Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It just ain't the same.

The Metro & State section of yesterday's cat box liner had a picture from this past weekend's air show on the front page. It was a nice color photo of an F-22 Raptor formating on a P-51D in invasion regalia.

The Raptor's cool and everything, I guess, but it doesn't have a Merlin...


Anonymous said...

They do go together, though. The P-51 was the last of the piston engined fighters, and the F-22 will probably be the last fighter to take a meatbag along for the ride.

Anonymous said...

One of the coolest pics I ever saw was a Rolls Royce with a Rolls Royce Motor. Somebody'd taken his stock Silver Shadow or somesuch and stuck the Merlin motor under the hood. There he stood smiling next to an open hood FILLED with motor.

Somerled said...

One of my best days circled around a visit with a pilot who had served in Burma and China. He had his mementos on display at a family history workshop. The Distinguished Flying Cross caught my eye, even though it wasn't the focal point of his display. The planes, from the P-40 through the P51D, and his crew were. He spent the most time in the P38.

He seemed embarrassed to talk, and his health made it difficult. Most didn't have time for a frail old man, but the kids loved him. He died two months later.

Anonymous said...

I was at that show and the old warbirds were my favorites too but the Raptor made an entrance that no one missed. The previous performance had just ended and even before the announcer could say F-22 there was a faint rumble almost instantly becomming a tooth rattling roar as the Raptor sliced above the crowd just a few hundred feet in the air. It was just awesome. I love the old prop planes but nothing will stand up your neck hairs like a close pass from a jet fighter. Let's just say the guys designing those engines didn't have noise suppression as the primary performance goal.

Joseph said...

+1,000,000 on the merlin powered Mustang. They still make the hair on my neck sstand on end.

T.Stahl said...

Last year I was at The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends at Rickenbacker Int'l in Columbus.
There were dozens of Mustangs (so many in fact that at least two shared the same paint scheme) and The Thunderbirds. An F-15 and F-22 came to visit.
For some strange reason the pilots thought it was a good idea to light their 'burners every time they turned away from the crowd.

Anonymous said...

Know what? To my ear, those bypass turbofans in the modern jets have nothing on real old-fashioned turbojets.

The world will never again crack and rattle the way it did when those GE J79's or P&W J57's were blowin' around in burner.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you ma'am. I grew up in Navy aviation, and remember my old man talking about how sweet and smooth the P-51 engines sounded in the Phillipines, compared to the big P & W and Wright aircooled radials he worked on.
I doubt he'd have traded, as the radials could take a lot more abuse from ground fire. By the end of the war, 90% of naval air losses were to small arms and light automatic weapons. Maybe those funny bars on the sides of the Arisakas weren't totally useless after all.
But still, there was that twinkle of admiration in his eye when he mentioned them. So naturally, I followed the link, which led to another link, and another....
I had no idea that Packard started the supercharger changes that improved the engine's performance so much.
I had to snark a bit when I read about the Rolls people deliberately blowing up engines and type improving what ever broke. I say this with all humility, and as a former Rolls engineer (Indianapolis is HOT in summer), but there are better ways to do it, at least nowadays.
I was working for Pratt back in the mid '80's, when they co-developed the V2500 with Rolls-Royce.
We did the compressors, they did the hot section. They kept blowing up my frigging compressors when their combustion chambers let go, and put the goddamn project six months behind.
All with a plummy "That's the way it's done, Old Boy" attitude.
If it had been done by some of the old Allison guys in Indianapolis instead of over in Blighty, we wouldn't have missed our sked and have had to give back most of the money we made in penalties. Interestingly, after that, almost all Rolls development work went to Indiana, and production of essentially all parts going into their engines has shifted to small, sharp little lassez-faire job shops here in Connecticut. It was a fun afternoon cruising the computer. Thanks again.

Cybrludite said...

The 'stang is a classic and all, but having seen the Raptor at the local airshow I can say that I feel real sorry for whoever has to fly against it. Bloody thing handles like a UFO.

Anonymous said...

My brother Michael was writing for Tour Guide magazine and spending a week with the Thunderbirds, coming up on the Raptor's first public display. He sent me these jumpin' up & down e-mails about what this thing was doing, one including a still photograph that he shot of an amazing attitude at takeoff: wheels in the wells, about twenty feet off the departure end of the runway, impossible-looking elevator deflection input, with the thing beginning to horse nose-up and about sixty degrees into it.

"Okay," I'm thinking, "That's pretty but the still shot isn't telling me anything about rates & stuff."

Michael and I have this screaming argument on the phone about what he's seeing, and I'm pulling pilot-shit on him from my little 120-hour PP-ASEL logbook.

Then, I later saw video.

You had to hear that apology to my brother.

He told me that, during the private rehearsals (after which the show pilot was told to rein it in because he was giving too much away), he stood there with retired combat veterans who watched that routine at attention with tears in their eyes.

I believe him.

Anonymous said...

Some P-51 and Merlin video from Jay Leno: