Thirteen-year old Hunter Koltes won the Air Force’s Year of the Air Force Family video competition in the youth category. Koltes is the son of LtCol Jason Koltes, the USAFE vice commander executive officer and an F-16 pilot, formerly of the F-16 demo team.
The video communicates an amazingly mature and responsible attitude for a young teenager in this day and age. The 60-second film, which has an interesting soundtrack choice (Switchfoot’s This is Your Life) as well as imagery, is worth the watch.
All of the competition videos can be seen here, or you can link directly to Koltes’ video.
Also noted and viewable at the Air Force Times.
Various news reports indicated a NATO aircraft (reportedly a Belgian F-16) was damaged when flying through the volcanic ash associated with the recent eruption in Iceland.
While it may seem hard to believe, the airspace restrictions following the eruptions were not a publicity stunt. For example, Air Force regulations specifically prohibit flying in the vicinity of eruptions. From AFI 11-202v3: Read more
A few articles recently described how a formation of US Air Force F-16s
came so close to a commercial flight over the US this week that they triggered a cockpit alarm in the commuter plane
The incident was later described in this way:
The commercial plane “encountered two F-16s and they had a near-miss incident,” [Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony] Molinaro said.
While the term “near miss” in FAA parlance bodes ill, the incident is rarely as dramatic as it sounds.
While the reports don’t say how close the aircraft Read more
An F-16 pilot at Osan Air Base, Korea, has reportedly ejected just prior to landing. The pilot is described as “safe,” while the plane, which “had nearly touched down” at the time of ejection, “did not catch fire and remained structurally intact.”
It will likely be at least a month before the initial reports are completed on the mishap.
The F-16, like most advanced fighters, is equipped with a “zero/zero” ejection seat (the ACES II, in most American ejection seat aircraft). This means at zero feet above ground and zero knots (that is, parked on the ground), the pilot can safely eject. Generally he gets “one swing in the chute” before hitting the ground, an impact that is Read more
As noted in a variety of sources, the Air Force is instituting the previously declared drawdown in frontline fighters. It is “retiring” 250 fighters across several platforms, including nearly 100 F-16s.
By contrast, it was already common knowledge that the Air Force’s most recent budget had emphasized UAVs over manned fighters. The Air Force Times concludes that “by the end of the year” USAF UAV pilots will outnumber F-16 pilots. Presumably, these UAV operators will primarily control Reapers, Predators, and Global Hawks. F-16s were previously the largest manned major fighter weapon system in the Air Force.
An Air Force article reports that LtCol Gary Middlebrooks has achieved 4,000 flight hours in the F-16 while deployed to Iraq. Lockheed Martin, the contractor for the F-16, tracks such milestones and says that only 32 other pilots in the world have flown that many hours in the F-16. (F-16.net also tracks Viper pilot hours.)
“Flight hours” are a fairly routine measure of a fighter pilot’s time in his aircraft. While they do not directly correlate with maturity or experience, they do let everyone know how long a pilot has been associated with his airframe. Part of the rarity of such a number Read more
Captain Scott O’Grady is best known as the F-16 pilot shot down during Operation Deny Flight over the former Yugoslavia in 1995. He survived for five and a half days — during which no one even knew he was alive — before being rescued. Upon his return home he was declared a hero, a title he eschewed and passed on to the Marines who lifted him to safety.
The book details the mission from his arrival at work until the missile took his jet out from under him; it then describes the days he spent on the ground hoping for a rescue. Interspersed are back stories of his life and his family back in the US as they learned of his shootdown. The retelling of the organization of the rescue effort and its subsequent execution — which was completed about 5 hours after the initial radio contact — is well done.
Regrettably, O’Grady became a victim of Read more