VFA-101 Activated at Eglin

F-35 unit & base selection, delivery, activation
  • Author
  • Message
Offline
User avatar

neptune

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2885
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2008, 00:03
  • Location: Houston

Unread post02 Oct 2013, 23:25

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:
Attachments
VF-101.jpg
Last edited by neptune on 03 Oct 2013, 06:36, edited 1 time in total.
Offline

neurotech

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2346
  • Joined: 09 May 2012, 21:34

Unread post03 Oct 2013, 03:15

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
Offline

Corsair1963

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 5885
  • Joined: 19 Dec 2005, 04:14

Unread post03 Oct 2013, 05:22

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)
Attachments
images (5).jpg
F-35C-Grim-Reapers.jpg
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post11 Jul 2014, 22:30

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
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post29 Oct 2014, 01:49

Attachments
GrimReaperLoVizTailLogo.jpg
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline
User avatar

neptune

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2885
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2008, 00:03
  • Location: Houston

Unread post29 Oct 2014, 17:28

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

:)
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post29 Oct 2014, 18:27

:devil: Yep :doh: there is just TOO MUCH information on this board eh. :mrgreen: Missed it - by that much.... :drool:
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post14 Nov 2014, 11:27

Well worth watching this video for the F-35Cs in it:

http://abc30.com/news/f-35-strike-fight ... es/394890/
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline
User avatar

geforcerfx

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 853
  • Joined: 10 Feb 2014, 02:46

Unread post15 Nov 2014, 07:02

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.
Offline
User avatar

zerion

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 671
  • Joined: 25 Jan 2014, 01:47
  • Location: Everywhere like such as...

Unread post05 Sep 2015, 15:56

'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
Offline
User avatar

neptune

Elite 2K

Elite 2K

  • Posts: 2885
  • Joined: 24 Oct 2008, 00:03
  • Location: Houston

Unread post06 Sep 2015, 02:09

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.. :)
Offline
User avatar

spazsinbad

Elite 5K

Elite 5K

  • Posts: 23589
  • Joined: 05 May 2009, 21:31
  • Location: ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Warnings: -2

Unread post06 Sep 2015, 03:31

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"
Attachments
F-35Cs visit NAS Fallon Sep 2015.jpg
A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
Offline

tritonprime

Forum Veteran

Forum Veteran

  • Posts: 513
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2015, 22:29

Unread post12 Sep 2015, 06:08

"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.
Offline
User avatar

Jon

F-16.net Editor

F-16.net Editor

  • Posts: 1969
  • Joined: 06 Nov 2003, 18:21

Unread post13 Sep 2015, 13:58

Was this the first deployment for VFA-101? Or had they been to Pax yet?
Offline

beepa

Active Member

Active Member

  • Posts: 249
  • Joined: 05 Jan 2007, 22:36
  • Location: Aust.

Unread post15 Sep 2015, 10:15

"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/
Next

Return to F-35 Units

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests