Expanding the Test Fleet

Discuss the F-35 Lightning II
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neptune

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Unread post21 Oct 2012, 22:46

http://www.codeonemagazine.com/f35_arti ... tem_id=110

BF-1 to -5 and CF-1 to -3 are tasked to the test fleet at NAS PAX River, Md., with BF-17, -18 and CF-8 arriving.
...
Because they lack a radar and other sensors, BF-1, BF-2, BF-3, CF-1, and CF-2 are used exclusively for flight sciences testing. BF-4, BF-5, and CF-3 have the hardware and software needed for mission systems testing, though they are often used for certain flight sciences tests as well.

Mission System testing will pick up speed when BF-17, BF-18, and CF-8, all mission systems aircraft, join the test fleet in late 2012 and early 2013.

AA-1 TO AF-7 are tasked to the test fleet at Edwards AFB in Calif, BF-17 is tasked out to Edwards, soon.

Because they lack a radar and other sensors, AF-1, AF-2, are used exclusively for flight sciences testing. AF-3, -4, -6 and -7 have the hardware and software needed for mission systems testing.

AF-3, -6, BF-4, -5 and CF-3 are fitted with Mission Systems 2A version software for testing.
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 15:01

no news about CF-5?
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 18:20

qwe2008 wrote:no news about CF-5?


There was authorization for one additional SDD CF-35 but no designation (CF-5). Assumptions were made that it is contained in the four ordered in LRIP4 (in initial flight tests), anticipated as CF-5 to -8 which will be delivered with mission system 2A.

The Dutch planes AN-001, -002 are defined as added to the SDD fleet (Edwards), not sure how that will be accomplished.

The first OT tailcodes (AF-17) has arrived at Eglin and EA/EW testing for the AF is co-located at this site. I'm not sure these four AF-s (LRIP3)will see training, iniitially (if ever) with mission systems 1B.
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 20:06

I thought the Dutch plane (and all early Partner planes) were part of OT&E and not SDD.
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 20:52

What an informative article [and LONG in a good way] that is above. Great stuff Code One. Nice. And h/t to 'neptune'. Here is a quote:

"...While many test points are shared across all three variants of the F-35, others are variant-specific. The vertical lift capability of the F-35B, for example, creates a unique flight envelope that goes all the way down to zero airspeed at zero feet altitude. “The F-35B can fly backwards,” noted Eric Faidley, a Lockheed Martin flight test engineer assigned to BF-1. “In fact, its maximum backwards groundspeed is thirty knots.”

The only time an F-35B might hover at thirty knots in reverse in an operational setting would involve an overshot landing, Faidley explained. “In such instances, pilots would typically not back up and, instead, go back around in the pattern and attempt another landing,” he said.

The test team at Pax is also exploring the maximum speed end of the STOVL portion of the flight envelope, which is 250 knots. “The buffet and noise is significant when we have the upper lift fan door all the way open, which is an angle of sixty-five degrees, at that speed,” Faidley said. “That’s a flight condition that we can’t evaluate accurately in a simulator. It’s another reason why we do flight testing.”

The team is also flying the B-model in conventional mode but configured with various STOVL doors open. “The flight conditions mimic failure modes,” Faidley explained. “For example, we intentionally open the upper lift fan door after the engine nozzle has converted from STOVL to conventional flight mode.”

Some of the flight test aircraft have special software that allows the pilot to override the standard control laws that actuate the various doors and nozzle angles. The flight control laws for the STOVL variant have six modes that are associated with specific actuations. Mode 1 defines conventional flight. Mode 4 defines STOVL. The other four modes define transitional states between the two primary modes. “If a pilot loses a hydraulic system in Mode 2, we know that the doors associated with STOVL flight will be positioned a certain way,” Faidley explained. “We are seeing how well the airplane flies in those conditions.”..."
&
"...Pilot Perspectives
All the F-35 test pilots at Pax are qualified to fly both variants. A subset has the qualifications necessary for executing STOVL test missions, that is short takeoffs and vertical landings. The ease of operating the aircraft in STOVL mode allows that test capability to be distributed broadly among the pilots. “A number of our pilots came here with no STOVL experience, but now they are flying STOVL test missions,” noted Etz.

