1. #1
    I got these from another page.
    Starts with a DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) mission of two F-104Gs against two F-15Bs and goes on with some more general stuff about the 104 compared to other fighters.

    Enjoy!

    I don't know when the first instance of the F-104 and the F-15 engaging in DACT happened...but I do know when it happened early on at Luke.

    When the F-15 training operation began at Luke in the latter 70s, the initial squadron was the 555th, known as 'the Nickle'. Sometime in 78 or so, the Nickle guys were looking for DACT with a variety of fighter types, and so they came down the street to the F-104 Fighter Weapons School in the 69TFTS, also at Luke.

    They wanted to fly against us, and so we agreed to put up a two ship for a trial mission. Two FWS instructors were selected, one a German instructor (Hartmut Troehler) and one USAF instructor (me).

    The Nickle hosted the mission. We briefed at their squadron with two of their instructors (both F-4 FWS grads). They were going to use the two seat model for the engagement. We would both have dedicated GCI. We were to simulate Floggers...not a bad idea since the G model that we flew was a good representation of the A2A capability of the MiG-23. Our simulated armament was to be Apex, Aphid, and the gun.

    After the main briefing, Hartmut and I had our own briefing. I was the flight lead and intended to use as much deception as I could. We knew that the F-15 guys were really proud of their radar capabilities...the PD radar was new to the fighter community at that time. I thought that the two Nickle guys would be heavily relying on their radar to enter the fight...as it turned out, I was right.

    My plan was to put Hartmut in close formation and run head on at the F-15 using GCI for vectoring. Our radar could search out to 40nm but we couldn't lock on until 20nm.

    We took the first GCI vector and accelerated through the mach. Intended to fight fast...high speed extensions and hook turns. At 20nm, the F-15 made a large blip on my radar and I was able to get a lock. The plan was to Fox-1 at about 16nm and then have Hartmut peel off into a hard 360 to follow me.

    I called the Apex at 16nm, told Hartmut to deploy, and then pushed it up to over 700KIAS. My hope was that the Eagle guys would hold their lock on me and not see Hartmut separate. We could slave our gunsight to the radar lock on angle...this let me fly right at the F-15. I picked him up visually...he was high, to the right, and had started a conversion turn. I unloaded, and extended away figuring they would try to follow...and they did.

    What that did, of course, was get them sandwiched between me and Hartmut. My guess was that they would get all excited and jump on me without asking where my wingman was. They found out soon enough as their GCI relayed to them Hartmut's gun attack call.

    I was looking back and saw their break turn that resulted. I went idle and boards, slowed to .85M, dropped my maneuver flaps, put my lift vector on the Eagle and then pulled the jet into a hard 7g turn using burner to hold my speed. I knew I could sustain that g at around 400KIAS.

    I pulled into a lead snapshot position on the Eagle, closed in and went guns. The Eagle broke again as their GCI relayed the second gun call.

    By this time, Hartmut was pitching back into the fight. He saw me extend away, went in for his second gun attack, and then extended away after me. I tallyed him, gave him a check turn to put us back into line abreast and then we became a dot.

    The Eagle tried to call a Fox-2 as we separated but with us well over 700KIAS, it was way out of parameters.

    The result was the two Fox-1s and three unobserved gun kills by us. They had no valid shots.

    The debriefing was a hoot. I especially liked the part where the Nickle guy played his recorder and we heard the backseater say "Break, we just got gunned again"!

    Of course, all of this should not have happened. The F-15 should have had us for lunch. But they didn't, and it was all because they didn't play to their strengths...and they severely underestimated their opponents. They didn't do that again and that was a good thing.
    When it came to two-ship tactical formations, the USAF flew Fluid Two, the USN flew Loose Deuce, and others flew Double Attack. These concepts were very similar and differed primarily in how much freedom the flight lead gave the wingman. In each concept, the maneuver flow emphasized unilateral decisions and separate flight paths to gain a common goal. The radio was crucial in maintaining situational awareness and mutual support. These concepts did away with the WW2 and Korean War formations where the wingmen remained tied to the leader.

    "Fighting in the vertical" is nothing new to the 104...it's been around since the beginning in WW1. People use the vertical when they have an energy advantage over their opponent...and so the tactic may or may not be applicable depending on the capabilities and numbers of the enemy. It requires a higher level of proficiency and experience and may be extremely effective when the opponent has neither.

