Fighter-jet spotting at "Star Wars Canyon"

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by NoHeat, May 8, 2019.

  1. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    There's an article in the LA Times about plane spotters at a highway overlook near Death Valley, where there's a low-altitude training route that runs through a canyon at eye-level for the spotters. The canyon is used by several bases, including Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Naval Air Station Lemoore, Edwards Air Force Base, Fresno Air National Guard Base and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.

    https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-col1-star-wars-fighter-jets-20190507-htmlstory.html

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Fallsrider

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    That would be fun to see.
     
  3. alfadog

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    Yes, there are some videos on YT of the passes.

     
  4. Spring Ford

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  6. EvilEagle

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    162256B9-C7EC-4DAD-8148-D415A4F90C16.jpeg One of my friends got a good pic of me there a few months ago.
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I hope those tanks are low on fuel with all those Gs you got on that thing! :)
     
  8. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Flying jets/fighters is cool.......that may be about as cool as it gets.

    BTW, what’s a C-model doing down there?
     
  9. EvilEagle

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    I don’t recall. We don’t have a G limit with gas in the tanks. We have an AoA limit but no G’s.

    You’d be surprised how much ANG Eagles have to fly low. Have to maintain LOWAT currency to sit alert. The requirements are far too often IMHO.
     
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  10. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well that’s cool. Always thought you guys were limited to like 4 Gs with full tanks and then once they get below a certain lbs, then the chains are off.
     
  11. EvilEagle

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    Nope, no G limit but the AoA limit keeps us from doing any serious maneuvering.
     
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  12. Fallsrider

    Fallsrider Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I've always wondered... What is it like to fly one of those fighters really hard, and then within the next 24 to 48 hours jump in a single-engine GA aircraft and putz along with 180 to 300 hp? Seems like it would be equivalent to driving a Ferrari and then jumping into a '76 Mustang 4-cyl.
     
  13. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Probably more like a Geo Metro with the 3 cylinder engine. The 4 cylinder mustangs would at least make the tires chirp if you tried hard enough.
     
  14. EvilEagle

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    I can see that comparison, but I think of it more like the tool for the job. I took a long break from GA flying when I started flying jets for a living but came back to it for enjoyment and because I figured out I'm an airplane nerd. By the time I came back to GA flying I had over 1,000 hours in the F-15 so there wasn't much in the world that was going to wow me in performance. I just like airplanes and flying different types is fun just because it's flying. Flying the Eagle is fun sometimes, but it's always work. I fly my Bo for me and my family. A few years ago I had a fun week - I had just started at Delta and at Drakken. In a week I flew the F-15, 757, 767, A-4, ME-339, T-6 and my Bonanza. That was a great week although I screwed callsigns up constantly "Delt… I mean Jazz... uh... Artic... dang uh N69CJ final, full stop" WHEW!
     
  15. Fallsrider

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    Hah. My cousin had one with an AT. It was so anemic on acceleration, I think a Metro would beat it in the 1/4.

    Meanwhile, his brother was running around in his nicely restored '66 or '67 Mustang with a 289 topped off with a Holley 4-barrel. And while that is no serious hotrod, comparatively speaking, it was.
     
  16. Fallsrider

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    In my very limited ability to understand that, it does make sense. I'm sure with the systems complexities, the speed at which things happen, the physical work out from g-forces, etc., that when you are wanting to relax and take it easy, climbing into the cockpit of an F-15 is not your first thought.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  17. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Maneuvering speed increases with more weight.
     
  18. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    Really no difference if you fly a Cirrus.
     
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  19. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Gs available decreases with more weight.
     
  20. Fallsrider

    Fallsrider Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    There's always one in every crowd.
     
  21. Velocity173

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    Not talking about maneuvering speed with regards to weight. Talking about structural issues with pulling Gs with externals.
     
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  22. PPC1052

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    Because of structural limitations, or because of increased stall speed? My hours in an F-15 are somewhat on the smaller side.
     
  23. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Both.

    Following @EvilEagle’s posts are as close as I’ve been to an F-15.
     
  24. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is even more than that, because the flight isn't just a pleasure cruise. It is tactics, threat and detection system use, weapons employment, and the mental work of "doing the job" that is hardest. Flying the airplane is necessarily an unconscious act, because your mental horsepower is in use to execute the mission during that time.
     
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  25. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The three cylinder metro had 55 hp. I don't think even the worst mustangs ever had a double digit hp number. But they were a larger, heavier car, so with a bad power to weight ratio, the pony might lose that race.

    I had a friend that bought a used metro for a work commuter, keep miles off his nicer car. It was red and he painted a gloriously awful Dale ernhart Jr paint job on it.
     
