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Just out of curiosity - Airplane Guys

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Downeaster, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Addict

    Never liked the looks of the Connie. The fuselage looks warped or something. Neat planes, though.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.
  2. 52Chevy

    52Chevy XS650 Addict

    This is tough, as an F16 mechanic I want to say that, but there are just so many!

    In no particular order...
    P38 Lightning
    P51 Mustang
    B25 Mitchell
    C-130 (so many possibilities with this plane, drop a bomb, build a gunship, mobile hospital, land and take off from a carrier, can't even list them all)
    F117 Nighthawk (designated a fighter, but no air to air capability)
    SR71 Blackbird (for obvious reasons)
    B52 Stratofortress
    A10 Warthog
    F16 Fighting Falcon (AKA Viper) Hey look it made the list. I honestly think this is one of the best looking modern warplanes.
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Jim like this.
  3. 52Chevy

    52Chevy XS650 Addict

    I know the feeling! I work on F16s every day and when I'm in the cockpit I still make noises. Sometimes when I'm running the engine I make pew pew sounds...hahaha

    There is a really cool museum in Speyer Germany, they have a 747 way up on a stick, except you can climb stairs to it and explore the whole thing, cargo bay, cockpit etc. When you are done you get to slide down!
    TwoManyXS1Bs, Jim and GLJ like this.
  4. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    Somewhat related to this thread:

    forget where I found this link but the site is a bit interesting as you can see what plains are in the air in more or less real time. And if you zoom out and see how many there are it is no wonder there can be a widespread virus in the world! Almost seems like everyone is in the air at times!

    Click on one of the plane symbols and it will tell you where it is from and going and such. Assume this information maybe a bit off or the site would be a prime target for a terrorist group!
    TwoManyXS1Bs, gggGary and Jim like this.
  5. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I'm of the opposite mind... I think it's one of the most elegant looking planes Kelly Johnson ever designed.... or ever built. I've had 3 flights across the big pond in a Super Connie, so I'm a little biased. :rolleyes:
  6. Wordman

    Wordman XS650 Addict

    I still think they're cool, I just don't love the looks. I think the same of the Ferrari Testarossa.
    Jim likes this.
  7. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I'm with ya on that one...;)
    MaxPete and Wordman like this.
  8. TwoManyXS1Bs

    TwoManyXS1Bs BBQ Hunter Top Contributor

    One of my previous managers used to fly a modified Connie for hurricane hunting. Probed a hurricane in the '60s, somewhere in the Gulf Coast, and ran into heavy hail. He said it was so loud that you could yell/scream and not be heard. On return, he said that the controls felt a bit sluggish, but flew well otherwise.

    After landing, on post-flight inspection, they found that the hail had beaten back the leading edges about a foot, to a somewhat flattened profile.

    And it still flew... :yikes:
  9. azman857

    azman857 '80 XS 650SG Rider XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    FWIW...I heard a airplane with piston/radial engines flying away and by the time I found it in the sky, it was too far away to see what it was. I was thinking maybe a DC-6 or 7. Later I heard another one and it was wayyy closer. I looked up and found the source quickly. It was a B-17! I was thinking it was either from the Commemorative Air Force or the Collins Foundation was in town again. She was painted OD and had a yellow triangle on the tail. I don't know whose B-17 it was. It was sharp looking though.
    MaxPete, Jim and TwoManyXS1Bs like this.
  10. halfmile

    halfmile XS Builder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Today on the VFT site.:thumbsup:
    thuban, Jim, MaxPete and 1 other person like this.
  11. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I’ve never seen or heard about those planes. Are they smaller than the SR71?
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  12. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    I had to go look it up. Faster than the SR-71, only flown by the CIA, super secret. Built to replace the aging U-2 which is ironic since the U-2 is still in service and the A-12’s have long since been retired.
    The A-12
  13. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    It is hard to imagine that the A-12 / YF-12A and SR-71 were all designed essentially (but not quite) without computers, on drawing boards with paper and in the late 1950's/early-60s. One of my closest friends (died - in 2012) was on the A-12 design team back in the day.

    As Bob has found, the A-12 was a single-seater and just a little smaller than the two-seat SR-71 and YF-12A variants. The YF-12A was intended to use the Hughes Phoenix missile system which eventually were deployed on the USN and Iranian AF Grumman F14 Tomcat. The SR-71 was developed from the two-seat YF-12A airframe when the operators found that the reconnaissance workload was too high for the single crewman in the A-12. Interestingly, the SR variant airplane was originally designated the RS-71 but when President Lyndon Johnson was making the formal announcement at the public unveiling of the airplane, he transposed the "R" and the "S" and it became the SR-71. My Lockheed engineering friend told me that there had to be a rush re-printing all of the press materials to avoid embarrassing the president.

