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Buccaneer Performance

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Buccaneer Performance

Old 24th Aug 2013, 10:43
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Buccaneer Performance

No, sadly not a display!

Recall overhearing many moons ago that it was impossible to loop the Buccaneer, or at least it was advised against. No idea why. Simple aerodynamics?

Any ex Bucc guys out there ever tried it/thought better of it/survived?

Also ISTR that amongst the officially published stats, the aircraft ceiling was never publicly revealed. Like it wasnt really anything to brag about.

Any idea how high anyone ever got in one and what was a comfortable cruise altitude? Small blown wing and all that. Dont suppose its a design which encouraged experiments in zoom climbing.

Just always wondered about that.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 10:52
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All the ex Bucc guys i have met seemed to be quite happy at about 50 ft. Flat out.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 16:59
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Saw a super display at Honington around 1968ish, a crew had just finished the con. course and at the end gave a beat up culminating in a full power flyby and pulling nearly vertical and doing one upward roll, so they could zoom when they wanted to.
ISTR that consecutive upward rolls may have resulted in an unplanned departure of some parts.
Regards, Den.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 17:28
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I would imagine it would be a bit like trying to loop a Phantom in cold power. Start with as much speed as you like, it's so heavy and draggy (especially when pulling g up into the vertical) that it's going to slow down VERY fast. The top of the "loop" would most likely become a nasty slow speed tumbling recovery.

She was built to be beautifully stable and fast at low level, not an aerobatic display jet. Buc aeros - an undignified dance for a very powerful and magnificent war fighter.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 19:44
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Any ex Bucc guys out there ever tried it/thought better of it/survived?
I suppose from the absence of posts.....none survived!
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 20:00
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I remember somebody telling me the Javelin wasn't much cop at aerobatic manoeuvres either...and that's worrying for a fighter.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 20:06
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I seem to recall that Simon's Circus had Bucc Mk 1s in a loop but that was a very long time ago.

Looking at Google is seems the circus was only Sea Vixen but I recall seeing mixed formation of Buccaneers and Sea Vixen and certainly in the vertical.

Found it, the Buccs were Phoenix Five http://aerobaticteams.net/simons-sircus.html

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 24th Aug 2013 at 21:24.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 20:24
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Purely an observation of a ground crew type, but I've been on the receiving end of many "max chat 50 foot bye bye passes". The aircraft is legend, I never saw one loop, the fly by was awesome. Respect and thanks to anyone still pruning who flew this beast. As a quick aside, I'm awaiting delivery of my pre ordered "The Buccaneer Boys" by Graham Pitchfork. If its half as good as the aircraft it will be a good read.

Smudge
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:25
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Buccaneer Aerobatics

OK, I'll try to answer the OP without too much self-incrimination. As CM has correctly surmised, while a dream to fly at low level the Bucc quickly turned into a bit of a barge when the vertical was involved. THAT SAID, the roll-off-the top was a standard manoeuvre, and I seem to remember flying them during early OCU sorties - wonderful for building confidence in handling. We were actively discouraged from completing the second part of the loop because so many pilots had frightened themselves badly over the years, and most importantly severely frightened their navs! At any speed where the ac wasn't G-limited, the optimum turn performance was defined by the 'steady note' at 20 ADD. However at slow speed (eg top of a loop) the pitch rate generated at the steady note was pretty appalling, it was very easy to over-correct and the effect of gravity on ac acceleration on the back side of the loop was astonishing. It would have been very easy to feel that you were losing control of the situation. In practice, a disciplined adherence to maintaining the optimum ADD and transferring to the limit/target G would result in a perfectly safe return to level flight - but it used up a lot of sky! Another trick for recovering a feeling of control over what (allegedly) felt like a runaway train might have been to crack the (incredibly efficient) airbrake on the way down. All in all, it was a wonderful aircraft, especially in its element at low level, but with the performance to cruise (and maintain formation) at FL 390, AAR up to FL 330 (these figures based on personal experience - others may have done better/worse depending on fit/drag). A properly planned and well-flown display showed the aircraft off well - but it wasn't a fighter, and classic aeros, while fun and challenging to fly well, never really suited the Bucc. We had better things to do!
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:28
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Thanks for the remarkably sensible replies so far.

Pity the South African mob isnt still on the go, could have tried to find out for myself!

Anyway, this is really just to bump the thread back up to the top and give my query best chance.

If anyone should happen to know the location of any ex Bucc crew maybe they could give them a friendly prod.

Cheers muchly

Coochy
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:34
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Manandboy

Just beat me to it!

Thanks so much for the input, very interesting, must have also made for some interesting flying!

