L O C K H E E D
M A RT I N
A E RONAU T ICS
COM PA N Y
Chilean F-16 Operations USMC KC-130J REFUELERS ROKAF Pilot Training With T-50
PHOTO BY TSGT. L ARRY A. SIMMONS
Capt. Nathan Glasscock prepares to land while training on the C-130J Super Hercules simulator at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. Glasscock is a student at the C-130 Center of Excellence, the Hercules schoolhouse, at the base. The 48th Airlift Squadron at Little Rock trains crews to fly the C-130J.
Vol. 22 No. 4
Fourth Quarter 2007
Catherine Hernandez-Blades ASSOCIATE EDITOR
PEACE PUMA Chilean Air Force F-16 Block 50 Operations
VICE PRESIDENT, COMMUNICATIONS
Mary Jo Polidore
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION PRESIDENT, AERONAUTICS COMPANY
Ralph D. Heath
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ABOUT THE COVER
Front: Four Block 50 F-16s from Los Condores AB fly in formation over salt flats in northern Chile. Photo by Katsuhiko Tokunaga Back: Two T-50 Golden Eagles from the 50th Fighter Wing of the Republic of Korea Air Force fly in tight formation on a training mission from Gwangju AB. Photo by Katsuhiko Tokunaga
WHIRLYBIRD WEST TRANSCON KC-130J Tankers Move Ospreys From West To East
THUMBS UP FOR T-50 The Golden Eagle Is Now Training Student Pilots
F-16 UNIT SALUTES TUSKEGEE AIRMEN History Takes Flight With The 100th Fighter Squadron
RODEO 2007 Travis AFB Dominates Air Mobility Command’s Biennial Competition
The blue-gray paint schemes of the Block 50 F-16s provide a cool contrast against the reddish-brown of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. The four jets of the Fuerza Aerea de Chile fly in tight formation over sand, salt basins, lava flows, and abandoned
nitrate minesó the driest landscapes on earth. Parts of the Atacama have not seen rain for periods of 400 years. Some riverbeds in this desert have been dry for 120,000 years. Scientists have compared the soil in Atacama to that found on Mars. By Eric Hehs
e s ol at ion c a n b e de c eiv i ng. The region boasts one of the world’s largest copper mines at Chuquicamata near the city of Calama. The fishing industry thrives off the arid coastline. The commercial airport at Iquique (i’ key kay) is second in traffic only to Santiago International. The airport shares its runway with
F-16s and other military aircraft operating out of Los Condores AB. “Our fisheries use the commercial a i r p or t ,” e x pl a i n s C ol . E du a rdo Ma nn, who com ma nds t he 3rd Squadron at Los Condores. His unit operates the Block 50 F-16s. “We also have f l ig ht s f rom Iqu ique to t he copper mines in the highlands,” he
adds. “During three months of the year, we have close to ten f lights a day carr y ing seeds to t he United States. They typically transport corn s e e d s f rom Apr i l t h rou g h Ju ne . These cargo aircraft, some of them 747s, take off fully loaded and use a lmost ever y meter of our 3,000meter runway. Fourth Quarter 2007
Col. Eduardo Mann
Maj. Francisco Schmidt
“This level of activity may appea r overwhelming for a military air base,” Mann continues. “But the traffic pattern doesn’t interfere with our operations with the occasional exception of performing touch-and-goes and simu lating f lameout landings. If our economy continues to grow at its current pace, however, we may have to move to a military-only runway one day. But for now, we are fine.” The activity at Iquique’s airport highlights the importance of the region to Chile’s economy. One glance at a map of South America explains the strategic significance of this part of Chile as well. “The center of gravity for our countr y has a lways tended to t he north,” Mann adds. “Our military has always put its main squadrons in this 4
part of the country. The 3rd Squadron here is the second oldest in the air force. The oldest, the 1st Squadron, origi nated in A rica, t he northernmost city in Chile, and later moved to Iquique. The desert affords us great flying conditions and large unrestricted zones for training.” The 3rd Squadron falls under the 1st Brigade at Condores. (A brigade is equivalent to an air wing in the United States.) The base’s 1st Squadron is the Chilean Air Force’s combat we ap on s s cho ol, a nd it op er ate s A-36 a nd T-36 Ha lcóns. T he 2nd Squadron is a transport unit that operates a Beech 99 airliner, CASA C.212 Aviocars, Piper PA-28 Dakotas, and Bell UH-1H Hueys. The Block 50 F-16s are the latest additions to the base and the most modern fighters in the Chilean Air Force. The first of ten aircraft arrived in January 2006. The last two arrived in March 2007 af ter completing Chilespecific f light test duties at Edwards AFB, California. Preparations for the new fighters began in earnest well before the first aircraft arrived. “We put our plans in motion once a letter of agreement was signed to purchase the F-16s in February 2002,” says Mann, who has been associated with the Peace Puma program since that same year. “We began choosing our technicians in 2002. Our choices were based on professional preparation, knowledge, and English proficiency. We sent seventy-eight of
them to the United States to be trained i n For t Wor t h, Tex a s . We bega n selecting pilots in 2003. We sent the f irst t wo to Tucson, Arizona, for the transition course, and they were soon followed by two more.” Condores was chosen as the operating base in 2003. Construction of the administration building, engine shop, and other support facilities began in 2005. “When the airplanes arrived in January 2006, the buildings and most of the infrastructure were ready,” recalls Mann, who brings his program knowledge with him as the 3rd Squadron’s first commander. “But we had to improve the taxiways before the aircraft were moved to this side of the runway. We moved them here that April. “We started from scratch with new infrastructure, new procedures, and new equipment,” Mann continues. “Our newly trained technicians come from a variety of backgrounds. Their prev ious ex perience ra nges f rom Mirages, F-5s, and A-37s to transport aircraft and helicopters. We have a melting pot of people here. And everything is working well.” Maj. Francisco Schmidt, the maintenance officer at the 3rd Squadron, is in charge of the maintenance portions of that melting pot at Condores. He has experience on all the f ighters f lown by the Chilean Air Force, including Mirages, F-5s, and A-37s. “I’ve worked at our bases in Punta Arenas near the southern tip of Chile and in Antofagasta, which i s up he re i n t he nor t he r n desert,” he explains. “Every base has its own culture. A new aircraft gives us an opportunity to create our own culture and to form a cohesive group. Everything is new, so we get to define relationships.” Schmidt and others at Condores are using this flexibility to introduce more cross-training among maintenance personnel. “We want every technician to be familiar with several systems,” he says. “For example, our former crew chiefs used to restrict their work to
pref lig ht, post-f lig ht, lau nch, recovery, and some between-flight inspections. We are enrolling them and our former engine technicians in USAF crew chief training. They graduate with a much larger set of skills and can perform many additional tasks beyond the previous scope of a crew chief in Chile. Our commercial airlines are doing this with much success. We are likewise becoming much more efficient. “The F-16 is more suited for this approach,” Schmidt continues. “While it is easier to troubleshoot and easier to fix than previous aircraft, the job is never routine. We learn something new about the F-16 every day. We want to learn more. Everyone is motivated. T his a ir pla ne is a sou rce of nat iona l pride, so ever yone is proud to work on it.” Capt. Mario Moraga, an instructor pi lot at t he 3rd Squadron, experienced that pride firsthand. “The people were excited about the aircraft when it debuted at our FIDAE International Air Show in Santiago in 2006,” he says.
