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      02-22-2024, 06:06 PM   #2553
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
I thought that they called the F-104 the widowmaker because of its downward-firing ejection seats? When a pilot needed to punch out when close to the ground, they were supposed to roll the plane upside-down so that the ejector seat would throw them upwards.....
Nope, it went upwards. The pilots wore metal stirrups to their boots that attached by a metal wire to the seat. When the seat went up, the wire would pull the feet in, preventing amputation by the dashboard. The wire would be cut during the ejection sequence. But they did experiment with downward ejection seats with the XF-104 and C1.



Link here: https://www.i-f-s.nl/ejection-seats/
https://www.ejectionsite.com/f104seat.htm

Last edited by Lady Jane; 02-22-2024 at 06:19 PM.. Reason: Added links.
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      02-22-2024, 06:16 PM   #2554
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Jane View Post
Nope, it went upwards. The pilots wore metal stirrups to their boots that attached by a metal wire to the seat.
If Wikipedia is to be believed, the early planes had downward-firing ejector seats:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockhe...#Ejection_seat
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      02-22-2024, 06:20 PM   #2555
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
If Wikipedia is to be believed, the early planes had downward-firing ejector seats:
Just follow my links for full details.
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      02-23-2024, 05:18 AM   #2556
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Here's a brightly painted F-16C color aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command's 926th Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This is not exactly the optimum aggressor scheme!
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      02-25-2024, 05:35 AM   #2557
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Sometimes the design of an aircraft just looks right. In this case, Supermarine nailed it!
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      02-25-2024, 07:59 AM   #2558
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Here's a Canadian special operations aircraft that is somewhat mysterious: The Beechcraft King Air 350ER-based CE-145C Vigilance. Just three have been outfitted and will be crewed by Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
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      02-25-2024, 08:05 AM   #2559
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Longtime readers of this thread may remember the sad story of the C-27J transport: Conceived by the Army but taken over by the Air Force, then cancelled. The aircraft already delivered ended up being split between the Coast Guard, which got 14 as the HC-27J and the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command, which operates 7 C-27Js. Here are photos. In common with many SpecOps aircraft, the C-27Js have very low-key markings.
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      02-25-2024, 08:48 AM   #2560
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Originally Posted by Llarry View Post
Here's a Canadian special operations aircraft that is somewhat mysterious: The Beechcraft King Air 350ER-based CE-145C Vigilance. Just three have been outfitted and will be crewed by Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.
A bit of a background:

https://www.scramble.nl/military-new...145c-vigilance

https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/app-ac...borne-eng.html
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      02-25-2024, 08:59 AM   #2561
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This is not exactly the optimum aggressor scheme!
It's the passive-aggressive livery.
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      02-26-2024, 07:12 AM   #2562
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Considering the success of the Vought F4U Corsair, a standout in both World War II and Korea that continued to serve on U.S. Navy carrier decks and in Marine Corps fighter and attack squadrons until the mid-1950s, and the very successful Vought F-8 (old F8U) Crusader of Vietnam war fame, it's easy to overlook the fact that Vought had a number of duds in between those two great airplanes.

-- The F5U, which was designed during WW2, never flew, although a low-powered "flying disc" prototype flew during the war. The F5U promised great performance but had intractable prop problems and the general reductions after the war doomed it.

-- The F6U was the first Navy fighter with an afterburner, but was otherwise unremarkable and never entered squadron service.

-- The F7U Cutlass did enter squadron service but earned the derogatory nickname "Gutless Cutlass" for poor flying qualities. Almost 300 were built, but in hindsight it is difficult to understand why. The F7U-3M version was an early user of the Sparrow radar-guided air-to-air-missile. The F7U was also the first production Navy fighter to have afterburning engines. The Marines wisely avoided the F7U, and Navy examples were retired after very few years of service.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F7U_Cutlass

The one consistent theme of Vought fighters was that they were innovative, so there's that.
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      02-26-2024, 09:30 PM   #2563
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When the first jet aircraft came along, the U.S. Navy had grave reservations about the jet. Spool-up time was slow, which meant that acceleration was poor at low speeds. The low speed regimen was critical for aircraft operating from aircraft carriers.

A possible solution was a hybrid aircraft with both a piston engine for better acceleration and a jet for high speed. That was the theory behind the Ryan FR Fireball fighter, which got a contract from the Navy during World War II. The XFR-1 flew in June 1944.

