Saturday, March 15, 2008

Aging Airframes in Perspective

A quick post, and then, likely, silence for a bit. I leave in the morning for two weeks of balancing bent space against aerodynamic resistance for about a minute at a time, as many times a day as I can pack and get back on the airplane.

And speaking of airplanes. I've said once or twice that a good way of understanding the age of our current USAF fleet is to imagine if say a WWII bomber had been flying as long. The KC-135 came into service in 1957 for instance. That would be the same as if there had still been operational squadrons of B-17s in 1994. Try to imagine that. And the 135 will be around for at least another decade yet. Imagine B-17s flying over Baghdad in 2003. Just try.

So, for what could be my last post for a bit, chew on this link.

To help put this aging airframe issue in perspective, we recently matched the various dates when aircraft from the Air Force fleet officially entered service (Initial Operating Capability) with the events that were occurring during those same respective years. On a first glance this comparison is amusing. However, upon a second look it is clear that we face a very serious situation and must do everything possible to address this critical issue. As one Air Force senior leader recently remarked, “It was kind of a nostalgic fly the same jet as a 2-star that I flew as a butter bar. I'm finding it difficult to see the humor in my one-bar son flying it.”