From the F-4 to the F-18

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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tincansailor

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Unread post14 May 2017, 04:45

We have often seen fictional pilots fly aircraft, or other vehicles they aren't rated in. The guy with a drinking problem in "Airplane" comes to mind. Even an American Submarine crew running a German U-Boat, (Not likely). In "Independence Day" we see a Vietnam Era alcoholic ex F-4 Phantom pilot climb into an F-18 Hornet, and fly into heavy combat.

Granted this isn't the best of military aviation, or even of alien invasion movies, but could a sober F-4 pilot fly an F-18 Hornet with only an hour of instruction? Would he have a chance of surviving in combat? Could some of the vets on this board who haven't flown combat jets in years get back in the saddle so quickly?
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mixelflick

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Unread post14 May 2017, 16:04

I'm not a pilot but here's my 2 cents..

On the pilot's side: The basic stick and throttle are the same, as are the control surfaces, etc.. Working against him is the fact that one Russian pilot on an exchange mentioned how labor intensive just getting an F-18 airborne is. Takes the better part of half an hour and dependent upon all sorts of variables.

He went on to say that in the SU-25 I think it was, you just strap in and go. Not sure how true it is, or if that applies to the Mig-29 (rough equivalent). The Russians do build their birds.... like tanks.

Then again, with increasing sophistication I'm sure the new generation birds may differ.
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Gums

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Unread post22 May 2017, 23:58

Salute!

LOFMA squared.

It all depends on the jet.

If you do not want all the inertial alignment and full flight control check stuff, you can taxi in about 2 minutes. The Viper would be the easiest.

I jumped into the F-18 sim at McAir and cranked up and went. Zero prep, but only about 6 months from last Viper flight. F-20 sim was easy and I jumped in and took off within a few minutes. About 3 months from last Viper flight.

The 4th gen jets are real easy to fly, and the hardest thing is the avionics setup. However, most let you fly with only a few minutes of INS/system alignment and such, then just fly the thing like your basic Nintendo or Playstation sim. Helps if you have actually flown something beforehand, but not as much as you think. The gees would prolly be the biggest surprise when you yanked the stick, heh heh.

Gums sends....
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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neurotech

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Unread post23 May 2017, 02:14

tincansailor wrote:We have often seen fictional pilots fly aircraft, or other vehicles they aren't rated in. The guy with a drinking problem in "Airplane" comes to mind. Even an American Submarine crew running a German U-Boat, (Not likely). In "Independence Day" we see a Vietnam Era alcoholic ex F-4 Phantom pilot climb into an F-18 Hornet, and fly into heavy combat.

Granted this isn't the best of military aviation, or even of alien invasion movies, but could a sober F-4 pilot fly an F-18 Hornet with only an hour of instruction? Would he have a chance of surviving in combat? Could some of the vets on this board who haven't flown combat jets in years get back in the saddle so quickly?

Not likely. I still shake my head at the scene in Independence Day.

The closest documented case: A civilian test pilot crashed a F-16 after flying the F-4 for a while, then flying a F-16 again with minimal training (100 hours total in the F-16) and no centrifuge recertification. It was tragically fatal :(

http://www.f-16.net/inmemoriam_tribute267.html
http://www.f-16.net/f-16-news-article4902.html
http://www.f-16.net/downloads/F-16-AIB- ... 5-1502.pdf

The F/A-18 has somewhat touchy rudder pedals. If somebody wasn't used to flying a FBW aircraft like Hornet and started tapdancing on the rudders during takeoff, the PIO would send them off the runway. There is a video somewhere of Maj. Riel 'Guns' Erikson having a similar PIO incident while landing a CF-18. Go to 13:15 in the video.


Things like formation flying etc with so many unfamiliar pilots next you would be problematic. Between G-LOC, A-LOC and spatial disorientation, suddenly getting back in the pilot seat of a F/A-18 would likely be fatal.

That said, the procedures for the radar to auto-lock targets and get tone on the sidewinder are not that difficult. I had a flight in the back of an F/A-18D after a long break, and operating the radar and avionics was fairly straightforward. The highly experienced pilot in the front actually flew the jet.

