The safe launch and recovery of the aircraft affirms the squadron’s commitment to achieving and sustaining the highest level of readiness in order to train the next generation of F-35B pilots.
Taken on May 1, 2019 at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort, the photos in this post show Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron (VMFAT) 501 conducting a readiness exercise which also included a typical elephant walk carried out by 20 F-35B Lightning II aircraft.
The safe launch and recovery of the aircraft affirms the squadron’s commitment to achieving and sustaining the highest level of readiness in order to train the next generation of F-35B pilots from the U.S. Marine Corps and partner nations.
An elephant walk is a term referred to the taxiing of military aircraft right before takeoff, when they are in close formation.
Often, it takes place right before a Minimum Interval Takeoff (MITO).
The term elephant walk dates to World War II when large fleets of allied bombers would conduct attacks in missions containing 1,000 aircraft.
Those who observed this said that the taxiing of these large numbers of aircraft to takeoff in single file in nose-to-tail formations looked like elephants walking to the next watering hole.
The benefits of an elephant walk include being able to show the capability of the units as well as teamwork. It is often performed to prepare squadrons for war time operations, as well as prepare pilots for the launching of fully armed aircraft in one mass event.
Photo credit: Gunnery Sgt. Brandon Owen, Cpl. Terry Haynes III and Cpl. Ashley Phillips / U.S. Marine Corps
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com