Monday, 30 January 2017

FAA/RAF Phantom pilot training 767 NAS - Phantoms in service - British Pathe video 1969

Continuing my on-going series of blog posts covering RAF and Fleet Air Arm Phantoms. Having just acquired a very nice photo album comprising some 200 top photo prints and slides, expect plenty more on British Phantoms here. First some gen, starting at the beginning.

In the late 1960's  the UK was the first overseas customer to buy the F-4 Phantom from the United States, purchased for the Royal Navy as an all-weather. long-range, carrier-borne fighter for Fleet defence to replace the Sea Vixen. An RAF variant was developed. The Fleet Air Arm F-4 K Phantom FG 1 and the RAF F-4 M Phantom FGR 2 were derived from the F-4 J, but featured the Westinghouse AN/AWG-11/12 Pulse doppler radar, Rolls Royce Spey 202/203 turbofan engines producing 20,515 lbs of thrust each (12,250 lbs each in static dry power - non-reheat - 17,500 in flight) and significantly different British avionics including a Ferranti Inertial Navigation and Attack System or INAS in the case of the FGR 2. Replacing the original General Electric J79 engines with the slightly fatter and longer Rolls Royce Speys necessitated changes to the inlets due to the larger air requirement and a re-design of the lower rear fuselage. The installation of the Speys gave an increase of 10% in operational range, 15% increase in ferry range and better low-level acceleration, however the increased drag of the engine installation rather upset the aerodynamic qualities of the airframe, resulting in slightly reduced performance at high altitude.The AN/AWG-11 fire control system was installed in the F-4 K and the AN/AWG-12 in the FGR 2 in place of the AN/AWG-10 of the F-4 J. The AWG-11 differed from the AWG-10 mainly in having a radar dish that folded sideways with the nose cone (radome) to reduce the aircraft's length to 54 feet so that it could fit on the smaller deck lifts of British aircraft carriers. Fifty F-4 K Phantom FG.MK 1s were built and 116 F-4 M Phantom FGR. Mk 2s (plus two prototypes of each) ..

British F-4 undergoing sea trials on HMS Eagle - Joe Wilkinson in the foreground on the tractor. According to Joe this is probably the aircraft currently on display in the FAA museum.  (pic via Joe Wilkinson)

Above and below; FG. 1 with 767 NAS, probably during the early 70s - note the 'yellow Hawk' emblem on the tail fin, otherwise known as the 'ten ton budgie'.. The Naval Air Squadron 767 was established to train FG. 1 pilots between 1969 and 1972. Note the extended nose oleo of 152/ VL on approach. Quite unusual to see a NAS 767 machine in camouflaged finish, XV 579  157/VL, below, was one of only two RN machines in the two-colour camouflage RAF scheme from where it was on loan from mid-1969 to August 1972 prior to going to 43 Sqn in 1973 as 'R'.

 "..the undercarriage just sags under its own weight until it touches down, then compresses. Hooks weren't routinely used for airfield landing unless the 'chute candled and they dumped it for a go-around.." (Charlie Brown)

(unknown photographers, photo print above and slide below in my collection - you can click on the images to view them large - compare with the photo on page 43 of Pat Martin's "British Phantoms " Vol I)

Below; Royal Navy Phantom FG.1 XT 859, at Yeovilton, March 1969  (in my collection via Darryl Wickham). Another notable feature of FAA F-4s was the extensible nose wheel leg to reduce the 'wind over deck' requirement for safe launches from the smaller British flight decks/catapults.

" Everything drops when the weight is off the wheels. For carrier ops the nose wheel extended to give better angle of attack on launch. 1/2 flap for take off and full flap for landing. The leading edge flaps came down for both..On the FGR2 we didn't have the extending nosewheel although it might have been useful on a QRA launch from Stanley! We also landed into the cable. It was a 600 foot pull out not too dissimilar to The Ark. The oleos extended under gravity. so what you see on landing is normal. I think the early FG1s had the extending nose wheel. A few of the Navy mods were retained such as the slotted stabilator but most were slowly phased out."

