Tag Archives: U.S. Air Force

The Stunning Aerial Cinematography of JET PILOT

More than 65 years after it was filmed, Jet Pilot movie features some of the most spectacular aerial photography in film history.

Jet Pilot is a 1957 film directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh. Written and produced by Jules Furthman and presented by Howard Hughes, the movie was filmed in more than eighteen months, from 1949 to 1953 and released, after post-production, 4 years later.

Although Jet Pilot was publicized as showcasing the U.S. Air Force’s latest jets, by the time it was finally released most of the USAF aircraft in the film were obsolescent or obsolete, being supplanted by more modern aircraft.

Jet Pilot movie posters (left: French version).

Hollywood film editor Vashi Nedomansky has recently edited 8 minutes of aerial footage from the film that he’s posted along with a blog article where he provides some background details about the movie. According to Nedomansky, Director of Photography Winton C. Hoch used Eastman Kodak’s brand new color negative 5247 film to capture the stunning aerial vistas. Moreover, Gen. Chuck Yeager anonymously flew most of the aerobatics in the movie that features several interesting aircraft: the Lockheed F-94 Starfire, the Convair B-36B Peacemaker, the Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, the North American B-45 Tornado, the F-86A Sabre, the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, the Boeing B-50 as well as the famous Bell X-1 which Chuck Yeager.

Here’s the amazing footage that includes also some interesting barrel rolls and aerobatics around the X-1:

JET PILOT (1957) – Aerial Cinematography from Vashi Nedomansky on Vimeo.

The quality of the video is simply unbelievable if you consider that it was filmed more than 65 years ago!

California Air National Guard F-15 Eagle Boarding Ladder Deployed in Flight During Flyover at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles

Incident Renews Conversation About USAF F-15 Eagle Age and Maintenance Condition.

A California Air National Guard McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing F-15C Eagle from the 194th Fighter Squadron of the 144th Fighter Wing at Fresno Air National Guard Base in Fresno, California raised eyebrows among sharp-eyed spectators during an opening flyover at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California over the July 4th holiday.

As the nice-looking four aircraft formation of F-15C Eagles flew over the stadium for the traditional national anthem opening of the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game a few people noticed the folding pilot boarding ladder open and extended outside the number two aircraft. The telescoping boarding ladder is stowed inside a secure compartment covered by an access panel in flight.

Photos of the open ladder appeared on the Facebook page “Air Force amn/nco/snco” (airmen, non-commissioned officers/senior non-commissioned officers). The page has become an unofficial source of insider information about air force incidents since the U.S. Air Force issued a “media reset” memo on March 1, 2018 directing more restrictive policies for air force public affairs.

While the folding crew ladder on the F-15 Eagle is reported to be rated sturdy enough to be extended during low-speed flight without creating a potential hazard, the inadvertent deployment of the telescoping ladder at high speeds could be serious if the ladder broke off the aircraft and fragments entered the left engine intake creating a “FOD” or Foreign Object Damage emergency. If the ladder opened during relatively low performance flying like a formation flyover, the implications during high performance maneuvering could be more serious.

The cause of the ladder opening during flight is unknown, but it could be from an accidental failure to adequately secured the crew ladder door or from a maintenance issue.

File photo of the folding boarding ladder on an F-15C Eagle that remained open during the flyover at Dodger Stadium on July 4th. (Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Omari Bernard.)

While there is no official word on the cause of the incident, journalist Tyler Rogoway at The War Zone learned that the F-15Cs in the flyover originated from Joint Forces Training Base – Los Alamitos in Los Alamitos, California. There may not have been dedicated F-15 boarding ladders at the facility, necessitating a need to use the internally stored, telescoping ladders on the F-15Cs.

Rogoway also reported he spoke to Colonel Victor Sikora, the “144th Operations Group commander”, about the incident. Col. Sikora reportedly told Rogoway as published in a July 5, 2018 report on The War Zone that, “The issue didn’t make itself known until the jets were on the move and the ladder only popped out once they were airborne. Apparently, the Eagle’s ladder has been rated up to a ‘high speed’ and has no adverse impact on the F-15’s handling characteristics within its tested envelope. Considering the flyover speed is 300 knots, it was in no way a safety factor and the mission was able to continue. All this was decided after a specific checklist was performed and the flight had a good handle on the situation.”

