1. #241
    Originally posted by Bremspropeller:
    Thanks franky

    Welche F-8 Bücher hast du denn ? Gibt ja auch mehrere über die Crusader.

    Woofie, did I miss the F-86 description ?
    Call me blind, I can't find it anymore.
    What about the F-86D/K/L ?
    i have both Crusader books, the Fighter and the Recon one. they are both very interesting. Sure, if you want one, than the Fighter volume , a book about men with balls geek, guns
    Share this post

  2. #242
    North American FJ-1 Fury

    In late 1944 and early 1945, the US Navy ordered four carrier-based jet fighters, the Vought XF6U-1 Pirate, the McDonnell XFD-1 Phantom, the McDonnell XF2D-1 Banshee, and the North American XFJ-1 Fury. It was hoped that these four fighters would be available in time for Operation Olympic/Coronet, the invasion of Japan planned for May of 1946.

    The North American entry, known as NA-134 on company rolls, called for a fairly conventional low-mounted, straight-winged monoplane of rather tubby cross section. The General Electric J35 axial-flow turbojet was fed by a nose intake and exhausted through a pipe in the tail. A bubble canopy was fitted, and the wing was fitted with retractable, slatted air brakes in the upper and lower surfaces.

    The USAF ordered a land-based version of the Fury under the designation XP-86, but North American was eventually to adapt the aircraft to a swept-wing configuration to produce the famed Sabre of Korean War fame. However, being constrained by the need to retain good low-speed handling capabilities for landings aboard carriers, the Navy decided to stick with the straight-winged format and went ahead with three prototypes of the XFJ-1 Fury (Bu No 39053/39055).

    In May of 1945, the Navy had ordered 100 production FJ-1s, which was later cut back to 30. Serials were BuNo 120342/120371. These were known as NA-141 on company rolls.

    The first XFJ-1 (Bu No 39053) took off on its maiden flight on September 11, 1946, with Wallace Lien as the pilot.

    The thirty FJ-1s were delivered from October 1947 to April 1948. The slatted wing-mounted air brakes of the three prototypes were replaced by more conventional fuselage-mounted "barn door" air brakes. The Fury has a small wheel mounted on the nosewheel strut which permitted the aircraft to "kneel" nose-down to facilitate parking aboard carriers.

    The first (and only) squadron to receive the FJ-1 Fury was VF-5A based at NAS North Island near San Diego, California. The squadron began an exhaustive familiarization program, including landings aboard a simulated aircraft carrier deck. The first landing of a Fury on an actual carrier took place on March 16, 1948, when Commander Pete Aurand, CO of VF-5A, landed aboard the USS *Boxer*. He was immediately followed by his executive officer, Lt. Cdr. Robert Elder. Both officers then took off under their own power, landed again, then took off a second time with the aid of a catapult. Since jets accelerate relatively slowly at low speeds, a longer deck run was necessary and it was decided to adopt catapulting as the standard carrier jet launching procedure.

    The pilots of VF-5A were fairly happy about the performance of the FJ-1. The used their FJ-1s to win the Bendix Trophy in 1948, beating USAF F-80 Shooting Stars in a cross-country race. However, VF-5A pilots did note that the performance of the FJ-1 was fairly poor when flying at its maximum gross weight and that the plane was uncomfortable to fly because of a lack of pressurization and temperature control. There were also problems with the wingtip tanks. It turned out that the tanks were not compatible with the thin wing, and North American was forced to redesign them. However, the problem was never entirely cured.

    VF-5A was renamed VF-51 in August 1948. It operated the FJ-1 until July of 1949, when the squadron traded in its Furies for Grumman F9F-2 Panthers. Their FJ-1s were then transferred to the US Navy Reserve, whey they served as transition trainers for pilots moving onto the McDonnell F2H Banshee or to the Grumman F9F Panther.

    Engine: One Allison J35-A-2, 4000 lb.st. Weights: 8843 pounds empty, 15,115 pounds takeoff (clean).
    Performance: Maximum speed 547 mph at 9000 feet.
    Initial climb rate 3300 feet per minute.
    Service ceiling 32,000 feet.
    Dimensions: wingspan 28 feet 2 inches, length 34 feet 5 inches, height 14 feet 10 inches, wing area 221 square feet.
    Fuel capacity included an internal load of 465 gallons and a pair of 165-gallon drop tanks at the wingtips, giving the FJ-1 a maximum range of 1500 miles.
    Armament consisted of six 0.50-inch machine guns with 1500 rounds total. The wing was too thin to accommodate any underwing ordinance loads.

    Share this post

  3. #243
    North American FJ-2 Fury

    Navy officials were slow in adopting swept-wing designs for carrier-based fighter aircraft, since carrier operations required lower stalling speeds and better low speed handling characteristics than did land-based operations. For these reasons, the Navy remained with straight-winged fighter aircraft designs long after the USAF had opted for swept-wing designs for their front-line fighter aircraft.

    However, the straight winged Grumman F9F Panther and McDonnell F2H Banshee were seventy mph slower than the swept-wing MiG-15, and it soon became apparent that the Navy was going to have to bite the bullet and go with a swept-wing carrier-based fighter if it hoped to be competitive with land-based fighters.

    On January 30, 1951, North American initiated the NA-181 project. This called for a navalized version of the swept-wing F-86 Sabre. The Navy showed immediate interest, and NAA issued a formal production proposal on February 6. On February 10, the Navy issued a letter contract for 300 production NA-181 aircraft, with the order being later reduced to 200. The BuAer numbers were 131927/132126. They were to be built in North American's newly-opened Columbus factory, which had also been scheduled to build F-86F Sabres for the Air Force.

    The NA-181 was basically a navalized F-86E Sabre and bore very little relation to the earlier straight-winged FJ-1 Fury. One might then have expected the Navy to have designated the new swept-wing aircraft F2J-1, and perhaps even to have given it the name *Sea Sabre*, following the British tradition. However, the Navy decided instead to assign the designation FJ-2 to the new fighter and to name it *Fury*, implying that it followed logically from the earlier FJ-1. The reasons may have been more political than technical, the Navy hoping that the Congress would look more kindly on an aircraft which was a "logical extension" of an existing type than to one which was completely new and probably much more likely to cost the taxpayer a ton of money.

    Commander Pete Aurand (who was the commanding officer of VF-51, the only squadron to operate the straight-winged FJ-1 Fury) was appointed as the Navy's project director for the FJ-2. He had long been an advocate of the Navy acquiring swept-wing fighters.

    On March 8, the Navy ordered three XFJ-2 prototypes. These were all to be built in NAA's Los Angeles factory, since the Columbus plant was not quite yet ready for operations. These were built under the company designation of NA-179, and their Navy BuAer serials were 133754/133756. This was an example of yet another anomalous case in which prototypes were preceded by production aircraft in the numbering sequence.

    The first two prototype XFJ-2s (133754 and 133755) were basically navalized F-86E-10 aircraft, equipped with such features as a V-frame arrester hook, catapult points, and a lengthened nosewheel to raise the angle of attack during takeoff and landing. However, they did not have folding wings, and they were both unarmed. They were known as NA-179 by the company.

    The third prototype (133756) was armed with four Colt Mk 12 20-mm cannon with 150 RPG. Unlike the USAF, which preferred machine gun armament for its fighters, the Navy had always favored cannon armament for its aircraft. The third XFJ-2 had the usual F-86E nosewheel, and did not have any naval equipment that would enable it to land aboard a carrier. This machine was known as NA-181 on company rolls and as XFJ-2B by the Navy (the B stood for "special armament").