“Crowds formed around the aircraft. Everyone wanted to see it.” As one of t he f i rst F-16 pi lot s, Moraga took an F-16 to various air bases in Chile in 2006. “I f lew demonstration flights at Santiago, Puerto Montt, Antofagasta, and Punta Arenas. I f lew six demonstration f lights in 2006 in Iquique as well,” he adds. Moraga now spends most of his time training new F-16 pilots. “We taught six students last year and are transitioning four this year,” he explains. “With ten aircraft, we don’t have a huge need for pilots, but once we are fully up and running, we will lose two and train two pilots every year. Last year was busy for me. I was f lying instructional sorties for all of the operational pilots in the unit today as well as those demonstration flights.” Current F-16 pilots in Chile have transitioned from other fighters, so they take a transition course to become qualif ied to operate the F-16. The course progresses from F-5 transition from basic f lying, to basic air-to-air missions, to advanced air-to-air missions, to basic air-to-ground missions, and then to advanced air-to-ground
Capt. Mario Moraga
Fourth Quarter 2007
missions. The course concludes with multirole missions. “We attract some very good pilots,” explains Moraga, who has accumulated 400 hours in the F-16. “Many of them come from the F-5E/F Tiger III, which has been significantly upgraded. While some of the avionics between our F-16s and F-5s may be similar in some respects, the overall capability and performance of t he F-16 sets it apart. I trained in Block 42 F-16s in the states. The avionics are much more advanced in our new Block 50 aircraft. The power is noticeably better as well.” That power is provided by a General Electric F110-GE-129 engine, which produces 29,000 pounds of thrust in afterburner. The Chilean F-16s have night vision compatible cockpits and exterior lighting. The two-seat version has a missionized backseat. They can ca rr y Litening II ta rget ing pods.
Weapon capability includes AIM-120C AMR AAM, Py thon 4, AIM-9L/M, GBU-10 and GBU-12 laser guided bombs, AGM-84 Harpoon, GBU-31 joint direct attack munitions, and AGM-65 Maverick. Advanced systems include the APG-68(v)9 radar, fully integrated datalink, advanced friend/ foe interrogator, joint helmet-mounted cueing system, onboard oxygen generating system, and electrical and cooling systems designed to accommodate additional systems. The aircraft are equipped with a drag chute as well. “Some weapons and systems are still arriving at the base,” Moraga continues. “Only half of our pilots have more than 200 hours in the F-16, but we are gaining experience quickly. Our primary mission is to get up to speed a s a squad ron. We haven’t dropped live bombs in Chi le, for example, but we should start doing that from this base later this year.” “Our goal is to reach an operational level as soon as we can,” adds Mann. “We have some advanced systems in our F-16s. We have to be able to use them operationally, not just carry them around. The targeting pod is a good example. We start f lying with the pods this month [July 2007]. We have been f lying with them in our simulators already. Our friends in S qu ad ron 8 at A ntofa ga st a were
trained with the targeting pod in their MLU jets. So we exchange a lot of information with them. “We are already flying with the joint hel met-mou nted cuei ng system,” Mann continues. “The helmet is integrated with several systems in the aircraft. We can slave the radar with the helmet, and it works with the targeting pod as well. We use the normal helmet for some specific F-16 missions, but we usually f ly with the JHMCS. Every pilot has both helmets. We conduct a wide set of missions from this base: offensive counter air, defensive counter air, strategic missions, and close air support. So we have to train in all of those areas. The wide-ranging capabilities of the F-16 are well suited to these needs.” The level of activity at Condores is as high, if not higher, than it is at the commercial airport nearby. “Reaching an operational level with a new fighter normally takes three to fou r ye a rs , de p end i ng on t he experience with previous aircraft,” Mann explains. “A year from now, we will have everything in place. All of t he systems w i l l be operat ing. Most of the training will be done. We will have everything we need to be fully operational. We will be in a very good position.” Eric Hehs is the editor of Code One.
MLUs at Antofagasta C
hile added to its F-16 fleet in 2006 Saravia Vilches. “I got to shake hands with when it acquired eighteen F-16s from the president,” Rojas says with a broad smile. the Royal Netherlands Air Force. These “My mother and father were here to see that aircraft are based at Cerro Moreno Air Base and my demonstration flight as well. They in Antofagasta, which is about 400 kilometers were very proud.” Rojas received his transition training in south of Iquique on the Chilean coast. The aircraft form the 8th Squadron of the 5th the Netherlands at the 306th Squadron at Volkel AB. “After two months of transition Brigade at Moreno. The fir st six of these Mid-Life Update t r a i n i n g , h e w e n t t o a n o p e r a t i o n a l squadron, the 312th, and flew as F-16s landed in Chile in ear ly a wingman for two months before September 2006. “The airplanes going back to the 306th for arrived combat-ready,” explains additional training to become an Maj. Sergio Rojas, who was on instructor pilot. t he f ir s t f e r r y f lig h t f r om t he The 8th Squadron star ted it s Netherlands to Antofagasta. “While first pilot training class in they are not brand new, all of the Antofagasta in June 2006. “That systems worked. The aircraft were class consists of four students,” ver y well maintained. They were selected in the Netherlands Maj. Sergio Rojas explains Rojas, who is one of two instructor pilots at the unit. “Our by Chilean Air Force personnel squadron should have about twenty-five after a thorough inspection.” Rojas flew the demonstration flight during pilo t s even t ually. We ar e jus t s t ar t ing the official arrival ceremony. Chile’s president, maintenance t r aining her e as well. We Michelle Bachelet, attended, as well as the are not in a huge hurry, but our efforts are minister of defense, Vivianne Blanlot Soza, accelerating. We just received the last six and the air force’s commander-in-chief, aircraft in early June 2007.”
Morena Air Base, like Condores, required some additional infrastructure to suppor t t he new f ighter s. “ We rebuilt t he r amp during the last two years,” Rojas notes. “We upgraded our hangars and installed new elec tr ical systems. We added three new building s — one f or supp or t ing our Pratt & Whitney engines, one for general maintenance, and the third for our simulator. We are also constructing some new administration buildings. “All of our procedures are standardized between the two F-16 bases with only minor differences, most of which are related to the different engines,” Rojas adds. “All Chilean F-16 pilots should be able to switch between units after one or two training flights.”
Fourth Quarter 2007
TRANSCON BY JEFF RHODES
n the end, the e xercise beca me a compl icated m ath problem. It had fixed quantitiesâ€”2,300 miles, twelve
required aerial refuelings, more than nine hours of flight ti me, a nd th ree KC-130J Super Hercu les ta n ker s. T he solution had to equal four MV-22B Osprey aircraft crews flying nonstop across the US and landing safely with 3,000 pounds of fuel reserves. The big variable was the weather. PHOTOS BY JOHN ROSSINO Fourth Quarter 2007
“Our mission is to plan and execute a multiship transcontinental f light from California to North Carolina,” says Lt. Col. Dave Krebs, commander of Marine Aerial Refueler Transport S qu a d ron 2 52 ( V MGR-2 52), t he KC-130J unit at MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina. “We want to refine t he aeria l ref ueling sk i l ls for t he M V-2 2 c r e w s — p a r t i c u l a r l y i n weather—and to practice pathfinder operations with the Ospreys.” The first combat deployment for the Osprey started in September as Marine Med iu m Ti lt rotor S qu ad ron 263 (VMM-263), based at MCAS New River, North Carolina, began operations in Iraq. It had been a long, and sometimes arduous, road for the MV-22 to reach this milestone—as development of the Osprey, a helicopter/aircraft hybrid, had taken more than a decade. The improved Marine MV-22B is now f lown by two operational squadrons and one training unit. 10
The Osprey is a joint-service, multimission tiltrotor transport operated by t he Marine Corps and t he Air Force. The MV-22 takes off vertically like a helicopter. Its large rotors and engines t hen translate dow nward ninety degrees to a horizontal position, and the Osprey becomes a turboprop aircraft with long range and good high-speed cruise performance. The Osprey lands like a helicopter, with the motors and rotors translating up prior to touchdown. For t he M a r i ne s , t he O s pre y ’s primary mission is to f ly from an amphibious assault ship at twice the speed of a helicopter and land in a confined space or on a beach to drop of f t went y-four combat troops or 20,000 pounds of cargo. Because it is designed to spend most of its career at low altitude, the Osprey is not pressurized. It also does not have advanced radar. For its mission, the MV-22 simply doesn’t need either one. Howe ver, t he lac k of t h i s e qu ipment becomes a consideration when the Osprey is deploying.
