Friday, May 22, 2020

The Friday Flyby - Wings of Weirdness II

The Convair XFY Pogo in flight.

And what she looked like on the ground...

Now that's a boarding ladder!

What's more. she could actually fly!



But ya know, every time I see one of these weird looking flying machines, my reaction is something like this -

~ SALTY LANGUAGE ALERT ~


Yeah Gunny, what is that?!?!

And yes, there is another aircraft at the tail end of that video of the Pogo in flight, it's a Ryan X-13 Vertijet... (Thought you were going to catch me ignoring an aircraft in a video again, dintcha?)

She's actually flying in this photo, about to land, er I mean, moor herself to the dual-role flatbed transport/launch trailer.

A weird looking bird to see in the air, though kinda cool at the same time.



I swear, watching the first few seconds of that video freaked me out. I mean, if I saw an aircraft doing that, I'd lose it. Well, truth be told, the first time I ever saw a V/STOL¹ aircraft in flight, it did freak me out!

Back in the day, shortly after the Pleistocene Epoch had ended, shortly after juvat and Old NFO had slain the last woolly mammoth (hey, their families were hungry!), I was a young airman stationed upon the island of Okinawa. (No, we hadn't just taken it from the Japanese, in fact it wasn't long after we'd given the island back to Japan. (1972 the island "reverted" back to Japanese control, no, the Okinawans were not real happy about that. I call that one, Nixon's Second Mistake. Nixon's First Mistake was visiting Communist China earlier in that same year, setting the stage for the Peanut Farmer to formally recognize the Commie bastards control of the mainland in 1979. Cue Red Foreman!)

Anyhoo, I was walking down to the MAC² Terminal where I had been told they served a very tasty burger.



Truth be told, I don't remember anything at all about that burger as, whilst on my kleine spaziergang down to said MAC Terminal (for to partake of said burger) I first heard an odd-sounding jet engine. It wasn't an F-4 Phantom, it wasn't a T-39 (an Air Force version of the North American Sabreliner, much preferred by general officers for winging from base to base), no, it wasn't anything like those at all. (Didn't even think for a second that it was a C-141 or an SR-71 either, when you know a jet engine, you know it.)

As I wondered what that noise could be, I saw ahead of me, some dozens of yards in the distance, an apparition rising from the trees near the MAC Terminal. For a moment I had the same reaction to this flying machine as Gunny Hartman had to the discovery of Pyle's jelly donut.

"WHAT THE FIRE TRUCK IS THAT?!?!?!"

Well, it was a Marine AV-8 Harrier, an aircraft capable of vertical take off and landing. It was the first one I had ever seen and it was both weird and marvelous at the same time. But yeah, initially I was freaked out. (Kinda like those terrorists in True Lies, said clip I would have included but it was just too long... Okay, I'll include it...)



Yeah, it was just like that, only without the terrorists, the tall building, and all the other unrealistic, though enjoyable, stuff in that clip.

Anyhoo, I digress. We're here to talk about weird-looking aircraft, not movies. (Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm the one who included three movie clips in a Friday Flyby, only one of which was aircraft related. My bad.)

Another odd looking bird in the V/STOL category is the Lockheed XFV "Salmon" -

Vertical display of the XFV-1 Prototype at the Florida Air Museum
(Source)
The XFV-1 prototype at the Florida Air Museum.
(Source)

Note that the aircraft could also take-off and land normally, those landing gear in that second photo don't look like they'd last through a rough landing. Truth be told, those don't appear to be the original horizontal-landing gear, which you can see in this photo -


Still rather spindly-looking, aren't they?

All this V/STOL stuff is interesting and actually serves a real purpose. When you need an aircraft and don't have room to take-off and land, well, V/STOL solves the problem. Though of course, most aircraft which have this capability are real dog shite when matched up against a "real" fighter plane. The jury is still out on the F-35, though I have heard good reports about it. (None of which involved lowering the bloody price tag on the thing.) But hey, if you're on convoy duty and are worried about submarines, one of those V/STOL jobs might be just the ticket. Load a few V/STOL birds on a couple of freighters and bang, better than no aircraft at all. I mean aircraft carriers are awfully pricey, ain't they Precious?

Anyhoo...