    The powerplant for all three prototypes was the J47-GE-13 turbojet, and they all featured the "all-flying tail" of the F-86E-10-NA. All three of them were painted Navy blue, the standard naval paint scheme of the day

    Despite its later serial number, the XFJ-2B (133756) was actually the first of the three prototypes to fly, taking off on its maiden flight on December 27, 1951 with test pilot Robert Hoover at the controls. It went out to Inyokern, California for armament tests The first XFJ-2 followed on February 14, 1952, again flown by Bob Hoover.

    The three prototypes were accepted by the Navy in June, July, and December of 1952, and in December both XFJ-2s were subjected to carrier qualification tests aboard the USS *Coral Sea*. The carrier qualification tests did not go very well. The new landing gear and arresting hook bumper were too weak for carrier landings under realistic conditions, and the aircraft handled poorly during carrier approaches and landings.

    Although disappointed with the XFJ-2's carrier qualification tests, the Navy was in a hurry to get a swept-winged fighter in service, and decided to begin production of the FJ-2 even before all the bugs were ironed out. The production FJ-2 Fury was to be powered by the General Electric J47-GE-2 engine rated at 6000 lb.s.t.. Since this engine was the Navy version of the J47-GE-27, this brought the FJ-2 up to F-86F standards. The slatted wing of the early F-86F Sabre was used, the "6-3" wing of the later F-86F being deemed to have too great a low-speed handling penalty for safe carrier-based operations. Full naval equipment, including catapult attachment points and arrester gear, was fitted. Wheel track was increased eight inches over the USAF Sabre, and the landing gear was beefed up and made more robust. The FJ-2 had folding wings and was armed with 4 20-mm cannon with 600 rounds. The dihedral of the horizontal tail of the first three prototypes was replaced by a flat horizontal tail. A modified cockpit canopy was introduced. The gunsight was the Mark 16 Model 2, and the AN/APG-30 ranging radar was fitted. The slatted wing of the early F-86F Sabre was used.

    Because of North American's commitments to the F-86F program, production of the FJ-2 got under way rather slowly at Columbus. The first FJ-2 (BuNo 131927) was delivered in November of 1952. By the time of the end of the Korean War, only seven FJ-2 aircraft had been delivered. In addition, the end of the Korean War had resulted in the original contract for 300 FJ-2s being cut back to 200. The last of the 200 FJ-2s on the contract was accepted in September 1954.

    Initial stability and control tests were carried out with FJ-2 BuNo 131932, which was fitted with a nose boom containing pressure spires and a yaw vane to measure the sideslip angle. This aircraft was redesignated YFJ-2. The YFJ-2 was frequently grounded with various problems during the 1953-54 trials. The YFJ-2 was found to be a stable and efficient gun platform, but only in the hands of an experienced pilot. Ground handling and takeoff characteristics were judged as being satisfactory, but several aspects of longitudinal stability and flight handling were deemed to be problematic. In addition, there was a rather annoying rudder "buzz" during transonic flight.

    To compound the problem, a serious competitor to the FJ-2 had appeared in the form of the Grumman F9F-6 Cougar, which had flown for the first time on September 10, 1951. Although slower in level flight than the FJ-2 Fury, the Cougar was considered better at operations from carrier flight decks. Consequently, most of the 200 FJ-2s built went to land-based Marine Corps units, with the F9F-6s going to carrier-based units. Very few FJ-2s ever went to sea.

    Marine Corps squadron VMF-122 based at Cherry Point, North Carolina received their first FJ-2s in January 1954. They spent most of their time in land-based operations, but they did go to sea aboard the *Coral Sea* in 1955. Although most carrier-based naval aircraft at that time were painted blue, these USMC Furies were natural metal. On the Pacific Coast, VMF-235 was the first to receive FJ-2s, which replaced that unit's aging F4U-4 Corsairs. VMF-235 used their Furies in steam catapult tests aboard the USS *Hancock*, with some 254 launchings of various types of aircraft being made with the ship's new C-11 steam catapults. VMF-235 also flew four FJ-2s retrofitted with stronger tail hook bumpers and modified nose gear struts in an unsuccessful attempt to solve the FJ-2's carrier problems.

    FJ-2s served with the VMF-122, -232, and 312 of the Atlantic Fleet Marines, and with VMF-235, -224, and -451. of the Pacific Fleet Marines.

    An attempt was made to incorporate the extended "6-3" wing leading edge without slats of the late F-86F on the FJ-2 Fury. The improved high-speed maneuverability that this "6-3" wing offered was an attractive feature, but the increased landing speed and poorer low-speed handing characteristics offered by this wing were definite problems for a carrier-based aircraft. In an attempt to incorporate the "6-3" wing without detracting too much from the low-speed characteristics, the third FJ-2 (BuNo 131929) was modified in August of 1953 with a slatless "6-3" wing having a full-chord wing fence at each butt plane 100. Extended wingtips were also fitted. However, this adaptation caused the aircraft to exhibit an abrupt roll-and-yaw prior to a sudden stall without any warning, which was a most undesirable feature for a carrier-based fighter. In 1954, a thick cambered fence was used with conjunction with another fence near the wingtip. This cured the stall warning problem during the power approach, but stall warning was still unsatisfactory during the final landing approach and a severe yaw occurred during the glide. In October 1954, 131929 was fitted with wing fences covering the leading edge only, at butt planes 100 and 176. This arrangement was more successful, and resulted in adequate stall warnings in most configurations. However, this adaptation was too late to be fitted to production FJ-2s, but was used in the next production version, the FJ-3.


    Share this post

  4. #244
    Lockheed F-94A

    During the 1947 Soviet Aviation Day display at Tushino Airport, a surprise appearance was put in by three four-engined long-range strategic bombers. They were early examples of the Tupolev Tu 4, which was a bolt-for-bolt copy of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, several examples of which had been interned in the Soviet Union after having been forced to land there during bombing raids against Japan. Since the USSR was expected soon to have nuclear weapons, the appearance of the Soviet "Superfortresski" was a shock to US military planners, since it meant that the US mainland might soon be vulnerable to nuclear attack from the air.

    The immediate postwar years had left the USAF without any truly modern all-weather fighters to face this new threat. Early attempts to develop jet-powered all-weather fighters ran into a series of snags and delays. The Curtiss XP-87 Blackhawk had been ordered in December of 1945, but it ran into developmental difficulties and the project was eventually totally abandoned in October of 1948. The Northrop P-89 Scorpion was deemed to have greater promise, but it too ran into teething troubles and did not show promise of entering service until 1952 at the earliest. Due to the lack of any suitable jet-powered replacement, the wartime Northrop P-61 Black Widow night fighter was forced to soldier on for a few more years. In order to help fill in the gap until the Scorpion could be available, night fighter adaptations of the piston-engined North American F-82 Twin Mustang were developed and hastily deployed.

    The failure of the Curtiss Blackhawk and the delays in the Northrop Scorpion program forced the USAF to consider alternatives. To solve its immediate need for a jet-powered night fighter, in March of 1948 the USAF approached Lockheed with the prospect of fitting its TF-80C two-seat trainer with armament and a Hughes E-1 fire control system. The E-1 system incorporated an AN/APG-33 radar installation coupled with a Sperry A-1C computing gunsight. This system was developed from the AN/APG-3 radar used in the Convair B-36's tail armament. The USAF was in a hurry, and wanted the first production aircraft to be available before the end of 1949.

    On October 8, 1948, a General Operational Requirement (GOR) was issued calling for the development of an all-weather interceptor.

    Lockheed assigned the company designation of Model 780 to the project. Clarence R. "Kelly" Johnson entrusted the development of the new fighter to a team headed by Russ Daniell. Fortunately, the TF-80C airframe had sufficient volume to house the fire-control system in a modified nose and enough room in the aft cockpit to house the radar operator's position and his associated equipment. Consequently, it appeared at first glance that the adaptation of trainer to night fighter would be relatively straightforward, and the concept was endorsed by the Secretary of Defense on October 14, 1948 which called for the development of the two-seat radar-equipped TF-80C. A Letter of Contract was awarded to Lockheed in January of 1949. The designation F-94 was assigned to the project.

