Tomcat Tales – A Documentary About the Real Top Guns!

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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marauder2048

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Unread post16 Jun 2020, 20:13

aaam wrote:Again, with fewer programs forthcoming it's likely that DoD wanted to preserve certain companies more than others and MDD seemed a more versatile company than Grumman. That and Cheney was not a big fan of Grumman on Naval Air.



AFAIK, the F-14 was the only thing (beyond low-rate attrition/FMS E-2C) that Grumman had in the pipeline or in production

That does not describe McAir then nor does it describe Boeing now.

Cheney hated NAVAIR (and the F-14) on the merits since:

a. NAVAIR had failed over Lebanon
b. NAVAIR had lied to Cheney about the A-12 and embarrassed him by forcing him to rescind testimony given to Congress
c. The F-14 had very notable failures as an interceptor during the Tanker War (the Airbus shootdown in particular)
d. The Navy was spending $1 million per missile on a missile that was carried by one platform which could not
reliably intercept the new Soviet bombers with the longer ranged ASCM; the F-14 was not a major feature
in any of the Navy's outer air battle concepts.

The common support aircraft (the E-2/S-3) replacement was Lockheed's to lose.

So it's very accurate and irrefutably true to call the F-14 a Grumman Jobs Program.
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Unread post17 Jun 2020, 19:33

marauder2048 wrote:
aaam wrote:Again, with fewer programs forthcoming it's likely that DoD wanted to preserve certain companies more than others and MDD seemed a more versatile company than Grumman. That and Cheney was not a big fan of Grumman on Naval Air.



AFAIK, the F-14 was the only thing (beyond low-rate attrition/FMS E-2C) that Grumman had in the pipeline or in production

That does not describe McAir then nor does it describe Boeing now.

Cheney hated NAVAIR (and the F-14) on the merits since:

a. NAVAIR had failed over Lebanon
b. NAVAIR had lied to Cheney about the A-12 and embarrassed him by forcing him to rescind testimony given to Congress
c. The F-14 had very notable failures as an interceptor during the Tanker War (the Airbus shootdown in particular)
d. The Navy was spending $1 million per missile on a missile that was carried by one platform which could not
reliably intercept the new Soviet bombers with the longer ranged ASCM; the F-14 was not a major feature
in any of the Navy's outer air battle concepts.

The common support aircraft (the E-2/S-3) replacement was Lockheed's to lose.

So it's very accurate and irrefutably true to call the F-14 a Grumman Jobs Program.


Well, yes, the F-14 was Grumman's only ongoing large scale aircraft program, but then that's a pretty normal situation from the '60s on. The days of multiple large scale programs at the same company had been gone for years. Consider: until the F-22, the last large scale aircraft program Lockheed had was the F-104.

MDD (McAir stopped being MacAir more than 20 years before) at that point was facing the rundown of the F-15, F/A-18 and AV-8B programs with nothing in the pike. Grumman at least was looking at 527 F-14Ds or later.


a. I assume you're talking about about the on-again, off-again Bekka Valley strike where when the strike was finally authorized, the Pentagon and EUCOM specified strike composition, weapons load, ingress and egress routes, and Time Over Target (shades of Vietnam!). In fact, the directed weapons loads were changed multiple times including just a short time before the strike requiring weapons to be downloaded, replaced and reloaded so that when the go order was finally confirmed the crews had to go out and find which aircraft they were to fly. Also, the directed time to launch was changed so that the Time Over Target would occur in time to catch the news cycles back here. Unfortunately Washington forgot the concept of time zones. This meant that as they approached the attack group was flying directly into the rising sun, which made visibility really difficult and was nicely silhouetted for the gunners who would be firing with the sun at their backs. Not the best use of assets (the A-6) designed for all weather and night attack.

b. True. Although it's also true that DoD and Navair managed to produce a program for a Fleet aircraft that had virtually no input from the Fleet and was so bad that Lockheed (who usually bid on almost everything) wouldn't go near it and one of the two gov't mandated teams walked away from the bidding process. But yes NAVAIR absolutely did lie, which we all know never happens anywhere else in DoD organizations.

