"There's 12 buttons on the throttle, and 10 on the stick, a Lockheed Martin employee told Rep. Shelley Moore Capito during a demonstration of an aircraft simulator Thursday. "The pilot can fly the aircraft with their hands on, and not do anything if they don't want to."
There may or may not someday be pilotless aircraft. but two of West Virginia's Washington representatives "flew" this simulator almost hands-free. It's a new-generation f-35 fighter manufactured with aluminum plates supplied by Constellium Rolled Products.
"The aerospace industry has done well for us. We continue to look to grow our business with programs such as the F-35 that Lockheed has brought to us," said Kyle Lorentzen, Constellium CEO.
The company says more than 800 of its employees are involved in the manufacture of the aerospace plates. which makes Constellium, in business less than two years in Ravenswood, a major supplier to the nation's security.
"This is going to take us well into the 21st Century," Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told Constellium employees.
"This is what makes Constellium so vital not only to the United States," added Rep. Capito (R-3rd District), but to nations all over the world."
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin says there hasn't been a major change in fighter aircraft in nearly 25 years. Remember, that was before the internet and i-phones, and early into cell phone technology.
"If you look at your display," says Daniel P. Conroy, Director of the F-35 Program for Lockheed Martin, "it doesn't take a lot of brain power to understand that that red aircraft on your screen is hostile."
The rolled aluminum plant has operated under several different companies.
Constellium bought the facility from Alcan in 2011.