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About Kirk66

  • Birthday 06/12/1952

Personal Information

  • Flight Simulators
    DCS, IL-2 BoX, Aerofly FS2, Condor2, VTOL VR, CloD Blitz Tobruk
  • Location
    N38-45.967, W089-37.853
  • Interests
    Flying - IRL and simulated.
  • Occupation
    Retired USAF F-4 IWSO, retired flight simulation test engineer, currently a Pawnee and LS6 pilot.

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  1. The LE slats were either in or out, no intermediate position; activated by AOA: when AOA increased to 11.5 units, the slats extended, when AOA reduced below 10.5, they retracted. So for giggles (or demo) you could pull until the slats came out, then relax the pull until they came in, and watch then cycle in and out. Whole process was smooth and easy; no big deal once you had seen and felt it. Also, when you put the Slats Flaps switch to the OUT or OUT AND DOWN position, the slats would extend. Vulture
  2. OK, some context. That video clip if from a training film that was used to introduce the slats mod to F-4 aircrews, so it's biased towards the advantages of the change. The slats definitely could be felt when they opened and closed in the effectiveness of the elevator; there is even a warning in the Dash-1 about maneuvering near the AOA where they open as they can cause a pitch overshoot when they open. But that was acceptable for the decreased chance of an departure at high AOA due to use of the ailerons. There was a school of thought that held that the slat mod actually decreased the combat effectiveness of the F-4 in the hands of well trained pilots since it added weight, complexity, and drag to the jet; the increased turn performance was probably due as much to the slotted tail as the slats and the fact that you could get closer to the departure point due to the "softer" departure characteristics. However, in actual combat against it's main adversaries (Mig-21s, Mig-19s, Mig-17s) in VN, the biggest advantage of the F-4 was it's speed and power; a turning fight was not recommended (it was a classic energy fighter, if you will). So slowing it down to let it turn a bit better was not universally liked - see the Brit M and Ks, the US Navy Js, and the Japanese EJs (which kept their hardwings to the end). But the slats DID cut down on losses due to out of control departures by ham-fisted, poorly trained USAF pilots who were yanked out of C-141s and stuffed into F-4s and sent to war with little air-to-air training; the Navy didn't have the same issue - due to their greater emphasis on air-to-air training at the time. When the primary role of the F-4 changed to mud beating, the slats made sense - sucks to depart at the top of a pop! As far a slats moving in the pattern - not an issue as they were linked to the gear and flaps. And during normal cruise, they stayed in. I hope eventually we get a Navy F-4J to compare (and I know the last F-4S's had slats - but that may have been to get them on smaller carriers?). And I really want to trap a Navy Phantom! (cuz I will definitely try the E on a boat ASAP) Vulture
  3. Small correction - you could lock the slats IN (via the Slate Override switch). Again, only used if for some reason you were at a speed where the slats were cycling in and out, which was not normal. More common was to leave the Flaps/Slats switch in SLATS, which effectively locked the slats out. This was not normal - usually caused by the pilot inadvertently not fully raising the Flap/Slat switch after a formation takeoff on the wing, and would cause the jet to be noticeably slower in formation (requiring a lot more power), usually leading the WSO to politely suggest to his pilot to put the fucking Slats/Flaps switch UP! And to make clear, the effect of the slats opening and closing wasn't huge, but it was noticeable, which it why you didn't want them cycling in and out (due to a malfunction, for example). Vulture
  4. Just to clarify on F-4C vs F-4E flying characteristics: the "hard wing", BLC F-4C was basically the same as the original Navy F-4B, designed to takeoff and land on carriers, then go fast and intercept bombers. As such, it had good takeoff and landing handling; in the pattern with the gear and flaps down 9 (and BLC), it was very speed stable; on final you could trim it up and it would hold speed hands off - you then controlled descent with the throttles and drove it onto the runway. Easy. Flying around, it was light, had pretty good vis forward from the pit, and as long as you knew how to handle it's adverse yaw departure characteristics, was easy to maneuver. The biggest gotcha was trying to roll while turning/pulling Gs - if you used aileron, you would get a strong adverse yaw response, to the point that if you were pulling hard enough, the jet would violently (as in bounce your head off the canopy) depart in the opposite direction of your aileron input. OTOH, if you kept the stick centered and just used the rudders, you could easily do point rolls while loaded up. Or, you just unloaded to zero G, rolled fast with ailerons to the desired bank, and pulled back into your desired G. The introduction of the slatted (and unblown) wing on the E (and not all Es; the Thunderbirds flew hardwing Es, and the Japanese EJ were hard wing till the day they retired) reduced but did not eliminate the adverse yaw departure problem (but it still rolled better on rudder), and along with the slatted tail and bigger engines, gave it better turn performance, but the handling qualities suffered a bit. At low speeds and in the pattern, it