    However, early design work soon indicated that the standard Allison J33 of the TF-80C would have insufficient power to accommodate the additional weight of the fire control equipment and armament, resulting in a fighter with a relatively low maximum speed and poor climbing performance. In search of more power, the decision was made to switch to an afterburning version of the Allison J33-A-33, rated at 4400 lb.s.t. dry and 6000 lb.s.t with afterburning. The afterburning engine required a longer and deeper rear fuselage, which pulled the center of gravity to the rear. However, the shift in center of gravity was offset by the weight of the E-1 fire control system installed in a longer forward fuselage and the APG-33 radar set mounted in an upswept nose. An armament of six 0.50-in M-3 machine guns had originally been planned, but space restrictions in the forward fuselage forced the limitation of the armament to only four guns. The guns were mounted in the lower nose section, with their muzzles located just aft of the radome. The air intakes were redesigned and enlarged, the tail surfaces were increased in area, and the internal fuel capacity was reduced to 318 US gallons. However, two 165-gallon under-wing tip tanks could be carried, bring total fuel capacity to 648 US gallons.

    F-94C Starfire being armed with 2.75 in FFARs Photo USAF

    Two TF-80Cs (48-356 and 48-373) were modified as prototypes for the F-94 all weather fighter. They were designated ETF-80C, which was later changed to ET-33A when the TF-80C became T-33A. They were unofficially known as YF-94. They initially lacked the radar, the weapons, and most of the operational equipment that was to be fitted to production aircraft. They had the distinctive upturned nose that was to characterize the future F-94A/B, and they featured a frameless T-33-type canopy. Teardrop fuel tanks were mounted underneath the wingtips. The maiden flight took place from the Van Nuys airport on April 16, 1949, with Tony LeVier and Glenn Fulkerson at the controls.

    Initial flight tests proved that the handling characteristics were generally satisfactory, but lots of problems cropped up with the afterburner. At that time, afterburners were a relatively new innovation, and there were lots of bugs that had to be ironed out. The engine of the YF-94 suffered from frequent flameouts, often with very difficult relights. These problems were eventually solved by Allison and Lockheed engineers working together to develop a new flame-holder system for the afterburner. The solution to the afterburner problems resulted in the F-94 being cleared for full production and service.

    The first production version was the F-94A. One hundred and nine examples had been ordered in January of 1949. Despite reduction of the Air Force budget that occurred as a result of the FY 1949 budgetary crisis, the F-94 procurement quickly rose to 288. The Soviet detonation of an atomic bomb in August 1949 resulted in yet another increase in F-94 procurement to 368 aircraft.

    The F-94A was generally similar to the YF-94s, but carried full operational equipment. The seventeen F-94A-1-LOs were practically hand-built models constructed from T-33 airframes taken over from the production line, but the remainder were started on the production line as F-94As. The nose of the F-94A housed four 0/5-inch machine guns with 300 rounds each. The belted ammunition was carried in boxes mounted just head of the cockpit firewall and just behind the avionics boxes. The machine gun armament could be supplemented by a pair of 1000-pound bombs for night bombing missions. A 165 US-gallon teardrop-shaped droptank could be carried underneath each wingtip.

    The first F-94A was accepted by the USAF in December of 1949. A total of 109 were built before production switched to the more reliable F-94B model. The F-94A was the first production fighter to be equipped with an afterburner as standard equipment, and it was the first jet-powered all-weather interceptor to serve with the USAF. The F-94A began replacing the North American F-82 Twin Mustangs of the 317th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at McChord AFB in Washington and the 319th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Moses Lake AFB in Washington in May of 1950.

    However, the F-94As proved to be rather troublesome in service, being fraught with engine and electronics problems. The afterburning Allison J-33 engine suffered from frequent turbine blade failures and the fuel system was quite unreliable. The aircraft was unstable and hard to maneuver at high altitude. The pilot and radar operator found that the cockpit was too narrow for them to be able to get in and out of the aircraft quickly during alerts and scrambles. The clearance for the ejection seats was too small, resulting in several tragic accidents during emergency ejections. The fire control radar was quite quirky and unreliable, and the crew members could never be sure that if their system was working at the beginning of a flight that it would still be functional at the end. With the Hughes E-1 fire control system, attacks and firing passes were actually made from the old "pursuit curve" type of attack which resembled a "tail chase" more than a 90-degree, lead collision type of firing pass. The radar gunsight was used to fire at the target aircraft once it was in range. Unfortunately, this exposed the attacking aircraft to the target aircraft's defensive firepower for a rather long period of time.

    During service, the early one-piece canopy of the F-94A was replaced by a canopy with a bow frame in the center between the two crew members. This feature was eventually adopted for all subsequent F-94 models as well as on the T-33 trainer. The original under-wing tip tanks were replaced in service by Fletcher centerline tip tanks with a capacity of 230 US gallons each. Some F-94As were fitted with a pod mounted on the leading edge of each wing which carried a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns, bringing the total forward-firing armament to eight machine guns.


    Less than a dozen Starfires survive. The original YF-94A (s/n 48-356) is on display at the Air Force Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards Air Force Base in California. A well-preserved F-94C (s/n 50-980) has been on display for many years at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. A less fortunate Starfire is deteriorating in a cemetery near Erie, Pennsylvania. "P-47" has been crudely painted on its nose.

    The two-place F-94 was this nation's first operational jet all-weather interceptor. It was developed from the single-seat F-80 Shooting Star which had been the Army Air Forces' first operational jet aircraft procured in significant quantities. Although the F-94 had a redesigned fuselage, it used the F-80 tail, wing, and landing gear. The Starfire was also the first U.S. production jet to have an afterburner, which provided brief periods of additional engine thrust. It was equipped with radar in the nose to permit the observer in the rear seat to locate an enemy aircraft at night or in poor weather. The pilot then flew the Starfire into proper position for an attack based upon the observer's radar indications. The F-94s were primarily deployed for the defense of the United States in the early 1950s, serving with Air Defense Command squadrons. Many Air National Guard units were later equipped with F-94s.
    Lockheed produced 853 F-94s for the Air Force, beginning in December 1949. Of these, 110 were F-94As and 355 were F-94Bs.


    YF-94 : Two T-33As were converted into YF-94 prototypes. Two built.
    F-94A : Two-seat all-weather interceptor fighter version.
    YF-94B : Prototype of the second production version.
    YF-94C : Prototypes. Two built.
    YF-97A : This was the original designation of the YF-94C.
    F-97A : This was the original designation of the F-94C.
    F-94D : Proposed fighter-bomber version for the US Air Force.

    General characteristics F-94C Starfire

    Crew: Two
    Length: 44 ft 6 in (13.6 m)
    Wingspan: 42 ft 5 in (12.9 m)
    Height: 14 ft 11 in (4.5 m)
    Wing area: 232.8 ft² (21.63 m²)
    Empty weight: 12,708 lb (5,764 kg)
    Loaded weight: 18,300 lb (8,300 kg)
    Maximum Take-Off Weight: 24,184 lb (10,970 kg)
    Powerplant: 1Ӕ Pratt & Whitney J48-P-5 turbojet, 8,750 lbf (38.9 kN)
    Maximum speed: 640 mph (1,030 km/h)
    Range: 805 mi combat, 1,275 mi ferry (1,300 km / 2,050 km)
    Service ceiling: 51,400 ft (15,670 m)
    Rate of climb: 7,980 ft/min (40.5 m/s)
    Wing loading: 78.6 lb/ft² (384 kg/m²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.48
    24 or 48x 2.75 in (70 mm) fin-folding aerial rockets
    AN/APG-40 radar

    Share this post

  5. #245
    North American FJ-3 Fury

    The design of a new Fury version, the NA-194, began in March of 1952. The engine was to be the Wright J65-W-2, a license-built version of the British-designed Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire turbojet engine. The thrust of the J65 was 7800 pounds, as against the 6000 pounds offered by the J47-GE-2 of the FJ-2. The higher thrust provided by the J65 offered the Navy the possibility of markedly enhanced performance, and a contract for 289 examples of the NA-194 was given to the Columbus plant on April 18, 1952. The designation FJ-3 was assigned by the Navy. Serials were BuNos 135774 through 136162.

