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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/17/2022 in all areas

  1. The last RQ-4 Global Hawk left Beale recently.
    7 points
  2. Do the Strike Eagle guys fly missions with a single pilot? B-1? BUFF? Bone? C-17? C-40? Of course they don’t. Just like the KC-46, they were designed to be operated and employed by multiple crewmembers. On the AMC side of things, the vast majority of pilots have been taught “crew concept” and CRM from very early on in their careers. As a guy with a fairly extensive tanker training background, I don’t think asking our pilots and instructors to make this shift is anything short of a monumental sea change. It’s a far more complex problem than just asking if one guy could, in fact, operate the airplane solo. This might get a bit long, so settle in. First, let’s tackle the simplest question: Can a 767 be flown single pilot? The answer is yes. I’ve practiced scenarios in the sim where the other pilot was considered incapacitated and removed from the seat. The airplane flies the same with one pilot at the controls as it does with two. The real question is: Is it safe and effective to do it routinely? Transport category airplanes are currently designed to be operated by two pilots. From a human factors standpoint, unlike the controls of a single seat tactical aircraft, the controls of an airliner are not necessarily designed to fall easily to hand. They don’t have to be. The operating concept has always been one pilot flies the aircraft, while the other handles navigation, radios, systems, the flight management computer, checklists, and any other task not directly related to pointing the airplane in the desired direction (although the PNF still shares responsibility with the PF in ensuring it does indeed go where intended). These are complex machines from a systems standpoint and when nonstandard things happen, the extra hands and brain cells are invaluable. IMO, in order to even begin thinking about making single pilot ops in these types of airplanes routine, you’d need to START with a total, ground up redesign of the flight deck with emphasis on 100 percent reliable heavy automation that can do things like respond to voice commands to shut down engines, pull fire handles, close fuel and air valves, etc, etc. Also, if you are coming from a tactical background, how often do you fly single ship? Most of the time there is some sort of mutual support, usually in the form of a wingman, yes? Well, mutual support in big airplanes means a guy or gal sitting next to you. I’m not sure I’ve EVER had a flight in a crew aircraft where at least one error wasn’t caught by the other crew member. Single pilot ops will GREATLY reduce the mutual support concept, even if all the advanced flight following and enhanced automation concepts are implemented and work perfectly. Second, and perhaps the most important question: Can you effectively employ a large tanker aircraft with a single pilot? I really don’t see how unless you not only massively revamp the aircraft, but also revamp everything from the training to command and control to receiver procedures, etc. While the mission is pretty chill most of the time (takeoff, turn left, find clouds to drag receivers through), there are times where mission management can become complex. Managing multiple receiver taskings, extra fragged fuel requests, multiple radios, a tactical environment, fuel offload plans (that will affect cg and w&b), rendezvous procedures, ATC and airspace considerations, weather considerations, and any number of other variables can and do cause helmet fires with a full crew compliment of two competent pilots and an experienced boom. Asking a single pilot to take this on without some serious upgrades to the equipment and the system will be an absolute. Fucking. Disaster. We haven’t even talked about fatigue yet. Missions were long enough in the KC-135 with a basic (two pilots & a boom) crew to the point they were probably dangerous at times. The 46 is receiver capable. So now you want to ask a guy who’s been flying the airplane by himself for eight or nine hours to take a console (consolidation: take on fuel from another tanker) and extend his day to truly dangerous proportions? Again, asking for disaster. I really thought this was a joke when I first heard it. If it’s really the AMC/CC pushing this, I hope his leadership sends him to a psych eval. If he has any experience at all flying big airplanes, he should know this is a complete non-starter given the current technology. Now, I’ve been out for a while and I realize that tech and capabilities are a moving target and things have probably changed in the last decade. But I’m very, very skeptical that we have put the pieces in place to even start thinking seriously about a concept like this and the people with the most to lose will be the ones tasked with trying to undertake this I’ll fated clusterfuck. Here’s an idea: how about the four star goes back to flying the line, by his own single pilot ass self for a few months in all the kinds of shitty conditions he’s talking about exposing his crews to? He wants this? He can validate the concept himself.
    6 points
  3. All checks. Acquisitions is as jacked up as talent management; this organization is destined for failure. Our only advantages are money (for now) and the fantastic people at the line level in flying squadrons. We attract the best this nation has to offer, unfortunately we are too dumb to keep them. I only hope one day there is true accountability for the over-educated timid bureaucrats play acting as warriors.
