Weight limit for T38??

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by VaMom2013, May 1, 2014.

  1. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    Does anyone know what the weight restrictions are to fly to T38? While my son was on casual after USAFA for close to a year, he spent a ton of time at the gym! He weighed about 225 at graduation but has pushed that up to about 245 lbs. It's pretty much all muscle with only 18% body fat. He officially started UPT last week and now seems to have the impression that the weight limit on the ejection seat of a T38 is 211 lbs. He's been asking around for specific information but can't seem to get a straight answer. Apparently the ejection seats were upgraded in the past few years and he's hoping to find a specific weight rating for the new seats. I thought I'd put it out here on the forums since someone might know more.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I don't know the answer, but if I recall correctly they gave them all a short physical prior to starting UPT, (as in a few days prior). If that is the case they would have known the limit and discussed with him the issues regarding his weight.
     
  3. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    From an Air Force Times article on the new seats:

    Thigh and ankle restraints keep aircrew members more secure, and the adjustable seat allows for anyone between 103 and 245 pounds to fly the T-38.

    Full Article Here

    Stealth_81
     
  4. Kurt in S.A.

    Kurt in S.A. Member

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    In my work, I'm involved with putting flight data recorders on T-38s. Once my equipment is added, they have to recompute the most forward and most aft center of gravity to ensure the aircraft is within limits. They do this on a Form F. I happen to have a set from a number of years ago showing the lightest situation (one pilot in the front cockpit) and the heaviest situation (two pilots). For the lightest (most aft CG), they used a weight of 146. For the heaviest (most forward CG), they used 275. I'm sure these weights include standard gear (chute, seat cushion, etc.). That was a number of years ago but provides some idea...I don't know what the actual weight cut off is.

    Kurt
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Weight and balance would affect the aircraft performance, but most seat limits are based on the performance capabilities of the seat, not aircraft C.G.

    VaMom, this is something much easier to solve by the person living and working at a base with T-38s and T-38 pilots...
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I mean this with the utmost kindness, and from the bottom of my heart.

    If he just started last week, put this part of the equation out of yours/his mind.

    1. If I read your post correctly, he had a lot of free time on casual status to hang at the gym and bulk up,
    ~ It is highly unlikely that he is going to find two free hours a day at the gym if he wants to go fighters.
    ~~~~ Last week at our DSs winging, the top academic student overall missed only 4 questions out 769. He got an F22. The top T1 track student missed 7 questions. That is how tight it was between number one and number 5 regarding tracking (DS's drop had Guard and international students. They knew their airframe when they walked into UPT, thus not placed into the equation)

    2. He will not track T38 or 1 s until October. If he follows our DS's class it will be mid-October.
    ~ Surely, he can drop weight in the next 5 months if indeed this is an issue. More cardio should do the trick.

    As a parent that has just has the pleasure of standing in the auditorium as they turned around to be presented as the graduating class of 14-08, I can tell you, I hope and wish that is the biggest concern you will face over the next 52 weeks.
    ~~~ Reality will probably be you will be like most parents. Phone calls after bad flights, and they will be short because they have to get back to chair flying and studying.

    If you have not read Raimius's post on here from his blog, do so. It is a great piece. It really gives insight on every phase he will go through for the next year.

    I am sorry for diverting the thread, but I felt it was important to understand that he is 5 months away before this is even an issue, and unless he is at ENJPPT the 38 is a goal, but not a guarantee. IOWs cart before the horse.
     
  7. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    Thank you Stealth!! That is exactly what I was looking for and I knew someone here could direct me to the answer.

    My son has been asking up his chain of command for days and surprisingly, noone he's asked seems to know the answer. (Don't we have any buff pilots out there... LOL!) Anyway, this was brought to his attention during his recent physicial as a possible issue. When we discussed it last night, I told him I'd put it out on the forums because I knew someone on here will know where to find the answer... and you did.

    My brother flew the Strike Eagle and my nephew is now in A-10s. I think we do have a good idea of the road ahead but at least for now, instead of him spending his first weeks of UPT worrying he might have to drop 35lbs while busting his butt thru school... he can put this worry behind him and keep his focus where it belongs.

    And for me, that's what these boards are all about.

    Thanks :thumb:
     
  8. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Stealth, the link you posted required a subscription to read the full article.

    That being said, I have to ask why he wanted to bulk up to a weight where he has to worry about this? What is more important to him, flying fighters or being a body builder? If the answer is the former, then YES, he needs to start cutting weight now!

