If the story is important I usually put a link at the top of the portions that I quote on the page. This one is so stunning that you can read it all at Business Insider here.
Essentially the problem, detailed in a Navy report with data dating back to 2014, deals with rough takeoffs that hurt and disorient pilots at the critical moment when they're taking off from a carrier.But wait boys and girls. IT GETS WORSE!
The Pentagon's red team found the problem was due to several factors central to the plane's design, and recommended several fixes that will take several months to several years to fully fix. The report states that long term actions to address the problem will not take place until 2019, at which point they'll take 12-36 months to implement.
Redesigns to the plane, as well as to carriers, may be necessary to fully address the problem.
A Pentagon deficiency report in 2015 stated that extreme movements in the cockpit during launch risked pilot health.
One hundred and five pilots completing catapult launches rated their level of pain or discomfort on a scale of one to five. Of the 105, 74 pilots reported "moderate" pain or a 3, 18 pilots reported "severe" pain or a 4, and one pilot reported "severe pain that persists" after launching from an aircraft carrier.
"The oscillations shake the pilot's head sufficiently to impair their ability to consistently read flight critical data, which poses a safety of flight risk," reads the report cited by Inside Defense.Much of the article is the usual double talk that I've come to expect from the program. LM saying that all catapult launches were successful...WTF! If the plane doesn't crash into the ocean its successful, it doesn't tell us if the airplane is trying to shake its pilot apart!
This pain, more than a mere inconvenience, threatens the ability of pilots to read flight-critical data as they perform the complicated task of launching from a moving platform at sea. Exacerbating the problem, some pilots locked down their harnesses to avoid jostling around during the launch, but this makes it more difficult for the pilot to eject, should they need to.
I'll save my fire for Bogdan but this quote from him is telling...and in my mind damning.
At a roundtable discussion in December, F-35 Program Executive Officer Lt. Gen. Christopher Bogdan assured reporters that F-35C takeoff problems only occur when the planes takeoff with low weight load outs, saying " you don't see this problem at all" when the plane is more laden with ordnance or fuel.Is he a program manager or a cheerleader?
One thing is clear. Naval Aviation can't wait till 2020 at the earliest to get a working model of the F-35C. This will all but kill this model and the F/A-18 Super Hornet will remain the king of the carrier.
Add Bogdan to the list of generals that needs to be fired.