    4 points
  4. Not to be pedantic since you later mentioned multiple crew members and mutual support with a 2-ship and etc., but…yea, I’m pretty sure every strike eagle combat mission ever flown was with a single pilot 😅
    4 points
  5. I don't buy that this is some sort of "in case of war break glass" test. Please describe to me a scenario where you are short a bunch of copilots (due to attrition or some kind of attack) where you're not also short on ACs, IPs, and airframes. I'll wait. This is how you socialize a garbage idea you know no one will sign off on for its own merits. You pitch it as some newfangled combat contingency test, get the waiver passed, and then implement it by precedent years after the original detractors are long gone. Call me a conspiracy theorist but what do you think is the air force's more pressing problem: a) pilot shortage or b) near peer shooting war where we somehow have a bunch of perfectly functional -46s laying around with no one to fly them
    4 points
  6. As a fighter guy who recently transitioned to the airlines I think it needs to stay 2 pilots. There are a lot of moving parts in the airlines and having 2 people is super effective. Add in the constantly changing schedules and redeyes and you need the extra set of eyes. The other part that isn’t talked about is safety. We lose planes a decent amount in the Air Force. When was the last time you heard of a major US airline crashing from pilot error? Think of the lost revenue from people switching airlines because of a single pilot induced error. That airline would quickly go out of business because the public wouldn’t book on them.
    3 points
  7. It shows just how broken the system is. "Big thinkers" like Starbaby corrupted the critical thinking and analysis that would have allowed for an honest assessment. Instead, Starbaby had the ear of the chief (for once in his life), and he brainwashed them into thinking it had to be a prop. I guess that is what happens when you let a WSO pick the airplane. Sadly, I saw far too much of this during my time in the five sided dumpster fire. Real analysis is usually overcome by flawed group think, service rice bowls and personal agendas. A part of me believes they down-selected to props knowing it would marginalize the capability so they could wait out McCain and the others pushing for Lite-attack. Had they gone with Scorpion Jet and followed their own rules of analysis we would have a couple hundred on the ramp right now providing deep options for the COCOMs...AND they would have had the legs and capability to support some of the peer/near-peer fight (albeit outside some of the threat rings).
    2 points
  8. Sign me up. Just because we’ve gainfully employed folks in the right seat on large aircraft, doesn’t mean they are necessary for safe and effective operation. God forbid the PF actually manipulates an FMS, or makes his own radio call. Bring on the downvotes.
    2 points
  9. A lot! I even puked in one and there was ample storage for my physio bag, my piss, my lunch and all our flight test gear 😅 Fantastic jet, I still can’t believe it didn’t even get a fair shake. Far and away more capable for the fight we need to prep for now. Legs for days, power & payload out the ass, remarkable performance envelope flying fast and slow, just baffling to have this kind of platform handed to you on a silver platter and be like, “No thanks.”
    2 points
  10. I Thought a prerequisite for that job was to be a terminal O-5 on a fini tour. They must’ve needed a snacko or something.
    1 point
  11. Goddamnit! I hate it when the nav is right! 😜
    1 point
  12. I haven't seen this mentioned by anyone on this board so far, but IMO, I think the single pilot ops intent is to provide an answer for nearly continuous operational availability and the duty day conflicts that come as a result. You could turn one tail between 2 pilots and that gives you nearly full coverage over any day, only needing to throw 1 extra boom into the equation, rather than 4 pilots and 2 booms (or asking for 18 hour duty days with only one crew) for the same effect. Is it dangerous to min turn with no other pilot as a back-up? Absolutely.....but it would provide some flexibility to a deployed MC if the package needed a couple packed days of heavy sprinting while an augmenting force is enroute to support. Just my 2 cents.
    1 point
  13. Will there even be enough airframes for single pilot ops?
    1 point
  14. For both you and tac airlifter, I’m all for innovation. Accelerate change or lose, right? However the air refueling enterprise as a whole must ensure we can safely and effectively be on time, as fragged with the go go juice to project and sustain combat airpower over the duration of a conflict as that is priority #1 for a tanker aircraft. Any innovations/tactics/ideas we implement must enhance and not detract from priority #1. You hit my point on your last line…Just because we can doesn’t always mean we should.
    1 point
  15. Trust me - the KC-46 is not digging it's heels in when we try to do something new. At every major exercise we've been doing something that tankers have never traditionally done before. Tankers with NVGs, etc. My OPRs are full of firsts. However, there's a line between doing something a bit wacky and new, and something like single pilot ops; in my humble opinion, a f***ing ORM nightmare.
