DOWNLOADS &Things Of Interest

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fw: TheList 4297

The List 4297
To All
If your football team is not doing well here is some entertainment and history
Regards,
Skip
October 22  1962     Cuban Missile Crisis
    October 23 2002   Hostage crisis in Moscow theater
Also On this day, a suicide bomber drives a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a U.S. Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut International Airport. The explosion killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratroopers’ barracks, killing 58 more people. Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating.
CV-60 Saratoga 1965-66
Thanks to YP …AND Dr..Rich
I suspect some of you will see yourself in the video!
From way back when:  REAL AIRPLANES!
WAY more formal uniforms than I remember.
YP
British Pathe color video of Saratoga in the Med 1965-66. It includes some pretty good flight deck scenes and an Air Wing when we still had variety out there.  (F-4, F-8, A-4, A-1, E-1, RA-5C)
PS - always wondered how ironed and folded all those shirts!!  Sue is glad I didn’t bring home one of those gizmos!
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Thanks to Carl. Each G is one times your body weight.  So your 10 pound head weighs 60 pounds at 6 G.
The Centrifuge: What it's Like to Pull Gs | Fighter Sweep
(And they wonder why we have a bad back and neck??)

The Centrifuge: What it’s Like to Pull Gs

Former F-16 fighter pilot Nate “Buster” Jaros takes us along for a ride in the Centrifuge and tells us what it is like to feel 9G’s crushing your body.

You are basically put into a small coffin. It swings a little as you enter, reminiscent of how a gondola swings on its wire, or how a Ferris wheel car wobbles as you climb aboard at the local carnival.
Except this is no carnival ride. If it were, it would be the worst carnival ride known to man.
You are about to feel pain like never before…in the USAF centrifuge.
The centrifuge seat is unlike an ejection seat and feels a bit odd. Immediately there is a sense of claustrophobia in this tight pod-like device. There are no windows in this ride but there is a faint smell of vomit, and sweat…or is that just fear? A worker comes to the hatch and makes sure you are strapped in, goes over a few reminders on safety, and gives a not-very-reassuring “have fun” before sealing you in the dark pod.