    My other concern is that unless he is 6' 7" (which may also disqualify him for ejection seat fighters), he's now over the weight limit. And while, Yes, he may have a waiver, he'll have to keep working that issue every time he goes for his yearly PT test and physical, trying to explain to folks who may not be familiar with the waiver process as to why they shouldn't fail him.

    Don't get me wrong. I've known plenty of fighter guys who were in Olympic quality physical condition. I just never met a fighter guy who was also a body builder for the reasons I mention.

    Just let him know that most of the fighter folk I know now are into "CrossFit" anyway.... :biggrin:
     
  9. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    It did require a subscription so I purchased a .99 day pass to read the article and email it to him.

    Bullet, I can honestly say I asked the same question. Why did you let yourself get so big?? He loves crossfit and loves the gym. I honestly believe he was so bored on casual that weight lifting became a new hobby. He's never been into bodybuilding but has always been into fitness. As is true for most of our cadets, when they focus on something they enjoy, they usually give 110%. I don't think it ever occurred to him that he could be morphing his body to the point that it could limit him in his career choices.

    According to the article in the Air Force Times, the new T38 seats are rated to 245lbs, which is his current weight. I'm sure with the stress of school and the lack of gym time over the next several months, his weight will come down. And yes, he's certainly going to make his future gym trips more about cardio and less about the weights. By the time he tracks in October, this will probably be a non issue and no waivers would be necessary if he did track fighters... and as we all know... that is a very big "IF".
     
  10. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Your son might want to get himself on a diet.

    http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/af_sg/publication/afi48-123/afi48-123.pdf
    According to AFI48-123 (page 50), for orientation and incentive flights in ejection seat aircraft the weight limits are:
    201 for B-52 and U-2
    211 for T-38, F-16, F-15, F-22, A-10, B-1, B-2
    245 for T-6

    The specific standards are in AETC Form 35 and match the same weights for training standards. T-38 standard is actually 240 lbs.... but once they leave the T-38, if they can't meet the weight standard for other ejection seat aircraft, they will be limited to non-ejection seat. Since T-38 is a universally assignable trainer, he could be sent to any heavy. There are weight standards waivers, but medical will put him on a weight loss program first and evaluate for any underlying conditions that could cause excess weight. He doesn't want that extra scrutiny, any chance to be DQ'ed is very very bad. He was fine to get an FCI for T-6s since he meets that standard, but he's pretty much limited to non-ejection seat aircraft right now.

    Also, you said 18% body fat. I'm assuming that wasn't a typo since 8% would mean he's over 7 ft. At 18% body fat, he's at the upper limit of 'normal' and hitting overweight. In a BMI chart, he would be classified as overweight approaching obese. I understand body type and he's probably very built, but he has a lot of fat he can lose with some cardio. As Pima suggested, he won't have time to go 2 hours a day to the gym so he will lose some weight there as well.

    I'm not sure why the flight docs aren't advising him well, so it seems. The standards are pretty well-known for them and easy to find. He qualifies for waivers most likely, but why risk it? And he has to remain in weight after UPT as well.

    If I was mentoring him, I would be telling him its time to run and cut weight. Getting a fighter, in his current state, will be challenging from the medical side.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  11. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Trust me. I get that we still see them as "our baby", and want to give them advice (which they just ignore anyway).

    I'm just surprised no one else in his Chain of Command said anything to him. While the -38s have the new seats, many of our fighters are still using ACES IIs, which have a lower limit. I also know the F-35 will use the newer Martin Baker seat which is rated to 245 pounds, but they also give a "caveat" for this weight limit -- you do so at your own risk...

    Best of luck to him. And like you said, I'm sure his "boredom" is no longer a probelm. Just count y9ourself lucky, we all know too many examples of young adults doing a whole lot of worse things becuase they are bored. :biggrin:
     
  12. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    Bullet, this is a "cut and paste" from the Air Force Times article that Stealth is talking about.

    Safer, more modern ejection seat for Talon

    The T-38 Talon, one of the Air Force's advanced jet trainers for nearly 50 years, is getting a new ejection seat.

    "The ejection seat in the T-38 is the original one from the 1950s and '60s," said Rick French, T-38 program manager at Air Education and Training Command. "There were modifications over the decades, but the seats made today are much more capable."

    The new seat, called the Mk US16T, provides rapid deployment of the parachute following an ejection. It is known as a zero-zero seat, which means it will "eject at zero altitude and zero airspeed, so the aircrew can bail out on the ground," said Rey Gutierrez, 12th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment instructor.

    "When the seat clears the aircraft, explosives deploy the parachute," French said. "It's almost instantaneous."