Remember the Sparrowhawk from the other day? Well, that bird had a hook on the wing, for swinging from a dirigible's "trapeze" (seriously, that's what it was called) and a tail hook. This next bird has what I call a nose hook. It also has folding wings, just like a Navy jet, not so that it will fit onto a carrier, but so it will fit in the bomb bay of a B-36 bomber.

Say what?

That's right, fit into a bomber...
During World War II, American bombers such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, and Boeing B-29 Superfortress were protected by long-range escort fighters such as the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt and North American P-51 Mustang. These fighters could not match the range of the Northrop B-35 or Convair B-36, the next generation of bombers developed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). The development cost for longer-ranged fighters was high, while aerial refueling was still considered risky and technologically difficult. Pilot fatigue had also been a problem during long fighter escort missions in Europe and the Pacific, giving further impetus to innovative approaches. (Source) 
So they came up with this little beast, the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin. Aptly named if you ask me...


Weird looking, innit?

Here's a short film on the beast, no sound, doesn't really need it.

(Turn the sound off as a matter of fact, there's an awfully annoying buzz near the end of the clip.)



As technology improved and air-to-air refueling became routine, the need for a parasite fighter to protect bombers went away. Among the problems the Goblin had were a limited flight time, something like 30 minutes, imagine being dropped from your mother ship to fight incoming bandits knowing you only had 30 minutes to do so, then re-dock with the mother ship. Which wasn't very easy, the skill it took for a pilot to do that was rather taxing, imagine doing that while running low on fuel and your bomber is being attacked! No thank you.

This next aircraft is almost normal looking, it was the sound of the thing which was weird, one source said it could make ground crews physically ill!

The Republic XF-84H "Thunderscreech"
(Notice that it's RAT³ is extended.)
Looks rather normal doesn't it, other than that whole "cross between a jet and a propeller aircraft" thing.
Although the USAF Wright Air Development Center was the key sponsor of the Republic Project 3347 turboprop fighter, the initial inception came from a U.S. Navy requirement for a carrier fighter not requiring catapult assistance. Originally known as XF-106 (a designation later reused for the Convair F-106), the project and its resultant prototype aircraft were redesignated XF-84H, closely identifying the program as an F-84 variant, rather than an entirely new type. With a projected contract for three prototypes, when the US Navy cancelled its order, ultimately, the remaining XF-84H prototypes became pure research aircraft built for the Air Force's Propeller Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB to test supersonic propellers in exploring the combination of propeller responsiveness at jet speeds. (Source)
This clip talks a bit about the aircraft -



So what about the sound it made?



The write-up for that video on YouTube has this to say -
This is a recording of the Republic XF-84H "Thunderscreech, a turboprop plane with a supersonic propeller. This sound (when played at its original volume) caused people to faint, vomit, become slightly deaf , and reputedly soil themselves. Enjoy!!
Lovely, that would be perfect for air shows dontcha think?

Anyhoo, that's enough weirdness for one day. If I haven't shown your favorite yet, be patient (yes, Virgil, I remember your F-107, also the Stiletto will have it's day as well) I have enough Wings of Weirdness to cover a few Fridays. Gotta save something in the tank dontcha know?

P.S.

One last thing, notice the header change from the aircraft carrier to the F-102? Well, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 17, Big Time's boat and the previous occupant of the header) put back to sea after being tied up at Guam for roughly 55 days due to the virus-thingee. She's doing some work-ups and a bit of a shakedown to make sure everything still works and the crew knows how to make them work, good idea after a long stay in port like that. I mentioned that I was keeping the TR up there until she was back where she belonged. At sea. She is, so the header changed. I figured Dave would like the new one, he used to fly those birds you know.




¹ V/STOL = Vertical/Short Take-off and Landing
² MAC = Military Airlift Command. Yes, it has a different name now. No, I don't care what it is, I will always call it MAC. Old school buddy, that's me. (There's an even older name for it, but only guys like Old NFO know what it is...)
³ RAT =Ram Air Turbine, in the event of a loss of electrical power this could be extended into the slipstream and generate enough power to maybe get you on the ground in one piece. The F-4 had one as well.

