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Aircraft Super Thread Mk.VII


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On 7/18/2022 at 9:08 AM, derex3592 said:

That's awesome! Looks like your brother is having a great time! 

Oh he did! He just has terrible luck. After the B-17 flight the next day he was getting ready to head home when the alternator blew on his truck. Good thing he's also a mechanic!

 

Anyways he starting uploading video of his flights to youtube if you want an idea what a flight on a warbird is like.

 

 

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On 7/13/2022 at 4:07 AM, Dobber said:

Cool looking chopper. 
 

Chris

It is, but the Comanche just looks cooler. Whatever its detractors, it's a beautiful bird.

On 7/17/2022 at 12:04 PM, renegadeleader1 said:

My brother after two years of waiting finally got his warbird flight on the B-25J Mitchell "Maid In The Shade" yesterday. I bought him the ticket to fly two years ago, but it got cancelled due to bad weather, then covid happened and cancelled the tour for the next year.

Sorry to post his ugly mug, but you just can't replace that look of pure joy of an older guy getting in touch with his inner child. The real kicker once the flight ended a photographer friend of his that also took the B-25 flight experience bought my brother a ticket for today on the B-17G Sentimental Journey that accompanies the B-25 on it's tour.

img_1_1658002519005.jpg

He looks happy. I'm happy for him. 👍😊

 

On 7/18/2022 at 6:34 PM, David Hingtgen said:

This year, the F-35 demo team has a really neat coin, way better than any of the 22/35 teams of the previous couple years:

8E402997-26C5-4508-8877-CBBE340354CC.jpeg

E8773F57-D3C5-417E-92FE-DD3D8FC1887E.jpeg

 

Nice patch, too:

BF2F4E7C-FB3B-415E-A916-9576D64A3669.jpeg

Both look great.

 

On 7/21/2022 at 2:48 PM, electric indigo said:

Hehe...

 

Fantastic! 🤣

On 7/22/2022 at 10:58 AM, F-ZeroOne said:

Bit rich coming from someone who used to fly a modified F-104… (one of the many designs over the years for the Batjet)… 🙂

I didn't know that, but not surprising. The F-104 was an incredible jet in its time- lots of records.  With no regard towards Batplanes past, or their association with any particular company, that comic is hilarious.

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It’s been on the cards for a while but I think the speed with which they’ve got to a weapons-mock up carrying stage (which is unusual in itself) has caught everyone by surprise. Semi-conformal carriage on a stealthy airframe is an interesting one.

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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1 hour ago, F-ZeroOne said:

It’s been on the cards for a while but I think the speed with which they’ve got to a weapons-mock up carrying stage (which is unusual in itself) has caught everyone by surprise. Semi-conformal carriage on a stealthy airframe is an interesting one.

According to one of the videos I watched this morning, eventually this KF-21 will have internal weapons bays like the Raptor. I give the S. Korean aircraft team credit by saying it out loud that this is NOT a stealth aircraft, it just looks like one... yet maybe one day it could be as tech progresses. 

I guess this would be like a modern day P-51, from the drafting boards to a flyable prototype in record time. I'll be keeping an eye on this project. 

 

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From what I've heard about the project, the KF-21 was designed to have a stealthy airframe with external pylons, with an (eventual) ability to internalize weapons should the need arise. If that's the case, it's a neat design decision, though I'm not sure about the feasibility. Either they're expecting to be able to miniaturize a LOT of stuff, or that prototype is flying around with a lot of empty space.

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I hadn't heard the South Korean comments, but had heard yes, later iterations were planned to have internal carriage. The easiest solution that springs to mind is a stealthed weapon pod as was proposed for the F/A-18 at some point?

It could be that stealth is not quite as much of a priority for them given their likely in-mind adversary; those are four Meteors which are almost certainly going to be superior to anything North Korea has and if other, larger neighbours start getting antsy they're buying the F-35 anyway. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 2 weeks later...

Down in Florida for Artemis I and managed to catch a couple rare birds (or at least rare liveries as T38s and 757s are both fairly common), if not as close as I might've liked in either case.

NASA T-38 trainer spotted on KSC bus tour (center of frame, over the olive drab containers) IMG_0101.JPG.ad80fd359a850a3a28b501cf9bd617ad.JPG

 

Boeing C-32 "Air Force 2" doing a parade pass over the A. Max Brewer bridge on approach to the shuttle landing facility during Monday's scrubbed launch attempt. Not entirely sure if it was an intentional parade pass or just an oddly law and circuitus approach; they did fly paralell to the bridge at a pretty good bank before I got my camera turned around so I'm leaning toward intentional.

IMG_0020.JPG.fbc2bd9327beb938f236840384081e8a.JPG

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  • 4 weeks later...
56 minutes ago, David Hingtgen said:

Jealous because I've never seen any of those.  (And I'm a big Gripen and Tornado fan).  

Memepost? Memepost:

FC01AFB7-7C7A-4346-8B20-4EE77B32EBEB.jpeg

The jealousy goes two ways since I always gush at the reports of US air shows and museums with all the stuff I only ever saw on the box illustrations of model kits when I was a kid: F-14, F-22, SR-71, F-117 and, my personal favorite, the YF-23.

At the air show they also had flight displays of the Saab Draken and the Messerschmitt 262, which was neat to see. Sadly I only had my phone with me, so no good pictures of the displays. -_-

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  • 5 weeks later...

 

On 9/29/2022 at 8:25 AM, David Hingtgen said:

I have seen a Draken and 262, but only static.  Some day I'll get see the YF-23's.  (I plan to see both, so two trips...)

I would highly recommend visiting the AF Museum in Dayton. I've been twice (the first time, a number of planes, including my beloved YF-23 were unavailable for viewing since they were still working on the hangar, IIRC), and their collection is quite eclectic and impressive. Fortunately, I got to see the YF-23 in person on my second trip. What a beauty!

100_3880.JPG.175fe000bce14b99d2df013f355263a1.JPG

 

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14 hours ago, Thom said:

Squadrons of those babies should be flying!

Agree. I've always maintained that when Lockheed won the competition, America lost. I say that as a fan of Lockheed. In this instance, though, Northrop offered the better product according to USAF requirements. The 23 is slowly getting her comeuppance as we see more and more planes, both real and conceptual, borrowing from her design. Closer to home, the YF-21 took some design cues from the YF-23, and early concepts for the VF-19 looked vaguely familiar. Kinda wish Kawamori-san had kept that look.

See the source image

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6 hours ago, Chronocidal said:

From what I've heard from people who were involved with the YF-23, everyone knew the 23 was the better plane, but all the decisions got derailed due to some combination of politics, and personal or corporate vendettas.  Someone really didn't want Northrop to get the contract.

It's a bit more complicated than that.  When I was at EAFB I worked with several of the program Flight Test Engineers and one of the pilots.  I even got to watch some video I'd never seen anywhere else.  

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USAF never wanted a competition but was forced by Congress.  YF-22 was the safer & more conventional design.  YF-23 was a better plane but would have been even more expensive,  as well.  The "peace dividend" would have still kicked the can farther down the road multiplying the prices even higher. 

Edited by Uxi
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6 hours ago, Knight26 said:

It's a bit more complicated than that.  When I was at EAFB I worked with several of the program Flight Test Engineers and one of the pilots.  I even got to watch some video I'd never seen anywhere else.  

Fair, and yeah, I'm sure it's much more complicated, since the rough impression I got was from a very cynical old engineer on the verge of retirement. :lol: 

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6 hours ago, Uxi said:

YF-22 was the safer & more conventional design.

Elaborating on safer: I read somewhere that there were concerns about the way the YF-23 carried missiles internally and how it deployed them (was it in a rotary launcher?)

In short: despite the far, far greater payload, there were concerns that a single missile jam would prevent the rest from being used.  Thus the "safer" bet on the YF-22 where a single jam would not stop the other internal weapons from being deployed (despite the much smaller amount carried!)

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Ultimately the failure of the YF-23 comes down to the following factors, in no particular order:

Too Radical a Design:  The YF-22 was the more conservative design approach, it looked like a stealthed up F-15, which the USAF brass preferred.

