Tag Archives: pilot

An Air Force Pilot Tells Us What Flying a B-2 Stealth Bomber Is Like

An Air Force Pilot Tells Us What Flying a B-2 Stealth Bomber Is Like(Washington, D.C.) When B-2 stealth bombers attacked Serbia on the opening night of Operation Allied Force in 1999, destroyed Iraqi air defenses during 2003’s “Shock and Awe” and eliminated the Libyan fighter force in 2011 — the attacks were all guided by highly-specialized pilots trained in stealth attack tactics.Given the dangers of these kinds of missions, such as flying into heavy enemy ground fire from air defenses, confronting the prospect of air attacks and preparing for electronic warfare over hostile territory, B-2 pilots need to be ready.“We prepare and train every single day in case we get called up tomorrow,” Lt. Col. Nicola Polidor, Commander of Detachment 5 of the 29th Training Systems Squadron, told Warrior in an interview.While performing missions, B-2 pilots need to maintain the correct flight path, align with specific targeting intelligence and load and prepare weapons, all while manning a digital cockpit to control a wide range of additional variables at one time. Polidor, who trains future B-2 pilots at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, says Air Force pilot trainees have adjusted well to learning a seemingly overwhelming amount of new information.“The biggest challenge for pilots is being able to manage flying for long periods of time at the same time as managing a communications suite and robust weapons package,” Polidor said.Polidor is only the 10th female B-2 pilot in history.Training is broken down into an academic phase and a flight phase, with classroom training as the first step. Trainees, Polidor explained, typically spend about two months working on a simulator, before taking their first flight.



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Pilot missing after F-35 fighter jet crashes in Japan

Pilot missing after F-35 fighter jet crashes in JapanWreckage from a Japanese F-35A stealth fighter jet has been found a day after it disappeared off the radar over the Pacific, the country's defence minister said Wednesday. There was no word yet on the fate of the one pilot on board the jet, Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya said. It was the first reported case of a crash by an F-35A, according to Japan's Air Self-Defence Force. "We have collected part of its tail" in search operations at sea with planes and vessels, Iwaya told reporters. "We believe it crashed," he added. The fighter jet went missing around 7.30 pm (10.30 GMT) Tuesday as it was flying some 135 kilometres (85 miles) east of Misawa, northeastern Japan, on a training mission. Parts of the jet were recovered, the defense ministry said Wednesday The plane lost contact about 30 minutes after taking off from Misawa Air Base with three other aircraft. "During the exercise, the aircraft… communicated that it was aborting the exercise, then communications from the plane stopped and its radar track disappeared," Iwaya said. Japan's air force announced a commission late Tuesday to study the cause of the accident. But it was still not clear exactly what happened to the plane by late Wednesday afternoon, a Japanese air force official told AFP. US defence contractor Lockheed Martin touts the high-tech fighter as "virtually undetectable" and says it allows the US and its allies to dominate the skies with its "unmatched capability and unprecedented situational awareness." Japan is deploying F-35As, each of which costs more than 10 billion yen ($ 90 million), to replace its ageing F-4 fighters. The jet was one of 13 F-35As deployed at the base, according to the defence ministry. The remaining 12 F-35A fighters have been grounded for the time being, the ministry said. "Until we find out exactly what happened, it would be difficult for us to have those planes fly again," the air force official told AFP. US military forces said they were helping the search-and-rescue effort. "US Forces Japan will continue to work closely with the Japan Self Defence Forces and Ministry of Defence to assist with search and rescue efforts, as requested," US Forces Japan said in a statement. The F35A jets are a key part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to upgrade the nation's military capacity to meet changing power dynamics in East Asia, with China rapidly modernising its military. Over the next decade, Japan plans to purchase as many as 105 F-35As and 42 units of other high-capacity jets, most likely the F-35B variant.



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Pilot: Cruise ship woes off Norway started with engine snags

Pilot: Cruise ship woes off Norway started with engine snagsCOPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The Norwegian pilot on the cruise ship carrying more than 1,300 people that was caught in a hefty storm off the coast of Norway said Tuesday the situation worsened when engine problems appeared.



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Remains of Missing WWII Pilot Returned Family in Utah

Remains of Missing WWII Pilot Returned Family in UtahThe remains of a World War II pilot who disappeared 74 years ago while flying a mission over Germany were returned to his family in Utah.



