An official news release features US Air Force Major Jaime Nordin and her attempts to balance her life as an F-16 fighter pilot and mother. While many people consider being a fighter pilot “who they are,” it seems Nordin is in transition:
“Being a mom and a fighter pilot are both equally demanding, which makes having only 24 hours in a day hard,” she said. “But more and more, I’m becoming a mom, and a fighter pilot is my trade.”
Everyone has priorities in life; having children can put a new perspective on things. For those that are curious, the article describes some of the details about female fighter pilots who get pregnant. Nordin was grounded Read more
One question asked repeatedly is whether it’s better to go Air Force or Navy if one wants to fly or be a fighter pilot. The FAQ of this site answers this question (as well as many others), but there’s interesting and relevant information from the graduation of the class of 2011 that just occurred.
Class Size: 1035
Pilot Training (incl. “Marine Air”): 305 (30%)
Naval Flight Officer: 75 (7%)
Class Size: 1021 Read more
The US Air Force reported an F-16C crashed in Wisconsin. The pilot is safe after ejection and is being “medically evaluated.” The aircraft belonged to the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing in Madison.
As is common, the Air Force will investigate the mishap and report the results some months from now.
Along with the USAF Academy press release confirming the death of Maj Phil Ambard, an assistant professor, the Air Force also released the names of the others killed during a gunman’s attack.
Among them was Maj David Brodeur, a 1999 USAF Academy graduate and F-16 pilot. Brodeur wasn’t in Afghanistan flying the F-16, however. He was apparently part of a unit training Afghan pilots.
Maj Ambard leaves behind a wife and five children, four of whom have followed him into military service (his daughter just returned from deployment). Maj Brodeur is survived by a wife and two children.
Update: Official military release on those killed in the attack, indicating LtCol Frank Bryant was also an F-16 pilot killed in the attack. Maj. Jeffrey Ausborn was also killed; he was a T-6 pilot, though his primary weapons system is unknown. The military released an additional report intended to dispel inaccurate press reporting on the incident.
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.
The Stars and Stripes notes the inadvertent release of a draft announcement that Iraq had agreed to purchase 18 F-16s, something it has wanted for years. As it turns out, the Iraqi government has not yet approved the purchase, making the release premature.
F-16s aren’t the only things Iraq wants.
“They’d like F-16s and, you know, Polaris submarines and aircraft carriers and a whole bunch of other things,” then-Lt. Gen. David Petraeus told reporters in 2005.
The Netherlands, one of the few countries that builds its own F-16s, rather than purchasing them from the US, is reportedly reducing its fleet of F-16s by selling some to Chile.
The Dutch are also one of the partner nations in the F-35 program, which is intended to replace the F-16, though their continued participation has been controversial.
According to an Air Force Times article, the Air Force is directing its pilots to plan and conduct their missions more efficiently to save fuel.
Interestingly, while the article focuses on fighter pilots, fighter pilots are the ones least able to contribute to the fuel-saving effort. LtGen William Rew noted that the restrictions on fuel consumption did not apply to the “combat phase of a training sortie.” For a fighter, that would mean that the fuel-savings mentality would be valid for only a few minutes on each flight.
In addition, the “efficient” flying suggestions won’t necessarily change fuel consumption. For example, the article notes that pilots are told to return home at 300 knots rather than 350 — but that assumes pilots were flying at the faster airspeed to begin with. It also assumes the relative fuel burn between those two speeds is large enough to be Read more