalist's bones to loathe press releases and spin. And it is also in a journalist's bones to ask questions, particularly those that are difficult for the spinmasters to spin.

vprguy wrote the following that I wish to address more directly:

There hasn't been a thing mentioned about the F-35 on any news channel I've seen in months- well, with exception of the Pentagon channel. It hasn't even made it onto the little "ticker" at the bottom of the screen. But I'll humor you, and post a question:

Since so much political attention has been focused on this airplane, how come we haven't seen you so adamant about getting facts and figures about the, what, 16+ incredibly successful flights this aircraft has had? I haven't seen anything about DEMANDING information from LM about what speeds the F-35 achieved the first time the jet flew with "afterburner". Or anything about the first flights with the Helmet Mounted Display. Or even if the airplane has returned code 1 or code 2 on previous flights.


Regarding the first paragraph, just yesterday the press reported that the HASC had voted to order the USAF to continue funding the development of the F135 GE engine as an alternative to the Pratt. Your first paragraph is plainly factually incorrect, as those of us who follow press coverage of this airplane know quite well. Regarding your second paragraph, I haven't been adamant becaue LM has seen it fit to tell the world every time the F-35 so much as leaves the ground. Information regarding the flight test program has been fairly covered and disseminated. Seond paragraph, second sentence: you either did not read what I wrote in an earlier post, you choose to ignore what I write, or you lack reading comprehension: neither I nor any reporter can DEMAND information from LM. We can ask, and it is up the company to comment. If the company chooses not to comment, that will be duly noted.

What we do know is this: there are people on this site who have shouted from the rooftops how much they loathe the press, with comments that, in some cases, have suggested journalists ought to be shot, either with a gun or into space. And yes, there is a substantial portion of the population that holds that opinion, particularly that portion of the population that watches Fox News, which is not really news anyway, and much less journalism, which is why that portion of the population watches it: because it tells them what they want to hear in the manner they want to hear it. But that's okay; these folks don't want anything to do with journalism or journalists anyway. Fortunately, there are other news organizations that think journalism is more than pandering and infotainment. And being a journalist has nothing to do with popularity contests. On the contrary--you will likely be hated by those whose claim to power it is your job to question and contest. If there aren't at least some people who hate you as a journalist, you're probably not doing your job.

Finally, there are two possibilities regarding the nature of the malfunction on May 3. First of all, if it was a "real" malfunction, it could not have been as minor as some have suggested. When it was clear in the first flight that they had a faulty air data probe, LM ended the flight early, but did not have the F-35 come in for an emergency landing with emergency vehicles waiting for it. So, if the malfunction was in fact a "real" malfunction, it was a more significant event than a minor malfunction of a minor system.

The other possibility is that this was actually all planned as a test. Given that, as far as I am aware, the plane has yet to return to the air, I find that unlikely.
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MKopack

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Unread post10 May 2007, 18:20

idesof wrote:Finally, there are two possibilities regarding the nature of the malfunction on May 3. First of all, if it was a "real" malfunction, it could not have been as minor as some have suggested. When it was clear in the first flight that they had a faulty air data probe, LM ended the flight early, but did not have the F-35 come in for an emergency landing with emergency vehicles waiting for it. So, if the malfunction was in fact a "real" malfunction, it was a more significant event than a minor malfunction of a minor system.

The other possibility is that this was actually all planned as a test. Given that, as far as I am aware, the plane has yet to return to the air, I find that unlikely.


I hate to jump back into this, but I worked Blk. 10 A/B Vipers at MacDill in the late 80's. By this time they were 'tried and true' (or 'tired but true', depending on your perspective) an IFE just wasn't a big deal. We had up to 107 aircraft on the ramp, with most flying multiple times a day, and we saw just about everything you could imagine, from straight out crashes, to landings without gear, to, well, you name it.

IFE's were just something that happened at least a couple of times a week and neither we, nor any of the local media (with whom we had pretty good relations, they were out on the ramp pretty often) who knew about them, made a big deal about it.

Even when we had an aircraft dead stick into Tampa International from 50+ miles out over the Gulf, the media reported the incident and the fact that we fixed it and flew it home. No one cried that the world was ending. I'd guess I towed an aircraft that a pilot had 'abandoned' on or near the runway back to the ramp (and it's a long way at MacDill for those who haven't been there) at least every couple of weeks. No big deal.

