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Thread: Talk About Close Calls

  1. #1
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Talk About Close Calls

    The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds are known for hair raising performances anyway, but in this picture, I don't think the intention was to get this close.

    Look closely at the F-16 on the left. The speed brakes are fully deployed near the engine area, and its smoke trail looks vastly different from the one on the right, this being due to bringing the engine back to full idle. Amazing photography by the person who caught this.



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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    I'm curious as to where you found this, because I'm a little skeptical.

    I'm not a fighter expert (nor an imagery expert), but I'm pretty sure the smoke packages added to airshow aircraft run independent of thrust. Basically, there are two settings for the smoke, off and on. So the explaination of the aircraft running at idle is excrement.

    Also, the aircraft on the left appears more grainy and not as clear as the aircraft on the right. I'm not sure if that's due to lighting or to photoshop.
    Last edited by paintmered; 08-08-2005 at 09:33 PM.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

  4. #3
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    I'm curious as to where you found this, because I'm a little skeptical.

    I'm not a fighter expert, but I'm pretty sure the smoke packages added to airshow aircraft run independent of thrust. Basically, there are two settings for the smoke, off and on. So the explaination of the aircraft running at idle is excrement.

    Also, the aircraft on the left appears more grainy and not as clear as the aircraft on the right. I'm not sure if that's due to lighting or to photoshop.
    I was e-mailed this picture by a friend. I did a google image search for "thunderbirds close call" and got the same photo that was e-mailed. I thought the same thing about the smoke, but I've followed fighters for a long time, worked on them for over 14 years. I've seen the T-Birds several times and have never once seen the use speed brakes during any maneuver of their's. Doesn't mean that something didn't happen at some other point and this is just clever use of Photoshop though.

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    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by dman
    I was e-mailed this picture by a friend. I did a google image search for "thunderbirds close call" and got the same photo that was e-mailed. I thought the same thing about the smoke, but I've followed fighters for a long time, worked on them for over 14 years. I've seen the T-Birds several times and have never once seen the use speed brakes during any maneuver of their's. Doesn't mean that something didn't happen at some other point and this is just clever use of Photoshop though.
    Yeah, I had the same thought about the spoilers too. I've seen the T-birds perform several times and that's one of their trademark maneuvers. From what I remember, it is executed at a higher airspeed than the spoilers should be able to handle.

    I'm not sure if they use them like other aircraft and save full spoilers for landing roll.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

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    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    Yeah, I had the same thought about the spoilers too. I've seen the T-birds perform several times and that's one of their trademark maneuvers. From what I remember, it is executed at a higher airspeed than the spoilers should be able to handle.

    I'm not sure if they use them like other aircraft and save full spoilers for landing roll.
    It appears it has been de-bunked. There is some fact to the photo, but also some fiction as you mentioned. Here is a link:



    http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/t/tbirds.htm

  7. #6
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    I just googled, and one of the sites called the smoke "contrails".

    Visible contrails don't appear until high altitude. The Thunderbirds don't come close to approaching that altitude when performing.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

  8. #7
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    I just googled, and one of the sites called the smoke "contrails".

    Visible contrails don't appear until high altitude. The Thunderbirds don't come close to approaching that altitude when performing.
    Yeah, that's why I ignored the contrails thing. I figured it was somebody that didn't know the difference between the two. BTW, this photo was e-mailed to me by a tanker pilot, so they tend to get excited over fighter jocks having close calls (not in a mean spirited way). A lot of our tanker pilots in Columbus are ex-fighter jocks themselves.
    Last edited by dman; 08-08-2005 at 09:48 PM.

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    You two are gonna get Creek all twitterpated with this kind of talk

    Just sayin'
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain

  10. #9
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Hey you two...there's a game on.
    Next Reds manager, second shooter. --Confirmed on Redszone.

  11. #10
    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Sadly one of the Thunderbirds that crashed back in the 80's was piloted by a guy from Beavercreek. I went through all 12 grades with his sister. His name was Mark Melancon. Here is some information about him.

    Mark Melancon (Class of 1968)

    * BS Applied Science, Miami University

    * Commissioned through Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps

    * Graduated top of class, Laughlin Air Force Base, Pilot Training

    * 8 Years training of F-4 Phantom, Lakenheath, England

    * Central Instructor School, George Air Force Base, California (German Fighter Weapons School Instructor)

    * Chosen to fly for US Air Force Thunderbirds, Torrejon Air Force Base, Madrid, Spain

    * Logged more than 1,800 hours in jet aircraft, Fight Weapons School, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada

    * Beavercreek Chamber of Commerce Military Award recipient

    * Air Force Commendation Medal recipient
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

  12. #11
    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    You two are gonna get Creek all twitterpated with this kind of talk

    Just sayin'
    The first second I looked at it I thought it was a fake. But I don't know much about imagery or anything.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

  13. #12
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by creek14
    The first second I looked at it I thought it was a fake. But I don't know much about imagery or anything.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

  14. #13
    Member dman's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Also, by no means am I critiquing these pilot's abilities. Here is the highest performance aircraft that I can fly (for now). For some reason I can't get it to kick in the afterburner.




  15. #14
    SERP Emeritus paintmered's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Quote Originally Posted by dman
    Also, by no means am I critiquing these pilot's abilities. Here is the highest performance aircraft that I can fly (for now). For some reason I can't get it to kick in the afterburner.




    I think Cessna hid the button that turns on the burners.
    What if this wasn't a rhetorical question?

    All models are wrong. Some of them are useful.

  16. #15
    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: Talk About Close Calls

    Clarifications follow:
    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    I'm not a fighter expert (nor an imagery expert), but I'm pretty sure the smoke packages added to airshow aircraft run independent of thrust. Basically, there are two settings for the smoke, off and on. So the explaination of the aircraft running at idle is excrement.
    Not exactly.

    The smoke is caused by activing an oil drip in the combustion chamber. So, yes, it's an on/off system, but its output will vary based on the amount of thrust the engine is producing.
    Quote Originally Posted by dman
    I've seen the T-Birds several times and have never once seen the use speed brakes during any maneuver of their's.
    They use them constantly in the diamond formation to help hold their relative positions (look for them in the Diamond Loop, for example) and whenever precise timing is important, as in the High Bomb Burst.
    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    I've seen the T-birds perform several times and that's one of their trademark maneuvers. From what I remember, it is executed at a higher airspeed than the spoilers should be able to handle.

    I'm not sure if they use them like other aircraft and save full spoilers for landing roll.
    The air brakes simply add drag, so in principle they work fine at any speed. There may be some maximum that they cannot be deployed above (landing gear often has such a limiter), but if so I am not aware of it. And no, use of the brakes is not limited to landing. A-10 pilots use them with great success during strafing runs.
    Quote Originally Posted by paintmered
    I just googled, and one of the sites called the smoke "contrails".

    Visible contrails don't appear until high altitude. The Thunderbirds don't come close to approaching that altitude when performing.
    Smoke trails and contrails are different, as you correctly note. However, the Thunderbirds do have a high-altitude maneuver they employ during shows with unlimited visibility. It demonstrates the thrust/weight ratio of the engine by climbing vertically to 10k feet in a few seconds, IIRC.

    Makes all the routine posts.


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