Probe after British F-35 fighter crashes in Mediterranean

If the deck crew didn’t pick it up then why didn’t the pilot (RAF) or Aviator (RN - they regard themselves better class of pilot)?
“Aviator”, giggle. Ronny RAAF, in a recent outburst of inclusivity and degenderising, has done away “Airman/Airwomen”, and re-nomenclatured all and sundry as “Aviators” as the identifying noun … it was bad enough when the LAC/W prop as a rank symbol was changed for a single chevron, some time back in the mists of antiquity!
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
It hurt a number of sailors who got sucked in and killed by the turbine blades. The short nose of the A-7 would have made it particularly problematic and also caused problems with steam ingestion in the early days.

The problem was that the A-7 was developed in a hurry and the intake from the F-8 was used, but without redesign to take account of the radar no longer being there.
Yes but even F-18s with relatively small intakes have hoovered up unfortunates.

It’s about good drills, and application of said.
 
And the system said ‘Are you sure you want to eject?’
"We are sorry to see you go. please complete this questionnaire as we are always working for a better product"

Why are you leaving?

1/ Infrequent use.
2/ Confusing instructions.
3/ Received a better offer.
4/ Frequent crashes.
 
It hurt a number of sailors who got sucked in and killed by the turbine blades. The short nose of the A-7 would have made it particularly problematic and also caused problems with steam ingestion in the early days.

The problem was that the A-7 was developed in a hurry and the intake from the F-8 was used, but without redesign to take account of the radar no longer being there.

A-7 had a radar - even at the time of service intro, the avionics on the A-7 made it one of the most accurate attack aircraft out there. The A-7D and A-7E models were even better, as they demonstrated on quite a few occasions in the last part of the Vietnam War.

I’m not sure that it’s fair to say it was designed in a hurry, either, since that implies rush - the VAL requirement was defined in 1963 and the contract issued in early ‘64, some months before the Tonkin Gulf Incident - the point being that there was no identified need to rush. Vought did an outstanding job of developing the airframe - which, as you say, was a derivation (all the VAL contenders were) of an extant design, something done deliberately to reduce cost and development time. That meant that its development looks hurried - but it entered operational service in early ‘67 and the first ones went off on a cruise to either Yankee or Dixie Station (I forget which) at the end of that year.
 

theoriginalphantom

MIA
Book Reviewer

Yokel

LE
A-7 had a radar - even at the time of service intro, the avionics on the A-7 made it one of the most accurate attack aircraft out there. The A-7D and A-7E models were even better, as they demonstrated on quite a few occasions in the last part of the Vietnam War.

I’m not sure that it’s fair to say it was designed in a hurry, either, since that implies rush - the VAL requirement was defined in 1963 and the contract issued in early ‘64, some months before the Tonkin Gulf Incident - the point being that there was no identified need to rush. Vought did an outstanding job of developing the airframe - which, as you say, was a derivation (all the VAL contenders were) of an extant design, something done deliberately to reduce cost and development time. That meant that its development looks hurried - but it entered operational service in early ‘67 and the first ones went off on a cruise to either Yankee or Dixie Station (I forget which) at the end of that year.

Yes the A-7 had a radar of sorts, but not the air to air radar the F-8 had, and it was not capable of detecting maritime targets either. The A-7 design borrowed much from the F-8, including the inlet, but the short stubby nose caused the air to flow differently compared to the F-8.

As for safety on the carrier deck - a US Navy veteran called Mike Johnson writes (in the comments):

My first job in the Navy was working on the flight deck of the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) circa 1984-1985. My personal biased opinion was that I did not like working on/near the A-7. From the point of view of a plane handler it was a dangerous bird. When at full power it could suck a full grown man into its engine from about 12 feet away and reduce him to hamburger. Its exhaust could literally blow people over. I am 6'2" tall, weigh over 200 lbs, and jet blast from an A-7 blew me across the flight deck like a leaf on at least one occasion. Fortunately I was able to grab a hold of a pad eye and nothing serious resulted.

Back to the F-35B on the sea bed...
 
It wasn't 'a radar of sorts' it was a proper radar, just one configured to support the aircraft in the role for which it was designed.

The F-8 intake was equally a hazard to those on deck if they got in front of it: the almost solid look to the intake here hints at the potency of the air flow and why it was a bit unwise to get in front of a Crusader...

F8-open.jpg
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Yes the A-7 had a radar of sorts, but not the air to air radar the F-8 had, and it was not capable of detecting maritime targets either. The A-7 design borrowed much from the F-8, including the inlet, but the short stubby nose caused the air to flow differently compared to the F-8.

As for safety on the carrier deck - a US Navy veteran called Mike Johnson writes (in the comments):

My first job in the Navy was working on the flight deck of the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) circa 1984-1985. My personal biased opinion was that I did not like working on/near the A-7. From the point of view of a plane handler it was a dangerous bird. When at full power it could suck a full grown man into its engine from about 12 feet away and reduce him to hamburger. Its exhaust could literally blow people over. I am 6'2" tall, weigh over 200 lbs, and jet blast from an A-7 blew me across the flight deck like a leaf on at least one occasion. Fortunately I was able to grab a hold of a pad eye and nothing serious resulted.

Back to the F-35B on the sea bed...
The A-7's role was an attack aircraft. It replaced the A-4. It wasn't meant to go after maritime targets.

