Tag Archives: f-22

Airman shows skills as F-22 demo pilot

 by Airman 1st Class Austin Harvill
633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

1/2/2013 – LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) — (This feature is part of the “Through Airmen’s Eyes” series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)

The serenity of a sleepy, morning sky broke as a dark form rose from the ground and blotted out the sun. An F-22 Raptor maneuvered through the dawn, banking and rolling, rising and falling at impossible angles. Through the cockpit window, a faceless visor disguised the pilot’s exertion.

He angled the jet into a vertical climb as the engines roared to defy gravity. His plane leveled out, and he slowly spun to the earth.

Such complex maneuvers become routine for one pilot at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

Capt. Patrick Williams, the new Air Force F-22 Raptor demonstration pilot, practiced these maneuvers to give crowds worldwide a taste of both the Raptor’s, and the Air Force’s, capabilities.

“People typically see the Air Force on the news, and that’s it,” said Williams. “The air show is the best way we can say ‘Hey America, look at this awesome airplane you’ve given us. This is why we are so successful at what we do.'”

Before taking the controls of the world’s premier, fifth-generation jet fighter, Williams honed his skills in the back-country skies of Idaho at the age of five.

“I still remember my very first log-book entry,” said Williams. “My dad let me sit on his lap during a flight, so he wrote down the entry. It said ‘we saw horses and cows in the Salmon River valley.'”

After speaking with his father about the future of flying as a career, Williams embraced his desire to fly fighters by joining the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Co., as a prospective pilot.

During his tenure at the academy, Williams participated in the glider program, became a cadet instructor and graduated with a degree in Astronautical Engineering. Upon completion of his academy training, he travelled to Mississippi to begin basic fighter training, after which he began training to fly the F-15C Eagle.

Williams was assigned to the 12th Fighter Squadron in Alaska, and then transferred to the Raptor once the 90th Fighter Squadron stood up. After showing his skills in the cockpit at both Alaska and Hawaii, the Air Force selected him to become the next Raptor demo pilot.

With the new Raptor demo season quickly approaching, Williams said he was excited to show the world the power of the jet. The demo team plans to tour across the country and hopes to make some international stops as well.

As a demo pilot, Williams said he is honored to be the face of both the Raptor and the Air Force.

“I have to pinch myself every time I get out of the jet,” said Williams. “You land, look back and think ‘I can’t believe I get to fly that airplane.'”

Williams shares his passion for flying with the awestruck audience each time he hops into the cockpit to perform. His life in the sky inspires those watching to reach up and grab their own goals, even if they are small boys from Idaho.

Week in Photos, July 13, 2012

Tanya Schusler
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Get excited for the weekend by checking out our Week in Photos! Tell us which one is your favorite.

F-22

Photo: A pair of F-22 Raptors pulls away and flies behind a KC-135 Stratotanker after receiving fuel off of the East Coast on July 10, 2012. The 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., received their first two Raptors in January 2005 and the wing’s 27th Fighter Squadron was designated as fully operational in December 2005. The Raptors belong to the 27th FS and the KC-135 belongs to the 756th Air Refueling Squadron at Joint Base Andrews Naval Air Facility, Md. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock)

Week in Photos, Feb. 24, 2012

By Airman 1st Class Christopher Gere

Whether they man the gate, respond to an installation distress, or go outside the wire, Security Forces Airmen make sure they know how to get the job done. Thanks to their constant training, they can mix in with Soldiers and Marines to take the fight to the enemy. If you like this picture, you should like the rest in the Air Force Week in Photos.

Photo: U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 169th Security Forces Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., respond to security threats to an aircraft during joint exercise Operation Rita February 2, 2012. Security forces members were transported by South Carolina Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawks to a destination near the alleged activity to begin their reconnaissance mission. Operation Rita was conducted to emphasize the importance of security forces members’ need to be familiar with Army aviation as well as loading and unloading from active helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook)

Moving Beyond the F-22

This is an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post on April 13, 2009, written by Secretary Donley and General Schwartz.

The debate over whether to continue production of the F-22 Raptor has been one of the most politically charged and controversial budget issues in recent memory, spawning lobbying efforts that include contractor-sponsored newspaper ads and letter-writing campaigns.

The F-22 is, unquestionably, the most capable fighter in our military inventory. Its advantages include stealth and speed; while optimized for air-to-air combat, it also has a ground attack capability.

We assessed the issue from many angles, taking into account competing strategic priorities and complementary programs and alternatives — all balanced within the context of available resources.

We are often asked: How many F-22s does the Air Force need? The answer, of course, depends on what we are being asked to do. When the program began, late in the Cold War, it was estimated that 740 would be needed. Since then, the Defense Department has constantly reassessed how many major combat operations we might be challenged to conduct, where such conflicts might arise, whether or how much they might overlap, what are the strategies and capabilities of potential opponents, and U.S. objectives.

These assessments have concluded that, over time, a progressively more sophisticated mix of aircraft, weapons and networking capabilities will enable us to produce needed combat power with fewer platforms. As requirements for fighter inventories have declined and F-22 program costs have risen, the department imposed a funding cap and in December 2004 approved a program of 183 aircraft.

Based on different warfighting assumptions, the Air Force previously drew a different conclusion: that 381 aircraft would be required for a low-risk force of F-22s. We revisited this conclusion after arriving in office last summer and concluded that 243 aircraft would be a moderate-risk force. Since then, additional factors have arisen.

First, based on warfighting experience over the past several years and judgments about future threats, the Defense Department is revisiting the scenarios on which the Air Force based its assessment. Second, purchasing an additional 60 aircraft to get to a total number of 243 would create an unfunded $13 billion bill just as defense budgets are becoming more constrained.

This decision has increasingly become a zero-sum game. Within a fixed Air Force and overall Defense Department budget, our challenge is to decide among many competing needs. Buying more F-22s means doing less of something else. In addition to air superiority, the Air Force provides a number of other capabilities critical to joint operations for which joint warfighters have increasing needs. These include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, command and control, and related needs in the space and cyber domains. We are also repairing years of institutional neglect of our nuclear forces, rebuilding the acquisition workforce, and taking steps to improve Air Force capabilities for irregular warfare.

It was also prudent to consider future F-22 procurement during the broader review of President Obama’s fiscal 2010 defense budget, rather than as an isolated decision. During this review, we assessed both the Air Force and Defense Department’s broader road maps for tactical air forces, specifically the relationship between the F-22 and the multi-role F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which is in the early stages of production.

The F-22 and F-35 will work together in the coming years. Each is optimized for its respective air-to-air and air-to-ground role, but both have multi-role capability, and future upgrades to the F-22 fleet are already planned. We considered whether F-22 production should be extended as insurance while the F-35 program grows to full production. Analysis showed that overlapping F-22 and F-35 production would not only be expensive but that while the F-35 may still experience some growing pains, there is little risk of a catastrophic failure in its production line.

Much rides on the F-35’s success, and it is critical to keep the Joint Strike Fighter on schedule and on cost. This is the time to make the transition from F-22 to F-35 production. Within the next few years, we will begin work on the sixth-generation capabilities necessary for future air dominance.

We support the final four F-22s proposed in the fiscal 2009 supplemental request, as this will aid the long-term viability of the F-22 fleet. But the time has come to close out production. That is why we do not recommend that F-22s be included in the fiscal 2010 defense budget.

Make no mistake: Air dominance remains an essential capability for joint warfighting. The F-22 is a vital tool in the military’s arsenal and will remain in our inventory for decades to come. But the time has come to move on.

Michael Donley is secretary of the Air Force. Gen. Norton Schwartz is chief of staff of the Air Force.