Thu, 02 Sep 1999 13:38:27 -0700
I recently received the attached news item regarding F-22 Raptor ASF flight
tests and was struck by how well it illustrates the difference between the
check test pilots seen in Gundam 0080 (Chris) and Gundam 0083 (Kou) and
what most on this list would consider "real" test pilots.
Real Test Pilots, like Chuck Yeager and those other "Right Stuff" jet
jockeys, fly unproven experimental new designs to determine whether or not
they're truly airworthy and are among the best of the best.
"Check test" pilots fly nearly-completed prototypes of a new model whether
or not they can meet certain contractually-obligated criteria and need only
have the qualifications and certifications necessary to fly that class of
Both types of tests are called flight testing and both types of pilots are
called test pilots. Technically, however, the former should be called
airworthiness tests and the latter and the latter performance tests.
991627. F-22 meets fourth of five 1999 DOD flight-test criteria
WRIGHT-PATTERSON, AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) -- The Air Force's new air
superiority fighter, the F-22 Raptor, flew in excess of 60 degrees angle of
attack during flight testing Aug. 25, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.,
reaching another milestone and satisfying another flight-test requirement
mandated by the Department of Defense.
The milestone, combined with extensive, high angle-of-attack maneuvering,
completed the fourth of five flight-test criteria established by DOD and the
Air Force for 1999. The flight-test criteria, along with other program
requirements, must be completed successfully to demonstrate to defense
department officials that the F-22 is ready for Low Rate Initial Production.
"We've met the requirement to demonstrate high angle of attack post-stall
flight with thrust vectoring for the Defense Acquisition Board's program
review later this year," said Brig. Gen. Michael Mushala, F-22 program
director. "With only one more '99 flight-test requirement to meet, I'm
confident that our team will rise to the challenge."
Mushala heads the F-22 System Program Office, which manages development of
the Raptor here at Aeronautical Systems Center.
Flight-test criteria already met this year includes: flying at an altitude
of 50,000 feet; opening side and main weapons bay doors in flight; and
supercruise -- flying at 1.5 Mach or greater without afterburner. A fifth
requirement, flight in specific, high-speed regions of the F-22's envelope,
is expected to be completed before the Defense Acquisition Board convenes in
The DAB, chaired by Dr. Jaques Gansler, undersecretary of defense for
acquisition and technology, will determine if the F-22 program is mature
enough to move to the LRIP phase of building fighters that will be flown in
the field by operational line pilots.
Meeting the five prescribed flight-test criteria is necessary for the board
to grant full contract award for the program's first six production F-22s,
or Lot 1, and advanced-buy contract award for Lot 2, which represents 10
So far, the program's two flight-test aircraft, located at the F-22's
Combined Test Force at Edwards have flown more than 150 sorties and 330
hours; collected more than 4,500 ground and flight-test data-points; and
demonstrated flight at 7 G's. The F-22 also made its first supersonic run
at 1.2 Mach with weapons bay doors open, and the engine has remained
stall-free throughout the high-alpha flight envelope explored to date.
"We're delighted with the results of the high angle-of-attack testing," said
Tom Farmer, director of Pratt &Whitney's F119/F-22 program. "This test
demonstrates that attention to engine stability and operability in the
design phase has paid off. "
A third flight-test F-22 is expected to fly early next year. The fourth
flight-test F-22, the first Raptor with its advanced avionics installed, is
scheduled to fly next summer. In all, there will be nine flight-test F-22s
in the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program.
The first six production F-22s will support operational test and evaluation
at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The F-22, the Air Force's chosen replacement
for the aging F-15 air superiority fighter, is being developed by ASC to
counter lethal threats posed by advanced surface-to-air missile systems and
next-generation fighters equipped with launch-and-leave missiles.
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