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Ethiopian Airlines Denies Reports That Pilot in Boeing 737 MAX Crash Was Not Properly Trained

Ethiopian Airlines Denies Reports That Pilot in Boeing 737 MAX Crash Was Not Properly TrainedThey were prepared to fly a Boeing 737 Max 8, the airline said



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Jump-seat pilot reportedly saved Boeing Max jet one day before Lion Air crash

Jump-seat pilot reportedly saved Boeing Max jet one day before Lion Air crashA day before a Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed off of Indonesia last year, killing all 189 people aboard, pilots struggled for control of the same aircraft.



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Pilot who hitched a ride in cockpit saved doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 Max day before it crashed

Pilot who hitched a ride in cockpit saved doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 Max day before it crashedAs the Lion Air crew fought to control their diving Boeing 737 Max 8, they got help from an unexpected source: an off-duty pilot who happened to be riding in the cockpit. That extra pilot, who was seated in the cockpit jumpseat, correctly diagnosed the problem and told the crew how to disable a malfunctioning flight-control system and save the plane, two people familiar with Indonesia’s investigation told Bloomberg. The next day, under command of a different crew facing what investigators said was an identical malfunction, the jetliner crashed into the Java Sea killing all 189 aboard. The previously undisclosed detail on the earlier Lion Air flight represents a new clue in the mystery of how some 737 Max pilots faced with the malfunction have been able to avert disaster while the others lost control of their planes and crashed. The presence of a third pilot in the cockpit wasn’t contained in Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee’s November 28 report on the crash and hasn’t previously been reported. Airlines with Boeing 737 Max 8s in their fleet The so-called dead-head pilot on the earlier flight from Bali to Jakarta told the crew to cut power to the motor driving the nose down, according to the people familiar, part of a checklist that all pilots are required to memorise. “All the data and information that we have on the flight and the aircraft have been submitted to the Indonesian NTSC. We can’t provide additional comment at this stage due the ongoing investigation on the accident,” Lion Air spokesman Danang Prihantoro said. The Indonesia safety committee report said the plane had had multiple failures on previous flights and hadn’t been properly repaired. Representatives for Boeing and the Indonesian safety committee declined to comment on the earlier flight. The safety system, designed to keep planes from climbing too steeply and stalling, has come under scrutiny by investigators of the crash as well as a subsequent one less than five months later in Ethiopia. A malfunctioning sensor is believed to have tricked the Lion Air plane’s computers into thinking it needed to automatically bring the nose down to avoid a stall. Jakarta plane crash: Flight Lion Air JT610 Boeing’s 737 Max was grounded on March 13 by US regulatorsafter similarities to the Oct. 29 Lion Air crash emerged in the investigation of the March 10 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. In the wake of the two accidents, questions have emerged about how Boeing’s design of the new 737 model were approved. The Transportation Department’s inspector general is conducting a review of how the plane was certified to fly and a grand jury under the US Justice Department is also seeking records in a possible criminal probe of the plane’s certification. The FAA last week said it planned to mandate changes in the system to make it less likely to activate when there is no emergency. The agency and Boeing said they are also going to require additional training and references to it in flight manuals. “We will fully cooperate in the review in the Department of Transportation’s audit,” Boeing spokesman Charles Bickers said. The company has declined to comment on the criminal probe. After the Lion Air crash, two US pilots’ unions said the potential risks of the system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, hadn’t been sufficiently spelled out in their manuals or training. None of the documentation for the Max aircraft included an explanation, the union leaders said. “We don’t like that we weren’t notified,’’ Jon Weaks, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, said in November. “It makes us question, ‘Is that everything, guys?’ I would hope there are no more surprises out there.’’ The Allied Pilots Association union at American Airlines Group Inc. also said details about the system weren’t included in the documentation about the plane. Following the Lion Air crash, the FAA required Boeing to notify airlines about the system and Boeing sent a bulletin to all customers flying the Max reminding them how to disable it in an emergency. Authorities have released few details about Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 other than it flew a “very similar” track as the Lion Air planes and then dove sharply into the ground. There have been no reports of maintenance issues with the Ethiopian Airlines plane before its crash. If the same issue is also found to have helped bring down Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, one of the most vexing questions crash investigators and aviation safety consultants are asking is why the pilots on that flight didn’t perform the checklist that disables the system. “After this horrific Lion Air accident, you’d think that everyone flying this airplane would know that’s how you turn this off,” said Steve Wallace, the former director of the US Federal Aviation Administration’s accident investigation branch. The combination of factors required to bring down a plane in these circumstances suggests other issues may also have occurred in the Ethiopia crash, said Jeffrey Guzzetti, who also directed accident investigations at FAA and is now a consultant. “It’s simply implausible that this MCAS deficiency by itself can down a modern jetliner with a trained crew,” Guzzetti said. MCAS is driven by a single sensor near the nose that measures the so-called angle of attack, or whether air is flowing parallel to the length of the fuselage or at an angle. On the Lion Air flights, the angle-of-attack sensor had failed and was sending erroneous readings indicating the plane’s nose was pointed dangerously upward. Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.



