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Old 13th Dec 2020, 13:29
  #16 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Not lost, but slightly uncertain of position.
Posts: 13
Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
Firstly may I offer my condolences to all who knew the pilot.

Secondly Id like to offer a thought on the perceived increase in the accident rate.

I think we can all see that there appear to be more than the average number of accidents recently. That alone is not what concerns me. It is the fact that in so many of the recent accidents there have been no survivors.

Im not about to draw any conclusions about this fact here but I do think it warrants further discussion.

Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of this F-16 brother.

F-16 accidents world wide have claimed the life of historically many pilots this past year. 7 Class A mishaps - 6 dead pilots. Other platforms have seen their share of mishaps and losses too. F-15 in the North Sea, F-35B vs tanker, F-35 landing mishap. Having read some of the AIB reports, I find one topic missing in all of them. Supervision!

This report was released on the 1. december, and describes very we'll the challenges that US military aviation is dealing with. It is worth a read, and the problems highlighted are universal, and not US military only. Command world wide is challenging the amount of flying hours needed. And they don't get the fact that simulators can only supplement training, but never replace it.


But until high command and politicians changes the way business is done, I fear we will see many more accidents with loss of equipment and lifes. And even when they decide to make changes, I fear the damage has been done and it will take years to get back to how things used to be.

The following text is from a F-15 driver who took part in the flying the day of the F-15 North Sea mishap. It describes the challenges and shortcomings of training (or lack of it) very well.

Written after the tragic losses of Lt. Kage Allen (June 15th) and Lt. David Schmitz (June 30th)

I know. I know this is part of the job. I understand completely the risks. Completely.

And yet, I am 100% convinced that the most dangerous thing you can do to fighter pilots is fly them less, train them less, accept a lower bar that they must meet. And yet we do this...and have been doing this... for years.

I've been around a little while. I've seen the act..."FIGHTER PILOT CRISIS" ... as if the reaction to it is anything but. "Maximize production! Graduate students faster, with less time, and less training, and less undergraduate prep!"

"The (insert latest trendy technology) is in...you can virtually replicate real flying and fly each student less! Problem meet potential solution! Its amazing...we generate pilots XXX% faster and, and..." and WHAT!? Tell me!

Tell me how to replicate flight without flying? ...the walk-around in the scorching heat, the searing sounds, and the sweat-soaked earplugs in your ears. Tell me how to sim the strap in while you realize this is NOTHING like that first-flight sim you did yesterday. Tell me how to replicate how you feel: weighted down and already exhausted, your wingman's jet blast in your face, the gear on your body, the stress of the moment and its joy mixing around in your blood. Tell me how to replicate the cockpit...the glare and glint, the worn buttons, the vibrations, the noises (wtf was that!?), the smells, the cool familiar-odor oxygen flowing...hitting your wet face and somehow cooling your entire body; the pressure of the mask. Tell me how to replicate the Gs, the thrust, the G-strain, the grey out, the 'holy shit ease off!', the master cautions, the digging around in the bottomless map-case to look for your checklist; how its so difficult to find, because you actually have to fly the thing you are sitting in. Tell me how to replicate the sun, the weather, the stress, the chance of death, the risk, the breathing. Tell me how to replicate your heart-rate rise just before "turn in, fights on." Tell me how to replicate the merge, that want and NEED to win, knowing you're pushing your body and the jet faster, higher, tighter, slower, than you've ever had it and not being totally sure you will keep it together. Tell me how to replicate the loss...and the awful smile you know your wingman gives you under his mask in the BD check. Tell me how to replicate the 2 minutes you get each sortie where you actually get to look around at the world...when you realize that you are doing the one thing you always wanted to do for the 560th time ...the split second your give to your mind to think of your wife, your kids, your fear, your loss, your friend who died doing this exact same thing; then the rapid jerk back into the reality of task at hand, and you are again immersed. Tell me how to replicate the shocking feeling...the first realization that you finally have achieved awareness of the fight and the world around you; just like your old IP did as you stood agape in the debrief watching his tapes. Tell me how to replicate the night. How the whole world transforms into darkness and green glows...how the world closes in on you...how up can be down, and down can be up, and fast can be up, and slow can be down. Tell me how to replicate the way the world looks down through the scud layer, and how your shadow races over you when you flare, scaring the shit out of you...so you do it again. Tell me how to replicate landing...the last check over the threshold to make sure for the 15th time that your gear is down. The hope that you'll see the rabbits running through the '300 foot ceiling' below you, hoping that there really is earth down there. Tell me how to replicate the taxi back...how you're already thinking of your DFP, of how it went wrong, and what you'll talk about. Tell me how to replicate the shut down...and the wind hitting you after your crack the canopy open...the quiet walk in after the jets are asleep. The way the turbine blades clank as they slowly turn in a wind-blown motor as you walk by the spare. Tell me how to replicate the debrief, the stress, the pens, the realization you didn't know what you thought you knew. The thought that you should be better...better than this. Replicate the drive home, the thinking it over and over and over and over and over and over; the too-tired-to-talk-to-your-wife flop onto the bed. Tell me how the best fighter pilots in the world got to be so god damned good.

Tell me how to replicate the feeling I have right now when I see another nickel needs to be thrown. I'll tell you how to replicate that one...keep doing what we are doing. Keep flying us less and expecting us more, and you will do just that...replicate this tragedy over and over and over.

I don't want to hear about timelines, and graduation rates, and UTE, and PAI, or PAA. I don't want to hear about capacity, class seats, pipeline holdups, and training delays, or VR, UPTN or any virtual training anymore. I know that flying more makes fighter pilots better. Flying more in UPT, more in IFF...having an IFF, more in the B-Course, more in MQT, more in FLUG, more in IPUG, MCUG...MORE! How many fighter pilots have died from a loss of situational awareness, and lack of experience, or training? Im not saying this most recent loss is a case of that...it will be some time until we know. I do know its another tragedy.

This has been a really, really tough year. A nickel for you brother... I have you and the Gamblers close at hand.

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