Friday, November 20, 2015

Rhinos

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Okay, today I want to talk (again, sort of) about Rhinos. (Note the capital letter, that's a clue that it's not that big fella in the opening photo!)

I should have subtitled this post "...and other odd aircraft nicknames" but I didn't because of this...

Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-279-0950-09 / Bergmann, Johannes / CC-BY-SA 3.0 (Source)

Now that bad boy in the snow was a German World War II tank destroyer which packed a version of the (in)famous 88mm dual purpose gun. The Germans initially nicknamed this vehicle Hornisse, which is the German word for hornet. Later it was called the Nashorn, which is, you guessed it, the German word for rhino. You can read more about that beastie here.

So a rhino isn't necessarily an animal or an aircraft.

Huh Sarge? An aircraft? (Well, if you had read the comments from yesterday, you would have seen that my straight man, er, co-blogger, Tuna started this conversation...

So of course, I answered the question (sort of) and decided to post (blog about) it. Why not, I am ever a sucker for suggestions from the readers. (Tuna's not just a co-blogger, he reads this stuff as well. As does Juvat. Hmm, not sure what, if anything, that says about them.)

Anyhoo...

My son-in-law Big Time flies the Rhino I mention in my first response to Tuna. That would be the F/A-18E (or Echo, as I like to call it) and my daughter, The WSO rides the back seat in the F/A-18F  (or Foxtrot, as I like to call it). What's that? Pictures? You wanna see pictures? Heck, why not?

An F/A-18E of VFA-136, Knighthawks, launching from USS Enterprise in 2011. Heh, that could be Big Time in the cockpit, it's the right time frame. (Source)

An F/A-18F of VFA-2 about to trap aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (Wrong boat, wrong time frame for The WSO. Sorry kiddo, couldn't find a good one with you in it.) (Source)

Now how did the Navy's Rhino get her nickname? I've heard that it's because of...

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Do you see that bump just forward of the pilot's windscreen and above and to the left of the side number, 135? I've heard that these birds are called Rhinos because of that bump on the nose. The more mundane story is that they're called Rhinos because...
The Super Hornet is informally referred to as the "Rhino" to distinguish it from earlier "legacy" Hornets and to prevent confusion in radio calls. This aids safe flight operations, as the catapult and arresting systems must be set differently for the heavier Super Hornet. (The "Rhino" nickname was previously applied to the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, which was retired from the fleet in 1987.) W
Hey! Did someone mention F-4s?

A U.S. Navy McDonnell Douglas F-4S Phantom II (BuNo 155880) of fighter squadron VF-161 Chargers making an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) in 1 March 1985. (Source)

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So why is the Phantom called the Rhino?

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Study those pictures closely, I think you'll see a certain resemblance!

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I would not want to get in the way of any of these Rhinos! (Or Nashorn!)

Want more aircraft nicknames? Go here.

22 comments:

  1. So, if an F/A-18E fires it's gun at a target, would said target be said to be suffering from a bout of Rhinitis?

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  2. It has been a long time, but was it Virgil or QM that was an F-4 Driver? Both of them were an example of the quality of Lex readers/commentators. Miss them?

    I've always enjoyed the description of the F-4 as "anything will fly if you give it enough power".

    Thanks Guys,

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    1. The McDonnell Douglas School of Aeronautical Design Maxim #1 "Given enough thrust, a Brick will fly."

      The Republic School of Aeronautical Design Maxim #1 "No matter how long a runway you build, we can build an airplane that uses all of it to take off."

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    2. @Ron - Virgil flew the Phantom for sure, I think QM did as well. Virgil stops by here from time to time and I'm pretty sure I've seen QM over at The Lexicans and at XBradTC's place. I sure miss the give and take over at Lex's.

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    3. @Juvat - I've heard that about the Phantom, never heard that regarding Republic. I'm betting the Thud used a lot of concrete to get airborne, especially with the payload it was able to haul!

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  3. Fighter aircraft yesterday and more fighters today to start the day on a high note. It's going to be a good day!!

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    1. Heck you might get fighters tomorrow too. Depends on the phases of the moon sometimes. (There are days I sit down in front of the computer and have no idea what I'm going to write about. Then I'll see a picture, or watch a video, then BANG I'm off and running.)

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  4. Never heard the Eagle referred to as "Big Bird". Lawn Dart guys seemed to play a lot of Tennis though. They kept referring to Tennis Courts.

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    1. That was a new one on me as well. "Tennis court"? Yup, heard that one. First Eagle I ever saw was at Clark in the PI. We F-4 maintainers were amazed that you could walk under the wings without crouching.

      "Sucker is huge!" was a common refrain.

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  5. There's a scene in "Red Storm Rising" where an EA-6B squadron commander goes all butthurt when someone refers to his jets as Queers. As good as Clancy was, he didn't quite get it.

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    1. I remember that. Sometimes you have to be on the inside to truly get some of the things we mil-types say.

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  6. I always heard F/A-18s called "Bugs" no matter the alphabetical appellation following. All (at least Navy) EW aircraft were called "Queer" in my day--at least partially because in the old Navy squadron nomenclature system, EW was "Q" e.g. VAQ-3.

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    1. I remember when the 18 came out, "Bug," "Electric Jet," and "Electric Bug" were all terms I heard.

      I've never heard anyone call the Super Hornet a "Bug." I've never actually heard an aviator refer to it as anything other than "the jet."

      Yup, "Queers" from the VAQ nomenclature, but queer as in odd, not queer as in...

      Um, let's just stay away from that. For now.

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    2. ""Queers" from the VAQ nomenclature, but queer as in odd, not queer as in..."

      That, in my experience, depended upon how late at the O Club bar it was. ;-)

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  7. Thanks, and you're welcome! :)

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  8. Your blog keeps spinning me in different directions. German tank destroyers to 88 antiaircraft/antitank to French Char tanks and on and on. That is why I try to reread it in the evening. Anyone tracking my Google searches must think I'm nuts (and, maybe so).

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    1. Anyone tracking my Google searches would know I was nuts.

      My brain works in odd ways. Good ways I like to think, but certainly odd.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)