    Agility is very situational...one may be agile compared to one opponent and then be a slug when compared to another. When compared to other 60s era fighters, the 104 was comparable above 400KIAS and below 15000'. If a 104 pilot tried to slow down below 400KIAS and engage in a horizontal fight, he would usually end up the loser simply because so many of the other fighters of that era had a better slow speed turning capability. When flying F-4s in Holland, we used to engage 104s frequently, and I can remember some of the 104 pilots trying to fight us with their landing flaps down. Later, when I checked out in the 104, I learned how really dumb than was...the full flap position was meant for landing and nothing else...a 104 with full flaps down was an unmaneuverable strafe rag.

    I never flew the 104 at high altitude. I expect its agility there to be as good as or better as long as one kept the speed up in that part of the envelope. Walt's earlier version with the better maneuver flap restrictions would have been much better than a standard G model.
    Pilots Walt Bjorneby and Andy Bush:

    Walt wrote:

    "Okay, here goes. IMHO the only fighter back then that could give the 104 a fight was the F8 Crusader. I am sure the EE Lightning would be a real competitor but never even saw one. But when the Dash19 J79 was installed in the 104A it could easily wax the F8. The 106 was a good opponent until he quickly ran out of speed (delta wing drag) and fuel (J75 in AB). The F4 was mean at Sparrow ranges but in close going vertical ate him up. Note that the 104A maneuver flap speed limits were M1.8/550KIAS whichever was first. Using maneuver (takeoff) flaps made it about equal to the F4 in corner velocity. Kept the left hand busy - AB for accell, out of AB and select maneuver flaps for turn, straighten out, AB again, flaps up, zero G for more speed, then turn again and same all over again. Never got to go against an F15 however. Would have been interesting. One of the Zipper's advantages was that it was very hard to see coming in. And now and then we would paint those white wings grey with water-base tempera as an addded 'gouge'. Head on good eyes could see it at 3 miles on a clear day - not much time to react when it's coming in at 1.4 (3B engine) or 1.6+ (-19). Like to see one reengined with a good turbofan with AB and F16 radar + RHAW gear. Still what I consider to be one of the best examples of sophisticated engineering. Difficult problems solved simply and efficiently, rather than same old same old assisted by huge engines.

    In the Zipper. One thing most people don't realize is that takeoff flaps could be used up to 550KIAS/1,8M. Using T/O flaps put the corner velocity down to about 425 IAS on a par with the F4. We used them very flexibly as they acted fast. Out for turn or pullup, in for accel, etc. Same with AB; off for high G, back on for accel. We used modified 'loose deuce' tactics beginning in '65 since we were deployed as pairs rather than a flight of four. I do not know of any contemporay airplane that could stay with our re-engined 104s - same engine that went into the 104S except we were about 3000-3500 pounds lighter weight. I suppose the F22 or MiG29 could out-accel the little bird but M2.0 from M0.9 in 27 miles/1'45"/1000# fuel was pretty darned good for 1967. Attain and maintain M 1.05 cruise in non-AB, scheduled 1+30 training missions without external tanks, and an availability rate exceeding 90% speaks well for Lockheed, Kelly Johnson and GE. Just wish Kelly had been able to build the CL1200 Lancer.

    Andy wrote:

    Walt has it right...the 104 had a credible turn capability when using the maneuver flap position. I flew the jet at TOPGUN in '78 when we wanted to verify some energy maneuverability data against the F-5E. We all were surprised when the 'numbers' worked out as well as they did. In addition, I have also flown the 'hard wing' and slatted versions of the F-4 and am familiar with the relative performance comparisons between the two a/c."
    I was in the 319th FIS flying the F104A; friends of mine were in the 479th TFW flying the C model. I can confirm both outfits did use DACT (loose deuce) and emphasized use of the vertical. 319th was an Air Defense unit and primarily flew in pairs, thus 'loose deuce' was a natural choice. Our A models after mod had the G flap limits; 1.8M or 550KIAS. Thus we could actually out-turn F4s in level flight, that is, until they got the new slats, in which case we went vertical and ran them out of fuel because of the extra drag when their slats extended and they had to use lots of AB to keep their energy up. They got a lower corner velocity; we got the J79-19 engine and a LOT more Ps.