  26. IK04

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    Back when they flew F-86s out of China Lake, A few (all of them) pilots would put the gear down and leave skid marks on the road leading out of the North end of Death Valley.

    The object was to mark the "autograph" as far up the pass as possible, without smacking into the hills at the summit. I took some photos of the skinny tire marks on the way home from the Grand Canyon once, just to explain the story... I think it was mentioned in the "The Right Stuff," but it may have been another book.

    You would not believe how close those tire marks were to the rising terrain. Hard to imagine the Gs needed to pull up that hard!
     
  27. Fallsrider

    Fallsrider Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    The only reason I said what I did was because my cousin's car had the auto tranny. That was not a good combination.

    A Metro and a Dale Earnhardt Jr. paint job... my mind cannot put those two together!
     
  28. Fallsrider

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    No doubt. I cannot even come close to appreciating how difficult it must be.
     
  29. EvilEagle

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    In a GA airplane that's true. In the Eagle there's a lot more too it. We are allowed to pull 9G's at full takeoff weight (if you can get it there) but also are G limited in certain realms of flight at any weight - sometimes the G allowable by the onboard system can be less than 6. When I say "allowable" it doesn't keep you from pulling more, you just get an "OVER-G" warning and have to stop fighting in training.

    Also, not exactly true for fighters.

    Thankfully for us the fine folks at McDonnell Douglas didn't make our airplane to be limited based on weight. It is difficult to find the spot you can pull high G (>8.5)without over-G'ing at a heavier weight because you bleed energy so much faster at heavy weights. If you are fast enough to get there, you are probably near one of those "G-allowable limited" spots so it's a fine line.

    Anyone know what corner velocity is? :nerd (ahhh…. that's going down the road of fighter pilot ground school - too much to bite off in this forum I think)
     
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  30. kyleb

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    IIRC, it is 126 knots in my RV-6. ;-)
     
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  31. Velocity173

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    The speed that provides the best turn rate while pulling the maximum G the aircraft is allowed. Close???
    EDIT: what Nauga said. :)

    I brought up the external tank thing because I thought most fighters had some sort G limit restriction when you slap tanks on it. Doesn’t the F-16 have one with a full centerline tank?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
  32. nauga

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    The minimum speed at which you can pull to your structural g-limit. It’s the corner of the intersection of the lift limit line and the g limit line on the V-n diagram and the point of max turn rate.

    Nauga,
    posthole
     
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  33. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    It’s still true, it just may not be a factor because of larger margins and aircraft limitations.
     
  34. Mooney Fan

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    I have flown it many times riding in the back of F-4 J’s out of Mugu and China Lake. We actually would climb that canyon wall the tourist go and top it off with a victory roll at 30K. I think I have a video on the site here somewhere running that canyon. Thanks for the LA Times story
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
  35. EvilEagle

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    Do you mean G available to be pulled or G allowed to be pulled? At a given speed I'd agree with the first for the most part.
     
  36. Cooter

    Cooter Pattern Altitude

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    Available G. For any given speed and configuration, a heavier weight puts you closer to stall and closer to max structural limit (not necessarily the published limit), regardless of the limitations of the aircraft.
    The principle is the same, but in some fighters, like the F-15, the limitation isn’t affected by aircraft weight. In other aircraft, it is. If I remember correctly, the T-38 has G restrictions based on actual weight.
     
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  37. IK04

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    In helicopters, we have bucket speed. As in, "bucket, I'm going home!"
     
  38. Hacker

    Hacker Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It does.

    The T-38As and Bs had stair-stepped G limits based on fuel weight (which were obviously artificial guideposts on what is actually a smoothly sloped chart).

    Thanks to the wonders of computing technology, the T-38C has an "actual" real-time calculated G limit based on weight and dynamic conditions (similar to the F-15's Overload Warning System, which does the same thing).

    B-model stuff from the Hacker Archives:
    [​IMG]

    A similar set of guideposts for the T-38C, and notice the ever-so-small changes to some of the G limits based on the increased weight of the T-38C vs the A/B:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2019
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  39. Velocity173

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    Speaking of asymmetric as it applies to external loading. Any restriction on the F-15 with one full tank and one empty? Not sure if it’s even an issue unless one doesn’t transfer.
     
  40. EvilEagle

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    No additional maneuvering restrictions in that case (same AoA limitation I talked about before). There are some additional landing considerations if you have a full/partially fueled external tank. Occasionally you'll get a tank that is slow to feed or stops feeding for a bit. I've only had a full tank that won't transfer twice in my career; and only a handful more that would transfer after the other side was empty. There are valves in the tanks, in the wing pylons and the wings so more often than not those issues will be fixed my maintenance pretty quickly.
     
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