Author Scott Fontaine

Fear of the Chinese — the Red Chinese!! J-20s!! aircraft carriers!! — is all the rage in D.C. these days. So this piece from the Washington Times is kinda interesting. The reporter points out how the Air Force Academy purchased 25 T-53A trainers from Cirrus Aircraft. You know Cirrus: They crank out light-sport aircraft from their headquarters in Minnesota. They’re as American as apple pie, right? Except one detail: Cirrus is now owned by The China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of the China Aviation Industry Corporation, which is owned by the Chinese government. Or the Communist Party…

The Telegraph has a nice write-up about the people who make sure GPS stays up and humming. The British newspaper profiled the 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schreiver Air Force Base, Colo., in an article carrying a headline that pretty much sums up the squadron’s contribution to everyday life: “We’d be lost without them.” The article begins with a description of Joshua Williams, a payload systems operator: “Three years ago, it was still illegal for him to buy a drink. Two years before that, he was back home in Virginia learning to drive. And yet today he’s responsible for a…

The Battle Creek Air Show and Balloon Festival in Michigan earlier this month seemed to have a little bit of everything. The Navy’s Blue Angels performed. So did an Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle. Dozens of hot-air balloons took flight. Kids could see white tigers on display. The show also offered something you don’t see too often: One guy pulling a KC-135 by himself. Strongman Mark Kirsch pulled the refueling tanker 120 feet before an awed crowd, according to The Enquirer of Battle Creek, Mich. (For those keeping track, the tanker was assigned to the 54th Air Refueling Squadron from…

Start with a CV-22 Osprey. Throw in an experienced combat controller. Lots of stuff goes bang. A JSOC mission into Pakistan? Nah. Try the latest edition of Transformers. The folks at AFSOC helped make “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” even more action-packed than a usual Michael Bay flick. And people appear to hoover up the action; the movie opened with a $116.4 million showing over the holiday weekend. About 50 airmen from headquarters AFSOC, the 1st Special Operations Wing and other units helped with the filming at Hurlburt Field, Fla., last September. Shooting also took place at Edwards Air Force…

Bad news: Spots in the Air Force Marathon are sold out. Good news: They”re not ALL sold out, and you can actually still snag some. Even better news: You might be able to write off the cost of the entry from your income tax! (I’m not a CPA, folks, so don’t take that last part as gospel.) The folks at the Air Force Enlisted Village have a handful of tickets to the full- and half-marathon, and you can still register if you raise at least $500 for the charity. They suggest you ask 20 people to donate $1 per mile,…

Next time you’re sitting at the DFAC in Balad, sipping a Rip It, scarfing a cheeseburger served by a Sri Lankan, relaxing in the air conditioning and avoiding walking into the blast furnace that is the Iraqi climate, just keep this in mind: You’re the reason there are no more Space Shuttle flights. Well, maybe. The former chief logistician in Iraq told National Public Radio that the military spends more than $20 billion annually on air conditioning for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. That cost, the network notes, is larger than NASA’s budget. Of course, cool air alone doesn’t really…

If you’re a foreign policy nerd like some of us on the Air Force Times staff, then you can’t help but think the 162nd Fighter Wing has one of the cooler gigs in the Air Force. The 162nd, an Arizona Air National Guard unit, trains foreign militaries how to fly the F-16. They operate out of Tucson International Airport – home of the famed Tucson International Mariachi Conference! – and get to enjoy the lovely weather of the American Southwest. Their latest customer? The Royal Moroccan Air Force, which sent four F-5 pilots to train up on the Fighting Falcons.…

Air Force Special Operations Command has a new top officer, and in AFSOC tradition, the new guy is shrouded in a bit of mystery. This much we do know: Lt. Gen Eric Fiel arrived at Hurlburt Field after a stint as the vice commander of U.S. Special operations Command. Previous jobs include plenty of other positions at SOCOM, the deputy gig at the Joint Special Operations Command, 58th Special Operations Wing commander and commander of Air Force Special Operations Forces. But it’s a quote in the press release that makes us think Fiel might want to keep AFSOC’s actions in…

Americans believe the Air Force is third-most important branch of the military, trailing the Army and Marine Corps, according to a recent national poll. Seventeen percent of respondents listed the Air Force as “most important to our national defense,” Gallup announced June 21. The Army was seen as the most important (25 percent), followed by the Marines (24 percent), the Navy (11 percent) and the Coast Guard (3 percent). Sixteen percent believed the branches were the same. Gallup interviewed 1,020 adults representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error was 5 percent. The findings represent…

The B-2 is a cool plane. It’s stealth. It can fly from Missouri to, well, anywhere and back. It looks sleek. When yours truly was attending the vaunted University of Missouri journalism school, football season usually kicked off with a B-2 flyover from nearby Whiteman Air Force Base (and the Tigers beating up a cupcake opponent). And now Disney has managed to make the B-2 cute. The Spirit gets a cameo in the trailer for its upcoming movie Planes, which, as far as I can tell, seems to be more focused on a P-51 Mustang launching off an aircraft carrier.…

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