Alone and Unafraid Before The Ride

The door clangs shut with a loud and metallic clank. It’s immediately dark and warm. You notice a pocket on the side wall with a strategically placed and unused barf bag in it.
The inside of this coffin is metal. There is a side stick like in the F-16 and a TV screen in front of you. After a few minutes, you notice a row of small lights, positioned horizontally above the screen, as well as the camera staring back at you. The one dim light in the pod reveals a lot of Squadron stickers and “zaps” inside the pod from previous carnival riders who have had the experience. There is also a large LED readout panel. It currently reads “1.0” as this is your current G level.
The Holloman Centrifuge seat. Still gives me chills. Courtesy Holloman AFB
Soon a voice is heard from the controller calmly asking if you are ready. You respond yes, but you’re also not quite sure about that. Since there are no windows, you cannot discern motion or movement outside your “death bobsled.” This is when the fun begins.
There is a faint hum, and suddenly you feel really dizzy. Your eyes ping left and right, in rapid-fire movement. It is apparent that you are now spinning in this pod, but without visual cues from the outside world, it just feels weird.
The dizziness is an uncontrollable reaction to your inner ear, telling your body that you are spinning when your visual world is not. After a few minutes, the dizziness goes away as vision and movement stabilize at this pre-determined RPM. Unbeknownst to you, the centrifuge is actually hurtling around a room at 45 MPH, with the pod attached to the end of a long mechanical arm. The gauge up front reads “1.1” (G’s).
The thought crosses your mind: to fly fighters, you have to pass this test.
The voice asks again if you are ready. This first run is one of five needed to complete the training. Thankfully, this first run is a warm-up. You will only be pulling about seven Gs and must hold that for 30 seconds. Not a problem, right?
A computerized F-14 Tomcat appears on the screen and it looks like a video game. In this simulation, you are chasing the F-14 and the goal is to follow him. The harder he turns, the more you are supposed to pull on the stick. Pulling on the stick instantly increases the speed of your spinning pod to nearly 90 MPH but also increases the Gs. This means you are in direct control of the speed of the centrifuge AND the pain.
Double checking your G suit, you remember the G straining maneuver. This involves clenching every muscle in your body…from your toes to your chest. The goal is to physically hold blood in your brain and keep from passing out, or G-LOCing. G-LOC (G induced Loss of Consciousness) in the centrifuge is under a safe and controlled environment, but in a fighter it can be deadly. Passing out is not an option today if you want to fly fighters.
The Pain Train Begins
Your answer to the voice is a determined “Ready!”
Breath, clench, ready….Fights on, fights on!
The Tomcat takes off and you pull the stick as far as it will go to keep him on the computer screen. Immediately it feels like a hammer on your chest. The pod accelerates to the sensation of warp speeds. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning.
The speed stabilizes and the G meter reads 7.0. You continue the G strain, but your body is in pain. Not only does it feel like being smothered by really heavy weights, but every inch of your body feels as if it is under a vise. The pain is overbearing, but you have to hang on.
Your face begins to droop as if your cheeks are being stretched down to your shoulders. You’re just three to four seconds in now, but here is where the ride gets harder.
The G-Force Process on Human Body -  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmikjomAkBc
At this point, the body’s natural tolerance for G’s diminish. Your body wants to quit and pass out as all the blood is now draining from your head. It’s nearly impossible to breathe, but this is imperative to survive. Your pulse skyrockets as your heart attempts to keep blood pumping upstairs.
As your tolerance diminishes just three to four seconds into the pull, you distinctly notice that everything turns black and white. Color drains from the visual world and it is like watching a Black & White copy of Top Gun—except it’s not as funny. You continue to strain and push and breathe in short, succinct breaths in an effort to hold back the monster on your chest and in your head. What happens next is even scarier.
After everything goes black and white, the tunnel vision begins. A dark circle encroaches your vision, starting in the periphery, and slowly constricting what you can see. The lights on the end of the horizontal light bar above the screen entirely disappear. The circle begins to shrink further and further until everything is black, except for a little computerized F-14 on the now black and white screen in front of you.
The fight is even harder now. The black hole is beginning to swallow you…and you don’t want to fail. Getting all of your muscles to perform the G strain maneuver is your only hope. Exacting every bit of energy from every last muscle and timing your breathing in three second bursts is the only hope. The dark circle slowly begins to expand. It’s working! You continue to sustain the massive weight of G and most importantly continue to fight.
GLOC Courtesy The Blaze
After what seems like minutes, the 30 second warmup run is complete and the centrifuge rapidly decelerates. The centrifuge slams you forward in the seat straps a little, and thankfully this round is over. There is a brief bit of dizziness with the velocity change in your sensory-robbed pod, but life, and color, and vision all return to normal. You are breathing like a prize fighter after round one but you made it.
The good news: there are only four more of these to go! And for those lucky enough to have been selected for an F-16, you will be rewarded with at least one 9 G profile today! A-10 selectees do a few more 7 and 7.5 G profiles, and Eagle pilot wannabees get an 8.5 G run or two.
Afterward
After the last run, you are exhausted. So exhausted that when this nasty carnival ride stops, the staff un-bolts the door and assists you out of the seat. They gingerly walk you to a chair to sit in because walking on your own is nearly impossible. You might as well be a baby deer, or elk taking its first steps. No joke.
Some guys and gals lay flat on the ground, some sit in the chair for 20 to 30 minutes. Some vomit. There are well placed garbage cans everywhere. Everyone drinks water. But everyoneis glad it’s done.
Another fun side effect is something we call “G-easles.” Like Measles, but with a letter G. They look like a case of Measles, but only appear on the underside parts of your body, where all the blood vessels and capillaries have burst under the massive strain.
Geasles. Courtesy Goflightmedicine.com
You relax and sip water. Every so often the centrifuge whirrs up to speed and then spins back down again. This happens repeatedly as more classmates are going through this difficult crucible. Sometimes it stops entirely, and they haul out the next victim. Other times it stops and no one gets out immediately…another G-LOC occurred.
Unfortunately, that trainee gets to do it all over again tomorrow…or go home. No fighter jet for you.
I don’t know what would be worse, losing an opportunity to fly a fighter, or facing another five rounds against that ugly beast…the centrifuge.
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Another Hazard of Navy Air ...
Thanks to Alpha and YP …
Gotta wonder why he dinna drop his hook…
YP
One of the scariest moments aboard ship is to be the last landing (normally the duty tanker) and have the ship go into a sharp turn and the deck be slippery with JP5.  You apply the brakes and you start to skid  --the island is fast approaching or the deck edge is in view it is also a black ass night Haloween is nothing to compare with it.
ALPHA
Attached picture represents one of the items Navy recruiters never tell you about; i.e. What happens when you run out of deck space. This young gent made a good landing,but as he taxied forward toward the bow to park his brakes failed.He didn't drop his hook which would have signaled to the flight deck handlers that his brakes had failed whereby the blue shirts might have gotten some chocks under him. So, off he went over the bow and fortunately hung in the bow nets.Can't get much closer to getting wet.
 Of course, the flight deck Bos'n moved the crash crane into position and plucked the young aviator out of the cockpit, and then hoisted the A4 back aboard. 
The A4 was on the next day's launches,don't know about the aviator. Probably rinsing out his skivvies.
This happened on USS America's 67 Med cruise. A good friend of mine was squadron CO.
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Thanks to Chuck
Tommy Hitchcock and the P-51 Mustang
one relatively unknown man who changed the course of the air war in Europe in WWII.
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Thanks to Bud
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Fighter Pilots Can’t Fight If They Can’t See