    In order to serve as a testbed for the FJ-3, the fifth FJ-2 (BuNo 131931) was fitted with a J65-W-2 engine. The NAA designation NA-196 was assigned to this project, and the modified FJ-2 flew for the first time on July 3, 1953.

    The modified FJ-2 (131931) had retained the original nose intake of the stock FJ-2, but it was discovered during flight tests that the increased power offered by the J65 required that the nose air intake be made somewhat larger. Consequently, the production FJ-3 had a larger nose intake than that of the FJ-2. However, the slatted wings and the hydraulic power-operated horizontal tail and ailerons of the FJ-2 were retained. Four 20-mm cannon were provided, with 648 rounds of ammunition. Cockpit armor included a 52-pound back plate and an 88-pound plate in front of the instrument panel.

    The first production FJ-3 (BuNo 135774) rolled out of the Columbus factory and flew for the first time on December 11, 1953. William Ingram was the pilot. The engine was the 7650 lb.st. J65-W-4.

    By July of 1954, twenty-four FJ-3s had been delivered, and the aircraft began its Fleet Introduction Program at the Naval Air Testing Center (NATC) at Patuxent, Maryland. The flavor of the test flying environment at Patuxent during the mid-1950s was described very well by Tom Wolfe in his book *The Right Stuff*. Most of the early Navy jets had lots of quirks and were often quite dangerous to fly, and there were numerous accidents. I lived just across the Chesapeake Bay from Patuxent at that time, and scarcely a month would go by without at least one crash of a jet fighter being tested there. However, by the standards of the day, the FJ-3 went through its test program with relatively few problems being uncovered, although 135785 did manage to explode in midair and crash because of the ingestion of a foreign object, and the pilot of 135786 got himself lost, ran out of fuel, and had to ditch in the Patuxent River.

    Navy Squadron VF-173 based at Jacksonville, Florida was first to receive the FJ-3, becoming active with the fighter in September of 1954. The FJ-3 made its first carrier landings aboard the USS *Bennington* (CVA-20) on May 8, 1955. On January 4, 1956, an FJ-3 flown by Cdr. Ralph L. Werner of VF-21 became the first aircraft to land aboard the USS *Forrestal*, the first of the new class of post-war giant carriers.

    During the mid 1950s, the US Navy developed a mirror system to replace (at least partially) the paddle-waving LSO in guiding a pilot's approach to a carrier landing. The first mirror landing was made by Cdr. Robert D. Dose on August 22,1955, when he landed his FJ-3 aboard the USS *Bennington*.

    On July 1, 1955, the Navy abandoned the deep blue color scheme that had been used throughout the Korean War, and adopted a color scheme in which the upper surfaces were dull grey and the undersurfaces were white.

    The early FJ-3s had wing slats. On later FJ-3s, the wing slats were abandoned in favor of extended wing leading edges with a leading edge fence on each wing. The wing area went from 287.9 to 302.3 square feet. Space in these wing leading edges was used to accommodate 124 gallons of additional fuel, and many earlier FJ-3s were retrofitted with this extended wing leading edge.

    Beginning with 136118, four additional store stations were added underneath the wings. The inboard stations could carry 500-pound bombs or rocket packs, whereas the intermediate stations could carry 1000-pound bombs or launching rails for AAM-N-7 (AIM-9) Sidewinder missiles. In 1956, Furies equipped to carry Sidewinders had their designation changed to FJ-3M. The first Sidewinder equipped Furies entered service in 1956, and approximately 80 FJ-3s were modified to FJ-3M standards.

    The last aircraft on the original FJ-3 contract was finished in February 1956. A total of 389 were built, covering serials 135774 to 136162. A second order for FJ-3s had been given to North American on March 15, 1954 under the company designation of NA-215. This called for 214 aircraft, but was later but back to 69, but 80 more were added on November 2, bringing the final total to 149. The serials for this batch were BuNos 139210/139178 and 141364/141443. The first of these aircraft was delivered in December of 1955, and the last (an FJ-3M) rolled out of the factory in August of 1956.

    The FJ-3 Fury was retrofitted in service with a long probe under the port wing for midair refuelling. Furies were usually refueled from North American AJ-2 Savage tankers. However, they could also "buddy refuel" from other tactical jets such as the Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk. The midair-refuelling option extended the combat radius from 645 to 1237 miles.

    A few FJ-3s were modified in 1957-60 to serve as drone directors. Those modified to handle the direction of surplus Vought Regulus missiles were redesignated FJ-3D, whereas those modified to handle controlled F9F-6K drones and KDA targets were redesignated FJ-3D2.

    The FJ-3 had engine problems which did not fully manifest themselves until the type was well into service. The J65 had some severe lubrication problems which could cause the engine to seize up and lose all power during a catapult launch, forcing the aircraft to drop into the ocean. Don't you just hate it when this happens? :-) :-). The FJ-3 was also prone to engine flameouts, but probably not much more so than many other jet fighters of its day. The J65 also suffered from occasional catastrophic turbine blade failures, which would cause the engine to shed its turbine blades and send them flying out the sides of the fuselage. New types of blades were fitted during service to help correct this problem.

    The FJ-3 served with the following squadrons:

    Atlantic Fleet:
    FJ-3: VF-3, VF-33, VMF-122, VMF-313
    FJ-3M: VA-172, VF-12, VF-62, VF-73, VF-84, VF-173, VMF-334

    Pacific Fleet:
    FJ-3: VF-24, VF-91, VF-154, VF-191, VF-211
    FJ-3M: VF-21, VF-51, VF-121, VF-142, VF-143, VF-211, VMF-235.

    Despite their engine problems, the FJ-3s were fairly popular with their pilots. Commander J. J. Boydston of VF-154 spoke well of the aircraft. Captain James Powell of VF-142, who had also flown F9F-6s, felt that the FJ-3 got off the ground a lot faster than did the Cougar. He felt that his FJ-3 could outfight any aircraft in service during those times, with the sole exception of the F-86H.

    I don't think that the FJ-3 ever fired its weapons in anger, although it did fly support during the American intervention in Lebanon during 1958.

    On October 1, 1962, the FJ-3 was redesignated F-1C in the new Tri-Service designation scheme. The Fury was given the honor of the first slot in the new system, although by this time most FJ-3s had been retired from service. The FJ-3D was assigned the designation MF-3C, and the drone directors FJ-3D and FJ-3D2 were redesignated DF-1C and DF-1D respectively. It seems that the FJ-1 and FJ-2 were not redesignated, since by this time they were no longer in service, even with reserve units. However, it is an odd fact that the designations F-1A and F-1B were never assigned. Perhaps these designations were reserved for the FJ-1 and the FJ-2, although I am only guessing.

    Specification of the FJ-3

    Engine: One Wright J65-W-4B turbojet, 7650 lb.st.
    Dimensions: wingspan 37 feet 1 inch, wing area 302.3 square feet, length 37 feet 7 inches, height 13 feet 8 inches.
    Weights: 12,205 pounds empty, 15,669-17,926 pounds combat weight, 21,024 pounds gross.
    Performance: Distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle was 2750 feet. Initial climb rate: 8450 feet /minute (7100 ft/min with two Sidewinders).
    Climb to 30,000 feet in 5.2 minutes Ferry range: 1784 miles.
    Combat range (clean), 990 miles.
    Combat radius 370 miles (clean), 645 miles with 2 200-gallon drop tanks.
    Maximum speed: 681 mph at sea level, 623 mph at 35,000 feet (clean) 670 mph at sea level, 612 mph at 35,000 feet (two Sidewinders).
    Armament consisted of four 20-mm cannon in nose plus two AA-N-7 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles (on the FJ-3M version).

