33rd FW flies 300th F-35 sortie, USAF decides to implement new F-22 oxygen schedule

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, I was in South Africa covering the Africa Aerospace and Defense show in Pretoria. There wasn’t too much that caught my eye, but this contraption I found to be facinating. It’s an amphibian bush plane and it’ll be offered in a military variant also… I’ve decided I must have one.

Despite on-going difficulties with the F-35 program–during my trip to South Africa, incoming program manager Maj Gen Chris Bogdan publicly dressed down manufacturer Lockheed Martin–the US Air Force’s 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin AFB, Florida, is continuing to make progress spooling up the jet’s training pipeline.

120919-f-zz987-003.jpg“We reached 300 sorties on Friday [September 21]. Going into the day we had to fly eight sorties, four each from the Marine Corps and USAF.  We only had one USAF aircraft going into the day leading me to believe it was not possible to achieve on Friday,” says Col Andrew Toth, the commander of the 33rd FW.  “However, our maintainers worked hard during the day and we actually had 3 aircraft available for the second go on the Air Force side, not only to launch our 300th local sortie, but to also fly our first AF F-35A 3-ship formation.  I was fortunate to be part of the formation and it was a perfect way to end the week and I am very proud of our entire maintenance team to achieve yet another significant milestone.”

The 33rd also recently flew with nearby Tyndall AFB’s F-22 Raptors… Flying side-by-side, it’s gives one a sense of how much larger the Raptor is compared to the F-35.

120919-f-zz987-006.jpgSpeaking of Raptors, the USAF has finally decided to change the jet’s OBOGS oxygen schedule… the oxygen concentration will be reduced to fix the “Raptor cough” problem–aka acceleration atelectasis. It only took seven years to get this problem fixed. The USAF had a solution back in 2005 (just scroll down–I’ve even acquired the original charts and associated docs), but cancelled the fix later that year due to the cost.

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