F-35 Procurement Troubles Don’t Dampen Pilots’ Enthusiasm

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spazsinbad

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Unread post25 Feb 2012, 00:56

F-35 Procurement Troubles Don’t Dampen Pilots’ Enthusiasm 24 Feb 2012 by Sandra Erwin

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/ ... aa2&ID=689

"...At the 33rd Fighter Wing, the next step is to ramp up pilot training after the development of the aircraft is completed and more aircraft arrive as advertised. The wing was promised 59 F-35s, which would be a mix of all three variants. Once the hardware is in place, Tomassetti says the training school should be able to deliver 100 qualified pilots a year. “That’s our capacity when we’re full up and running.”

Because the wing’s airplanes that are not ready for prime time, flight operations are severely restricted. The F-35s that are now available to fly are bare-bones aircraft without many of the sensors and combat systems that eventually they are supposed to have. Pilots are only going to be practicing basic skills such as take off and landing, how to navigate from point A to point B and how to fly in formation. “When we have full-up combat capability, the syllabus probably will grow,” says Tomassetti. He expects it will take six to seven months for incoming pilots to complete the training program.

Another consequence of the concurrent development/testing/training activities is that the aircraft that will be flown by the 33rd Fighter Wing will still be pre-production models and kinks still might have to be worked out. To make up for having to fly planes that are not “fully combat capable,” the wing has been staffed with the most highly qualified pilot instructors that could be found across the U.S. military, says Tomassetti. About three dozen instructors were hand picked by senior officials and carefully screened by a high-level board that reviewed their flying credentials, says Tomassetti.

The F-35B squadron has a wealth of expertise, he says. “There isn’t another squadron in the Marine Corps that looks like this one [the 501] in terms of the qualifications of people.” The instructors are top graduates of test pilot and weapon schools, he says. “The deliberate selection of all this experience base is to account for the fact that we were going to be part of a concurrent development cycle."

Pilots are not thrilled about the training program being restricted to only fundamentals, with no fancy flying yet allowed. “But that’s all we are going to do in the beginning because of all the concerns that people have voiced about trying to do something a little different than in the past,” Tomassetti says. “Whatever risks come with parallel development, we can mitigate by putting in the talent pool.”

Flights will only be allowed in daytime and in good weather, says Tomassetti. Speed, altitude and maneuvers will be far more limited than what test pilots have been able to achieve, he says.

For the instructors of the 33rd wing, the most exciting part of the job so far has been witnessing the exhilaration that new pilots experience aboard the F-35, says Tomassetti. “It’s an airplane for the iPod generation,” he says. “It has touch screens, it has voice activation.” Aviators who have flown other combat jets are struck not so much by what is in the F-35 cockpit but by what is not in there. “There’s not a lot of knobs, dials, switches, all the stuff you find in every airplane I’ve ever flown in my life.”

Display screens show 14 different windows of information at the same time. “It’s a little overwhelming to someone of my era of flying,” he says. “When I get in the cockpit I have displays with two or three things.” Younger pilots are far more comfortable with an onslaught of data. “They have all 14 windows up and they are processing all that information.”

A long article with only the end section excerpt above.
RAN FAA A4G: http://tinyurl.com/ctfwb3t http://tinyurl.com/ccmlenr http://www.youtube.com/user/bengello/videos
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Unread post25 Feb 2012, 01:13

Flights will only be allowed in daytime and in good weather, says Tomassetti.


:bang:


edit: added day VFR
The F-35B squadron has a wealth of expertise, he says. “There isn’t another squadron in the Marine Corps that looks like this one [the 501] in terms of the qualifications of people.” The instructors are top graduates of test pilot and weapon schools, he says.

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