Following the U.S. Air Force’s official announcement of the new F-35A Lighting II Demonstration Team on December 4, 2018, demo pilot Capt. Andrew Olson, callsign “Dojo”, was captured in va ideo during what may be a partial practice session or a quick flyover at Luke AFB near Phoenix, Arizona.
Four videos appeared on Instagram on Thursday, January 10, 2019, and quickly collected over a thousand views. They were first posted by the 56th FW IG account and then reposted by @andyo_dojo, demo pilot Capt. Olson on Instagram.
The first video shows a remarkable sequence of maneuvers not previously seen at U.S. F-35A demonstrations where aerobatics were restricted. The first fully aerobatic F-35A demo was flown at the Paris Air Show in 2017 by Lockheed test pilot Billie Flynn.
In this clip, Capt. Andrew “Dojo” Olson approaches from the left, executes a pitch-up to the vertical with the first corner of a square loop to the inverted. Then it gets really good. Capt. Olson pulls back hard on the sidestick while inverted, backing off power and executing a quite tight loop. Once back to level flight, the F-35A begins a descending flat spiral at almost zero forward airspeeds. There is about one full 360° flat spin as Dojo repositions to exit show right.
Then, the remaining videos include a high AOA (Angle Of Attack), slow speed pass and a few vertical maneuvers as well as what seems to be a leaf of a cloverleaf maneuver.
These video hint at some of the maneuvers we’ll see in the new F-35A Demo Team routine beginning this spring at their first airshow appearance in Melbourne, Florida at the Melbourne Air & Space Show on March 30-31, 2019 at Orlando Melbourne International Airport.
Back in November, a SU-27 made two close passes near Navy EP-3 Aries Reconnaissance Aircraft
A Russian SU-27 fighter came dangerously close to a Navy EP-3 Aries reconnaissance aircraft over the Black Sea, defense officials said. The incident occurred back in November 2018.
The U.S. Navy aircraft was in international airspace and had its transponder on as the SU-27 made two close passes, said Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon shortly after the incident.
“We classified it as unsafe,” Pahon told reporters. “They didn’t establish radio contact. They came really, really close to our aircraft. I don’t have an estimate of distance – but really, really close to our aircraft – and then they engaged the afterburners and the entire aircraft shook.
“There’s just absolutely no reason for this type of behavior,” he continued. “This type of behavior is unacceptable. We call attention to it when it does occur. It puts our aircraft and air crews in danger.
November’s incident was the second such close encounter since January, 2018 when another Russian SU-27 came within five feet of a Navy EP-3 and then crossed through the Navy aircraft’s flight path, causing the EP-3 to fly through the Russian fighter’s jet wash.
The Russian defense ministry denied that one of its fighters flew too close to a Navy EP-3. The footage can be seen below.
Russian deployment in Venezuela includes special forces
A Russian military contingent that arrived in Venezuela over the weekend, drawing US condemnation, is believed by the US government to be made up of special forces including “cybersecurity personnel”, a US official said.The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still assessing the Russian deployment, which Washington has called a “reckless escalation” of the situation in Venezuela.
Two Russian air force planes landed outside Caracas on Saturday carrying nearly 100 Russian troops, according to local media reports, two months after the administration of US President Donald Trump disavowed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.Venezuela’s government has confirmed two planes landed from Russia at the weekend and were authorised by Maduro but has given no more details.
Flight tracking websites said the planes, an Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane, had taken off from Russian military airports.One of them had flown from Moscow via Syria, where Russia supports President Bashar al-Assad.
The Trump administration has recognised opposition leader Juan Guaido as the country’s legitimate president and demands that Maduro step down. Russia has described this as a US-backed coup against the socialist government.The US determination that the Russian contingent includes cybersecurity specialists suggests that part of their mission could be helping Maduro’s loyalists with surveillance as well as protection of the government’s cyber infrastructure.Russia’s main objective in providing the military help, including cyber experts, would likely be to help shield Maduro from “regime change” and ensure a foothold for Moscow in Latin America, according to a source familiar with US government assessments of Venezuela.
Russia also has major energy investments in OPEC member Venezuela. In December, Russia sent two nuclear-capable long range bombers to Venezuela for several days to participate in what it said were joint exercises. Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the presence of “Russian specialists” in Venezuela was governed by a military-technical cooperation agreement between the two countries.It did not provide further details.
However, Sputnik, a Russian state news outlet, cited unnamed embassy officials in Caracas to report that troops and 35 tonnes of cargo under the command of General Vasily Tonkoshkurov arrived to “exchange consultations”.