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Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 12, 2015 - 02:25pm PT
From the Huffington Post:

Can the F-35 Be Stopped?

William Hartung
Director, Arms and Security Project, Center for International Policy

At a price tag of $1.5 trillion to build and operate over its lifetime, the F-35 combat aircraft is the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken by the Pentagon. It is overpriced, underperforming and unnecessary. It is being asked to do too many things, from serving as a fighter and a bomber, to landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, to doing vertical takeoff and landing. With all of these conflicting demands, the F-35 is likely to do none of its assignments well.

Furthermore, as James Fallows noted in a recent cover story in The Atlantic, the $80 billion in projected cost overruns and waste associated with the F-35 is over 100 times the amount of taxpayer losses associated with the Solyndra solar energy project, Republican lawmakers' example of choice when they decry the inefficiencies of "big government."

Despite all of the above, in the Pentagon spending bill that passed last month Congress approved nearly a half a billion dollars more for the F-35 than the Pentagon even asked for.

What is going on here?

The usual explanation for the apparent invulnerability of the F-35 is simple: pork barrel politics.

The plane's developer, Lockheed Martin, claims that the program supports over 125,000 jobs in 46 states, many of them in the states or districts of key members of the armed services and defense appropriations committees. As I have noted elsewhere, these figures are vastly exaggerated. The program creates perhaps half as many jobs as Lockheed Martin claims, and many states have virtually no involvement in the project. But even so, the economic argument is the firm's weapon of last resort in fending off criticisms of the F-35.

Jobs aren't the only tool of influence that can be brought to bear on behalf of the F-35. Lockheed Martin maintains a stable of 95 lobbyists, and its board includes such luminaries as Joseph Ralston, the former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Lockheed Martin routinely ranks at or near the top of the list of political contributors in the defense industry, and its donations are strategically placed to boost the campaigns of members of Congress with the most important roles in funding its programs. Nearly one in ten members of the House of Representatives belong to the F-35 caucus.

Add to Lockheed Martin's efforts similar activities on the part of other key F-35 contractors like Northrop Grumman, BAE, and the Pratt and Whitney division of United Technologies, and the concentrated power available to supporters of the F-35 looks impressive indeed.

But the clout of the F-35 lobby doesn't mean the program can't be stopped, or at least dramatically scaled back. A similar, job-based campaign on behalf of the company's F-22 fighter jet failed miserably when the Obama administration decided to end the program in 2010. When General Electric lobbied vigorously to be included in the F-35 program as a second engine supplier, a left-right coalition that included 47 Republican deficit hawks defeated the initiative. And on the larger issue of how much to spend on the Pentagon, the Aerospace Industries Association has been lobbying aggressively for several years without being able to fundamentally alter the caps on Pentagon spending created by the Budget Control Act of 2010.

In other words, contrary to popular belief, the military-industrial complex doesn't automatically win every battle over government spending.

This is not to suggest that rolling back the F-35 will be easy, just that it is possible. There's no question that the Air Force brass are committed to the F-35 as the plane of the future, but that is not the case for the Navy -- in the short-term the service could do as well or better with upgraded F-18s while a workable alternative to the F-35 is developed. The A-10 attack plane is far better at close air support of troops than the F-35 will ever be, and there is a strong Congressional constituency in favor of keeping the A-10 over the objections of the Air Force. And as the price of the F-35 rises, there has been grumbling among allied nations involved in the program, with a number of them postponing or cutting their buys of the plane.

As Ashton Carter noted in hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee in March 2010, when he was head of procurement at the Pentagon, the key to the future of the F-35 program is affordability. By that standard, it should be canceled immediately. As Carter noted at the same hearing, there was an "erosion of discipline" in the program during the decade of endless growth in Pentagon spending in the early 2000s. He said the following with specific reference to the F-35 program:

"It's been easy to solve problems with money. You see that in programs where they slip a little bit, throw a little bit more money, a technological problem, throw a little bit more money in. We need to be much more vigilant about how we use money to solve our problems."

Over the years, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the incoming chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has been a vocal critic of the F-35, at one point describing Lockheed Martin's management of the program as "abysmal." The Pentagon claims that progress has been made in getting the program's cost under control, but it appears that the claimed reductions have more to do with fiddling with assumptions than actual progress in reducing concrete costs of the project. Sen. McCain would do a great public service if he made the performance, cost, and future of the F-35 a major line of questioning in Ashton Carter's confirmation hearings.

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. Follow him @WilliamHartung

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ ___ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I wonder how many Democrats have voted for this POS boondoggle?

from out where the anecdotes roam
Jan 24, 2015 - 07:08am PT

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 24, 2015 - 08:08am PT
Reminds me of flying with a good friend in AK. He is a master of intentional balks and testing the surface. Part of his standard procedure before an actual landing in his taylorcraft or piper. Smart talented pilot. Got a medal from the FAA as a copilot for saving a very bad situation in his dayjob.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 24, 2015 - 09:57am PT
man, you could land on pudding with those tires! ;-)

All flying, and climbing, is more about good decision making than skill level.
OK, maybe skill is more important in climbing. RMMV

Two of the more egregious examples of poor decision making being those of
the Air France crash in the Atlantic off Brasil and the Air Asia flight
captained by a Frenchman. There seems to be a something wrong with the
flight training, or lack thereof, in France. I'm putting good money on
this latest being a result of an accelerated stall as the pilot tried to
zoom up over the top of the thunderstorm which he should never have gotten
so close to.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 24, 2015 - 12:02pm PT
Yeah as soon as I saw the size of the pieces it seemed likely they pancaked in during a stall or tried to ditch carefully. With the info regarding a steep climb at the edge of their performance envelope that has emerged I'm going with the stall.

