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Non sequitur – My man Earl Campbell March 3, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, fun, manhood, silliness, Society, true leadership.
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I wish I could still eat his sausage.  I used to love it.  But I developed a pretty severe allergy to a preservative used in a lot of mass market sausages and had to give it up.  It’s sodium ethrythorbate or something like that.  Anyway, how could I not like the man?  Country boy, UT alum, incredible football player at every level, loves country music, had a vicodin addiction and overcame it……..the poor man can barely walk today but he has kept his humility, frankness, and glimmer of joy.

Some pretty good highlights in the below:

Remember those Walt Garrison commercials?  Earl made one, too.  Warning, there is a bikini girl at the end, and some in the distance throughout.  Were these national, or only ran in Texas and maybe some other nearby areas?  Another reason to like Earl:

I’d say Earl was a much better running back that Ricky Williams.  He’s certainly a better man.

Was he a better player then Vince Young?  At the pro level, absolutely, but in college……not so sure.  Vince was amazing.  He was like a man playing against boys:

That soundtrack started awesome and finished horrible.

Yeah, every once in a while the orange blood comes out.

Flightline Friday: one false move edition…… February 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, disconcerting, Flightline Friday, foolishness, non squitur, pr stunts, silliness, Society.

This actually isn’t much of a Flightline Friday at all.  It’s more of a ground-pounder Friday.  But it’s a heckuva an interesting video.

It took a little while, but since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US and NATO have been making some very visible deployments to the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.  The Russians have rattled their sabers at the Baltic states, too, and those nations – with a long history of Russian subjugation, and very slight ability to defend themselves – have been quite open in requesting NATO forces be deployed in their countries.  All these nations are members of NATO.

Now, for a long time, there has been something called the Baltic Air Patrol ongoing.  Since these three ancient but tiny nations are generally too poor to afford their own air forces (of any account), NATO units rotate in and out of bases in all three nations periodically and basically provide an on-call Air Force.  These deployments are generally pretty small – usually just 4-6 aircraft.  Rarely does the BAP amount to even a squadron’s worth of aircraft.  But I believe the numbers have increased at least slightly of late, and all the missions are flown fully armed with live missiles.

Starting towards the end of last year, I also began to see reports of NATO (and especially US) land forces engaging in an unusually high number of “training exercises” with Baltic armies.  Again, these Baltic armies are very small and not terribly well equipped, so the US presence has been deliberately visible and quite highly publicized.  While the size of the units deployed for these “exercises” has generally been quite small – too small to be effective in resisting any serious Russian advance, one would think (but then again, the Russians have shown themselves to be, ah……less than impressive in their recent expansionary efforts, in terms of military performance (no one thought the Ukrainians would hold up a serious Russian effort for months, but they have)) – their very visibility makes their purpose clear.

And, apparently, USEUCOM and SACEUR are pushing to increase these deployments even more.  I haven’t heard any talk of permanent stationing of a significant (brigade and up) land force to any of the Baltic states, but these deployments have steadily increased from platoon, to company, and now possibly battalion size efforts. A battalion or two isn’t going to stop a determined Russian invasion, but it does raise the stakes immeasurably.

Which finally gets me to the video below.  Seen below are US Stryker armored personnel carriers parading (and I mean parading, flags flying and all) through Narva, Estonia, a city that sits right on the Russian border and even sort of “juts into” Russian territory.  While certainly no one expects anything bad to happen, increasingly along the western Russian frontier a situation is coming into being where “one false move” could start a war.  I don’t know what that move would be – you never do, in advance – and I would hope significant precautions are being taken to prevent such, but the Russians have been pretty aggressive along the Baltic frontier (with units mysteriously showing up in one of the Baltic nation’s territory, then vacating when found, there have also been a bit of exchange of hostilities) and one never knows what might happen.

So……..perhaps something to add to your list of prayers.  The last thing this world needs now is another armed conflict.

US vehicles start about ~3:00

More occurred the next day:

So now it’s being advertised that this was supposed to be for a parade celebrating Estonia’s independence, but the parade route was only 1000 ft from the Russian border and surely had more significance than that.

Rare and unseemly descent into avarice February 24, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, farm, fun, huh?, non squitur, sadness, silliness, Society, technology.
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A new full size two door SUV, a new Ford Bronco you say.

Oh, me wantee.