Weapons Deployment and Versatility:  The YF-23's trapeze missile launcher was a gamble, but would have allowed it to carry more AMRAAMS in the main weapons bay.  Additionally, the forward sidewinder bay (singular) would have simplified the design with only having two bays.  However, there were worries that the trapeze might jam, trapping weapons inside.  Also, the AMRAAM bay would not have been able to carry much, if any other ground attack weapons.  See below.

Mission types:  The YF-23 was designed as stealthy interceptor, fast and carrying anti-air weapons.  It's weapons bays would not have been able to accommodate anything more than Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) which were barely even a program yet at that point.  THis would require it to carry all other weapons externally, defeating the stealthiness.

Alternations to the Requirements:  Contrary to what many believe, the design requirements did not include thrust vectoring or super maneuverability.  They did however require Thrust Reversers in the initial iteration.  As a result the first YF-23 prototype actually had thrust reversers, Lockheed gambled that that requirement would get pulled and never designed it into the YF-22, instead opting for the thrust vectoring.  By the time that the requirement was pulled it was too late to change the YF-23's design, and one set of engines, with reversers, were already on hand.  So while prototype two did not fit the reversers, and it also had the more powerful engines, making it lighter and MUCH FASTER.  Production F-23s would have deleted the thrust reversers with later variants having the option for TVC.

Showiness:  While the ATF competition did require working weapon's bays, it did not require anyone to fire a weapon.  Lockheed knew that showing a missile launch would do wonders to help them, so made sure to have one of their prototypes able to fire off a sidewinder.  Northrup wanted to show off their stealth capabilities, which were superior.

Contracts:  Lockheed had only the C-130 production contracts at the time, they had yet to purchase General Dynamics and the F-16.  The F-117 was out there but had ended production.  Northrup on the other hand still had the B-2, which was facing delays and cost overruns, and their half of the F/A-18 production, two major programs.  Politically Lockheed needed the contract more.

Corporate culture:  NG has a very odd corporate culture.  Where most companies tend to be run top-down, with every site adhering to company standards, each NG site/program tends to act more like a franchise doing things their own way.  This actually creates quite a bit of confusion inside the company and some instability.  Having worked with at least 5 different NG programs and sites, I have seen this, with none of them writing their reports/proposals in a common format, or displaying their data in the same format.

Cost:  The YF-23 would have been a costlier design overall, but had it's production design more "locked in" than Lockheed did.  Lockheed did fib about how quickly their could turn around a production design, and their production design wasn't full "locked in" until later.

Overall, most agree that the YF-23 would have made a superior interceptor, but that was it.  The more radical and advanced design, it would have been locked into that single role much moreso than the F-22 without adding additional design variants. (see NATF).  But in the end the F-22 won out for many reasons one the biggest honestly being the NG contracts, corporate culture, and the politics of giving a new fighter to Lockheed.

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3 hours ago, Knight26 said:

Ultimately the failure of the YF-23 comes down to the following factors, in no particular order:

Too Radical a Design:  The YF-22 was the more conservative design approach, it looked like a stealthed up F-15, which the USAF brass preferred.

Weapons Deployment and Versatility:  The YF-23's trapeze missile launcher was a gamble, but would have allowed it to carry more AMRAAMS in the main weapons bay.  Additionally, the forward sidewinder bay (singular) would have simplified the design with only having two bays.  However, there were worries that the trapeze might jam, trapping weapons inside.  Also, the AMRAAM bay would not have been able to carry much, if any other ground attack weapons.  See below.

Mission types:  The YF-23 was designed as stealthy interceptor, fast and carrying anti-air weapons.  It's weapons bays would not have been able to accommodate anything more than Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs) which were barely even a program yet at that point.  THis would require it to carry all other weapons externally, defeating the stealthiness.

Alternations to the Requirements:  Contrary to what many believe, the design requirements did not include thrust vectoring or super maneuverability.  They did however require Thrust Reversers in the initial iteration.  As a result the first YF-23 prototype actually had thrust reversers, Lockheed gambled that that requirement would get pulled and never designed it into the YF-22, instead opting for the thrust vectoring.  By the time that the requirement was pulled it was too late to change the YF-23's design, and one set of engines, with reversers, were already on hand.  So while prototype two did not fit the reversers, and it also had the more powerful engines, making it lighter and MUCH FASTER.  Production F-23s would have deleted the thrust reversers with later variants having the option for TVC.