    Share this post

  6. #246
    Douglas XA4D-1 Skyhawk

    The A4D/A-4 Skyhawk is one of the more successful military aircraft of the postwar era. It entered service with the US Navy in late 1956 and served with distinction for many years. It bore much of the early action in carrier-based strikes against North Vietnam during the 1960s. Although the Skyhawk is no longer serving in its primary attack role with the US Navy/US Marine Corps, a few Skyhawks are still serving in 2001 in auxiliary roles such as target towing and adversary training. However, the Skyhawk is still going strong with several foreign military services. It may well be that the Skyhawk exceeds the DC-3/C-47/Dakota in worldwide military service.

    The Skyhawk was in continuous production for over 27 years, mainly for the US Navy and US Marine Corps. Two-seat versions accounted for 555 of these. Four foreign nations purchased new Skyhawks from the Douglas production line, whereas four other nations purchased refurbished aircraft from US surplus stocks.

    Long after the Skyhawk had been replaced by later types as the Navy's primary carrier-based attack aircraft, two-seat versions of the Skyhawk played a primary role in the training of the Navy's new pilots. The two-seat training Skyhawk remained in service until 1999.

    An additional role undertaken by the Skyhawk was that of aggressor aircraft. During the Vietnam War, it was found that the air-to-air kill ratio against North Vietnamese fighter aircraft was too low. In an attempt to improve this, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (better known as "Top Gun") which was designed to train pilots to win air-to-air battles against Soviet-block aircraft. The Skyhawk, when stripped of its avionics and weapons systems, proved to be an extremely agile aircraft, one which could simulate the performance characteristics of the MiG-17.

    The Skyhawk is perhaps best remembered today as being the plane used by the Blue Angels Navy flight demonstration team from 1974 to 1987, thrilling millions of air show attendees all throughout the world.

    Alarmed at the trend towards ever-increasing weight in contemporary fighters such as the USAF F-86 Sabre and the Navy F9F Panther, Douglas Chief Engineer Douglas Heinemann charted a team of engineers to work on a private venture to see if this trend could be reversed. They came up with a rather daring proposal for a jet fighter weighing only 7000 pounds. The team submitted the results of this preliminary design study to the Bureau of Aeronautics in early January of 1952.

    The Navy showed some interest, but since they were already involved in the consideration of several other fighter designs, they suggested that the Douglas team should apply the same sort of philosophy to the design of a carrier-based attack aircraft. This plane would be intended for the nuclear strike role, with a top speed of 500 mph, a combat radius of 345 miles, a 2000-lb weapons load, and a maximum gross weight of less than 30,000 pounds.

    Heinemann's team responded a couple of weeks later with a proposal that exceeded these requirements by a substantial margin. The normal loaded weight of the aircraft would be only 12,000 pounds, less than half the limit specified by the Navy, and the top speed was 100 mph greater and the combat radius 115 miles greater. Douglas was authorized to proceed with further design studies. During the evaluation, the range requirements were increased, raising the gross weight to 14,000 pounds

    The design team came up with a low-winged jet-powered aircraft with a modified delta planform. The wing had a quarter chord sweep of 33 degrees. The span was only 27 feet 6 inches, which eliminated any need for wing folding and saving a lot of weight and complexity. The wing had three one-piece spars with spanwise stiffened skin. The delta shaped wing formed a single box with integral fuel tankage, and the upper and lower skins were single pieces. The spars and stringers were continuous from tip to tip. The wing leading edge was equipped with automatic leading edge slats and split flaps were provided on the trailing edge. Most of the wing between the spars contained an integral fuel tank with 560 gallon capacity.

    The aircraft had a normal tail, with a rudder and a set of elevators. The dorsal fin had a delta shape, and had a rudder set at its rear. The horizontal tailplane was set at at the lower part of the vertical tail, just above the tailpipe. The horizontal stabilizer was electrically adjustable in incidence, and could be adjusted for trim throughout the entire flight range. A large speed brake was provided on each side of the rear fuselage.

    The engine was to be a licence-built version of the British Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire turbojet, rated at 8000 lb.s.t. It would be built by Wright under the designation J65. The engine was mounted in the fuselage center with air intakes mounted high on both sides of the fuselage aft of the cockpit. The engine had a single exhaust in the tail.

    The internal fuel capacity was 770 US gallons, carried in integral wing tanks and in a self-sealing cell aft of the cockpit and between the engine air ducts. All of the offensive weapons were to be carried externally on three stations--one underneath the fuselage centerline and one underneath each wing. The internal armament was to be a pair of 20-mm cannon, one in each wing root. Design gross weight with a single Mk 12 nuclear weapon was 14,250 pounds, and the combat radius with this weapon with internal fuel only was 400 miles.

    The tall main undercarriage members were attached to the inner wing trailing edge, and retracted forward and rotated through 90 degrees to fit into wells in the leading edge of the wing. The wing was sufficiently thin so that long fairings had to be fitted underneath the wing to cover the landing gear legs when retracted. The nose landing gear retracted forward into a well in the nose. The forward-retracting landing gear had the avantage in that emergency extension systems were not required, since the airstream flow will lock the gear down after free fall. The landing gear appears at first sight to be rather long and stalky, but it facilitiates adequate ground clearance during rotation on takeoff

    The cockpit canopy was of the "clamshell" variety, opening via a hinge located immediately to the rear. An upward- firing ejector seat was to be provided for the pilot.

    A preliminary mockup inspection took place in February of 1952 Douglas was given a contract for one aircraft On June 12, 1952. The designation was XA4D-1, and the BuNo was 137812. The project was financed by diverting funds from the cancelled A2D Skyshark program. Final mockup inspection took place in October of 1952. By this time, the Navy had ordered 9 production aircraft, which was soon increased to 19.

    The XA4D-1 was assembled at the Douglas El Segundo plant and was rolled out of the factory in February of 1954, the aircraft being given the popular name Skyhawk. In press releases, the plane was often referred to as "Heinmann's Hot Rod". The windscreen of the cockpit was frameless, and the nose was provided with a long instrumentation probe. The pilot was provided with a NAMC Type II ejection seat. Only the centerline weapons pylon was fitted, and there was no carrier arrester hook. No armament was fitted.

    The XA4D-1 was trucked out to Edwards AFB, 100 miles away. The first flight was delayed by the late delivery of its 7200 lb.s.t Wright J65-W-2 turbojet. First flight took place at Edwards AFB on June 22, 1954, test pilot Robert Rahn being at the controls.

    Late in the career of the XA4D-1, it was fitted with most of the features of the production A4D-1, including a tailhook, a jetpipe fairing, vortex generators, and all three weapons pylons.


    Ed Heinemann photographs courtesy of Harry S. Gann
    Edward Henry Heinemann
    Designer of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk,
    (Heinemann's Hot-Rod) the Ferrari of airplanes.
    Ed Heinemann was responsible for the design and development of a remarkably successful series of combat aircraft, from the Dauntless dive bomber to the A4 Skyhawk jet. During a career that extended over six decades, he designed more than 20 fighter, bomber, and rocket aircraft. He died on 26 November 1991 at the age of 83.

    His story is told in the excellent volume, ''Ed Heinemann: Combat Aircraft Designer", co-authored by Rosario "Zip" Rausa, published by Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 1980.

