They Never Learn

Significant visibility issues could lead to dangerous flight conditions, according to test pilots who have flown the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

WASHINGTON — Significant visibility issues could lead to dangerous flight conditions, according to test pilots who have flown the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

That is just one of several issues identified by the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester in a February report, published online today by the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight.

Other issues include flawed radar, ongoing challenges with the high-tech helmet required to fly the jet, and potential issues with the touch screen control interface.

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HT/ The Lexicans


I’m in Canada this weekend to say farewell to “Drifty” so things might be a little quiet around here.  I’ve been trying to find time to finish the Germany to Vegas trip report but things have been rather busy lately.  I’m sure things will slow down once skydiving season starts next month…NOT!




The Daily Lex - March 6th

I was originally going to make this post about the fact that we lost Lex exactly one year ago.  For those of you that who weren’t lucky enough to know personally or through his writing, he was a naval aviator who’s  ride of choice was the F-18 Hornet.  After a distinguished career in the Navy he was lucky enough to land a retired fighter pilot’s dream job as a civilian contractor flying an F-21 Kfir as an adversary pilot.  Last year he was killed trying to land when in bad weather, out of fuel, out of ideas, and out of luck.  I was going to write about losing friends to the sky, both flying and skydiving.  About how it was worth the sacrifice to live the life.  But today I got the news that another friend of mine died yesterday, not from a plane crash or skydiving accident but from complications from a knee replacement.  Where am I going with this?  I don’t know, but when people ask me how in the world I can risk my life doing what I do every day I tell them that it’s because it’s who I am, it’s what I do.  It’s how I live.  And if you think I’m going to stop doing what I do and tip toe through life only to arrive safely at death you’re crazy.  Full throttle, damn the torpedoes, fly fast, and take chances.  Any questions?

A Day In The Life Of A Ferry Pilot

3:05 am  Snap instantly awake at the exact time you intended to, three time zones ago.  Try not think about the next day’s ocean crossing while trying to fall back asleep.

4:55 am  Finally fall back asleep.

5:00 am  Hotel phone across the room rings with your wake up call but instead of a recording you get the old lady at the front desk who wants to practice her English.

5:30 am  After  grabbing a healthy breakfast of cereal with skim milk and fruit you take two of the pastries you told yourself you wouldn’t take while telling yourself you’ll eat healthier when the trip’s over.  Don’t want to end up looking like an airline pilot do you?

5:45 am  Get lucky and find a taxi to take you to the airport right outside the hotel.  Spend five minutes trying to explain that you want to  go to the small airport on the outskirts of town, not the big international one.

6:15am  Finally get to the airport, clear immigration and customs, check weather, file a flight plan then drag bags two hundred yards across the ramp to the plane.    Realize you forgot to pay the landing fees.  Repeat the walk.

7:00 am  Use credit card to scrape frost off the plane’s wings and tail.  Squeeze into the survival suit then into the cockpit.  Find that you can’t reach some damn thing or other in the back of the plane.  Climb out of the cockpit and rearrange everything in the aircraft.

7:30  am  Finally start the engine and taxi to the runway, happy that you’re only an hour later than you wanted to get going.

7:35 am  Do a thorough engine run up.  Double check every gauge, switch, and button.  Did the engine always sound like that?

7:39 am  Tell the tower you’re ready for departure only to be told you’ll have to wait ten fuel wasting minutes for your ocean clearance.

7:50 am  Take off and head out over the ocean leaving land and safety, but more importantly, restrooms behind.

7:55 am Regret that second cup of coffee.

9:00 am Recalculate fuel reserves based on actual winds aloft not the damn lies you got in the weather briefing.

10:30 am Almost half way across and approaching the point of no return, decision time, keep going or turn back?  Too lazy to turn back and do it all over again the next day so keep going and hope for the best.  Convince yourself that’s what “REAL” ferry pilots do.

11:45 am  Plenty of fuel left, looks like you might make it after all…….Did the engine always make that high pitched squealing noise?

12:30 pm   In the clouds picking up ice, shoot the approach, break out at five hundred feet, strong cross wind on final, down safe.  Taxi up to the ramp and shut her down.  Only one more ocean leg to go before you call it a day.