Canopy visibility is as important now as it was during World War II

by JAMES PERRY STEVENSON, War Is Boring, 10.12.16
During World War II, the top-scoring American fighter ace was Richard Bong with 40 kills. That sounds like a large numberand for American pilots it was. But to put 40 kills into perspective, Eric Hartmanna World War II German pilothad 352 confirmed kills.
Consequently, it seems relevant to listen to Hartmann’s explanation on how he was able to achieve such a large number, one that has never been equaled. Was it his ability to maneuver better, did he fly a faster airplane, or was German training better?
A couple of the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School’s instructors interviewed Hartmann during a trip to Germany and published their interview in Topgun Journal.
Hartmann was clear about the reason for his successhe said he never engaged if the other pilot saw him. If Hartman’s prey noticed him, he left. He made sure he came out of the sun or from behind without being seen. He never got into a maneuvering dogfight. He was, in essence, an aerial assassin.
Hartmann’s explanation ratified a common expression heard around the Navy fighter school, a.k.a. “Topgun.”
“First sight wins the fight.” While working as the editor of Topgun Journal, I had the opportunity to interview pilots over a six-year period. I asked hundreds of them if they had one single advantage, what they would want.
Would it be a longer-range missile, a faster or better-maneuvering airplane, a better radar? Regardless of what I suggested, the answer was always the same.
“The first sighting.”
Pierre Spreya former employee of and consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense and various aerospace companies and an aeronautical architect on the F-16 and A-10 programscollected and analyzed historical material on what makes a great fighter.
First on his listthe plane must help its pilot obtain the first sighting.
Taking into consideration Hartmann’s comments, Topgun instructors and student wishes for the first sighting and Sprey’s conclusion that to “obtain the first sighting” is step one to prevailing in aerial combat, it seems reasonable to investigate how cockpit visibility improved or degraded over time.
What follow are a series of images showing the rate of change of cockpit visibility with respect to time.
The P-51A, which first flew on April 23, 1941, had the classic birdcage cockpit with multiple structural elements, as well as the flat plate behind the pilot the completely obstructed his rearward view.
The P-51B, shown above, first flew 19 months after the P-51A. It’s first flight was on Nov. 30, 1942. While it had yet to incorporate the bubble or teardrop canopy, this particular Mustang incorporates the English-created Malcolm Hood, a slight bulging of the canopy in an attempt to increase rearward visibility.
Within one year, on November 17, 1943, the lessons of aerial battles were incorporated into the P-51D, the first P-51 to incorporate the bubble canopy.
The same drive for improved visibility was also evident in the evolution of the Republic P-47B Thunderbolt. It first flew May 6, 1941, but was not introduced until November 1942 and entered combat with poor rearward visibility.
The P-47D with the bubble canopy first began appearing in the European Theatre in May 1944, in time to support troops invading France the following month.
The Grumman F4F Hellcat, the Navy’s primary fighter during World War II, first flew June 26, 1943. The Hellcat had the birdcage cockpit and a bulkhead that blocked rearward visibility. The Grumman F8F Bearcat, which first flew Aug. 21, 1944, incorporated the bubble canopy.
One of the most recognizable Navy fighter designs of World War II was the Vought F4U Corsair with its cranked wings. The F4U first flew May 29, 1940. The Corsair was also built by Goodyear. The Navy designated fighters with an “F” followed by a number, unless it was the first fighter built, and another letter indicating the manufacturer.
The Corsairs built by Goodyear had the letter “G” following the “F” as in FG-1 and F2G-2. You can experience the obstructing bulkhead in the Corsair by visiting a 360-degree view inside the cockpit of the FG-1.
Some Vought-designed Corsairs were built by Goodyear, and given the designation FG-1. The F2G-1 had an enhanced motor and is distinguished from the FG-1 and the F4U by its bubble canopy. The F2G-1 made its first flight on July 15, 1945.
The experiences of World War II lingered and in the late 1940s and early 1950s the jet continued to sport the bubble canopy. However, speed and the influence of aerodynamicists eventually took over.
What follows is a series of images of airplanes developed during the end of World War II through the late 1980s. You will see the devolution of visibility from the cockpit, reaching the low point during the 1950s and early 1960s, improving during the late 1960s through the early 1990s, only to fall off the cliff beginning with the 21st century.
The lessons from Vietnam invigorated the need to increase cockpit visibility, beginning with the F-15 Eagle, the first airplane designed specifically to “dogfight,” followed by the F-16, F-18 and F-22, airplanes with teardrop canopies reminiscent of those in World War II.
The F-35 images point to the abandonment of excellent cockpit visibility and a return to pre-World War II bulkheads instead of a clear view of possible assassins.
The visibility from the cockpit in the F-86 Sabre was excellent and set the standard for the F-15 Eagle. The F-86 made its first flight on Oct. 1, 1947