“The ease of landing the B-model in STOVL mode is unprecedented,” explained Taylor, who had no STOVL experience before joining the F-35 ITF at Pax. “In the Harrier world, learning to operate in STOVL mode takes months of training. For us it is a couple of flights in the simulator and one, maybe two, flights in the airplane, because it is so intuitive. It is easy to land the F-35B in STOVL mode. We will never hear a Harrier pilot say the AV-8 is easy to land. The F-35B will hold whatever condition you command it to hold. It is like driving a perfectly aligned car down a perfectly straight highway with no wind. The F-35B will go straight until you tell it to do something else.”

“One of the beauties of this airplane is that it is so simple to land,” added Dan Levin, a Lockheed Martin test pilot and lead test pilot for the ITF at Pax. “Harrier airframes burn up about half their life in training pilots to land vertically. Landing vertically in a Harrier is a complex task. I’m a fixed-wing fast-mover pilot, and I was ready to perform STOVL operations after ten minutes in the simulator. STOVL operations are simple and intuitive. The flight control system is automated in the right ways. The pilot doesn’t even notice the transition between conventional flight and STOVL mode.”

Levin is one of a handful of pilots who have flown all three variants of the F-35. “All three variants are remarkably similar in terms of pilot-vehicle interface,” he said. “That is one of the beauties of this program. A pilot can go from one aircraft to another almost seamlessly. As for flying qualities, the A- and B-model are very similar. The C is a little different because of the larger wing. But none of the differences jump out. Landings in the A and B are similar to the F-16 in terms of speed and angle of attack. The C-model is as solid as a rock and pilots land at a much slower speed—high 120s to low 130s [knots]. The angle of attack for landing is much lower in the C-model so the pilot can see over the nose. The angle of attack control is very precise.”

Ease of vertical and carrier landings promises to significantly reduce the training time needed for these operations with the F-35B and F-35C, when compared to the aircraft the two variants are replacing. “The training required to keep a pilot comfortable in the STOVL environment is going to go to near zero,” Levin said. “The slow speed handling qualities of the C-model will decimate the training requirements needed to get pilots to land safely on the aircraft carrier deck. Eliminating those training requirements will skyrocket the value of the F-35C to the US Navy. Operating these airplanes will be cheaper and safer.”

“The ease of taking off and landing these aircraft is impressive,” added Taylor. “However, the ability to execute the mission is more important. That is, can the aircraft get pilots to the target, help them destroy it, and get them out safely? That is where the F-35 will really be impressive.”

Best read the entire LONG article at the URL at the top of the page.
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 21:09

neptune wrote:
qwe2008 wrote:The first OT tailcodes (AF-17) has arrived at Eglin and EA/EW testing for the AF is co-located at this site.


You know a date of this delivery?

AFAIK the Dutch F-35s indeed will be part of the OT&E, not SDD
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Unread post22 Oct 2012, 23:35

[quote="joost..You know a date of this delivery?..DD[/quote]

10Jul12

...and I have found "NO" definitive document for the Dutch IOT&E participationm but I suspect this is the plan. Please reply with a document, if available.

Thanks, in advance. :)
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Unread post23 Oct 2012, 00:44

http://www.aviationweek.com/blogs.aspx? ... 9ff81db2d0
The Netherlands is planning to formally order two Lockheed Martin F-35A Block 3 aircraft in 2009, enabling the country's air force and the NLR and TNO research labs to take part in the F-35 operational test & evaluation (OT&E) program at Edwards AFB, California from 2011.
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Unread post23 Oct 2012, 01:02

It would be interesting to see POGO crunch the numbers over the lifetime for the Harrier, Hornet and SH fleets for simply training pilots to land their aircraft, including the O&S costs projected over a 50-year period.


One of the beauties of this airplane is that it is so simple to land,” added Dan Levin, a Lockheed Martin test pilot and lead test pilot for the ITF at Pax. “Harrier airframes burn up about half their life in training pilots to land vertically...

