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Battle of the X-planes

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2004, 06:14
by Gums
Salute all!

Hitting the rack, but had to stay up to watch all of the PBS special on the JSF.

A highly recommended show to see. Very nice, indeed.

All you folks outside USA can get a copy from

As a fighter pilot (no such animal as an 'ex' fighter pilot) and later an engineer, I was very impressed by the unbiased presentation and many of the technical aspects presented. Little, if any, political stuff. Last hour really got my adrenaline going, as it was mostly the flight tests.

I was very close to the A-9 and A-10 flyoff back in early 70's. A few years later, I got even closer to the Lightweight Fighter program that resulted in the F-16. The "Sale of the Century". So here we are 30 years later and we get the new "sale' of the century.

I was involved with the A-12 US Navy stealth attack jet - cancelled. Then the P-7, which was to replace the P-3 Orion - cancelled. And the V-22 Special Ops bird - yet to be cancelled. And the R/AH-66, just cancelled a few days ago. So I can 'feel the pain' of the Boeing troops.

OTOH, I was involved with the JDAM and Viper Harpoon integration, so I don't feel really bad.

As with the F-16 vs F-17, the better plane won, IMHO. We didn't get to see the stealth part of the scorecard, did we? The Lockheed-Martin (read General Dynamics) bird didn't have to take off its intake to do vertical landings. Latest word is that the Navy version and USAF version exceed range requirements. The STOVL variant has some weight problems, but what's new? The Boeing design was not even close to the proposed final version. New wing, extra tail, etc. L-M also has that huge plant in Ft Worth that used to crank out 20 Vipers per month. Boeing hasn't built that many planes in a month since WW2.

I highly recommend you guys try to see the re-run. It shows the teamwork, the comraderie, the engineering decisions, etc. A very fair treatment of the competition.

The part that got to me most was the end, when the narrator said this plane would likely be the last piloted fighter. Sure am glad I got to fly some before they all became drones!


Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2004, 11:09
by stmok
I've think I've seen it...It was on Cable TV in Australia a few months ago...If any Aussies have pay TV, it was on the National Geographic Channel (Ch.15 on Optus TV)

It went for about 2hours (with a few ads). The first half showed construction and such, and 2nd half mainly focused on the demonstrations, the winner and a final conclusion.

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2004, 15:57
by pluto77189
I saw that one when it first aired. I tell you, the X-35 is not much to look at standing still, or moving at mach 1 either. but watching it transition from forward flight to hover is pretty amazing. The top opens up, th bottom opens up, all these things move and open, the engine turns downward--it looks like those japanese anime robots that transform from a fighter to "something else."

Some other things to consider: the YF-22 was ugly, while the tweaks made the eventual F-22 look really cool. I wonder what the FINAL F-35 will look like, and what it's specs wll be?
i.e., the YF-22 was only able to carry 4 aim-120's. The put in side bays for the aim-9's and came up with cropped aim-120's, doubling it's payload. wonder what the production F-35 will be able to do?

Also, a question...

The F-35 has that lobsterback engine, for hovering flight. Pretty complex stuff. Will it also incoperate thrust vectoring?? That would seem to be a given with at least the air force version, which does not require the lobsterback.

Unread postPosted: 25 Feb 2004, 16:09
by stmok
Hmmm, I don't know...I thought it didn't...But then I saw research done on test F-16s with MATV (Multi-Axis Thrust Vectoring), which can be implemented...Would be good to have...Is there any mention of it in the official info from Lockheed Martin?

Unread postPosted: 02 Jan 2009, 23:45
by FlightDreamz
Purchased my DVD copy at
Great stuff, I only wish Nova had done a similar program on the YF-22 and YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter program!

Unread postPosted: 03 Jan 2009, 03:15
by That_Engine_Guy
Check the local library; often if they don't have it there, they can get it from a "partner" library....

Then all you need is a h@cKeR friend to burn you a copy. 8)

Unread postPosted: 04 Jan 2009, 03:19
by FlightDreamz
[quote="That_Engine_Guy"]Check the local library;... Then all you need is a h@cKeR friend to burn you a copy.8)
Thats a D@MN good idea! You could also watch it on (can't burn your own personal copy, but its free)! See

Unread postPosted: 04 Jan 2009, 04:27
by That_Engine_Guy
Cool site!

I'll have to visit that one more often.