F-16 Flies Pilot-Free

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by bmcj, Sep 25, 2013.

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1. Sep 25, 2013

bmcj

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aw man! If they're just going to blow them up, couldn't they give them to us instead? What happened to the good ol' days when citizens could buy surplus planes (for a song)?

2. Sep 25, 2013

Topaz

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Yeah. It makes me cringe when I see perfectly good fighters get the target-drone treatment. I hadn't realized they were "up" to F-16's, though. Someday, you'll see the F-22 as a drone...

3. Sep 25, 2013

Brian Clayton

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always makes me cry to see my tax dollars at work in such a way.

4. Sep 25, 2013

TFF

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My friend watched them march through all the F86s in the 80's and another is watching all the F4s go right now. Once they are drone meat they are not allowed to fly more than 100 hours. If there is excess time, sometimes they will let the pilots use up some of the time before they blow them up.

5. Sep 25, 2013

Toobuilder

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"Perfectly good" is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, they are capable of flight, but little else. Once the airframe life is gone, it's almost cheaper to build a new airframe than replace all the used up parts. Besides, the training our pilots get is invaluable. It hurts, yes, but it is a good and dignified end to the airplane.

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6. Sep 25, 2013

Jon Ferguson

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They sent her out with her boots on!

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7. Sep 25, 2013

bmcj

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Absolutely true, but still you have to wonder what we would have missed out on had they made a similar decision for all of the surplus or run-out P-51's.

Though I made my original post as sort of a jest, I still can't help but see it from this aspect too.

Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
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8. Sep 25, 2013

Vigilant1

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Agreed.
Here's a good article on the USAF drone program. Each plane gets flown quite a bit in non-lethal tests (towing a target "dart", or being used as a target for missiles with inert warheads) before being destroyed. And the destruction serves to test the effectiveness of the missile/warhead system in a much more realistic way than any other. The planes are maneuvering, using countermeasures, etc.
Yes, it's a bit sad, but all for a good cause.

9. Sep 25, 2013

Toobuilder

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...OTOH, there were no "drone" P-47's, P-40's or P-38's. Despite the 10's of thousands produced for each type, how many are left today (or in 1960, for that matter)?

10. Sep 25, 2013

JamesG

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There was no budget in the immediate post-war period for developing the systems or the need for it. The US was rapidly demobilizing it's huge highly experienced airforce. By the time it needed to re-mobilize and re-equip/train for Korea and the Cold Warin the 50s, the threat was big bombers and fast pointy jets not slow prop-jobs.

Just wait until they rig up old F-15s, 16, and 18s as UCAVs. While we probably won't do it (doesn't feed the mil-industrial complex), someone will eventually convert their obsolete combat aircraft into drones to eek out that last bit of combat effectiveness out of them, or if push came to shove for the West...

11. Sep 25, 2013

Brian Clayton

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They did sort of. My dad said you could buy a P51 when he got out of high school for less than 50k...flying. Of course, that was the late 50's. Looking at old hot rod "60's" magazines, you see merlins and allisons stuck in cars, boats and tractor pullers. Blow em up, throw it away and put another in.... I have a hot rod magazine from early 64 that I am using for pictures for the t-bolt clone at work. One of the articles in it is on a boat race...... quite a few surplus v-12's racing in there. Weird to see a Allison with a couple of carbs stuck on it....in a inboard/outboard boat.

12. Sep 25, 2013

Toobuilder

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$50k? They didn't hit$50k until the 70's... My dad bid on some surplus P-51's in 1960, and the most expensive one flew away for under 5 grand. In the late 40's, you could buy a as many P-38's as you wanted for $1,400 with a full tank of gas. Brian Clayton likes this. 13. Sep 25, 2013 Brian Clayton Brian Clayton Well-Known Member Joined: Dec 7, 2012 Messages: 1,042 Likes Received: 528 Location: Ivey, Ga and Centerville,Tn I blame inflation.... 14. Sep 25, 2013 Pops Pops Well-Known Member Joined: Jan 1, 2013 Messages: 7,023 Likes Received: 5,920 Location: USA. I have been an airport bum since 1946. I remember in 1955 a man at the airport bought a T-6 Texan for$500. flew it that summer and pulled it over in the high weeds at the back of the airport and left it to rot. He said it used to much gas. The next year when I was 16 years old, me and my 2 buddy's were stripping instruments out of it and someone called the cops, we were were down in the cockpit out of sight while the cops were looking for us in the tall weeds around the airplane. At the same time, you could buy a good average J-3 Cub for $250 and a just recovered Cub for$325-$350. Dan Added -- In 1985, a friend of mine bought a T-6 that was in the Spanish Airforce. I help him uncrate it and put it together and flew it home, he paid$25.000 for it. Dan

15. Sep 26, 2013

TFF

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I know they used P-39s, F7F and F8Fs for drones. My son's great grandfather was the autopilot for them or chase pilot. He was the auto pilot when things went wrong. He was riding in an F8F when the servos went hard over and put the plane in a full power dive. Those servos were not designed for human override, so he has to unplug the power to the system. The plug is about 6"X6"X12" block with heavy gauge wires and the struggle with it eats about 10,000 ft; pulls it loose in time not to slam into the ground. He said it was much more fun being the chase plane. He said the drone would take off and he would be loidering at about 4-5,000 ft and do a big split S to join up on it. He was also one of the last pilots trained to be launched off the back of battleships.

16. Sep 26, 2013

oriol

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The spanish army sold to my mech school a Supersaeta in flying conditions for one euro: they sold it to someone who might preserve the airplane in Spain to preserve our flying history. Still, even if you can get a military jet plane or a turbine helicopter for nothing the maintenance/operation costs are so high that you will be forced to reconsider your decision soon, unless you are very wealthy.

Oriol

17. Sep 26, 2013

Toobuilder

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That lines up with another story my dad often told. He was in the Air Force in 1955 and was a crew chief on a number of airplanes including a few T-6's. Several of "his" airplanes went to surplus and if they had more than 50% of the time on the engine used up, a brand new engine was installed. He used to think it a shame to hang a brand new engine only to send the airplane to surplus and be sold for $500. Isn't it ironic that these airplanes were "too expensive" to operate back when gas was pennies a gallon - therefore rendering them as abandoned airport relics, but now with fuel approaching$6 per gallon, they are worth millions?

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18. Oct 8, 2013

Southron

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Well, when the Environmental Whackos realize how much pollution is caused by shooting down flyable aircraft over the ocean, all hell will break loose. The military brass and politicians that support this drone program will be running for cover.

19. Oct 8, 2013

Toobuilder

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Not likely, as its been going on for at least 50 years.

20. Oct 8, 2013

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