Ride along with Capt Andrew “Dojo” Olson as he flies the F-35 Demonstration over San Francisco Fleet Week.
Although it generated some controversy because of a negative article published on CommonDreams.org (that “earned” a complete rebuttal by our own Tom Demerly here todaay), the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels demo team‘s display at San Francisco Fleet Week was probably not the only highlight of this year’s air show.
In fact, at its Bay Area debut, one of the stars of the 2019 edition of the Air Show was the Lightning II aircraft of the U.S. Air Force F-35 Demo Team.
Flown by the team leader, Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, the F-35 performed its display routine zipping fast and low over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and Pier 39: a performance that was filmed once again from the cockpit, with a 360-camera, for about 14 minutes of stunning footage that was once again projected in the Internet by the pretty active F-35 Demo Media Team that works behind the scenes to create and drive a solid, agile and effective messaging across social media.
As explained in details in a previous article we published here at The Aviationist:
In late 2018, the U.S. Air Force launched the new Air Force F-35 Demo Team. The team has flown successful demonstrations at events around the U.S. already this airshow season, and added several new events to its 2019 calendar. While it may be difficult to quantify any specific shift in broad public opinion of the overall F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, it is easy to see that social media buzz about the F-35 has shifted to a decidedly more positive tone since the Air Force fielded the F-35 Demo Team.
While the aerobatic demonstration of the F-35A as flown by team leader, Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson, is the most impressive part of the show, the behind-the-scenes media engine that creates and drives the team’s messaging across social media is equally fast, agile, adaptive and capable. The two primary drivers of the F-35 Demo Team’s media efforts are USAF Senior Airman Alexander Cook and Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham.
Along with merchandising, branding and messaging the F-35 Demo Team, their crew has also produced some truly remarkable and innovative media with never-before-seen video of the F-35 at work.
Indeed, the SF Fleet Week clip is the latest of a series of videos released in the last few months. Each one provides a detailed view on the control inputs from demo pilot USAF Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson.
Observing the Bay Area display from inside the cockpit we can’t but notice the amount of travel in the side-stick and throttle, as “Dojo” performs high-g turns, loopings, aileron rolls, exploiting the computerized fly-by-wire flight control, the new flight control system using electro-hydrostatic actuation system (EHAS) and an automated wing leading-edge flap actuation system (LEFAS), and the thrust made available by the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine.
If you decide to point the 360-camera at the pilot, you can see Capt. Olson using stick and throttle as in any other combat aircraft. However, at 8:36 mark, during the execution of the pedal turn “Dojo” reaches all the way across with his left hand to place both hands on the side-stick as the aircraft enters its tight radius, descending turn.
If you prefer to look outside, you get a pretty usual view of San Francisco from the world’s most advanced combat aircraft. Unfortunately, there is no way to get a glimpse of the highly advanced aircraft’s panoramic cockpit display, that can be configured at will by tapping the screen with fingers, like a tablet or a smartphone…
Still, the video is awesome and I suggest you to watch it all.