c. Not sure what you mean by notable failures during the tanker war. The Tomcat did really well there, including using Phoenix. In the September, 1980 Iraqii invasion they repelled the Iraq air assault on the second and third day, and based on their performance, during Gulf War I, when USN F-14s would start searching with AWG-9 (which lights up the sky), Iraq fighters would turn away. To which Airbus shootdown are you referring? If you are talking about Iran Air 655, it was tragically shot down by USS Vincennes which last time I checked was a US Navy cruiser, and not a carrier based fighter.

d. Per GAO, the 1985 per cost for an AIM-54 was $650K, although the program costs per missile were higher, just like they are for aircraft. It was carried by only one platform since it was only needed to be carried by one platform. Not sure where you got the data that it couldn't intercept new Soviet bombers and cruise missiles since as far as I know the Soviets never tried. It was based on '60s technology, though, which why it was scheduled to go out of production to be replaced by the AIM-152, which could be carried by more platforms. Use of Phoenix in Fleet Air Defense missions, BTW, was not the F-14's primary mission, but its third. Not sure how the F-14 (prior to the forced direction to buy the Super Hornet) didn't figure in the outer air battle given its range.

Not sure how the CSA was "Lockheed's to lose" since it remained just a concept and never even had study contracts awarded.
Last edited by aaam on 17 Jun 2020, 20:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post17 Jun 2020, 20:40

aaam wrote:Well, yes, the F-14 was Grumman's only ongoing large scale aircraft program,


You're missing the crucial point: it was their only large program *period*.
That doesn't describe Lockheed. Or McAir. Or Boeing at that time.

Without the F-14, Grumman was not a viable concern. As it proved.

So describing the F-14 as a "Grumman Jobs Program" is entirely correct.


aaam wrote:
a. I assume you're talking about about the on-again, off-again Bekka Valley strike where when the strike was finally authorized, the Pentagon and EUCOM specified strike composition, weapons load, ingress and egress routes, and Time on Target (shades of Vietnam!). In fact, the directed weapons loads were changed multiple times including just a short time before the strike requiring weapons to be downloaded, replaced and reloaded. The times also changed that night so that when the go order was finally confirmed the crews had to go out and find which e aircraft they were to fly. Also, the time to launch was changed so that the strike would occur in time to catch the news cycles back here. Unfortunately Washington forgot the concept of time zones. This meant the attack group was flying directly into the rising sun, which made visibility really difficult and was nicely silhouetted for the gunners who would be firing with the sun at their backs. Not the best use of assets (the A-6) designed for all weather and night attack.


NAVAIR apologia. NAVAIR's subsequent dismal performance in GWI (proportionally high losses, low sorties, relegated
to a tertiary role) shows that Lebanon was no anomaly. The post GWI reforms are evidence that something was very
wrong with NAVAIR.

aaam wrote:b. True. Although it's also true that DoD and Navair managed to produce a program for a Fleet aircraft that had virtually no input from the Fleet and was so bad that Lockheed (who usually bid on almost everything) wouldn't go near it and one of the two gov't mandated teams walked away from the bidding process. But yes NAVAIR absolutely did lie, which we all know never happens anywhere else in DoD organizations.


Don't lie to a SECDEF who had spent political capital defending a program which he truly believed the Navy needed.

And definitely don't lie about things to which the SECDEF has to swear to in congressional testimony.

And really don't lie about a program intended for use in a threat environment that was rapidly receding;
the B-2 had just barely survived being cancelled

The Air Force, which was spending millions on the program didn't share the view of the program's non-viability
and didn't dime out NAVAIR about the delay and challenges.


aaam wrote:c. Not sure what you mean by notable failures during the tanker war. The Tomcat did really well there, including using Phoenix. In the September, 1980 Iraqii invasion they repelled the Iraq air assault on the second and third day, and based on their performance, during Gulf War I, when USN F-14s would start searching with AWG-9 (which lights up the sky), Iraq fighters would turn away. To which Airbus shootdown are you referring? If you are talking about Iran Air 655, it was tragically shot down by USS Vincennes which last time I checked was a US Navy cruiser, and not a carrier based fighter.


