Category Archives: USAF

Ghey

Posted by Lex, on July 18, 2008

 

We used to joke back in the day about the difference between the Navy and the Air Force. It’s the little things that give it away. The oak paneled flight planning rooms that were decorated better than Navy officer’s clubs. The “step van” that would pick you up at transient alert and carry you all 50 yards to flight planning. The 36-hole golf courses that were completed before the airstrip got laid in. The “inadequate quarters” stamps that the USAF guys insisted on for their TAD orders that excused them from Army quarters to put them out in the Hilton in town.

The USAF pilots of my acquaintance would laugh and say, well: you guys have to buy ships. Like that was a vice or something. Like we had $6 billion burning a hole in our pockets after a three-day bender in Vegas and decided to burn it on an aircraft carrier.

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Helmet Head

Posted by lex, on April 10, 2008

Mine never looked quite this good after a mission.

helmethead

For what its worth.

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, USAF

Bob Norris on Navy vs USAF

by lex

Sun – March 27, 2005

 

An oldie , but a goodie. I sent this to SNO last year when he was applying to the several service academies, and ROTC programs. Sort of in the way of a joke, but it was interesting that shortly after that, he allowed his USAF applications to languish.

Bob Norris is a former Naval aviator who also did a 3 year exchange Tour flying the F-15 Eagle. He is now an accomplished author of entertaining books about US Naval Aviation including “Check Six” and “Fly-Off”. Check out his web site .

In response to a letter from an aspiring fighter pilot on which military academy to attend, Bob replied with the following:

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Cutaway Thursday: Convair B-36J Peacemaker

20140521-155441-57281211.jpg

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Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force, Airplanes, Flying, History, Plane Pr0n, USAF

Iron Birds

Static test airframes, or more commonly called, “iron birds” are partially built, non-flying airframes or old formerly flying airframes that are used by agencies and manufacterers to test either the strength of than airframe, various design components or aircraft subsystems (avionics, flight control, engines, etc).

The iron birds used for strength testing are typically full scale representations of the aircraft that are rigged to gaint gantry cranes with weights and strain gauges attached. See the pic:

Lockheed's F-35 test airframe installed on gantry cranes with strain gauges.

Lockheed’s F-35 test airframe installed on gantry cranes with strain gauges.

Once installed on the cranes the airframe is literally pulled and pushed to properly simulate all the aerodynamic forces that the aircraft will encounter throughout it’s flying career.  Often the iron birds are tested till destruction.

This is a VC-10 undergoing wing fatigue testing. Note the bending wing.

This is a VC-10 undergoing wing fatigue testing. Note the bending wing.

Some iron birds are formerly flying airframes that have accumulated too many flying hours and are no longer consider safe to fly. These aircraft are typically stripped of most equipment (engines mostly) and used to test various aircraft subsystems in support of other programs.

This NASA's F-8 Crusader iron bird that was used to test software for NASA's Digital Fly-By-Wire program in the 1960s,

This NASA’s F-8 Crusader iron bird that was used to test software for NASA’s Digital Fly-By-Wire program in the 1960s,

 

As the latest example of NASA's iron bird, this is an F/A-18 Hornet used by NASA to support many of the F/A-18 test programs.

As the latest example of NASA’s iron bird, this is an F/A-18 Hornet used by NASA to support many of the F/A-18 test programs.

Iron birds aren’t limited to NASA. The US military also used them for the same purposes.

This B-2 at the National Museum of the USAF was never an actual flying airframe. This "aircraft" appropriately named "Fire and Ice"was used for fatgiue and climatic testing.

This B-2 at the National Museum of the USAF was never an actual flying airframe. This “aircraft” appropriately named “Fire and Ice”was used for fatgiue and climatic testing.

A close up of "Fire and Ice's" nose gear door.

A close up of “Fire and Ice’s” nose gear door.

You can learn more about that particular aircraft here.

As an aside, old airframes are also typically used as maintaince trainers in the military. These are called ground instructional airframes:

images 080613-F-1322C-001

 

 

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Cutaway Thursday: Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

My all time favorite of the “Century Series” fighters, the first flight of the F-104 was this week, on 4 March 1954. Strangely, it had a relatively short career with the USAF but enjoyed far more success with NATO countries.

f104g_cutaway

You can learn more here at the International F-104 Society’s webpage.

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Cutaway Thursday: Douglas X-3 Stiletto

x-3

More on the X-3 Stiletto here.

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