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Thunderbird Diamond SoCal Emergency Breakaway

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Thunderbird Diamond SoCal Emergency Breakaway

Old 16th May 2020, 02:32
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Thunderbird Diamond SoCal Emergency Breakaway

Another day at the office. Looks like the right wing got sucked into the lead in a turn, quickly backed out and spooked one of the solos. Don't know who'll buy the beer but good job, no paint swapped.



The breakaway occurs at about :25 in this video:


Some commentary in this article by Tyler Rogoway:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zon...ency-breakaway
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Old 16th May 2020, 02:37
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The first in echelon wobbled and had the potential to move to the right, the second took evasive action. Good for him.
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Old 16th May 2020, 02:45
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Well done that man! A professional pilot with no ego. Took the necessary action and then rejoined the formation. Would have made the display more interesting to watch if the commentator explained what was happening to those on the ground .
It just goes to show itís harder than it looks!
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Old 16th May 2020, 02:52
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Some good narrative on the challenges of flying the diamond from retired former Thunderbird lead Lt. Col. Richard McSpadden.

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Old 16th May 2020, 03:43
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It looked to me like lead rolled opposite direction maybe unexpectedly and the roller coaster began but good job to react to what was happening and not what you expect to happen!
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Old 16th May 2020, 04:11
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Originally Posted by ozbiggles View Post
It looked to me like lead rolled opposite direction maybe unexpectedly and the roller coaster began but good job to react to what was happening and not what you expect to happen!
I think you're right, it looks like the lead made the first, uh, correction. The beer is on him!
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Old 16th May 2020, 07:39
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Looked to me like the lead reversed the turn, a little abruptly, 2 adjusted and the solo didnít pick it up. Used to happen when you glanced away briefly, looked back and got surprised. The whole formation was a bit loose at times, I suspect some sightseeing going on.
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Old 16th May 2020, 09:19
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There's no way the rest of the team expected the lead to roll out of the left turn when he did. It also looks as though the leader's roll-rate as he rolled out of the left turn was higher than the rate he used during entry. Possible therefore the lead made a rather late decision to roll-out, and I doubt very much he had called it. A rate of change of bank that the lead used rolling right to wings level would have to be called in anything other than a basic 3-ship for the guys on the wing to have a chance of keeping on the references. So much of the close formation manoeuvring relies upon the 'procedural' control inputs applied based on the leaders voice/tone and of course the expected manoeuvre.
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Old 16th May 2020, 10:02
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Was that a Display or a Transit ? 😝
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Old 16th May 2020, 14:19
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Originally Posted by El Grifo View Post
Was that a Display or a Transit ? 😝
El G.
Both. The Thunderbirds and Blue Angels are doing national fly-bys of hospital and health provider facilities in lieu of displays and/or training. Last week they did a bunch of East Coast stuff with the Blue Angels, obviously this week LA isn't far (relatively) from Nellis for the Thunderbirds.

/It was caused by the lead suddenly reversing his left turn, surprised Number 2 who reversed even quicker, and Number 6 got the airmanship award.
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Old 16th May 2020, 15:11
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Cracking the whip. The second guy on the wing always gets it worse. Suddenly he's got 20-30 degrees over bank vs the other two guys and a vector into them. Been there, done that. It's not fun..
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Old 16th May 2020, 15:30
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So much for the lead flying a smooth and predictable profile...
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Old 16th May 2020, 16:02
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Originally Posted by Bluffontheriver123 View Post
The whole formation was a bit loose at times, I suspect some sightseeing going on.
I seriously doubt that any sightseeing was going on but it does appear that the T-birds maintain more social distancing in the diamond than the Blues in recent videos.

