Major Christi Opresko, United States Air Force, recently spoke at the weekly dinner meeting of the Scottsburg Kiwanis Club at the Quality Inn in Scottsburg, IN. Major Opresko is the chief aerospace physiologist for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program based in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Pictured with Christi from left to right with the F-35 helmet is Kiwanis President David Wilson, Major Christi Opresko and her Dad, Kiwanis member Brent Inman.
The F-35 is a highly advanced stealth fighter with the primary mission of attacking targets on the ground. The F-35 has versions for the Air Force, the Navy (the wings fold up for storage on aircraft carriers) and the Marine Corps (for vertical take-off and landings). There are 170 F-35s in service with the United States Armed Forces and seventeen partner nations. In several years the number will increase to 1077 planes.
The capabilities of the F-35 in speed, turning and altitude are far greater than the capabilities of a human being to withstand those forces.
Major Opresko earned her degree in kinesiology from the University of Georgia, where she was in the Air Force R.O.T.C. program. After being commissioned in the Air Force in 2004 she was assigned to maintenance of helicopters. Two years later she became an aerospace physiologist for the F-35 Program, using her degree in kinesiology to bridge the gap between the aircraft’s capability and human limitations.
Major Opresko helped design the G-Suit worn by the F-35 pilots. The G-Suit applies pressure to the pilot’s legs, preventing blood from pooling in the legs and forcing it back to the pilot’s brain, preventing black-outs. More advanced than the G-Suits used in other fighter planes, the pilot can withstand greater forces to take advantage of the F-35s capabilities.
The F-35 has voice-activated controls and the touch-screen display can be customized by the pilot. The helmet enables the pilot to see in all directions, so when the eyes look down the pilot sees what is below the plane and not the bottom of the cockpit. The pilot can lock onto a target with the eyes, and then push a button to fire.
Major Christi Opresko is the daughter of two retired Air Force Colonels, Brent and Debbie Inman, who have recently moved to Scottsburg. Brent became a member of the Scottsburg Kiwanis Club earlier this year. Brent and two of his daughters, Christi and Katie helped put out the American Flags for the Scottsburg Kiwanis Club on Independence Day this year.
The Scottsburg Kiwanis Club thanked Christi for her very interesting and informative presentation, and for her service to our country.