Good, But Not the Same:

F-15 pilots around the Air Force no doubt are spending more time in simulator training as the A-D model stand-down continues and that is not necessarily an easy matter. At Kadena AB, Japan on the island of Okinawa, for instance, the 18th Operations Support Squadron, working with Boeing employees who support the simulator training, had to increase its ops tempo to provide more training hours for pilots. “All the contractors have leaned forward to help,” says Maj. Michael Thomas, an 18th OSS flight commander, adding that they are “all prior F-15 pilots.” The extra sim time helps, but as Capt. Matthew French, a 67th Fighter Squadron pilot, says, “As good as they are, the simulators can’t fully replace or replicate actually flying the aircraft.” Air Force officials predict it will take at least six months to get F-15 pilots recertified once Air Combat Command lifts the grounding order. (USAF report by SSgt. Christopher Marasky)