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Kroger ends its unmanned-vehicle grocery delivery pilot program in Arizona

Kroger ends its unmanned-vehicle grocery delivery pilot program in ArizonaKroger ends its unmanned-vehicle grocery delivery pilot program in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week. It was said to be the first of its kind in the U.S.



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Four US tourists, pilot killed in Kenya chopper crash

Four US tourists, pilot killed in Kenya chopper crashFour American tourists and a Kenyan pilot were killed when their helicopter crashed on a remote island in a lake in northwest Kenya, police said Monday. “There were five people on board, four of them were US citizens and the pilot, Capt Marious Magonga,” the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement. Magonga was also a pilot for Kenya’s deputy president, William Ruto, who owned the crashed helicopter.



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Pakistan returns Indian pilot downed over Kashmir

Pakistan returns Indian pilot downed over KashmirA pilot shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani aircraft returned to India on Friday, after being freed in what Islamabad called a "peace gesture" following the biggest standoff between the two countries in years. But fresh violence raged in Kashmir, with seven people killed in the Indian-administered part of the tinder-box territory, suggesting that the crisis may not be over yet. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, shot down on Wednesday over Kashmir – divided between the nuclear-armed rivals since 1947 – crossed into India at the famed Wagah crossing point, sporting a black eye from his ordeal. Thousands of Indians, waving flags, singing and dancing with patriotic fervour, had gathered at the crossing point on Friday afternoon but the crowd dwindled after his release was delayed inexplicably by hours. In New Delhi the announcement of the experienced pilot's release was seen as a diplomatic victory, but India warned that its military remained on "heightened" alert. On Thursday and Friday both countries continued to fire barrages across the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border dividing Kashmir, leaving at least one person dead. Gun battles on the Indian side left two militants and four members of the Indian security services dead, while a civilian was killed in later protests, police told AFP. "Influence of terrorists and terrorism has been curtailed and it is going to be curtailed even more. This is a New India," Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing a tough election due by May, said Friday. "This is an India that will return the damage done by terrorists with interest," he said. India's junior foreign minister and former army chief, Vijay Kumar Singh, tweeted that the "welcome" release of the pilot was "the first of many steps that Pakistan must take to reinforce their commitment to peace". Pulwama suicide attack – Map Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British colonial rule. Both claim it in full and have fought two wars over the Himalayan territory. India has half a million troops in the part it administers, with militants – backed by Islamabad, according to New Delhi – fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died since a revolt that broke out in 1989. Last year was the deadliest in a decade with almost 600 killed, monitors say. Matters escalated alarmingly after a massive suicide bombing killed 40 Indian troops on February 14, with the attack claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group. Twelve days later Indian warplanes launched a strike inside undisputed Pakistani territory, claiming to have hit a militant camp. An infuriated Islamabad denied casualties or damage, but a day later launched its own incursion across the LoC. That sparked the dogfight which ended in both countries claiming they had shot down each other's warplanes, and Abhinandan's capture. Prime Minister Imran Khan unexpectedly announced Thursday that he would be released in the first sign of a potential thaw. Khan alluded to the catastrophic consequences of nuclear war and called for talks – even as he warned India should not take the announcement as a sign of weakness. Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan has become a national hero in India, with his parents receiving a standing ovation as they boarded a flight to welcome their son. Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi meanwhile said he was boycotting a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held in Abu Dhabi, as India had been invited. The tensions prompted Pakistan to close down its airspace, disrupting major routes between Europe and South Asia and grounding thousands of travellers worldwide. Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said Friday that flights could land and depart from its main airports from 1300 GMT, and that others would be opened "gradually". The parents of handlebar-moustached Abhinandan were given a standing ovation by fellow passengers as they boarded a flight to Amritsar near Wagah to welcome their son. He has become a national hero after purported footage that went viral showed him being beaten by locals after being shot down before Pakistani soldiers intervened, with social media abuzz with GivebackAbhinandan and Abhinandanmyhero hashtags. His subsequent polite refusal to proffer more details than necessary – "I am sorry major, I am not supposed to tell you this" – won him particular sympathy in India. His father, a retired air force officer, told the Times of India newspaper, "Just look at the way he talked so bravely… a true soldier… we are proud of him."



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