FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Air Force Pilots Train & Spend Entire Careers on Aging Aircraft
Arlington, VA – The Air Force Association today emphasized the growing concern about the nation’s reliance on aging aircraft and said the need to recapitalize the fleet is imperative.
“From the first time a new pilot climbs into a T-38 to the front lines in the Gulf, most Air Force pilots spend their entire careers flying legacy aircraft,” said Mike Dunn, President of AFA. “We don’t know yet whether the age of these aircraft is causing safety problems in the T-38, but we do know that age will eventually catch up to any plane.”
Air Force pilots are trained on a fleet of about 500 T-38s that were first delivered in 1961, making many of them nearly 50 years old. The Air Force has announced the stand down of all T-38C Talon training jets, after the second fatal crash in eight days involving the aircraft. The causes of the two crashes are unknown at this time. Standing down 500 aircraft is the equivalent of standing down an all the fighter and attack aircraft on approximately ten aircraft carriers.
The sons and daughters of Air Force pilots can train in the same T-38s their grandparents flew, then turn around and be assigned to the same F-15 their parents flew – or even to B-52s or KC-135s their grandparents flew. “These planes are from a generation or two generations ago,” said Bob Largent, Chairman of the Board for AFA. “We must recapitalize and modernize the Air Force fleet.”
AFA supports the decision by Gen. William Looney III to stand down these aircraft while investigating the cause of these crashes.
AFA is a 501(C)(3), nonprofit organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA has more than 200 chapters nationally and internationally representing more than 125,000 members. Visit AFA at http://www.afa.org.
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