Saturday, May 30, 2009

81st Fighter Squadron A-10s caught at Pampa range, Belgium

By Joachim Jacob

Updated June 17, 2009

Just after joining the new Belgian KB Spotting forum, I got new personal contacts to some aircraft photographers, covering practice missions of A-10s from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, at Pampa range, Belgium. Meanwhile, from Alain Vandebeek (Belgium), Frank van de Waardenburg (Netherlands), Toon Cox (Belgium) and Merijn van Wesemael (Belgium), I got written permissions to post and hot-link their rare Pampa range shots on my blog. Special thanks, guys! I'm very grateful for your permissions. And so I hope, I will also get permissions from some other Pampa range photograpers. Note: Photo captions will be further updated after receiving additional background info from the photographers.

A-10 81-0952 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, afternoon May 7, 2009 (Photo by Frank van de Waardenburg) Hi-res

A-10 82-0646 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Frank van de Waardenburg) Hi-res

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Frank van de Waardenburg) Hi-res

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Frank van de Waardenburg) Hi-res

A-10 82-0649 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Frank van de Waardenburg) Hi-res

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Toon Cox) Full size

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, January 20, 2009. (Photo by Toon Cox) Full size

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, probably December 2008. (Photo by Alain Vandebeek) Full size

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, probably December 2008. (Photo by Alain Vandebeek) Full size

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, probably December 2008. Note: Litening AT targeting pod on station 9. (Photo by Alain Vandebeek) Full size

A-10 81-0991 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

A-10 81-0951 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

A-10 81-0992 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

A-10 81-0646 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

A-10 81-0646 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. Clear visible is one of the fired bullets. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

A-10 81-0646 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

Close-up picture of A-10 81-0992 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

An A-10 from the 81st Fighter Squadron over Pampa range, Belgium, October 22, 2008, photographed from the tower. (Photo by Merijn van Wesemael) Full size

Feel the Thunder, not the firepower

By Kayla Gahagan, Journal staff
Rapid City Journal
Saturday, May 30, 2009

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE -- Over here, it's for fun. Over there, it's to save lives.

For United States Air Force 1st Lt. David Dennis, today's air show -- he pilots an A-10 Thunderbolt II -- is a prelude to his deployment next month to Afghanistan.

"Over there, you could die. Someone could shoot you down," he said. "There's nothing more chilling than a radio call from someone whose best friend was just killed. It's a little bit different than loops to music."

But whether he's flying the A-10 for entertainment, or overseas to protect ground combat troops, the A-10 West Coast Demo Team member from Arizona said he's honored to do it. He wasn't alone in that sentiment Friday as airmen from throughout the U.S. gathered at Ellsworth Air Force Base to prepare for the weekend's open house and Dakota Thunder air show.

"I'm living a dream," Dennis said. "We flew over Mount Rushmore yesterday in formation. I have the best job in the world. I'm very proud of what we do."

Col. Scott Vander Hamm, Ellsworth's 28th Bomb Wing commander, said he hoped for crowds of 20,000 to 40,000 this weekend.

"This is well-rehearsed and well-practiced," he said. "They enjoy showing what their plane can do. There's nothing more fun than that."

Attractions at the event include the Thunderbirds, U.S. Army special operations jump team the "Black Daggers," F-22 Raptor, B-25 Mitchell, F-16 Fighting Falcon and more than 100 local and regional aircraft that will either take to the skies or be on the ground for close-up viewing.

The Air Force Thunderbirds, known for more than 30 signature air formations that feature the capabilities of the F-16 -- which includes flying at twice the speed of sound, or 1,200 miles an hour -- will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tyrone Douglas, the lead solo pilot for the Thunderbirds, squinted in the sun near the row of eight F-16s Friday afternoon as crew members completed maintenance checks -- the green fields behind the airstrip contrasting with the red, white and blue of the planes.

"It's an exciting show," he said. "At one point, we come at each other at 1,000 miles an hour."

It's similar to the adrenaline an athlete feels pumping through his veins before a big game, he added.

"We've been training for four months," he said. " ... We know what each other is doing, and we trust each other."

Earning a spot on the Thunderbirds team, as a pilot or crew member, is difficult. Pilots serve a two-year assignment with the squadron, while crew members serve three to four. Eight planes are taken to almost 90 shows a year, but only six are flown during shows.

"You know what to do; you've run the plays," he said. "Once you're inside the jet, you're home."

That is how Dennis feels in the A-10, which is known for its maneuverability at low air speeds and altitude and highly accurate weapons. It can also loiter near battle areas for extended periods.

"We're not as fast as the F-15, F-22 ... but we stay there the longest," he said.

The jet was built around the gun, which is evident by the seven-barrel, 30 millimeter gun pointing out from the front of the aircraft.

"The rounds are the size of Coke bottles," he said, of which the jet carries 1,150, and shoots 60 to 70 a second.

Designed during the Cold War, the aircraft is now primarily flown in Afghanistan.

Sitting inside the cockpit is a tightly-quartered navigation office, a cushioned seat surrounded by hundreds of buttons, a joystick and two small screens.

Following the lead of commanders, the pilot has a cache of ammunition at his fingertips -- incendiary cluster bombs, AGM-65 Maverick missiles, a laser-guided bomb, 2.75-inch rockets and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

Visitors to this weekend's show will see the flying, not the firepower, Vander Hamm said. The show is family-friendly, safe and entertaining.

"They'll see a really neat show," he said. [...]


Note: Is that true? An A-10 West Coast Demo Team pilot will deploy for combat to Afghanistan just after the 2009 airshow season started?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A-10 aircraft hangar extension for alert crews at Bagram

Thirteen civil engineer "Dirt Boys" from the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Bagram AB, Afghanistan, have worked for a concrete foundation to be poured there May 27, 2009. The foundation will be used to extend an A-10 aircraft hangar to support alert crews on standby. The project costed roughly $156,000 for rock and concrete materials.

Tech. Sgt. Darryl Guppy, 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, drives a roller to flatten out the area for a concrete foundation to be poured here May 27, 2009. The foundation will be used to extend an A-10 aircraft hangar for alert crews. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erik Cardenas) Hi-res


Monday, May 25, 2009

CPI Aerostructures to Take Additional Work Under Its A-10 Wing Long-Term Requirement Contract From The Boeing Company

GlobeNewswire, Inc.
Source: CPI Aerostructures

EDGEWOOD, N.Y., May 21, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CPI Aerostructures, Inc. ("CPI Aero(r)") (NYSE Amex:CVU) today announced that the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems unit of The Boeing Company ("Boeing") has expanded the scope of work that CPI Aero will perform under its previously announced long-term requirements contract to support Boeing's A-10 Wing Replacement Program. In June 2007, Boeing received a $2 billion contract to produce up to 242 enhanced wings for the United States Air Force's A-10 "Thunderbolt" attack jet. The initial contract to CPI Aero, announced in July 2008, was for the production of leading edges, wingtips, trailing edges, main landing gear pods and various other structures. As per the modified contract, CPI Aero will now also be installing a fueling/de-fueling subsystem into the main landing gear pod assembly. The initial order under this contract modification is valued at $178,000 and the total modification is valued at approximately $960,000 for 242 wings. The revised contract has increased in value to approximately $71 million, of which CPI Aero has received $13.4 million of orders to date.

Edward J. Fred, CPI Aero's CEO and President, stated, "We are proud that our performance on this program has earned Boeing's confidence to expand CPI Aero's work scope under this contract. We believe that as we continue to demonstrate our assembly capabilities to the Boeing A-10 Wing Replacement Team, we will be considered for additional opportunities for systems integration on this platform."

