Flightline Friday November 13, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, foolishness, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, technology.
I’ve been feeling the Flightline Fridays have been a bit repetitive for a while, but I really don’t have much queued up for today other than yet another video on the F-20 (I never get tired of those) and some really cool pics of the Tomcat. I’m really hoping to do a post next week on British post-war naval aviation. All kinds of interesting things to talk about there if I can find the time. The Brits did quite a bit with not very much money, even though Labor wrecked it all in 1966.
Anyway, I really like this video on the F-20 because it’s got some awesome cockpit shots. I’ve related in the past that I have long been fascinated by cockpit design. How to convey vital information – life and death information – in the clearest, most easily understandable way possible is a great technical challenge. I really like cockpits from the late 60s-early 80s when electronic displays were first being introduced and pilot situation awareness was taken as the highest priority. I think we’ve gone too far now, using electronics just because “we” can, actually reducing the effectiveness of the instrumentation.
I think the F-20 had one of the best combinations of traditional analog gauges and electronic displays. A HUD coupled with a digitally-presented radar display and an electronic armament panel really amps up effectiveness, and is an enormous leap ahead of having to look down to the bottom of the instrument panel, in combat, to flip switches and rotate dials as had to be done on the F-4 Phantom. But I’m not sure that an electronic artificial horizon and heading indicator is any better than an analog one, and I think it’s a lot easier to read a row of vertical tape, seeing in a millisecond-glance that all are in the green, rather than trying to decipher multiple numeric readouts on an LCD screen.
Anyway, really cool footage (to me, heh) from 2:30 – 5:10 of the F-20 cockpit, mostly from the simulator but that’s just fine:
You can even see spikes on the threat warning indicator.
Now some pics I found on the F-14 I thought worth sharing. Most all of these pics are of the VF-31 Tomcatters, my favorite Navy squadron because I love the Felix the Cat graphic:
The AIM-54/F-14 combination provided a unique capability until the F-22 entered the scene. The AIM-54 had a nominal range in excess of 100 miles, though it was usually only used at about half that range. The F-22 with AIM-120D entering service has similar performance.
Only the Tomcat carried the nearly 1-ton AIM-54, a truly huge air-to-air missile:
Painted on the drop tanks of VF-31 aircraft as they completed the final Tomcat cruise. They let their feelings be known regarding their replacement aircraft: