Category Archives: FA-18

A U.S. Navy Rorschach Test?

This was a topic today on our F/B page. Which, to me, being in the national news, kinda amused me.

Seems a bit juvenile to me, like something a kid would draw in the 4th grade.  But should an aviator lose his wings over it? Who could demonstrate some precise flying?

The Rorschach test, as you probably know, is a test with no “right” answer. And it is done with inkblots, not contrails.

Although at the time of its creation by Hermann Rorschach, a Swiss psychiatrist, contrails were not available.

The U.S.Navy, caving to political correctness, has officially decreed this etching to be a penis. And declared it to be unacceptable.

In an admittedly unscientific survey among Lexicans, the consensus ran from Egyptian hieroglyph   to…..an advertisement for Arbys.

Personally with the way Congress has been doling out money to the services, I’m leaning towards the latter.

I think the powers at Whidbey caved from political pressure. After all those Growlers have to be fed. And dollars are getting scarce.

I’ll let you be the judge:

Arbys

 

Arbys1a

 

 

 

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Milestones

By lex, on December 27th, 2011

I read this article about Navy Captain Jim “Fish” Webb’s four thousandth flight hour with a little bit of envy:

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Lex, Naval Aviation, Neptunus Lex

Echo Range

By lex, on January 15th, 2011

So, there I was reading Dave “Bio” Baranek’s excellent Topgun Days –  a first person narrative of the glory days of Tomcat Aviation at Naval Air Station Miramar – when I got to his chapter on the Electronic Warfare range embedded within the NAS China Lake restricted area. And: I thought it’d be better to share my Echo Range story before reading his chapter. To avoid the potential plagiary that might be in it.

First, let us dispense with the necessary militaria: “Echo Whiskey” is the phonetic for EW, which in turn stands for “electronic warfare.” Thus is the Echo Whiskey range reduced to the Echo Range, and what great good fun it is, for those who hope, some day, that they might get shot at.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, FA-18, Naval Aviation, Navy, Neptunus Lex

Formation Go

By lex, on December 18th, 2010

Military aircraft typically fly from point to point in formation. The two-ship formation offers mutual support for the minimum tactical aviation element while reducing the burden of gaining individual flight clearances. It also permits an efficient use of airspace and provides an opportunity for leadership; a senior aviator often serves as mentor for his more junior partner.

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Upside Down

By lex, on December 2nd, 2010

The US military, at least since World War II, has preferred generally to throw money at combat superiority – especially air superiority – rather than bodies. Certain of our Cold War adversaries used a decidedly lower tech/people heavy approach: “Quantity,” Uncle Joe Stalin mused, “has a quality all its own.”

The Heritage Foundation’s Mackenzie Eaglen and Dr. Lajos Szazdi – try saying that one three times fast – have an interesting article analyzing the implications of losing both qualitative and quantitative advantage in any future air campaign.

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Hornet Gear

By lex, on October 9th, 2009

Occn’l Reader Peter finds a lovely photo of the Super Sh!t Hot, World Famous Golden Dragon CAG jet departing off Cat 3 (click on the pic for higher).

HornetGear

One of the first aircraft systems lectures I gave as a junior officer was on the FA-18 landing gear. The trailing axle lever arm assembly that you see fully extended on the port main landing gear and partly extended on the starboard is actually quite an elegant (albeit complicated) design that allows for compact stowage at low relative weight compared to older carrier designs.

Carrier landings impose tremendous stresses on aircraft landing gear, which is why tactical naval aircraft tend to have such robust landing assemblies compared to their USAF counterparts. The FA-18 axle lever arm allows for a rolling transfer of landing and take-off loads, and requires a somewhat articulated series of trailing and planing links to ensure that the gear extend and lock down properly.

The axle lever arm and planing link (in particular) were initially “under-engineered”, however. The first is milled from a solid block of titanium, and is on its third generation, having demonstrated an unfortunate tendency prior to redesign to shear after a few hundred arrested landings, while a planing link failure (which prevents the main landing tire from aligning with the aircraft’s longitudinal axis) resulted in one of the first Hornet fatalities.

Thanks for the pic, Pete!

 

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On the wire

By lex, on April 11th, 2007

The four-ship typically comes in level at release altitude. For a 45 degree dive bombing pattern that’d be around 5000′ above ground level (AGL). Aligned with the attack heading, the lead will push it up to the planned release airspeed – typically around 450 knots calibrated airspeed – and the savvier wingmen will ensure that their jets are trimmed out in yaw as they attain release speed: Even modern jets get “bent,” and what is trimmed for level flight at 300 knots won’t always work at 450, while uncorrected yaw is a source of bombing inaccuracy. Once over the target, dash one will call, “Lead’s breaking,” on the aux radio, followed by his wingmen every four seconds or so thereafter, 2, 3, 4.

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