by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Vought F6U Pirate

Derek Olson sent me this picture of his excellent 1/72 F6U model created from the Admiral kit.
His build article can be found here:

More on the Admiral kit and the F6U can be found here:

Some F6U trivia here:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spey-Powered Phantom

It would appear that several people have been looking for an update to the draft Spey-Powered Phantom post based on a comment I made recently elsewhere; I finally got around to doing it. See:

F4H (F-4) Phantom Index

I'm probably not going to get around to consolidating my Phantom posts from three different blogs but it's not too hard to create an updated index for them. The most recent is from today (and I've already revised it three times) on U.S. Navy Aircraft History:

It provides a summary of the F-4A versus F-4B designation change history (in brief, the designation change was related to the change to an uprated J79 engine, not because of the raised canopy as some think) along with an illustration of the differences between the F-4A and F-4B production inlets.
While I was visiting the Quonset Air Museum the other day with Larry Webster, I was able to confirm that the F-4B fixed ramp extends about an inch farther forward that the F-4A fixed ramp, since there are examples of both airframes there. I had guessed that to be the case from photographs, based on the relative closeness of the forward edge of the ramps to the access doors and the lower-right kick-in step. (That, of course, is insignificant in 1/72 scale and I doubt that even 1/32 kits are accurate to within an inch.)

There are several other mentions of the F4H/F-4 on that blog that you can find by typing F4H into the search box on the upper left-hand side of the web page.

The first configuration summary for the early Phantoms is here:

I followed that up here:

This is a summary description of the major differences between the F-4A and F-4S:

This post was focused on the stabilator changes over time:

And this one, on the difference between the small and large radomes:

This post provided some pictures of the original canopy and was subsequently updated with an illustration of the inlet development history:

Really diving deep, here is an illustrated description of the early RAT:

Note that I revisit these posts from time to time and discover reasons to revise them with changes, corrections, and updates. I'm also in the process of refining some of my illustrations of the early F4H changes, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Corogard Redux

After reviewing the specs and looking closely at pictures of early Navy carrier-based jets, I decided to revisit my Corogard post, here It would appear that the leading edges of most, if not all, of the early blue jets were not painted with Corogard, per se, but clear coated. (I'm pretty sure that some sort of corrosion resistance was required.)

A Brief History of F8U Armament Capability

I've posted a summary illustrated history of F8U armament capability on my U.S. Navy Aircraft History blog here:

For modelers who want to add a Mk 84 bomb to their Crusader pylons, here is a pretty good depiction of the size and orientation of the pylon/bomb:
Also note that the pylon is angled slightly outboard:

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Emerson Fighter Turret

Once again, something completely different. Jet fighters could more easily intercept a bomber but shooting one down using guns or cannon from any position other than behind it was hard. (It's a geometry problem related to pulling lead.) And being behind it meant dueling with the bomber's tail gunner. A smart warrior avoids a fair fight.

One solution was to put a turret on the nose of the airplane so the cannon could be aimed in a different direction than the airplane was pointed. Radar-aimed turrets were being developed for bombers so this was an extension of that effort. In the late 1940s, the Navy contracted with Emerson for the AERO X17A system that replaced the nose on the Grumman F9F Panther, in this case F9F-3 BuNo 122562.

The nose rotated 360 degrees on the plane's longitudinal axis and the four .50 caliber machine guns pivoted within the nose.

The guns could therefore be pointed just about anywhere.

So the pilot didn't have to fly toward and lead the bomber, he could actually just fly over, under, or by it:

He was provided with a sight that enable him to lock the radar in the nose onto the bomber. The fire control system would then aim the guns so they would hit it if the pilot pulled the trigger.

Unfortunately, the volume required for the fire control system avionics, not to mention its weight and that of the turret, made it impractical for a single-seat fighter and the program was cancelled after some aerodynamic flight testing had been accomplished. Missiles, and to a lesser extent rockets, proved to be the solution.

If you'd like to have a model of this innovative but ultimately unsuccessful concept, Sharkit has developed a conversion for the Hobbyboss 1/72nd F9F Panther kit. See

Philippe Martin, who created the master for the conversion, sent me pictures of the parts.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A4D (A-4) Skyhawk Collector

I've posted quite a bit on the Scooter, in addition to writing a book about its development and usage history, but it's sort of an Easter egg hunt to find it all. Herewith a summary (I may have missed a few;  to check for more, just type A4D, A-4, or Skyhawk into the search blog on the upper left hand corner of the page):

Width of fuselage and size of horizontal tail:

New Airfix A4D kit notes:

Also see

A4D Nose variations:

A4D external fuel tanks

A4D cockpit width:

A4D configuration difference summary:

A4D red "crush points":

A4D-1 vortex generators:

A4D-1 rudder:

A4D-1/2 configuration development:

Mk 7 shape:

VA-72 A4D-2 picture:

A4D ladder and self-boarding:

Super Fox:

Scooter! additions and corrections:

A-4 nose gear steering:

A-4F Laser Spot Tracker:

There are a few more posts with Skyhawk stuff in my U.S. Navy Aircraft History blog: Just type A4D, A-4, or Skyhawk into the search blog on the upper left hand corner of the page.