I seem to recall that the Iranians had drink from the poison chalice so the F-14 was no war winner.

The fact that the F-14s couldn't intercept the Airbus despite being in the area is the problem.
The one time where the high speed interception capability might have come in handy...

NAVAIR was a dismal failure in GW1; this is acknowledged by the Navy itself which initiated a host of reform.
When 25% of NAVAIR sorties are defending the carrier you know there's a problem. The F-14 did nothing
of substance in GWI.

aaam wrote:d. Per GAO, the 1985 per cost for an AIM-54 was $650K, although the program costs per missile were higher, just like they are for aircraft. It was carried by only one platform since it was only needed to be carried by one platform. Not sure where you got the data that it couldn't intercept new Soviet bombers and cruise missiles since as far as I know the Soviets never tried. It was based on '60s technology, though, which why it was scheduled to go out of production to be replaced by the AIM-152, which could be carried by more platforms. Use of Phoenix in Fleet Air Defense missions, BTW, was not the F-14's primary mission, but its third. Not sure how the F-14 (prior to the forced direction to buy the Super Hornet) didn't figure in the outer air battle given its range.


The late "C" models were closer to $1 million. The F-14 didn't have the range or endurance to intercept the bombers
egressing from their bases which was really required since the newer Soviet ASCMs had the range. So it's future utility
was questionable at best.
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Unread post20 Jun 2020, 00:32

Wow.

Guess we know who you're for in the Army/Navy game.

Anyway, in order:


Yes, the F-14 was Grumman's only large scale program and it needed it to survive, but that's neither here not there. It was a speciailty naval aircraft company. The Navy had selected and developed the D to handle air-to-air and some strike missions for at least the next 15 years and Grumman was lookng at at a 10 year or more program. So if you say it's a jobs program then you'd have to say any aircraft program is a jobs program, which was the analogy I was trying to draw with Boeing. It's no more valid to say the F-14 was just a jobs program than it is to say the F-15EX is. As far as MacAir goes, it no longer existed, but MDD at that time basically just had the F-15E for the reasons I covered. Lockheed wouldn't get the award for the F-22 until two years later. Boeing at the time wasn't producing any tactical aircraft and even today the only ones it's building are from a company it bought (which actually seems to have taken Boeing over).

NAVAIR apologia:

Lessee here. A botched raid with dictated tactics, routes and times micromanaged by Washington. I'm sure that never happened before or since to anyone, eh? GWI. Naval tactical fixed wing combat losses totaled 13. It might be noted, though, that except for the the Harriers, which Gen. Schwarzkopf allowed to operate independently, all fixed wing assets on all missions were tasked by USAF who controlled the ATO which sometimes yielded counterproductive and once tragic results. Among the tasking dictates were that F-14s could only be used for recon (for realtime intel and because they required no escort and needed less fuel pre- and post-mission ) Fleet defense and strike escort and even after the threat of air attack on Fleet or land assets was gone. So, they never got to go MiG hunting like the Eagles did. No surprise then that they didn't have great A2A results. BTW, after the War USAF at first trumpeted that they had all the A2A kills which simply wasn't true.


Iran Air 655:

The only US F-14s I am aware of were quite some distance away, on other business talking to other ships. There has been a theory expounded that due to atmospheric skip Vincennes' Aegis was also getting track data from a distant Aegis cruiser working that Tomcat and got confused and assigned its ID to the Iranian airbus, but that story rapidly went into the classified areas so I haven't heard much more detail. In any case even if there were USN F-14s in the area (from where?) it doesn't matter. Vincennes as an Aegis cruiser was in command of all air defense assets in its area. Given the timeframes involved an F-14, which with its TCS and twin seats could do a visual ID better than anyone wouldn't have had time to do so. Heck, even if we had had F-12Bs (talk about your high speed interceptor!) there wouldn't have been time. However, your mythical USN F-14 is irrelevant since Vincennes' had decided that they were under attack by an Iranian F-14 and so didn't call for any airborne examination which couldn't have gotten there in time anyway.