    Keep in mind: "M1.8/ 550 KIAS" rated take-off flap setting
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  2. #2
    I got these from another page.
    Starts with a DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) mission of two F-104Gs against two F-15Bs and goes on with some more general stuff about the 104 compared to other fighters.

    Enjoy!

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I don't know when the first instance of the F-104 and the F-15 engaging in DACT happened...but I do know when it happened early on at Luke.

    When the F-15 training operation began at Luke in the latter 70s, the initial squadron was the 555th, known as 'the Nickle'. Sometime in 78 or so, the Nickle guys were looking for DACT with a variety of fighter types, and so they came down the street to the F-104 Fighter Weapons School in the 69TFTS, also at Luke.

    They wanted to fly against us, and so we agreed to put up a two ship for a trial mission. Two FWS instructors were selected, one a German instructor (Hartmut Troehler) and one USAF instructor (me).

    The Nickle hosted the mission. We briefed at their squadron with two of their instructors (both F-4 FWS grads). They were going to use the two seat model for the engagement. We would both have dedicated GCI. We were to simulate Floggers...not a bad idea since the G model that we flew was a good representation of the A2A capability of the MiG-23. Our simulated armament was to be Apex, Aphid, and the gun.

    After the main briefing, Hartmut and I had our own briefing. I was the flight lead and intended to use as much deception as I could. We knew that the F-15 guys were really proud of their radar capabilities...the PD radar was new to the fighter community at that time. I thought that the two Nickle guys would be heavily relying on their radar to enter the fight...as it turned out, I was right.

    My plan was to put Hartmut in close formation and run head on at the F-15 using GCI for vectoring. Our radar could search out to 40nm but we couldn't lock on until 20nm.

    We took the first GCI vector and accelerated through the mach. Intended to fight fast...high speed extensions and hook turns. At 20nm, the F-15 made a large blip on my radar and I was able to get a lock. The plan was to Fox-1 at about 16nm and then have Hartmut peel off into a hard 360 to follow me.

    I called the Apex at 16nm, told Hartmut to deploy, and then pushed it up to over 700KIAS. My hope was that the Eagle guys would hold their lock on me and not see Hartmut separate. We could slave our gunsight to the radar lock on angle...this let me fly right at the F-15. I picked him up visually...he was high, to the right, and had started a conversion turn. I unloaded, and extended away figuring they would try to follow...and they did.

    What that did, of course, was get them sandwiched between me and Hartmut. My guess was that they would get all excited and jump on me without asking where my wingman was. They found out soon enough as their GCI relayed to them Hartmut's gun attack call.

    I was looking back and saw their break turn that resulted. I went idle and boards, slowed to .85M, dropped my maneuver flaps, put my lift vector on the Eagle and then pulled the jet into a hard 7g turn using burner to hold my speed. I knew I could sustain that g at around 400KIAS.

    I pulled into a lead snapshot position on the Eagle, closed in and went guns. The Eagle broke again as their GCI relayed the second gun call.

    By this time, Hartmut was pitching back into the fight. He saw me extend away, went in for his second gun attack, and then extended away after me. I tallyed him, gave him a check turn to put us back into line abreast and then we became a dot.

    The Eagle tried to call a Fox-2 as we separated but with us well over 700KIAS, it was way out of parameters.

    The result was the two Fox-1s and three unobserved gun kills by us. They had no valid shots.

    The debriefing was a hoot. I especially liked the part where the Nickle guy played his recorder and we heard the backseater say "Break, we just got gunned again"!

    Of course, all of this should not have happened. The F-15 should have had us for lunch. But they didn't, and it was all because they didn't play to their strengths...and they severely underestimated their opponents. They didn't do that again and that was a good thing. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">When it came to two-ship tactical formations, the USAF flew Fluid Two, the USN flew Loose Deuce, and others flew Double Attack. These concepts were very similar and differed primarily in how much freedom the flight lead gave the wingman. In each concept, the maneuver flow emphasized unilateral decisions and separate flight paths to gain a common goal. The radio was crucial in maintaining situational awareness and mutual support. These concepts did away with the WW2 and Korean War formations where the wingmen remained tied to the leader.

    "Fighting in the vertical" is nothing new to the 104...it's been around since the beginning in WW1. People use the vertical when they have an energy advantage over their opponent...and so the tactic may or may not be applicable depending on the capabilities and numbers of the enemy. It requires a higher level of proficiency and experience and may be extremely effective when the opponent has neither.

