Comments about ‘Letters: Aircraft rebuttal’

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Published: Monday, July 29 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Samaria, ID

“…maneuvers worse than bombers that got wiped out over Vietnam”

That statement doesn’t suggest that a large quantity of bombers got wiped out; it just means that the F-35 performs worse than the bombers that DID get wiped out.

The Defense Department's annual weapons testing report reveals that the military actually adjusted the performance specifications for the F-35 fighter jets. In other words, they couldn't get the jets to do what they were supposed to do, so they just changed what they were supposed to do.

"The program announced an intention to change performance specifications for the F-35A, reducing turn performance from 5.3 to 4.6 sustained g’s and extending the time for acceleration from 0.8 Mach to 1.2 Mach by eight seconds," reads the report drafted under J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

To put it bluntly, the Pentagon's new trillion-dollar fighter jet doesn't go a fast as it should, doesn't turn as sharp as it should and doesn't handle as nimbly as it should.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Ok fine. Bombers in Vietnam weren't horribly performing. I still fail to see how this justifies building such an expensive and defective product such as the F-35. Anyone care to explain that?

I grow so frustrated that repubs in the Deep South are constantly complaining about making cuts. Yet when it comes to their own states, they lobby to keep this wasteful defense spending! Often, to increase it! There was a case just a few years ago where Boehner voted to keep spending on an engine that even the army did not want. Why? Because building that engine employed many in his state.

So I just wonder, how many repubs are receiving benefits for keeping this wasteful spending for the F-35?

Samaria, ID

Hey Real Maverick - the real problem is that it's not just Republicans that are receiving benefits (votes) for this wasteful spending, it is elected representatives from both sides that are beholden to the military industrial complex. Just try to find a state in the union that doesn't have an Air Force Base. And for what?

Salt Lake City, UT

Though Mr. Gallegos' comments seemed patently ridiculous on first reading, I'm grateful to Jon for making the point even more obvious.

One of the problems of all zealots, like Gallegos and, I suspect, several of the responders to this post, is that their grasp of reality, if not rationality, is often tenuous, at best.

To claim a fighter jet, however short of the design specifications its ultimate performance might be, would be less or even comparable to a bomber's maneuverability simply demonstrates an appalling ignorance of aerodynamics and even basic physics. Such certainly seems to be the case with Mr. Gallegos.

I happen to agree with Mr. Gallegos that the F35 project has been another example of mismanagement and probably graft/greed/corruption/etc. that has become an all too familiar characteristic of big government projects. For that reason alone I wish it had not been started, much less survived to become the boondoggle it is. BUT, I won't let that disdain drive me to the brink of sanity by making absurd statements about an F35 being less maneuverable than a bomber.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I can’t imagine any thrill greater than flying a fighter plane. However I cannot imagine any greater folly than building, flying and spending taxpayer money just to give some guys a thrill.

The notion that fighter planes, bombers, aircraft carriers and billion dollar submarines will be important factors in the next or current war is as silly as trying to fight WWII with battleships.

That I know of, war hasn’t be declared and yet we are under constant and destructive attack. Not by those old weapons but by the new bullets referred to as electrons. The way I hear it, we are having thousands of casualties every day.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think the military has gotten a bad rap from the Military Industrial Complex; and they deserve every bit of it. Looking at the world today, it is hard to see that our military has done anything to promote peace. They are more interested in fleecing the taxpayer than defending and supporting America.

Liberal Today
Murray, UT

Let's make the F-35 profitable. Sell it to various Islamic countries which are at war, for a nice profit, making sure it isn't ever all that good. Then we can fund a plane that really does what we want it to.

Orem, UT

Simple question...

Why are we building this jet airplane?

I dare anyone to defend this complete and utter waste of my tax money. This is nothing more than class warfare. Steal from me to make rich(er) some fatcat back east.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

What kind of foolish people complain when the military has kept our country safe from all attacks except for one? During the time that foolish people have been complaining about the "expense of the military", Europe has fought two world wars where their people have been slaughtered, their countries have been destroyed and their economies ruined. Asia has endured the same. Only the Americas have been spared.

