Science and Technology News

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

419th pilot designs, tests F-16 software

by Bryan Magaña
419th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/13/2012 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- A Reservist from the 419th Fighter Wing has a civilian job here that directly impacts his military duties as an F-16 fighter pilot.

As a fighter system specialist in the 309th Software Maintenance Group, David DeAngelis designs and creates software for the Block 30 and Block 50 versions of the F-16. As an Air Force Reservist, the major puts that software to the test - while in the air.

The F-16 has undergone major changes since first taking to the skies more than 30 years ago, including high-tech software upgrades that make it as combat-ready as newer aircraft.

"As a Reservist, I'm able to fly the F-16 twice a week and see firsthand how the software performs in the field," DeAngelis said. "I get to be involved in the process from the computer screen to the cockpit."

DeAngelis has flown with the wing's 466th Fighter Squadron for five years, previously serving on active duty for nine years. He has also deployed four times since 2001, having flown combat missions over Iraq and Afghanistan.

His experience in the cockpit makes him a subject matter expert for engineers at the 309th SMXG, helping improve the software and ensure it meets the needs of the warfighter.

"When I went to Iraq a few years ago, it was difficult to cue the aircraft sensors to various locations on the ground," he said. "When I came back to my civilian job, I talked to the helmet engineers and came up with a solution to more easily identify enemy forces and bomb targets."

Deangelis said the helmet software is now in the final stages of development and getting positive reviews from test pilots, whom he meets with regularly for suggestions on future software capabilities.

"Maj. DeAngelis is another great example of how a Reservist's expertise in the civilian sector significantly benefits the Air Force and Air Force Reserve," said Col. Bryan Cook, 419th Operations Group commander, who oversees flying operations here.

The Air Force Association recently honored DeAngelis with the AFA Outstanding Reserve Aircrew Award for 2011 for outstanding leadership and aviation prowess during a joint 419th FW and 388th FW deployment to the Republic of Korea.

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