    Agility is very situational...one may be agile compared to one opponent and then be a slug when compared to another. When compared to other 60s era fighters, the 104 was comparable above 400KIAS and below 15000'. If a 104 pilot tried to slow down below 400KIAS and engage in a horizontal fight, he would usually end up the loser simply because so many of the other fighters of that era had a better slow speed turning capability. When flying F-4s in Holland, we used to engage 104s frequently, and I can remember some of the 104 pilots trying to fight us with their landing flaps down. Later, when I checked out in the 104, I learned how really dumb than was...the full flap position was meant for landing and nothing else...a 104 with full flaps down was an unmaneuverable strafe rag.

    I never flew the 104 at high altitude. I expect its agility there to be as good as or better as long as one kept the speed up in that part of the envelope. Walt's earlier version with the better maneuver flap restrictions would have been much better than a standard G model. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Pilots Walt Bjorneby and Andy Bush:

    Walt wrote:

    "Okay, here goes. IMHO the only fighter back then that could give the 104 a fight was the F8 Crusader. I am sure the EE Lightning would be a real competitor but never even saw one. But when the Dash19 J79 was installed in the 104A it could easily wax the F8. The 106 was a good opponent until he quickly ran out of speed (delta wing drag) and fuel (J75 in AB). The F4 was mean at Sparrow ranges but in close going vertical ate him up. Note that the 104A maneuver flap speed limits were M1.8/550KIAS whichever was first. Using maneuver (takeoff) flaps made it about equal to the F4 in corner velocity. Kept the left hand busy - AB for accell, out of AB and select maneuver flaps for turn, straighten out, AB again, flaps up, zero G for more speed, then turn again and same all over again. Never got to go against an F15 however. Would have been interesting. One of the Zipper's advantages was that it was very hard to see coming in. And now and then we would paint those white wings grey with water-base tempera as an addded 'gouge'. Head on good eyes could see it at 3 miles on a clear day - not much time to react when it's coming in at 1.4 (3B engine) or 1.6+ (-19). Like to see one reengined with a good turbofan with AB and F16 radar + RHAW gear. Still what I consider to be one of the best examples of sophisticated engineering. Difficult problems solved simply and efficiently, rather than same old same old assisted by huge engines.

    In the Zipper. One thing most people don't realize is that takeoff flaps could be used up to 550KIAS/1,8M. Using T/O flaps put the corner velocity down to about 425 IAS on a par with the F4. We used them very flexibly as they acted fast. Out for turn or pullup, in for accel, etc. Same with AB; off for high G, back on for accel. We used modified 'loose deuce' tactics beginning in '65 since we were deployed as pairs rather than a flight of four. I do not know of any contemporay airplane that could stay with our re-engined 104s - same engine that went into the 104S except we were about 3000-3500 pounds lighter weight. I suppose the F22 or MiG29 could out-accel the little bird but M2.0 from M0.9 in 27 miles/1'45"/1000# fuel was pretty darned good for 1967. Attain and maintain M 1.05 cruise in non-AB, scheduled 1+30 training missions without external tanks, and an availability rate exceeding 90% speaks well for Lockheed, Kelly Johnson and GE. Just wish Kelly had been able to build the CL1200 Lancer.

    Andy wrote:

    Walt has it right...the 104 had a credible turn capability when using the maneuver flap position. I flew the jet at TOPGUN in '78 when we wanted to verify some energy maneuverability data against the F-5E. We all were surprised when the 'numbers' worked out as well as they did. In addition, I have also flown the 'hard wing' and slatted versions of the F-4 and am familiar with the relative performance comparisons between the two a/c." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I was in the 319th FIS flying the F104A; friends of mine were in the 479th TFW flying the C model. I can confirm both outfits did use DACT (loose deuce) and emphasized use of the vertical. 319th was an Air Defense unit and primarily flew in pairs, thus 'loose deuce' was a natural choice. Our A models after mod had the G flap limits; 1.8M or 550KIAS. Thus we could actually out-turn F4s in level flight, that is, until they got the new slats, in which case we went vertical and ran them out of fuel because of the extra drag when their slats extended and they had to use lots of AB to keep their energy up. They got a lower corner velocity; we got the J79-19 engine and a LOT more Ps. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>