So what if a fighter plane doesn't perform as expected. Obama doesn't perform as expected. Hatch doesn't perform as expected. Social Security doesn't perform as expected. ObamaCare doesn't perform as expected.

The F35 is a supurb fighter. Critics will always find something to criticise even as they enjoy the "blessings" of being protected by a military that functions in spite of the President.

LDS Aerospace Engineer
Farmington, UT

"...but as a former B-52 pilot who served two combat tours in Vietnam I have to disagree on two points. "


But as a former crew-chief in the USAF,
The B-52 wasn't the only bomber used in Vietnam.

The fact, the B-52 is consider a "Strategic" Heavy bomber,
While the role of "Tactical" or "Light" bombing was accomplished with Heavy "Fighter" aircraft,
Such as the FB-4G Phantom II, and FB-111A/F Aardvark.

The 3 generation modern Fighters such as the F-15, and F-16 are also used in "Tactical" bombing runs.

Comparing the F-35 with a B-52 is completely off the mark and not a fair comparison at all.

BTW - As a veteran myself,
I see the F-35 is a HUGE waste of tax-payers money.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Read the criticisms of the FB-111. Read how many "know-it-alls" called it a flying death trap because of its movable wings. It served its purpose. It's easy to see that it had problems. What isn't so easy to determine is what would have happened if that fighter-bomber had not existed. How many more American lives would have been lost?

How many vets would like to march to war carrying a sword and protected by a few "knights" on horse-back or by a few "chariots"? The F-35 is much better than a sword in the hand or a knight on horse-back.

The Air Force has saved the lives of countless Americans. Precision bombing has allowed thousands of soldiers to return home to those they love. The Air Force handles its assignment with less loss of life than any of the other services. The missions are different. Not every enemy can be fought from the air, but planes like the FB-111 and the F-35 are part of the reason that our soldiers return home safely

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

One political philosophy is opposed to ensuring healthcare to people who can't afford it all the while they have no problem spending many billions of dollars on new ways to kill people.
Interesting that they also fancy themselves as god-fearing and moralistic.

Bountiful, UT

The F 35 is a rather awesome airplane. foreign countries who can afford it are opting to buy it rather than competition such as the Eurofighter or the advanced f 16. The question is not is it a good airplane, the question is should the United States buy it given our national budget problems.

I would make the case that going forward we should become a less war like nation which would negate the need to have such insanely expensive weapon systems such as the F 35. We should take the money saved to pay down the national debt and rebuild our own country for a change.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike - I have 40 years 1st handexperience in Aerospace,
and only 200 words...

The letter writer compared B-52s to bombers.
I simple stated Fighters in the USAF inventory are utlized as bombers all the time.

The B-52 was developed in 1954, and is still in service 60 years later.
The B-1 was developed in 1979 to replace it and was cancelled by Pres. Carter due to introduction of Cruise-Missiles.

The USAF has retired all B-1s decades ago because they were expensive, obsolete, and Carter's CruiseMissiles has become America's 1st choice line of offense/Defense ever since. Score 1 for Carter.

All manned fighters are limited to 9 G's maximum because over that it kills the human.

I worked on some experimental unmanned drones back in 1990's. We pushed the bounds for aerodynamics to exceed 24 G's. No manned aircraft could EVER beat that, period.

Drone aircraft are superior in performane, still human piloted, only pennies on the dollar, and without the human cost!

BTW - I still work for the USAF.
The USAF doesn't want the F-35, politicians do.

And here I thought you were all about taxpayers getting the best for the least $.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

There are to find fault with an airplane, but I don't think that the Pentagon is going to give credence to a mechanic over the engineers who designed an aircraft. Today's aircraft are incredibly complex. Much of the avionics have been designed specifically to compensate for the mechanical inefficiencies of that aircraft. I've had the priviledge to have been consulted back in the 1990's by a company that had a contract to design electronics for an aircraft. Their mission was to make that aircraft "flyable" when the avionics failed. I wasn't able to help them. Their speciality was not my speciality. However, I did learn that a mechanic's job was to quickly replace damaged parts and pieces, not to design an aircraft.

