EMB314: Which Gender Issue?


The Political Silly Season has now entered into an AF source selection

By Ed Timperlake

04/21/2011 – One of the strangest arguments ever made about competing aircraft in a source selection was recently made in an article in The Hill.

The general vice president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, takes the discussion on the current competition between the Super Tucano and AT-6 to a new historic level [1]. Currently, an AF selection board is weighing the relative combat capabilities of the Super Tucano and the Hawker Beechcraft AT-6. It is supposed to be an open and fair competition and the merits should decide the decision [2].

Mr Rich Michalski wants to play the American job card, when actually if the Super Tucano is selected, jobs will be added to Florida where the Super Tucano will be outfitted for combat in Afghanistan.

But, essentially with press reports saying Hawker Beech may move some production to Mexico –a jobs argument might not be they way for him  to go. “Do not hand American job opportunities to Brazil”, Rich Michalski [3]

But in the middle of his article is a very strange argument:

“Adding to the numerous reasons Hawker Beechcraft should win this USAF contract is the fact that their aircraft suits a much wider range of pilots. The AT-6 aircraft is designed to accommodate 95 percent of both male and female pilots safely, while its counterpart, the Brazilian EMB314 is designed to meet older standards that due to weight and size, drastically shrink the population of pilots, particularly female pilots, able to safely fly the aircraft.

It is actually factually incorrect on weight and size, the AT-6 needed a new engine to compete and has yet to be certified for combat. From Air Force Daily, and remember the requirement was for a “non-developmental aircraft;

“Hawker Beechcraft’s AT-6 is currently undergoing weapons certification testing at the Air Force’s Barry Goldwater Range in Arizona. Flown by members of the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command Test Center staging from the nearby Gila Bend Auxiliary Field, the AT-6 began the trials with inert bomblets, 2.75mm aerial rockets, and a .50 caliber machine gun. “[We had] a few hung rockets, and with the 50-cal., the biggest thing we’ve learned is that this airplane is bounced around a bit more. But, at the end of the day, things are going well,” said test pilot Lt. Col. Keith Colmer, the project’s engineering director. The AT-6 will progress to laser-guided bombs in June, followed by Hellfire missile and laser-guided rocket testing in October at Eglin AFB, Fla., and China Lake, Calif. These trials are the second phase of a Congressionally funded evaluation. (Luke report by Teresa Walker)

To imply some how using female ergonomics arguments that a nation with a Female President is not building an attack aircraft for female pilots is amazing. The US still does not have a female President. But the old saying still works—a picture is worth a thousand words-  Picking a fight with Brazil over women is also not the way to go and case closed…-