In the work-up to the first operational deployment, VMM-263 Osprey crews trained for months with their Super Hercules tanker-f lying neighbors at Cherry Point. The unit practiced w it h VMGR-252, t he oldest c o nt i nu a l l y a c t i v e s q u a d r o n i n the Marine Corps, which f lies the KC -1 3 0 J s s t a t i o n e d o n t h e U S East Coast. With the f irst Osprey squadron deployed, the second squadron, VMM162 , a l s o ba s e d at Ne w R iver, i s training. Known as the Golden Eagles, VMM-162 is scheduled to deploy in mid-2008. But in early September, the KC-130J squadron and this MV-22 unit teamed up for a cross-country transit exercise, called Whirlybird West Transcon, to f ly nonstop from MCAS Mira mar, near San Diego, California, back to eastern North Carolina. The exercise provides valuable ex perience to t he VM M-162 Osprey crews.
F or m ation Ta k eoff
“The f light is a large formation movement to simulate a long-range, over-water scenario to the maximum extent possible,” notes Krebs. “The Marine Corps is going to deploy the Osprey over open water at some point. The tanker squadrons and the MV-22s both have to be ready.” The seven aircrews held a mass brief ing t he af ternoon before t he f lig ht, covering ever y t hi ng f rom takeoff procedures to route of flight, formation rules, and radio frequencies. The briefing was detailed, even noting exactly where the Osprey crews would break formation and proceed to a landing at New River. “Then the weather changed, and we had to replan the entire mission in about thirty minutes,” recalls Capt. Aleksander Martin-Nims, the pilot of one of the KC-130Js. The remnants of Tropical Storm Henrietta, which had moved over New Mexico overnight, precipitated the change.
“We have to have three KC-130Js to make this mission work,” notes K rebs. The crew in pat hf inder KC-130J ta kes of f t hir t y minutes ahead of the main formation. That crew’s job is to find clear skies around the clouds and storms using the aircraft’s AN/APN-241 color low-power weather radar and the crew’s own Mk. 1 eyeballs. They relay that information to the Refueling Aerial Commander, or R AC, who is in charge of the overall mission. Krebs served as the RAC on this f light. The RAC takes the information from the pathfinder (radio callsign Otis 50) and makes the decision on course changes and how best to proceed. The RAC also works the radios, coordinating with air traffic control, the other tanker, and the Ospreys. Departing Mitscher Field at MCAS Miramar, the two tankers with the fuel for the Ospreys (callsigns Otis 51 and Otis 52) took off one behind the other from the right runway, while the four MV-22s (callsigns Talon 13, 14, 15, and 16) took off in formation from the parallel left runway.
The Marines use their KC-130Js in both the tanking and transport role, and on this Friday, Otis 51 fills both roles. The VMM-162 maintainers who had previously deployed with their MV-22s to California are also going home. With the cargo compartment being used by the maintainers and their equipment, the large fuselage fuel tank normally used on refueling missions is not installed on Otis 51. The aircraft has 58,000 pounds of fuel for itself and the Ospreys. Otis 52 does carr y t he f uselage t a n k, wh ich c a n hold more t ha n 23,000 pounds of fuel—roughly 3,500 g a l l o n s . W i t h a t o t a l o f 74 , 0 0 0 pounds of fuel in the fuselage and wing tanks, Otis 52 is near max gross takeoff weight. Even with that heavy load, the KC-130J needs only about half of Miramar’s 12,000-foot runway to get airborne. The Ospreys began their takeoff roll simultaneously to Otis 52. Once airborne, the four MV-22s quickly form up behind the KC-130J in tight echelon left and right formation, two aircraft behind and to each side of the tanker. Otis 52 is a half-mile in trail beh i nd O t is 51, w it h 50 0 feet of vertical separation. Fourth Quarter 2007
Ge t I n Position
Although the formation quick ly climbed to 18,000 feet, it had to climb and change a ltitude rapid ly from 15,000 feet to 19,000 feet several times over t he cou rse of t he day to get around the weather or to respond to directions from air traffic control. “Fighters, which refuel at about 20,000 to 25,000 feet, are faster to tank than the Ospreys,” Martin-Nims notes. “On a mission like this, the MV-22s operate right in the heart of the weather and in the middle of sometimes congested airspace. “All the aircraft in the formation are using autothrottles and autopilot for high-speed cruise,” Krebs adds. “We a lso use t he a ltitude hold as much as possible. We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone.” Flying above 10,000 feet with no pressu r i z at ion, t he M V-22 crews a re required to wear oxygen masks during the entire flight, or as Krebs describes it, “They have to breathe through the nose hose.”
The first aerial refueling comes three hours into the mission. Krebs directs two of the Ospreys to break off from Otis 52 and reform on Otis 51. The move puts one Osprey on each side and behind both tankers. “We want to go with single-tanker operations in the tight part of the weather,” Krebs explains. “The Ospreys need to be able to penetrate weather in this formation for up to an hour if necessary. We have to prepare for all kinds of conditions.” The KC-130J can refuel two helicopters at one time. However, the Osprey’s large size allows only one MV-22 at a time to tank. At the start of refueling operations, the KC-130J crew streams its two eighty-five-foot long refueling hoses from the aircraft’s wing-mounted pods. When cleared in by the RAC, the Osprey pilot, with his aircraft’s refueling probe extended, c l o s e s i n o n t h e b a s k e t- s h a p e d refueling drogue.
The tanker today uses the smaller, high-speed drogue, which is designed for the higher refueling speeds of the fighters. “MV-22s can’t tank on KC-10s or KC-135s—the tankers have to put their flaps down, and that creates dirty air over the Ospreys,” Krebs observes. “If you are going to refuel an Osprey, the Battleherk is the only tanker that can be used.” A crew chief on the tanker acts as a n obser ver du r i ng t his process, watching t he hose operat ion a nd monitoring the receivers from the KC-130J’s paratroop door windows. After receiving confirmation from the observers that the receivers are in sight, the RAC clears the receiving Osprey into the pre-contact position, about ten feet behind the extended d r o g u e . W h e n b o t h t he d r o g u e a nd t he re c e i ve r a re s t a ble , t he RAC clears the receiver for contact. Once the receiver’s probe makes contact, the receiving pilot pushes the hose forward a few feet to ensure connection. Fuel then begins to flow.
Ga s A n d Go
“The MV-22s refuel at about 210 knots,” notes Martin-Nims. “They have a little power and speed margin left if they have to chase the drogue if it is bouncing around.” A crew chief sitting on the f light deck of the tanker runs the refueling panel. With the reduced crew requirements in the KC-130J, the role of crew chiefs has changed. Not only do they fix the aircraft, they also serve as the in-f light obser vers and fuel panel operators. They can even run engines and taxi the aircraft on the ground. “ T he crew ch ief keeps t he a i rcraf t in balance,” says Sg t. Isaiah Ybarra. “With an MV-22, we have to use the transfer pumps only. We can’t use the higher-pressure pumps in the center tank like we do with the fighters. When the refueling evolution is done, we redistribute the fuel to keep the tanker aircraft balanced. The system is user-friendly.”