Regarding F-14's insufficient range and weapons to take on Soviet bombers, you feel that replacing it with an aircraft with less range and shorter range radar and weapons is OK? In any case, as I stated, Intercepting bombers and their missiles wasn't its only, or even primary, mission.

The AIM-54 price I quoted was for the AIM-54C, which was ordered in 1985. Again, it's a unit, not a program, cost which naturally is higher.

I think Tiger05 has the right of it, except I am a bit more generous. It wasn't just corporate welfare alone so much as they wanted to preserve MDD at any cost, given its broader scope, and if Grumman had to be sacrificed, so be it.
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Unread post21 Jun 2020, 23:05

aaam wrote:Wow.

Guess we know who you're for in the Army/Navy game.

Anyway, in order:


Yes, the F-14 was Grumman's only large scale program and it needed it to survive, but that's neither here not there. It was a speciailty naval aircraft company. The Navy had selected and developed the D to handle air-to-air and some strike missions for at least the next decade and Grumman was lookng at at least a 10 year program. So if you say it's a jobs program then you'd have to say any aircraft program is a jobs program, which was the analogy i was trying to draw with Boeing. It's no more valid to say the F-14 was just a jobs progrm than it is to say the F-15EX is. As far as Macair goes, it no longer existed, but MDD at that time basically just had the F-15E for the reasons I covered. Lockheed wouldn't get the award for the F-22 until two years later. Boeing at the time wasn't producing any tactical aircraft and even today the only ones it's building are from a company it bought (which actually seems to have taken Boeing over).



Let me be crystal clear because I can only conclude that you are being deliberately obtuse.

Boeing and Lockheed and McAir had other major defense programs (outside and including aviation)
and would not have been non-viable had they lost the fighter aircraft contracts which they held or would win.

That DOES NOT DESCRIBE Grumman. Without the F-14 GRUMMAN WAS DOOMED .

And it's clear that the Outer Air Battle doctrine was shifting away from the F-14 after the 1970's.
So the doctrinal justification was eroding and the threats arrayed against the F-14 outclassed it.

For anything non fleet interceptor related, a derivative of the Hornet would be more cost effective.



aaam wrote:Lessee here. A botched raid with dictated tactics, routes and times micromanaged by Washington. I'm sure that never happened before or since to anyone, eh? GWI. Naval tactical fixed wing combat losses totaled 13. It might be noted, though, that except for the the Harriers, which Gen. Schwarzkopf allowed to operate independently, all fixed wing assets on all missions were tasked by USAF who controlled the ATO which sometimes yielded counterproductive and once tragic results. Among the tasking dictates were that F-14s could only be used for recon (for realtime intel and because they required no escort and needed less fuel pre- and post-mission ) Fleet defense and strike escort and even after the threat of air attack on Fleet or land assets was gone. So, they never got to go MiG hunting like the Eagles did. No surprise then that they didn't have great A2A results. BTW, after the War USAF at first trumpeted that they had all the A2A kills which simply wasn't true.



You mean the Air Force (which)

a. had the AWACS/battle management on which the Navy depended
b. had the (dirty secret) aerial tankers on which the Navy depended
c. had the most fixed wing aircraft, flying the most sorties actually directed against the enemy

called the shots? Yeah that sounds totally illogical for the vastly larger force to subsume
The smaller force that barely flew more BAI sorties than the USMC.