Too bad it’s fake.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Instead, they’re going to give us this freakishly ugly thing:


Oh, great, an ugly Jeep made by Ford.  Some of us have already had the real thing, and this ain’t it.  At least it’s 2-door, short wheel base and has a live rear axle.  I don’t like the new long Jeeps.  That’s not what you want for off-road, really.  Still, ugly:


Can you get it without all the plastic frou frou?  Needs to be replaced with a real bumper, anyway:


Yeah baby, made in Shiner, TX, I am a huge believer in Ranch Hands, not only because I’ve had three collisions and it didn’t even dent the bumper, but also because I’ve had one on my truck for 10 years, parked outside every day, and there is still zero rust on it.  That is rare for an aftermarket accessory.  Look them up.

That’s no joke about their powder coat/paint.  Their coatings literally lasts forever, or nearly so.

Snow Day February 23, 2015

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Probably no posts today, it’s a snow (sleet) day.

Maybe back tomorrow.


Shortest Flightline Friday ever – A-7F “Strikefighter” February 20, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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I know most will be applauding, I have no time, so here, go read this article about a great aircraft that died due to the end of the Cold War, the Vought A-7F “Strikefighter.”  I think the article raises a very valid point, could the military save money in total by switching back to more role-specific aircraft like the A-7 for ground attack, rather than spending hundreds of billions on “do everything” multi-role types.  Experts argue the latter are always cheaper, but with F-35s coming in at $200 million a pop, that argument is wearing pretty thin.

If interested, let me know what you think.  And anyone know what happened to Blaine?  Is he on deployment?  Blaine, if you’re out there, you’re missed, leave a comment or send me an e-mail!


Pray for the repose of the soul of Milt Kays February 16, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Ecumenism, family, Four Last Things, General Catholic, manhood, sadness, Tradition, Virtue.
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I make request of  your charity yet again, and ask you to pray for the repose of the soul of Milt Kays, the father of a man who has been a friend of mine since I was 5 years old.  Perhaps some prayers could also be offered for his widow Nancy and sons Dan and Mike Kays and their families during this time of suffering and loss.

I have not seen Mr. Kays in nearly 20 years, since my friend’s wedding in 1995 or 6.  I’m quite certain that was the last time I saw him in person.  He had retired to Arizona but only last  year moved back to Texas to be near his sons and grandchildren.  He died suddenly and completely unexpectedly on Feb. 8, but I only just became aware.  He had fought the lingering effects of a childhood bout of polio his entire life, and had what is commonly called a bum leg. But I recall him always as a very kind and good man. He did not allow his quite visible disability either greatly limit his activity nor color his disposition. He died outside visible communion with the Church.

I would really appreciate your prayers on this one.  This is the person closest to me that’s passed away since Vicki Middleton in July 2012.  This passing reminds me also that my parents remain outside the Church.  That is so very concerning to me.

Flightline Friday: Flying the SR-71 at greater than Mach 3.5 February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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It’s been a more or less open secret in defense circles for decades that the Air Force has constantly under-rated the performance of both the U-2 and the763wsr71 SR-71.  The U-2 was capable of flying far higher than the officially published figure of 70,000 ft (even if the increasing weight of the sensors it carries has limited that capability somewhat in the past 10-20 years, the TR-1 model could exceed 90,0000 ft), and the maximum speed and altitude of the SR-71 was known to exceed the official “Mach 3 at 70,000 ft.”  In fact, depending very much on the ambient temperature and density at altitude, the SR-71 could easily exceed Mach 3.5 and was capable of flying so fast it could literally tear itself apart.  Pilots had to carefully monitor sensors that told them things like inlet spike temperature, leading temperature, etc.  But when conditions were right, when the air was sufficiently cold at altitude and the bird operating just right, going over Mach 3.5 (2300 mph) was quite possible, and occurred with a fair degree of regularity.  Likewise, altitudes routinely exceeded 80,000 ft (in fact, this was pretty much SOP) while 90,000 ft was topped regularly.  And that in level flight, if an SR-71 was ever “zoomed” (not advised), with all speed they were carrying, they could have probably gone over 150,000 ft, while also likely dying for the privilege as the always temperamental “Habu” departed controlled flight at that extreme altitude.

Below are some anecdotes from an SR-71 pilot are below, via Gizmodo.  They make for fascinating reading to a geek like me.