You can see the beginning of degrading cockpit visibility with the F-100 Super Sabre and its emphasis on minimizing drag. Between the F-100A and the F-100F, the Super Sabre evolved from a pure air-to-air fighter to one with the ability to carry nuclear weapons. It first flew on May 25, 1953.
The Navy permitted reduced pilot awareness for the sake of drag reduction with the F-8 Crusaderhere in French markingswhich made its first flight on March 25, 1955.
The Republic F-105 was a nuclear bomber that first flew Oct. 22, 1955. What gave it the right to call itself a fighter was its internal gun. Indeed, with the gun it was able to generate air-to-air kills against the North Vietnamese MiGs.
Those gun kills might not have happened if Lt. Gen. William Momyer had his way. He was part of a team in 1959 that recommended removing some items from the F-105 to save $110,000 per airplane.
One of the items was the gun which was responsible for 27 air-to-air gun kills in Vietnam most of which took place while Momyer was commander of the 7th Air Force in Vietnam.
If the pilot of the F-107 “Ultra” Sabre were to look rearward, the only thing he would see was the bulkhead, much like in the Navy’s F4U or the Army Air Forces’ P-47B. If he were to look up, his view would be blocked by the air intake. The F-107’s first flight was Sept. 10, 1956.
The F-4 Phantom II made its first flight May 27, 1958. It was designed to intercept incoming threats to the aircraft carrier but was eventually used by the Air Force. No doubt no one foresaw that it would be used extensively in Vietnam as an air-to-air dogfighter. Student pilots visiting Topgun flying F-4 Phantoms expressed a strong desire for better visibility from the cockpit.
The F-111 abandoned all pretense of being able to see rearward from the cockpit. The F-111 made its first flight Dec. 21, 1964.
In the late 1960s, a series of fighter aircraft designs were forthcoming from the Air Force and the Navy, most likely because of the poor exchange ratio in Vietnam. Although the kill-loss ratio between the North Vietnamese and American pilots was about 2.5-to-1, the trend from 1965 to 1968 was heading toward parity.
Some of the better minds in the Pentagon, such as John Boyd, Pierre Sprey, Everest Riccioni and Chuck Myers shared opinion that created a series of fighters specifically designed to maintain air superiority. Their voices and others like-minded understood the necessity for excellent pilot vision from the cockpit. The first to fly was the F-15 Eagle.
Cockpit visibility from the cockpit of the F-15 Eagle is reminiscent of the F-86. Indeed, the visibility from the F-86 was set as a minimum in the F-15’s specifications. The Eagle flew July 27, 1972.
A year and one-half after the F-15 made its first flight, the General Dynamics YF-16 first flew Jan. 20, 1974, with an improvement in the cockpit visibility. The structural bow was moved behind the pilot to eliminate any forward interference and left excellent reward visibility.
Following on the exhaust of the YF-16, the YF-17 made its first flight, in June 1974, again with excellent visibility from the cockpit. The Northrop YF-17 competed with the YF-16 in the Air Force’s Air Combat Fighter competition. The YF-17 was the loser in the competition but became the basis for the design of the F-18A and subsequent models.
The F-18, which first flew in November 1978, continued the excellent visibility from the cockpit introduced in the YF-17.
When the Air Force began the Advanced Tactical Fighter stealth fighter competition in the early 1980s, Northrop and Lockheed entered designs, both of which had bubble canopies, indicating an understanding of the need for pilots to see if an enemy fighter was behind them.
The Northrop YF-23, which first flew Aug. 27, 1990, has good rearward visibility.
The Lockheed entry into the Advanced Tactical Fighter Competition, the YF-22, first flow on Sept. 29, 1990. The Lockheed design was declared the winning design in April 1991.
The production version, which first flew Sept. 7, 1997, continued with the single piece canopy that eliminated any interference in the canopy, but you can observe a slight incline on the side, so that the rearward visibility, while good, is not equal to the F-16.
When it comes to aircraft design, military planners debate between developing an airplane that performs multiple missions adequately versus two or more single-purpose designs that can perform single missions with excellence.
Would you rather have if you were marching through the junglea Swiss army knife or a machete. The Swiss army knife is often justified as the less expensive solution because it eliminates the need to inventory multiple types of airplanes.
The costs of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the A-10 Warthog, two machetes in the Air Force inventory, challenge that assumption. One can debate which is the better solution but what is not debatable is the need for excellent vision from the cockpit, a need as fundamental as the ejection seat.
In the mid-1990s, the Swiss army approach for a replacement plane began to appear in a new competition known as the Joint Strike Fighter, an airplane competition designed to replace the close air support mission, currently performed by the A-10, and the air superiority mission, performed by the F-15 and F-16.
Boeing entered its design, designated the X-32A, and Lockheed entered its X-35. The X-32 flew Sept. 18, 2000, and Lockheed’s X-35 flew on Oct. 24, 2000. Two days past one year, on Oct. 26, 2001, the Department of Defense declared Lockheed Martin’s X-35 the winner.