A couple of years ago the leader of the Thunderbirds was fired for, among other things, trying to choke a teammate in a bar after a dispute over a too low flyover of a Washington Redskins football game:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...-bar-argument/




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Old 16th May 2020, 16:11
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This one is on lead, however stuff happens and well played by the wingman. Instead of forcing a bad situation he pulled for the blue and then rejoined in a safe and expeditious manner.
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Old 16th May 2020, 19:00
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post
I seriously doubt that any sightseeing was going on but it does appear that the T-birds maintain more social distancing in the diamond than the Blues in recent videos.
I flew several trips with a former Blue Angel. I was surprised when he said they get moments to look around. He said you know the profile and can grab quick glances away. It actually makes sense because it allows you a little break from the concentration. He mentioned that he saw a guy holding an outdoor tai chi class in downtown SFO during their show. He said it was kind of funny to think of the difference - a tai chi instructor ignored a modern fighter blasting by at 400+ kts.

The T-birds do look like they have more spacing than the Blues. To me it looks like the F-16 is a less stable platform to fly on the wing. One or two videos might be local conditions but it looks that way in a lot of the videos IMO. #6 looks a little spooked after he rejoined... :-0
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Old 16th May 2020, 21:19
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Salute!

The "cracking the whip" aspect of multi-plane formations is a big player, especially for the third/fourth/fifth fellow on the echelon/wedge/diamond.
#3 reacted very quickly, but #6, or whoever the solo member was, honored the unrehearsed and rather abrupt minor wing drop by lead and #3's reaction. The two solo folks do not practice as many really close formation maneuvers as #2 and #3. Ditto for the Blues. Most of the six-ship passes are benign and for pictures, ceremonies, etc. I think the Reds and the Cannuck Snows do a lot more 6-ship + close stuff than the U.S. teams, from what I have seen from their performances.

I am sure that many here have been the leader or #5 in close formations and can add to my comments, huh? /sarc

My own experience was to use the private freq and narrate the show as a lead.. If I had to change the practice roll/pitch rates and such, it was a simple comment like "bit tighter", "more pull now", "rolling out", etc.

Oh well, I liked the solo dude's very quick rejoin and all's well for the tour they made to thank the medical folks and others.
=================
BTW, I was at the Sun and Fun show 6 or 7 years ago when the Blues leader got lower than planned/practiced and the #2 and #3 guys broke up and away. We thot it was a new maneuver. Later, that next day, the Leader asked to be relieved, and said he had also had a problem on a previous performance, as well.

The Birds and Blues and Arrows and Snows must have the utmost confidence in their leader and team members. The great formation flying is the easiest part of what they do.


Gums sends...

Last edited by gums; 16th May 2020 at 22:44. Reason: corrected flight numbers
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Old 16th May 2020, 22:14
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I'll take an F/A-18C or a F16C with Gums as lead, anytime! I had an unforgettable ride in a Phantom F4C out of NAS Oceana long ago and far away. (My father was a "big guy" in the U.S. Navy and could arrange such things.) I was 15 and Angels 40 was reached far more rapidly than my young flight-suited self could have imagined! My face was peeled back by the G's for a minute; the smile has been on my face ever since.

When I earned my PPL in 1977, I'd go around the pattern or aviate long cross county flights to maintain currency. For the joy of it. I'd always look upward and think: "I've been there!"

Salute right back!

- Ed
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Old 16th May 2020, 22:47
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I grabbed this gif from a flyover (@12:05)
Cool as a cucumber.

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Old 17th May 2020, 01:51
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Originally Posted by Airbubba View Post

A couple of years ago the leader of the Thunderbirds was fired for, among other things, trying to choke a teammate in a bar after a dispute over a too low flyover of a Washington Redskins football game:

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/y...-bar-argument/
Could anybody tell me why the first female Thunderbird team leader was fired after just two weeks on the job....

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47219253
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Old 17th May 2020, 02:58
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Originally Posted by tcasblue View Post
Could anybody tell me why the first female Thunderbird team leader was fired after just two weeks on the job....

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47219253
Uh, you might want to read that article again. There has never been a female leader of the Thunderbirds. Or a female Blue Angel display pilot for that matter.

Captain Katie Higgins Cook was the first female Blue Angel pilot to fly the C-130 support plane:

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/military/sdut-blue-angels-female-pilot-katie-higgins-2015oct01-htmlstory.html

More here on Captain Zoe Kotnik's 15 minutes of fame: First Female USAF F-16 Demo Team Commander Fired After Two Weeks

Last edited by Airbubba; 17th May 2020 at 04:54.
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