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Hey wingwalker, in your opinion where did the A4 stack up against the F4 and Crusader? I have a huge hardon for how ridiculously neat the Crusader was.
 

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Hey wingwalker, in your opinion where did the A4 stack up against the F4 and Crusader? I have a huge hardon for how ridiculously neat the Crusader was.
And we can add the F-105 in there too I suppose
 

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Speaking of aircraft, the movie 1941 is on tonight on Starz. In it is the Beech D18 that was our jump plane at the time. Shortly after the movie the plane was taxiing out with a full load of jumpers when 2 douchebags(murderers) jumped on looking for a free ride. It overloaded the plane and on takeoff it winged over crashing and killing everyone on board. Lost 14 friends that day.
 

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Hey wingwalker, in your opinion where did the A4 stack up against the F4 and Crusader? I have a huge hardon for how ridiculously neat the Crusader was.
Give me a Crusader and a full load of Sidewinders please.
 

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Hey wingwalker, in your opinion where did the A4 stack up against the F4 and Crusader? I have a huge hardon for how ridiculously neat the Crusader was.
The A-4 was an attack bomber, the others -- Crusader and F-4 -- were fighters. When I put in my duty-preference card as I wrapped up flight training, my first choice was Crusader, second was A-4 and third was A-1 Skyraider (a massive single-engine prop plane). All three had different missions, but the common theme for me was that each had a single cockpit.

The F-4 had two guys in the cockpit. Nothing wrong with that, but I never did real well in committee work, so preferred to be responsible for everything.

The F-105 was designed to follow on the F-100 Supersaber, a fighter and an airplane I built several models of as a kid and thought was super cool. The F-105 was classed between the two missions: fighter/bomber.

As it turned out, I was very lucky receiving orders for my second choice, because the Vietnam air war (I was on three deployments beginning in 1966) was a bomber's war. Bombing: that was the strategic thrust, not air superiority (which we pretty much had from the start). I flew off small ships -- Oriskany and Handcock. Aircraft aboard the first two cruises were two squadrons of A-4s, one squadron of A-1s and two squadrons of Crusaders. I got to know some of the Crusader guys very well. They lived and breathed the day they could engage MiGs, but that was actually pretty rare. On the other hand, we flew bombing missions every day and sometimes twice a day, so we got to exercise our training every mission and therefore honed our skills until we were quite good at what we did. And by the way, a "day" was either midnight-to-noon or noon-to-midnight -- so we got in plenty of night flying.

On the '68-69 cruise we had no Skyraiders aboard (I missed them; they were wild and crazy guys), so there were three A-4 squadrons. (The slow but very lethal A-1s were just too vulnerable up north, so they were replaced by the additional A-4s.)

Later on, some of the Crusader skippers lobbied to use their airplanes to also bomb -- so that their squadrons would have a more active missions. After all, the Air Force was using F-105s as bombers. (Thud was the nickname and so many got shot down on the corridor into Hanoi that it became known as Thud Ridge). Problem was, the Crusaders had a number of missions to train for already. They flew patrols to ensure an Soviet aircraft would be intercepted far away from the carrier task force. They flew cover for us when we went on significant raids (called Alpha Strikes) and the photo-birds, the RF-8s, had the terrifying job of flying straight and level (and fast as hell) over proposed targets and then they had the insane job of flying back over each target after we had stirred things up by bombing it. This was important work, by the way, because it was worthwhile to study target photos before going in. And when the BDA (bomb damage assessment) photos came back, it would save us from having a repeat if the target was sufficiently -- what's the word? -- compromised. The photo birds, by the way, were escorted by an F-8 Crusader fighter. So, the point is, with all this training on their plate, (not to mention air-to-air gunnery and Sidewinder practice), the Crusader guys had little time to practice dive bombing. So, unfortunately, this resulted in way too many bombs missing targets by wide margins. Some of these misses were very unfortunate -- especially if they happened to accidentally hit a school or church. The F-105 guys did one or the other mission and trained for that so they were accurate bombers when they did that mission. (We A-4 drivers, of course, thought we were the most accurate bomber pilots over there, but the fact is, the A-6 Intruder (two guys in the cockpit of an exceedingly ugly aircraft) was the most accurate bomber over there,

Now, which of these aircraft we are talking about is by far the sexiest looking? The F-8 Crusader, hands down. And, as every Crusader pilot will tell you, they were the last of the fighters with guns. Sexy indeed.