Visibility from the Boeing X-32A cockpit is reminiscent of the F4U Corsair of World War II fame as well as the F-8 Crusader and other Century Series fighters from the 1950s. This Boeing design also makes it difficult for the pilot to look down from the side of the cockpit, a requirement for the close air support mission this design was supposed to support.
Lockheed won the Joint Strike Fighter competition on Oct. 16, 2001 with its X-35 submission. It does not take much imagination to see if the pilot turned around, he or she could not see an approaching an aerial assassin. The pilot’s view would be reminiscent of the bulkheads of early World War II and Century Series fighters from the 1950s.
To suggest that the F-35 would perform as well as either the F-15 or F-16 in the air superiority role, or that it could replace the A-10 in the close air support mission, strains credulity. It would require the leap of faith by the unknowables from the unknowing reminiscent of World War II.
Recall that without so much as a test, the bomber zealots claimed the bomber would always get through because the bombers were faster than fighters, could fly higher than fighters, were so heavily armored, and so heavily armed with guns bristling all over the bombers that should a random fighter leak through their three-dimensional formation of bullets, the gun turrets would prevent the enemy fighter from shooting them down.
Because of this belief, the Army Air Corps failed to develop fighter escort airplanes to accompany the bombers, leaving no evidence to contradict them. In a sense, the gun turret was to the B-17 what stealth is to today’s combat airplanesa claim of invulnerability that history challenges.
History tells us that their faith was without substance. On their initial deep penetration raids without fighter escort into Germany, the bombers were eviscerated. Note particularly the devastation on their raids on Schweinfurt and Regensburg on Aug. 17, 1943, and Schweinfurt Oct. 14.
By any measure, the lost and damage rate from any of these raids was unstainable. A large percentage of damaged bombers, indicated in yellow, never flew again. None of these results were predicted by the Army Air Corps prior to the war. Yet based without tests and on faith alone, they asked for American taxpayers to trust them.
The United States Air Force is now asking Americans to conjure up the same level of faith that stealth will work on the F-35. Americans breach of faith began when two F-117s raided Panama in December 1989 and missed their targets by hundreds of feet. We were told later it was pilot confusion.
Next, we were told the F-117 could invade Serbia without detection, only to have two F-117s hit by a 1960s-era SA-3 surface-to-air missile similar to the ones used in the 1960s in Vietnam. One F-117 crashed and the second limped back to Aviano Air Base in Italy never to be heard from for the balance of the war.
Former Senate staffer Winslow Wheeler and I visited recently with 25 pilots and maintenance officers at Langley Air Force Base. During the visit, we were told of the stellar results of an evolution in Alaska of simulated threat aircraft against F-22 Raptors.
The assertions were impressive. After the presentation, we were invited to visit Nellis Air Force. We accepted. When we arrived, we listened to a room full of aggressor pilots telling us about the effectiveness of stealth on the F-22.
As evidence, we were invited to view the Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation screen, a large display that permits viewers to watch airplanes maneuver in real time.
The evolution we saw was F-16s aggressor pilots versus F-22s. It was a most interesting presentation, highlighted by the fact that an F-16 killed an F-22 within 20 minutes.
Now we are being told that the Air Force’s new F-35 can perform the close air support mission so keeping the A-10 Warthog would be a redundancyand a duplication the Air Force cannot afford.
One has to decide if the Air Force is capable of anticipating future results. The Air Force left the A-10 Warthog, an airplane dedicated to the close air support mission, off the list of invited guests to participate in the 1990 Operation Desert Storm.
If it were not for Army general Norman Schwartzkopf’s insistence that the A-10 come to the dance, the Air Force would have prevailed. Since the A-10 was included, it could demonstrate its effectiveness by destroying more targets than any other airplane.
The Air Force will tell you it has technology to be able to avoid the necessity of getting close to the ground to provide close air support in the F-35 or any other airplane.
The F-35, the Air Force claims, can provide “distance air support.” Most Army soldiers will tell you that the pilot has to be able to fly close enough to the ground to discern friendly troops from the enemywith his eyes.
The F-35 wants to avoid getting down where soldiers roam because it does not have self-sealing fuel tanks, a technology that has existed before World War II. Without fuel tank protection, that the F-35 can be destroyed with a .22-caliber rifle.
Virtually no Army soldier believes the F-35 can provide the quality of close air support that comes close to what the A-10 can provide, even if it had self-sealing tanks. But without them, no sane F-35 pilot would attempt it.
But this is a discussion is about cockpit visibility, so let’s compare the pilot visibility from the F-35 canopy with the A-10’s.
 