CPI Aero is engaged in the contract production of structural aircraft parts for leading prime defense contractors, the U.S. Air Force, and other branches of the armed forces. In conjunction with its assembly operations, CPI Aero provides engineering, technical and program management services. Among the key programs that CPI Aero supplies are the UH-60 BLACK HAWK helicopter, the S-92(r) helicopter, the MH-60S mine countermeasure helicopter, the Gulfstream G650, C-5A Galaxy cargo jet, the T-38 Talon jet trainer, the A-10 Thunderbolt attack jet, and the E-3 Sentry AWACS jet. CPI Aero is included in the Russell Microcap(r) Index.

The above statements include forward looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, which are described from time to time in CPI Aero's SEC reports, including CPI Aero's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.

CPI Aero(r) is a registered trademark of CPI Aerostructures, Inc.


The same press release was posted on May 21, 2009, 08:45 AM, by

Related info:

CPI Aero contract with Boeing expands, adding $960,000

By Emi Endo
3:43 PM EDT, May 21, 2009

CPI Aerostructures Inc. this morning announced that its major contract from Boeing Co. to build parts for the Air Force's A-10 Thunderbolts has been expanded.

Under the original $70 million contract announced in July, Edgewood-based CPI Aero has been producing parts for the A-10s, attack jets once manufactured by the now defunct Fairchild-Republic Co. of Farmingdale.

Under the modified contract terms CPI Aero will also install a fueling subsystem, adding about $960,000 to the contract.

CPI Aero chief executive and president Edward J. Fred said, "We are proud that our performance on this program has earned Boeing's confidence to expand CPI Aero's work scope under this contract.

"We believe that as we continue to demonstrate our assembly capabilities to the Boeing A-10 wing replacement team, we will be considered for additional opportunities for systems integration on this platform."

The company is one of Long Island's last remaining aircraft-parts manufacturers.


Edward Fred, chief executive and president of CPI Aero, displays model of a A-10 Warthog attack aircraft, and on right a T-38. (Newsday Photo, 2005 / Karen Wiles Stabile)

Related links:
CPI Aerostructures

Selfridge Airmen support local Memorial Day events

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

5/24/2009 - Selfridge ANGB, Mich. -- Fighter aircraft from Selfridge Air National Guard Base will be crisscrossing the skies over southeastern Michigan during Memorial Day weekend, supporting local observances of the day set aside to honor those who died wearing the nation's uniform.

On Memorial Day, A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from Selfridge, flown by citizen-Airmen of the Michigan Air National Guard, will perform flyovers of more than 30 Memorial Day parades and observances in the greater Detroit region. Memorial Day this year will be on Monday, May 25.

The A-10s, which are also popularly known as the Warthog, will be a new participant in the region's Memorial Day events. Selfridge's 127th Wing began flying the A-10s earlier this month. The Wing had been flying F-16s fighters at the base for almost 20 years. The F-16s, known as the Fighting Falcon, have been re-assigned out of state.

"Even as we look to the future, it is critical that we remember the sacrifices of the past," said Brig. Gen. Michael Peplinski, commanding general of the 127th Wing at Selfridge. "The fly-bys of our aircraft at our local Memorial Day parades and observances are intended to help local citizens reflect upon the price that has been paid by our fallen heroes."

Memorial Day has a long and solemn history. Though the holiday was not officially established by federal law until 1971, the annual observance of some type of memorial to honor the war dead dates back to the years immediately following the Civil War. In the spring in the year after the war ended, widows and freed slaves in various locations came together to places flowers or other decorations on the graves of fallen soldiers.

In 1868, former Union Gen. John Logan, president of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization made up of former Union soldiers, issued a proclamation declaring May 30 as "Decoration Day." On that day, Americans were urged to decorate graves "with the choicest flowers of springtime" ... "We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic."

Over the years, the observances became more formalized as various states began to officially recognize Decoration Day as a holiday. The term "Memorial Day" slowly began to come into use in the late 1800s and after World War I, the name Memorial Day began to be used almost exclusively as the day became a time to honor all of the nation's fallen military heroes, not just those from the Civil War.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, Congress voted to officially change the name to Memorial Day and move the date of the holiday from May 30 to the last Monday in May. The law took effect in 1971. In 2000, Congress passed a law created a National Moment of Remembrance, calling for a minute of silent reflection on the sacrifices made by those who died in military combat. The moment of remembrance is called for at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Spang 'Hogs' participated in Memorial Day observance at Luxembourg American Cemetery (Hamm)

Updated May 27, 2009

By Joachim Jacob

With a missing-man flying formation, four A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft from the 81st Fighter Squadron, 52nd Fighter Wing (USAFE), Spangdahlem AB, Germany, participated in Memorial Day observance at Luxembourg American Cemetery (Hamm), Saturday, May 23, 2009 (2 p.m.). According to exclusive serial number info and first nice pictures on the German FlugzeugForum, A-10s 81-0952, 81-0962, 81-0984 and 82-0654 were involved. As Stars and Stripes reported, this event was also supported by the 1st Armored Division.

Pilot Jason Pruitt (r.), Pilotin Priscilla Giddings (l.) und Chris Andreasen, der für die Wartung der A-10-Maschine verantwortlich ist. (Foto: Jeroen van der Hoef)

A-10 pilot Jason Pruitt (right), A-10 pilot Priscilla Giddings (left), and Chris Andreasen (either an A-10 crew chief or another aircraft maintainer) pose in front of A-10 82-0654 which was part of the missing-man flying formation. (Photo by Jeroen van der Hoef / Luxemburger Wort)

Please let me post the following news article in German language, especially for my European readers:

"Es ist eine Ehre, fliegen zu dürfen"

Jeroen van der Hoef

Luxemburger Wort
22.05.2009 07:01 Uhr

Am Samstagnachmittag wird auf dem Friedhof in Hamm der gefallenen US-Soldaten aus dem Zweiten Weltkrieg gedacht. Die Zeremonie steckt momentan in der Planungsphase. Für einen Piloten ist es ein besonderes Erlebnis, die Gedenkfeier selbst mitgestalten zu dürfen.

Traditionell am Samstag vor dem letzten Montag im Mai, dem "Memorial Day", wird auf dem Hammer Militärfriedhof den amerikanischen Gefallenen des Zweiten Weltkriegs Respekt erwiesen. Es ist eine Gedenkfeier, die jedes Jahr stattfindet, aber immer wieder aufs Neue bis ins letzte Detail geplant werden muss. Dies gilt auch beim Überflug von vier A-10-Maschinen des in Spangdahlem stationierten 52. Kampfgeschwaders, die in Formation, kurz nach der Begrüßung, mit einer Geschwindigkeit von rund 600 Kilometern pro Stunde unterwegs sein werden.

Die "A-10 Thunderbolt II" ist ein Erdkampfflugzeug der US Air Force. Dieser zweimotorige Unterschall-Jet kann gegen jede Art von Bodenzielen – inklusive Panzer und andere gepanzerte Fahrzeuge – verwendet werden.

Zeitplan bereits im Kopf

In einer der Maschinen wird Pilot Jason Pruitt sitzen. Er hat, bereits einige Tage vor der Zeremonie, den genauen Zeitplan im Kopf. Obwohl eine A-10 rund 20 Minuten von der Air Base Spangdahlem in der Südeifel nach Hamm braucht, wird sie kurz nach 13 Uhr in die Luft starten, damit er und die drei weiteren Kollegen auf jeden Fall Hamm nicht zu spät erreichen werden.