Saw a very good program regarding the french disaster... my god what a completely asinine accident.

It really seems bizarre that some very basic flight fundamentals just are not getting through and drilled into pilots somehow. 39000 feet to recognize and correct a stall should be a pretty damn simple task. I have no idea how many times I have stalled a cesna just for the fun of it and I am not even a pilot. These guys must not spend anytime just out IFR flying for the fun of it.

How bout making it a requirement that any airline pilot has at least 200 hours solo flight time in small aircraft and proficiency in basic recovery maneuvers? Skills they may rarely need driving the big busses..but?

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 24, 2015 - 12:12pm PT
climbski, read the link a page or so back to the Vanity Fair article by
William Langewische, or however he spells his name. His analysis of the
Air France crash is in depth and he lays out the cluster that is at the
heart of French aviation training. Air France sounds like it is an old
boys' club of arrogant incompetents. Their continuing proficiency training
is also clearly a joke. US airline pilots train constantly for all sorts
of unlikely scenarios. My bro-in-law told me about his inverted flat spin
sim session, in the dark and IFR!

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 24, 2015 - 12:33pm PT
My bro-in-law told me about his inverted flat spin
sim session, in the dark and IFR!

LOL wow sounds like fun to try on a sim.. if you can get out of that one I'd guess you probably have tried a ton of more realistic scenarios out. Nice to know US pilots are out there goofing off and trying ridiculous things. I really mean that. It means you love to fly and want to know everything regardless how unlikely.

Odd question.. I've always wondered about. The classic question.. could a good small private aircraft pilot land a big one in an emergency?

Someone should spring for sim time to find out. I'd love to try it. Drop me in a big buss flying straight at 36k and see if I could get her down. Wonder if I could even figure out the radio to ask for a bit of Like how to deploy flaps and landing gear and fly manual..what my stall speeds are, what is the course to a good runway. I'm pretty sure I could do it if I could do/find out those things. Which would probably rely on figuring out the radio

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 24, 2015 - 12:42pm PT
This wasn't by choice or for fun. His airline expects him to be able to
deal with things as unlikely as that. That's why I only fly on US, British,
or German airlines, when I have a choice. Not only do they train to a
higher standard they preach AND practice cockpit resource management which,
above all, means everyone in there works together and nobody is afraid
to offer their opinion because they're afraid of making the captain 'lose face'
re: the SFO landing phukfest.

BTW, if you want some gud entertainment check out "Airplane Repo" on The
Discovery Channel on Thursdays. It is TOO FREAKING GOOD! I know some of
it is 'enhanced' but a lot of it is isn't. Doods are good sticks and crazy!
The other night the dood took off from some high altitude airport in CO in
a repo Cessna 414. The airport manager turned off the runway lights on him
so he had to take off in this hotrod from a 50' wide rwy in the dark! Did
I mention he had no nav or com radios? He used his TomTom to find Durango
and had to call the tower on his cell phone to get them to turn on their
rwy lights! LOL! The dood in the tower asked him why he wanted the lights
turned on! "Because I'm in an airplane and it's dark, you moron!"

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 24, 2015 - 01:07pm PT
could a good small private aircraft pilot land a big one in an emergency?

You mean the Willy Loman Fantasy? Actually, a lot should be able to do it
in daylight with 10K of rwy in a 737. Something bigger wouldn't necessarily
be that much tougher except in terms of judging when to flare. It wouldn't
be pretty but everyone would survive. The radios and flaps are pretty
intuitive and if you bring her in at 150 knots you'd be close enough. Five
axis simulators are pretty pricy but there are some older ones open to the
public out there that are relatively affordable. Used to be a 727 model
at SNA but it has been some years now.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 24, 2015 - 01:23pm PT
Long time ago a friend of mine ran the F-15c simulator at Elmendorf. I got to go in late at night and use it a few times. What was most remarkable to me was how easy it was to fly and how intuitive the systems and panels were.. even the weapons and radar system which were by far the most complicated systems..

Makes sense when you think about it, you don't want this stuff to be difficult when lives depend on it. I finally had to stop when I started figuring out some stuff regarding the weapons system that was classified. Seriously the system was much easier than an android phone.

Yeah sure an American interceptor cannot lock onto multiple targets simultaneously. But hey.. that's classified. Hmm this button looks like it pulls up the functions I need.. Huh what do you mean we are done?

