By lex, on April 11th, 2007
One of the side benefits to flying fighters in the old days was traveling to air shows with your machine for a static display, or maybe even a flight demo, if you were qualified. Static displays meant standing by the jet during the show, tell the kids about the jet – no, son that’s a fuel tank, not a bomb – listen to the old man’s sea stories, flirt with the young ladies. Some of them would flirt right back. It could get pretty interesting, or anyway, that’s what I’ve been told.
There was usually a party on Saturday evening too, and although a fair amount of oxygen would have been taken up by the Blues or the T-Birds, there was always some left over for the hoi polloi. Pu-pu platters, airshow groupies and adult beverages = dancing in flight suits. What’s to hate?
Just getting there could be an ego builder: You usually got treated like royalty by the visiting base personnel, all of whom had a vested command interest in ensuring that the air show went off well and received good buzz to attract participants the next year. It was easy to get full of oneself – never a demanding feat to begin with for fighter guys – taxiing in on Friday evening in front of the crowd of early visitors, the real cognoscenti that showed up just to watch all the different machines arrive.
After turning off the active runway and cleaning the jet up, it’d be O2 mask either off or at a jaunty dangle, visor tipped up just enough to shade your eyes and provide just the right aura of mystery, the polite nod – perhaps even a hand wave, if you were feeling generous – to the excited civilians jumping up and down just outside the wire, trying to get your attention. But only a moment’s worth, and then it was back to the Critical Task At Hand, i.e., keeping a 40 foot wide plane in the middle of a 100 foot wide taxiway while moving at 15 knots.
No, it isn’t very hard to taxi, but you have to, you know: Maintain a certain image.
Which, farewell to all that –
A Helmet Mounted Display System ** (HMDS) made by Vision Systems International, LLC (VSI) recently flew for the first time on an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. It was worn by Lockheed Martin’s Jon Beesley, who piloted the advanced fighter.
The HMDS provides critical flight information to the pilot throughout the entire mission. In addition to standard HMD capabilities, such as extreme off-axis targeting and cueing offered on VSI’s other HMDs, Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) and Display & Sight Helmet (DASH), this system fully utilizes the advanced avionics architecture of the F-35.
The HMDS provides the pilot video with imagery in day or night conditions combined with precision symbology to give the pilot unprecedented situational awareness and tactical capability. Also, by virtue of precise head tracking capability and low latency graphics processing, it provides the pilot with a virtual heads-up display (HUD). As a result, the F-35 is the first tactical fighter jet in 50 years to fly without a HUD.
Which, even given the fact that it’d be pretty cool to have your HUD inside your helmet, no one’s ever going to be able to pick up chicks wearing that scooby rig.
I’m all about priorities.
(And a H/T to Jason for the link)
** 07-29-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.