felt "looser" and was a bit less speed stable on approach (which was about 10 knots higher than the hard wing BLC jets). Also, while flying, the operation of the slats could be felt; if you were stuck at the speed where they were cycling in and out you could lock them out to prevent the annoying pitch input they caused. All this being said, the E was by FAR a better fighter/weapon system! But if someone was going to give me a brand new F-4 just to fly around on Sundays, I would probably take a C - and have the backseater keep his knees together when the stick was back. (yes, we were actually told to do that). Just for comparison, I had one flight in a CF-104 (two seater) at Cold Lake - it was nicer to fly in almost all respects than the F-4 (aileron rolls of course, but also loops - which really surprised me!) and had great visibility from the back seat. And approach speed was actually pretty close to our F-4Es - unless you were doing a no flap. My RCAF pilot showed me a no-flap (at Edmonton, I think?) and the approach speed was impressive! It's going to be a fun module, for sure! Vulture
  5. Google "Keith Ferris Mig Sweep". That image is PERFECT! Slick nose C, AIM-7Es and AIM-9Bs, WSO checking 6, AC lag rolling onto the Mig-21s 6 for a Fox 1 or Fox 2. Extra points for showing the stab hard up and the rudder hard over to the right...and no aileron or spoiler deflection. We do need that - the hard wing C was actually nicer to fly (most of the time) and faster than the later E. Was a lot easier to land from the pit! Vulture
  6. Meanwhile, back to the AIM-4...They were also used by Swiss on their Mirage 3S - anybody know how those were regarded? The Swiss usually don't get bad equipment... Vulture
  7. Thankyou - happy to share some great memories while I still have them! Vulture
  8. Well, no. I have personal experience using the SUU-16 and SUU-23 on the F-4C against towed dart targets, using a fixed mil setting on the (admittedly really basic) sight. This is in RTU, and the student pilots had really no problem hitting the dart (which is a lot smaller than a real jet); even sometimes destroying it on the first pass - which would really piss off the rest of the flight waiting to shoot! In the pit, we would lock up the dart (trying REAL HARD not to lock the tow plane!) and give range calls to the pilot. I don't remember any cases of gunpods jamming. This is in 1977, so basically 10 years after the gun battles over NVN (and pretty much the same jets - many of them had Mig kill stars on them). There are some suggestions that the slightly bigger dispersion of the gunpods was a benefit in air to air combat - the fixed M61s in the F-105, F-104, and F-4Es had so little dispersion that they were "laser" guns; you absolutely had to be on target to get any hits, while the gunpods had a bigger cone of shells to hit the target (and it doesn't take many 20mm hits to kill a Mig). F-4s towed targets for other fighters. It was "interesting" watching someone come at you and his nose lighting up as he shot at the target you were towing (in a turn, of course). F-4s were OK, but F-15s seemed to be coming right at you during their passes! They liked those high angle shots, probably due to their better sight system. The book "Clashes: Air Combat over North Vietnam, 1965–1972" does an excellent job of explaining the use of guns and gunpods. Highly recommended! Vulture
  9. Except that Bolo used F-4Cs, hence no guns, less reliable missiles, less maneuverable F-4s (no slats), which directly affected tactics used. But hey, it's a simulation! "What if...?" Would definitely be interesting. Vulture
  10. And there you have the fundamental problem with the Bullpup guidance system, and why it didn't really work well against a target that was shooting back. Unless you stayed lined up with the missile and target, you couldn't accurately guide the weapon, so at best you could jink a bit (accepting a bit of loss of accuracy) but you were still forced to a really predictable flight path. From wikipedia (yeah, I know): "Bullpups were widely used by both the Navy and Air Force during the Vietnam War, with mixed results. In its most famous early use, sixteen Air Force F-105's carrying two AGM-12Bs were part of the group of aircraft that attacked the Thanh Hóa Bridge on 3 April 1965. Because the weapon was manually guided, each aircraft had to line up for attack twice in separate passes. After the attack was completed the bridge was essentially undamaged, and the Bullpups were described as simply "bouncing off" the bridge. The missile was constructed in two separate portions for the nose and tail. The nose contained the guidance receivers which translated instructions into commands for the electro-pnuematic actuators for the four small delta wing control fins arranged around the nose. The tail section held the two tracking flares and larger wings to maintain flight and help prevent the airframe from rolling in flight. The main roll prevention was provided by a gyroscope controlling the front control fins. The Bullpup used a Manual Command Line Of Sight guidance system with roll-stabilization. In flight, the pilot or weapons operator tracked the Bullpup by watching the flares and used a control joystick to steer it toward the target using radio signals. The goal was to direct the missile so that it remained on the line between the pilot and the target. After launching the Bullpup, best accuracy was maintained by continuing to fly the same track, so that the pilot could sight down the smoke trail and steer the missile from directly behind as much as possible. Unfortunately, one problem quickly discovered by pilots in Vietnam was that gunners on the ground could simply fire at the smoke trail of the missile's flare and have a fairly good chance of hitting the aircraft that had launched—and was still guiding—the missile. Thus, to try to protect their own aircraft, the pilot would "jig" slightly off of the missile's path and hopefully avoid the anti-aircraft fire." No way you could do that from the pit of an F-4. Sidenote: There is a commonly used bit of video used on many films about the Vietnam War that purports to be a NV SAM launch against an F-105; it's actually a Bullpup launch against a ground target (probably from an F-105) but run in reverse! It does show how straight the flight path of the guiding aircraft is during the missile TOF. Vulture
