Friday, November 20, 2009

Interesting Aviation News

First Up: F-35 Activity

An F-35 flew off the production line in Fort Worth, TX as the 4th F-35 to enter the test fleet. This aircraft is a CTOL or Conventional Take Off and Landing version of the aircraft that will be used by the Air Force. It was designated AF-1 and is part of the LRIP lot of 31 of which 13 should have been delivered by October (2009), so they are having some growing pains. One of the more unique items associated with this aircraft is that it is the first fighter aircraft to be built on a moving assembly line, like cars are made. Usually in the manufacture of an aircraft the hull is placed in a manufacturing bay and the various trades work the aircraft in place. Periodically the aircraft is moved to another station for assembly work and eventually it is rolled out to the paint hanger and then for flight testing. Here, they are literally laying the hull at the start of a long assembly line which moves the hull through the fixed work station. It is a novel concept and I think may actually bring down the cost of assembly of the aircraft. Given they are planning on building so many this may pay huge dividends over the long run.

Also from F-35 land: The first STOVL version F-35B was flown to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River Maryland for extensive tests to be conducted by the Navy and Marine Corps. The F-35B will replace the AV-8B's flown by the Marines and the Royal Navy. The base at Pax River is the home of NAVAIR and the home of Navy/Marine Flight Testing. The F-35B will add to the noise in the sky there at Pax that includes all the newest Navy/Marine equipment. I spent many years working there supporting the War Hoover and saw all the latest in Naval Aircraft. It was a fascinating place to work if you were an aviation buff.

Air Force Flying Safe:

The USAF finished their safest flying year ever in their history with only 17 Class A mishaps. The Class A is an accident that results in the total loss of the aircraft or the loss of life (or permanent total disability). Given they are flying their wings off supporting two Wars way over on the other side of the world this is huge feat. I am not sure what the total flying hours are or the total number of sorties but they have to be astronomical. My hat is off to the Boys in Blue. Great Job.

Fun with Ray Guns:

Boeing announced that they successfully destroyed in flight a UAV (5 of them in fact) using a mobile laser system and tracking system. In a program sponsored by the Air Force the Boeing system is designed to be installed and used from an aircraft although for this series of tests the system was ground based.

Cool Pic here:

This is a system we need more of and I hope they continue to receive funding for this. The big Airborne Laser program (the 747 based ABL program) was recently cancelled by the Obama Administration. Scary, you would think these kinds of advanced systems would be welcome into our military's inventory but not so for the Obama Administration.

Here in the heading of You have to Start Somewhere: "Scientist Stun Nematode Worms with UV Phaser" Straight out of Star Trek. They did a lot to make this work and it was just a bunch of Nematodes but they did use a "ray" on them and that did stun them so, lets just say that more research is required. Next maybe they can build up a Proton Torpedo!!

And Finally, "Shocker Doesn't Arrive in Time for Lobster Fundraiser": The Child and Family Resources in Tucson Arizona annually sponsors a Lobster dinner fund raiser. PETA objected and the good folks at the Child and Family Resources negotiated to use the all new "Crustastun" which would stun the Lobster in a humane way prior to cooking. Problem though, the Crustastun was sent via truck by UPS instead of air by FEDEX (it's a Union thing you know) and never made it in time for the fund raiser. PETA agreed to allow the Lobsters to be dispatched in the usual way; death by boiling water. Oh well. If all those Liberals could get on the same page they might actually get something right!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.


Buck said...

One of the more unique items associated with this aircraft is that it is the first fighter aircraft to be built on a moving assembly line, like cars are made.

Which... according to the AFA's Daily Report (link in my sidebar; good gouge if you're not already subscribing)... currently is moving at a rate of 50 inches per hour. Improvement is expected. (big-ass grin)

JimmyT said...

Buck, I saw that too, I was wondering if they have traffic jams!! LOL

BT: Jimmy T sends.