One of the consistently most fun aviation podcasts is hosted by John ‘Rain’ Waters on the Afterburn Podcast.  We talked about airshows since Rain had been the USAF F-16 demo pilot for years, then how F-35 matters in our future and what Interoperability means, got into the details of Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance technology and finally talked Thrust Vectoring which I flew as a part of in the early 1990s.

Just to break it down:

5:50 – F-35 and airshow development explaining the philosophy I used with our team to develop the maneuvers for the airshow that was flown at the Paris Air Show 5 years ago and became the basis for the F-35 demo that is flown by the US Air Force and US Marine Corps.  Amazingly, other nations are now starting to fly F-35 airshows without having been educated on the airshow maneuver numbers which were built to ensure that an airshow pilot could never make a mistake and lose a jet during an airshow.

33:00 – F-35 talks often about Interoperability.  I explained the new term to use which is Interchangeability.  We have been interoperable during and since the Cold War days when we had bases in Germany and Europe was full of NATO fighters.  F-35 brings everyone up to the same level, all flying a highly classified fighter.  Everyone is part of the ‘Haves’ instead of in the past when there were the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots’.

53:10 – Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS) – So many pilots have died hitting the ground over the many many years.  Everyone knows a friend who has died from Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT).  7 of 16 CF-18 fatalities could have been prevented if Auto GCAS has been incorporated in our jets.  Now this technology has been implemented in the F-16 and F-35.  Auto GCAS will actually make it into the F/A-18 fleet in the near term which will help prevent most fatalities.

1:11:00 – Thrust Vectoring – Spent some time talking about thrust vectoring from days flying the F-16 Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring (MATV) jet as well as NASA’s F-18 Hi Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) and X-31 research programs.  Incredibly successful technologies that could have changed fighter aviation but really did not have the impact that had been imagined when first developed.  Thrust vectoring allowed us to do maneuvers that fighters even today, 30 years later, cannot match.