Super Hornet (5) (And now a word about engines from a pilot)

I found this on one of Laurie Hawn’s social media pages:

“And now a word about engines.

I have the utmost respect for Hon. Marc Garneau as a naval officer, engineer, mission specialist astronaut and Member of Parliament and might even call him a friend. However, he is not qualified to speak as emphatically as he has about the F-35 being unacceptable because it is single engine. I have over 7,000 hours in single and twin- engine jets, mostly CF-104, CF-18 and T-33, and would like to offer some perspective.


In my close to 2000 hours flying the single engine CF-104, I never had an engine incident of any kind. In my close to 1500 hours flying the twin engine CF-18, I had a few but nothing serious. I was part of the team that selected the CF-18 over the single engine F-16. Engine configuration was not a major factor; overall mission capability and growth potential were the major factors. As it has turned out, the F-16 has had a better overall safety record than the F-18. And, engine technology has advanced dramatically since those aircraft were built. Twin-engine airliners routinely fly the overseas routes, where four engines were regulated earlier. Single engine aircraft are also easier and cheaper to maintain than twin engine aircraft, from the engine technician’s perspective.

The USAF has been flying the F-16 from Fairbanks, Alaska without incident for many years. The USAF will fly the F-35 from Alaska and the Danes and Norwegians will fly the F-35 in the North, with Finland likely to join the northern F-35 club. The U.S. Navy will fly the F-35 from aircraft carriers a very long way from anywhere else.

The single-engine configuration of the F-35 is simply NOT a valid reason TO NOT buy the aircraft, when there are so many other valid reasons TO buy the aircraft.”


downloadLaurie Hawn is a retired Conservative member of parliament; he was elected three times and he was a parliamentary secretary, not a cabinet minister. He is, also a retired lieutenant colonel, a fighter pilot who flew both the F-104 Starfighter and CF-18 Hornet, and it is from that platform that he speaks about engines.

(I was in National Defence Headquarters in the mid 1980s, in the group responsible for, inter alia, procurement and engineering. I was not involved with any specific project but I saw many of the files on many of them, including the CF-18 and I agree with Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Hawn that while there was discussion of one engine vs two it was not a ‘deal breaker.’ Quite simply, engine performance and reliability was vastly improved over previous generations, and is even more improved, today, I suppose ~ I learned a lot about RAM-D (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Durability) back in those days, largely when the topic was aircraft engineering.)

Unlike Laurier Hawn, I am not sure which aircraft is best ~ everything I have heard and read, including from many pilots who have debated the aircraft (and the engine issues) on, leads me towards supporting the F-35 Lightning, but …

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