    Airplanes were a part of Ed Heinemann's life since he was given a toy biplane on his eighth birthday. Years later as a teenager he would roam the grounds of the Ascot Park Speedway in Saginaw, Michigan, watching the planes flying about and waiting for the occasional visit of the Goodyear blimp. As she descended, he would run onto the field, grab the guy wires, and help haul her down.

    Like the great World War II pilot, Jimmy Doolittle, Ed Heinemann attended Manual Arts High in Los Angeles, but unlike Doolittle, that's where his formal education ended. His extraordinary mechanical aptitude was recognized and nurtured in those classroom days in a way that really paid off later. He became a man whose life spanned the golden age of flight and whose foresight, determination, and genius provided the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force with some of the most reliable fighting machines ever to take to the sky.

    Share this post

  7. #247
    SkyChimp's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Share this post

  8. #248
    ah, the mighty Thud
    Share this post

  9. #249

    Remarks by Jack McKillop: Lockheed XF-104-LO Starfighter, USAF s/n 53-7786, Lockheed Model 083, msn 083-1001. This is the first of two XF-104-LOs. This aircraft made its first flight on 28 February 1954 at Edwards AFB, California, U.S.A.

    From Baugher web site: Crashed Jul 11, 1957 due to uncontrollable tail flutter. Pilot Bill Park ejected safely.

    In late 1951, the Lockheed company's chief aircraft designer, Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson, went to South Korea to talk with US fighter pilots engaged in the air war there to ask them what they were looking for in a next-generation fighter. The answer was that they wanted a simple, lightweight fighter that provided high speed, altitude, and maneuverability. In December 1951, Johnson proposed that he begin development of such a machine, even though the USAF had no outstanding requirement for it at the time.

    By the end of October 1952, a range of different designs had been considered and screened down to a concept designated the "Model L-246", envisioning an aircraft with a dartlike fuselage, short trapezoidal wings, a tee tail, and a new-generation, powerful turbojet engine, the General Electric (GE) J-79. Lockheed management liked the concept, and that November Johnson went to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to pitch the L-246 to the Air Force.

    At the time, the USAF was engaged in wide range of advanced aircraft development programs and the idea that the service might have wanted to take on another seems a bit implausible in hindsight, but the Cold War was on in earnest, and in fact the hot war in Korea was still in progress as well. There was much less bureaucracy involved in developing combat aircraft in those days, partly because they were so much simpler and less expensive to design and build than they are now.

    In any case, the Model L-246 was so attractive that the USAF got on board quickly, though the service still had to issue a request for proposals to industry and conduct a competition. Northrop, North American, and Republic submitted proposals that made it into the final round of the competition, but Lockheed had the head start and won the award in January 1953. The contract that followed specified construction of a mockup, already being put together at Lockheed, plus a static test aircraft and two flight prototypes. Lockheed designated the aircraft the "Model 83"; the Air Force designated the program "Weapon System (WS) 303A" and gave the prototypes the designation of "XF-104".

    Chief Lockheed test pilot Tony Levier was assigned to fly the aircraft. He found the design exotic and impressive, but it was so new in concept that he had concerns about how well it might fly. The first XF-104 was rolled out from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, on 23 February 1954, and was quietly trucked to Edwards AFB the next evening.

    The XF-104 was a sleek dart of an aircraft, no doubt breathtakingly advanced in appearance compared to contemporary jet fighters in service. It was made mostly of aviation aluminum alloys, with titanium near the engine exhaust, had a needle nose, a bubble-style canopy that hinged open to the left, trapezoidal thin sharp-edged wings with a noticeable dihedral, a tee tail, and tricycle landing gear. All three gear assemblies had single wheels, with the steerable nose wheel retracting backward and the main gear rotating and tucking forward into the fuselage. The XF-104 featured a downward-firing ejection seat, chosen because an upward-firing ejection seat stood a chance of tossing the pilot into the tail assembly. Minimum ejection altitude was given as 152 meters (500 feet). To no surprise in hindsight, the downward-firing ejection seat would not turn out to be a good idea.

    Since the GE J79 wasn't available at the time, the first XF-104 was temporarily fitted with a Buick-built Wright J65-B-3 nonafterburning turbojet, which would be upgraded to an afterburning J65-W-7 version in July 1954. The J65 was an "Americanized" version of the British Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphire axial-flow turbojet. The J65-W-7 provided 34.7 kN (3,540 kgp / 7,800 lbf) dry thrust and 45.8 kN (4,670 kgp / 10,300 lbf) afterburning thrust. This was only about 70% of the power expected from the GE J79. The J65 was fed through half-circle fixed intakes on either side of the fuselage forward of the wing roots. The intakes were set off from the fuselage slightly to ensure that they didn't ingest turbulent and stagnant "boundary layer" air that hugged the fuselage.

    Germany Air Force, Lockheed F-104G

    Levier began taxi tests on 27 February and took the machine on a short hop up from the runway and down again on 28 February. The first full flight was on 5 March, but it was short-lived, since the landing gear wouldn't retract. Lockheed technicians made fixes on the spot, but the second flight went no better: the landing gear still wouldn't retract. In between engineering work and bad weather, the next flights didn't take place until near the end of March. However, by that time the XF-104 was flying right, though test flights through the spring and into the summer of 1954 continued to turn up the more or less expected bugs and glitches.

    Even with the non-afterburning J65-B-3 engine, the XF-104A could break Mach 1 in level flight, with the transition so smooth that the pilot hardly knew it had happened. Mach 1 was no longer the obstacle that it had been thought to be in the previous decade. Once the afterburning J65-W-7 was installed, the XF-104 could do Mach 1.5 with no particular difficulty, and on 15 March 1955 it broke Mach 1.79. Everyone involved with the project must have reflected on the enormous jump in aircraft performance over the space of a mere decade.

    The second XF-104 was already in the air by this time, having performed its first flight on 6 October 1954. It was fitted from the outset with the afterburning J65-W-7. It was primarily intended for armament tests. Although the original idea was that the aircraft would be fitted with twin 30 millimeter cannon, a decision was made to go with the new high-speed GE TE-171-E3 (later M61) "Vulcan" six-barrelled Gatling-type 20 millimeter cannon. It was also fitted with the AN/ASG-14T-1 fire control system (FCS).

    The cannon tests ran into snags: on 17 December 1954, Levier tried to fire a burst at high altitude and was rewarded with an explosion. The engine began running rough and Levier shut it down, gliding 80 kilometers (50 miles) to put the machine down safely. As it turned out, a 20 millimeter cartridge had exploded while being fired, blowing off the back of the cannon and sending it through the section of the aircraft behind it. In a sense, the XF-104 had shot itself down.

    The aircraft was repaired and returned to flight test. However, on 14 April 1955 Lockheed test pilot Herman R. "Fish" Salmon was performing cannon tests, setting up vibrations so severe that they blew off the ejection seat door in the bottom of the cockpit. The cockpit depressurized and Salmon's pressure suit puffed up so much that he couldn't see what was going on. Had he understood the problem he could have gone to low altitude, equalizing the pressure and allowing him to get things under control, but he had no real idea of what had gone wrong and decided to eject, coming to earth safely. Of course, the second prototype plowed into the ground and was destroyed. An F-94C Starfire interceptor was modified to complete the armament tests.

    The first XF-104 would also be lost in a crash later. On 11 July 1957, Lockheed test pilot William M. "Bill" Park, who would later fly the HAVE BLUE demonstrator that led to the F-117 Stealth Fighter, was flying the XF-104 as a chase plane when flutter tore the tail off. Park ejected safely and the aircraft fell to earth.

    Italian Airforce Lockheed F-104S-ASA Starfighter

    YF-104A / F-104A

    The loss of the prototypes didn't slow the program down. The USAF had awarded Lockheed a contract for 17 "YF-104" preproduction evaluation machines on 30 March 1955. By the end of the year, GE was shipping YJ79-GE-3 evaluation engines to Lockheed, and the first YF-104A performed its initial flight on 17 February 1956. Herman Salmon was at the controls, obviously not very fazed by his ejection from the number-two XF-104 just two days earlier. The YF-104 broke Mach 2 on 28 February.