In der Luft steht er mit der Air Base Spangdahlem, mit den drei anderen Piloten sowie mit einer Person am Boden am Soldatenfriedhof in ständigem Funkkontakt. Pruitt geht davon aus, dass er vor dem Überflug kurz warten muss, ehe er das Zeichen von unten bekommt, mit der A-10 durchzustarten. Das Timing muss auf die Sekunde passen. Dabei ist die Organisation schon längst mit dem Flughafen Findel abgesprochen, der ja unmittelbar an den Militärfriedhof Hamm grenzt. In diesem Punkt erwartet Pruitt keine Schwierigkeiten.

Zusammen ist das Quartett noch niemals geflogen. Dafür verfügen die Piloten über viel Erfahrung, so dass es ausreicht, den Überflug am Boden zu planen und zu besprechen. Meist ist Pruitt in einer A-10 unterwegs, aber er ist auch mit anderen Kampfjet-Typen geflogen. Beispielsweise gibt es in den Niederlanden und in Deutschland ausgewiesene Areale für Übungsflüge. Auch war er an verschiedenen Einsätzen in Krisengebieten beteiligt.

"So etwas will jeder Pilot einmal erleben."

Für ihn ist es das erste Mal, dass er an einer Zeremonie wie "Memorial Day" teilnimmt. "Es ist für mich absolut eine große Ehre, am Samstag fliegen zu dürfen", sagt Pruitt.

Den Militärfriedhof von Hamm hat er bereits besucht und er hat auch am Grab von General George S. Patton Jr. gestanden. Doch der Flug morgen stellt viele Einsätze in den Schatten. "So etwas will jeder Pilot einmal erleben."


Related info:
Memorial Day observances in Europe (Stars and Stripes, May 23, 2009)

Related photos (posted on

Note: All four aircraft are carrying Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10, what indicates an A-10C upgrade. But only 81-0952 and 81-0984 are equipped with the new AN/ARC-210 secure voice radio antenna behind the cockpit.

Related USAF photo (released on 52nd Fighter Wing's public website May 27, 2009):

Senior Airman Bryan Craver, 81st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, prepares an A-10 for a Memorial Day flyover at the Luxembourg American Cemetery at Hamm, Luxembourg, May 23, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Wilson) Hi-res

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New A-10 artwork on USAF's public main website

Idaho A10 Two Ship (Created by Ken Chandler, this is a recreation of a USAF museum photo with a different sky and colors) Full size

A-10 Arizona Warthog (Created 2007 by Peter Van Stigt) Full size

A-10 Avenging (Created 2008 by Peter Van Stigt) Full size


Please visit Peter Van Stigt's website

I really like how he blurs the background to give you a real feeling of the aircraft's speed.

Here's another A-10 artwork from him:

Hog Hugging Wall Full size

Friday, May 22, 2009

Combat Air Forces restructure plan also propose some A-10 fleet changes

by Joachim Jacob

Two days ago, U.S. Air Force officials announced a Combat Air Forces restructure plan, following the May 7 roll-out of the fiscal year 2010 budget proposal for the Department of Defense. Related to details, provided by Stars and Stripes (a DoD publication) this plan could affect the current A-10 Thunderbolt II fleet as follows:

47th Fighter Squadron, 917th Wing (ACC), Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
- 3 A-10s (retains 21 aircraft)

355th Fighter Wing (ACC), Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
- 6 A-10s (retains 72 aircraft)

163rd Fighter Squadron, 122nd Fighter Wing (Indiana ANG), Fort Wayne ANGB, Indiana
+ 18 A-10s (-18 F-16s)

23rd Fighter Group, 23rd Wing (ACC), Moody AFB, Georgia
- 6 A-10s (retains 42 aircraft)

25th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Wing (PACAF), Osan AB, Republic of Korea (ROK)
- 3 A-10s

303rd Fighter Squadron, 442nd Fighter Wing (AFRC), Whiteman AFB, Missouri
- 3 A-10s

As a result of - and +, only three unknown A-10s would be really retire.

Related info:

AF officials announce Combat Air Forces restructure plan

5/20/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Following the May 7 roll-out of the fiscal year 2010 budget proposal for the Department of Defense, Air Force officials announced plans to retire legacy fighters to fund a smaller and more capable force and redistribute people for higher priority missions.

The Combat Air Forces restructuring plan would accelerate the retirement of approximately 250 aircraft, which includes 112 F-15 Eagles, 134 F-16 fighting Falcons and three A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This does not include the five fighters previously scheduled for retirement in FY10.

"We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22 (Raptors) into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 (Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter). We'll also add manpower to capabilities needed now for operations across the spectrum of conflict."

Under the plan, cost savings of $355 million in FY10 and $3.5 billion over the next five fiscal years would be used to reduce current capability gaps. Air Force officials would invest most of the funds in advanced capability modifications to remaining fighters and bombers. Some would go toward procuring munitions for joint warfighters, including the small diameter bomb, hard-target weapons and the AIM-120D and AIM-9X missiles. The remainder would be dedicated to the procurement or sustainment of critical intelligence capabilities such as the advanced targeting pod as well as enabling technologies for tactical air controllers and special operations forces.

"We've taken this major step only after a careful assessment of the current threat environment and our current capabilities," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. "Make no mistake, we can't stand still on modernizing our fighter force. The Air Force's advantage over potential adversaries is eroding, and this endangers both air and ground forces alike unless there is a very significant investment in bridge capabilities and fifth-generation aircraft. CAF restructuring gets us there."

The CAF restructuring plan, which will require appropriate environmental analyses, would enable Air Force officials to use reassignment and retraining programs to move approximately 4,000 manpower authorizations to emerging and priority missions such as manned and unmanned surveillance operations and nuclear deterrence operations.

This realignment would include the expansion of MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and MC-12 Liberty aircrews; the addition of a fourth active-duty B-52 Stratofortress squadron; and the expansion of Distributed Common Ground System and information processing, exploitation and dissemination capabilities for continued combatant commander support in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other adjustments.

Secretary Donley and General Schwartz have committed the Air Force to initiatives that will reinvigorate its nuclear enterprise and field 50 unmanned combat air patrols for ongoing operations by FY11.

"What we're looking for is a force mix that meets the current mission requirements of combatant commanders while providing a capable force to meet tomorrow's challenges," Secretary Donley said.


Air Force proposal aims to eliminate 250 fighter jets

By Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany would lose 18 F-16s — and possibly one of its three fighter squadrons — in a plan the Air Force announced Tuesday to eliminate about 250 fighter jets from its inventory.

The move, tied to the service's desire to free up more money for next-generation aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle operations, would save $355 million in fiscal 2010 and $3.5 billion over the next five years, according to an Air Force news release.

"We have a strategic window of opportunity to do some important things with fighter aircraft restructuring," Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley was quoted as stating in the release. "By accepting some short-term risk, we can convert our inventory of legacy fighters and F-22s into a smaller, more flexible and lethal bridge to fifth-generation fighters like the F-35."

The service would retire 112 F-15s, 134 F-16s and three A-10s under the Combat Air Forces proposal. Five additional fighter aircraft already had been designated to go out of service in the next fiscal year, which begins in October.

The Air Force has three bases with fighter squadrons in Europe: Spangdahlem, Aviano in Italy and RAF Lakenheath in England. Aviano was not listed among bases that would lose aircraft under the proposal, but Lakenheath would have six fewer F-15s.

