What aircraft do you guys think were designed "perfect" from the outset?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Doggzilla, Jan 20, 2020.

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  1. Jan 22, 2020 #81

    Jay Kempf

    Jay Kempf

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    Yeah, the Cri Cri is amazing. But that has nothing to do with what you are doing :)
     
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  2. Jan 23, 2020 #82

    Aesquire

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    F-5/T-38?

    Northrop even designed a 5 seat supersonic VIP transport version. Pilot in front, 2 seats facing aft, 2 seats forward in conference? Config. Not enough Generals wanted a cramped ride so...no sale.

    C-130. Radar nose don't count. Possibly the most Sat in cockpit mockup ever, Lockheed asked every Air Force pilot who came by to sit & critique. That led to the lower windows and foot rests to stretch in long flights.

    Don't recall any big changes on either.

    The Corsair prototype had ( not quite enough ) fuel in the wings & tiny bomb bays in the wings to drop mini mines on bomber formations & a much shorter nose. Feedback from the Battle of Britain showed the original armament was inadequate. So yank the tanks & stuff in 6 guns. Then a big gas tank on the C.G. & move the cockpit back and engine forward. But just incremental engine & cowl changes, plus bomb racks for the rest of the looong production run. So make your own call on perfect.

    Several airplanes got big changes right after the Battle of Britain. Usually weight adding self sealing fuel tanks and additional armor & often guns. You can draw a sharp line in U.S. planes at designed before & after 1940.

    The notable exception is the P-47 which due to foresight of the designers was built with more big guns and stretch than it's contemporaries.

    Doesn't win this perfect from the start prize though, as it took a while & visible changes from the B to C models to get a capable fighter.
     
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  3. Jan 23, 2020 #83

    Doggzilla

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    Very good examples.

    The F-5 was so good that when the Soviets tested captured South Vietnamese aircraft...the Soviet test pilots could not defeat it in ANY of the 29 dogfights they had with it. They would take turns switching between the aircraft and even with almost no training they were able to beat experienced test pilots in Soviet aircraft.

    In fact, they issued a warning to their embassies that said to alert their Allies to how dangerous the F-5 was and not to underestimate it.

    The F-5 was an outstanding aircraft.
     
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  4. Jan 23, 2020 #84

    BJC

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    The Navy “Top Gun” aggressor squadron at NAS Key West was operating F-5s when I visited there several years ago. I believe that they still are. At the time, they were buying them used from countries that had operated them; none was available in the US.

    One story that they related: Their history was that the aggressor squadron had always scored 100% “kills” on the first training flight, until the first F-22s were there. The F-22s “killed” all 5 aggressors on the first flight.


    BJC
     
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  5. Jan 23, 2020 #85

    Doggzilla

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    Ya, I heard they are actually taking F-5s as trade ins on newer aircraft so that they could get more aggressor aircraft.

    It’s too bad the F-20 got cancelled. Would have made a great successor to the F-5. It was extremely highly rated by the test pilots.

    The USAF contract prohibited them from directly advertising/lobbying for sale of the aircraft overseas, while the F-16 was not under the same restrictions. The F-20 contract required all sales and advertising to go through the state department. Of course everyone bought the F-16, since they probably didn’t even know the F-20 even existed with such strong restrictions on advertising and sales.
     
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  6. Jan 23, 2020 #86

    jbswindle

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    Story I heard was that the Carter administration decreed that the F-20 be 100% Northrop funded development so there was little or no Air Force program management. The AF management drones didn't like that. Foreign governments don't buy US combat aircraft the AF won't use & the AF refused to equip even an ANG unit with F-20s so zero foreign sales.
     
  7. Jan 23, 2020 #87

    Riggerrob

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    Remember that F-5 fighter was the second iteration on the T-38 supersonic trainer.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2020 #88

    Doggzilla

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    Carter actually began the program specifically to export them in order to protect the F-16 from falling into Soviet hands. It didn't fly for the first time until 2 years into Reagan's first term, and the decision to kill it came from Reagan's team.

    Records show that the state department publicly told them it would push sales, but then Deputy Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci turned around and privately sent a classified memo to the embassies stating to abandon the project.

    That was in Reagan's second term, so definitely had nothing to do with Carter.
     
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  9. Jan 24, 2020 #89

    ToddK

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    The Stinson 108
     
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  10. Jan 26, 2020 #90

    User27

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    Almost nothing - most aeroplanes are too much of a compromise!
    My list of aircraft that need the least tweaking to do work well would include,
    Hawker Hurricane - scored many more victories than the Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, as it was easier to build so there were more airframes.
    Hawker Siddeley/British Aerospace/BAE Systems Hawk - won just about every open advanced trainer competition for 20 years and was flexible enough to be developed to carry 4000lb of bombs, sea skimming missiles, land on carriers etc.
    S61 - as I understand it the airframe in its various guises (H3, SeaKing) has never killed any of its crew due to a failure.
    Chipmunk
    Robin DR400/180
    Schempp-Hirth Discus

    Aircraft let down initially by poor engines
    Hawker Hunter (until it got the Avon)
    Blackburn Buccaneer (ditto)
    DA42 Twinstar (variant with Thielert/Technify/Continental engines now almost unobtainable 2nd hand for sensible money now engine is sorted out)

    PS F-5s were only good as aggressors in visual fights - against any aircraft with a decent radar (even armed with AIM-9s) they didn't stand a chance, even head on.
     
