Better And Better

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aw, come ON, guys!

So on October 14th, to honor Chuck Yeager on the moment of the 65th anniversary of his record-setting supersonic flight, the Air Force gave the retired general a joy ride in an F-15.
"I really appreciated the Air Force giving me a brand new F-15 to fly," Yeager told CNN.

Seriously? I think a cub CNN reporter got duped and missed the irony of that statement. The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle went operational in 1976. Thus that "brand new F-15" may actually have been first flying at a time closer to Glamorous Glennis' historic flight than this commerative one.*

Stop down for a second and think about that. In 29 years we went from dropping an experimental rocket plane from a B29 to break the sonic barrier on its 50th try, to a third generation supersonic jet fighter being operational. Since then, we've made some advances in fighter technology, but nothing like that technical leap.

But if I'm Chuck Yeager, I'm saying, "It's 900 miles to Roswell. How about we check out a F35B, pop the sound barrier and super-cruise over to Roswell, and then hover while we watch Baumgartner do his falling trick?"

THAT's how you treat a living legend of aviation, folks. Oh, and give him an Aim 9 to make a final kill on a rogue balloon after Felix's jump, too.

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*Which is really impressive, when you consider that the Eagle is still considered a viable fighter. Imagine using Sopwitch Camels or Fokker Dr. I's as fighters in Korea. Or Mustangs and Lightnings in Grenada. Or F86 Sabres during, uh, something else in the early 1980s... (Look, Grenada was already a reach.)

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8 Comments:

At Tuesday, October 16, 2012 6:39:00 PM, Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

Yet the B52 soldiers on 50 or so years after it was introduced. The last one was built 50 years ago.

It's mostly the avionics and engines that need upgrading, so the BUFF could see another 25 years or more.

The F15 is projected to have another 12 or so years of operational life.

Maybe the AF should have given Gen. Yeager an F22, but frankly they probably could have put him in a P51 and he'd fly the crap out of it.

 
At Tuesday, October 16, 2012 6:54:00 PM, Blogger Old NFO said...

Heh, my bet is HE was flying and the Captain might have made the takeoff and landing... :-) Just sayin...

And they ARE still 'building' F-15s, they are being refurbished to new and upgraded, so he probably DID get a 'new' airplane.

 
At Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From WWI to WWII was roughly 21 - 25 years. You can add to you longevity list: the F4U Corsair which was in the Fleet until '66, the C-130 from '54 to the present, the U-2 (now TR-1) from '55 to present, the beautiful Beech 18 (or twin beech) which was in actual production from '37 to Nov. '69, probably the Queen of them all; the DC-3/C-47/R4D which first flew 17 Dec. 1935 and is still in use around the world today. (the King is,of course the 1911. (Still carried by flyers, but...)
All the Best,
Richard Johnson

 
At Wednesday, October 17, 2012 8:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From WWI to WWII was roughly 21 - 25 years. You can add to you longevity list: the F4U Corsair which was in the Fleet until '66, the C-130 from '54 to the present, the U-2 (now TR-1) from '55 to present, the beautiful Beech 18 (or twin beech) which was in actual production from '37 to Nov. '69, probably the Queen of them all; the DC-3/C-47/R4D which first flew 17 Dec. 1935 and is still in use around the world today. (the King is,of course the 1911. (Still carried by flyers, but...)
All the Best,
Richard Johnson

 
At Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Dirk said...

Oh, I dunno.... Mustangs and Lightnings would probably have done just fine in Grenada. Wasn't like there was any kind of actual aerial opposition, after all. :)

 
At Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, currently in US active or test inventory, two or more seats and supersonic - well, F-15, F-16, F/A-18, or B-1... that's pretty much it. No 2-seat F-22s or F-35s. And nobody in today's USAF is just gonna toss Gen. Yeager the keys to a single seater no matter how much time he's logged in excess of Mach 1.

 
At Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:52:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

I thought about getting into those, Dick, but of those, only the Corsair was a fighter, and it certainly wasn't attempting to dogfight during the Vietnam era. It was by that time a surface attack aircraft. I couldn't imagine a Corsair attempting to dogfight with a Mig 17 or 21, yet an F15 is still considered an air superiority fighter.

 
At Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:56:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

Anon, are you certain there are NO 2-seat F-22s or F-35s?

 

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