The Ryan FR-1 was a compact fighter, with a Wright R-1820 radial engine in the nose, jet intakes in the wing roots and a GE jet engine of 1,600 pounds thrust in the tail. It was armed with four .50 machine guns in the wings and was conceived as a fighter for smaller aircraft carriers. Although contracts for hundreds were signed, all but 66 were cancelled at the end of the World War II.

The production FR-1 equipped just a single fighter squadron in 1945. It proved to be fragile in high-stress carrier operations and was retired in 1947.

Here are a couple of photos, including one of the FR-1 taking off from escort carrier USS Badoeng Strait (CVE 116).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_FR_Fireball

After the war ended in 1945, escort carriers did not normally embark fighter aircraft until the Korean War, when Marine Corps F4U Corsair squadrons flew combat missions from CVEs.
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      02-26-2024, 09:43 PM   #2564
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llarry View Post
Here's a brightly painted F-16C color aircraft for the U.S. Air Force Reserve Command's 926th Wing at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This is not exactly the optimum aggressor scheme!
speaking of F-16....

I sold my previous house to a family friend who was also a highly-respected F-16 instructor.

while he may have been an awesome pilot, he once told me his biggest fear.... which is driving on the interstate. (ironic, no?)
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      02-26-2024, 11:40 PM   #2565
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Originally Posted by SpaceSilver.X1 View Post
speaking of F-16....

I sold my previous house to a family friend who was also a highly-respected F-16 instructor.

while he may have been an awesome pilot, he once told me his biggest fear.... which is driving on the interstate. (ironic, no?)
No-- not really-- I see his point.

When you're in the jet, you're surrounded by professionals (your wingman, your flight mates, AWACS controllers, your adversaries, etc.). You know how they're trained and can usually expect them to act professionally-- even if they *are* trying to kill you.

As well, there are always very specific rules of engagement.

On the interstate?

At least half (if not more) of those moron's shouldn't have ANY access to the car keys. And nowadays, the 'rules of the road' are taken more as suggestions than anything approaching an actual rule or law.

Professionals may try to kill you, but amateurs WILL get you killed.

R.
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      02-27-2024, 05:40 AM   #2566
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceSilver.X1 View Post
while he may have been an awesome pilot, he once told me his biggest fear.... which is driving on the interstate. (ironic, no?)
One of the NASCAR drivers (Jeff Gordon maybe?) used to say the same thing about racing versus driving on the streets.....
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      02-27-2024, 06:30 AM   #2567
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Originally Posted by flybigjet View Post
Professionals may try to kill you, but amateurs WILL get you killed.

R.
You should put that in the quotes section. So true.
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      02-27-2024, 06:54 AM   #2568
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Originally Posted by vreihen16 View Post
One of the NASCAR drivers (Jeff Gordon maybe?) used to say the same thing about racing versus driving on the streets.....
I'm quite comfortable driving on the interstate. But strangely, my family friend(the F-16 instructor) told me that I couldn't borrow his F-16 for a couple of days.
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      02-28-2024, 06:31 AM   #2569
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Periods of war spur more innovation in engineering aircraft and their powerplants. Exhibit A is World War II, when there were a large number of new design aircraft and when powerplant technology shifted into overdrive.

At the beginning of the war, Douglas aircraft was supplying both torpedo bombers (the TBD Devastator) and dive bombers (the SBD Dauntless) to the Navy.

The TBD was recognized as obsolescent and did not fare well in the early carrier battles, but Grumman filled the breach with the superior TBF Avenger, later produced by Eastern as the TBM.

The SBD, on the other hand, was produced in large numbers for Navy and Marine Corps squadrons (and even in some numbers as the Army Air Forces A-24) and served until the end of the war. By 1943-44 it was replaced on the carriers with the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, which served into the postwar years as well.

But the Navy was constantly looking for improved bombing and torpedo aircraft. Reliable Douglas Aircraft, suppliers of Navy aircraft since the 1920s was given contracts for several types during the war.

The first of these was the SB2D (SB = scout/bomber, 2 = 2nd model, D = Douglas), which flew in 1943. The SB2D sported much more power than its SBD predecessor, courtesy of a Wright R-3350 radial of 2,300 hp. It also had an internal bomb bay and remote-controlled rear-facing machine guns in dorsal and ventral positions. All this made the SB2D very heavy and only two were built. Then Douglas tried again by reworking the aircraft to eliminate the gunner and the heavy defensive armament -- the result was the BTD-1 which incorporated torpedo attack capability and flew in 1944. The Navy bought a number, but they never saw squadron service; they were still too complex and heavy.