The first refueling on this f light begins over New Mexico and ends over the Texas panhandle. The second refueling is complete over southwest Arkansas. At that point, Otis 51, which had started the day with less fuel, peels off and lands at Arkadelphia, Arkansas, to fill up. The two Ospreys that had tanked off Otis 51 pull back and rejoin Otis 52. After the second refueling, Otis 50, t he pat hf i nder crew, repor ts bad weather. The formation is rerouted to take a longer, more southerly route. This means Otis 52 has less available fuel to transfer to the Ospreys. After some quick replanning, Krebs, in his role as the refueling aerial commander, pulls Otis 50 off its pathfinder duties and redirects that crew to meet the formation in a military operating area, or MOA, over South Carolina. Talon 13 and Talon 14 pull up to Otis 50 and take on 5,000 pounds of fuel, while Otis 52 tops off the other two MV-22s. On training missions like this one, the restricted airspace of the MOAs is the preferred place to run the aerial refueling track. The areas are safer because no other air traffic is present.
The sun is setting as the formation approaches MCAS New River. The math had worked. All four of the t i lt rotor s h ave more t h a n 3, 0 0 0 pounds of fuel reserves and would be landing in minutes. Otis 52 lands at Cherry Point, about fifteen minutes behind them. For nine and one-half hours, the MV-22 pilots had said nothing but “Thirteen,” “Fourteen,” “Fifteen,” and “Sixteen,” to acknowledge the RAC’s radio transmissions and directions. But as they broke off for their home ne st , t he lead Osprey pi lot s a id , “Thanks. We appreciate it. I’ll call you on Monday, and we can debrief.” Jeff Rhodes is the associate editor of Code One.
Fourth Quarter 2007
UP THUMBS FOR T-50 T
he patch of the Republic of Korea Air Force’s 1st Fighter Wing features a hand giving a thumbs-up. The caption reads, “First and Best.” That label aptly applies to the operations of the wing’s 203rd Squadron, the world’s first T-50 Golden Eagle training unit. The 1st Fighter Wing is located 160 miles south of Seoul in Gwangju near the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula. Gwangju AB, which shares its runway with the city’s commercial airport, is also home to the 206 Fighter Squadron, which f lies t he F-5E/F Tiger II fighter. “A s t he home of t he f i rst T-50 training squadron, the 1st Fighter Wing is devoting much of its energy to t he i nteg rat ion of t he G olden Eagle,” explains Brig. Gen. Oh Sung Kwon, commander of the 1st Fighter Wing. “As soon as the integration is
BY ERIC HEHS 14
complete, we will concentrate on ref ining t he training syl labus to get the most out of the T-50 and its associated ground training systems. We expect to establish Gwangju Air Base as the prem ier lo c at ion for c u lt iv at i ng ROKAF fighter pilots.”
Full Swing The wing’s distinction as the first operational T-50 training unit draws international attention. “We have received many visitors,” notes Kwon.
“This week we are hosting a group of military attachés represent ing t he a ir forces of nineteen other countries.” Visitors see a training operation in full swing. Twenty T-50s populate the ramps and shelters at the 203rd, with one new aircraft arriving every month from Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, the prime contractor. The wing expects to have two training squadrons f lying a total of fifty Golden Eagles by 2009. The twelve members of the first class of student pilots to fly the T-50 began
PHOTOS BY KATSUHIKO TOKUNAGA
training in February 2007, completed first flights in the T-50 in April, and are expected to graduate from f light training in November. A second class of fifteen students started ground training in August 2007, began flying the T-50 in October, and will graduate from f light training in the spring of 2008. The 203rd has approximately thirty instructor pilots fully qualified in the T-50. Such progress is impressive consider i ng t he 2 03rd w a s e s t a bl i she d at Gwangju in June 2005 with eight pilots who had never f lown a T-50. The first two T-50s arrived at the base the following December. Two pilots chosen from the initial eight were sent to Sacheon where t h e T- 5 0 i s manufactured. There the pilots received t heir Brig. Gen. Oh Sung Kwon
ground and flight training simultaneously from ROKAF test pilots. These first two pilots trained the other six initial instructors at Gwangju. “Our progress is quick, but it is also deliberate,” says Lt. Col. Bo-Hyun Kim, commander of the 203rd. “We will realize the full potential of the T-50 as we gain more experience operating it. We already have a sense that the effectiveness of the T-50 simulators is very high. The f light characteristics of the T-50 allow students to adapt to flying the trainer more easily than they adapt to flying other trainers in the ROKAF. This effectiveness will allow us to use flight hours for more advanced concepts. Eventually, we will provide operational squadrons with pilots who are better prepared to transition to our front-line fighters, such as the KF-16 and the F-15K.” The ROKAF, like many air forces around the world, uses a wide variety of aircraft to train its fighter pilots. Students progress from the propdriven Cessna T-41 Mescalero, to the subsonic jet-powered Cessna T-37
Tweet, and then to the supersonic Northrop T-38 Talon and the subsonic BAE Systems Hawk Mk 67. The students then proceed to combat readiness training w it h t he F-5 before finally entering the operational units. Nearly all of these training aircraft are very old. Fighter pilot training in Korea is in transition as the ROKAF replaces a l l t hose t ra i ni ng a i rcra f t. A f ter passing a screening test with t he T-103 (ROK AF version of t he Ilyushin IL-103), ROKAF students a re to b e t r a i ne d on ly w it h t wo t ra iners—t he KT-1 a nd t he T-50. Reducing the number of aircraft used in a training fleet simplifies logistics and support and lowers cost. However, the savings are not strictly related to the elimination of aircraft types. The number of training levels can be reduced. “Before the T-50, we had three levels of training—basic, intermediate, and advanced,” explains Kwon. “The KT-1 and T-50 allow us to reduce training to two levels—basic and advanced.”
Fourth Quarter 2007
All fifteen students in the second ROKAF class to fly in the T-50 gather for a group photo in front of the T-50 Integrated Training Center at Gwangju AB. The modern center, constructed specifically for T-50 training, contains simulators and classrooms outfitted for computer-based training.
The full dome simulator in the Integrated Training Center allows students to conduct entire flights in a highly realistic training environment. Instructors monitor student performance from a control room next door. Scenarios and conditions can be adjusted easily with the touch of a screen.
A handful of technical representatives from Korea Aerospace Industries supports both training and aircraft maintenance at Gwangju AB. These personnel work closely with ROKAF and provide a direct line to the manufacturer.
Ground Tr aining Systems The ground training systems play an essential part in these improvements. â€œWhile the T-50 is an impressive trainer, a visit to our integrated training center shows visitors that the aircraft itself is only a part of a larger training system,â€? Kwon adds.
