Get ‘Em in the Sim

The Air Force may have to take a sizable bite out of flying hours in the months to come, due to budget cuts and funding uncertainties, but these actions may not affect F-35 pilots as much as others, said Secretary Michael Donley. The F-35 simulator “is the most sophisticated simulator that we have in the fighter world now, so it provides a great opportunity to look more carefully at how we divide actual flying hours from sim time,” he told reporters during a briefing in the Pentagon on Jan. 11 with Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. Donley said the F-35 simulator offers “advantages we’ll need to take advantage of.” With other aircraft, using sim hours in lieu of real flight time “can be more challenging if the simulators have not kept up, or the ranges have not kept up, with modern technologies,” he said. (Donley-Welsh transcript)