Engineer Ed Heinemann was Douglas' chief designer and in 1944 hit upon the winning formula: The design must be as simple and lightweight as possible. He went to Washington D.C. to present the Navy with a clean-sheet design that would stress those qualities. The airplane would be a single-place model with the capability to dive bomb or conduct torpedo attacks. There would be rigorous weight control in the design process; the weight saved would be available for payload of fuel and weapons. He sketched the proposal out to the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics and committed to a rapid detail design stage with an aggressive schedule for a first flight. He also requested the cancellation of existing contracts for the overly complex aircraft. The Navy bit and Heinemann returned to California to get to work.

The Navy ordered 25 production-equivalent examples as the XBT2D-1 and the aircraft, soon to be dubbed the Skyraider, first flew in March 1945. A month later, the Navy ordered 548 examples as the AD-1. The A (for Attack) category would replace scout bombers (SB), bombers (B) and torpedo bombers (TB) in the future. The AD Skyraider would go on to serve for thirty years and proved amendable to modifications such as night attack, electronic warfare, airborne early warning, etc. The Navy would buy 3,180 ADs from 1945 to 1957 -- redesignated A-1 in 1962.

To return to the torpedo bomber story, Douglas also designed and built an XTB2D-1 torpedo bomber seeking to replace the Avenger. The TB2D was a monster using a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engine of 3,000 hp and having a wingspan of 70 feet -- a real disadvantage on Navy carriers. It also featured remote-controlled rear-firing machine guns like the SB2D. Again, overly complex and overweight; only two were built. In addition, it appeared that the days of the torpedo bomber were numbered and indeed the last torpedo attack on enemy ships by the U.S. Navy was in 1945.

If something good came out of these overweight and complex aircraft that the Navy did not buy, it was the Ed Heinemann/Douglas aircraft engineering philosophy of simplicity and light weight. That served Douglas well in later years in the design of the Navy heavy attack nuclear bomber -- the A3D (later A-3) Skywarrior and the A4D (later A-4) Skyhawk light attack nuclear bomber, both of which were built in large numbers and served many years.
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      02-28-2024, 07:42 AM   #2570
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The Navy ordered 25 production-equivalent examples as the XBT2D-1 and the aircraft, soon to be dubbed the Skyraider, first flew in March 1945. A month later, the Navy ordered 548 examples as the AD-1.
A short note on "Sandy": They were the only prop airplanes to shoot down two MIGs in Vietnam.

https://theaviationist.com/2015/01/1...0Vietnam%20War.
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      02-28-2024, 07:54 AM   #2571
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Speaking of torpedo planes, the Grumman F6F Hellcat fighter was capable of delivering a standard USN Mk 13 aerial torpedo. Here's a photo of one under an F6F. To the best of my knowledge, no torpedo was carried/launched in combat during the war by an F6F.

This particular photo also shows a non-standard frameless canopy.
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      02-28-2024, 07:56 AM   #2572
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Jane View Post
A short note on "Sandy": They were the only prop airplanes to shoot down two MIGs in Vietnam.
Fatal mistake by a jet fighter pilot to let himself get slow with a prop plane.
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      02-28-2024, 08:13 AM   #2573
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Fatal mistake by a jet fighter pilot to let himself get slow with a prop plane.


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      02-28-2024, 08:27 AM   #2574
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A couple more photos of Top Aces (adversary or aggressor for hire) ex-Israeli A-4N aircraft. The top photo shows a new splinter paint scheme and also shows the A-4N with three external fuel tanks. It looks to me like the underwing tanks are 300-gallon versions while the centerline tank is the 400-gallon version. There was also a 150-gallon version that was rarely seen after the 1950s. Note that the Douglas-developed fuel tanks have a shape very much like the Mark 8X series of bombs, such as the Mark 82 500-pounder and the Mark 84 2,000-pounder.

Infrared search and track has been around for years. It's a method to detect an adversary without emitting a radar signal. Now Top Aces have fitted their A-4N with an IR search and track system. See the second photo. Those A-4s are like the Energizer bunny... they just keep going and going!
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