84 comments:

  1. That header looks like it is missing it's tailer. Not much of a rudder. I used to work with a Dagger mechanic. He was something else. And the Goblin, it looks like a tick. I laughed when I saw it coming up with it's hook out. And then the "gusto" maneuver, oh man. I bet "go for broke" Jones needed his poopy suit de-poopied. WOW. It was an updraft I bet.

    Good stuff.

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    1. Yes, compared to the -106 the -102 looks like some of its tail feathers are missing.

      That Goblin is a weird looking thing, innit?

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    2. I think you're looking at the speed brake of the Deuce.
      The F-106 has a flat vertical stabilizer and different intakes, among a few other things.

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    3. Yes, the speed brake sticks out a bit, making it look like something's missing. But it's all there!

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    4. Looking at the tail, it looks like the part that moves is missing. Very sharp, angular tail.

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    5. The part the moves is the "rudder". The part that sticks up is the "vertical stabilizer". Just sayin'.

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    6. I am impressed. That isn't even "your" end of the aircraft!! *snark disengaged*

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    7. Well....Even Eagle drivers were expected to do a walk around and it hurt the image if you used the wrong terminology. "Hey, chief, there's some liquid dripping out of the pipe like thingy back here?" Nope, just won't cut it. And it's even worse in a two seater, cause the WSO has to fly with you, and even worser, in a NAVY plane, the WSO has no flight controls. So...gotta know the terms, just to keep people from running away in a panic as you approach.

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    8. One day at Kadena we had the radar package extended on a jet and the crew came up to pre-flight the next jet over. As they weren't done fueling their bird, they wandered over to see what we were doing. The WSO walked up (we were hanging a part, no power on the aircraft) and said, "Gee, that looks really complicated." His pilot pulled him away, shaking his head. Some Air Force WSOs were lots of fun, especially the FNGs.

      So yeah, maintenance guys DO notice that sort of thing.

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  2. Thanks for the Pogo.
    I wonder what the pilots' neck xrays looked liked after several landings :)
    Frank

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    1. Yeah, thing could use one of those back up cameras installed in a lot of newer cars. Which would probably malfunction just at the wrong time!

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  3. Great Post, Sarge! No F'in way on the tail landing VTOL, although I do admire the skill and courage of the guys who did it. The Goblin video was interesting. On his first approach, my thought was he's over controlling and causing PIO Pilot Induced Oscillation. That's bad, I don't care who you are or what you're flying, it's bad. The first time I caused it, my IP said let go of the stick, the airplane has way more flying time than you, it knows what to do. I did, it did and the oscillation ceased. But, in any case, I cringed on the second approach as he came in hot. I wonder how much damage he did to the jet. I thought the ThunderStreak was kind of cool and wondered early about the propeller blades being supersonic on one side and subsonic on the other. That would be a difficult, but interesting problem to solve. I seem to recall they had a similar problem with compressor blades in early jet engines. I don't recall how it was fixed, although something about slowing the airflow to subsonic speed sticks in my mind.
    But, that's exactly what the early years of flight testing was all about.

    Never ate the burger at the MATS terminal, but the yakesoba was outstanding!

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    1. "MATS terminal" - Well played juvat, well played.

      Never tried the yakesoba, that was in the days before The Missus Herself introduced me to Asian cuisine.

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  4. “Keep it weird” kinda fits with the times, and I don’t just mean the pandemic.

    My only experience with Mats, there were no burgers, but we got bag lunches on the 11 hour flight from Travis to Hickam.

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    1. There's ample weirdness these days, that's for sure!

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    2. Ahhh, yes...Bag Nasty's. Only severe boredom could make something that awful, edible.

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    3. The old sack lunch, MAC-style. Yummy.

      Eh, not so much.

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  5. The F-102 looks like a handful to fly.
    President George W. Bush had 336 hours in the beast. That earns my respect for airmanship.
    John Blackshoe

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    1. The F-102 looks 'hot' and cool and on purpose.

      The TF-102, on the other hand, looks like it got stung by a bee.

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    2. Hey now, Beans! You're insultin' one of our ex TF-102 drivers here! :) (Was also an F-4 jock) Dave@ Daves Daly Day Dream (4D) drove one in Vietnam in the gnd attack/fast-mover FAC role. (Hell, I didn't even know they were used that way and was there at the time! 'course they all staged out of Thailand and I was over in DaNang, tho we had single-seat 102s as ADC protection as DaNang was well within IL-28 range))

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    3. Fighters are supposed to be hot. 336 hours in the -102 is nothing to sneeze at.