Showiness:  While the ATF competition did require working weapon's bays, it did not require anyone to fire a weapon.  Lockheed knew that showing a missile launch would do wonders to help them, so made sure to have one of their prototypes able to fire off a sidewinder.  Northrup wanted to show off their stealth capabilities, which were superior.

Contracts:  Lockheed had only the C-130 production contracts at the time, they had yet to purchase General Dynamics and the F-16.  The F-117 was out there but had ended production.  Northrup on the other hand still had the B-2, which was facing delays and cost overruns, and their half of the F/A-18 production, two major programs.  Politically Lockheed needed the contract more.

Corporate culture:  NG has a very odd corporate culture.  Where most companies tend to be run top-down, with every site adhering to company standards, each NG site/program tends to act more like a franchise doing things their own way.  This actually creates quite a bit of confusion inside the company and some instability.  Having worked with at least 5 different NG programs and sites, I have seen this, with none of them writing their reports/proposals in a common format, or displaying their data in the same format.

Cost:  The YF-23 would have been a costlier design overall, but had it's production design more "locked in" than Lockheed did.  Lockheed did fib about how quickly their could turn around a production design, and their production design wasn't full "locked in" until later.

Overall, most agree that the YF-23 would have made a superior interceptor, but that was it.  The more radical and advanced design, it would have been locked into that single role much moreso than the F-22 without adding additional design variants. (see NATF).  But in the end the F-22 won out for many reasons one the biggest honestly being the NG contracts, corporate culture, and the politics of giving a new fighter to Lockheed.

That's the most detailed breakdown I've seen. Appreciate it. I was aware that pilots preferred the more conventional design of the YF-22. I was also aware that the 23 was both faster and stealthier, which were two of the main requisites for the ATF. I also knew that while weapons systems needn't be operative for the demonstration, Lockheed had them operational while Northrop didn't. I didn't know that it was only on one plane. I also didn't know about TRs on the YF-23, or even the early requisite for them. I also wasn't aware of the corporate culture at NG. All interesting stuff. I did figure that they sided with Lockheed particularly b/c Northrop was under contract for the B-2, and at $2B per plane, they were getting a payday and essentially it was Lockheed's turn. I'm sure it goes much deeper than that, but for simplicity's sake, that was a motivating factor towards the ultimate choice of the F-22. I'm sure there's a bit of a 'share the wealth' mentality at the Pentagon/DoD to keep all the various contractors in business, both from a production POV but also for competitive reasons. In the end, we're stuck with the F-22; I think they chose wrong, but I appreciate your laying out the various factors that contributed to their decision. Since more rival countries seem to be borrowing from the YF-23, perhaps our 6th gen fighter will follow suit.

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5 hours ago, M'Kyuun said:

That's the most detailed breakdown I've seen. Appreciate it. I was aware that pilots preferred the more conventional design of the YF-22. I was also aware that the 23 was both faster and stealthier, which were two of the main requisites for the ATF. I also knew that while weapons systems needn't be operative for the demonstration, Lockheed had them operational while Northrop didn't. I didn't know that it was only on one plane. I also didn't know about TRs on the YF-23, or even the early requisite for them. I also wasn't aware of the corporate culture at NG. All interesting stuff. I did figure that they sided with Lockheed particularly b/c Northrop was under contract for the B-2, and at $2B per plane, they were getting a payday and essentially it was Lockheed's turn. I'm sure it goes much deeper than that, but for simplicity's sake, that was a motivating factor towards the ultimate choice of the F-22. I'm sure there's a bit of a 'share the wealth' mentality at the Pentagon/DoD to keep all the various contractors in business, both from a production POV but also for competitive reasons. In the end, we're stuck with the F-22; I think they chose wrong, but I appreciate your laying out the various factors that contributed to their decision. Since more rival countries seem to be borrowing from the YF-23, perhaps our 6th gen fighter will follow suit.

While I think that spreading tax money around is one reason another one is probably available resources.

If Lockheed has available resources for engineering and building planes but the NG workforce is blocked with other projects you might get your precious late. Which is  an important point especially if the current generation of gear is approaching its EoL.

Plus aircraft engineers probably don’t grow on trees especially when you are talking about defense related projects.

Edited by Scyla
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