While the incident was not serious, it continues the conversation about the age and maintenance condition of some U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserve aircraft.

The McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing F-15C Eagle has been in U.S. Air Force service since January 1976 and is also operated by the Israeli Air Force, the Saudi Air Force and the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. The twin-engine, single seat variant involved in this incident has an outstanding combat record with over 100 aerial victories, mostly in Israeli service.

Top image: The crew boarding ladder protruding from an F-15C Eagle during a flyover at Dodger Stadium on July 4th. (Photo: via Facebook/Air Force amn/nco/snco)

Join U.S. Air Force A-10 Warthogs Firing Rockets And Using 30mm Gun During Red Flag Alaska

Here’s some cool BRRTTTTT…..

Taken on Jun. 21, 2018 the following video shows A-10 Warthogs from the 190th Fighter Squadron and 25th Fighter Squadron fire 2.75″ rockets and 30mm ammunition during a live fire exercise at Red Flag Alaska June 11-21, 2018 near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.

The video is pretty short and along with some cool cockpit footage it gives a pretty good idea about what the sound of a GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm hydraulically driven seven-barrel Gatling-type gun looks like. “It’s a highly-accurate point-and-shoot weapon that grants our pilots superior firepower and flexibility in a close-combat ground fight,” Lt. Col. Bryan T. France, an A-10 pilot and former 74th FS commander, told us.

Red Flag Alaska provides large force employment training in a simulated combat environment utilizing multi-national forces and gives allied nations the ability to work with one another in a realistic training environment.

U.S. Air National Guard video by Tech. Sgt. John Winn

B-52H Crew from Guam Locates Ocean Canoe Crew Gone Adrift in Pacific In A Bomber’s Rare Maritime SAR Mission

In a Dramatic Open Ocean Search an Air Force Crew Finds Paddlers Missing Six Days. The lost canoe was located by the crew from one of the B-52H after it was compared to a similar one that appeared in a Disney cartoon.

A U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress crew from the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam are being hailed as heroes. The B-52H located the lost crew of an open ocean Polynesian-style canoe after they were missing at sea for six days.

The traditional Pacific Island-style canoe carrying six paddlers had become lost after sailing from nearby Piagailoe Atoll on June 19. The journey from the atoll to Guam was only supposed to take one day — meaning the paddlers, who had minimal supplies had been missing at sea for nearly a week.

Following the location of the canoers from the USAF B-52H, the six-member crew of the ocean-going canoe rendezvoused with a merchant vessel in the area that was directed to their location to effect rescue. The merchant vessel provided the canoers with water, food and navigational assistance so they could safely return to land.

The eight-engine, long range B-52H bomber joined the search when the crew from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., was on a routine flight during a deployment to Guam. The heavy bomber crew responded to a call from the Coast Guard for assistance in the search on June 25.

“This was a unique situation for us,” Capt. Sean Simpson, one of the bomber’s crew, said in an Air Force statement. “It’s not every day the B-52 gets called for a search and rescue.”

Initially the crew of the B-52H was unfamiliar with the type of vessel they were searching for. Coast Guard personal compared the small, difficult to spot indigenous canoe with the boat from the Disney cartoon “Moana”. Capt. Simpson told media, “We asked for more details about the vessel and the dispatcher told us, ‘It’s just like the boat from [the Disney film] ‘Moana.’”

The B-52H crew were able to locate the canoe and its crew at sea only three hours after being called into the search and rescue operation.
“We spotted this vessel from about 19,000 feet,” 1st Lt. Jordan Allen told Air Force media in the statement. “It’s really a small miracle that we were able to see it, because there was quite a bit of clouds.”

Six passengers aboard a canoe were located in a joint search and rescue mission June 25, 2018, in the Pacific Ocean Southwest of Guam. Crew members flying a B-52H Stratofortress assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron (EBS), stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB), La., and deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, successfully located six passengers who had been missing for six days and relayed their location to the U.S. Coast Guard. (courtesy photo)

“Search and rescue isn’t something people typically think of when they talk about the B-52, but our training and adaptability really paid off,” Lt. Col. Jarred Prier, the bomb squadron’s director of operations, said in the statement. “Being a part of this successful search and rescue operation speaks to the diversity of our skill set and shows our importance here in the Pacific.”