It's the nature of the beast - military aviation. Fighters aren't Toyota Camrys, they're Formula 1 race cars. They break. When your race car breaks during a race, it's fixed, and they move on to the next race. Dissapointing, sure, and the media might report that it broke, but you fix it and move on.

The airplane broke, and it is, or it's being fixed. It happens every day.

Mike
F-16A/B/C/D P&W/GE Crew Chief and Phased Maint.
56TTW/63TFTS 1987-1989
401TFW/614TFS 1989-1991
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parrothead

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Unread post10 May 2007, 18:31

OK, all insults against Fox News and those who choose it as thier news outlet of choice aside (trying to stay on topic), I'll agree to three of the four points you propose as fact. The one that I still disagree with is that there's some reason to call attention to the fact that the aircraft landed with emergency vehicles and has yet to return to the air. Check with Lockheed and the Air Force and let us know why this is.

I (a civilian who works in telecommunications troubleshooting) can think of several reasons that emergency vehicles might have been called out and the pilot deplaned on the runway without a major malfunction having occured. Something might have given a false indication of a serious condition - could have been something like brake anti-skid inoperative indication or a brakes inoperative indication. Such an indication could raise fears of hot brakes or non-functional brakes which would make me think it would be a good idea to get the fire trucks out in case of a brake fire or failure. You'd want to tow it back to the hangar because even if the brakes worked right then, you need to check it out to be absolutely certain that it's OK before you trust them again. And you'd want the pilot out of the aircraft because there's other people who can take care of cockpit chores on the ground, but the pilot needs to debrief.

Nobody knows the flight schedule (been over that one already), so there are any number of unrelated reasons for the aircraft not to have flown since then.

I have no problem publishing the fact that the aircraft had an unknown problem which caused the guys in charge to call out the crash trucks and that the plane hasn't flown since. What I have a problem with is the sensational nature with which it was proposed that I have a problem with.

We can agree to disagree on many issues, but I'm glad we agree that the F-35 is a good idea and the best way to put warheads on foreheads in the near future :) .
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dwightlooi

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Unread post10 May 2007, 19:27

parrothead wrote:OK, all insults against Fox News and those who choose it as thier news outlet of choice aside (trying to stay on topic),


Well, all aside, Fox News happens to be the most fair, balanced and (most importantly) accurate news outlet amongst the big five. Sure, they have right leaning talk shows on -- like nobody else does -- and many who do not subscribe to the generally left leaning media of the USA may watch them because of that. But, I watch them because they have the highest propensity towards accurate reporting and presenting both sides of a story. For instance, they are the only news network which gave airtime to scientists who present the very solid case that Global Warming does not exist. It is also not the news outlet for America, Bush, military or corporate bashing. And that is a good thing.
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VPRGUY

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Unread post10 May 2007, 21:06

Idesof; you've done a much better job being "objective" in your reply. The standard impression, myself included, is that you've been bashing the F-35 on a fairly regular basis, and most of us haven't seen any "joking" nature in the way your responses were written. I'm not saying you were or you weren't- that is something that, behind the text of a computer screen, only you can know for sure. Perhaps you have a deadpan sense of humor, that is known and understood by those who know you- but it doesn't carry over well to strangers who can only read your words. As a writer, I'm sure you understand that tone, inflection, and body language that clearly define a spoken statement are nearly impossible to carry over into a written statement.

Your second paragraph:
It appears that you listed the things that are known, without going into what should or should not be done about it. That is a far better stance to take, than the following comments that came before:

Then maybe we can cancel this whole misbegotten, ugly-as-all-holy-hell POS and get some far more attractive F-16s instead!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By the way, the editors of this site should post a story ASAP and contact the major news organizations to report that the very $$$$$$ F-35 prototype suffered some sort of major failure.


To me, and apparently many others here, this sounds like the rant of someone with an axe to grind against the program, not a supporter who was cracking jokes-or an independent journalist.


What I said:
There hasn't been a thing mentioned about the F-35 on any news channel I've seen in months- well, with exception of the Pentagon channel. It hasn't even made it onto the little "ticker" at the bottom of the screen.

