Safety First

The Air Force is one step closer to the goal of eliminating fighter aircraft mishaps. Air Force and NASA researchers and test personnel recently completed flight tests at Edwards AFB, Calif., to evaluate the automatic ground-collision avoidance system on an F-16. This new gear combines Global Positioning System data with digital terrain data maps to help pilots better reference the ground below. It also enables the aircraft to automatically execute avoidance maneuvers without pilot intervention if the aircraft ventures dangerously close to the ground. The test team completed 141 flight hours and about 1,600 automatic recoveries, with the final test flight occurring over portions of Death Valley and the peaks and canyons of the Sierra Nevada Range. Edwards’ 416th Flight Test Squadron will now conduct production flight tests with the modified F-16. The goal is to integrate Auto GCAS in the F-16 fleet in 2014. (Wright-Patterson release)