    The YF-104A was 1.68 meters (5 feet 6 inches) longer than the XF-104 to allow it to accommodate the J79 engine, with the stretch allowing it to carry more fuel as well. It also introduced a new inlet scheme, featuring a fixed half-cone in each inlet. The half-cones were called "shock cones" or more informally "flight falsies" -- a "falsie" being Yank slang for a padded brassiere -- and the scheme was a big secret at the outset. The nosewheel assembly was also changed to retract forward, to provide better clearance for the downward-firing ejection seat. Other minor changes involved a taller tailfin and a dorsal spine.

    The YF-104s were intended to evaluate the J79 engine, the GE M61 Vulcan cannon, the AIM-9 (originally GAR-8) Sidewinder air-to-air missile (AAM), and wingtip fuel tanks with a capacity of 644 liters (170 gallons) each, as well as prove just how well the Starfighter could fly. The YJ79-GE-3 evaluation engines provided 65.9 kN (6,715 kgp / 14,800 lbf) afterburning thrust.

    Rocket launch version which could also carry an A-bomb.

    The USAF seemed to be more or less sold on the F-104, awarding Lockheed a contract on 2 March 1956 for an initial batch of production aircraft. The contract actually specified four different Starfighter variants:

    The "F-104A" single-seat daylight interceptor for the USAF Air Defense Command (ADC).
    The "F-104B" two-seat trainer derivative of the F-104A.
    The "F-104C" single-seat fighter-bomber for the USAF Tactical Air Command (TAC).
    The "F-104D" two-seat trainer variant of the F-104C.

    The next month, the Starfighter was finally unveiled to the public, the program having been kept as secret as possible to that time. Initial photographs featured a YF-104 with the intakes covered by neat fairings to conceal the intake cones.

    Late in 1956, Lockheed got a contract for a dedicated reconnaissance version of the Starfighter, designated the "RF-104A" and at least informally known as the "Stargazer". However, this contract was cancelled within a few months, the Air Force deciding to focus on the McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo instead.

    * The F-104A entered formal USAF service in late February 1958. Its form followed that of the YF-104A, being a dartlike machine with trapezoidal wings, a high tee tail, and tricycle landing gear, though the airframe had been reinforced to handle higher gee stresses. It was powered by a J79-GE-3B turbojet engine, which had similar performance to the earlier -3 and -3A engines used on the YF-104As, but was more reliable. The early J79 variants were badly prone to engine failures; it appears that early F-104A production used the -3A variant, but it was quickly replaced when the -3B became available. The engine could be accessed by pulling off the rear fuselage after undoing four bolts. The Starfighter had been designed to be easy to maintain, and it was regarded as very maintainable by the standards of the time. There was a ram-air turbine (RAT) in a pop-out door on the lower right side of the fuselage, just behind the nose gear, to provide electrical and hydraulic power in case of systems failure.

    The wing had twin spars, a leading-edge sweep of 26 degrees, a trailing-edge sweep of 18.1 degrees, a chord (root thickness / length) of 3.36%, and a dihedral of ten degrees to provide stability around the roll axis. The edges were sharp enough to require that they be covered with felt strips during maintenance to keep from gashing the ground crews. Each wing had a full-span leading-edge flap, and a large trailing-edge flap inboard of the aileron. Engine bleed air was fed through a slot on the top of the wing just forward of each trailing-edge flap, with this "blown flaps" or "boundary layer control (BLC)" scheme further improving low-speed handling. The Starfighter was said to have been the first production aircraft to feature BLC. Despite the small wings and the sleek fuselage, the landing speed was comparable to that of existing fighters, though still on the "hot" side, and a ribbon-style brake parachute was fitted, popping out from under the tail of the aircraft.

    The high tee tail had conventional rudder with hydraulic power boost, but an all-moving tailplane. The tee configuration was selected to provide a longer "lever arm", improving the effect of the ailerons. It did tend to undermine roll stability, with this effect counteracted by the wing anhedral. That wasn't quite enough, and so the last YF-104A evaluated a ventral fin that was fitted to the F-104A. Some sources claim early production F-104As did not have the ventral fin, but these machines appear to be YF-104As that were brought up to operational spec.

    A runway arresting hook was fitted offset to the right and behind the ventral fin, but many pictures of F-104As do not show the arresting hook, and it appears to have been a late addition in production. The introduction and retrofit of features implies that the configuration of the F-104A was something of a moving target; in fact, the precise configuration of early Starfighter variants is a confusing subject, with many small contradictions between sources.

    The sole armament of the F-104A was the heat-seeking AIM-9B Sidewinder, with one carried on each wingtip. Wingtip tanks could be carried as well, but of course missile armament could not be carried if the wingtip tanks were fitted. Sources indicate that it could also carry the MB-1 Genie AAM, an unguided weapon with a small nuclear warhead, launched from a trapeze under the fuselage. Apparently this was never more than a trial fit, and if there are any images of a Starfighter with a Genie, they are hard to find.

    Japan Airforce, Lockheed F-104J Starfighter

    Although the F-104A was to carry the GE Vulcan cannon, firing out a blister on the left side of the fuselage below the cockpit and belt-fed from an ammunition drum with a capacity of 725 rounds, GE was having major problems getting the Vulcan to work. As a result, it was dropped from the F-104A. GE would finally introduce the serviceable M61A1 Vulcan variant in 1959, and F-104As would be gradually refitted with the cannon.

    The F-104A could be fitted with a single stores pylon under each wing for use with external tanks, with each underwing tank having a capacity of 739 liters (195 US gallons) each. These underwing pylons were not fitted for carriage of Sidewinder AAMs, and were apparently never used for carrying anything but external tanks. Some sources insist that the F-104A didn't have the underwing pylons, but this is contradicted by manufacturer's drawings.

    Avionics included the AN/ASG-14T-1 FCS, a TACAN beacon-navigation system, and radio. There was also an infrared sight, manifested by a little window at the bottom of the windscreen, but sources are very vague about its details. It is an indication of how much more complicated aircraft are today when statistics for an F-104A in contemporary dollars give the price of the entire aircraft as a little over $1.7 million USD, with avionics amounting to only a bit over $3,400 USD of that. These days, that would hardly buy a high-end home high-definition TV system -- much less a state-of-the art fighter radar, navigation and communications system, and countermeasures suite.

    153 F-104As were built, not counting the 17 YF-104As, with the last batch accepted by the USAF in December 1958. Some of the YF-104As were brought up to production spec and put into service.

    While the Starfighter was being brought into operational service, it was also breaking performance records. On 7 May 1958, USAF Major Howard C. Johnson took the world altitude record, flying a YF-104A to meters (91,249 feet) over Edwards AFB. On 16 May, a YF-104A flown by USAF Captain Walter Irwin set a world speed record, traversing a 15 x 25 kilometer (9.3 x 15.5) mile circuit at Edwards at an average speed of 2,260.75 KPH (1,404.19 MPH). In December 1958, an F-104A flying out of the naval air station at Point Mugu, California, set a series of climb records.