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    4. One good thing about the TF is that we could take our crew chief or someone on a ride. I once took one on a cross country with our flt surgeon, we had a fun day.
      The pointy end of the Deuce was a great place for photo ops, you could put your right elbow on it for a very casual appearance.

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    5. A casual, yet confident, pose is very important part of the Fighter Pilot Mystique. It helps if the airplane cooperates.

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    6. Always good to exhibit the Cool Factor! Must be in flight suit and include aviator style sunglasses - heh...

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    7. juvat - Casual and confident, Aye!

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    8. Tom - And the flight cap must be worn appropriately!

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    9. Little tuck at the rear, Upwards of course, even if Robin Olds did it differently.

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    10. Well, that rips it. Big John did indeed work on 102's. TF-102's. He told me he got to ride in one after basically rebuilding it from the stick. I couldn't figure where he sat if he did. He was 6'6"... I didn't figure he'd fit behind the pilot in a regular 102. Kinda wondered if he was blowing smoke...

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    11. juvat - Roger that. But Robin Olds could pull it off, I think it was the mustache!

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    12. TF-102, side by each as I've heard it called, the seating arrangement that is.

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    13. TF-102 also used as the introductory 'trainer' for the B-58. Which, unlike the -47, is side-by-side, the -47 being tandem with the third guy somewhere below in the nose with no windows.

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    14. The B-58 had tandem seating, not side by side: pilot, bombardier, then defensive system operator, each in a separate cockpit. Each with their own ejection capsule.

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    15. Ah, I mispoke. The only 'cockpit' scenes of a B-58 are from a movie that featured them, "Fail Safe," used a side-by-side view of the cockpit, so I thought...

      Yeah. Thanks, Hollyweird, for screwing things up again.

      Dangit. See? This is why I hate watching movies with reality in them. Screwups like that mess up the whole picture for me.

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    16. It's the little things that Hollywood always seems to get wrong. But a side by side cockpit in a Hustler? Anarchy!

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    17. There was B-58 Hustler on display at the Lone Star Air Museum in Galveston, TX until sometime in 2017. I was mightily impressed by it. It didn't need guards put on the leading edges of wings or engines, but you could likely be bleeding if you walked into them at more than an old-school zombie or mummy lurch. They're now at Ellington Field, Houston, but I haven't been in the area for 6-7 years. Just no interesting displays at Houston museums since then, for some reason. Hardly any here in DFW, for that matter. The last was an incredible exhibit of Japanese arms and armor, second only to a collection in Japan itself, but that was years ag0.

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    18. According to Wikipedia the former Kelly AFB in San Antonio has one. (Now it's Kelly Field Annex to Lackland AFB or whatever they're calling that now. Yes, I truly hate the stupid effing names they gave some of the old bases. Joint Base Bovine Scat or something or other. I'll stop grumbling now.)

      Supposedly there are eight surviving Hustlers, two of them the TB-58 version which I can't easily find a photo of. (Google's search algorithms used to be really good, now quite frankly they SUCK. Bing found it first pass. As did DuckDuckGo, geez Google what's next? Everything running on a server in Red China? Okay, now I'll quit grumbling.)

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  6. And you haven't even touched on trailer mounted rocket launched regular aircraft, or weird tethered aircraft, or just screwed up aircraft.

    So much aircraft weirdness still out there in the wild to be tracked down and used to mess with juvat's head. Muhahahahahahaha.

    And people think the Osprey is a weird bird. Again, Muhahahahahahahhahahahhaaaa...

    As to other unusual birds launching vertically, May 27th, SpaceX is supposedly launching a crewed capsule. And it's happening in the afternoon and is going to be live on TV and on the internetz. President Trump is talking about flying down to watch it. Yippeeeeeee!!!! It's only been.... like forever since Americans had the ability to actually go up into space, and go past Low Earth Orbit. Now we have, if the Dragon works out, the ability to reach the Moon again, only 47ish years after we stopped going. Please please please please let everything work A-Okay!