Cheers

Coochy
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:43
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CC - Son of an Observer from Vixens called Tuite just stayed in our gite so could probably put you in touch
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:48
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Many years ago a Spam exchange officer, who was something of an amiable redneck yee-hah cowboy (but a super chap), decided to try a 'curry' for the first time. When asked what he would like, he replied that he was from Texas, so was used to the hottest chilli-con-carne, so "Gimme the hottest ya got!" was his request.

He was duly served with a very mean Beef Phaal turbo-nutter GTi. When he'd recovered from the shock of his first mouthful of this beef-flavoured volcanic lava flow, he asked whether many other people had asked for it.

"Oh, yes indeed sir. But not many try it twice!"

Which brings me to the point about looping the Bucc. We were told not to - even though a nose-high roll off the top could lead to roll-yaw divergence, that was as nothing compared with the runaway train feeling due to the limited pitch authority available in the steady / steady-low ADD tone during the second half of a loop as the earth loomed large in the windscreen and anxious comments came from the rear seat....or so I'm told.

Some tried it, but not many tried it twice.

Last edited by BEagle; 24th Aug 2013 at 21:52.
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Old 24th Aug 2013, 21:51
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Appreciated but I wouldnt want to take up the mans time involuntarily, sounds like he's busy enjoying himself.

Course you could always just recommend PPRuNe, sounds like he'd have a decent contribution to make.

Specially since the one jet I like even more than the Bucc is the Sea Vixen!

BTW, Manandboy, no incrimination noted, apart from the "allegedly".

Cooch
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 00:52
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Thanks Beags for further clarification.

Quite impressed a Bucc can get up to FL390 and stay there.

As you might gather I never got to fly anything quite so capable, so perhaps someone could also even vaguely enlighten me on how one might calculate optimal cruise altitude for fuel efficiency for any given type?

Are there any hard and fast rules/terribly sophisticated equations you can employ or is it just look at the dials and see what you get?

As for tanking, what generally dictates the level selected?

Someone just tell me to shut up if I'm getting tedious.

Insomniacs of the world unite, and we'll catch everybody else asleep.....

Last edited by Coochycool; 25th Aug 2013 at 00:56.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 05:32
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When the S2's were delivered to Farnborough (1975ish) the crews did a lot of airways flying to familiarise themselves. London Control got a bit miffed as they cruised at about FL 260/280 at some 550kt true (don't know what mach no that would be) where the fastest airliners (Tridents in those days) only did just over 500kt, hence the Buccaneers quite often tended to overtake other traffic at the same level, requiring extra vectoring by the radar controllers as a visual overtake wasn't allowed!

Last edited by chevvron; 25th Aug 2013 at 05:33.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 07:15
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showed an Israeli the footage ITN took of the Buccaneers that went into Beruit to support British troops on the MNF he was extremely impressed.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 08:03
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Yes, I must confess to looping the Buccaneer - in my youth. It was on a detachment to Goose Bay. I had been led through a loop on a tail chase a month earlier in Cyprus so I knew it would work.

We started at quite a low height and I pulled very gently into the loop to make sure I gained as much height as possible, over the top I opened the airbrake fully and held the ADD steady note. In the vertical on the way down, with nowhere to go, my excellent Nav, an experienced man who had flown with the Navy, said for C----T's sake pull! To which I replied I am pulling! We bottomed 2,500 feet above our entry height. It was not an event I was proud of and I never attempted another one. The loop was not a cleared manoeuvre for good reason!
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 09:19
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Certainly seen them in the vertical evading Hunters during Taceval at Coningsby. Can't remember why we had Hunters defending the airfield when we had F4's.
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Old 25th Aug 2013, 10:38
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Coochycool,

I think I can help a bit there.

Originally Posted by Coochycool
perhaps someone could also even vaguely enlighten me on how one might calculate optimal cruise altitude for fuel efficiency for any given type?

Are there any hard and fast rules/terribly sophisticated equations you can employ or is it just look at the dials and see what you get?
Generally, there are graphs in the Operating Data Manual and in the Flight Reference Cards for a variety of fits (tanks, external stores, etc) which take into account fuel load. For shorter transits there are often rules of thumb based on your distance to travel on, say, recovery to base. Range speed and endurace speed also have an angle of attack associated with them. And, yes, some useful formulae - F3 recovery fuel = distance to base x 5.5 + 300 + Fuel on the Ground.

Originally Posted by Coochycool
As for tanking, what generally dictates the level selected?
Simples, wherever the tanker was. They know the good altitudes for each aircraft type. For long trails, they would do intricate fuel plans to suit the receivers

Originally Posted by Coochycool
Someone just tell me to shut up if I'm getting tedious.
Not at all. But if you do, I'm sure someone will. This is PPRuNe!!!
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