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Modifications Thunderbirds and Blue Angels

Unread postPosted: 12 Sep 2019, 02:07
by rowbeartoe
Hi Everyone.

According to Wikipedia and a website on the upcoming Super Hornet for the Blue Angels only slight modifications are being made to the aircraft. They are as follows.

Current F/A-18.
*Removal of the weapons and replacement with the tank that contains smoke-oil used in demonstrations.
*Control stick spring system for more precise aircraft control input. Control sticks are tensioned with 35 pounds (16 kg) of force installed on the control stick as to allow the pilot minimal room for un-commanded movement.

Future F/A-18 Super Hornet
* Biodegradable colored smoke injectors,
* Fuel flow modifications to facilitate extended inverted flight
* The addition of 7-pounds of forward hydraulic force on the control stick when maintaining level flight to improve the handling of the aircraft in turbulent, close formation flying

F-16C Thunderbird.
* Replacement of the 20 mm cannon and ammunition drum with a smoke-generating system, including its plumbing and control switches
* The removal of the jet fuel starter exhaust door

Control Stick Questions:
F-18's. Why not make the control stick modifications for all military F-18s rather than just the Blue Angels?
F-16's. Why don't they make modifications for the control sticks on the F-16s?
F-18E/F. Why not have the fuel flow modifications as standard just incase you needed extended inverted flight?

Isn't it misleading to "demonstrate" aircraft with control stick modifications that standard aircraft do not have? One thing I always here people say is look how tight the formation is of the Blue Angels over the Thunderbirds and then I have to mention that the Angels have control stick modifications to assist in such maneuvers. This doesn't mean the Thunderbirds cannot perform tighter maneuvers, (an accident I believe influenced the birds to fly less close recently) it just means the Blue Angels made the modifications to make the maneuvers safer than they would otherwise be.

Anyhow. Those are my questions and my 2 cents. Thank you everyone.