    Well, you were talking about weird birds and Elon Musk pretty much is a weird bird.

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    1. We threw away the ability to go to space as the assclowns in DC lacked the will. Things are, hopefully, changing.

      Yeah, Mr. Musk is an odd duck isn't he?

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  7. I had a Model of the POGO also, Sarge...was pretty large, actually--couldn't fit it on the overhead wires..Monogram, Revell, Airfix? Can't recall..

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    1. She's not a small bird, sitting on her tail she looks as tall as a three-story building!

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    2. Revell or Monogram made a series of weird planes that had moving parts. One of them was based on the Goblin, one was on the Pogo.

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    3. I vaguely remember them. An old dusty memory, way in the back...

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    4. They took their non-selling Goblin, and messed it up and called it a flap-jack, with the stubby wings flapping and a mad-crazy pilot.

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    5. Ah, now THAT rings a bell!

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  8. Great post. You've gotta wonder how much $$ has gone through all of these aircraft. Imagination is a great thing. That's why we should encourage everyone to get back to reading books!!
    I love that you changed the masthead AND put my favorite of all time "fighter pilot" movie with Arnie in one special post. Thanks again.

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    1. I was looking through the header stock, thought that would be a good one. Yes, I had you in mind.

      True Lies is one of my favorite movies.

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    2. Yeah, it's been a while, think I may try and talk Mrs J into watching it again. Maybe talk her into a little dance before bedtime...

      Oops, never mind, that's when she whacked Ahnuld gets in the head. I probably wouldn't get off that easy.

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  9. I was wondering if the pilots of the bomber were thinking "Geez, don't we have enough to do to get this thing airborne and now they stick something else in the airstream to slow us down and take away maneuverability!"
    Those videos reminded my chillingly (is that a word?) of hooking up to the tanker some days. Sometimes it just wasn't fun.

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    1. I can see that being something of a problem.

      As to tanking, don't how you guys do it!

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    2. Carefully, very carefully!

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    3. RULES FOR TANKING:
      1.) When you really need gas the tanker will either (a) have just left the station early or, (b) be late arriving on station
      2.) " " " " " " " " always be on the downwind leg of the racetrack headed away from you.
      3.) If there are but a few burbles of isolated turbulence in an ocean of otherwise totally calm air the tanker will find them.

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    4. Sounds about right from what I've heard...

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    5. If you have any interest in a combat flight simulator, DCS World is the very, very best you'll find outside of a classified military sim. It's heroin-ware -- 3 basic aircraft are free (Su-25 being the most fun), but additional packages are quite reasonably priced. With the Su-33, you can do tanking with an Il-76 variant. I found it very stressful, and found myself repeating all the kinds of errors beginners make. The replays looked pretty much exactly like any number of Youtube videos. I don't think I have what it takes in today's world of jet fighters -- I'd find myself dripping with sweat after a 15-minute session of trying to connect and stay connected to the basket. A very large 4k-resolution screen with significant GCPU horsepower driving it probably helps with the realism, but then I remember having DOOM II dreams way back when. :D

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    6. I've looked at DCS World, though tempted I just don't have the time. "Heroin-ware" describes it very well, I tried World of Tanks, lots of fun in the training missions but when I wanted to do it for real the computer told me that I would have a 30-minute wait before being able to play. So I haven't been back.

      Have you looked at the IL-2 Sturmovik series? I have them all and find them quite satisfying. In fact the graphics were a lot better than the one time I actually got the chance to "fly" the F/A-18 simulator out at NAS Lemoore. But the military sim is so much more immersive, I mean, you're actually sitting in a real cockpit with nearly 360° displays. (Directly overhead was a black space, no display, small, but I noticed when halfway through a loop!)

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  10. Great post - touches on a lot of the planes that sparked my imagination as a young lad.

    Just been watching a fairly long interview on YouTube with Gen Yeager - it was recorded in 1991 but I had not seen it before. I learned a lot of new things, and there is a section where he talks about the politicians given away a 15 year head start on space programs ... very relevant to your above comment. But the video covers a lot of topics that should be interesting to this group including how he got into flying... and a funny story about his riding backseat in a T33 with Neil Armstrong as pilot.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqLOBPl_zLc

    And Harriers are a different sound, for sure, especially when they are directing thrust downward - LOUD! Just had a couple fly over the house the other day (we seem to be on a fairly regularly used flight path near Camp Lejeune/MCAS New River), but in level flight they sound 'like' other jets, only different than the Hornets we get less frequently.

