The Air Force Times reports on a move by the Air Force to look into a new light attack aircraft to be fielded in the 2012 timeframe. The article notes that it is an “early step.” In fact, it is a “capability request for information,” which is barely more than market research on the feasibility of a system.
Still, the interest in an airplane which would presumably be used in counterinsurgency operations is intriguing. For some time, air enthusiasts have lamented the absence of aircraft like the venerable Skyraider that performed such an important, though sometimes niche, mission in Vietnam. The Skyraider and other aircraft similarly situated were eliminated due both to technology and the belief that their roles would no longer be needed in future wars. That logic, incidentally, is similar to that which is ending F-22 production now.
Mission Aviation Fellowship displayed its new Kodiak aircraft at the Airventure airshow in Oshkosh recently.
MAF has always participated in the air show, but the organization’s presence was greater this year due to the event’s “Fly4Life” theme. The theme focused on public benefit aviation, with a whole section devoted to missionary aviation.
John Boyd, President of MAF, said the ministry is still in need of more people to serve in remote areas where isolation and poverty are facts of life. He asked for people to consider partnering with the ministry in some way, whether financially or by giving of their time.
Links to MAF and other mission aviation organizations are listed here.
Capt. Mark McDowell perished a few weeks ago when his F-15E Strike Eagle crashed in Afghanistan. His WSO, Capt. Thomas Granith, was also killed in the crash. McDowell’s grandfather noted his call to flying:
(Flying) was his life. He died doing what he wanted to do. He wanted to fly. He was called to fly…God called him to be a pilot.
His memorial service was recently held at First Baptist Church of Belmont in North Carolina. Much of the service focused on “Mark’s strong faith in God.”
“Mark was always seeking to know more about the Scriptures…”
The service concluded with a powerful message on faith in Jesus and an invitation for everyone in attendance to accept him. Read more
Despite a prior Washington Post article, the Accident Investigation report released by the Air Force indicates that the reason for the F-22A crash in March was the affects of the high-g environment. While he did not G-LOC, the report basically says that he was trying very hard not to and he was only partially successful.
This mishap was caused by the [pilot’s] adverse physiological reaction to high acceleration forces and subsequent loss of situational awareness…The [pilot] channelized his attention to fight off the effects of high g-forces…[and] entered an extreme nose down, high-speed attitude from which safe recovery was not possible…
The Accident Investigation Board report can be read here (pdf) in its entirety. Other sites have translated this accident as being caused by “A-LOC” or by “pilot error.”
As if a reminder was needed of the danger of the military fighter pilot profession, a T-38 crashed at Sheppard AFB today. It was the second in 8 days (after a crash at Columbus AFB), and has led the AF to tentatively ground the entire fleet. The T-38 is the primary jet aircraft used to train future fighter and bomber pilots.
As covered by Fox, CNN, and AF.mil.
As published in the Washington Post (and repeated on the AU website), the Air Force clarified its position on the Task Force Patriot event at Stone Mountain. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has threatened to sue, again, over this “unparalleled rape of the US Constitution.”
From my arrival in Qatar in February until my departure in April, I spent approximately 70 days in what was classified as a combat area. During my entire stay I never experienced fear for my life, either in the air or on the ground. Our base was on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, relatively distant from the fighting in Iraq and low even in potential terrorist threat. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, a small civilian aircraft had approached the airfield undetected, much to the chagrin of the Patriot batteries ringing the base. During the war, the presence of a light aircraft near the base was the cause of the only increased threat condition during our stay. The base rapidly went from MOPP 0, a protective posture where no chemical protection gear is worn, to MOPP 4, where full gear—heavy overgarments, boots, gas masks, and gloves—is required. Whatever it was that approached the base turned out to be no threat, and there were no further reactions while we were there. In fact, a few days before I returned home they brought the base out of “lock-down” and allowed us to leave the base to see the local area. So our home was a fairly safe one, particularly when compared to the airbases further north that came under fire from SCUDs and other missiles and were in a MOPP 4 fairly frequently. Our route to and from the combat area was also a safe one. While we flew along the gulf we were in range of several other neutral countries, but we could virtually walk along the Navy sea craft from Qatar to Iraq.
The true threat only began once in Iraq, and even then the threat was minimal. Read more