The 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem currently has about 42 F-16CJs, according to information provided in the release. The 81st Fighter Squadron flies A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. The F-16s are flown by the 22nd Fighter Squadron and 23rd Fighter Squadron. A loss of 43 percent of the jets might indicate the loss of one of the squadrons. But 2nd Lt. Kathleen Polesnak, chief of public affairs for the wing, said that's speculation.

"At this point, we really don't know [what the picture] will be like," she said, noting that there are a number of variables that could come into play if the proposal becomes reality.

Lakenheath has three fighter squadrons: the 492nd, 493rd and 494th. The 493rd flies F-15Cs and the other two F-15Es. The 493rd would lose six of its F-15Cs under the proposal, and retain 18 jets. The other two squadrons would not be affected.

"We would not lose a squadron," said Capt. Alysia Harvey, a 48th Fighter Wing spokeswoman.

Spangdahlem wouldn't be taking the biggest hit around the globe under the proposal. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida would lose 48 F-15s — about two-thirds of its force. Hill Air Force Base in Utah and Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska would lose two dozen aircraft as well. Elmendorf is in line to receive 36 F-22s, though, and Hill is seen as a candidate for the other next-generation fighter, the F-35.

In total, the moves could free up 4,000 personnel slots that the service could shift to operations such as unmanned aerial vehicles and nuclear deterrence, according to the release. The Air Force would also establish a fourth active-duty B-52 squadron and invest in upgraded systems and munitions for its remaining fleets.

Associated list (captured as a picture):


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Doolittle Raider and historian recall mission of air power during visit to Selfridge

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

5/19/2009 - Selfridge ANGB, Mich. -- Long before there was a U.S. Air Force, there were questions. Could American air power be a dominant force? Could it really be a factor? Could U.S. air power truly make a difference?

In the days after the December 1941 Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, President Franklin Roosevelt "pleaded with his top generals and admirals to find some way -- any way - to show Japan that America could retaliate," recalled Col. Carroll V. Glines, a retired Air Force pilot and one of the most nation's prolific writers of Air Force history.

"The answer was the Doolittle Raid," Glines said.

Glines and Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole (ret.) spoke on the history of the famous 1942 Doolittle Raid while at Selfridge Air National Guard Base during a standing room-only presentation to the Selfridge Base Community Council, May 19. The retired pilots bring a special insight to the April 1942 raid against Japan. Cole was the co-pilot of the lead B-25 Mitchell bomber that took off from the Navy's USS Hornet aircraft carrier, sitting next to Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle himself. Sixteen B-25s took off on the unprecedented mission - bombers, launched from carriers at maximum range to strike a first blow back at the enemy. Glines has written a book on the raid and assisted the late Doolittle with his autobiography.

"Doolittle came to our B-25 Group and asked for volunteers. The entire group volunteered," Cole recalled. It wouldn't be until a couple of months later that the Airmen, then part of the U.S. Army Air Corps, knew what it was that they had volunteered for.

Two days before the mission, in the cramped crew quarters of the Hornet, steaming across the Pacific Ocean toward Japan, the crews finally learned the mission: a long range bombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, followed by a risky plan to attempt to land in China after the raid and a hope for eventual pick-up and return to the U.S.

When the announcement was finally made about the details of the mission, "there was a lot of jubilation initially. After a while, it got quiet as people contemplated the consequences of the mission," Cole recalled, sitting before the Selfridge audience, some 67 years after the fact.

"But no one jumped ship. No one backed out. We knew we had a job to do and we did it," Cole said.

It's that same kind of attitude and mission focus that keeps Glines writing about the Air Force. Over the years, he's authored 37 books on various aspects of Air Force history and countless articles in every manner of magazine and official publications.

While the Doolittle Raid rightly occupies an important page in the World War II history book, the contribution of the Raid to the future of the U.S. Air Force may have been of even greater significance.

Through a combination of ingenuity and insightful leadership, incomparable airmanship, rock solid team work and a healthy dose of the American never-say-never attitude, the Doolittle Raiders answered the question once and for all: Can U.S. air power make a difference?

Several generations of military air superiority later, the answer clearly is YES.

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, USAF (ret.), co-pilot for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle during the Doolittle Raid on Japan spent time meeting 107th Fighter Squadron pilots Capt. William Rundell and Major Brian Davis during the May 19 Base Community Council luncheon where Cole and Doolittle Raider historian Col. Carroll Glines, USAF (ret.), were guest speakers. (U.S. Air Force photo by John S. Swanson) Hi-res

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, USAF (ret.), co-pilot for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle during the Doolittle Raid on Japan, and Raider historian Col. Carroll Glines, USAF (ret.) were guest speakers at the May 19 Selfridge Air National Guard Base Community Council luncheon for a crowd of more than 300 base and community personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by John S. Swanson) Hi-res

Lt. Col. Richard Cole, USAF (ret.), co-pilot for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle during the Doolittle Raid on Japan, and Col. Carroll Glines, USAF (ret.), Doolittle Raiders historian and author of numerous books on the Air Force, were guest speakers at the Base Community Council meeting at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on May 19. Michigan's Yankee Air Museum flew in a B-25 Mitchell bomber as a static display for the event that was attended by more than 300 base and community personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by John S. Swanson) Hi-res


Appreciation day honors Moody spouses

A-10C 78-0207 from the 74th Fighter Squadron engages with a simulated enemy element that is closing in on the position of a downed pilot who is awaiting rescue during a live fire and rescue demonstration during the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

5/20/2009 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Moody Spouses Club sponsored a day of recognition to show appreciation for the sacrifices made by military spouses during the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day May 15, 2009. The day began with a bus ride to Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range, where event attendees were able to view a live fire and simulated real world rescue demonstration.

Members from the 75th Fighter Squadron, the 71st Rescue Squadron, the 41st Rescue Squadron and the 38th Rescue Squadron participated in the demonstration which gave an opportunity for military spouses to view a rare glimpse of part of Moody's mission firsthand.

Two A-10C Thunderbolt II aircrafts provided close air support for two HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters that deployed three Pararescueman in the hopes of retrieving a downed pilot.

At least one Pararescueman from the 38th Rescue Squadron landed near the position of a simulated downed pilot who has gone down behind enemy lines.

After viewing the demonstration by all of the specialized units from Moody, the military spouses were transported to the next event - to view the 820th Security Forces Group's military operations in urban terrain village.

Members from the 820th Security Forces Group were ambushed during a simulated patrol by enemy forces during a demonstration of the group's ability to perform non-traditional ground assaults. This demonstration provided a rare insight into the specialized operations and abilities of the 820th SFG.

Spouses were able to try on the heavy armor and equipment that is worn by the 820th SFG members.

(Courtesy 23rd Wing Public Affairs)

An A-10C Thunderbolt II evades a simulated enemy missile launch during a demonstration held for the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

An A-10C Thunderbolt II engages with a simulated enemy element that is closing in on the position of a downed pilot who is awaiting rescue during the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

An HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from the 41st Rescue Squadron along with an A-10C Thunderbolt II patrol the airspace above where a simulated downed pilot is located during a live fire and rescue demonstration during the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

An A-10C Thunderbolt II evades a simulated enemy missile launch during a demonstration held for the Moody Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

Moody spouses gathered at the viewing area of Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range for a live fire and rescue demonstration during the Spouses Appreciation Day here May 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz Jr.) Hi-res

Source (including some more pictures)

D-M pilot instructor aids film's authenticity

By Phil Villarreal

Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 05.21.2009

If the fighter plane action in "Terminator Salvation" looks accurate, much of the credit will go to a Tucsonan.