None of which materially alters the fact that NAVIAR doctrine, fighters and tactics resulted in a much
higher loss-to-sortie ratio. It was, along with A-12 and Tailhook, the death ride of NAVAIR's credibility.


aaam wrote:Iran Air 655:

The only US F-14s I am aware of were quite some distance away, on other business talking to other ships. There has been a theory expounded that due to atmospheric skip Vincennes' Aegis was also getting track data from a distant Aegis cruiser working that Tomcat and got confused and assigned its ID to the Iranian airbus, but that story rapidly went into the classified areas so I haven't heard much more detail. In any case even if there were USN F-14s in the area (from where?) it doesn't matter. Vincennes as an Aegis cruiser was in command of all air defense assets in its area. Given the timeframes involved an F-14, which with its TCS and twin seats could do a visual ID better than anyone wouldn't have had time to do so. Heck, even if we had had F-12Bs (talk about your high speed interceptor!) there wouldn't have been time. However, your mythical USN F-14 is irrelevant since Vincennes' had decided that they were under attack by an Iranian F-14 and so didn't call for any airborne examination which couldn't have gotten there in time anyway.


The mental gymnastics performed here to explain away poor performance is astonishing.
It ranks up there with the intellectual contortions found in the apologetic tome “Desert Storm: what the Navy really did” where more text is devoted to explaining away failures than documenting accomplishments.



aaam wrote:Regarding F-14's range and weapons to take on Soviet bombers, you feel that replacing it with an aircraft with less range and shorter range weapons is OK? In any case, as I stated, Intercepting bombers and their missiles wasn't its only, or even primary, mission.


The surface launched missiles envisioned for outer air battle (of which SM-6 is probably the least
Impressive) greatly outranged the F-14 in any trim and had a time of flight that the F-14 could never match.

aaam wrote:
The AIM-54 price I quoted was for the AIM-54C, which was ordered in 1985. Again, it's a unit, not a program, cost which naturally is higher.


And I was going by the FY89/FY90 which is actually relevant for the conversation.

aaam wrote:I think Tiger05 has the right of it, except I am a bit more generous. It wasn't just corporate welfare alone so much as they wanted to preserve MDD at any cost, given its broader scope, and if Grumman had to be sacrificed, so be it.


Grumman wasn’t doing anything useful. That’s the top takeaway.
The F-14 was not the way forward for Outer Air Battle and it was hideously inefficient for anything else.
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Unread post22 Jun 2020, 07:00

headhands.jpg


It's clear we see things differently, so take care.
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Unread post24 Jun 2020, 20:48

spazsinbad wrote:The 'SPEED & ANGELS' Video mentioned below is the best doco I have seen about Naval Aviation (& Tomcat of course).
]



Another good one, is Threshold: The Blue Angels Experience. It was filmed during the time they flew F-4s and has some great shots. Leslie Nielsen narrates and the narration was written by Frank Herbert (who wrote "Dune" among other books) and waxes lyrical sometimes, and closes with a really awful song, but it is well worth watching. The DVD, which is a straight transfer from VHS, is only available from the son of the produce who now holds the rights and can be purchased through Amazon and is apparently made to order given the size of the market today.

There are two versions of it on Youtube, one with extra material from another source.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfKiFyJtKW0 is the long version

The original is in two parts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk8pLDAqgmY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuGssEhmakc
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Unread post25 Jun 2020, 01:27

Yeah but is it about NavAv? Respect for the BLUES whilst the song video with A-4 Blues is simply the best short video. :mrgreen:

Van Halen Dreams Original Blue Angels Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5PqVeex4QU


__________________________________________________________

CHECK OUT THE 6 A-4F Aircraft FORMATION LANDING & Runway Rollout in first part of the video below.

The Blue Angels A 4 Skyhawk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xchC3KbHTIs

A4G Skyhawk: www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ & www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/videos?view_as=subscriber
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Unread post26 Jun 2020, 14:30

It's been said many times that without the Iranian order, Grumman would have probably gone under.

I think they produced a world beater, and its performance in Iranian service backs that up. It took on the top Soviet aircraft of the day, and almost always came out on top. The USN put up a good showing too, downing Fitters and Floggers with ease. The video camera footage of it stalking Libyan Mig-25's was the most impressive though IMO. They were in afterburner, jinking etc but no matter what they did - the F-14 had them in its sights.

A great fighter that served the nation well. Only Iranian Tomcats remain, and its anyone's guess whether they'll write one final chapter, in its storied existence..
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Unread post29 Jun 2020, 19:07

mixelflick wrote:It's been said many times that without the Iranian order, Grumman would have probably gone under.

