Fighter aces

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sundowner11

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Unread post12 Mar 2010, 22:49

What made some pilots more successful than all the others? How did some pilots cut down scores of enemy aircraft while others never even got one?
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post12 Mar 2010, 22:55

Location, location, location, and some luck.

Being in the right place at the right time with the right conditions.
[Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
— Richard Collins
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sundowner11

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Unread post12 Mar 2010, 23:06

Wow that was fast, I didn't expect anyone to answer so quickly.
I want to ask you, who is your favorite fighter ace, one you particularly like to read about, say of the Korean War or WWII. My favorites are LTC George Davis of Korea, and Francis Gabreski of WWII.
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post13 Mar 2010, 05:58

Brig. Gen. Robin Olds; Triple-Ace 17 total; 13 in WWII and 4 in Vietnam (RIP-2007)
Brig. Gen. Robin Olds wrote:"There are pilots and there are pilots; with the good ones, it is inborn. You can't teach it. If you are a fighter pilot, you have to be willing to take risks."

Fighter pilots used to say that there was a glass case in the Pentagon built to the precise dimensions of then-Colonel Robin Olds, who would be frozen and displayed wearing his rankless flight suit, crushed fore and aft cap, gloves, and torso harness with .38 and survival knife. Beside the case, was a fire ax beneath a sign reading :

"In case of war, break glass."

Image

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Olds

some of his History Dogfights video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITRLk9b9AcY
and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1k-3C6poTs

Wanted to meet him at the "Gathering of Mustangs and Legends" but sadly he passed before the gathering. :sad:

I believe he was "The Fighter Pilot of fighter pilots" He did more to revive and keep alive the art of 'dog-fighting' more than anyone else in the modern age. Lets hope the USAF never forgets the lessons they learned with Gen Olds. (but with the way our fighter programs are being cut, I fear the end is near)

:salute: TEG
[Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
— Richard Collins
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That_Engine_Guy

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Unread post13 Mar 2010, 06:08

Double post, but worth it; after doing a little more 'google work' I found this one. http://www.usafa1961.org/robin_olds.htm

VERY good reading!

In some respects I'm glad that Gen. Olds isn't around today to see the current state of the USAF. (He'd be livid!) On the other hand maybe he could help fix the pickle we're in?

TEG
[Airplanes are] near perfect, all they lack is the ability to forgive.
— Richard Collins
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sundowner11

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Unread post14 Mar 2010, 02:33

Robin Olds was a pretty incredible figure. I really wish I could have met him in person. He is everything that a fighter pilot could aspire too.
Wish we had more like him in the military (not just the USAF) today. Things might be different over there in Afghanistan.
Any other famous fighter jocks that you've met in person? If possible could, you see if you could get any fighter pilots here on the site to comment. That would be awesome.
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avon1944

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Unread post30 Apr 2010, 06:36

In years past, being a good fighter pilot was part instinct and part 'art of dog-fighting'! In WW-2 fighter pilots received training in how to dogfight but, the bulk of that came when the pilot got overseas and had experienced mentors.
Since 1968 and at the end of the Viet Nam War, many studies were made and made dog-fighting more of a science. Programs such as Top Gun, etc. came about because of the need to get all pilots the knowledge on how to dogfight and gave them lessons and experience in dog-fighting against dissimilar fighters. There were many other practical sciences in which a small percentage of engineers or designers designed a very large percentage of the circuits that worked. The bulk of the engineers designed circuits, went through all the steps but, when all was said and done, several parameters of the design were not met!
It was that way in semiconductors, where 10% of the designers, designed 90% of the IC-chips that went into production. I remember as early as the late 1960s, large companies spent 'real' money with mathematicians trying to understand why some circuits worked from certain engineers while other engineers were not able to make their chips work. What were the deviations which prevented the circuits from meeting all the specifications or parameters. (This was all back when a complex IC had a couple hundred transistors!) Finally by the early 1980s there was enough information about the processing of the chips and range of deviations in the finished circuit versus the original design on paper. Now, with the CAD systems, the computer instructs the engineer as to what to change so the circuit will work the first time it is manufactured.
In the past, many of these combat maneuvers were done by instinct. Now perspective fighter pilots are taught sciences such as energy maneuvering, etc. and what to use and when.
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sundowner11

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Unread post30 Apr 2010, 16:34

By trying to decide what manuever to use and when to use it, Isn't that technically still doing it by instinct?
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eliteprivatepilot

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Unread post01 May 2010, 10:01

It is just like anything else in life, some people are good, some are better, some are worse. If you are an above-average pilot and you are going against a bad one, with all other things equal, you will probably be victorious. However, if your foe has a much better position than you do, they will have the advantage.

In regards to dogfighting, some pilots were fortunate enough (and good enough) to continously position themselves behind their next target, while maneuvering in such a way that an enemy on their tail was not able to shoot them down.

Compare this to a pilot who continuously enters fights head on, and lacks knowing how to manuever effectively.

The best answer is this: It is dependent upon the "Aeronautical Decision Making" of the pilot.
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avon1944

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Unread post05 May 2010, 05:32

sundowner11 wrote:By trying to decide what manuever to use and when to use it, Isn't that technically still doing it by instinct?

It is not just deciding what maneuvers to use, it is the knowledge that if you do a certain maneuver, using the strengths of your aircraft, you limit what your opponent can do because you have an idea of the opponent's energy state. Which is not the same as doing something not knowing how it can affect your energy state or you opponent's.
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Lieven

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Unread post03 Jan 2013, 10:33

sundowner11 wrote:Robin Olds was a pretty incredible figure. I really wish I could have met him in person. He is everything that a fighter pilot could aspire too.
Wish we had more like him in the military (not just the USAF) today.

<a href="http://www.badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=784151231971">Robin Olds, badass of the week</a>
badassoftheweek.com wrote:"Ok, you take the 25 on the left, I'll take the 25 on the right." He throttled up to combat speed, dropped fuel tanks, and prepared to charge head-first into an aerial engagement that would make the Battle of Endor look like a couple of Hello Kitty kites harmlessly bumping into each other on a sunny day in the park.

Unfortunately, when he dropped his fuel tanks, Robin Olds got a little too excited about the killing and forgot to switch over to internal fuel. Both engines stalled and died.

He pulled the trigger anyways.

The P-38's quad-linked .50 cals and 20mm cannon barked fire like the Queen of Hell, shredding the fuselage of the lead Me-109 and sending it hurtling into a death spiral.

Olds credits himself as being the only man to ever record a confirmed kill while in glide mode.

Read the full report on http://www.badassoftheweek.com/index.cg ... 4151231971
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JoeSambor

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Unread post03 Jan 2013, 18:11

I've always thought that a good book on this topic is "The Ace Factor: Air Combat and the Role of Situational Awareness" by Mike Spick, although in the end the author concludes that there really is no "Ace Factor".

Best Regards,
Joe Sambor
LM Aero Field Service Engineer
Woensdrecht Logistics Center, The Netherlands

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