    Belgium Air Force, Lockheed F-104G. Starfighter

    Greece Air Force, Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

    A total of 2,578 F-104s were produced by Lockheed and under license by various foreign manufacturers. Principal variants included:

    XF-104 - Two prototype aircraft equipped with Wright J65 engines (the J79 was not yet ready); no operational equipment.
    YF-104A - 17 pre-production aircraft used for engine, equipment, and flight testing.
    F-104A - 153 initial production versions. In USAF service from 1958 through 1960, then transferred to ANG until 1963 when they were recalled by the USAF Air Defense Command for the 319th and 331st Fighter Interceptor Squadrons. Some were released for export to Jordan, Pakistan, and Taiwan, each of whom used it in combat. In 1967 the 319th F-104As and Bs were re-engined with the J79-GE-19 engines with 17,900 pounds (79.6 kN) of thrust in afterburner. Note: service ceiling with this engine was in excess of 73,000 feet (22,250 m). In 1969 all the F-104A/Bs in ADC service were retired.
    NF-104A - Three demilitarized versions with 6,000 lbf (27 kN) Rocketdyne LR121/AR-2-NA-1 rocket engines, used for astronaut training at altitudes up to 120,800 ft (36,830 m). (A December 10, 1963 accident involving Chuck Yeager was depicted in the movie The Right Stuff, although the aircraft in the film was not an actual NF-104A.)
    QF-104A - 22 F-104As converted as radio-controlled drones and test aircraft.
    F-104B - 26 dual-control trainer versions of F-104A. No cannon and reduced internal fuel, but otherwise combat-capable. A few were supplied to Pakistan and Taiwan.
    F-104C - 71 Fighter bomber versions for USAF Tactical Air Command, with improved fire-control radar (AN/ASG-14T-2), centerline and two wing pylons (for a total of five), and ability to carry one Mk 28 or Mk 43 nuclear weapon on centerline pylon. One squadron (476th Tactical Fighter Squadron) served briefly in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967, escorting F-105 Thunderchief missions. No air-to-air kills were scored, although the Starfighters were successful in deterring MiG interceptors. Vietnam-serving F-104s were upgraded in service with APR-25/26 radar warning receiver equipment. Nine were lost in combat.
    F-104D - 21 dual-control trainer versions of F-104C.
    F-104DJ - 20 dual-control trainer version of F-104J for Japanese Self-Defense Air Force, built by Lockheed rather than Mitsubishi.
    F-104F - 30 dual-control trainer based on F-104D, but using the upgraded engine of the F-104G. No radar, and not combat-capable. 30 produced as interim trainers for the Luftwaffe.
    F-104G - 1,122 aircraft in major production version as multi-role fighter bomber aircraft. Built by 4 groups of European companies, Canadair and Lockheed. Strengthened fuselage and wings, increased internal fuel capacity, enlarged vertical fin, heavier landing gear, revised flaps for improved combat maneuvering. New Autonetics NASARR F15A-41B radar with air-to-air and air-to-ground modes, Litton LN-3 inertial navigation (the first on a production fighter), infrared sight.
    RF-104G - 189 tactical reconnaissance models based on F-104G, usually with three KS-67A cameras mounted in the forward fuselage in place of cannon.
    TF-104G - 220 combat-capable trainer version of F-104G; no cannon or centerline pylon, reduced internal fuel. One civil version, civil registration number L104L, was used by Jackie Cochran to set three women€s world speed records in 1964.
    F-104J - 178 Japanese version, built under license by Mitsubishi for the air-superiority fighter role, armed with cannon and four Sidewinders; no strike capability.
    F-104N - Three F-104Gs delivered to NASA in 1963 for use as high-speed chase aircraft. One, piloted by Joe Walker, collided with the XB-70 on 8 June 1966. (To see its crash site, click here.)
    F-104S - 246 Italian versions produced mainly by FIAT, upgraded for interception role with NASARR R-21G/H radar with moving-target indicator and continuous-wave illuminator for SARH missiles (initially AIM-7 Sparrow), two additional wing hardpoints, more powerful J79-GE-19 engine with 11,870 lbf (53 kN) and 17,900 lbf (80 kN) thrust, two additional ventral fins for increased stability. The cannon was sacrificed to make room for the illuminator and was never restored in subsequent variants.
    F-104S-ASA (Aggiornamento Sistemi d'Arma - "Weapon Systems Update") - 147 upgraded Italian version with Fiat R21G/M1 radar with frequency hopping, look-down/shoot-down capability, new IFF and weapons delivery computer, provision for AIM-9L all-aspect Sidewinder, Selenia Aspide missiles.
    F-104S-ASA/M (Aggiornamento Sistemi d'Arma/Modificato - "Weapon Systems Update/Modified") - 49 single seat and 15 two-seat (former TF-104G) upgraded from 1998 to ASA/M standard with GPS, new TACAN and Litton LN-30A2 INS, refurbished airframe, improved cockpit displays. All strike-related equipment was removed. The last Starfighters in combat service, they were eventually withdrawn in December 2004 and temporarily replaced by the F-16, while awaiting the Eurofighter Typhoon to become fully operational.
    CF-104 - 200 Canadian-built versions, built under license by Canadair and optimized for nuclear strike, with NASARR R-24A radar with air-to-air modes and cannon deleted (the cannon was restored after 1972), additional internal fuel cell, and Canadian J79-OEL-7 engines with 10,000 lbf (44 kN) /15,800 lbf (70 kN) thrust. Some later transferred to Denmark, Norway, and Turkey.
    CF-104D - 38 dual-control trainer versions of CF-104D, built by Lockheed, but with Canadian J79-OEL-7 engines. Some later transferred to Denmark, Norway, and Turkey.

    Italian Air Force, Lockheed F-104G Starfighter

    Italy Air Force, Lockheed F-104S Starfighter

    General characteristics
    Crew: 1
    Length: 54 ft 8 in (16.66 m)
    Wingspan: 21 ft 9 in (6.36 m)
    Height: 13 ft 6 in (4.09 m)
    Wing area: 196.1 ft² (18.22 m²)
    Airfoil: Biconvex 3.36% root and tip
    Empty weight: 14,000 lb (6,350 kg)
    Loaded weight: 20,640 lb (9,365 kg)
    Maximum Take-Off Weight: 29,027 lb (13,170 kg)
    Powerplant: 1Ӕ General Electric J79-GE-11A afterburning turbojet
    Dry thrust: 10,000 lbf (48 kN)
    Thrust with afterburner: 15,600 lbf (69 kN)
    Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0172
    Drag area: 3.37 ft² (0.31 m²)
    Aspect ratio: 2.45
    Maximum speed: 1,328 mph (2,125 km/h)

    Combat: 420 mi (670 km)
    Ferry: 1,630 mi (2,600 km)
    Service ceiling: 50,000 ft (15,240 m)
    Rate of climb: 48,000 ft/min (244 m/s)
    Wing loading: 105 lb/ft² (514 kg/m²)
    Thrust/weight: 0.76
    Lift-to-drag ratio: 9.2
    1x 20 mm M61 Vulcan with 725 rounds
    4x AIM-9 Sidewinder
    Up to 4,000 lb (1,815 kg) of bombs, rockets, or other stores on seven hardpoints

    Germany Air Force, Lockheed F-104G Starfighter


    The Starfighter was commonly called the "missile with a man in it." In service, American pilots called it the "Zipper" or "Zip-104" (because of its prodigious speed).
    The Japan Air Self-Defense Force called it Eiko ("glory"), but other export pilots were less charitable, dubbing it "Flying Coffin" or worse.
    The German public called it Witwenmacher ("widowmaker"), fliegender Sarg ("flying coffin") or Erdnagel ("ground nail", the official military term for a tent peg). The Pakistani AF name was Badmash ("hooligan"), while among Italian pilots its spiky design earned it the nickname Spillone ("hatpin"), along with bara volante ("flying coffin", again). Canadian pilots sometimes referred to it as the flying lawn dart.
    The engine made a unique howling sound at certain throttle settings which led some to call the Starfighter Howling Howland. At certain low speeds with high engine RPM the aircraft produced a pronounced oscillating whine as the wings rocked from side to side.
    In Canada this was referred to as the "Whistling Wing Walk".


    Share this post

  10. #250
    ploughman's Avatar Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Gloster Javelin.

    Good site here for this handsome aircraft.



    Share this post