Pilot Surpasses 1,000 Flying Hours In B-2 Spirit

130914-Z-NE814-025WARBIRD RADIO – Congratulations to Major Luke Jayne on his 1000 hours flying the B-2 Spirit.  According to a recent news release, a routine flying mission became a major achievement for the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing when Maj. Luke Jayne surpassed 1,000 flying hours in the B-2 Spirit Sept. 14.

Crossing the 1000 hour mark, Jayne joins an elite group of pilots, said Maj. Jared Kennish, 110th Bomb Squadron commander.

“Maj. Jayne’s flight is another milestone for the 110th Bomb Squadron and the131st Bomb Wing,” said Kennish, who logged his 1,000th hour piloting a B-2 in 2009.  “In his short time in the squadron, Maj. Jayne has been a great asset.  Events like this really highlight the success of our total force integration with the 509th Bomb Wing, and showcase the experience we in the Air Guard bring to the B-2 mission.”

Fewer than 600 active duty Air Force and Air National Guard pilots have flown the B-2 bomber and of those only 35 have logged 1000 flying hours or more.

“I have flown a couple of times recently, but was just hours shy of logging 1,000 hours,”  Jayne said, “I had about a three-month delay in flying due to my transition to the Air National Guard, which is normal, but it was a bit nerve wracking because I was so close.”

While relatively new to the 131st, Jayne was active duty for just over 11 years, including duty stations at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and Whiteman.

“I didn’t really pursue aviation until I was in college, but quickly learned that I loved it,” Jayne said, “It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I looked into a military option when a buddy talked me into joining Air Force ROTC at Kansas State.”

Currently the weapons and tactics officer for the 110th Bomb Squadron attached to the 325th Weapons School, Jayne also has flying time in the T-37 and T-38 as an instructor pilot.  Saturday, he piloted the B-2 “Spirit of Alaska” alongside Col. Edward Martignetti, 509th Bomb Wing Operations Group commander.

“I first met Maj. Jayne as his squadron commander and knew straight-away that he’s an exceptional aviator and instructor,” Martignetti said. “I also knew that he’s a perfect fit for our total force integration brethren setting the foundational standard of B-2 Spirit exceptionalism. The 509th hired him directly from undergraduate pilot training for a reason and, a decade later, the 131st hired him for the same reason–his unrelenting drive for perfection in execution and commitment to teaching our officers and pilots the same.

“It was an honor for me, as the 509th Operations Group commander, to be given the opportunity to fly with ‘Deuce’ on this milestone sortie.  He has established a reputation as an outstanding pilot and will be an asset to the 131st Bomb Wing. I have no doubt that he’ll be one of the first to achieve 2,000 B-2 hours!”

The 131st Bomb Wing and 110th Bomb Squadron have lived through much of aviation history in 90 years as a unit, and since relocating from Saint Louis to Whiteman in 2008, have seen many achievements, most recently the passing of their initial nuclear surety inspection.

Only 35 pilots have ever reached 1,000 B-2 hours, and just thirteen still actively fly the B-2 Stealth Bomber.  Jayne joins fellow 1,000 hour 131st pilots Col. Mike Pyburn, Lt. Col. Rhett Binger, Lt. Col Dave Thompson, Lt Col. Geoff Billingsley, Maj. Jared Kennish, Maj. John Avery, and Lt. Col Mike Means (over 1700 hours), who recently retired from the 131st Bomb Wing)

“Flying the B-2 is an incredible privilege that I haven’t lost sight of in my years at Whiteman,”  said Jayne, ” I can’t believe I get to continue doing this as a Guardsman with the Missouri Air National Guard.  My family and I are very blessed and thankful for this opportunity.”

By Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison, 131st Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Mary-Dale Amison

Northrop Grumman Releases New Book On B-2 Spirit!

BWARBIRD RADIO – Northrop Grumman Corporation today released a new book about the people and innovation that helped create the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 stealth bomber, one of most powerful and survivable aircraft ever produced.  According to a recent news release:

Entitled “B-2: The Spirit of Innovation,” the book was written by political analyst Rebecca Grant, president of IRIS Independent Research, and the author of several books about bomber warfare, including “The B-2 Goes to War,” published in 2001. The book was made available to attendees of the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference at National Harbor, Md.

“The development of the B-2 led to an extraordinary and enduring partnership among Northrop Grumman, Air Force and Pentagon leaders,” said Dave Mazur, vice president and Northrop Grumman’s B-2 program manager. “Through invention, discovery and innovation, the team delivered a revolution in airpower that remains one of the nation’s most effective deterrent forces.”

Northrop Grumman, the Air Force’s B-2 prime contractor, published the book as part of Air Force Global Strike Command’s celebration of 2013 as the “Year of the B-2.” It is now available for download at the Quick Link below.

“B-2: The Spirit of Innovation” is based on interviews with former Northrop Grumman, Air Force and Pentagon officials. It explores the political and engineering passions that fueled the competition to produce a bomber that could defeat increasingly sophisticated Soviet air defense systems of the early ’80s.

From the early Experimental Survivable Testbed that laid groundwork for the F-117 stealth fighter, to the development of Tacit Blue, a technological forerunner to the B-2, the name of the game was stealth: understanding how best to minimize the radar cross section of an aircraft, and manage its electromagnetic signature.

“It was pioneering work. Every day was a discovery,” said John Cashen, who served as chief scientist for Northrop Grumman’s B-2 program.

The book traces the evolution of Northrop Grumman’s B-2 flying wing design – the shape closest to radar engineers’ ideal for no reflections, an infinite flat plate – and other technologies that enable the aircraft’s stealth missions today.

It also discusses the technology challenges, engineering breakthroughs, and shifting customer requirements that drove the pace and tenor of the massive and highly secretive B-2 program.

In 1983, for example, the Air Force added a new combat requirement for the B-2: it needed to be able to fly at high subsonic speeds at low altitude. The new requirement led to a significant redesign of the bomber, but, serendipitously, also a much better performing aircraft.

The book takes readers through events leading up to first flight, and the subsequent challenges of flight test and full-scale production. It also provides highlights of the bomber’s successful operational career, which debuted in March 1999 during the Kosovo War.

“The B-2 was and is unique,” writes Grant, “a success born out of necessity, and facilitated by a dedicated, capable government-contractor team – a steppingstone to a next generation of air dominance.”

QUICK LINK:  B-2 Book

Mission Quest Video Tour!


WARBIRD RADIO – Tour the state-of-the-art Mission Quest flight simulation facility inside the Museum of Aviation.  The museum is 90 miles south of Atlanta in Warner Robins, Georgia.  Mission Quest offers aviation summer camps for kids and team building exercises for the young…and young at heart.  Once inside you can fly the F-15, C-17 or even the famed B-2 “Stealth Bomber”.  The program offers eight highly realistic simulators and live air traffic control.  (It’s a great program for your next corporate team building retreat…or scouting function.)  Check out the video then visit them online!

QUICK LINK:  Mission Quest Website

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