Air Force F-35A Makes First Nighttime Flight
April 3, 2014 10:34 AM
comment(s) - last by
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.
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RE: different symbols?
4/3/2014 6:41:37 PM
Fun apocryphal story.
Once a programmer was tasked with designing the display for the Navy's newest aircraft carrier radar system. He'd been taught in metric in school, and had recently worked on an Army contract (the U.S. Army is metric). So naturally he had the display show a plane's altitude in meters.
On the day the system was demonstrated, one of the admirals saw this and went ballistic. "What the !@#$ is this? Son, I don't know where you're from or what the h*ll you're thinking, but this is
the U.S. Navy
. We don't use pansy
. We use good old English units. Fix it or your company loses the contract."
Sheepishly, the programmer returned to his company and set about fixing the display. The next time the system was tested, the radar operators looked to see... the aircraft altitude displayed in negative fathoms.
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