The ground portions of the T-50 training system are contained in the si lver, t wo-stor y T-50 i nteg rated training center, the newest building at Gwangju AB. Lecture ha lls are wired for computer-aided instruction. St udent pi lots as wel l a s st udent
ma i ntena nc e person nel work on individualized lessons at their own pace on computer-based training systems. These same systems also track the training performance of the students. Student pilots f ly the T-50 in two types of simulators: an operational
f l ig ht t ra i ner a nd a f u l l m ission trainer. The former, used primarily as a procedures trainer, has a full cockpit and a large five-panel display. The latter is a full dome simulator used for training an entire flight. Student performance is monitored on both simulators from a control room that features a desktop version of the cockpit. Without ever having to leave the ground, student pilots learn to operate the T-50 from engine start-up to engine shutdown. Capt. Young-Rock Ahn, an instructor pilot with the 203rd, touches his index finger on an image of the throttle quadrant on one of the screens. The image expands and shows minute throttle movements being made by the student pilot in the dome next door. “The system is very easy to learn because it’s so intuitive,” he says. Ahn presses another part of the display and types some numbers on his keyboard. “I just added a twenty-five-knot crosswind into Lieutenant Song’s landing practice,” he says with a slight grin. Lt. Seung-Hwan Song, in the full mission trainer next door, deals appropriately with the sudden wind shift and executes a perfect touch and go. Ahn, Song’s instructor for this flight, congratulates him over the intercom, “Good job.” Instructors can change more than wind direction. They can add storms, turn day into night, and introduce
malfunctions and emergencies. Additional aircraft can be simulated in various scenarios. The simulators can also be connected over a network to practice formation f lying or basic fighter maneuvering. “The T-50 moves training into the digital age,” says Colonel Kim, who has pilot instruction experience in both the F-16 and the T-37. “The system prepares students better for fourth- and fifth-generation fighters.” The squadron commander points to the advanced debriefing system as another example of the T-50’s advantages. “Our T-38s don’t have such a system,” he says, “so pilots have to rely on their memories of the training flight for debriefing. The T-50, on the other hand, records every aspect of a training flight,” continues Kim. “We can see every thing that happened during a training flight. We can replay an entire f light during debriefing, pause it, view it from many perspectives, and archive it. We can get much more out of every mission. Our ground training and f light training systems and our logistics system are all interconnected, which allows us to work and train much more efficiently.” New students at the 203rd spend approximately seven weeks in a ground training and education squadron. They t hen move to a f l ig ht e duc at ion squadron. The computer-based ground training and the simulator training
continue into flight training syllabus. “Even after students begin flying the T-50, they spend an hour in a f light simulator for every hour they spend in the air,” Kim notes. Instructor pilots at the 203rd can at test to t he ef fect iveness of t his approach. “Some student pilots have landed the T-50 on their first try with no direct flight control input from the instructor in the back seat,” explains Maj. Su ng-Hoon K i m, t he senior instructor pilot in the 203rd with 250 hours in the T-50. “Landing without any assistance on a first try never happens in our other trainers.” Major Kim credits realistic simulators and the basic handling qualities of the T-50 as the reasons for such quick learning. “It’s an easy aircraft to land,” he says. “It was designed that way.” The digital nature of the simulator and the T-50 controls makes both more suited for training pilots to fly modern fighters. “Our current generation of student pilots and our newest instructors were brought up on video games,” explains Major Kim. “Training in the simulator makes flight controls seem more like a video game. The various systems on the T-50 are then easier to teach and easier to learn because the T-50 has digital controls. The transition to operational squadrons is also easier because the latest generations of fighters are digital as well.” Fourth Quarter 2007
First Flights Lt. Joong-Beom Bae is one of a handful of ROK AF student pilots who flew the T-50 on its first training sortie at Gwangju on 17 April 2007. “My most vivid memories were the speed of the aircraft and the technology in the cockpit,” he recalls. “The simulator and ground training prepared me well for the first flight, even though being in an actual aircraft is always different.” Bae says the biggest differences he noticed during flight were the sensations of motion of the T-50 in flight, the voice from the instructor in the back seat, and the chatter of radio traffic from the controllers. “The environment in the cockpit was not quite as calm as in a simulator where we don’t deal with other flights,” he says. “Overall, the transition to my first actual flight was quite easy.” That first f light is not a back-seat familiarization flight. Students fly the aircraft from the front seat where they are at the controls for the entire flight, including during takeoff and landing. “Of course, the instructor in the back seat is prepared to take over if necessary,” notes Major Kim. “We’ve heard some concerns about t he jump of going from the KT-1 to the T-50,” he
continues, “but our first two classes of student pilots have had no problems with the transition. First and subsequent flights have gone very smoothly. The T-50 performs as an excellent training platform.” While the 203rd and its new T-50s may be the center of attention for the ROKAF, the success the unit is experiencing with the new aircraft and training systems is not the result of special treatment. “The initial students were not handpicked from the f light academy,” notes Colonel Kim. “They were selected at random from all skill levels of the potential pool of students. We didn’t want to handpick the initial
students because doing so would skew our evaluation of this new training concept the T-50 represents.”
Pride “Our students are proud to be the first to train in the T-50,” says Colonel Kim. “They realize they are making history here at the 203rd. They are also proud because the T-50 was developed and produced by Korea. Lockheed Martin and KAI did an excellent job with this airplane. We are excited to be the first to benefit from it. As the patch says, ‘The first and the best.’ ” Eric Hehs is the editor of Code One.
Lt. Col. Bo-Hyun Kim
Anatomy Of A Golden Eagle
he T-50 Golden E agle looks much like a t wo -seat F-16 fr om an over head per spec tive. A blended wing /fuselage, single ver tic al t ail, and the gener al planfor m shape ar e similar. With a leng th of for ty-three feet and a wingspan of thir ty-one feet, the T-50 is about four feet shor ter than the F-16. The control sur faces and tails are larger relative to the smaller size of the T-50. The ex tra area improves handling characteristics at lower speeds and makes the aircraf t easier to land. Other distinguishing characteristics include a canopy bow that provides additional bird-strike protection; a narrower, more streamlined nose that corresponds to smaller radar requirements; and larger landing gear that absorbs harder landings. T he mos t dis tinc tive featur es of the T-50 ar e it s t win side-mounted inlets that direc t air to a single General Elec tric F404 - GE-102 engine. T he af ter bur ning engine is a pr oven, r eliable design. T he engine incor por ates dual- channel fullauthor it y digit al elec tr onic contr ol optimized for safet y and maint ainabilit y. Mor e than 3,700 F404s have been deliver ed wor ldwide, accumulating mor e than t welve million f light hour s combined. T he engine pr oduces 17,700 pounds of thr us t, giving the air cr af t an exceptional thr us t-to -weight r atio.
20 mm inter nal gun, a weapons management sys tem, and seven hardpoints for carr ying up to 9,500 pounds of a variet y of air-to -air and air-to -gr ound weapons. ( T he s t andar d T-50 has no r adar or inter nal gun.) T he Republic of Kor ea has cur r ent contr ac t commitment of eight y-t wo T-50/ TA-50 tr ainer s. T he tot al includes ten Golden E agles that will r eplace the A-37 Dr agonf lys f lown by the ROK AF Black E agle demons tr ation squadr on. Beginning in 2010, Korea Aerospace Industries will begin delivering the fir st of t went y-t wo TA-50s, which will be used to teach tac tics to new f ighter pilot s as par t of their combat r eadines s training. TA-50 deliveries to ROK AF are currently scheduled to end in 2011. They will be followed by the FA-50. With current requirement standing at six t y, the total commitment to date is 142 aircraf t for ROK AF. Deliveries of this combat ver sion of the T-50 are scheduled through 2014. The produc tion capacit y at Sacheon can accommodate other customer s for the aircraf t. Several countries have expressed interest in the trainer so far.