    Keep in mind: "M1.8/ 550 KIAS" rated take-off flap setting
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  3. #3
    berg417448's Avatar Senior Member
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    Here is another piece about Walt's F-104 experiences:

    Ruminations on the F-104
    Walt BJ, Zipper pilot, ret (Not by choice)

    I was in the 319FIS at Homestead AFB from 1964 to 1967. Prior to that I had amassed 600 hours in the F-86 and 1500 in the F-102. My last tour had been at Thule in the Deuce, and at 40 below it was a sprightly performer. Like a takeoff roll of 1300 feet! But my first ride in the F-104 - hey, I'd been on test hop orders since 1960 and was used to checking gauges on the roll! But after releasing the brakes on the -104B I'd managed to check 3 of the 5 gauges one checks after the burner light and my IP said quietly 'Rotate!'. We were nearing 180 KIAS! BTW If you don't get the gear handle up as the aircraft breaks ground at 186 you could trap the main gear doors open. No big deal; just nose up to slow below 250 KIAS and cycle the gear. No blow except to one's pride.
    Anyway - the 319th was the ONLY combat flying outfit I've ever been in where we had payday afternoon off. The availability rate was limited ONLY by parts. The airplane was extremely reliable. The radar cold be changed in 20 minutes; the engine in 2 hours. Every comm/electronic box could be changed at the end of the runway in the quick check area in matter of a few minutes - and was. Our QC crew had spare boxes in their van and saved many a sortie.

    ADC had an exercise where they put up targets in a racetrack and tested the unit on how many sorties it could crank out. One afternoon we put 60 sorties up in three hours. The pilots were RTB'ing in AB and the ground crews were giving us 15 minute turnarounds!

    The F-104 is the ONLY airplane I ever heard of where the squadron dog would exceed all the Flight Manual red line limits - 750KIAS, M2.0 and 100C engine inlet temp, and the SLOW light which came on at 121C in the generator cooling air duct. The bird originally had the GE J79-3B engine, and by the time I got to fly it that engine was getting worn out. The engine frames were so warped now that hot air leaks would set off the AFT OVERHEAT light if one got too slow at altitude (generally under 315 KIAS or so). Finally a fine officer and gentleman Col (now Bgen, ret) Dave Rippetoe got us the J79-19 engine. This is the same engine that is in the F104S and a variant of the F-4E engine. The replacement was simple enough so that the majority were installed in the squadron.

    The -3B gave us 9600 lbs in military and 14000 in AB - when it was new, that is. The -19 gave us 12850 in military and 18900 in AB, later reduced for peacetime longevity to 11870/17500. Suffice to say the increase in performance was outstanding. The old bird would take about 4 minutes to get to mach 2 from .9, covering about 100 miles and using about all the fuel one could spare. The new bird took 1 minute 45 seconds, 27 miles, and 1000 pounds of fuel!
    We normally flew 1:20 sorties clean (no ext tanks); now we could fly 1:30. The bird now cruised at 35000 at 315 KIAS at 2700PPH. Two reasons for greater efficiency, a new nozzle and a higher compression ratio in the compressor. With 2 x 165 galon tip tanks we could now go HST-Big SpringTX, BGS to Palmdale. 2 hop XC from FL to CA.