    1 point
  16. I agree this topic is a great discussion! As for your question why, let me ask why not? why shouldn’t new employment methods be explored? Combat is unpredictable, experimenting in training is prudent. Additionally even if this particular requirement does not manifest, there’s something to be said for building a crew force with flexibility of mind. Trying new things is how you make people creative, and creative people find a way to win. The dudes who reflexively say no because the suggestion challenges their concept of acceptable are what I’m poking at. I appreciate the -46 answers because I’m ignorant about your air frame and what makes sense. So please take my commentary as a philosophical discourse rather than COA endorsement. Maybe it’s a terrible idea, I don’t know, but I’m turned off by people who laugh at new suggestions. I’ll end with a gem from Sun Tzu: “Do not merely repeat tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.”
    1 point
  17. She set the rules. "Protesting should make you uncomfortable". "Don't give them a moment of peace".
    1 point
  18. I’ve seen a bunch of folks talking that if anyone does this single pilot KC-46 thing, they need to be black balled from all the airlines. These are the same people that bitch about toxic leadership and all the other talkings points 24/7. I find it highly ironic that black balling a guy for something he’s ordered to do about the most toxic thing I’ve ever heard.
    1 point
  19. T-6 FAIP drop to NAS Pensacola last night. Probably the best FAIP assignment in history. The real question is how will they compete on the tail end of their FAIP tour? No idea about anything else. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    1 point
  20. As much as I want to trust that random Facebook post that looks like the 22 ARW/CC or AMC/CC exec wrote, I don't. The MAF is more concerned with pilot retention than TTPs. What good are TTPs if you don't have the crew members to execute them? This is nothing more than floating the idea of only needing half of the pilot force to fly the same sorties. If/when we go into a recession next year, and the airlines slow down hiring, expect this "good idea" to go by the wayside because retention is up and the USAF will claim they fixed that problem....until the next hiring flood.
    1 point
  21. Wait…I thought the left called this “protesting”? It’s now called harassment?
    1 point
  22. BTW This topic deserves its own thread. Huggy, On a good day from point A to point B, one could probably fly a KC-46 with a single pilot and a boom operator. But why? I’ve flown tankers for close to 20 years now. Air refueling missions range from the mundane C-17 training mission or two ship F-15 CAP to complex Missions where you have multiple tankers talking to each other, ATC or C2 and to the receivers that may or may not be showing up at the same time/when they are supposed to and may or may not be as English proficient as we would like. When you have multiple tankers and multiple receivers you need everyone listening up on the 3-4 radios and dividing the duties. It’s a lot, especially when there’s external factors like a retrograde, TIC, etc. A jump seater or an extra boom is a welcome addition in these scenarios due to task saturation. Someone (maybe in another thread) also alluded to some of the additional capes (datalink, etc.) and the discussion that ensued tried to delineate if these detracted from the mission or enhanced the mission. IMHO, they are designed to enhance the core competency of air refueling when utilized properly but, if we are not careful they can easily distract the crew or the squadron from the fundamental mission of a tanker. In an emergency/non-normal situation as well, there’s a lot to accomplish. In our sims, we train with two pilots and the sim instructor plays the boom or we bring one in. Are we bringing a boom into every sim now since they will now have to train for every EP? Will they be running pilot checklists while the only pilot maintains aircraft control? I guess flight engineers used to (never flew with one but I know they were integrated up front) so now the boom does it? I’m ok with that, I implicitly trust the booms but again, why not just have two pilots with the boom backing us up. Maybe I don’t have the big picture. I’m all for innovation but besides possibly ferrying aircraft in a wartime situation to either survive them or get them to a frontline unit where other pilots are executing a near peer fight and we need all hands on deck I can see no good reason to try and fly a 767 with one pilot. I see this as a distraction from the mission and not an enhancement to the mission.