It is clear from this image of the F-35 cockpit that if the pilot turns around, he will be staring at the bulkhead.
As evidence the Department of Defense had abandoned lessons learned from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and follow-on battles since then, it brought into the inventory an airplane that would not permit the pilot to see possible threats behind himwith his eyesa requirement critical for both the air superiority and close air support missions, both of which the F-35 was procured to replace.
If the attached images don’t make it obvious, listen to what the pilots flying the F-35 say about visibility. “Test Pilots: Stealth Jet’s Blind Spot Will Get It ‘Gunned Every Time’” is an excellent summary of pilots comments.
But if you want even more information of the subject, see the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation for the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter report. It contains such pithy comments from the pilots as “[a] pilot will find it nearly impossible to check [their six o’clock position] under g,” or “[t]he head rest is too large and will impede aft visibility and survivability during surface and air engagements,” or “[a]ft visibility will get the pilot gunned every time.”
A quick glance at the Fairchild Republic A-10 Warthog shows the clear rearward visibility available in this dedicated close-air-support airplane.
If we assume that future conflicts will contain moves and counter-moves, tactics resulting in the nullification of electronic wizardry, the air-superiority role could revert to pilot skills and the gun.
Indeed, recent articles are claiming the new Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile can defeat stealth embedded in the F-35. In a war of electronics, American pilots may need to shut down his or her on-board electronics to avoid a visit from an anti-radiation missile, missiles the Russians are known to have.
Should that happen, American pilots will be forced to revert to pilot skills against an adversary whose flying abilities are unknown. Americans have faith in the skills of its pilots, enhanced by movies such as Top Gun, and by claims of a 10-to-1 kill-loss ratio between American and Korean pilots, but that exchange rate is now being questioned.
No one predicted Germany would have a pilot such as Hartmann who could generate 352 kills against American pilots, and even less predictable was the quality of many other German pilots who generated numerous kills.
How many? Hartmann was the best, but 372 German pilots had more kills than Richard Bong’s 40. 107 of the pilots had between 101 and 301 kills. If the Air Force were to ask pilots anonymously what they wanted to fly in the next air war, they would ask to fly in one of the two aerial machetes currently availablean F-22 or an A-10rather than flying a container for electronics without a back window.
James Perry Stevenson is the author of The $5 Billion Misunderstanding and The Pentagon Paradox and is the former editor of Topgun Journal.

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