Ease of vertical and carrier landings promises to significantly reduce the training time needed for these operations with the F-35B and F-35C, when compared to the aircraft the two variants are replacing. “The training required to keep a pilot comfortable in the STOVL environment is going to go to near zero,” Levin said. “The slow speed handling qualities of the C-model will decimate the training requirements needed to get pilots to land safely on the aircraft carrier deck. Eliminating those training requirements will skyrocket the value of the F-35C to the US Navy. Operating these airplanes will be cheaper and safer.”
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Unread post23 Oct 2012, 01:07

neptune wrote:http://www.codeonemagazine.com/f35_article.html?item_id=110

BF-1 to -5 and CF-1 to -3 are tasked to the test fleet at NAS PAX River, Md., with BF-17, -18 and CF-8 arriving.
...
Because they lack a radar and other sensors, BF-1, BF-2, BF-3, CF-1, and CF-2 are used exclusively for flight sciences testing. BF-4, BF-5, and CF-3 have the hardware and software needed for mission systems testing, though they are often used for certain flight sciences tests as well.

Mission System testing will pick up speed when BF-17, BF-18, and CF-8, all mission systems aircraft, join the test fleet in late 2012 and early 2013.

AA-1 TO AF-7 are tasked to the test fleet at Edwards AFB in Calif, BF-17 is tasked out to Edwards, soon.

Because they lack a radar and other sensors, AF-1, AF-2, are used exclusively for flight sciences testing. AF-3, -4, -6 and -7 have the hardware and software needed for mission systems testing.

AF-3, -6, BF-4, -5 and CF-3 are fitted with Mission Systems 2A version software for testing.


That is a great read Thanks :thumb:
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Unread post23 Oct 2012, 12:58

neptune wrote:[quote="joost..You know a date of this delivery?..DD


10Jul12

...and I have found "NO" definitive document for the Dutch IOT&E participationm but I suspect this is the plan. Please reply with a document, if available.

Thanks, in advance. :)[/quote]

Nederland heeft haar bestelreeks naar aanleiding van de beleidsbrief aangepast. Na
aanschaf van de eerste twee toestellen ten behoeve van de operationele testfase zijn de
vervolgbestellingen uitgesteld op grond van het regeerakkoord van het inmiddels
demissionaire kabinet. Levering van toestellen uit vervolgbestellingen is, gezien de
huidige bestelsystematiek, niet eerder dan voor 2019 voorzien. Het eerste Nederlandse
toestel wordt naar verwachting in september 2012 geleverd en het tweede toestel in
maart 2013. Deze toestellen worden in eerste instantie gebruikt voor een pool voor de
opleiding van onder meer Nederlands personeel dat met deze toestellen deelneemt aan
de operationele testfase;

Free translation: the two dutch aircraft will be used initially for a pool for training of dutch personnel and others who with the aircraft are participating in the OT&E.

Source: http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen ... -2011.html (MOD to Parliament)
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Unread post24 Oct 2012, 11:20

Sorry for my consistency, but I cannot find anywhere that AF-17 was indeed delivered to Eglin. Anybody got a link or so?
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Unread post24 Oct 2012, 12:08

SCRAMBLE has this sentence: "Of the other OT registered F-35A's the first one AF-17, assigned to 31 TES was already delivered to Eglin in July 2012"
http://forum.scramble.nl/viewtopic.php? ... d10d869798
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Unread post24 Oct 2012, 15:15

Salute!

You know, it amazes me how many "test" vehicles this program has. No wonder the "development" costs are so high.

Even with three variants, the numbers seem high compared to the FSD Vipers and Raptors back in their day. And that's even considering the Bee's STOVL capabilities, which seem more aero than electronic systems.

Back when the Earth was still cooling, seems we were flying some of the first 10 Vipers at Hill in the training squadron and the OT&E folks had a few jets of their own. but "borrowed" a lot of ours from the 16th squadron for their testing. And they were not "expanding the envelope", but primarily evaluating the "operational" capabilities and looking at the latest sfwe to be used in the "operational" jets. I also do not recall more than 4 or 5 FSD test beds before we started getting brand new ones from Ft Worth.

Maybe John-boy ( aka Johnwill) can contribute from his expeience in those early days.

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Unread post24 Oct 2012, 15:44

Gums wrote:Salute!

You know, it amazes me how many "test" vehicles this program has. No wonder the "development" costs are so high.


By comparison the F-15 had 20 test vehicles and they were only testing the one variant.
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