Capt. Jenny Schroeck, an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot instructor with the 358th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, served as a consultant when the film was shot last summer at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The film, which opens today, stars Christian Bale as John Connor, who leads the human resistance as it battles machines in 2018. Moon Bloodgood co-stars as a fighter pilot for the resistance who falls for Connor's sidekick, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a cyborg who believes he's human.

Schroeck, 30, trained Bloodgood to behave like a real fighter pilot, and also sat down with computer animators, suggesting tweaks to make the flight action more believable.

"A lot of it was talking with Moon, getting her perspective on different scenes she was involved in, looking at the script with her and making sure some of the verbiage was realistic. We talked through the design of the gear they were using, which was somewhat realistic based on their interpretation of what they wanted to come across."
Schroeck, who wasn't paid to help with the film because her work was considered part of her normal military activities, certainly knows what it's like to fight in combat. She flew 158 combat hours while deployed in Afghanistan from January to May 2006.

A self-described Air Force brat who was born in Germany and moved around throughout her childhood, Schroeck said she won't get to see the movie this weekend because she'll out of town, but hopes to see it when she gets back.

How did you get involved with the film?

"It was actually by chance. A friend of mine who's in public affairs, (Capt.) Stacie Shafran, received information that the studio wanted help with the movie. Because we knew each other from previous assignments she thought I could give the female perspective of an A-10 pilot and help them out."

Did you have to take time away from the Air Force?

"It was embedded within my own work schedule. The Air Force supported me as much as possible."

How did Bloodgood do with the training?

"She did an outstanding job, from my perspective. She tried to embody the female fighter pilot personality. ... She took that and applied it to her role. She had a really good sense of how she wanted to formulate herself into the role and did a really good job with that."

What was your favorite part of being on set?

"The coolest thing was to see how actors and actresses worked together and had big camaraderie. The Hollywood organization is similar to a military organization, with everybody assigned to multiple tasks."

Were you able to take Bloodgood with you in flight?

"No. An A-10 is a single-seat aircraft so you can't take passengers. I did get to sit in a flight simulator with her and take her out to show her how I maneuver inside the aircraft and how I would have faced certain situations. I talked her through the scenes."

Do you think you'll advise on other movies?

"It was a fantastic opportunity for me. I enjoyed it. It was an amazing thing to be a part of a huge production that was interested in what we do. ... I don't know if this is a career change. I think I'll stick to flying."

What do you think of the "Terminator" movies?

"They're great movies, sure. 'Terminator 4' will exceed the expectations of many people. It's well put together. (Director) McG and everyone involved did an outstanding job from my perspective, with my limited Hollywood knowledge."
How did you consult on the special effects?

"The big thing was just how an aircraft actually functions in flight. We sat in front of a computer-simulated model they put together and I'd say 'Yes, the aircraft does perform this way.'

What movie has the most realistic fighter pilot action?

"That's a hard question because a lot of them are kind of hokey. Everyone has to say 'Top Gun' is at the top of the list."

You must have been 8 when that movie came out. Did "Top Gun" influence your career choice?

"It was not influential on my career, but it's definitely something we can always rely on as a good joke for the way fighter pilots are seen and portrayed."


Related info:
Kirtland provides Airmen, location for 'Terminator Salvation'

Extended trailer with A-10 sequences:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

442nd A-10 pilots exercise air-to-air combat tactics with help from Texas reservists

F-16Cs 85-1479 and 85-1402 from the 457th Fighter Squadron, 301st Fighter Wing (AFRC), are parked by pilots at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, May 13, 2009. The 301st FW, based at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, flew sorties from Whiteman to assist the 442nd Fighter Wing in an operational readiness exercise. The 301st FW's F-16Cs flew air-to-air sorties against the 442nd FW's A-10 Thunderbolt IIs so A-10 pilots could train for combat sorties against a simulated enemy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. John Vertreese)

by Staff Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/19/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing's 303rd Fighter Squadron, welcomed quality training provided by three F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 457th Fighter Squadron, a unit in the 301st Fighter Wing, based at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas, during May's readiness assistance visit by 10th Air Force inspectors.

The A-10 Thunderbolt II, housed at Whiteman Air Force Base has a primary mission of providing air to ground support. The F-16s provided combat-oriented training by attempting to deter the 303rd FS A-10s from their designated targets during a combat exercise, May 14 and 15.

F-16 pilot Maj. John Oglesby, 457th FS, eagerly anticipated training in an unfamiliar area with personnel he doesn't operate with on a daily basis.

"They'll evade us and we'll chase them," Maj. Oglesby said. "We have the speed advantage but it can be humbling at low altitudes."

Maj. Oglesby, an Air Force Reserve pilot, who flies for Southwest Airlines as a civilian, talked about the challenges of being in a high-speed F-16 when faced with a much slower aircraft like the A-10.

"They simply can't run from us forever but when we get into lower altitudes they have the numbers to their advantage and you can find yourself getting filled with 30 millimeter rounds real fast," Maj. Oglesby said.

The 303rd FS mission entailed providing close air support for troops on the ground and combat search and rescue. Lt. Col. Brian Borgen, 303rd FS commander talked about the squadron's mission during the exercise.

"The focus of the ORI is to produce 111 sorties to do exactly what they would do in Afghanistan so we have to get them up there," Col. Borgen said. "It helps that we have a close relationship with maintenance from the leaders on down."

On top of an already difficult mission, the F-16s flying overhead provided added stress to the A-10's job by blocking them from their targets as well as attacking them.

"Even if they don't kill us they delay us--this is invaluable training," Col. Borgen said. "The F-16 is a very capable aircraft, they're going to be superior in the air-to-air role but it's good experience for us to gain. The air-to-air role is one of their primary missions."

The ORE is rapidly approaching and it is encouraging to witness the Air Force family pulling together for a common mission. With the help of 10th AF, (Fort Worth TX) inspectors on the ground, and F-16 "Vipers" roaring through the skies of Missouri, the Operational Readiness Inspection in October moves one step closer.

Source (including three additional pictures)

Related info:
F-16Cs served as opposing forces for 442nd Fighter Wing's latest operational-readiness exercise

Monday, May 18, 2009

When a "C" is better than an "A"

Commentary by Lt. Col. Timothy Hogan
81st Fighter Squadron

4/30/2009 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- When is a C better than an A? Never, unless you're an A-10 ATTACK pilot and you're talking about an A-10C versus an A-10A.

The 81st Fighter Squadron has been transitioning from the A-10A model to the A-10C model during the past year. The transformation has been an enormous multimillion dollar project, involving numerous moving parts, from depot-level aircraft modifications to pilot and maintenance training. It has spanned across three major commands with Headquarters Air Force oversight and funding through two fiscal years.

The transition has faced many obstacles, such as hangar space, parts supply and pilot training capacity. Training restrictions and aging aircraft wing cracks put our aircraft modifications roughly seven months behind and have been detrimental to meeting our pilot sortie requirement. Currently the 81st has only ten A-10C models out of its fleet for our 36 pilots to train on. This is not ideal and doesn't allow our pilots to maintain the high level of proficiency we typically like to see.

So what is the C model?

