Posts Tagged ‘f15’
The 120th Fighter Wing of the Montana Air National Guard will extend its current air combat alert mission at Joint Base Pearl-Hickam, Hawaii until September 2012.
The extension is a result of a recent decision to leave the F-15 mission at MANG longer than originally anticipated. MANG is performing the 24-hour alert mission in Hawaii while that base converts from the F-15 to the newer, more high-tech F-22 Raptor. Approximately 30 pilots, maintainers and logistics personnel, in addition to six F-15s, from MANG have been deployed to Hawaii since August of last year. They were originally scheduled to return in January 2012.
When the personnel were fist deployed, a MANG spokesman said many of those making the trip had sold their homes or rented them out in anticipation of a long deployment.
An alert-status mission means the F-15s must be ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to fly at a moment’s notice if an aircraft is in trouble or an unidentified plane enters restricted airspace or acts erratically, according to MANG officials.
Fighter pilots from the Massachusetts Air National Guard, flying Supersonic F-15 Eagles were the first called to action on September 11th, as commercial jetliners became the tools of terrorists. Their response was immediate. Those F-15’s flown by members of the 102nd Fighter Wing from Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod were the dominant force in the skies over New York City.
“I think for any of us being out there and seeing our country come under attack is something we’ve all had to get adjusted to, not only for the military, but for everyday life for all of us,” said Col. Donald Quenneville, Commander of the 102nd Fighter Wing.
Since that day in September, the role of the 102nd Fighter wing has been stepped-up. Every day, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) gives them a new mission depending on where they’re needed. From Canada to Washington, D.C. and as far west as Detroit, their purpose is to keep civilians on the ground safe from other air attacks.
The 102nd Fighter Wing gave 22News reporter Patti Smith the rare opportunity to fly along on one of those sensitive F-15 missions. Hours before takeoff, Guardsmen and women outfitted her with the necessary gear: from a flight suit and boots to a parachute harness and G-suit designed to prevent blood from escaping vital organs during high-velocity maneuvers, and finally, an oxygen mask.
Next, there was an emergency training session in an F-15 flight simulator. There, Smith learned how to quickly exit the jet and how to operate her parachute should she need it. Then, it was on to a final briefing with Col. Donald Quenneville, who was her pilot.
Taking off armed with a home video camera, Smith began the trip.
In full after-burner, they began their climb to cruising altitude in just two minutes; a level that the government asked us not to disclose. For national security reasons, there are details about the flight such as airspeed that we were not permitted to disclose. At top speed, however, the F-15 can make the trip from Otis to New York in less than 10 minutes. Smith’s trip took her to New York in about 20 minutes.
She asked Quenneville whether there is someone over New York every 24 hours a day. “Our tasks come from NORAD, so it’s whatever they determine,” Quenneville said. “Believe me, in the interest of safety and security, we’ve had a lot of presence over New York.
The flight took Smith right over Ground Zero, which more than two months after the attacks, was still smoldering.
Still above New York, they flew alongside of the F-15’s taking part in the day’s mission, and then headed in to link-up with an Air Force refueling tanker. Refueling tankers like the one they encountered allow F-15 Eagles to stay up in the air for extended periods.
Their orders come from NORAD, and until the terrorist attacks, their main role was to defend the U.S. from external threats, but that changed on September 11, and so did the appearance of the enemy. “Up until the 11th of September, no one could have imagined it could possibly be an airline wearing an American Airlines logo,” Quenneville said. He added that F-15 fighter pilots have had to adjust to the idea that they may someday receive an order from above to fire at a civilian aircraft during another attack. But we also have to look at it from the perspective that that’s no longer a jet liner; its a guided missile that’s trying to create havoc in our country and cause further harm.”
For now, these missions that originate on Cape Cod will continue indefinitely; the result of the hard work of the 1,100 full and part-time members of the military who’ve been called to duty. “It’s important to let the American public know that their skies over their country are safe and secure,” Quenneville said.
Lt. Col. Wes “Pappy” French, a Kingsley Field instructor pilot, passed a significant flying milestone this summer. On June 8, the 45-year-old fighter jet pilot logged his 3,000th hour flying the F-15, becoming the third active Kingsley pilot to reach the mark.