Second in line would be the A-4, an awesome-looking little bird (especially as painted up by the Blue Angels during the time they flew them).

So, there's another very long answer to a few short questions. And here's the deal. When I ask motorcycle questions (of which I have many, being a returning-after-many-decades newbie) I'm hoping for detailed explanations, too. I need lots of help.
 

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I really appreciate the perspective!

as an aside, I really need to read "Sled Driver" one of these days
 

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I really appreciate the perspective!

as an aside, I really need to read "Sled Driver" one of these days
After you read that, check out "Over the Beach" by Zalin Grant. It chronicles the air war in 1967 from the perspective of one of the two F-8 Crusader squadrons, but it covers most of the air wing activities (including a brief mention of my leader and I both getting bagged within 12 minutes -- not a good day). It's a great read, because it was written by a good journalist who was careful with the facts.

And one more thing about the F-8 Crusader. Yes, in the air, it is easily one of the sexiest airplanes ever designed. But dirtied-up for an approach to the carrier, with its wing up, its awkward landing gear splayed out to the sides of the fuselage and its high angle of attack, it is somewhat ugly. The A-4, I would argue, doesn't suffer that, and is classically good-looking at all times -- even sitting up on its high, spindly gear while on the ramp.

But perhaps one of the prettiest airplanes ever designed was the Navy's A-5 -- which was, if I recall, double supersonic. It looked fast even while parked. Yet it was a total failure, and never was operational as a nuclear-delivery bomber (because the damn weapons would get caught up in the sonic wave and follow the airplane!). It was turned into a photo bird and suffered a terrible combat loss rate. It was also huge and very difficult to land aboard the boat. But look it up on Google -- a good looking bird if ever there was one.
 

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Just this week I saw a TV show called Dogfight which had a whole hour on Crusader as gun ships and Skyhawks as bombers. During the show the F8's were consistently called the last gun ship due to having guns. Pretty damn interesting. They even did a short piece on Skyraiders and how one manage to score a Mig kill. Most of the talk about the Crusader was how the pilots were all hopped up for dogfighting. They talked about the F8 flying cover for the A-4's. I was in the navy in the early 70's and by that time most of the A4's were being replaced by the Intruders as bombers. I never really got why the A4's were bombers as they looked (to me) to be kind of tiny airplanes for the roll and I was amazed of how many bombs the A6 could carry. When I joined the Navy - I wanted to be an aviator but due to a lack college and such ended up becoming an ET on a Destroyer. As such we spent our time following the carriers around. I guess our only claim to fame was pulling a pilot out of the water after he hit the round-out on the Oriskany and being the only ship in the fleet with a confirmed kill on a Russian made Komar boat (missile caring PT boat). We were also the Com7 Fleet command ship home ported out of Japan. When I look back on my service - we had it pretty easy compared to the guys on the ground and the ones flying.
 

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I am pretty lucky to live in cool airplane land. We have a DC-6 that makes regular freight runs in here a couple of times a week. There is nothing like the sound of 4 big radials. It must be like what a B-17 sounds like. We have C-46 and c-47 s that come in on a regular basis hauling freight or fuel. Our regular passenger service is a Caravan, Navajo or Beech 1900 with the occasional big plane, a Dash 8. We also see Pilates Porters, King Airs, Saab Turbo props and Aero commanders in on charters, not to mention the Huey's and Robinsons. We have the usual variety of small planes that base out of here like C120,140, 170, 180 and 195. And the J3, PA11,12,14,18 and 20/22. A handful of Mauls, a Stinson and a Luscombe 8A. I live on the floatplane lake so depending on the season we have a variety things on floats taking off and landing. The Alaska State Troopers tie their PA-18 up at my dock and we have a bunch of hunting guides that are in and out all fall with Beavers on floats. all in all, it is cool.


Ken
 

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My favorite battle field plane is still the A-10 Tank Buster. It is one badass effective ground fighter.
Have to agree with you on that one. Love those things. Our government decided to buy F35s, which personally I think is a dumb idea based on our climate, geography, cost, etc, etc. F22 would probably be a better choice with 2 engines. I would be nice to build our own, but a previous prime minister gutted the shit out of our aerospace industry. I've dreamt about going to his grave site and pissing on his headstone. While the bureaucrats at the local sausage factory argue in defense of the F35, I often thought a bunch of modified A10s would come in handy in the mean time for the low and slow work of preventing the raping and pillaging off the coasts.
 

