Air Force F-35A Makes First Nighttime Flight
April 3, 2014 10:34 AM
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Marine and Navy pilots took first night flights in January
An F-35A fighter took off from Eglin Air Force Base on its first nighttime training mission late last month. Prior to this flight, the Air Force version of the advanced fighter was prohibited from operating at night or during adverse weather.
One of the issues which prohibited nighttime flights involved symbols displayed to the pilot that traditionally differ between the Air Force and Navy/Marines versions of aircraft. The Air Force has a different airworthiness authority,
, than the
standards already incorporated into the F-35 night systems.
[Image Source: Lockheed Martin]
“Back in [training] the displays the pilots were looking at were confusing to Air Force pilots but not confusing to Navy and Marine Corps pilots because a lot of the symbology was of Navy origin," described Air Force Lt. Gen. Chris Bogdan.
To get around this issue, the Air Force trained 15 pilots on simulators at Elgin and at the plant in Ft. Worth until the Air Force was sure its pilots were ready for night operations.
Despite the recent good news that
South Korea chose the F-35
as its next generation fighter, there are still lingering fears that software delays could continue to set the program back.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/3/2014 2:04:23 PM
I would rather have had the F22's as well, but the armchair strategists were out in full force cheering congress on when they decided to axe product before we hit the 200 unit mark.
The A-10 needs to go. It's a great plane, but everything it does would be done better by a drone. Put an MQ9 on steroids and you have a viable alternative to the venerable A10.
We don't have nearly enough F15's for ground attack, and the navy can't use them at all. What the JSF does "better"--at this point--is simply provide lower Mx-per-flight-hour operating costs, and that's fine with me. F16's and 18's are so long in the tooth that they just cannot stick around much longer. The F18E/F did nothing to substantially improve upon the F14 (in fact, it's worse in many areas), but the Mx involved in keeping it airworthy is night and day. That's the same thing that we see now with the F16/18's. Sucks, yes, but flying a plane will make it wear out. You simply cannot design a plane to fly forever. Every DC3 in existence has pretty much had every rivet, every rib, every inch of skin replaced.
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