If you do the math, that’s 125 days spent roaming the skies in the tight cockpit of the air-to-air fighter jet.But that doesn’t take into consideration the countless hours French and about 25 other instructor pilots at Kingsley spend preparing to the fly the $30 million machines.
“Every milestone has been a proud moment, but to me the more important part is that every hour I’m up there I’m providing good training for the guys I’m working with,” said French, a member of the Oregon Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing.
Instructor pilots at Kingsley fly about four days a week, logging five to six hours in the air over that time period. Kingsley trains pilots to fly the F-15 and is the base to train pilots on the F-15C, a single-seat version of the fighter jet.
“We take a guy that is straight out of pilot school and train him for about six months to make the F-15 a fighting machine,” French said. “It’s very tough for them.”
Source: Herald and News
When Oroville trucker Brian Walker’s was sent him to Virginia a couple of weeks ago to haul back wings of an F-15 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to Chico.
“He didn’t tell me what kind of wings,” said Walker in an interview Friday in Oroville. “He just told me airplane wings. I had no idea it was an F-15 jet.”
Walker drove one of two farm semis carrying the wings, nose, burn cans and a huge green box filled with parts and panels to put the F-15 back together.
Although they were ready to roll July 22, the group had to wait because they couldn’t travel during the weekend through the Virginia city of Hampton, where Langley’s located. The group finally left around the base around 2 p.m. EDT July 25, but they only traveled about 240 miles the first day, partly due to permits.
The trip became known as the Freedom Eagle project and took five days through eight states. They arrived in Chico July 31.Walker said the best part of the trip was seeing the reactions of people along the way. Some motorists whizzed past and slowed down once they realized what he was hauling, or they would ride up beside Walker’s truck and make gestures or point.
The F-15 aircraft also drew people when the truckers stopped. At times, the convoy was able to stop at empty parking lots, but within minutes, the lots would have 15 or more cars “with people taking pictures, talking to us, and wanting their pictures taken with (the plane).”
“It was an experience I will never forget,” Walker said somberly. “It’s an honor that I got to do it.”
Japanese officials said Wednesday that it has grounded its entire F-15 fighter fleet following the crash of one of the jets into the East China Sea.
Japan’s Defense Ministry ordered the fleet to remain on the ground pending an investigation into the cause of the crash Tuesday, when an F-15 based on the island of Okinawa went down during a routine training mission.
The pilot of the jet remains missing and about a half dozen naval ships have been mobilized in a search for him, the ministry said in a statement. Debris from the jet’s tail has been spotted in the ocean. It was not known if the pilot was able to eject before the crash.
Japan, with 202 F-15 fighters, is the biggest foreign user of the popular U.S.-designed planes but is currently looking for a newer aircraft to replace its aging fleet.
Though many upgrades and changes to the planes have been made over the years, F-15 fighters have been in service since the early 1970s and are increasingly expensive to maintain. The United States, which also relies heavily on the aircraft, is planning to phase out its F-15s in favor of the more advanced F-35 and F-22.
The Japanese versions of the plane, originally built by McDonnell Douglas, now Boeing, are produced domestically under a license by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Boeing could continue manufacturing variants of its F-15 Eagle — a fighter first flown in 1972 — all the way until the 2020s, the president of its military aircraft division confirmed Tuesday.
If Boeing can lock in deals with the air forces of Saudi Arabia and South Korea, it could make new investments “for the long term,” Chris Chadwick told reporters, to make its Eagles or Silent Eagles as cheap and easy to produce as they’ve ever been.
At stake are a total of about 144 aircraft — the potential for around 84 for the Saudis and some 60 for the South Koreans — and Chadwick said Boeing is making a pitch very similar to the one it makes for its F/A-18 Super Hornet: The Eagle may not be the newest bird in the sky, but customers can get a familiar fighter for predictable costs, and both the Saudis and the South Koreans will get the convenience of commonality with their existing, older fleets of F-15s.
Boeing is at war with Lockheed over the South Korean fighter deal, but it could have the edge with the Saudis, who are said to like the Silent Eagle. Chadwick said he had no information about that, but he did say the discussions he’s seen between the Saudis and the U.S. government, which would be the go-between on a sale, “have been very positive.”