We trained for a year, flying out of Beale AFB in California , Kadena Airbase in Okinawa, and RAF Mildenhall in England . On a typical training htvhsamqfpusm7qqi3qrmission, we would take off near Sacramento, refuel over Nevada, accelerate into Montana, obtain high Mach over Colorado, turn right over New Mexico, speed across the Los Angeles Basin, run up the West Coast, turn right at Seattle, then return to Beale. Total flight time: two hours and 40 minutes.

One day, high above Arizona , we were monitoring the radio traffic of all the mortal airplanes below us. First, a Cessna pilot asked the air traffic controllers to check his ground speed. ‘Ninety knots,’ ATC replied. A twin Bonanza soon made the same request. ‘One-twenty on the ground,’ was the reply. To our surprise, a navy F-18 came over the radio with a ground speed check. I knew exactly what he was doing. Of course, he had a ground speed indicator in his cockpit, but he wanted to let all the bug-smashers in the valley know what real speed was ‘Dusty 52, we show you at 620 on the ground,’ ATC responded. The situation was too ripe. I heard the click of Walter’s mike button in the rear seat. In his most innocent voice, Walter startled the controller by asking for a ground speed check from 81,000 feet, clearly above controlled airspace. In a cool, professional voice, the controller replied, ‘ Aspen 20, I show you at 1,982 knots on the ground.’ We did not hear another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. [Three things – since this was a training flight, they were almost certainly headed west when they got the ground speed reading from the ground controllers, meaning they were flying against the prevailing west-to-east jet stream to the extent it even exists at that altitude.  Jets can frequently pick up 100 kts or more ground speed by flying with the jet stream, but these guys were going against it.  Two, land-based radar estimation of ground speed is accurate to within a few knots. Three, 1982 knots means 2302 mph, or right at Mach 3.5.  And that’s against the wind.]

vypkdhe3wtk2m4sypp4j……..One moonless night, while flying a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look like from 84,000 feet if the cockpit lighting were dark. While heading home on a straight course, I slowly turned down all of the lighting, reducing the glare and revealing the night sky. Within seconds, I turned the lights back up, fearful that the jet would know and somehow punish me. But my desire to see the sky overruled my caution, I dimmed the lighting again. To my amazement, I saw a bright light outside my window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way, now a gleaming stripe across the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky had usually existed, there were now dense clusters of sparkling stars Shooting stars flashed across the canvas every few seconds. It was like a fireworks display with no sound. I knew I had to get my eyes back on the instruments, and reluctantly I brought my attention back inside. To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every gauge, lit by starlight. In the plane’s mirrors, I could see the eerie shine of my gold spacesuit incandescently illuminated in a celestial glow. I stole one last glance out the window. Despite our speed, we seemed still before the heavens, humbled in the radiance of a much greater power…….

…….With the Libyan coast fast approaching now, Walt asks me for the third time, if I think the jet will get to the speed and altitude we want in time. I tell him yes. I know he is concerned. He is dealing with the data; that’s what engineers do, and I am glad he is. But I have my hands on the stick and throttles and can feel the heart of a thoroughbred, running now with the power and perfection she was designed to possess. I also talk to her. Like the

Ol' 960

Ol’ 960

combat veteran she is, the jet senses the target area and seems to prepare herself.

For the first time in two days, the inlet door closes flush and all vibration is gone. We’ve become so used to the constant buzzing that the jet sounds quiet now in comparison. The Mach correspondingly increases slightly and the jet is flying in that confidently smooth and steady style we have so often seen at these speeds. We reach our target altitude and speed, with five miles to spare. Entering the target area, in response to the jet’s new-found vitality, Walt says, ‘That’s amazing’ and with my left hand pushing two throttles farther forward, I think to myself that there is much they don’t teach in engineering school.

Out my left window, Libya looks like one huge sandbox. A featureless brown terrain stretches all the way to the horizon. There is no sign of any activity. Then Walt tells me that he is getting lots of electronic signals, and they are not the friendly kind. The jet is performing perfectly now, flying better than she has in weeks. She seems to know where she is. She likes the high Mach, as we penetrate deeper into Libyan airspace. Leaving the footprint of our sonic boom across Benghazi , I sit motionless, with stilled hands on throttles and the pitch control, my eyes glued to the gauges.

