The Associated Press penned a piece saying the US Air Force has been saddled by an aging fleet of aircraft thanks to “past inattention” and a “lack of urgency.”
For decades, the U.S. Air Force has grown accustomed to such superlatives as unrivaled and unbeatable. These days, some of its key combat aircraft are being described with terms like geriatric, or decrepit.
The article then details some of the aircraft the Air Force is flying, including the KC-135, B-52, and U-2 (1950s), and F-15, F-16, and A-10 (1970s). Modern era Read more…
Categories: Fighter Pilot a-10, air force, Aircraft, b-2, b-52, f-15, f-16, f-22, Fighter Pilot, geriatric, kc-135, u-2
General Mark Welsh, the current commander of USAFE, has been nominated by the President to become the next Chief of Staff of the Air Force. If confirmed, he would represent a return of the fighter pilot to the Chief position, which was filled for the first time by a non-fighter/bomber pilot with current Chief General Norton Schwartz.
“It’s always a great day to be an Airman … but this one is extra special for me. I came into the Air Force because I Read more…
As noted previously, the US Air Force has proposed cutting a large number of A-10s from the inventory in response to the reduced Department of Defense budget.
An article at AOL Defense notes this isn’t the first time this has been proposed, and the author starts to rattle off the reasons people think the A-10 Thunderbolt II (better known as Warthog) is so great:
Two things make the A-10 especially fine at CAS: its amazing 30mm cannon which can destroy a tank with ease; and the Read more…
Reports are already starting to emerge on how a reduced Department of Defense budget will affect each of the services. The Air Force seems prepared to mothball multiple A-10 squadrons (though its not the first time this has been proposed): Read more…
The Air Force has released the report of the September 2011 crash of an A-10C Thunderbolt II in Georgia.
According to the report, the mishap aircraft’s stall warning system malfunctioned at 15,000 feet, preventing stall warning tones from functioning properly… Without evidence of additional malfunctions, the mishap pilot continued the FCF.
At 34,000 feet, the mishap aircraft experienced a stall Read more…
General Mark Welsh is currently the commanding General of US Air Forces in Europe. (He previously sent out a message on the problem of retaining fighter pilots.) General Welsh is also a former Commandant of Cadets at USAFA, as well as an A-10 and F-16 fighter pilot.
On November 1st he visited USAFA and delivered an inspirational message to the cadets: You’ll make a difference. Be ready. One particularly salient quote:
Leadership is a gift. Its given by those who follow.
But you have to be worthy of it. The men and women Read more…
An A-10C Warthog crashed in Georgia Monday afternoon. The pilot ejected and was being evaluated at Moody Air Force Base’s medical facilities.
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. — An Air Force A-10C pilot assigned to the 23rd Wing ejected from an aircraft during a routine mission at approximately 2:45 p.m. today in a non-residential area northeast of Berlin, Ga., in Cook County.
Update: The pilot was released with minor injuries. Public Affairs has posted pictures of the crash site.
An A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog) crashed near Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, on Friday, according to the US Air Force. The pilot ejected and was airlifted to a hospital; locals said he complained of a back injury. As is the usual procedure, the incident will be investigated and a report issued in a month or more.
The A-10 has recently been used in Libya, most publicly attacking boats along the coast.
The Marine Times reports an AV-8B Read more…
As reported in the New York Times, US Air Force Capt. Ryan Thulin, an F-16 pilot stationed in Aviano Air Base, Italy, describes his recent (and first) combat mission, over Libya.
Of note, he flew an 8-hour mission out of Italy, refueling at least twice on the way in and the way out. He dropped at least two 500-lb precision weapons on targets in Libya.
The Associated Press picture of Thulin accompanying the article shows him sporting a mustache. He’s not participating in the fighter pilot tradition of growing a mustache while deployed, as he’s flying from his home base. It’s just coincident timing: the war in Libya occurred during Mustache March.
As an aside, the New York Times reports A-10s and AC-130s have entered the theatre, which may represent a shift in strategy from the generally high-altitude precision bombardment that has happened to date.
Categories: Fighter Pilot a-10, ac-130, air force, Aircraft, aviano air base, f-16, Fighter Pilot, libya, march, Military, mustache, ryan thulin, Tradition
The crash of an A-10C Thunderbolt II (aka Warthog) at Moody AFB in May has been attributed to “human error,” according to an Air Force press release.
According to the report, the cause of the mishap was specifically attributed to the pilot’s initial decision not to abort the takeoff. After deciding to abort, the pilot applied an inappropriate braking procedure based on his perception of being at a lower airspeed. Additionally, pilot-static [sic, pitot-static] system blockage, task misprioritization, distraction and procedural error were all substantially contributing factors to the mishap.
The months long turn around in the publication of the results of the investigation is not without precedent.
According to a report at the Air Force Times, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on a project that will enable ground forces to control the weapons systems on an A-10 — or even control the A-10 itself as an “unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV).”
The A-10 could be manned or unmanned; an unmanned plane would loiter autonomously but would be under the control of an A-10 pilot at a ground control station when responding to an attack and for all takeoffs and landings.
The pilot would give “coordinated consent” for the launch of weapons; the JTAC would fire the weapons using a portable computer. With the computer, the JTAC would access the A-10′s sensors, punch in coordinates for its targeting pods and determine the predicted blast radius and effectiveness of the weapons.
While the concept is intriguing, it masks the true improvement to air support Read more…
2Lt Ben Garland, a recent Academy graduate, apparently has an assignment to pilot training that he is reconsidering. If he changes his mind and does something else instead, he could avoid the 10 year minimum commitment to the Air Force for pilot training and do something else he loves: play in the NFL.
Garland has received counsel from at least one other person who was in a similar situation many years ago, a man who is famous in both the Air Force and the NFL: Chad Hennings, a Christian fighter pilot Read more…
According to an official press release, an A-10 pilot ejected from his aircraft during takeoff at Moody AFB, Georgia, on Monday. He was reportedly hospitalized. The aircraft came to rest between the runways.
No further information is available, nor will there likely be for at least 30 days.
Similar to the bio/synthetic fuel powered Air Force aircraft, the US Navy has embarked on an alternative fuels effort with its “Green Hornet.” The Navy plans to fly the F/A-18 Super Hornet on Earth Day, April 22nd.
The “Green Hornet” was a backdrop to President Obama’s remarks at Andrews AFB (now Joint Base Andrews) on his energy policy. During his remarks, Obama also recognized the Air Force’s efforts and the recent flight of the A-10 on biofuel.
Because the Navy operates different engines and has slightly Read more…
The US Air Force flew an A-10 Thunderbolt II on an alternative fuel last week. The fuel was a 50/50 mix of standard JP-8 fuel and a biomass-derived jet fuel blend. The effort is one of several to fly a variety of US military aircraft on synthetic and alternative fuels.
Replacing or augmenting military fuel supplies is far more complex than just “seeing if it works.” Long test programs are often necessary to analyze Read more…