The C model is the nomenclature used to denote a significant A-10 aircraft upgrade or modification. These upgrades increase the lethality of the aircraft's weapons systems, avionics and cockpit design. During the last 30 years, the A-10 has received countless modifications, but this upgrade is revolutionary, allowing the A-10 to employ Global Positioning System guided munitions. With this new capability the A-10 is capable of engaging enemy targets even if the weather doesn't allow the pilot to see the ground. The new cockpit design upgrades focus on better ergonomically designed features and include a new flight control stick and throttle set to aid pilots in employing weapons without removing their hands from the controls. Additionally the new cockpit has two large multi-function color displays that provide a moving map display, digital stores management system and, the Situational Awareness Data Link capability. SADL provides the capability to transfer information electronically between aircraft or to the Joint Terminal Air Controller without using voice communications.

So what does all this mean?

The A-10 has added another tool to its lethal weapons arsenal and achieved the ability to significantly reduce the time it takes to employ weapons and defend the boots on the ground through digital means, regardless of weather conditions. A significant added gain is our ability to reduce collateral damage and maximize weapons effects through our increased accuracy and precision.

So how did we transition?

Each pilot was scheduled to attend a three-week conversion training course at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., the A-10 birthing ground. There they received academic instruction, simulator training and four flights. This training was scheduled in concert with a limited training capacity and the entire A-10 fleet competing for slots based on air expeditionary forces rotations. Most of the initial cadre maintainers deployed stateside to receive academic foundations followed by on-the-job training to build the foundation for the maintenance transition.

So how do we train?

Flying the A-10C model is not any different in terms of rudimentary flying skills, but employing the new systems takes a new mindset and requires proficient muscle memory skills. C-model flying experiences are invaluable and training is enhanced with our simulator or full mission trainer. With the C-model transition, we garnered an additional simulator ahead of schedule which has been a huge synergistic training platform due to our limited sorties and aircraft availability. The simulator gives us an added benefit of using the SADL, which we are currently restricted from using due to frequency management conflicts within Europe. We are working to de-conflict this so SADL training may become possible.

So what's next?

We will continue to improve and increase our training as the aircraft stream in from the depot. We will use temporary duty trips to locations that allow us to train with SADL and ranges big enough to drop GPS munitions. We will continue to train with our JTACs, providing them the essential close air support training they require before deploying.

Everyone involved in the success of this transition -- from maintainers to pilots to those on the home front -- are to be congratulated for their added sacrifices and extra efforts.

We may be the last of the stick and rudder legacy platforms, but we love the dirty work and have increased our ability to engage the enemy in a knife fight where others are less effective. Attack!


- Sorry, dear readers! But because this very interesting first-hand info was released in the Commentaries Section of Spang's public website, I just overlooked it by my daily A-10 online news checks for more than two weeks.
- As Lt. Col. Timothy Hogan in his commentary says, currently the 81st FS has only ten A-10Cs out of its fleet.
- In a Stars and Stripes news article 81st Fighter Squadron's Warthog upgrade lauded (published in the European edition, Friday, November 14, 2008), Mark Abramson wrote: [...] All 24 Warthogs, or Thunderbolt IIs as they are officially called, in the 81st Fighter Squadron at Spangdahlem are slated to be upgraded to the A-10C model as part of an Air Force-wide program. Eight of the squadron's planes have been almost completely overhauled in Belgium and another 13 are in the shop for the work. [...] Related to that, it looks to me since then the 81st FS got only two more A-10Cs.
- After elements of the 81st Fighter Squadron deployed with eight 'Hogs' for the U.S. and Bulgarian Air Forces joint training exercise "Reunion April 2009" to Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria, it's absolutely clear to me: All of current Spang A-10s with new AN/ARC-210 antennaes and Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10 (right wing) are upgraded to the A-10C standard.
- First deployed to Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria, were: 81-0952, 81-0962, 81-0980, 81-0983, 81-0988, 82-0646 (according to reports on the Dutch Scramble Message Board and the German FlugzeugForum See: 81st Fighter Squadron A-10s went to Bulgaria for exerxise
- According to a first-hand personal contact (protected by me as a journalist), these six aircraft were later joined by 81-0956 and 81-0978. And so, all in all eight Spang A-10s were involved in "Reunion April 2009".
- Already identified as Spang A-10Cs by USAF photos and private shots are: 81-0952, 81-0980, 81-0983, 81-0988, 82-0646.
- By the way: I would be very grateful for any further 81st FS A-10C verifications.

Related info:
81st Fighter Squadron's A-10C 81-0988 catched at Spangdahlem
Probably the first known 81st FS A-10 shots with AN/ARC-210 radios
81st Fighter Squadron's Warthog upgrade lauded

Friday, May 15, 2009

F-16Cs served as opposing forces for 442nd Fighter Wing's latest operational-readiness exercise

By Joachim Jacob

The 442nd Fighter Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, is preparing for an operational-readiness inspection in October 2009. During an operational-readiness exercise May 14 and 15, 2009, F-16C pilots from the 301st Fighter Wing's 457th Fighter Squadron "Spads" (with their F-16C/Ds block 30 (small mouth), tailcode TX, served as opposing forces, flying training sorties to provide realistic air-to-air threats against the 442nd Fighter Wing's A-10 aircraft. The 301st FW (AFRC) is based at Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, Fort Worth, Texas.

Airman 1st Class Heather Hernandez attaches a cover, embazoned with a stylized Texas state flag, to the intake scoop of an F-16C Fighting Falcon (serial number 85-1402) May 13, 2009, on the flight-line at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Airman Hernandez, an F-16 crew chief from the 301st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, is one of approximately 20 reservists from the 301st Fighter Wing who traveled to Whiteman to assist the 442nd Fighter Wing with an operational-readiness exercise May 14 and 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Maj. David Kurle) Hi-res

Source: 442nd exercises with a little help from its friends

Additional info:

LRS Fuels completes A-10 puzzle during exercise

by Staff Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/14/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- The 442nd Fighter Wing's Fuel team worked with precision May 14, displaying their expertise for 10th Air Force inspectors who visited here to inspect the wing in what amounts to a dry run for October's operational readiness inspection.

There are many pieces to the A-10 Thunderbolt II in-flight puzzle and one that is often overlooked is the gas in the tank - and those who place it there.

Master Sgt. Bart Fellwock, 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron NCOIC of petroleum oil and lubricants is excited to talk about his section's mission.

"It sounds simple but without us they don't fly," Sergeant Fellwock said.

"Our mission is to get fuel on the planes, as well as provide liquid oxygen (LOX) for the crew chiefs," Sergeant Fellwock said.

Sergeant Fellwock describes that the LOX exchange is much like a back-yard barbecue chef going to the store to swap out empty propane tanks.

"They bring us their empties and we fill them," he said.

In addition to providing fuel and liquid oxygen, the POL team keeps hydrants ready for the crews as well.

"But our main mission is to get fuel on the planes," Sergeant Fellwock said.

The fuel trucks hold up to 6,000 gallons of fuel and it takes an average of 20 minutes to fill an empty A-10 fuel tank. Just like every other mission, this must be accomplished even under the duress of war.

"We have to wear the gear and keep the trucks moving," he said. "Driving with a gas mask on can be tough but when the plane needs fuel we've got to have it."

He also elaborated on the fact that their reactions to threats can be a life and death situation.

"When the bombs start flying we hit a button that stops the refueling process and run for cover--the planes not going anywhere," Sergeant Fellwock said.

Sergeant Fellwock takes pride in being a small part of a big picture. POL is truly the essential puzzle piece sitting on the edge of the table waiting to complete the image.