I am one of those lackeys who follows the main news sources; AP (newspapers), MSNBC, CBS, and >gasp< Fox News. I stand by my statement, that I haven't seen a drop of coverage about the F-35 there-or the F-22 for that matter. I also try to check out the af.mil website every day, and have not seen anything more than passing observations of the F-35 there. In fact, using the af.mil news search engine, I did not recieve a single hit on "F-35" or "F-35 Lightning II". I used to follow "Combat Aircraft" magazine, and I'm sure there will be information there, but I haven't seen that magazine in some time. Regardless of the press releases being published by LM, as far as I can tell they just aren't getting out to the mainstream media.

I have no doubt that the House Armed Services Committees' vote on the F-35's engine was published, somewhere. Would you mind telling us where, other than perhaps a .gov website that is required to print whatever votes are taken? I'm not attempting to slam you here, but if you're going to "prove" to me that I'm "factually incorrect" then you should include where I might find the proof. I've cited where I haven't seen the information. I'm hoping you will be able to tell me to reference possibly the Wall Street Journal, or maybe a significant defense publication.

the public has a right to know, and it will know. LM public relaions will be getting a few phone calls, and they will provide answers. So far the mainstream media hasn't touched this, because obviously it is oblivious. But no more. Time to contact the AP...


I added the emphasis to four particular words. You had emphasis on the one. If this isn't a demand for information, I honestly can't say that I read it as leaving LM the choice to comment or not. In the interest of getting accurate information, and possibly out of frustration with some of us on these boards, perhaps you mis-spoke? In re-reading some of my posts, perhaps I have slammed you as being too hostile to the F-35:
VPRGUY wrote:This really doesn't sound like anything an "unbiased" publisher or reporter would be caught dead saying. Suck it up and admit it: You, personally, HATE the F-35.
This is certainly the impression I came away with after reading what you have posted throughout this (and the flight #14/15) thread. If so then my apologies, but if not, I stand by my statements.

I, for one, do appreciate your efforts at getting information. I think you've gone about it the wrong way, and certainly came across as less than "neutral" in your position - and therefore your motives - in your desire to get this story out. That, more than anything, is what has kept you under fire here.
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habu2

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Unread post10 May 2007, 22:10

TTBOMK the "official" public source for JSF & F-35 related news is http://www.jsf.mil/

Note that many of the "news" links there are to LM press releases.

That's about as close as you're gonna get to "official" news unless you are on JDL.

(if you know what JDL is then you know what I mean) :wink:

(and if you don't know what JDL is then don't ask) 8)
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Lieven

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Unread post11 May 2007, 14:30

Flight International reports today:

Flight International wrote:Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter recovers from in-flight power failure
By Craig Hoyle

Lockheed Martin has launched a planned software modification to its lone F-35 test asset, after suffering an unexpected power failure during the aircraft’s 19th and most recent test flight on 3 May.

“We had some very unusual electrical transient through the airplane,” says Joint Strike Fighter programme executive officer US Air Force Brig Gen Charles Davis. “All the electrics dropped offline and came back after a few milliseconds.”

Lockheed confirms: “The test pilot observed a partial failure of the electrical power system. The issue required that the pilot return to base and the 45min flight was slightly shorter than planned. Although the aircraft’s redundant systems worked, we wanted to recover the aircraft to investigate the fault as soon as possible.” The JSF uses electrical power to control all its primary flight control surfaces.

The conventional take-off and landing aircraft – AA-1 – has been returned to its run station for an engineering review and to receive flight software update FTU-2, which Lockheed says will adjust its flight parameters following the 20h flown to date and introduce on-board prognostic health management systems. “The F-35 team does not expect any overall delays in the flight testing programme as a result of the incident,” it says.

Source: <a href="http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/05/11/213794/lockheed-martins-f-35-joint-strike-fighter-recovers-from-in-flight-power.html" rel="nofollow">flightglobal.com</a>
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Draykov

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Unread post11 May 2007, 15:43

And now we know...

Thanks, Lieven.
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dwightlooi

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Unread post11 May 2007, 17:42

The JSF uses electrical power to control all its primary flight control surfaces.


Just like a Boeing 787... :lol:
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Unread post11 May 2007, 21:11

This has blown out of control..at least there's an answer now. Much like the F-22/dateline incident...many absolutely false reports of how bad the problem really was. Anyways...an ECS failure will generate an IFE and thats relatively minor.
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