Military AircrewA forum for the professionals who fly the non-civilian hardware, and the backroom boys and girls without whom nothing would leave the ground. Army, Navy and Airforces of the World, all equally welcome here.
There was a pub landlord who had an old Labrador but one day, as he was putting the dog out for the night, the door blew shut in the wind and cut off its tail. The injury did not heal and the dog died of gangrene. A year later, at midnight, the landlord was wakened by a rattling of chains and the ghostly form of his dog appeared:
"I cannot go to doggie heaven until I am made whole again" said the ghost of the dog.
"Sorry" said the landlord. "I am not allowed to re-tail spirits after 11 o'clock".
Some best F4 stories are in the book Fighter Pilot, by Robin Olds. Most memorable is the story about when he was prepaired to stuff the whole F4 down a target factory chimney. Another when he ordered the in-flight fueling plane to wait for him, "If you leave us I will shoot you down myself!" The whole book is a great read!
I remember an excellent lecture at the Southampton UAS in about 1988 from a man from the AAIB who told stories of how a number of F-4s were catapulted off carriers in the 1970s with their wings still folded. I think he said something like 12 were launched of which 6 crashed straight away with the loss of the crews and of the other 6, 4 of them had the crews bang out and the other two landed them.
My memory might be fading, but I think that that was right. There were also some incidents over here with RAF owned ones - something like the wings being down but not locked and the locking indicators being missed on 2 x walkrounds and not seen by the lineys either.
The SUU always looked like one hell of a bling-bling accessory.
Location: Quite near 'An aerodrome somewhere in England'
The SUU always looked like one hell of a bling-bling accessory.
Certainly was! After the 1982 South Atlantic War, strafe was reinvented for non-mud moving AD folk. What fun that was - visiting places like Cowden and Donna Nook and loosing off at the mud. Much easier than killing Canberra-towed canvas.
After my pre-VC10K F-4 time, I was lucky enough to be sent over to San Diego to trail HM's F-4Js back to the UK during my VC10K course. OP. TIGER TRAIL was the name of the operation and it was brilliant fun. Brize to Wright-Patt, nightstop, then Wright-Patt to Miramar. Rent a car, then Sea World on Friday, Laguna Beach, Universal Studios and Hollywood on Saturday, brunch and Pacific Beach on Sunday, then off to W-P on Monday. Blew an engine...ching! North Island to W-P in the back of the route support Albert on Tuesday, another day off on Wednesday, a weather cancellation on Thursday, then Dayton to Goose trailing the F-4Js from W-P on Friday - which was also my IRT. Then home on Saturday with very nasty severe turbulence on the climb out, which lost most of the radios and nav boxes until the groundcrew were able to re-rack it...
****ing SDO on Sunday though...
10 days away in nice Ascot-friendly hotels for most of the time, plus an excellent night at Goose. Just one of those typical trips back then....
And now you envious wanquerres who posted earlier can get back to your silly inuendos....
I don't think anyone is dim enough to launch an aircraft from a carrier with the wings still folded! SFAIK the RN Phantoms (FG1s) had hydraulic wing fold so if they were down they were locked
RAF Phantoms were mostly manual wing fold so the outer panels were lowered manually and then mechanically locked by groundcrew turning a locking device. There was "Tell-Tale" button a bit bigger than a cotton reel which protruded from the top surface of the wing and could be seen on the walk round and from the cockpit, unless it was dark. Certainly one launched from Bruggen, and crashed, due to the wings being down but not locked.
Correct, the RAF F4s outer wings were mechanically lowered and locked. However, this did not stop the creeping fatigue that continuously travelled back and forth through the F4 wing from letting the odd outer wing depart leaving the crew badly placed in terms of roll control. Recovery was gained by resort to Martin-Baker.
It the final days of the UK F4, the amount of extra metal on the wing under surface was a sight to behold.
the RAF F4s outer wings were mechanically lowered and locked
RAF Phantom FG1 outer wings had a hydraulic mechanism for raising, lowering and locking the outer wings. They had additional mechanical locks that were screwed in or out as required from underneath the wing using a speed brace and bit.