Left: Staff Sgt. Jordan Aggson, 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, drags a refueling hose back to his tanker truck after servicing an A-10 Thunderbolt II during an Operational Readiness Exercise at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, May 14, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bill Huntington) Hi-res

Right: Staff Sgt. Eric Beckemeier, 442nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, monitors a refueling operation while servicing an A-10 Thunderbolt II during an Operational Readiness Exercise at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, May 14, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bill Huntington) Hi-res


124th Wing's public website URL changed, 188th Fighter Wing's outdated website is offline now

Yesterday, the 124th Wing's public website URL changed from to

Also since yesterday, the 188th Fighter Wing's public website (still outdated as of December 15, 2005, and only related to their former F-16Cs) is not more online. And so I hope, their Public Affairs Office is now in the process to create a new A-10-related 188th FW site.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

104th Fighter Squadron A-10Cs catched at Little Rock National Airport

Last Friday, May 8, 2009, aviation photographer Andrew Thomas from United States catched four 'Hogs' from the 104th Fighter Squadron, 175th Wing, Maryland Air National Guard, arriving for a gas'n go at Little Rock National Airport, Arkansas. I'm very happy to meet Andrew for first time via Warthog Territory Forums, and special thanks for his written permission to post some of his rare shots on my blog. Please visit Andrew's photo albums on Thomas Aircraft Images.

A-10C 78-0720, followed by A-10C 79-0175 (Photo by Andrew Thomas) Full size

A-10C 78-0720. (Photo by Andrew Thomas) Full size

A-10C 78-0719. (Photo by Andrew Thomas) Full size

Note: AN/AAQ-28 LITENING AT targeting pod is carried on station 10.

For more related pics check: Maryland ANG A-10s @ LIT

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Testimony of a satisfied customer

By Lt. Col. (ret.) Jim Preston

(Published by 442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

Editor's note: On March 22, 1982, while flying an A-10 Thunderbolt II on a two-ship training mission in the skies over Germany then 1st Lt. Jim Preston, forward deployed from R.A.F. Bentwaters, England, found out what it is like to have to use the A.C.E.S. II ejection seat. Fortunately, it was an experience he was able to walk away from. This is his story.

It was supposed to be a low-level navigation sortie, but the weather was bad down low, so we climbed into reserved airspace for some air-to-air engagements. Both engines compressor-stalled during an engagement. While I won the engagement, you might say, "I lost the war."

The total time from losing both engines to making the decision to eject was less than three minutes, coming down from around 12,000 feet to about 500. I was completely focused on getting the engines restarted, and when it was finally apparent that it wasn't to be, there was no question of the seat working…it either would or it wouldn't, but either way, I didn't have a choice.

There were seven or eight A-10 crashes at Bentwaters during the time I was stationed there. Mine was the sixth, but only the second where the pilot survived. The first four were all fatal; two pilots had ejected, but for various reasons the pilots didn't survive. However, in none of the cases did the seat malfunction. I was convinced early on that the ACES II was an outstanding ejection seat.

It was textbook perfect! Because of temporal distortion (a phenomenon where time seems to slow down during very stressful situations), the whole sequence went by in slow motion. Because of our great lifesupport training, I knew what to expect, and watched each step of the sequence occur—the inertia reel tugging me back into the seat, the canopy separating, the rocket firing underneath the seat, the ride up the seat rails, and being tilted backward as the drogue chute began pulling out the main parachute.

It was like sitting in a chair with people rocking it from side to side, but not violently. In fact, there was no pain, no sensation of wind or high Gforces. The only "violence" was the parachute opening shock, which brought me back into real time immediately. There were absolutely no surprises, which in my mind is a testament to the training I received from life support and the skills of the technicians in the Egress shop.

My perspective did change afterward. My faith in the seat, already pretty substantial, was strengthened even more. My appreciation for its designers, its builders, its maintainers and our lifesupport folks went deeper than ever.

The environment we work in can be pretty unforgiving, and we rely on our training to, first, keep us out of trouble, and second, to get out of that trouble alive. We depend 100 percent on the expertise of our life support techs and our maintenance people, including the Egress folks. There's a bond between us, and while it's not acknowledged as often as it should be, it's the basis for the inherent trust between the guy who works on the jet for hours at a time and the guy who gets to borrow it for a couple of hours to try to break it.

When I got back to Bentwaters, I went to the Egress shop. I brought a case of beer and a bottle of Jack Daniels. The guys were extremely humble, and just seemed to be happy the seat worked.

At the time it didn't click with me, but can you imagine a job where if your product, or the thing you work on, doesn't work, somebody dies? Conversely, how good would it feel to see someone come back from what would have been certain death, solely because what you did saved his or her life?

This experience, more than any other, brought home the reality of what a great team we are in the Air Force, and even more so in the Air Force Reserve.

The experiences I had, and the friendships I made, while serving with the 442nd will stay with me forever.

If I could have done one thing differently during my career, it would have been to spend more time in the hangar with the people who kept me safe over the years. They are the lifeblood of the 442nd Fighter Wing, and they remain very important to me.

Lt. Col. Preston, a long-time member of the 303rd Fighter Squadron, retired from the Air Force Reserve in June, 2006 and now resides with his family in northern Virginia.

- This story was published in 442nd Fighter Wing's newspaper Mohawk, May 2009 issue, as additional background info related to the news article "Pilots can take comfort in knowing that 442nd MXS Egress troops are dealing A.C.E.S." (see 442nd FW PAO's HTML version 442nd Maintenance Squadron Egress troops are dealing ACES, also posted on Warthog News).
- According to Andy Mower: "USMIL - United States Military Aircraft Serials", Aviation Associates, London, 1993, and other sources, written-off on March 22, 1982, was A-10A 80-0148 (c/n A10-0498) from the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing "Blue Dragons" (tailcode 'WR').

442nd Maintenance Squadron Egress troops are dealing ACES

by Master Sgt. Bill Huntington
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/8/2009 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. -- In the early days of aviation, pilots had very few options and very little hope of surviving if they had to leave their aircraft in flight. Typically, the outcome was fatal.

Over the years, as technology developed, those chances improved as first, parachutes were developed, and later, in the case of military aircraft, ejection systems came on line.

Today, if the worst happens and an A-10 pilot has to eject, he or she can feel confident that the aircraft's egress system will safely, and quickly, take them out of danger.

At the heart of the A-10 egress system is the Advanced Concept Ejection Seat II.

Better known as ACES II, the seat was developed in the early 1970s as a way to standardize to one type of seat. One benefit to having a standardized seat was a reduction in training for both pilots and maintainers, who previously needed to be trained in a variety of seats. Another design goal was to have better performance in a variety of conditions, such as low or adverse altitudes, including "Zero-Zero", the lowest point in the ejection envelope or zero altitude, zero speed.

Origianlly maunfactured by McDonnell-Douglas Corporation, and later Weber Aircraft Company, more than 8,000 seats have been made.

According to the official Air Force records, the seat has had a success rate of 94.4 percent in envelope, and 89.9 percent when including out of envelope ejections.

While much of that success rate is due to the design of the system, even the best designed product is only as good as the maintenance it routinely receives.

In the case of the 442nd Fighter Wing, the ACES II seats here are among the best maintained.

Under the guidance of Senior Master Sgt. Kevin McMenemy, 442nd Egress Flight chief, the shop has a highly-trained cadre ... most seven-level qualified ... of Air Reserve Technicians and traditional reservists.