  11. I would argue the opposite; that modelling the beat-up end of life condition actually simulating only a small part of the jet's life - the end of it- and that during most of it's operational career it would be well maintained and in much better condition. But maybe that's just my personal 10 years of experience in USAF F-4s speaking...I guess the Navy just has lower standards. Judging from the pictures of their rusting ships, that isn't too surprising... (relax, it's called interservice rivalry. Go listen to some Dos Gringos!) Perhaps developers could put out a poll to prospective purchasers of a module to see what the actual user would like to have? Or even offer a payware option for a "clean" jet to cover the cost of extra development? I know I would definitely pay for a nicer Tomcat cockpit! Vulture
  12. While I realize many like the "atmosphere" of a beat-up, scruffy, dirty scratched canopy and unreadable instrument panel cockpit, the reality is that most line jets (at least in the USAF) never get that nasty - because they are routinely rotated through depot maintenance where they are overhauled, straightened out, fixed, repainted, and have canopies and cockpit panels replaced. Most of the DCS modules have canopies that would have grounded the jets in real life - and NO self respecting crew chief would let anyone near his jet with a dirty, scratched canopy. Pilots and WSOs even had moleskin on their visor covers to keep from scratching the inside of the canopy (and Marines had their cool leather helmet covers). Seriously! (And canopies can be replaced in the field, you know...) So developers, could you please give us the option to select a "factory fresh" or "just out of depot" jet? Both external and internal? Please? (not pointing elbows here, but the Tomcat is disgusting!) I had the pleasure of dropping off and picking up several beautifully refurbished F-4Es from depot maintenance in Taiwan (late 70s) and from Hill AFB (80s). No dirty scratched canopies or unreadable panels on those jets! And they had yaw strings!!! Vulture
  13. Short answer - yes they did (and very useful it was!). Long answer - I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you ;^) Vulture
  14. Uhhh - no. Bullpup controller was only in the front cockpit, not even sure if the WSO hand controller could control a Bullpup, since as far as I know they were never used operationally by the F-4. They (AGM-12?) were definitely not in any F-4C or E -34 that I have, and were absolutely not in service by 1977 when I first started flying the beast. And even if they were available, no way the pitter could see enough to control the missile while flying the jet (WSO hand controller on right side, so would have to fly left handed), since your field of view was really limited forward and you pretty much would have to be flying the jet to maintain line of sight and alignment of the missile at the same time. Pilot could just set the throttle and guide the missile (line up the Bullpup's flare with the target) with the left hand while flying with the right hand. With a command missile like the Bullpup, you have to fly your plane at the target while steering the missile until impact, otherwise you can't tell where you are guiding the missile - think of shooting a rifle while holding it off to the side instead of using the sights. Not a good plan in a high threat environment! Maverick was a different thing altogether, probably about as easy from either cockpit, but tactically we trained for the pilot to find and point at the target, the WSO to lock and fire, and the pilot to watch for threats and maneuver as necessary. The Maverick is the reason the Bullpup handle was retained after the Bullpup was removed from use. Vulture
  15. CAA was an automatic acquisition mode, similar to vertical scan modes common in F-15/16/18s. I think you are reading too much into the "dynamic range limiting" feature; that really just reduces the lock on range in look down situations to reduce chance of locking the ground clutter. Max auto lock on range look up was 30k ft, dropping down to 9k ft when the radar was scanning below the horizon. This from TO 1F-4E-34-1-1, figure 1-12A. CAA worked pretty good, actually, as long as the pilot could position the target at the right place (no HUD, remember). Interesting feature is that the CAA scan center (post OFP P005) could be moved left, center, or right via the RADAR/HEAT/GUNS throttle switch. So pilot had to remember to put the weapon mode switch back to the weapon he wanted after a lock. Or the pilot could just call out "30 high, 10 left" and the WSO could lock on manually - pretty much just as fast as the radar on it's own... Vulture
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