The lost canoe was located by the crew from one of the B-52H after it was compared to a similar one that appeared in a Disney cartoon. (Photo: via Pinterest)

While the 63-year old Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, first flown in 1952 and accepted into the Air Force in 1955, is oddly well suited for the maritime search and rescue role even though it was introduced as a global reach strategic nuclear bomber. The aircraft has an extremely long combat radius of 4,480 miles, meaning it can search out in a straight line 4,480 miles and return the same distance without refueling. Given midair refueling availability, the B-52’s endurance is limited mostly by its crew’s physical endurance.

In January 1957 three USAF B-52s set an endurance record by becoming the first jet aircraft to circle the earth on a non-stop flight. The early version B-52Bs flew continuously for 45 hours and 19 minutes. In total the planes flew 24,345 miles without landing.

Top image: a file photo of a B-52H from the 2nd Operations Group, the parent unit of the 20th Bomb Squadron. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)

USAF Light Attack Experiment Halted Following Fatal Crash

Overall Light Attack Acquisition Project Continues Despite Accident.

Military.com’s Oriana Pawlyk reports that the innovative U.S. Air Force Light Attack Experiment has been halted following last week’s fatal crash of an Embraer A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft within the Red Rio Bombing Range at the White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico outside Alamogordo.

The Light Attack Experiment is intended to test both a new evaluation process for some USAF acquisition programs and simultaneously provide functional analysis of small, tactical light attack aircraft that can be operated economically and efficiently for close air support and reconnaissance in an insurgent conflict. Most of the participant aircraft are single engine turboprops. The program is said to potentially compliment and economize other Air Force programs including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by offering a less expensive, more agile program architecture that is suggested to even include innovations in how the Air Force trains new pilots.

U.S. Navy pilot Lt. Christopher Carey Short, from Canandaigua, New York died in the crash on Friday, June 22, 2018 while flying the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano. Another crew member on board the two-seat light turboprop attack and trainer aircraft is being reported as injured after ejecting from the aircraft.

The Embraer A-29 Super Tucano that crashed is a successful, combat-proven light tactical trainer, strike and intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance aircraft that is being evaluated in the Air Force Light Attack Experiment.

No cause for the accident has been reported and the cause of the accident is under investigation according to Air Force Public Affairs at Holloman AFB.

According to Pawlyk’s report, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command commanding officer General Mike Holmes told reporters that, “The OA-X tests have been suspended amid the ongoing accident investigation, and will remain on hold until officials can decide if more testing is even needed.”

Gen. Holmes comments did not clarify specifically if the program will potentially move ahead to an acquisition phase without further testing, or, if the program may be suspended following this fatal accident.

Journalist Pawlyk reported in early December 2017 in a separate article for Military.com that Members of Congress were, at the time, eager to hear the findings of the Light Attack Experiment.

“During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on acquisition reform Thursday [in 2017], senators said they are hopeful the light attack aircraft, known as OA-X, procurement strategy may improve how future weapons systems are acquired,” Pawlyk reported.
General Holmes did go on to tell reporters, “I don’t think this will have a chilling effect on future experiments. Whenever you’re trying something new there are risks.”

The Light Attack Experiment is in Phase II of now, with evaluation flights being conducted mostly from Holloman AFB, New Mexico. The program was originally intended to run through July, 2018.

During a media event in 2017, journalists and observers were invited to Holloman AFB to see aircraft being evaluated in the Light Attack Experiment and gain insights into the Air Force’s potential concepts for acquisition. At the time, program leaders including General Holmes and Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Heather Wilson, emphasized that the program was not a “fly-off” competition, but an insight into potentially new processes for evaluating some new Air Force programs.

Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Heather Wilson (left) and USAF General James M. “Mike” Holmes, Commander, Air Combat Command at the Light Attack Demo media day last year at Holloman AFB. (Photo: Tom Demerly/TheAviationist.com)

Reporters, including this writer, were scheduled to return to Holloman AFB in July to report on the Light Attack Experiment again as the program neared its completion.