F-16 Crashes at Nellis, Condition of Pilot Unknown
An F-16 from Nellis AFB, Nev., crashed during training on the Nevada Test and Training Range Wednesday morning, the base announced. The condition of the pilot was unknown Wednesday evening and it was not clear if the pilot was able to eject. The accident is under investigation and emergency responders were on the scene as of Wednesday afternoon. Most of the F-16s assigned to Nellis belong to the 64th Aggressor Squadron, which flies adversary air against USAF, joint, and allied aircraft during exercises and against student pilots at the US Air Force Weapons School. However, the Air Force did not immediately release the squadron the aircraft was assigned. —Steve Hirsch
USAF Still Investigating Cause of T-6 Hypoxia Issues
The Air Force will be conducting testing through mid-May in an effort to determine the root cause of the several unexplained physiological events that forced the service to ground its T-6 trainer fleet for nearly a month in February. Two T-6 aircraft, including one with a history of UBEs, will be used in the training. The service also will be testing a new device known as SPYDR that will alert pilots when oxygen is running low in their bloodstream. Read the full story by Amy McCullough.
Top US Intelligence Official Says Syria Withdrawal Decision Made Yesterday
The head of the US intelligence community told reporters Wednesday the Trump administration made a decision Tuesday on whether to withdraw from Syria, although he would not reveal what it was. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters at a breakfast meeting that a determination had been made Tuesday and it would be announced “relatively soon.” The White House issued a statement later in the morning saying only that while the mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is “coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed,” the US and its partners remain committed to eliminating the remaining ISIS presence. “We will continue to consult with our allies and friends regarding future plans. We expect countries in the region and beyond, plus the United Nations, to work toward peace and ensure that ISIS never re-emerges,” the statement said. —Steve Hirsch
New Report Highlights Soaring GPS III Costs
The program costs of GPS III terminals and ground systems skyrocketed $930.4 million from 2016 to 2017, according to a new Pentagon report to Congress. Read the full report by Amy McCullough.
Six-Month Notice Requirement Waiver Suspended in Reserve Command Through September
Airmen and others in the Air Force Reserve Command wishing to voluntarily separate from the Air Force will have to give six months notice, a requirement they have been able to waive previously, Reserve Command spokesman Lt. Col. Chad Gibson told Air Force Magazine Wednesday. Under the April 1 policy, which will be in effect through the Sept. 30 end of fiscal year 2018, wing commanders will no longer be able to waive the standard six-month notice requirement. The point of the change, according to Gibson, is to ensure the command’s mission is covered through the end of the fiscal year. He said in an email that the move “is not a stop-loss or additional time added.” In addition, he said, “We have done this each year for April-Sept 30 since 2008. As you can tell, this coincides with fiscal year timelines.” –Steve Hirsch
CyberPatriot National Finalists Teams Announced
The Air Force Association announced on Wednesday the 28 teams that will compete at the CyberPatriot X National Finals Competition in Baltimore, Md., April 16-18. Teams will travel all expenses paid to compete for the title of National Champion, for scholarships, and for other national recognition. The 12 Open Division, 13 All Service Division, and three Middle School Division National Finalist teams advanced through extremely competitive online qualifying rounds to earn the distinction of being the handful of teams nationwide in the national finalist field of teams. They represent schools and other youth organizations from California, Colorado, Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, Texas, and Massachusetts. A full list of the National Finalists can be found here. “AFA is thrilled to welcome 28 very special teams of very special young cyber defenders to the culminating event of this 10th season of CyberPatriot,” said Bernie Skoch, CyberPatriot’s National Commissioner. “Each of them has earned the honor of being a national finalist by distinguishing themselves as the very best of the best in the most competitive rounds of competition in our history. … We are making a big difference together as we shape America’s workforce of tomorrow.” The CyberPatriot X competition season began in October 2017 with 5,584 registered teams, a 26 percent increase from the previous year.
Peterson Briefly Closes Gate After Van With Propane Tanks Attempts Entry
Peterson AFB, Colo., closed its North Gate for just over an hour yesterday after an incident outside that gate, 21st Space Wing spokesman Capt. Casper Merian said in a statement emailed to Air Force Magazine. Associated Press reported late Tuesday that a man in a minivan with propane tanks attached tried to enter the base but was arrested by local authorities. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said the man was in a “mental health crisis” and under treatment, and that no charges would be filed, according to the AP report. Merian told Air Force Magazine the gate was closed from 2:40 to 3:55 p.m. Last month a man drove a car loaded with propane tanks through the main gate at Travis AFB, Calif., an incident investigators treated as possible terrorism. The driver in that incident was killed after deliberately igniting a fire and crashing the vehicle. —Steve Hirsch
—A former Air Force civilian assigned to the 552nd Commodities Maintenance Squadron, incorrectly assembled the main engine control on an F-16 Fighting Falcon that crashed near Washington, D.C., last April: Military.com.
—The senior officers in charge of the Air Force and Marine Corps met for the first time since 2011 recently to discuss a range of issues affecting both services, including F-35 cost and sustainability: Marine Corps Times.
—NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit NORAD headquarters at Peterson AFB, Colo., the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard AFB, Texas, and a Lockheed Martin F-35 manufacturing facility during his visit to the United States this week: Voice of America.
—The Air Force said Col. Leland Bohannon “had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not lawfully discriminate” when he refused to sign a certificate for the same-sex spouse of one of his airmen. Bohannon was previously removed from his position as commander of the Air Force Inspection Agency at Kirtland AFB, N.M., and removed from consideration for promotion to brigadier general: Stars and Stripes.