Social climber
So Cal
Jan 26, 2015 - 06:55pm PT
When I was a kid the term "Brodie" was commonly used for a spectacular skidding stop performed on a bike or skateboard. Always wondered about the origin of the term

The Brodie system was originally conceived as a way to get light observation aircraft on convoys to hunt subs. But, it was only used operationally once and then for artillery spotter planes during the invasion of Okinawa.

An L-5 launched from an LST spotted caves with railroad tracks leading to the beach on a small islet and reported back. While no one had a clue as to what they were, they obviously could have some military significance and a couple of destroyers were sent to bombard the islet.

Later it was discovered that there were hundreds of small suicide speedboats hidden in the caves.

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 2, 2015 - 08:17pm PT
There's an ap for that.

Same terrain avoidance software as an F-16 coming to an Android cell phone near you.

(Dome Rock in the opening shots for climbing content)
Rob Roy Ramey

Trad climber
Feb 2, 2015 - 10:43pm PT
Credit: Rob Roy Ramey
Licky will like this one. The photos are the remains of a South African Air Force Lockheed Ventura bomber that crashed on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia in 1942. (Note that Ventura bomber design evolved into the civilian Howard 500 of Yosemite fame.) The crew survived this crash and swam ashore, but they had to run 35km along the coast, with no water, to catch up with a convoy of vehicles that was driving out of the desert.

It is an amazing story of shipwrecked survivors stranded on the remote northern coast of the Namib Desert. The Ventura bomber was sent to provide aid but became stuck in the sand upon landing. The Ventura crew was stranded with the shipwrecked passengers and crew of the Dunedin Star until a rescue convoy of vehicles crossed the desert weeks later. With the plane towed to firm ground, the Ventura crew took off, but only managed a short flight until forced to crash-land in an even more remote location, and necessitating the 35km run for their lives. They intercepted the last truck in the rescue convoy at Sarusus Spring.

Our Land Cruiser is in the background. (Doing research and roaming Africa out of an old Land Cruiser has the same feeling of adventure that big-wall climbing in Yosemite had back in the day.)

More on the shipwreck and Ventura bomber story here:
And the book is a great read:
Credit: Rob Roy Ramey
Credit: Rob Roy Ramey
From Captain Immins Naude atop his stranded Ventura bomber in 1942.
From Captain Immins Naude atop his stranded Ventura bomber in 1942.

from out where the anecdotes roam
Feb 6, 2015 - 06:30am PT

edit: should have labeled ... stinson reliant. those wings, on the "gullwing" series ... unique!


Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2015 - 12:57am PT
Hey, nice Beaver! :D

The classic question.. could a good small private aircraft pilot land a big one in an emergency?

If everything is turning and burning properly and you have time to get used to the plane, yes. I'm a pretty low time pilot and I've managed to land the 737 and the F16 in the sim without any real issues.

I don't remember where the crash happened, but a while back there was a 737 decompression event that killed both the pilots. Plane flew on autopilot for hours, and then one of the flight attendants - a high time multiengine rated pilot - finally went into the cockpit and stuffed it into a mountain when the fuel ran out. Never will understand how that happened.

So I guess it's equal parts luck and skill.

Social climber
So Cal
Feb 7, 2015 - 06:14pm PT
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
Feb 7, 2015 - 06:22pm PT
To me that sounds like the Helios crash in Greece. If it is, to be fair to the flight attendant, he was most likely suffering hypoxia in those final minutes. Right before the pilots passed out the ground maintenance officer asks them if the switch that controls cabin pressurization was in the "auto" mode or "manual" mode. Sadly, if they'd been able to respond to this they'd most likely all be alive.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 7, 2015 - 06:32pm PT
The sad part of that Greek tragedy is that the crew allowed themselves to
get to the point that they couldn't recognize what was happening and put on
their oxygen masks. That assumes they had functioning oxygen sets.

The recent Taiwan ATR crash is another example of crews who cannot handle
anything out of the ordinary. My money is on misidentifying the bad engine
and shutting down the good one - a classic gumby goof. That ATR should have
no probs flying on one, provided that everything is done properly.

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Feb 12, 2015 - 09:20am PT
This is nuts.


Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Feb 14, 2015 - 05:46pm PT
A Korean Air jet crashed into another plane at an airport but took off anyway

A Korean Air Airbus A330, similar to the one involved in the incident, taking off from Vienna On Friday, a Korean Airlines jet collided with another aircraft on the ground at Yangon International Airport.

But instead of stopping to assess the damage, the airliner — with 134 passengers and 11 crew onboard — continued with its take-off procedure, the AP reported.

The jet, a widebody Airbus A330, clipped the tail of a neighboring Bangkok Airways plane with the tip of its wing.

According to the AP, the pilots of the Korean Airbus didn't notice the collision, and none of the aircraft's collision warnings sounded to alert the crew.

It was, however, reported that ground staff at the airport witnessed the incident and immediately notified the the control tower of the damage.

The jet, Flight 472, returned to the Myanmar capital s hortly after taking off for the five hour flight to Seoul, after the officials determined a collision had occurred.

No injuries were reported and the delayed passengers boarded another flight for the South Korean capital later in the day.

Straight outta Compton!
"We no stop fol that sh!t!"
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