Gums is basically correct, Although the F/A-18 does have a few a few hidden issues for inexperienced pilots. Also, Aerobraking on landing is not recommended in the F/A-18A-D legacy Hornets.
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Unread post23 May 2017, 10:40

I've "flown" F-18 Hornet in real simulators with only some very minor unofficial training. I say I received maybe half an hour of training for it and managed to get the jet airborne, do some probably extremely horrible flight maneuvers and even land the thing without crashing (although it was not pretty at all). After that I've flown several times with it and even managed to fly some low level flights and even some basic combat against most lethargic opponents possible (AMRAAM and Sidewinder shots). I never flew anything before and I'm sure an experienced pilot can do much better than that. I'd say getting airborne and doing basic flying is probably not much of a problem. Doing real combat and using the combat systems while flying would be much more problematic. Of course simulators and real world are slightly different things. I would not go on solo flight in Hornet without some major additional training.
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outlaw162

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Unread post23 May 2017, 15:56

....centrifuge recertification.
:shock:

once was painful enough
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juretrn

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Unread post23 May 2017, 17:02

Do you guys reckon that familirization with avionics systems is easier for the guys that grew up with computers (i.e. the "playstation generation") than for the older guys?
Or are the various onboard systems a completely different beast in how they behave compared to what we're used to?
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Unread post23 May 2017, 17:47

Salute!

The gee stuff cracks me up. The troops today have to be "pinball wizards' and have the physical and mental skills to get the job done. I would rate the avionics and the "big picture" mentality before the brute force gee stuff.

- ya gotta know how to start the motors and get the avionics working at the least desireable mode. A basic HUD with INS velocity vector and good flight path lines and a heading.

- some kinda AoA indication in HUD or a big gauge would be nice.

Push up throttle and rotate when it "feels" right.

++++++++++++

I flew in 2001 or so after hooking up with an old student of mine that has a private airfield and a buncha old planes - the one I flew was older than me!! Another dude showed up with a sport biplane and I got to fly that sucker, too.

I had not flown since 1985!!!!

I got to pull 3 gees looking up ( worst configuration for blood flow). Big deal.

In 1979 I came from 3 year assignment with zero yanking and banking and got my first Viper ride in the back seat of a family model. Whew! I was in very good shape and the whole thing was brutal, but not the end of the world as we know it.

I fly an online WW2 battle sim most Sundays and I can tell you that many of the great "aces" could be killed by a mudbeating pilot like me that had actually pulled more than 3 or 4 gees for 5 minutes. 7 or 8 gees? heh heh, and my HUD film of a "break" peaked out at 8.7 gees for 2 or 3 seconds.

Gums opines.....
Gums
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"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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35_aoa

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Unread post24 May 2017, 00:33

outlaw162 wrote:
....centrifuge recertification.
:shock:

once was painful enough


Agreed. I did it the first time during flight school as a prerequisite for initial F/A-18 FRS training......that was a max 7.5G profile and painful as hell. 6 years later I got to do it again when I started the Viper syllabus, obviously max of 9G (hence the second ride being required). For that one, IIRC it was a 15 second plateau at 9G, and then the "ACM" profile, where they vary the peak to various plateaus at 6-9G, with valleys at about 3G to let you catch your breath for a second or two. It was also painful, but somehow somewhat less so than the Hornet one. Maybe that was just because I was used to G's by then and physiologically "current", but I also think it had a lot to do with the seat cant in the Viper (which they recreate in the 'fuge). I remember doing the 7.5G pull for 15 seconds looking over my shoulder in the Hornet ride, and nearly having a GLOC. Looking over the shoulder for 15 sec at 9G on the Viper ride was no big deal. The worst part was having a bunch of young O-1/O-2's getting their initial ride, all watching me since they do the one or two guys getting the F-16 ride first before reconfiguring the tube for the other half dozen or so to do the F/A-18 ride in. I was not going to GLOC in front of them :)
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Unread post24 May 2017, 00:41

Gums wrote:
I flew in 2001 or so after hooking up with an old student of mine that has a private airfield and a buncha old planes - the one I flew was older than me!! Another dude showed up with a sport biplane and I got to fly that sucker, too.

I had not flown since 1985!!!!

I got to pull 3 gees looking up ( worst configuration for blood flow). Big deal.

In 1979 I came from 3 year assignment with zero yanking and banking and got my first Viper ride in the back seat of a family model. Whew! I was in very good shape and the whole thing was brutal, but not the end of the world as we know it.

I fly an online WW2 battle sim most Sundays and I can tell you that many of the great "aces" could be killed by a mudbeating pilot like me that had actually pulled more than 3 or 4 gees for 5 minutes. 7 or 8 gees? heh heh, and my HUD film of a "break" peaked out at 8.7 gees for 2 or 3 seconds.

