This is a stand-to for an incoming competition, one of our most expensive yet.
Later this week we're going to be offering the opportunity to Win £270 Rab Neutrino Pro military down jacket
Visit the thread at that link above and Watch it to be notified as soon as the competition goes live
Well the Blackburn Firebrand looked better in the Torpedo Fighter role :
The firebrand wins the prize for the ugliest test pilots reports. So iffy in the handling stakes that only the most skilled test pilots and operational crew were proposed to fly it AFTER they had fixed as many of its lethal faults they could. Even by Blackburn’s standards a lethal dog !
Even the Yanks couldn't pull of an attractive Turboprop naval fighter-Bomber:
"Westland Chief test pilot Harald Penrose wrote off two Wyverns; S.Mk.4 VW880 and TF.Mk.2 VW867 after crash landings in January and February 1952. The TF.Mk.2 VP109 Python prototype was lost in April 1952 at Farnborough when Sq.Ldr. Leo de Vigne crashed it into a hangar after a deadstick landing. Lucky for him he only suffered minor injuries. The second Python prototype VP113 crashed on 31 October 1949, killing Westland’s new test pilot sq. ldr. Mike Graves. In August 1952 TF.Mk.2 VW876 was lost after an engine failure during simulated flight deck starts and landings, also at Farnborough, when the engine quitted shortly after a catapult launch. It was wrecked during a crash landing in a nearby field. Further victims of various incidents were VZ746, VZ751 VW868, VW871, VZ747 and VZ775. In the crash of VZ751 on 21 December 1953 Lt.Cdr. Alan Koplewski from the U.S. Navy lost his life. Chief Armstrong Whithworth pilot Edward Griffiths was killed in VZ747. In total 11 more Wyverns were lost over its testing and operational period and the fitted ejection seat fully proved its usefulness! VZ783 was lost when the engine flamed out during catapult launch, again because of fuel starvation. The pilot, Lt. Macfarlane had on 13 October 1954 the doubtful honour of surviving an underwater ejection with his Martin-Baker ejection seat. "
Vought Cutlass was known variously as the "Vought Gutless" and the "Ensign Eliminator". It killed a total of 25 pilots. It had an extremely long nose gear to get the angle of attach required to lift off from a carrier, problem being that the nose gear was too weak and occasionally punched its' way through the cockpit.
Not helped by the Westinghouse J34/46 engines which were quoted by one pilot as "putting out less heat than one of their toasters" and effectively killing off Westinghouse as a jet engine manufacturer.
The cockpit was over 12 feet off the deck as a result of the nose gear requiring a ladder to egress safely. There were also big issues with hydraulis leaking and odd (unimportant) bits falling off.
Later models were better and we good for an experienced pilot being relatively unstable with a high roll rate.
Lance Feightner, in a blue and gold Cutlass, made his Blue Angels airshow debut, flying a one-man show for VIPs in Pensacola, Florida. “I rolled down there, hit the afterburner, and headed straight up,” he says. “We didn’t have any other airplane that could do that in those days. I just started to climb, then I lost the hydraulics. You couldn’t eject until you got to 1,500 feet, and I topped out at 1,100, then headed straight down. I have the stick [full aft] and nothing is happening. The ground is getting bigger and all of a sudden everything hooks up again and the airplane goes nur-ooop. So now I’m flying—but there is a row of trees at the end of the runway. I couldn’t get over them so I just picked out a space between two trees and carved a hole through them.” Streaming hydraulic fluid and wood pulp, Feightner wrestled the Cutlass onto the runway and even managed to taxi up to the crowd.
“There is dead silence. They saw me hit the trees and knew I had a big emergency. Everybody is waiting to see what would happen. I get out and step off and a big cheer went up. Admiral Price comes over and says, ‘Man, that was a real airshow.’ ”
But in some respects, the F7U-3 showed promise. Cutlass drivers found a number of things to praise about their new ride: It was a stable bombing platform, nimble, fun to fly, and, with its strengthened airframe, almost unbreakable. Feightner loved the fighter’s roll rate, which at 570 degrees a second was three times that of most production jets.
The little MiG 8 was a clever thing and still modern looking, despite being wholly made of plywood. You can see the wool tufts from stall tests as they were trying to figure out the stalling behaviour of the canard. Burt Rutan was doing it forty years later.