In the unlocked position, the mechanical lock raised a tell tale cylinder on the upper surface of the wing that was marked with dayglow and about 1 inch tall. This was checked on every walk round and every see off I ever saw. Apart from Q launches maybe...
There was an out of phase servicing that called for the wings to be functioned 6 times to recirculate the hydraulic fluid retained in the components to prevant stagnation due to lack of use.
I know this cos I've Phixed a few of em! Happy days!
Just been wracking my memory. I think that the USN / USMC had reported 12 launches or aborts whilst on the cat due to wings being folded. It might have been 6 aborts, and then 2 launches with crashes and loss of crew, 2 launches with crashes and crew saved and then the two which landed back.
Crikey. That was a 24 year old trip into my memories. The lecturer was very specifc about the locking tell-tale standing proud of the wing surface.
At least one US F-4 was successfully landed after taking off with outer wing panels unlocked. The UK F-4s had a more aft cg making it very unstable when the outer wing panels folded up making abandonment the only option.
Some blocked off the rear fuselage fuel cell (tank 7?) or flew it particularly gingerly until it was empty. Take off with partially full Sargent Fletcher wing tanks was not recommended for similar reasons.
I always thought the longitudinal control system - particularly the Q-feel system was an overly complicated device and the error modes filled a very big data manual from MacDonnells. I think there were many incidents of sudden pitch downs occurring at high and low level.
On paper the low level ride of the F4 and the Bucc should have been similar when comparing wing loading and lift curves but apparently you didn't stay low for long in the F-4. Perhaps the Bucc's robust construction and better handling at low level made the ride more comfortable.
Not that it didn't deter everyone. We had one F-4 back in for repair due to a bird strike - it was still in it's nest.
Last edited by Plastic Bonsai; 3rd Aug 2012 at 23:32.
Wish someone had taken pictures of the 6 Squadron FGR2 which limped into Leuchars after trimming some fir trees up by Montrose. The underside of the aircraft was riddled with tears and even the stabilator had holes in it. The ERTT probe along with most of the lower antennas had beem wiped clean off the airframe. This particular aircraft sat in what was called the "mod" hangar at Leuchars for quite some time. I was working on F6 Lightnings then, a nav insty. Just prior to joining glorious 43 Squadron. Eventually temporary repairs done and the aircraft limped back to base. I seem to also remember it flew with ground locks fitted to the U/C. (back to Conningsby ?) This happened sometime around `68 or 1969.
Location: A civilised little County..with a bit of eccentricity to boot
XV431's short flight to Hill 60 resulted in a witchhunt of epic proportions I believe given that I witnessed the event and also knew several people involved. I understand that, with the passage of time, the fabled "holes in the cheese" subsequently became a Flight Safety film and rightly so.
The uncontained engine failure that resulted in a short trip to Holland was another matter. The sight of the nose leg embedded in the farmers outbuilding roof was surreal at times.
The engines arrived in a small copse. The nice man from the Dutch interior classed this copse as prime timber....whereas primeval would have been more accurate. We recovered both engines, but felt it prudent to stop when we also found .303 ammunition, clothing and webbing.
There were two other highlights to this recovery. One was a horse ( deceased) which our boss ( the cleverest man on Bruggen, a rather singular view as he was known collectively by all including the grown ups after his nickname which reflected the habits of a small caged bird..."all twxxter and s$%t ) decided the deceased was prime evidence...and thus there the deceased lay, decomposing gently for several aromatic days....then, it rained,,,, and the deceased started to float until logic finally intervened.
We also found that the RAF and the local Dutch police had a mutual understanding and natural empathy for what some misguided souls would call "corruption", in contrast to the more polite term of "working in harmony" shall we say.
Finally, whatever the merits / demerits of the type, the outstanding feature has to be the most promotional film of all time. Only those who were compelled to watch it will understand this sentiment
Last edited by Krystal n chips; 4th Aug 2012 at 07:19.