T he ma x imum t akeof f gr os s weight is 29,700 pounds; the ma x imum r ate of climb is 39,000 feet per minute; and the ma x imum speed is Mach 1.5. T he ser vice ceiling is 55,000 feet . T he design load fac tor is eight gâ€™s; the tr ainer air fr ame is designed for up to 10,000 -hour ser vice life (8,300 hour s for the lead-in f ighter tr ainer ver sion). T he T-50 has an onboar d ox ygen gener ating sys tem that simplif ies maintenance t asks and r educes the amount of neces sar y gr ound equipment by eliminating the need for liquid ox ygen for the cr ew. A triple-redundant elec trical system increases safet y. Relaxed static stabilit y and fly-by-wire digital flight controls of fer superior aerodynamic per formance and handling qualities. Moder n cockpit featur es include hands-on thr ot tle and sides tick mechanization, elec tr onic f light ins tr ument s, headup display, upfront controls, t wo five- by five-inch color multifunc tion displays, integr ated advanced avionic s and sensor s, GPS/INS navigation, embedded tr aining featur es, in-f light r ecor ding and pos t-mis sion debr ief ing c apabilit y, and a Mar tin-Baker zer o -zer o ejec tion seat . T he seat-back angle is seventeen degr eesâ€”similar to the seat angles of the F-35 Lightning II and the F-22 Raptor. T he air cr af t is designed for low-speed appr oach landings. A lar ger t ail, f laper ons, and r udder make the T-50 easier to contr ol at lower speeds. In addition, the contr ol sur faces move at fas ter r ates to fur ther impr ove handling char ac ter istic s. By design, the air cr af t lands mor e easily than mos t f ighter s. T he angle of appr oach is lower than that of an F-16, so the pilot has a bet ter for war d view on landing. T he r aised af t seat gives ins tr uc tor pilot s a much bet ter view in fr ont of the air plane as well. T he f light contr ol sides ticks in the fr ont and rear seats move together so that instructor pilots can feel s tudent pilot input s. T he air cr af t is designed to display the per for mance needed to suppor t lead-in f ighter tr aining mis sions. T his LIF T ver sion of the air cr af t, also c alled a TA-50, featur es an APG -67 multimode f ir e contr ol r adar, a modif ied M61 thr ee -bar r el
T- 5 0 G O L D E N E A G L E
Leng th: 43.1 ft / 13.14 m Height: 16.2 ft / 4.94 m Wingspan: 31 ft / 9.45 m Weight (empty): 14,200 lb / 6,454 kg Maximum TOGW: 29,700 lb / 13,500 kg Engine thrust: 17,700 lb / 8,045 kg Design load factor: -3/+8 g Maximum speed: Mach 1.5 Maximum ser vice ceiling: 55,000 ft / 16,764 m Ser vice life: Up to 10,000 hr Fourth Quarter 2007
PHOTOS BY LANS STOUT
F-16 UNIT SALUTES T U S K E GRAY WENT RED LAST FALL ON THE TAIL OF ONE F-16 AT THE 187TH WING, THE ALABAMA AIR NATIONAL GUARD UNIT AT DANNELLY FIELD IN MONTGOMERY. AVIATION BUFFS WILL R ECOGNIZE THE PAINT SCHEME AS R EMINISCENT OF THE AIRCRAFT FLOWN BY THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN DURING WORLD WAR II. THE SPLASH OF COLOR WAS ADDED TO AN F-16 OF THE NEWLY RENAMED 100TH FIGHTER SQUADRON.
“I was going to say it’s a red letter day for Alabama, but it’s not,” said Governor Bob Riley at the official renaming ceremony. “It’s a red tail day.” A laba ma Sen. Jef f Sessions, Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley at tended t he ceremony, as well as other Air Force and local officials. The 160th Fighter Squadron was renamed the 100th in September in honor of the 100th Pursuit Squadron, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen u n it s . T he 10 0 t h w a s for me d i n February 1942 as the second squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group, which was t he only US f ighter group in which all pilots, ground crews, and suppor t personnel were A f rica nAmericans. The pilots and crews were trained at Tuskegee, Alabama, about forty miles east of Montgomery.
Walter Palmer, Tuskegee Airman combat pilot
The 332nd FG, which consisted of the 99th, 100th, 301st, and 302nd Fighter Squadrons, was part of the 15th Air Force based at Ramitelli, Italy, during the war. The units initially f lew P-40 Warhawks, but later transitioned to the P-51 Mustang. The empennage of the Mustangs sported the distinguishing red paint scheme.
The Tuskegee Airmen were credited with 111 enemy aircraft destroyed in t he a ir a nd 150 dest royed on t he ground. They were also credited with using only machine-gun fire to sink an enemy destroyer. On 24 March 1945, t he Tuskegee A i r men were awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for operations over Germany. Walter Palmer, a Tuskegee combat pilot who flew the most combat missions of any African-American pilot during World War II, was a special g uest at t he rena ming ceremony.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley
K EGEE AIRMEN
“I am honored to have the squadron in Montgomery,” said Palmer, who is credited with one aerial victory, a German Bf-109. The Tuskegee veteran posed with Lt. Richard Peace in front of a red-tailed P-51 that was used as a backdrop at the event. Peace, also an African-American, is an F-16 pilot serving with the Montgomery unit.
Redesignating the Alabama squadron comes at the same time the unit is improving combat readiness and efficiency by taking on additional personnel and resources from active duty Air Force units. Montgomery’s Air National Guard unit will receive additional F-16s to add to the eighteen it currently operates, along with about 150 more people, including active duty Air Force personnel. The move is part of the Air Force’s plan for total force integration, which allows integrating the 700,000 members of the Active, Reserve, and Guard components for a smaller, more efficient force. “The change means that this wing could take an Aerospace Expeditionary Force rotation as a wing itself rather than combining with other wings as we do now,” said Lt. Gen. Craig McKinley, director of the Air National Guard. Lans Stout is a freelance photographer based in Florida.
Fourth Quarter 2007
B y Je f f R h o d e s
A i r Mo bi l it y Ro d e o 2 0 0 7, A i r Mobility Command’s biennial readi ne s s compet it ion, bega n w it h a whinny, as Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of AMC, and Brig. Gen. Kip Self, Air Expeditionary Center comma nder a nd t he t ra i l boss of Rodeo 2007, rode into the opening ceremonies at McChord AFB, Washington, 22 July, on horseback. The week long competition included f lying, maintenance, aeromedica l evacuation, and securit y forces events. T h i r t y-fou r tea ms f ly i ng C-130, C-17, a nd Tra nsa l l C-160 twin-engine airlifters competed in airdrop, short-field landing, 22
P h o t o s B y Jo h n R o s s i n o
and combat off load. All crews had to complete the engine running on/ off load event. C-5 crews also part icipated i n aer ia l ref uel i ng a nd instrument approach events. Ac t ive dut y US A i r Forc e , A i r National Guard, Air Force Reserve Command, and US Marine Corps u nits pa r t icipated at Rodeo. T he three Marine competitors f lew both earlier model KC-130 and KC-130J cargo/tanker aircraft. Two C-130J units participated. Seven of the nine international countries competing flew legacy C-130s, including a 1960vintage C-130B. Twenty-four countries sent observers to the event.
The 60t h Air Mobi lit y Wing at Travis AFB, California, dominated t he compet it ion, w i nni ng sevent e e n c at e gor y aw a rd s a s we l l a s t h e e v e nt ’s t o p h o n o r, B e s t A i r Mobilit y Team. “Team Travis demonstrated pride, professionalism, and our true passion for excellence at Rodeo,” said Col. Steven Arquiette, 60th AMW commander. “While the 60th won the overall best of the best title, we couldn’t have trained and competed as strongly as we did without the great day-to-day support from our Reserve partners in the 349th Air Mobility Wing.”
Some of the awards the Travis team claimed include: Best Air Mobility Team Best Airland Team Best C-5 Air Refueling Aircrew Best C-5 Postflight Team Best C-5 Maintenance Team Best C-5 Aircrew Best C-5 Team Maintenance Knucklebuster Award
The 60th Air Mobility Wing is the largest air mobility organization in the Air Force, flying C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III transports as well as the KC-10 Extender tanker. Travis competed with all three aircraft at Rodeo 2007. T he B e s t C -5 E ng i ne Ru n n i ng Onload Team award went to the 439th Airlift Wing, the Air Force Reserve Command Galaxy unit at Westover ARB, Massachusetts. On the C-130 side of Rodeo, the 317th Airlift Group at Dyess AFB, Texas, claimed awards for Best Airdrop and Best C-130/C-160 Team, while the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, won Best C-130 Maintenance and Postf light Team awards. Little Rock competed with both a C-130E and a C-130J.
Air Mobility Rodeo dates back to 1956, when the thirteen troop carrier wings of the Continenta l Air Command, Air Force Reserve Command â€™s predecessor, sent crews to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a c o mp e t i t i o n a t Bakalar AFB, Indiana. The first airdrop competition for units of the active duty force occurred in April 1962. The competition was designed to develop and improve techniques and procedures while enhancing air mobility operations and promoting esprit de corps. Rodeo was expanded in 1979 to include international air mobility competitors. The next Air Mobility Rodeo will be held in mid-2009. Jeff Rhodes is the associate editor of Code One.