    The parachute on the old ejection seat took longer to open.

    An added benefit of the new ejection seat is aircrew members no longer have to carry their 45-pound parachutes to the aircraft. The parachutes are part of the new seats and are enclosed in a container called the head box, which means aircrew members only have to wear a five-pound harness that attaches to the seat.

    Safety features on the new seat include the inter-seat sequencing system. It is designed to decrease the possibility of aircrew collision during ejection and burns to the aircrew because the rear seat will eject first and go to the right while the front seat will eject to the left.

    Thigh and ankle restraints keep aircrew members more secure, and the adjustable seat allows for anyone between 103 and 245 pounds to fly the T-38.

    "Now the seat can better accommodate smaller pilots," French said. "The old seat accommodates 58 percent of female pilots. The new seat brings that percentage up to 87 percent."

    Other safety features include a survival kit and fittings that allow for a faster release of the parachute canopy.

    The first seats were installed at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The 66 T-38Cs based at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, are getting the seats next.

    Work on aircraft at Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., is expected to begin sometime in July, and the project is expected to be completed in May 2013 at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., and Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas.
     
  13. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    All very true!!
     
  14. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    VaMom, I am a little surprised that your son would go for the bulk up sport during his almost year of casual duty. As Hornet pointed out, he may want to take a very proactive approach to his weight and BMI.

    While he is at UPT, if he is like my single son, he will have trouble actually finding time to eat. (My married son has a wife who is a great cook!) My sons are super fit (the one who just winged with PIMA's son got a 500 on the USAFA PFT and name on the wall etc). He is a marathon runner and mountain climber, and has close to 2% body fat.

    Now, from the mom-standpoint, now might be a better time to start listening to PIMA's advice. For moms, we were lucky to get a once-a-week call (unless there was a hooked ride). You son, of course, has to take command of his career - and we have to back off, even if they want us involved.

    UPT may be your son's toughest challenge - and it is important that these young folks manage the entire process on their own.
     
  15. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    So, I wanted to check the waiver guide (AFD-130118-045) to see what it says. On page 59 it gives T-38 up to 240 lbs and 245 lbs for all the other airframes. The instruction is unclear - I don't know if <211 is ok and up to 245 needs additional paperwork, or if 245 lbs is the definitive standard.

    That said, I keep to my original statement: go on a weight loss program. The stresses of UPT and being at the edge of the weight limit is not a wise place to be. A couple pounds extra on the weigh-in day could mean a hard DNIF from T-38s or other fighters.

    EDIT: The AFI and waiver guides can change drastically on a dime. He may be qualified right now but suddenly find himself DQ when the time comes around to make decisions. The Air Force can change while he doesn't. Ask me how I know that.
     
  16. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    Thanks for the heads-up. I didn't even think of that. However, here's a little interweb trick if that ever happens again. If you find an article that requires a subscription to read, copy the full title of the article and go to Google and paste the title of the article into the search. Google almost always has a cached version of the article that you can read for free. It doesn't work 100% of the time, but close enough.

    Also, Hornet's point above is very important. You asked the question about the T-38, but remember that there are lower limits for follow-on aircraft. Son said he thought it was 212# for the F-16.

    Stealth_81
     
  17. VaMom2013

    VaMom2013 Member

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    Thank you all for the great information and advice! Hornet, I'm going to forward the information in your posts to him because those are the facts he needs to be concerned with. I'm confident he'll do what he needs to do to get where he needs to be.

    Please trust that I'm not an overbearing mother trying to hold my 23 year old sons hand thru his adult life. I'm an Air Force brat... I know that he belongs to them now and has for the past 5 years. I simply put the question on here because, for whatever reason, he honestly was having difficulty getting a definitive answer. I was pretty sure that someone on these boards could provide more information... and they did.

    Again, thank you.
     
  18. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I remember the first life support briefing in the F-15...

    "Captain...you're not a small guy...6'2", 215lbs...the ACES II is amazing...but...when you're fully "geared up" you'll be 250lbs...my advice is don't eject on the runway, probably break your legs...otherwise...enjoy the ride!"

    NEVER worried about that seat!!

    And that was back a long time ago...can't imagine how much better the seats are now (but still uncomfortable!)

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  19. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Quick thread revival. I was revising/updating some paperwork for the commander and realized the weight question is answered in the Laughlin arrival packet (page 6).

    Not T-38 specific, but they make clear that 245 lbs is the limit to begin UPT. My old advice still applies but wanted to point this out. Hope all is still well!


    http://www.laughlin.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130607-034.pdf
     
  20. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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