    We intercepted U-2 fairly often on their training flights, usually above 60000. Of course we had to wear p-suits. Fuel was our limitation on the old bird; we couldn't afford to wait more than about 5 minutes if he was behind on his ETA. But with the new bird! I was fortunate enough to fly the first U2 mission and during prebrief the controller at MOADS and I talked it over. Of course he had nothing in his computer about the bird's new performance. I asked to be rolled out 35 miles behind the U-2 at .9 mach at 35000. He did just that. I selected full Ab and started accelerating. As the bird pass 1.4 I started a gentle climb. At something like 18 miles (on a 20 nm scope) I saw his blip on our 'spinscan' ASG14 radar. I glanced at the gauges and saw we were 1.8 M passing 58000! I don't recall what the fuel gauge read but it was nothing to worry about. Completed the intercept and peeled off for home with about 2400 pounds of fuel left! In the old bird if we had 1200 left then we were in fat city! Gs. Yeah, just about everybody could out turn a -104 in the usual subsonic dogfight area. But the only birds that gave us a hard time - with the old engine! - were the -106 and the F-8. The secret was never slowing down and using the vertical to the max. We had a good gun and sight combo and practiced (some of us) deflection shooting out to 3500-4000 feet. We got to where we could hit the dart (5x12 feet) about 85% of the time at ranges exceeding 2500 feet using the radar ranging gunsight. The plan was to force the bogey into a turn and then phase our attacks so one bird was alway threatening the bogey. This is the TAC lead wingman switch concept. We thought of it and flew it as 'fluid four' without the wingmen, covering each other and the responsibilities switching according to the fight. Our unit sent people up to Tyndall to fight the F106s when they were trying to sell the 106 as a deployable air superiority team. The -19 -104 waxed the 6. Later some of the guys (not me, sob - I was going to the F-4 now) went out to Edwards to fly against some of the oppo birds. later while working for Air Florida I talked to their 737 chief pilot. He was flying a very capable oppo bird against the USAF planes as was curving in behind what he thought was a lone F-4 at about 25000. All of a sudden he saw a -104 pull up vertical off the F4s wing - and knew he was in trouble!

    The -19 -104 would go supersonic - M1.05 - in true level flight at 25000 in military power. It could maintain .97 on the deck in mil. The fastest I've had one on the deck was 750, the redline. I do know one pilot who let it run out to 825. He was at that time a bachelor and immortal. It's maximum was far beyond 2.0 at altitude. The most I've heard of is 2.4 (same bachelor) which is above the aluminum one-time limit. (2.2 for 5 minutes) I have personally flown the aircraft in a zoom climb high enough so the altimeter stopped turning at around 87000. We were still going up in a 50 degree climb. I suppose the pressure differential was too low to overcome the friction in the gears driving the needles. I know the bird will cruise at 73000 at M2.0; Paul Da San Martineo and I RTB'd from Tyndall to Homestead that way. It certainly impressed Miami Center; I remember the controller's answer when we called "Level Flight Level 730". "Roger, and you weren't lying about your true airspeed either!" (We'd filed a TAS of 1150 kts)

    The bird could, on an 85F day from sea level, at combat weight and configuration, go through 45000 in 90 seconds after brake release. This was a bird right off the line with no tweaking.
    What always struck me about the aircraft was the way it could accelerate in a zero-G bunt. It seemed like it could jump from 250 to 550 in about 20 seconds. It was certainly fast enough so one had to hold the pitch trim button forward and yet still apply pressure to maintain zero-G for the unloaded accel.
    Fighting the bird entailed two tactics; the deep six zoom attack with the AIM-9B and the gun pass followed by a vertical zoom and reattack at 600+. Get a radar lock-on and try for a high angle deflection shot on the planform of the bogey. The instant the gunsight was saturated - could no longer track - quarter roll wings level and zoom vertical again.
    It was not uncommon to belly up through 50000 on the reattack. NO ONE could follow us in these maneuvers. Certainly not an F-4. An F-15 could, but they weren't around yet. After the second pass the F-4 was all out of airspeed. The 6 was in the same boat; it lost speed fast when it started pulling G. We could spiral climb away from them and when they paid off split ess back onto their tail.

    I just wish USAF hadn't got into a hissy fit with Kelly Johnson. The CL1200 Lancer was an F-104 updated and improved. He solved so many complicated problems so simply on the -104 when I got to the F-4 I was disappointed in the crudity of the solutions to the same problems. There was some real engineering done on the Zipper; it seemed to me the F-4 team just grabbed an answer book off the shelf and leafed to the right page.

    The F-104 was sort of like owning the sharpest knife in the world. It was an honest airplane; you knew what was going on all the time. but like using a sharp knife, you better not make any mistakes. it did not suffer fools at all. The engine-out landing pattern was wild; 15000 and 260 over the runway and one turn, 240 KIAS over the threshold. Drop the gear by the emergency release during the flare! Rate of descent stabilized with gear down, engine off, at 240KIAS was about 11000FPM. No slack there. The bird got a bad rep during its infancy - in the USAF about a third of them were lost to engine failure before GE got the bugs out of it. In the Luftwaffe a lot of accidents were due to a combination of green pilots, poor maintenance and lousy (normal) European wx. With 4 tanks - fairly common LW configuration - the liftoff speed is around 215 KIAS. On an 8000 foot runway there is NO slack at all.