So does that mean that Boeing could sell Eagles to the U.S. Air Force? If it asked for them, sure, Chadwick said, but he acknowledged the Air Force is locked in to the F-35 and he didn’t expect more American sales of F-15s. However, he said there is the possibility that the Air National Guard may want to replace some of its F-15s, but it hasn’t asked for any new jets yet.
A few raindrops were not enough to keep a hearty crowd from turning-out in downtown Reedsport on Monday to take part in Memorial Day festivities, including a pair of F-15 fly-overs.
Following a mid-day parade, a throng gathered at Hahn Memorial Park for a Memorial Day Service. It included a speech from Co-Speaker of the Oregon House Arnie Roblan, members of the World War II Oregon L.S.T. organization, the Color Guard from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Umpqua River, and a special appearance by the 29 Palms Marine Corps Band.
The day was all about honoring and remembering those who have served, and those who have given all, for their country.
A Saudi pilot died when his U.S.-made F-15 fighter jet crashed in eastern Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Defense Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that Lt. Saif bin Abdullah died when his F-15 plane crashed late on Monday evening during a routine training flight over King Abdul-Aziz air base in the country’s east.
The statement says authorities are investigating the crash.
Saudi Arabia announced last fall a $60 billion deal to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets.
Pilots of the 104th Fighter Wing deployed to Tyndall AFB, Florida for a two week training period in April to participate in the Weapons System Evaluation Program (WSEP), also known as “Combat Archer”.
This is the first opportunity for the F-15 pilots of the 131st Fighter Squadron to engage in actual air-to-air combat using missiles against real world targets, providing them with greater confidence in their abilities, and reinforcing their hard work and training efforts at home station.
During regular training flights or sorties conducted at home station, ground crews and pilots go through the process of loading and firing a missile, without actually firing it, so there’s no way to be certain whether the shot was accurate, and if it hit the target.
The training Combat Archer provides to the 104 Fighter Wing pilots increases their confidence and mission readiness, should the time come that they are required to down another aircraft.
According to Col. Kenneth Lambrich, 104th Fighter Wing Detachment Commander, the evaluation of the 104th’s performance to this point has been “the best fleet seen to date inspected by the WSEP team”.
Not only do the pilots receive training, but the F-15 ground crews also receive training and a grade in the evaluation process. “We’ve had no lost sorties, and maintenance has been performing at top-notch quality since day one”, Col. Lambrich remarked.
Capt. Osome Benedict commented that “according to the evaluation team, the 104th Fighter Wing’s performance has been unheard of at Combat Archer”.
The parents of a marine pilot who rescued a downed Air Force F-15 pilot in Libya talked about their son’s rescue mission.
Captain Erik Kolle, 32, is safe after rescuing an airman who ejected from his F-15 after an engine malfunction.
Thomas and Karin Kolle said their son doesn’t know what all the fuss is about because he was just doing his job.
Thomas Kolle was following the story in the Internet when he learned that Ospreys were involved in the rescue.
“First thing I thought was that there was a possibility that Erik, being an Osprey pilot, might have been involved in the mission,” said Thomas.
A few hours later Thomas Kolle got an email from his son.
“It was very short and to the point,” said Thomas. “It said, ‘Dad, we landed about a hundred yards from the guy. It took him about five seconds to get on the aircraft, and we high-tailed it out of there.’”
The F-15 had crashed about 25 miles east of Venghazi, Libya.
Erik and his co-pilot found and rescued the downed pilot when they saw a flare on the ground.
Karin said her son told her the rescue mission was conducted without any shots being fired.
Kolle has been a marine for the past 13 years. He trained for two years to fly an Osprey.
“He was picked as the only one out of his class to fly the Osprey,” said Karin. “So I think it was all like he meant to do this.”
“I was very proud of all the people who participated in the rescue and also thankful that the pilot was rescued,” said Thomas. “(There) obviously could have had another outcome, which might not have been as pleasant.”
Thomas said he had a feeling Erik would be involved because prior to his deployment to the Mediterranean Erik had been through some specialized night flying certification. The rescue mission took place in the dark.
This is Captain Erik Kolle’s third deployment overseas.