    1 point
  23. To start delivering them to the boneyard?
    1 point
  24. This is a unique question to me due to having a lot of experience in the tanker world, -46 world, MAF, and aircrew training world. I'm also currently writing a dissertation for my doctoral program focusing on if automation is atrophying pilot aviating skill. My reaction is not that I don' think overall this is a bad situation to investigate, but that having non-test people do the first dry run of it as an extremely poor idea due to their lack overall lack of experience, especially for such a radical concept. Huggy brought up that while he doesn't think the "mechanics of flying" of a -46 with one pilot is an issue, I'll add on to that. I don't think it's an issue if the single pilot has a lot of experience of flying. I'm sure we can agree that the commercial aviation and military worlds have vastly different definitions of what is considered an highly experienced pilot. In the MAF the highly experienced people are getting out to go to the airlines/cargo. That leaves very lightly to middle experience as the "highly experienced." The unique part of the -46 is that on the pilot side the program seemed to have pulled a lot of the shiny pennies from other MAF aircraft. We can all agree that the usual motivation for the shiny pennies to crossflow isn't to learn how to fly and eventually employ a new aircraft. It's to do staff job/get schools to get promoted. In my experience those PHOENIX products also weren't good pilots to begin with, now they're crossflowing to an aircraft they have to learn and will continue to be mediocre pilot until their PRFs are written and they get school/staff. There's a thread on this forum that brings up good points about the changes at UPT/FTUs and how the quality of product is much less than it was 10-20 years ago. I agree and I don't blame the students, they're only there to learn and are a byproduct of their training. However, those byproducts are now AC/IPs in the -46, whom will probably be the ones tapped for this single pilot ops plan. We could probably also agree that flight training gives you a baseline of how to fly, but actually doing the flying and tactile learning is how you become experienced and good at it. Unfortunately, the MAF likes to shun those who want to be better aviators and rewards those who shirk flying to barely maintain currency. In the -46 there are non-Edwards test units (there's a Test Ops Sq at McGuire for example), but the pilot I knew there just got out and he barely flew enough to only be a copilot in the -46. That's why it should go to Edwards. The test pilot and booms are extremely experienced, some of them helped early on designing the -46 during DT. They would be the SMEs to conduct this testing. I don't know how other MWS's are at Edwards, but the tanker folks came from line squadrons/taught at the FTUs, and have good mix of recency and experience in the MAF. Like I said, I don't think it's a poor concept, but I think really experienced aviations need to DT/OT it first. Having a main operating base send a waiver up to the MAJCOM/CC to have their not as experienced aviators dry run it is a poor decision.
    1 point
  25. I think there are multiple ways to look at the message of the film, which is one of the things I really like about it. We all generally see obsession as unhealthy, but what about when it produces greatness? Are we ok with it then? Same with Fletcher’s methods, which are unquestionably heinous yet produce results. Another one: Is it better to lead a long but mediocre life or burn brightly for a short time as Miles alludes to at the dinner table scene? What about when it’s someone you care about acting in such a way? The film makes you think about these questions. And it’s brilliantly shot, directed, and acted. Loved it. Wish more films like this got produced.
    1 point
  26. Nope. Leave the pilot in the plane. Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network mobile app
    1 point
  27. And well worth it! This is from a stop at a local grass strip for a piss break.
    1 point
  28. The Stearman is cheaper to operate and maintain.
    1 point
  29. You bring up a good point. But the mask restrictions don’t work, and there is only one political group who follows them mindlessly and demeans those who think critically about the many absurd contradictions in enforcement: progressive liberals.
    1 point
  30. This thread is in response to all the healthy discussion on an unrelated thread not about the RQ-4, so now there is a thread just for the GH. Hopefully this will help my community fight two battles, the battle to be embraced by big Air Force so we can showcase our capability and the battle to address concerns that we have no capability at all, aka U2 vs RQ-4. So, we would love to integrate in a more meaningful way at Red Flag and tap into our Intel Patch's talent...As it was explained to me, the billet for an organic intel officer was established within the last year. I assume there is an Patch wearer on base but there isn't one in our squadron after former SQ/CC left. I'm relatively new to the squadron so I don't have all the info, and hopefully some other guys will jump in and provide it. What I do recognize is we have NOT demonstrated a commanding capability that cannot be ignored by Nellis...and hence we have been ignored. Maybe we need to work on ourselves before we fight at the big kids table, or maybe we get some more support and we all get better together. #thedream As far as the U2 goes, how do you have an ISR capability fight that is unclass... As a start though, sensor parity seems an inevitable certainty from the simple fact that there is no physical/electrical/aero reason it can't be. Northrup Grumman is going to do the leg work to make it happen, they have a vested interest to do so. There isn't parity now, which is why we keep the U2. Good, our Intel is better because of it, but someday we will have parity and arguing about when that day will be here is boring. My guess is 3 years cause that is what I read on CNN. As far as old fashioned pilotage exploiting U2 capability...you are right, I am not aware of what you are talking about. But I will clarify that every 11X in the Air Force is part pilot part mission manager, your Qual check proves you can pilot, your MSN check proves you can manage. In the RQ-4 you can pass your qual check if on your engine out EP you don't touch anything and just make the appropriate radio calls (phone calls if MCE only ;) Hence a Global Hawk pilot is really a mission manager and not a pilot in my framework...it is semantics. Someday an 18X or even perhaps a Enlisted pilot will use good ol'fashioned mission management skills to exploit superior HAISR capability to that of U2, if only because they can do it at a desk and not in a space suit worrying about stall speeds and that SA-2. List of current shortfalls...cough...quibbling Sensor Parity, Dynamic Inflight routing w/ weather radar (significant software update and minor hardware), reliance on GPS/Satellites I'm tired so if someone else wants to join in we can talk about enlisted pilots too. And I haven't even mentioned all the things that make the GH superior to the U2 so hopefully this thread gets some discussion going.
    -1 points
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