Software developers at Edwards Air Force Base were having trouble getting access to a cockpit simulator to do their work, so they created their own. The solution to the availability problem is called the “Portable Manned Interactive Cockpit. “We have big, full dome simulators, but those rooms are used all the time and we cannot get in there and do any work while a mission is going,” said Orion Westfall, a software developer at the 772nd Test Squadron’s Integrated Facility for Avionics Systems Test. So to get an F-35A Lightning II cockpit simulator they could use when they needed it, the team put together a relatively simple one with a stick and throttle, monitors, and computers collected from around the IFAST. The first evolution worked fine for the developers’ needs, but was not very mobile. Because the first try had been so useful, the 412th Training Wing used its innovative funds to help the 772nd TS team build a new, more mobile simulator. It can be changed to match different aircraft types, and the computers are installed in travel boxes for easier transport. It is expected to be ready for use in July, according to a release.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.