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Thats a great article.
 

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The biggest reason they didn't like it was because it was slower than the bomber. Slow was one of it's advantages. They could make a quick pass and turn around quickly for secondary passes. They had to modify the A7 to do some of what the A-10 could. I'd rather have the Warthog than the SLUF (Short Little Ugly Fucker)

The Air Force just recently decided against it after 40 years of badass service.
 

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A mate drove me over to a classic car show held at an old airfield (East Kirkby) today and we also enjoyed watching this old bird taxi around. It only does taxi runs, which you can pay for a ride so I paid a deposit and put my name down....18 months waiting list.

20150418_131916[1].jpg
 

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A mate drove me over to a classic car show held at an old airfield (East Kirkby) today and we also enjoyed watching this old bird taxi around. It only does taxi runs, which you can pay for a ride so I paid a deposit and put my name down....18 months waiting list.

View attachment 13744
Looks like they are working on getting it airworthy again:

[h=2]Lancaster NX611 (Just Jane)[/h]


Just Jane during a taxi–run, (May 2008)


The centre's main exhibit is Avro Lancaster Mk VII, NX611, named Just Jane after a popular wartime comic character.
The Lancaster was built in April 1945 and was intended for use against Japan as part of the RAF's Tiger Force. However, the surrender of Japan meant it never saw action. It spent several years in storage before becoming one of 54 Lancasters sold to the French government.[SUP][3][/SUP] It entered service with French Naval Aviation and used for maritime patrol and air–sea rescue work. The upper turret was removed, and radar was fitted as well as the equipment to carry and drop an Airborne lifeboat.[SUP][3][/SUP]
The Lancaster was operated by French forces over the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and later the Pacific after being re-deployed to New Caledonia (its service in the far-East included bombing raids during the First Indochina War)[SUP][3][/SUP] In 1964, the French donated it to the Historical Aircraft Preservation Society, who flew it back to the United Kingdom and subsequently flew it for several years. However, the society could not afford the aircraft's operating costs and it was put up for auction in 1972. The Panton brothers attempted, but failed, to buy it as a memorial to their brother. Instead, it became a gate guardian at RAF Scampton[SUP][7][/SUP] (the auction winner lent it to the RAF in exchange for them transporting and maintaining the now–grounded aircraft). The Pantons were able to subsequently buy it, with the condition that it remain at Scampton as gate guardian until 1983. In the event, it remained there until 1987.[SUP][3][/SUP]
In 1987, NX611, was brought to East Kirkby. It was given the name Just Jane and a restoration programme begin in 1992, with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines being restored to running–condition one–by–one. The Lancaster is used for regular taxi–runs as of 2012 which raises some of the money needed to maintain and restore it.[SUP][3][/SUP] In 2011, it was used in the filming of the Doctor Who episode, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.[SUP][8][/SUP]
Restoration of Just Jane to flying status is an ongoing project, wich is to soon be completed with the centre acquiring the last of four, airworthy Merlin engines at the end of 2012.
 

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I cant see it being airworthy anytime soon, but it is now fitted with the 4 engines mentioned above. Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up this morning when they powered those Merlins up
 

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I cant see it being airworthy anytime soon, but it is now fitted with the 4 engines mentioned above. Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up this morning when they powered those Merlins up
Was there any indication this plane had anything other than the Merlins. It just says the restoration began with the restoration of the engines in 1992. It has taken 20 years to restore or obtain engines?
 

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Here's a link to an analysis of a number of attack aircraft, including the A-10. And it gives a brief explanation of why the A-10 isn't favored by the Air Force.

Can We Learn Something From The Defunct A-7F "Strikefighter?"
The A-10 is an airborne tank. It's the only plane that you can fly into a hostile shooting situation to surgically remove the enemy without taking out friendlies, and accomplish the mission while taking on an enormous amount of damage before becoming inoperable. It also has the best armor of any cockpit known to mankind(possible hyperbole). Nothing is coming through the bottom or side of the tub that the pilot is sitting in. You can't compare the plane to anything else because nothing else can do it's job. Ask the guys on the ground how they feel when they hear the burp of God himself slicing through the air as his enemy is turned to meat spray. And ask the pilots which plane they want to fly into a mission where they know they are going to take on a few hits. Fuck how the Air Force bobble headed leadership "feels" about the plane. It's irreplaceable. Did I mention I like it? :)
 
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