    Regarding the Goblin - give it an "A" for initiative and "F" for execution ... have seen the on e at the USAF Museum a couple of times now, still come away shaking my head ...

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    1. I have that Gen Yeager interview bookmarked to watch. If I ever get time!

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    2. We were 'in' space with our X plane program long before we went 'in' space with capsules, just the stuff we were doing with the X planes was secret squirrel stuffs and nobody was supposed to know about what we did, like taking an X-15 semi-orbital and placing reaction control thrusters on a variety of planes, including F-104s... Shhhhhh! It's a seeeeeeeecret.

      By not following the X-planes, we severely delayed our overall entry into the space program, but, on the other hand, by taking baby steps with Mercury, then Gemini, we were mostly ready for Apollo.

      Lose a little here, gain a little there. And then we threw away all we learned about capsules to go to a mostly non-reusable reusable space plane thingy... Which was supposed to be 1 component of a family of heavy lift vehicles, one being a fuel tank with engines and a 2nd stage, one being a cargo pod with engines mounting where the shuttle went, and an extra set of boosters to launch the tanks into orbit so they could be used for construction, either inside them, or by cutting and building. Yaknow, kinda like what the Saturn family was supposed to do before it got cut...

      Space, the final frontier, where stupidity and government ignorance almost is as vast as space...

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    3. No, Beans, I must disagree with you. However large it is, space must have a limit. Government stupidity along with their arrogance and just plain nastyness, as exhibited lately, is in fact limitless.

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    4. juvat - Yes indeed, gubmint stupidity seems vast and unbounded some days.

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    5. I thought the F-14 was loud as it roared over Sherman Field, NAS Pensacola ~1972-73, kicking on afterburners as it passed overhead. But the Harrier put it to shame in hover. That shriek/roar got through the fingers plugging my ears even more than the (apparent to a 9-yr old kid?) napalm demo that felt like it shriveled every hair on my head, from eyebrows to crew-cut scalp. I really enjoyed seeing the Blue Angels practice in winter from my school playground -- much better than flag football for the youngest and smallest kid in the class! That was when they flew F-4 Phantom IIs and at smaller separations than they have used since then. Never saw the Thunderbirds until Keesler AFB in 1988, and I was kind of disappointed. They had a better paint scheme, I think, but their show was just kind of ... flat. Technically great, but something missing then. Reminded me of AFROTC drill team at UF Gainesville, Florida -- they slowed the whole routine down to make it easier, and so they did better in competitions. That seriously offended me at the time, but it was smart lawyering of the rules of the time. It still offends me a bit. I didn't realize it then, but it seemed like an echo of the Habsburg bureaucracy, or as someone described it, "Germans, but in 3/4 time". Had it been more serious, I would've done better, but it seemed like a joke at the freshman level back then. Lord knows, being in enlisted ground radio tech school 6 years later was a hell of a lot more serious and I did a whole hell of a lot better, despite issues with alcohol that didn't become apparent to all until later when it was fatal to a career. Moo. :(

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    6. Yes, the Harrier is very loud. What surprised me about engine noise is that I recall the Phantom being very loud. But visiting the kids in Virginia Beach I learned the F/A-18 is louder. At least as near as I could tell with 20 years between last hearing a Phantom and then hearing a Hornet/Super Hornet.

      When I first saw the Blue Angels they were flying the F-11 Tiger, a beautiful dagger of an aircraft. When I saw the Thunderbirds for the first time they were flying the F-100, very nice in Thunderbird livery. In the 60s both put on impressive displays. But because I saw the Blue Angels first, they were always my favorite, even after 24 years in the USAF.

      You're not the first to have issues with alcohol, won't be the last. Two of my forebears were alcoholics, there but for God's Grace go I. In my youth I wasn't careful about my boozing, a fine Chief set me straight early on. I'll never forget him, he was a cornerstone of my Air Force career.

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  11. Hopefully this Wednesday, we'll enter space again.