I have nothing but respect for the airmen who work on military aircraft, but I would never expect the department of defense to take the opinion of a mechanic over the opinions of those who designed that aircraft and of those who certified that design. That would be kind of like asking your neigborhood mechanic to redesign the engine in a Porshe. It's possible, but not likely.

Bountiful, UT

There are two big reasons why the F-35 is a bad idea:

We're quickly moving to a drone world in combat aviation. Very much like manned space flight, the number of reasons to put a lift at risk is dwindling quickly, especially when a drove can handle much higher G-forces and can be used more aggressively, if need be.

The second reason is the American taxpayer can't afford the steep curve in fighter plane costs. The average American household income is going *down*, not up, and certainly nothing commensurate as the increase in costs for these fighter jets.

I'm a pilot and love aviation as much as anyone, but we need to face reality, and that reality is simply that manned fighters are a solution to yesterday's challenges. The future is unmanned combat aviation. Not as glamorous, not as inspiring as watching a flyover of expensive and loud jets, but it's just a simple fact.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

@Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

...I don't think that the Pentagon is going to give credence to a mechanic over the engineers who designed an aircraft. Today's aircraft are incredibly complex.


And I don't think a computer software expert sitting in coach on a SouthWest airlines flight to California to visit grandkids, and can buckle a seatbelt, and knows how to put on an oxygen mask when it drops down has any credence to the complexities of Aircraft design.

1. I was a USAF mechanic for 8 years, while I was going to College. [it how I paid for it myself]
2. I am also a pilot.
3. Upon graduation as a Mechanical ENGINEER, I went to work for the world's largest Aerospace company - Boeing.
4. I have designed things from upgrades to the 737, 747, 75, 767 to complete new designs like the 777 and 787.
5. As for my Design experience in modern USAF aircraft, the F-22 and B-2, the YF-23, and the F-18G Super Hornet not to mention the AGM-86B cruise missile, the habitation nodes for the International Space Station and the Atlas V.

JUST a mechanic, indeed!

Durham, NC

I think we are missing the point of the post here.... and it keeps on going.

False information, rhetorical comments, statements made for shock value are all being taken as fact. No sane person would ever compare the flight dynamics of modern fighter with that of a B-52. Any comparison between the two are insane... or completely ill informed.

Perhaps the f-35 has not met its design goals... not many things do, and it is no exception. And it is fine to hold its developer responsible for not meeting objectives. But the critique should be done on facts.... not sound bites.

In the end.... the F-35 may have missed its design goals, but that doesn't mean it isn't a world class leading fighter. We can only keep the existing fleet in the air so long. This scenario is exactly the situation that Carter found the military in when he took over - a military patched together with bailing wire.

We need to continually modernize to stay ahead. Perhaps the f-35 isn't the answer....but doing nothing isn't the answer either.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

The future weapons platform is in drones not manned aircraft. Our current fighter fleet of f-15, f-16, A-10's and F-22's are enough to fill the gap for the next 30 years.

I absolutely love airplanes but we can't afford them just for their coolness factor.

the old switcharoo
mesa, AZ

It doesn't matter if the F-35 is the greatest aircraft on Earth, it's too expensive.

The mechanics of flight aren't going to change, but the cost of making the next incremental changes to performance of a manned aircraft are exponentially expensive at this point. To make meaningful changes in the aircraft performance we need some unobtanium at bagizillons of dollars per pound. That comes to hugeazillions of dollars per aircraft. Nope, can't afford it.

Just by taking the pilot put of the aircraft we get the design boost we need to not need unobtanium. Good thing, since we don't actually have any.

A 5000 carat single crystal diamond tipped spear with a carbon fiber shaft would be great too. Why aren't we churning those out?

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