    Range. Carrying one bomb (guess what kind) with 4 tanks an F-104 will go about half again as far as an F4 on a low-low-low sortie. And it will do it faster, too.

    Bomb load. The TAC version can carry four but why would one want to mess up an air superiority fighter with bombs?

    Deployability. The Zipper was designed before the perceived need for IFR. Because of the way its built it can be disassembled and loaded on a C-141 and flown to wherever you want it. Wings of and it sits on its gear. Tail off, elevator off rudder, load it board. Unload it at destination and reassemble it. Four bolts hold the after section on, five bolts for each wing. The Lancer could have incorporated a retractable probe and with its afterburning turbofan would have deployed nicely.

    Summary. I amassed 2000 hours in the F-4D/E and grew to like it for what it could do. But love it? No way. My love was first the Sabre and then the Zipper. Both were true pilot's aircraft. The Sabre handled like it was part of you; the Zipper only came alive above 450KIAS. But at 600 it started to hum, and at 700 . . . oh, baby!
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  4. #4
    Blutarski2004's Avatar Banned
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    Excellent stuff, gents. Thank you for posting.


    Byron
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  5. #5
    Cajun76's Avatar Senior Member
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    Very good read. Thanks!
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  6. #6
    interesting read. tho I find it hard to believe that an air craft like an F-104 which was slower than an F-15 and could not maneuver like an F-15, could somehow mix it up with a plane that has never been shot down in RL A2A combat 100+ to 0 and get 2 gun kills?? maybe it is the pilot makes the plane.
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  7. #7
    Well, the F-15 isn't that much faster than the 104:
    You'd have to overspeed the engines in an F-15 to reach it's oft-quoted official topspeed.
    In the 104, however, you actually have to throttle back at M2.2 in order to not
    1) overheat the airframe
    2) overheat the engine compressor

    On tp of that, the 104 has less drag and really jumps ahead on unloaded accelerations.
    As far as turning is concerned, the 104 will turn with an F-4 at 400KIAS, flaps down (7g sustained).
    Dunno, how much the F-15 can maintain, but surely not much more: turn those wings into the stream and you're throwing an anchor.
    The F-15 will win at low speeds, but a high speeds, the 104 may stay on top.

    An F-16 would have been a better match-up in terms of sustained-turn performance (true 9g sustainer).
    The 104 leaves the F-16 standing once fighting supersonic, though.

    The 104 is a SMALL airplane - you can't see it from 3 miles head-on. The F-15, however, is HUGE.

    Much of the F-15's glory in real-shooting engagements is due to it's newness (IDF/AF) and superrior training/ coordination.

    In DACT it's been shown, that even the derated GAF Fulcrums were a good match for F-15s.
    That's due to the Eagle's massive energy-bleed when pulling Gs.

    Don't forget that those F-15 drivers in the first story were USAF FWS-graduates.
    They were new to the F-15-community, though.
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  8. #8
    erco415's Avatar Senior Member
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    Remember, too, that the Zipper drivers guessed correctly what the Eagle guys would do and had a plan to counter that which played up their plane's strengths. Quite right about the pilot being the difference, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Starfighter turned out to be MORE maneuverable than the Eagle in a supersonic dogfight.
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  9. #9
    horseback's Avatar Senior Member
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    I had a high school class mate who went on to the Air Force Acadamy and started flying F-15s in '81 or '82; he has since moved up the rank ladder, and last I saw him (maybe 10 years ago) he was running a Wing.

    He said that it took him a good eight or ten years to fully master the subtleties of the Eagle, and that while his eyesight, reflexes and ability to handle high G maneuvers were better when we were in our twenties, his forty-plus year old self would have easily waxed his twenty five year old self's fanny every time.

    You might be a hot hand with an F-4E, but if they plopped you into a brand new airplane in the days before modern trainers, no matter how wonderful that airplane is, it's going to take you a while to master it unless it fits you mentally and physically like a glove.

    IMHO, the 104 drivers held all the cards, and would have for at least a couple of years.

    cheers

    horseback
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  10. #10
    mortoma's Avatar Senior Member
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">maybe it is the pilot makes the plane. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Plus a huge amount of SA and coordinated tactics between lead and wingman. Don't forget that. In this case it was more that.
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