Fourth Quarter 2007
North To Alaska A six-ship formation of F-22 Raptors raced the sun across the continental United States on 8 August to arrive at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska, to formally begin operational service in the Pacific. To get to their new home, pilots from Elmendorfâ€™s 90th Fighter Squadron flew from Langley AFB, Virginia, where they had been training. T he 90th Fighter Squadron dates back to World War I. PHOTO BY TSGT. KEITH BROWN
PHOTO BY MSGT. CHANCE BABIN
Air Force Reserve Command officially activated its first F-22 Raptor unit, the 302nd Fighter Squadron, in ceremonies at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, on 3 October. The 302nd, which traces its lineage back to the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, will serve as a Reserve Associate unit of the reactivated 477th Fighter Group. The second active duty F-22 squadron, the 525th Fighter Squadron, was activated at Elmendorf on 29 October. The 525th, which formed in 1942, moved around Europe in its early days but settled at Bitburg AB, Germany, where it stayed for thirty-five years before being inactivated several years ago. Elmendorf will eventually receive forty F-22s to be split between the two active duty squadrons.
MAFFS In California The six Air National Guard and Air Force Reser ve Command C-130Hs equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System, or MAFFS, were called in to join the massive firefighting effort in Southern California in late October. Guard crews from the 145th Airlift Wing in Charlotte, Nor th Carolina, and the 153rd AW at Cheyenne, Wyoming, both staging out of NAS Point Mugu, California, flew their first missions into the fires on 24 October. They were later joined by crews from the 302nd AW, the Reserve unit at Colorado Springs, Colorado. The palletized MAFFS units can dispense 3,000 gallons of fire retardant mixed with water in less than five seconds. More than 500,000 acres were burned in the multiple fires plaguing Southern California.
PHOTO BY MAJ. JAMES R. WILSON
Composite Airlifter The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wr ight-Pat ter son AF B, Ohio, selec ted Lockheed Martin in mid October to proceed to Phase II of the Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraf t, or ACCA, program. Lockheed Martin will build and flight test an X-plane-type aircraft that emphasizes innovative structural configurations and concepts, such as advanced prototyping and composite technologies. Under the twelve-month program, the mid and aft fuselages and empennage of a Dornier 328Jet commuter airliner will be replaced with advanced composites. The modification seeks to reduce up to ninety percent in parts count and dramatically reduce corrosion and fatigue issues compared with the manufacturing approaches of conventional aircraft.
First T-50 Class Graduates The first group of Republic of Korea Air Force student pilot s schooled on t he T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic trainer completed f light t r aining on 31 October. The twelve pilots were taught by instructors from the ROK AF’s 203rd Squadron located at Gwangju AB near the southwestern tip of the Korean peninsula. T he 203r d is t he world’s first T-50 training unit. Two of the newly minted pilots will go to the F-16 operational conversion unit, while the other ten will go through F-5 upgrade t r aining . A c c o r ding t o da t a released by the ROKAF, T-50 pilots recorded a thirty-eight percent higher capability in actual flight tests compared to the pilots in the same class trained on the T-38.
PHOTO BY K ATSUHIKO TOKUNAGA
PHOTO BY NEAL CHAPMAN
Electrical power was applied to the first F-35B Lightning II for the first time 25 October, initiating a series of ground tests that will lead to the inaugural flight of the short takeoff/vertical landing, or STOVL, aircraft in 2008. The F-35B’s power-on is an incremental process of testing the aircraft’s circuits, electronic components, and wiring. The aircraft incorporates parts and systems from all nine F-35 participant countries—the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark, and Norway.
Customs Coordination US Customs and Border Protection crews in a P-3 Airborne Early Warning aircraft and a P-3 Long-Range Tracker aircraft successfully located and coordinated the rescue of five passengers from a burning yacht 250 nautical miles off Costa Rica on 25 October. The P-3 crew worked with a nearby f ishing vessel and the frigate USS Halyburton (FFG-40) to bring the yacht’s crew to safety. The Customs crews were conducting drug interdiction operations in the Eastern Pacific when they were directed by the Joint Interagency Task Force-South in Miami to locate the source of a distress call. The crews found the yacht, Dorothea, and then coordinated the rescue. PHOTO BY JOHN ROSSINO
Two If By Air
PHOTO BY SGT. JASMINE CHOPRA
Airmen from the 777th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Balad AB, Iraq, used two C-130 Hercules aircraft to drop thirty-one Container Delivery System bundles over a location in southwest Iraq in September, providing needed supplies to Iraqi border training teams supported by the US Army’s 82nd Sustainment Battalion. The supplies on this airdrop included ice, tires, concertina wire, and food. These regular airdrops keep convoys off the roads, the traditional way the Army delivers supplies, and decrease the number of ground personnel needed to secure an airfield. This method is safer, not only for the Army, but also for the aircrews delivering the supplies.
Fourth Quarter 2007
New Ride The first of eleven F-16 Block 52 aircraft to become the new show aircraft for the Air Force’s aerial demonstration team, the T hu n d e r b i r d s , r o l l e d o u t i n ceremonies at the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB, Utah, on 24 October. Each of the team’s new aircraft will receive a Block 52 upgrade. Each aircraft will also receive a smokegenerating system and then be repainted in the team’s distinctive livery. The Block 52 aircraft will replace the team’s F-16 Block 32 jets. The new jets are anticipated for the 2009 show season.
PHOTO BY ALEX R. LLOYD
PHOTO BY CAPT. CATHLEEN SNOW
An HC-130 crew from Air Force Reserve Command’s 920th Rescue Wing at Patrick AFB, Florida, assisted the Coast Guard in the search and rescue of thirty-one Dominican migrants on 1 September. The crew expanded the Coast Guard’s search efforts of more than 2,400 square miles between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Once the boat in distress was located, the crew of the 920th continued searching the area to ensure no one had gone overboard. The crew then remained on-scene until a Coast Guard cutter arrived. On 5 October, an MC-130P Combat Shadow crew from the 58th Special Operations Wing at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, provided aerial refueling and served as mission controller during the first-ever operational CV-22 Osprey search and recovery mission.
F-22 FOT&E II The F-22 is “effective, suitable, and mission capable” according to the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. This rating, released in September, resulted from a recently completed second round of Follow-On Operational Test and Evaluation. During this phase, the F-22’s ability t o c o n d u c t O f f e n s i v e C o u n t e r A i rDestruction of Enemy Air Defenses, or OCA-DEAD, was validated. Mission generation and support were also evaluated.
PHOTO BY K ATSUHIKO TOKUNAGA
PHOTO BY CHUCK L AFAVER
A new isochronal inspection hangar at Shepherd Field in M ar t in s b ur g , We s t V ir g inia, opened in early October as part of a maintenance complex where most of the shops for the 167th Airlift Wing, the West Virginia Air National Guard C-5 unit, are under one roof. The wing’s new corrosion control hangar will be completed in early 2008. On 7 November, a C-5 made the first landing on the newly opened runway in Martinsburg.
Earthquake Relief Times Two
PHOTO BY SRA VERONICA PIERCE
Lockheed Martin F-35 Chief Test Pilot Jon Beesley was presented the 2006–2007 Iven C. Kincheloe Award on 29 September, the highest honor of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. The award recognizes “outstanding professional accomplishment in the conduct of flight testing.” Beesley was cited for his leadership and direct participation in the F-35 flight test program. He won the award previously in 1996 as part of the Air Force’s F-117 Combined Test Force. During his thirty-year flight test career, Beesley has participated in the full-scale development of the F-117, F-16, YF-22, and F-22. Beesley is a Fellow in the test pilot organization, a high honor bestowed only through peer recognition.
A C-130E crew from the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota AB, Japan, flew J. Thomas Schieffer, US Ambassador to Japan, and Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, US Forces Japan commander, to Niigata Prefecture on 18 July to deliver 10,000 pounds of water and 100 air conditioning units for victims housed in public facilities following an earthquake that occurred in the area on 16 July. Two days after a massive ear thquake struck Peru on 15 August, a crew from the 135th Airlift Group, the Air National Guard unit in Baltimore, Maryland, was diverted from a supply run in Puerto Rico to Lima to support the relief effort there. The Baltimore C-130J crew flew in a mobile surgical team on its first mission in Peru.