I think they produced a world beater, and its performance in Iranian service backs that up. It took on the top Soviet aircraft of the day, and almost always came out on top. The USN put up a good showing too, downing Fitters and Floggers with ease. The video camera footage of it stalking Libyan Mig-25's was the most impressive though IMO. They were in afterburner, jinking etc but no matter what they did - the F-14 had them in its sights.

A great fighter that served the nation well. Only Iranian Tomcats remain, and its anyone's guess whether they'll write one final chapter, in its storied existence..



Without the Iranian order Grumman indeed probably would have gone under. In later years even Grumman acknowledged that.

When analysis was completed for the final selection for the VFX program, Navy had already judged that Grumman's design was clearly the best. They started negotiations with Grumman and "suggested" that Grumman lower their bid price by Hundreds of millions of $. Grumman foolishly agreed.

This was one of those fixed price development contracts that look so good in government reports, but always go bad. Additionally, the contract had an factor in their to adjust for inflation. However, the gov't approved factor was way lower than what inflation actually was during those early years. Plus, the way Grumman would be funded was through a series of progress payments, which were to both fund work already completed and as a start on the next phase. Problem was, those payments were invariably late and Grumman had to pay the subcontractors out of their own pocket in the meantime. So what Grumman started doing was when they got a progress payment they would try and pay off the relevant subcontractors for what they were owed so far, and then would take the rest and invest it and plow the returns there back into the program to cover bills until they got the next (late) progress payment. This wasn't the first time this happened, but Grumman was arrogant (a continuing problem with them) that they bragged about how clever they were. This ticked off the wrong people, especially in Congress, and they were then forbidden to do this. And of course costs rose.

Grumman was in a bad cash flow situation and the program, which the Navy desperately wanted, was in jeopardy.

Enter the Shah. The US said that he could buy almost anything he wanted, including the F-14 or F-15. He was asked how his purchase would be funded. FMS? Government to Government Loan? Special Appropriation? Foreign Aid,etc.? He replied, "With money". Gov't was dumbfounded. "Are you sure you understand? No funds from us? No grants? Are you saying you'll pay cash"? "That's exactly what I'm saying". Those monies went to Grumman and that served as a lifeline until Gov't could revise the contract to be more reflective of the real world. This situation was one of the reasons Grumman walked away from the ATA (A-12) program decades later. Like the Who sang, "We don't get fooled again".
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Unread post29 Jun 2020, 19:22

spazsinbad wrote:Yeah but is it about NavAv? Respect for the BLUES whilst the song video with A-4 Blues is simply the best short video.

CHECK OUT THE 6 A-4F Aircraft FORMATION LANDING & Runway Rollout in first part of the video below.


I was just suggesting videos involving Naval Aviation.

About the six ship formation landing, That was a staple of the Blues going back to the '50s (Yes, even the F-4s did it). It was dropped after they started doing shows with the Hornet. I don't remember the details, but there was apparently some issue with the touchdown that precluded doing this with the Bug.
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Unread post01 Jul 2020, 15:44

I remember that A-4 Van Halen video from my youth. It still stands the test of time.. What a great airshow bird, I only wish I could have seen it live. I DID see the Thunderbirds when they flew T-38's. But all I've known is F/A-18's in the Blue's, and it looks like I'll die that way.

Same with the F-16 the T-birds fly too :(
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Unread post02 Jul 2020, 01:15

Classic Hornet BLUES 360 degree videos [both same different music 2nd video cropped] into one view with music x 2:

At 4:35 see Diamond Four Dirty LOOP

Number Four F-18 Hornet Blue Angel 360 degree Camera View https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAskHF2LATU

Blue Angels Number FOUR View Hornet Formation Demonstration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp3PJLqzfs8

GRAPHIC: https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/a ... Manual.pdf (8.3Mb) [no longer there but attached below now]

Blue Angels F 18 Hornet Diamond Four Dirty Full LOOP https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdVGjA_Uw_M

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(4.76 MiB) Downloaded 8 times
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