Only the Mach indicator is moving, steadily increasing in hundredths, in a rhythmic consistency similar to the long distance runner who has caught his second wind and picked up the pace. The jet was made for this kind of performance and she wasn’t about to let an errant inlet door make her miss rf3z44d552foerwoguixthe show. With the power of forty locomotives, we puncture the quiet African sky and continue farther south across a bleak landscape.

Walt continues to update me with numerous reactions he sees on the DEF panel. He is receiving missile tracking signals. With each mile we traverse, every two seconds, I become more uncomfortable driving deeper into this barren and hostile land. I am glad the DEF panel is not in the front seat. It would be a big distraction now, seeing the lights flashing. In contrast, my cockpit is ‘quiet’ as the jet purrs and relishes her new-found strength, continuing to slowly accelerate.

The spikes are full aft now, tucked twenty-six inches deep into the nacelles. With all inlet doors tightly shut, at 3.24 Mach, the J-58s are more like ramjets now, gulping 100,000 cubic feet of air per second. We are a roaring express now, and as we roll through the enemy’s backyard, I hope our speed continues to defeat the missile radars below. We are approaching a turn, and this is good. It will only make it more difficult for any launched missile to solve the solution for hitting our aircraft.

I push the speed up at Walt’s request. The jet does not skip a beat, nothing fluctuates, and the cameras have a rock steady platform. Walt received missile launch signals. Before he can say anything else, my left hand instinctively moves the throttles yet farther forward. My eyes are glued to temperature gauges now, as I know the jet will willingly go to speeds that can harm her. The temps are relatively cool and from all the warm temps we’ve encountered thus far, this surprises me but then, it really doesn’t surprise me. Mach 3.31 and Walt is quiet for the moment.

Yes, the pilots had to wear full pressure suits, like astronauts, and the suit saved at least one pilot's life

Yes, the pilots had to wear full pressure suits, like astronauts, and the suit saved at least one pilot’s life

I move my gloved finder across the small silver wheel on the autopilot panel which controls the aircraft’s pitch. With the deft feel known to Swiss watchmakers, surgeons, and ‘dinosaurs’ (old- time pilots who not only fly an airplane but ‘feel it’), I rotate the pitch wheel somewhere between one-sixteenth and one-eighth inch location, a position which yields the 500-foot-per-minute climb I desire. The jet raises her nose one-sixth of a degree and knows, I’ll push her higher as she goes faster. The Mach continues to rise, but during this segment of our route, I am in no mood to pull throttles back.

Walt’s voice pierces the quiet of my cockpit with the news of more missile launch signals. The gravity of Walter’s voice tells me that he believes the signals to be a more valid threat than the others. Within seconds he tells me to ‘push it up’ and I firmly press both throttles against their stops. For the next few seconds, I will let the jet go as fast as she wants. A final turn is coming up and we both know that if we can hit that turn at this speed, we most likely will defeat any missiles. We are not there yet, though, and I’m wondering if Walt will call for a defensive turn off our course.

With no words spoken, I sense Walter is thinking in concert with me about maintaining our programmed course. To keep from worrying, I glance outside, wondering if I’ll be able to visually pick up a missile aimed at us. Odd are the thoughts that wander through one’s mind in times like these. I found myself recalling the words of former SR-71 pilots who were fired upon while flying missions over North Vietnam They said the few errant missile detonations they were able to observe from the cockpit looked like implosions rather than explosions. This was due to the great speed at which the jet was hurling away from the exploding missile.

960 with an afterburner blowout.  This could be very dangerous due to the asymmetric thrust.

960 with an afterburner blowout. This could be very dangerous due to the asymmetric thrust.

I see nothing outside except the endless expanse of a steel blue sky and the broad patch of tan earth far below. I have only had my eyes out of the cockpit for seconds, but it seems like many minutes since I have last checked the gauges inside. Returning my attention inward, I glance first at the miles counter telling me how many more to go, until we can start our turn Then I note the Mach, and passing beyond 3.45, I realize that Walter and I have attained new personal records. The Mach continues to increase. The ride is incredibly smooth. [This baby was born to run.  This is aircraft 61-7960, which is the aircraft in most of the photos]

There seems to be a confirmed trust now, between me and the jet; she will not hesitate to deliver whatever speed we need, and I can count on no problems with the inlets. Walt and I are ultimately depending on the jet now – more so than normal – and she seems to know it. The cooler outside temperatures have awakened the spirit born into her years ago, when men dedicated to excellence took the time npbhhpcrxqb0fnc1cx2iand care to build her well. With spikes and doors as tight as they can get, we are racing against the time it could take a missile to reach our altitude.