PHOTO BY TSGT. JEREMY LOCK
PHOTO BY DARIN RUSSELL
The first airborne separation test of a 250-pound inertial navigation system/Global Positioning System-guided GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb, or SDB, from the internal weapons bay of an F-22 was successfully carried out during a 5 September flight over the Naval Air Warfare Center at China Lake, California. Maj. Jack Fischer, a 411th Flight Test Squadron test pilot at the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB, California, flew the mission in Raptor 08. This first test, one of a series of SDB releases, was made to ensure the weapon would separate from the aircraft cleanly. The Raptor will be able to carry eight GBU-39s in its main weapons bay.
Cmdr. Muhammad Muzzafar F. Khan, the commander of Sea Control Squadron 31 (VS-31), joined the elite club of Naval aviators who have successfully completed 1,000 carrier-arrested landings. He trapped aboard the USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) on 4 August while transiting the western Pacific Ocean to participate in Exercise Valiant Shield 2007. Khan, who was born and r aised in Pakist an, has landed on nine different carriers PHOTO BY MCS3 JON HYDE in two different types of aircraft. He has accumulated more than 3,600 flight hours since his first arrested landing in 1993. Although based at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, the Top Cats of VS-31 are making the S-3 community’s final deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. The S-3 will be retired from US Navy service in 2009.
Fourth Quarter 2007
S Combat Spears At Cannon
Youth Movement Capt. Stephen Kaminski, an F-16 pilot with the 157th Fighter Squadron at McEntire ANGS, South Carolina, qualified as an instructor pilot on 20 August—two days before turning twenty-five years old. Most pilots complete their initial training at twentyfour. Kaminski, who has been flying since he was ten, enlisted with the Alabama Air National Guard at age seventeen. He completed an aviation management degree at nineteen and then sought out an Air National Guard PHOTO BY SMSGT. ED SNYDER unit that would send him to pilot training. The 169th Fighter Group hired him and sent him to officer school, pilot training, fighter lead-in, and F-16 training. He rejoined the unit at age twenty-two. While in training, he earned his master’s degree in aviation management.
Raptor MX School
PHOTO BY SSGT. APRIL WICKES
Airmen at Cannon AFB, New Mexico, stood up the newly designated 27th Special Operations Wing during a unit re-designation and change of command ceremony on 1 October. As the 27th Fighter Wing, an Air Combat Command asset, inactivated, the 27th SOW stood up as the second of two active duty Special Operations wings in the Air Force. The first AFSOC aircraft to move to Cannon will be the 73rd Special Operations Squadron, which flies the MC-130W Combat Spear. The 73rd is currently located at Hurlburt Field, Florida. The MC-130W is used to conduct infiltration and exfiltration and to resupply Special Operations forces. It also provides refueling capability for vertical-lift assets, like the CV-22 Osprey.
PHOTO BY RICHARD RAU
The US Air Force’s 82nd Training Wing and the Raptor industry team opened a state-of-the-art, 120,000-square foot F-22 maintenance training facility at Sheppard AFB, Texas, on 19 October, providing a realistic training environment for future Raptor maintainers. For instructional purposes, engineers have divided the aircraft into seven full-scale, high-fidelity training devices that replicate flight line maintenance conditions and eliminate the need to train on operational aircraft. The devices provide hands-on practice in inspection, operation, removal and installation, system-testing, and fault isolation. The devices range from simple to highly complex, covering as few as fourteen separate tasks to as many as 240 tasks. Boeing served as the design lead on the new facility.
PHOTO BY TIGHAR
Shifting and eroding sands caused the wreckage of the P-38 Lightning fighter to suddenly reappear in mid 2007 on a North Wales beach where it crash-landed during World War II. The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, or TIGHAR, learned of the plane’s existence in September and sent a survey team to the site. TIGHAR plans to collaborate with British museum experts to recover the nearly int ac t aircraf t nex t spring. Fuel exhaustion dur ing a training mission forced 2nd Lt. R. Frederick Elliott to land the P-38F (USAAF serial number 41-7677) in the shallow water near the beach on 27 September 1942. Although Elliott survived the crash unharmed, he was later killed in action in North Africa.
NOTAMS 100 Raptors The 100th F-22 was formally delivered to the US Air Force in ceremonies on 29 August. The milestone aircraft (Air Force serial number 05-0100) is assigned to the 90th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska. During the ceremony, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne signed the Form DD250, the official US government acceptance document.
This space is devoted to announcements and items of general interest. For our non-pilot readers, NOTAM is short for Notice to Airmen. NOTAMS, briefed before every mission, contain important information that may concern the flight. Silver Anniversary
Not A Joyous Noel
Egyptian and US Air Force officials commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the F-16 in Egyptian service during ceremonies in Cairo on 25 August. Egypt was the first Arab country to purchase the multirole fighter through a Foreign Military Sales program called Peace Vector. The Egyptian Air Force received forty-two F-16s in its first order in 1980. Since then, Egypt has purchased five more lots of aircraft for a total of 220 F-16s.
Soldiers and airmen unload a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter from a C-5 Galaxy transport on the flight line of San Isidro AB, Dominican Republic, on 8 November. The helicopter was later flown on a medical relief mission. US service members from Joint Task Force-Bravo out of Soto Cano AB, Honduras, were sent to the Dominican Republic to provide assistance after Tropical Storm Noel struck. How It’s Done
7K Milestone Proof pressure testing of the Revolutionary Approach To Time-critical Long Range Strike, or RATTLRS, vehicle was recently completed. This testing validates the vehicle’s structural integrity. RATTLRS is a supersonic missile flight demonstrator program sponsored by the US Navy and developed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California. Bomb (Disposal) Away
Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 2 (EODMU-2) at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Virginia, perform a static line jump with a combat rubber raiding raft from a C-130J Super Hercules on 19 October. EODMU-2 was conducting water parachute insertion training to ensure unit readiness. The C-130J is assigned to the 143rd Airlift Wing, the Rhode Island Air National Guard unit at Quonset State Airport in Providence.
Lt. Gen. John Bradley (pictured left), chief of the Air Force Reserve and Air Force Reserve Command, achieved his 7,000th hour of total military flying time with the 457th Fighter Squadron on 2 October. The 457th FS is the Air Force Reserve F-16 squadron at NAS JRB Fort Worth, Texas. Bradley, who has thirty-four years in the Reserve, is scheduled to retire in 2008. He flew 337 combat missions in Vietnam and has logged flight time in the A-37, F-4, A-10, and F-16, plus instructor time in the T-38.
A KC-130J Super Hercules tanker from Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 (VMGR-352) simulates simultaneous in-flight refueling of two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters during the annual air show 14 October at MCAS Miramar near San Diego, California. The Miramar Air Show 2007, one of the largest military air shows in the country, focused on the joint power of US military aviation. VMGR-352 is based at Miramar. Orion 101 US Navy Patrol Squadron 5 (VP-5) at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, hosted a field trip for a group of local homeschooled students on 25 October as part of a community relations project. Members of the squadron, known as the Mad Foxes, gave the students and their parents a close look at a P-3C aircraft.
Grrr! The annual NATO Tiger Meet, code named Arctic Tiger 2007, was hosted in late September by 338 Squadron, the Royal Norwegian Air Force unit at Orland AB, Norway. A total of sixty aircraft from twelve NATO fighter squadrons participated in the exercise, all with tiger mascots. The 192nd Fighter Squadron, the Turkish Air Force’s only fighter squadron to have Panthera tigris as a mascot, pounced on the exercise with four specially painted F-16C/D aircraft—and a menacing attitude.