Also on this blog;

F-4 Phantom Squadrons in the RAF in 100 photos

Phantom Pharewell - German Air Force JG 71 Richthofen F-4F's retiring this weekend

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Magnum! - books on the Wild Weasels

via Joe Copalman on the 'Aviation Enthusiast book club ' FB page

 " When I attended the 'Phantom Phinale' at Holloman last month (article on the event in the February issue of AFM out soon), one of the civilian contract pilots still flying QF-4s with Det 1 was Jim 'Boomer' Schreiner. I'd heard or read his name before, but couldn't place where. During the Q & A session, he spoke about being the only QF-4 pilot left who had flown the F-4 operationally and in combat. Still no bells went off. I even interviewed him one on one afterward and talked about his combat tour flying F-4Gs in Desert Storm. The guy's book has been on my Amazon wish list for eight years, and he was standing right in front of me giving me all the data I needed to make the connection, and it all just blew right past me. When I got back from Holloman, I was on a bit of an F-4 high, so I looked up 'Magnum' on Amazon and realized what a huge dummy I was. Not only had I had one of the authors right in front of me, but in the time that passed since it was first published, the book had gone out of print and the cheapest copy I could find in good condition was nearly double the price it had been new. This year, I put that $25 gift card to good use, while putting a minor dent in my Amazon card to cover the balance..."

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

F2A Buffalo fighter, Naval Air Station (NAS) Miami, Florida, 1941-1942 - daily photo find # 53

F2A Buffalo fighters pictured during a training flight from Naval Air Station (NAS) Miami, Florida, 1941-1942. These items are part of a photograph album assembled by Commander Joseph C. Clifton during his service in World War II and can be found in the on-line searchable  US Naval Aviation museum collection

Monday, 2 January 2017

B-29 Superfortress “Doc” first flight July 2016 - USAF F-4 Phantom final flight, 'Phantom Phinale' Holloman AF base, December 2016

First post of the New Year! FalkeEins 'Jet & Prop' blog starts its ninth year.  This blog now features over 400 separate posts. Approx average daily page views  =500. As a 'google' blog we get listed near the top of most searches. Author/blogger FalkeEins is previously published in UK aviation/modelling magazines and has credits with numerous publishers, including Kagero, Red Kite, Classic Publications, Lela Presse  (publishers of 'Avions' magazine in France) Eagle Editions, Erik Mombeek, Claes Sundin etc. See sidebar for our other blogs and more interesting aviation blogs worldwide.

To kick off 2017 two awesome aviation events from 2016 that we did not get around to covering last year!

B-29 Superfortress “Doc” flew for the first time during July 2016 after being rolled out of a former Boeing Wichita hangar on March 23, 2015, following 15 years and 300,000 hours of restoration work by scores of volunteers. The bomber, built by Boeing in Wichita in 1945, had been parked in the California Mojave desert for 42 years. The aircraft was discovered in 1987 and, in 2000, was trucked to Wichita where restoration began. The project went through a hiatus, the victim of a poor economy and lack of hangar space, when a group of Wichita business leaders and aviation enthusiasts formed a nonprofit group called Doc’s Friends and restarted the restoration. Boeing donated the hangar space. The B-29 is one of only two to be flyable. Securing a permanent home in Wichita for the aircraft and operating the aircraft as a flying museum will probably prove as problematic as the British Vulcan to the Sky project. B-29 Doc organizers estimate it will take another $7 million to $9 million to secure permanent hangar space. Below; some screen captures from the B-29 'Doc' first flight video posted below.

This blog is a big fan of the F-4 Phantom, usually RAF and RN variants! But during 2016 I was fortunate enough to see two Greek F-4s in the air and up close in the static at the RIAT 2016 show in the UK. Elsewhere  the U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom II made its final flight, after more than 50 years of service, at Holloman Air Force Base on 21 December 2016. Here are some screen captures from one of the best videos of the  'Phantom Phinale' “Pharewell” posted on youtube. A single click to view here. Published by Skyes 9 on youtube in December 2016. " In an attempt at documenting the last USAF F-4 Phantoms in flying service, I flew to Holloman AFB, NM. They'll be used as ground targets from now on as the QF-16 takes over. In this video you will see the start up, taxi out, and flyby of the F-4s, followed by water cannon salute and then shut down of the USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II..."

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