It is a race this jet will not let us lose. The Mach eases to 3.5 as we crest 80,000 feet. We are a bullet now – except faster. We hit the turn, and I feel some relief as our nose swings away from a country we have seen quite enough of. Screaming past Tripoli , our phenomenal speed continues to rise, and the screaming Sled pummels the enemy one more time, laying down a parting sonic boom. In seconds, we can see nothing but the expansive blue of the Mediterranean . I realize that I still have my left hand full-forward and we’re continuing to rocket along in maximum afterburner.

The TDI now shows us Mach numbers, not only new to our experience but flat out scary. Walt says the DEF panel is now quiet, and I know it is time to reduce our incredible speed. I pull the throttles to the min ‘burner range and the jet still doesn’t want to slow down. Normally the Mach would be affected immediately, when making such a large throttle movement, but for just a few moments old 960 just sat out there at the high Mach, she seemed to love and like the proud Sled she was, only began to slow when we were well out of danger.

I loved that jet.

———–End Quote———–

Now that’s a story.


The sad fate of 960:


Anyone familiar with this book by Louis of Granada? February 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, history, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition.
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I’m taking a bit of a shot in the dark here, but I’ve recently become interested in the works of Venerable Louis of Granada.  I haven’t read any of his books yet, but his name has come up in several books on other Saints.

To be brief, here is my quandary: I found this book on Amazon.  It is obviously one of those copied print on demand books.  It gives very little download (7)information on who did the translating, only saying it dates from 1630.  I like that very much, but it also gives me pause, because the translation was done in England.  I have been burned a few times in the past in acquiring works by great Catholic Saints and spiritualists that were ancient translations into English, only to find out that the translator was an Anglican and that the content had been bowdlerized to not offend against Anglican sensibilities.  The title of this book is causing some alarm bells for me, because it seems to confirm that this edition does indeed date from the time of the English persecution (and, indeed, it’s height): Prayer and meditation Wherein are piously considered the principall mysteries of our holy fayth.

Now of course there were recusant Catholics in England at this time, and they managed to publish some works.  It is possible this could be a Catholic version of the work, or it could have come out of Douai-Reims College.  I’d say it’s about a 50-50 shot in terms of buying this thing blind.

Are any of you familiar with this work?  Do you think this edition is a “Catholic” one, bereft of any mangling or bastardization?

It’s the only volume of this work I was able to find.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

Logo for second session of the Synod on the Family unveiled February 12, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, damnable blasphemy, disconcerting, episcopate, family, fun, General Catholic, Papa, silliness, SOD.
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I thought it might be a little more professionally done:



It’s like they didn’t spend much time on it at all.  What, were they doing this on their phone?

Heh.  I had an idea, but I could either spend all my time for days working on that, or half-ace it and continue with regular programming.  I chose the latter.

Flightline Friday: The almost A-10 February 6, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, Society, technology.
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Vietnam was a shock to the US military in many respects.  Especially for the Air Force and the Navy’s air arms.  Having focused almost exclusively on the A-1H_602SOS_Jun1970idea of fighting a nuclear war against the Soviet Union for the preceding 20 years, the Air Force found that many of its aircraft, doctrine, and armaments were not suited to a conventional counterinsurgency campaign.  Humiliatingly, the Air Force had to acquire A-1 Skyraiders from the Navy to perform the low level close air support role for troops in contact and during RESCAPs of downed pilots.  The Sandy performed very well, but was an aging type long of of production that couldn’t last forever.

The mighty A-10

The mighty A-10

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Soviets were building up massive conventional armies.  The United States had lost that vast strategic and tactical nuclear superiority that it had enjoyed at the beginning of the 60s (another fruit of democrat administrations and the damnable war in Vietnam), and so the idea that we could use nukes to stop the huge Soviet formations was not nearly so tenable as it had been a few years before.  More and more, both civil and military leaders realized that they might have to slug it out in a conventional fight with the vastly numerically superior Soviets.

Northrop YA-9

Northrop YA-9

So as the 60s drew to a close, the Air Force found itself needing both a low and slow close air support machine for a relatively low-threat environment, and a highly effective killing machine to break up the Soviet hordes, especially their tanks. But the air defense environment over the Central Front in Europe would be anything but low-threat, so the new aircraft needed a good suite of passive and active defenses and, most importantly, to be tough enough to take battle damage and survive to fight another day.