As to the engine and its power, the TF41 was a Spey by any other name. RN F-4s had two of them, not one. Any complaints from RN types about being blown across the decks by our Phantoms?
 
Back in the days when the Banana jet was still operational, there was a sonar locator bolted to the inside of one of the side panels. Every 28 days we used to have to press the button on the side for 10 seconds and make usre it beeped.

In the event the salt water battery got wet with salt water, it would emit a loud ping every so many seconds for a month, allowing the panel at least to be found. I assume that every other RAF jet has something similar fitted
Modern equivalent

 
I was doing a start-up walk round on a Scout, as the engine was running up I checked the pilot's side of the aircraft, all looked good. Moving around the front of the cab to the crewman's side, with the rotors just starting to rotate, I noticed a plug fixing coming undone.

Informed the pilot via his mike, he promptly got the crewman to have a look, I followed him and pointed out, what I had seen. It's only the igniter cable mate, he said, we are burning and turning so no problem, we'll get it looked at later.

I was put forward for a commendation, never got it, though.
In Ireland one of the mechs Larry P noticed a large hole in the combustion chamber of a Scout engine.
Dragged over a bowser driver Garry N to "find" the defect. Lots of photos and a commendation for Garry.
Air techs got bugger all as we were paid to notice shit like that.
 
There will be a couple of rather sickly groundcrew (as it's the Andrew will they be seacrew?) who did the walkround on that jet, trying to work out how they missed that.

We did a see off on a 6-ship and retired to the line hut for a cup of tea and a game of uckers, only to be disturbed by a tannoy message declaring a state 2, aircraft with undercarriage problems. We all trooped outside to enjoy the fun to see one of the jets we just launched flying past the control tower with one main leg down and everything else up.

While they were dumping fuel before attempting to put all the gear down and land, chiefy went and looked in the bag of ground locks and covers for that aircraft. Low and behold, only one main leg lock was in the bag....

All the undercarriage leg locks were big chunky pieces of metal painted red, with long red flags attached to them with reflective tape on the flags. The design was intended to be visible, the flags would move in the slightest breeze so you should notice them, and before the crew strapped in one of the lineys and the pilot would do a walkround of the aircraft looking in the nooks and crannies for anything untoward. The walkround included the undercarriage bays, where they were supposed to check the undercarriage locks had been removed. Yet at least two people missed the flag and the big red chunk of metal secured with a pip pin around the main undercarraige leg.

The aircraft landed safely and it was confirmed that the errant leg lock was still in place. No damage was caused, the sortie was lost and the Moray Firth was treated to a sprinkling of several thousand pounds of jet fuel. Two lineys were extremely embarrassed and very sorry (it cost them some beer at the next beer call), we all got a lecture and were extra vigilent for a couple of weeks.

But it can happen and still does happen.
Scout in Long Kesh came back with a bullet hole in leading edge of the stabiliser. Much consternation. As the high and the mighty dispersed the mechs were sent out to put the ground handling wheels on to recover the aircraft to the hangar. One of the mechs happened to try a jacking handle in the "bullet" hole, fitted better than cinderellas glass slipper. And lo on the shadow board there was a space.
I draw a curtain over how the truth of this incident was covered up until this day.

Still not too bad, a few weeks later a wheel assembly got left on with the locking pins out. 30lbs of ground handling wheel was deposited in the Jacobs biscuit factory car park from several hundred feet.
Nobody under it thank god.
 
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Yokel

LE
It wasn't 'a radar of sorts' it was a proper radar, just one configured to support the aircraft in the role for which it was designed.

The F-8 intake was equally a hazard to those on deck if they got in front of it: the almost solid look to the intake here hints at the potency of the air flow and why it was a bit unwise to get in front of a Crusader...

F8-open.jpg

All true - it had the same intake after all. In a article about why the US Navy was not impressed with the idea of putting a version of the F-16 aboard carriers referenced the F-8/A-7 inlet eating deck crew. When I see pictures of the X-32 and the proposed F-32 I wonder about the very large inlet.

The A-7's role was an attack aircraft. It replaced the A-4. It wasn't meant to go after maritime targets.

As to the engine and its power, the TF41 was a Spey by any other name. RN F-4s had two of them, not one. Any complaints from RN types about being blown across the decks by our Phantoms?

I imagine that being blown over and across the deck is a common hazard with jet aircraft.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
All true - it had the same intake after all. In a article about why the US Navy was not impressed with the idea of putting a version of the F-16 aboard carriers referenced the F-8/A-7 inlet eating deck crew. When I see pictures of the X-32 and the proposed F-32 I wonder about the very large inlet.

I imagine that being blown over and across the deck is a common hazard with jet aircraft.
The principle reason for rejecting the F-16 was its single engine (never mind the large number of single-engined types that have flown off carriers before and since). Hence developing the YF-17 into the Hornet.

The X-32 had perceived issues with reingestion of air, not ingestion of crew. In fact, given a little more time it would have come good. It was a far simpler STOVL solution. Boeing just didn’t game the competition in the way L-M did.

And no, being blown across the deck isn’t common, any more than it is on airfields. General rule of thumb is don’t get immediately in front of or behind when the suck-squeeze-bang-blow thing is running. A deck may be more crowded but accidents are relatively few.
 

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