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  12. A little anecdote about my first trip to Wright-Patterson. I wanted to see B-36 reported to be there, and we looked all over the place for it! Finally my wife and I noticed the XF-85 Goblin, and I told her "The B-36 has to be somewhere around here, because this little plane was intended to be its' escort fighter"! She looked upward and saw the one of the huge propeller blades, and it turned out we'd been walking UNDER the B-36 the whole time we were in the museum building! Supposedly the building had been designed specifically so the B-36 would fit within it, and there was a photo of the B-36 being pushed inside the building with only about 2 feet of building width on either wingtip of the B-36's 230 (IIRC) foot wingspan!

    Mention was also made of the Flying Flapjack, which was an experimental Navy (I think) plane which was thought to be mistaken for a flying saucer. There were also the XB-42 Mixmaster and XB-43 rear-engined bombers, and the F9F-8 Cougar, which as I recall was a swept-wing version of the F9F-5 Panther of early 1950s vintage. And there was the XB-51 3-engine attack bomber and the XB-60 jet bomber developed from the B-36.

    There are TONS of experimental planes of the 1940s - 1950s which might make excellent subjects whenever you get in an X-plane frame of mind....

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    1. There are a couple you mention Ox which I have on my list for Wings of Weirdness III. Now I have more!

      The B-36 is unbelievably huge. Dwarfs the B-29 which was no small aircraft itself!

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    2. The situation with planes of the late 1940-1950s is paralleled with warships of the late 1880s-1900s. Nobody really knew what worked best, so it was a period of wild experimentation. Even after HMS Dreadnought settled part of the argument (2 main sizes of armament: big guns for big ships, and one smaller type weapon for anything in closer), there was quite a bit of experimentation with turret layouts, armor layouts (armour for everything, or just a 'citadel'), and one thing surprising to a lot of people that aren't really interested in the subject (surprisingly, quite a few so-called "naval officers" of the day) was basic fire control for longer than nearly point blank range for 12"+ guns. A good book on the subject is Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Era, by Norman Friedman. $1.99 is not a bad price for a book that goes for over $100 for the hardcover edition. NOTE: I wouldn't recommend the Kindle edition for anyone that doesn't have a tablet or at least a very high-res large smartphone. A regular Kindle would do pretty poorly with the detailed diagrams and schematics, as well as photographs.

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    3. Great observation Larry. That era of naval architecture was a lot like aircraft design in the 40s and 50s for precisely the reasons you state. Hhmm, weird warships, I like the concept, would make a pretty good post I think.

      Thanks!

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  13. The 60s were definitely the heyday for strange looking aircraft in our military. Better, badder, and more beautiful were the decades to follow. Fortunately the Britts and the Ruskies continued in the tradition! I guess it would make sense, VTOL aircraft would eliminate the need for super carriers, but fortunately for me, Lush, Lex, etc., cooler
    heads prevailed. Look at that vertijet landing. Just think of how that would have changed Naval Aviation. "704 you are 3/4s of a mile, call the pull-up bar."

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    1. Hahaha! Call the pull-up bar, that's priceless!

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  14. (Don McCollor)...the most unlikely VTOL aircraft was a C130 modified for a rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages. It was to slow with retrorockets, and land vertically on rocket thrust in a soccer stadium. It would take off vertically on rocket thrust, more rockets pushing it up to flying speed. Crashed during testing. There are bold pilots, but the ones that flew that one were crazy brave....

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    1. Wow! Never heard of that one, to fly that would take some real brass ones!

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    2. (Don McCollor)...it was Operation Credible Spirit...

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    3. It worked quite well, too. I know the person who fired the retros too soon had to have been beating himself up over that. I certainly hope the idiot who decided they only needed one special C-130 instead of two (so they'd have a spare), was suitably shamed, but for some reason, I have doubts about that. A lot of planning during that era certainly sucked balls. That operation had a real chance of success.

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    4. Lots of blame to go around on that one.

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  15. Speaking of parasite fighters, look up the B-50 (possibly B-29) with F-84s attched to each wing tip. Wild out of the thinking in the 1950's.

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    1. Whoa! That's some wild stuff, the FICON Project, who knew!

      I sense a future Wings of Weirdness will include that. Thanks!

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