So a program was initiated called A-X, or Attack-Experimental, and bids were sought from various companies.  Eventually, Northrop and Fairchild-Republic were chosen to produce two prototypes for a flyoff competition to be held in late 1972.  Northrop build the YA-9, and Fairchild-Republic (from now on, just Republic) the YA-10A.  These aircraft were less prototypes than development aircraft that would serve as the basis for the quick introduction of whichever type was chosen.  As such, they had to be quite advanced in terms of development completion.General Electric GAU-8/A

General Electric GAU-8/ABoth aircraft were to carry an incredible new weapon, the General Electric GAU-8 Avenger 30 mm cannon.  Firing nearly 1 lb projectiles at the rate of 4000 per minute, and at an incredibly high muzzle velocity, the Avenger would be the prime armament of the new A-X and its primary weapon against tanks.  The Avenger was to be capable to penetrate the horizontal armor of any known Soviet tank at ranges of 2-3000 meters.  And it succeeded.  This gun, and its huge ammunition bay, was so large the aircraft literally had to be designed around it.

However, by the time of the flyoff, the gun was not yet ready, so the two prototypes flew with the older and established M61 Vulcan 20 mm cannon




The Air Force project tender emphasized the following traits: long range/loiter capability, heavy load carrying capability, extreme survivability especially against the “golden BBs,” small caliber shots that just happened to hit a vital spot and brought far too many aircraft in the Vietnam era down.  Other emphases were simplicity, relatively austere avionics fit, ability to operate from remote/improvised airstrips, etc.  Low-level maneuverability was also important, but speed was not: the aircraft only had to manage about 360 kts at cruise, and 400 kts top speed.  This was a radical change in emphasis from any previous Air Force development project of the preceding 20 years or so.

Carrying 16 1000 lb bombs and 2 500 lb

Carrying 16 1000 lb bombs and 2 500 lb

Both competing aircraft rolled out at about the same time, and the flyoff began in October of 1972.  The A-9 was the much more conventional of the two designs.  It had a traditional fuselage/empennage with engines mounted on the sides of the fuselage.  With a straight, unswept wing, it looked like a throwback to the earliest jet fighters.  There was much redundancy built in and abundant use of armor, but the radical A-10 design was judged to be much, much more survivable.  By the conclusion of the flyoff, it was a foregone conclusion that Republic had hit a home run and the A-10 had won.  The A-10 was judged to be much superior in terms of survivability/resistance to battle damage, had 20% more thrust, a longer range, and better maneuverability at low level.  The A-a9-59 was marginally faster, could carry a heavier total load (but not as far), easier in some respects to operate and maintain, but also less maneuverable and much less survivable.  The A-10 won going away.

However……..another Air Force was much more impressed with the A-9 design than was the USAF.  That other Air Force was the Soviet Air Force, more specifically, VVS, Soviet Frontal Aviation.  By hook or crook, the Soviets, who quite often seemed to produce aircraft types in a-10-thunderbolt-ii_011response to USAF programs, started a competition of their own shortly after A-X began to produce a similar type aircraft.  The type that won – the Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name: Frogfoot) – looked more than a little bit like the A-9.  For a long time, it was thought Soviet aircraft that just magically wound up looking almost exactly like their Western counterparts was just the result of similar mission requirements leading to similar results. It became known after the end of the Cold War that there was often more to it than that.  But I’ll let you be the judge of how similar the Su-25 (first flight: 1975) looks compared to the A-9:












Incredibly, given how little known it is, I found a bit of video of the A-9, which was a worthy if not particularly inspired competitor for the A-X program. Northrop did not show a lot of imagination in the project, as they did in the also then-ongoing LWF competition, they more or less made a jet powered A-1.

First up, a brief video from the Air Force Flight Test Center showing both aircraft. The music is unforgivably bad:

This is a longer one.  From back in the day, an Air Force briefing on the then ongoing flight test program.  A lot of good A-9 footage in this one:

And that’s it, as far as I know.  USAF was at the top of its game – even if it didn’t know it at the time! – in the early 70s.  You had the F-15, F-16, F-17 (which became the Navy’s F-18), the A-10, and B-1 all in development and test at the same time.  There hasn’t been a time like it since.  Good stuff.


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