    Totally aside from the airframe and mechanical systems (which everyone focuses on) - they had to invent new alloys, plastics, fuels and hydraulic fluids to withstand the heat soak and even the tires, which had to be special. But the other key aspect were the sensors themselves. All those amazing cameras and other sensors linked together and synchronized to an inertial navigation system (i.e. based on electromechanical gyroscopes and accelerometers - NO GPS in those days or any other external nav-aids).

    If you go to Palmdale CA there is a little display outside of the L-M California Corp. installation. It is called Blackbird Park and they have one of each of the Blackbirds variants there - including the little M-21 drone and even one of the starter carts which had two big Buick <I think> V-8s to start the Pratt & Whitney J-58 engines.

    In December 1994 we went there for a special presentation and all of the first pilots of each variant were present signing special 30 years of the SR-71 commemorative plaques (see attached photo).
    Blackbird_Park - Dec-1994.jpg
    You can walk right up and touch the Blackbird Park aircraft and even get under them for a closer look at the undercarriages etc. and for an airplane buff - that is surreal. WELL worth the trip I assure you.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
  14. halfmile

    halfmile XS Builder XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    There was a Cold War documentary on the Smithsonian Chanel that mentioned the "Oxcart" spy plane but I just took it for the Blackbird.:shrug:
    gggGary and Jim like this.
  15. Jim

    Jim Beyond the edge is the unknown. Here be Dragons XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    The J-58 engine was a hybrid turbo-ramjet. This is the best description I've ever seen on how it operates.

  16. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    There are lots of neat stories about the Blackbirds:

    - they couldn’t take off with full fuel so they always had to in-flight refuel soon after departure

    - the structure expanded by so much when cruising at M3.0 that to get things to fit when cold, the fuel tanks leaked like crazy on the ground and the airplane was always parked with big drip-pans underneath it. When it got fully up to temperature at M3.0/80,000+ ft., the tank joints closed-up and sealed and the leaks stopped

    - to get the J58 engines to light-off, they had to inject a nasty borane “lighter fluid” which was very hard to handle and yet, the actual JP-7 fuel burned by the Blackbirds was much LESS volatile than regular JP. In fact, it was sort of thick and had an almost waxy feel to it. Apparently the special KC135Q tankers that supported the Blackbird operations could, in a pinch, also burn that special JP-7 fuel.

    For many years, I used to go to the Open House Day at Edwards AFB with my old friend and we were there to watch the last SR-71 take when they delivery the aircraft to <I think> the Smithsonian for static display (may have been 2010 or 2011 - he died in May 2012). After the airplane took off, they went out and refueled as normal and then did a M3.0/80,000’ pass over the runway at the Edwards AFB show.

    You couldn’t actually see the airplane but the announcer told us that the pilot would open the fuel vent three times as he passed and about 5-8 seconds later we would hear the shock wave arrive. Sure enough, when the announcer called out "now-now-now", we saw three stripes of white fuel vapour in the sky and then a measurable time later, we heard CRACK-CRACK - just like two hockey sticks being broken in rapid succession.

    Then he headed east for the delivery a couple of hours later.
    Totally amazing!
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
  17. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Still Looking Good Top Contributor

    I watched a documentary, as one does, and it was claimed the name SR71 was the result of a US President making a mistake when announcing its existence to the world. Before that it was the RS71: RS referring to Reconnaissance/Strike role.

    Legend or Myth?
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  18. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    I think that RS was intended to denote “Reconnaissance - Strategic“ but Johnson reversed the letters inadvertently.
    thuban, gggGary, Jim and 2 others like this.
  19. MaxPete

    MaxPete Lucille, Betty, Demi & Gretel: I ask, THEY decide. XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    This really is well done Jim - thanks for sharing it.

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  20. Paul Sutton

    Paul Sutton Still Looking Good Top Contributor

    Wikipedia article claims:

    "The SR-71 designation has been attributed to lobbying efforts by USAF Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay, who preferred the SR (Strategic Reconnaissance) designation over simply RS (Reconaissance). "

    I cannot remember which US President the SR is attributed to so did some searching:


    It turns out LBJ said SR71, his script said SR71 in three places but the stenographer got it wrong in the press release issued after the announcement.
    MaxPete and Jim like this.

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