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Engineering challenges coming out in Blue Angels transition

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posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:00 PM
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The Boeing company was awarded a $12M contract for engineering work to transition the Blue Angels from their C/D Hornets to E/F Super Hornets. They're already running into some interesting challenges. The first is simply finding aircraft. Even though the team only travels with 7 aircraft, including Fat Albert, the team needs 11 aircraft. Boeing won't be building specific aircraft for the team, so they're having to take them either from the Boneyard, or from the fleet. They'll probably end up with early versions of the aircraft, that didn't have the full fleet software.

Then the problem basically boils down to, as NAVAIR puts it, "springs, smoke, and paint". Each aircraft flying with the Angels has a spring attached to the control stick that applies 7 pounds of pressure pulling the stick forward. In the Super Hornet, there's an air conditioning duct where the spring attaches in the cockpit, so they're having to find a new location to attach it.

The tank that holds the chemical used to create the smoke they use during the show is the second problem. The company that makes the tanks they used in the legacy aircraft shut down the production line to make the tanks. Then there's the fact that they don't fit in the nose of the Super Hornet. So that will require another redesign.

The third challenge is paint. When paint is removed that exposes the bare metal, and will potentially expose any corrosion on the aircraft. This means that the contract can't be set at a specific price point, and will have to be modified as they go.


Boeing just announced that the U.S. Navy awarded the company a more than $12 million contract for “non-recurring design and development engineering for an engineering change proposal” to transition the Blue Angels from Hornets to Super Hornets. This prospect is exciting for aviation aficionados and air show fans nationwide — not to mention the Blue Angels pilots themselves — so how soon will the change happen?

To find out WATM spoke with Navy Capt. David Kindley, the Naval Air System Command’s program manager for both Hornets and Super Hornets. Not only is Kindley the man in charge of supporting the Navy’s Hornet and Super Hornet fleets with engineering updates and maintenance improvements, during his Navy flying career he amassed almost 3,400 flight hours in both the old and new versions of the airplane.

Kindley started the conversation by making it clear that the contract “is by no means the transition taking place. We don’t have a specific date. It could take years.”

However, he explained that the genesis of the current effort was a desire from Radm. Del Bull, the Chief of Naval Air Training (the Blue Angels’ parent command), to “move the transition to the left,” as Kindley put it.

www.wearethemighty.com...




posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:02 PM
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Stupid question time Zaph! Why do they have a spring attached to the control stick ?



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:04 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
I wonder what the purpose of the 7 pound spring is ?, aren't those Jets Fly-by-wire ?



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:25 PM
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a reply to: manuelram16

a reply to: ThePeaceMaker

They are, but with the spring they're set at around 40 pounds of pressure required for inputs. That allows for smoother inputs by the pilots and better control than you have with a fleet Hornet.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:34 PM
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originally posted by: ThePeaceMaker
Stupid question time Zaph! Why do they have a spring attached to the control stick ?


It helps prevent uncommanded movement of the stick. Try this. Take a pencil and hold it vertically with the point on a table. Now watch the little jiggles that happen without you doing it. One of the things the human body is bad at is holding perfectly still.The spring provides some "feel" the fly-by -wire system on the 18 lacks any software feedback tactile feel provisions.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:36 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
I see ... So it just applies a little more pressure on the control stick as in to make the control stick a bit stiffer to allow more smoother movement rather than having a loose easily moveable control stick .. Obviously 7lb isn't much of a difference but just adds that little more control. Sorry hope that makes sense

Thanks



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:38 PM
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a reply to: F4guy
Yeah I'm with you think I understand now. Wow the little things that make a difference eh



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:46 PM
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a reply to: ThePeaceMaker

Basically. A little wiggle when you're that tight is a disaster waiting to happen. You twitch the stick a little bit, and at least three aircraft are going down.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:47 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
Even though the team only travels with 7 aircraft, including Fat Albert


The team normally travels with seven aircraft PLUS Fat Albert. Number 7 is a two seater to fly around journalists. These days they only fly performances with five because of that unfortunate accident a few months ago.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:49 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58
I can see now and makes sense .. Never seen the Blues in action but seeing some videos of them i find it incredible at how tight they get its almost suicidal at what they do but shows off what brilliant training they have and how skilled they are



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 05:52 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

Depends on where they're going. They usually take seven plus Fat Albert, other times they only take six plus Fat Albert. The sixth aircraft is flying with them, but not doing shows yet, although that's about to change. Recent videos only show the six show aircraft traveling to the shows.

Fat Albert won't be flying with them until next season now, and they'll be borrowing Marine KC-130s instead.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 06:05 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: schuyler

Depends on where they're going. They usually take seven plus Fat Albert, other times they only take six plus Fat Albert. The sixth aircraft is flying with them, but not doing shows yet, although that's about to change. Recent videos only show the six show aircraft traveling to the shows.

Fat Albert won't be flying with them until next season now, and they'll be borrowing Marine KC-130s instead.


I've seen number seven numerous times at Boeing Field. I wondered what happened with Fat Albert this time. He usually starts off the show. The official one was a "Low Show Plus" though they did do the High Show in practice earlier. We are lucky that we get to see them every year because they can only repeat with a few sites; otherwise they must pick new ones and rotate. But they always do Seattle. But this means we're all aware of their "Sneak Attack" routine and are trying to figure out when they are going to pull it off.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 06:30 PM
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a reply to: schuyler

PDM came due, so it had to go to the Depot.



posted on Aug, 15 2016 @ 10:32 PM
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originally posted by: ThePeaceMaker
a reply to: Zaphod58
I can see now and makes sense .. Never seen the Blues in action but seeing some videos of them i find it incredible at how tight they get its almost suicidal at what they do but shows off what brilliant training they have and how skilled they are
No comparison at all between the video and the real thing...I hope you get the opportunity some day to see them in action...I have seen them many times and it never gets old...



posted on Aug, 16 2016 @ 02:20 AM
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a reply to: Iscool

Iv been to many air shows growing up in western NY and have enjoyed getting to see the Blue Angels as well as the Thunderbirds. One hell of a performance they put on everytime.
That said, I wish I could find better videos of Newer and or updated Fighter Jets than what you.tube has to offer. Leaves too much to the imagination.



posted on Aug, 16 2016 @ 09:30 AM
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They do a lot of winter training at NAF at Seeley CA, right in my backyard.



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