Gums opines.....


Agree with your post, and I think there is a lot more to be said for physical currency with G loading than any specific body type or level of extreme physical fitness. The real "G monster" who will outlast you in that 2-circle on-the-deck man-off is more than likely a physically average dude, who is hydrated, fed, and has flown 10 BFM flights in the last 2 weeks. I'm sure it was no different in your time with this beast.
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Unread post24 May 2017, 01:03

Salute!

Right on, 35-aoa.

The folks that did the most harm to me when in the back seat of the family model were short, no neck and kinda "bulky". Sheesh. I was too old for that stuff ( 39 or so at the time, but short and wiry).

I saw one gee-loc from the perch and I was in the back seat for one. Both nuggets were over ten years younger, but had not "clenched" early and were looking up ( blood flows down real fast and poof). Guy in front eased off the gee and I turned back from looking at the bandit at high six. I thot he was extending to get some "e". His head was bouncing off the canopy rail, heh heh.

The situation awareness of the new jets is good, but it's easy to get too much crapola if you are not disciplined. i.e. a mental "declutter" mode. I went thru this as an IP in the Sluf and then the Viper. The good folks would prioritize and knew what to look for on all the fancy displays.

Oh well, those days are gone and I must let them go. I can not forget or go back. But I have some of the best memories anyone could hope for.

Gums sends...
Gums
Viper pilot '79
"God in your guts, good men at your back, wings that stay on - and Tally Ho!"
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Unread post24 May 2017, 07:06

juretrn wrote:Do you guys reckon that familirization with avionics systems is easier for the guys that grew up with computers (i.e. the "playstation generation") than for the older guys?
Or are the various onboard systems a completely different beast in how they behave compared to what we're used to?


Computer skills and experience with computer games is beneficial IMO, but that's only one part and it's a part that can be learnt to a large degree. A modern fighter is basically a flying computer, only with unique user interface. A fighter pilot requires mental and physical capabilities also and some of those you either have or don't (like vision requirements or having allergies).

Btw, I know 60+ year old folks who have mad gaming and computer skills, so it's not necessarily about age or generation, although there are more young people with those skills.
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Unread post24 May 2017, 15:22

Good Gamers are the first to crash in the real world.

Problem is simple: They "know" all what is technically possible and try to "play the game they know so well", but have no clue about the human physical limitations that they"ll encounter for the first time when in a real airplane in a real cockpit, in a real flight.

On a Simm, up is up, and down is where you spill your coffee.

They"ll have the worst cases of vertigo and spacial desorientation within minutes.

They are not used to feel that what they see and feel does not add up any more.

Add the the "G", looking around to "transfer" theory to reality, and they are gone.
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Unread post24 May 2017, 16:50

Spector of the Isreali air force, first flight in an A-4 was into combat in 1973. Having come from mirage and then F-4, the war started before he could begin training flights. Not advised to be sure. Basic stuff like where the switches are for what gizmo were a mystery. He had to ask how to suck up the undercarriage and arm bombs IIRC. The switchology is tough
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Unread post24 May 2017, 21:59

XanderCrews wrote:Spector of the Isreali air force, first flight in an A-4 was into combat in 1973. Having come from mirage and then F-4, the war started before he could begin training flights. Not advised to be sure. Basic stuff like where the switches are for what gizmo were a mystery. He had to ask how to suck up the undercarriage and arm bombs IIRC. The switchology is tough

Yeah, stories like Gen. Spector are legendary. The F-5s and A-37s flew combat missions with Vietnamese pilots the same day they arrived, without proper training in them.

For the F-4 and A-4, both come from the same manufacturer, and wouldn't be nearly as much a physically challenging transition, compared to going F-4 to F/A-18. Also, there were Navy pilots who flew T-2s (not TA-4s) then F-4s in the fleet, and didn't fly A-4s until they become instructors at Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as TOPGUN. Instructors at TOPGUN were highly experienced fighter pilots, but requires a considerable learning curve to master the flying skills to perform at that level.

There is a video from a pilot at VFC-13 who talks about how fleet pilots get their butts handed to them while qualifying as instructors at VFC-13 in F-5s. VFC-13 previously flew A-4s as well.

Back in the old days, test pilots would fly a completely unfamiliar jet solo with a few hours (or less!) instruction. These days, that is not permitted, and test pilots have to complete a basic transition course to qualify to fly a new type, or otherwise qualify (eg. engineering sim training for a completely new type).
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