"We have to go to a six-week tech. school down a Sheppard Air Force Base," said Staff Sgt. Chuck Wilson, an egress systems technician with nine years maintaining the seat. "Then its about 15 months of on-the-job training to complete a five-level and 12 more months to get a seven-level."

During that upgrade training the technicians refine their skills on the 180-pound seat, removing them from the A-10s when they come in to the phase inspection area of the five-bay hangar, bringing them into the shop for maintenance and returning them to the aircraft before it's ready to return to service.

A critical and potentially dangerous part of the Egress troops work deals with the 17 explosives on the aircraft - the rocket catapault that fires at 5,000 pounds of thrust for .55 seconds, which propels the seat and pilot away from the aircraft.

One unique component is the seat-trajectory and pitch-attitude control, or STAPAC, package. It is designed to keep the seat flying in a straight trajectory. The package includes a rocket, which produces more than 1,000 pounds of thrust for one half of a second. The seat also holds a the pilot's parachute and a survival kit.

"When the pilot pulls the (ejection) handles." Sergeant Wilson said, "just 1.8 seconds later, they are fully ejected underneath the canopy floating back to the ground."

Even with the explosives, however, Sergeant Wilson said the ACES II is one of the safest around.

As seat maintenance needs to be performed, Egress troops remain busy. At any given time there are two to four seats in the shop being worked on.

"We always have to monitor the time change requirements," Sergeant Wilson said.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Bonham, one of the newer egress technicians, came to the 442nd after an active-duty stint with the 509th Bomb Wing. While both aircraft use the ACES II system, Sergeant Bonham said he likes working on the A-10.

"The seat was about the same," Sergeant Bonham said. "But what you have to do to pull the seat; the A-10 is a lot simpler."

The shop's goal is 100-percent accuracy in maintenance and it's something they take very seriously. A pilot's life can depend on the fact that, when needed, the seat will operate as advertised.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Bonham, an Air Force reservist with the 442nd Maintenance Squadron's Egress shop, carefully swings an ACES II ejection seat into position for installation into A-10C 78-0655 from the 303rd Fighter Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. Sergeant Bonham and the other reservists in the Egress shop maintain the ejection seats to help ensure pilots have a way to safely and effectively leave the aircraft in the event of an emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Bill Huntington) Hi-res


Related background info:
Testimony of a satisfied customer

Friday, May 8, 2009

81st Fighter Squadron's A-10C 81-0988 catched at Spangdahlem

A-10C 81-0988 from the 81st Fighter Squadron on final at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, March 31, 2009. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. Because of the fresh-looking paint, this A-10C could be one of the latest upgraded Spang 'Hogs'. (Photo by Manuel Schmal) Full size

A-10C 81-0988 from behind over Spangdahlem AB, Germany, March 31, 2009. (Photo by Harald Strobel) Full size

A-10C 81-0988 overhead shot, taken at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, March 31, 2009. Loadout: (?) on station 1, empty station 2, Maverick on station 3, MXU-648 baggage pod on station 4, empty station 5, external fuel tank on station 6, empty station 7, MXU-648 baggage pod on station 8, Maverick on station 9, Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10, Dual Rail Adapter (DRA) with an AIM-9 and an ACMI pod on station 11. (Photo by Harald Strobel) Full size

Special thanks to Manuel Schmal and Harald Strobel (both from German FlugzeugForum) for their written permission to post their A-10 shots on this blog! Since I launched Warthog News in October last year, my personal contacts to German photographers are still growing to document current Spang 'Hogs'.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

66th Weapons Squadron's boss bird caught at Nellis

A-10C 80-0229 from the 66th Weapons Squadron (marked '66 WPS' as the squadron's boss bird) departing Nellis AFB, Nevada, on a CSAR training mission on May 6, 2009. Sniper XR targeting pod on station 10. (Photo by Bruce Smith) Hi-res

Thanks again for this exclusive picture, Bruce!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pilots can take comfort in knowing that 442nd MXS Egress troops are ... dealing A.C.E.S.

A news article "Pilots can take comfort in knowing that 442nd MXS Egress troops are ... dealing A.C.E.S." was released in 442nd Fighter Wing's base newspaper Mohawk, May 2009 public online PDF issue. Unfortunately, the text placement in this PDF file is not O.K. Please let me recover this "crashed" article.

Click to enlarge

Cover of Mohawk, May 2009 public online issue. The ejection seat picture shows A-10 serial number 78-0655.

Video: A-10s at Whiteman

A video clip A-10s at Whiteman was released on 442nd Fighter Wing's public website.

Please note: At least currently, there are some problems to watch the entire clip.

Video: A-10 in Action

An Air National Guard video clip A-10 in Action (running time 01:01) was released on 124th Wing's public website. Visible are A-10s at least from the 172nd Fighter Squadron, 110th Fighter Wing (Michigan ANG), tailcode BC.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Video: "Warthog" officially arrives at Selfridge

Today, on 127th Wing's public website I found a very nice video clip: "Warthog" officially arrives at Selfridge (released by 127th Wing Public Affairs).

Among the four aircraft that flew were the following three ex 172nd Fighter Squadron, 110th Fighter Wing, Michigan ANG, Battle Creek (tailcode BC) 'Hogs': 80-0258 (still with BC tailcode), 81-0996, and 81-0998.

By the way, 81-0975 (which was only displayed on the tarmac) is also an ex BC 'Hog'.

Related info:
Warthog, Stratotanker Join Air Show Roster
Selfridge Air Wing Launches First A-10
New Jet Comes to Selfridge
A-10C tail markings for 107th Fighter Squadron unveiled

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Warthog, Stratotanker Join Air Show Roster

An unidentified A-10 Thunderbolt II, still without any tail markings, makes a low-level pass over Selfridge ANGB, Michigan, May 2, 2009. The 127th Wing recently began flying the aircraft, also known as the Warthog, after completing a transition from flying F-16s. The A-10s are scheduled to be on display and part of the flying demonstration during the 2009 Selfridge Air Show, August 22 and 23. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. David Kujawa) Hi-res

by TSgt. Dan Heaton
127th Wing Public Affairs

5/3/2009 - Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. -- Two new aircraft, freshly sporting the insignia of the 127th Wing, will be front and center this summer at the 2009 Selfridge Air Show.

Since the 2007 show, the 127th Wing, made up of Citizen-Airmen from around Michigan who serve in the Air National Guard, has completed the transition to two new types of aircraft. The Wing has bid farewell to the F-16 Fighting Falcon and to the venerable C-130 Hercules. In April 2008, Selfridge Air Guardsmen began flying KC-135 Stratotankers. The massive, multi-engine air-to-air refuelers are regular sights in the skies around Selfridge as they support missions around the country and around the world. On May 2, Selfridge Airmen began flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II, more popularly known as the Warthog.

KC-135s were formerly flown at Selfridge by a local Air Force Reserve Wing, which has since relocated to Florida. While the A-10 has been in the Air Force inventory for many years, it is a new aircraft for the Selfridge community.

"We'll be flying the A-10 a lot in the coming months, as we continue our transition training," said Lt. Col. Doug Champagne. "So, people will get a chance to catch a glimpse of them in the coming months."

During the 2009 Selfridge Air Show, Aug. 22 and 23, KC-135s and A-10s will be on static display in the aircraft parking area and both types of aircraft are scheduled to be a part of the flying demonstration. The USAF Thunderbirds performance team is headlining the flying demonstration.

"This summer's air show will be a great opportunity for the community to come out to Selfridge and learn about the aircraft we're flying out here today," Champagne said.

For more information on the air show, which feature free admission and free parking, visit