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  11. Jan 26, 2020 #91

    BJC

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    Is it true that the Spitfires were used to keep the German fighters away from the Hurricanes while the (lower performance) Hurricanes attacked the bombers? If it is true, that would have been an effective strategy that offered easier targets to the Hurricanes.


    BJC
     
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  12. Jan 26, 2020 #92

    User27

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    I don't know much detail from BoB, but I believe it was a case of get which ever fighters were available up to intercept raids as the radar detected coming over the channel.

    All I'm saying is the Hurricane was not modified as much as the Spitfire and perhaps more "right" from the start? Yes, there was more performance potential in the Spitfire airframe but the Hurricane hit the mid/late 30s design spec better initially enabling more to be built earlier and so enabling the RAF to get more fighters in the air in mid 1940. Completely agree the Hurricane was quickly outclassed - but that wasn't the original question!!
     
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  13. Jan 26, 2020 #93

    Aerowerx

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    If you divide the number of victories by the number of airframes, how would they compare?
     
  14. Jan 26, 2020 #94

    Riggerrob

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    Hurricanes killed more German bombers during the Battle of Britain. If RAF ground, radar controllers had sufficient warning, then direct d Spitfires to tangle with Me 109 escort fighters while Hurricanes intercepted bombers.
    Hurricane was the right airplane at the right time, but was limited by its thick wing.
     
  15. Jan 26, 2020 #95

    Aesquire

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    There was a novel where a mid eastern country hired a U.S. Fighter pilot to establish an Air Force from scratch. He had them order F-20s and did very well in a war with their neighbor, never mind politics making that unlikely & melodrama making it not the best novel.

    The F-5 weakness against bigger radar equipped fighters is partly irrelevant. Unless rules of engagement permit blind firing well outside visual range, ( the assumption of all long range missile sales ) then in knife fighting range they hold their own very well. Their small size, especially from in front, make them harder to see, and while not stealthy size still matters in getting a radar lock.

    All aspect Sidewinders on both sides in war games usually ends with empty skies no matter how sophisticated the radars. In tests with F-5 vs. F-15/14/16 that seems to be well proven.

    One could speculate on a much larger fleet with cheaper F-5s but the U.S. need for range? Probably not the best choice. They still do good service where range isn't the driving factor, worldwide.

    Useless trivia: F-5s in aggressor/Top Gun service carried a commercial radar detector on the glare shield to alert them to other fighters.

    On topic...:)

    Both the Hurricane and Spitfire flew well from prototype to service. Controllable pitch props and improved engines made big difference in performance, but I think the airframe was close to perfect For Their Day, as designed.

    It's easier to pick planes that needed extensive fixes to hit even mediocrity. ( though some were real winners when fixed )

    F-102, Hawker Typhoon, F4F Wildcat ( winner against bad odds, and amazingly the highest kill ratio in FM-2 form if calculating only that version ) and several others.
     
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  16. Feb 24, 2020 at 4:50 PM #96

    Speedboat100

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    I was gonna say Proteus.

    protsku.jpg

    I also kinda dig the DH89.

    De_Havilland_DH89A_Dragon_Rapide_G-AKIF.jpg
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020 at 4:59 PM
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  17. Feb 24, 2020 at 5:05 PM #97

    BJC

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    See https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/...ifies-offered-declined-ukraine-job-2/2171676/

    There should be only one rule of engagement: win.


    BJC
     
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  18. Feb 24, 2020 at 5:56 PM #98

    Vigilant1

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    Today's AI radar signal processing (on top line fighters) is so good that if the target isn't truly low RCS, then there's no point in being "a little bit stealthy.". This is even true in look-down mode. And the datalink capability of these fighters makes the air picture so ubiquitous that the idea of an F-5 hiding in a valley, etc seems very 1980s.
    Counting on the enemy's ROE to assure the preservation of your air force is a very slim reed. Those rules are changeable and only used as long as they provide an advantage (in the big sense).
    A lot of these "why not build a lot of cheap fighters" ideas could work in a very specific set of circumstances. They don't make much sense for a country that spends a lot on crew training, pay, or which would need to cross an ocean to get to the fight. Maybe two fights.
    I wonder where the cheap VMC fighters (or anything else that is counting on them for protection) will find refuge at night or when the weather is IMC? Ordnance delivery is now accurate day or night, through the clouds, etc.
    IMO, too many folks draw too many conclusions from Red Flag et al. They are invaluable exercises, but they aren't designed to be used for force development or strategic net assessments.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020 at 6:05 PM
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  19. Feb 24, 2020 at 6:12 PM #99

    don january

    don january

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    Our family always thought the Pawnee was a work horse and very hard to beat once you spent the entire day behind the stick. zawnee.jpg
     
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  20. Feb 24, 2020 at 6:57 PM #100

    Pops

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    My grandson's boss has a F-5 in the aviation dept of the company. He get to fly it. Not right, grandfathers come first.

    To answer the question, My SSSC.
    Well maybe not, short on range, so I built a new set of wings with larger fuel tanks with 5 hrs of range. That made it perfect for the mission.
     
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