Hot answers tagged

105

To answer the list in order: Do they fly hop to hop? An F-18 can go 3,000km unloaded (ordnance adds a lot of drag) and that's plenty from Australia. You can get to the Middle East in 4 hops, no air-to-air refuelling required. Although if you do an in-flight top-up you can add more than the regular range because you don't need to burn any fuel getting back ...


93

That same thinking, "dogfighting is dead", got the USAF and USN in serious trouble in Vietnam. The U.S. Armed Forces were convinced that the next major war would be against the Soviet Union directly, in theaters including Europe, Alaska and Canada, and as a result, fighter designs succeeding the very successful Sabre and Super Sabre day fighters used in ...


93

TL;dr - too heavy :-) It's just not a good energy source for something like an aircraft. Nuclear energy is superb for instances where you need continuous output over a long period of time, for example a satellite, which is going to be there for years without maintenance or refuelling. A very small amount of nuclear material in an RTG such as those on ...


91

wouldnt that work for keeping a majority of passenger jets from crashing? The majority of passenger jets don't crash. Designing an aircraft like that would incur very substantial weight penalties. The Space Shuttle booster rocket parachutes weight 990kg, each (it needs 3) plus 550 kg for the drogue chute needed to pull out the main canopies. Plus another ...


90

The idea that missiles will be all a fighter aircraft needs was prevalent in the late Fifties. The McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II carried initially only missiles, but at the start of the Vietnam war this turned out to be inadequate. The long-range missiles back then were rather unreliable, and in a real conflict things turn out always different than ...


76

They are fixed, and many attempts were made over the years to have an aiming capability - and all failed. That should tell you something. The earliest aereal combats used indeed handguns which were pointed at the adversary by the pilot. But it soon became obvious that only the rapid fire of a machine-gun will give the pilot a realistic chance of hitting a ...


75

Actually, there are three types of trails an aircraft can leave in the sky: 1. Condensation of water vapor in the exhaust gas and/or the wake This needs the very cold, very dry air at higher altitudes between 6000m and 12000m. Water vapor in the exhaust stream condenses and, pushing the local air above its saturation water content, forms a white, frozen ...


72

To a large extent, it wasn't revived because the only realistic use case became obsolete. The USA and USSR were both interested in nuclear-powered long-range bombers. The plan was to have a fleet of bombers loitering in the Arctic so that, if nuclear armageddon was required, they'd already be half-way to their target. They'd also be very hard to destroy as ...


71

I am former fighter pilot: We often fly "hop to hop" but depending on the total distance, the need for urgency, and the distance over water we also fly with tankers and air refuel. Of course the tankers sometimes don't have the fuel for themselves and for us. In those cases, we'll just leave one tanker and rendezvous with another tanker enroute. Everything ...


66

You're seeing the Sidewinder on the folded up wingtip of the F-18 that is in the foreground out of frame except for its wing tip and missile sticking up at the bottom. The airplane is between the camera and the adjacent F-18 who's canopy is visible. The long lens being used foreshortens and compresses everything distance wise so it looks like the missile ...


64

Life Strapped to the Rocket Food and Drink Fighter pilots do not have any problem taking food and drinks on flights. The biggest concern is to prevent foreign object damage (FOD) from items like crumbs, bottles, bags, etc. Otherwise, there are plenty of places to carry food to eat: your helmet bag, G-Suit pockets and flight suit pockets. I typically ...


59

I guess it's for the same reason that soldiers carry hand-guns. They designed the F-4 without a cannon and added them back in 1965. If you do go up to intercept a plane, if you do ever get close to it, what then? The minimum range of a sidewinder is 2.5 km. This paragraph says, Starting with block 50 (as far as the F-16 is concerned anyway), provisions ...


57

Light Propeller Aircraft, if flown within their design limits, are just as safe as jets. If you do a proper and thorough daily inspection, you are far less likely to suffer any form of mechanical failure in the air. In saying this, the majority of all crashes, be it in a Jet Powered Airliner or a Propeller Driven Light Aircraft are caused due to pilot error. ...


55

There is an excellent answer at http://scottlocklin.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/can-the-su-25-intercept-and-shoot-down-a-777/ The SU-25 is a ground attack fighter unsuited to intercepting and/or shooting down 777s. If the Ukrainian air force wanted to do so, they have better aircraft available. The SU-25 max speed is slower than a cruising 777. The SU-25 has ...


51

Generally speaking, pilots don't like it when a computer interprets or limits their actions. They want final control. They don't always get their way on this but that's their preference. If I recall correctly, Boeing tends to stick with the philosophy that "the pilot is the final arbiter." Airbus is more likely to preempt pilot inputs and modify them. ...


51

It is an explosive cord which helps to crack the canopy (pdf!) before the ejection seat has to do this all by itself. When ejection is commanded, the harness is tightened and the canopy is shattered, and only then the real ejection starts. Earlier designs would blow the full canopy off, but this takes longer than shattering it, especially when the canopy is ...


50

You can't spoof a bullet with countermeasures. The plain fact is that bullets cannot be diverted or fooled, unlike missiles, for which there are flares, chaff and different electronic countermeasures and early warning systems. It' s also much easier to destroy a plane with bullets now than it was a few decades back (during WW1 and 2 for instance). Unless ...


46

Ex US Navy pilot here. I flew the S-3 Viking, which refueled via the probe/drogue method, as opposed to the USAF flying boom method. I can confirm that the receiving plane is below the wake turbulence of the tanker, maybe by 8–10 feet. Although, even if you should ride up into the wake, the sensation is perhaps not as violent as you might think....


45

In the hands of an inexperienced pilot, a jet is definitely the unsafer choice. Due to the general higher speeds, there is less time to recover from errors and they require more anticipation to be ahead of the game. Small errors will grow into large errors in relatively short time. In slower aircraft there is more time to correct. In addition, jet and ...


44

To add some data to Matthew's answer: Anti aircraft missiles come in basically 4 types (some others have been tried but aren't in common use). Active radar homing Passive radar homing Infrared homing Laser guided Active radar homing has a radar in the missile sending out signals. Those signals can be detected and classified by the target aircraft. Passive ...


41

I'm not an engineer (which might be better suited to answer this) so this is from simplified things they feed pilots: Jet engines take much longer to spool up (i.e. increase RPM) than piston engines, especially at low RPM because of the pressure ratio/increased airflow necessary to keep the compressor from stalling/surging/blowing up every time when ...


41

You're asking 4 things here: Can aircraft fly higher than their stated service ceiling? Service ceiling can be exceeded, depending on the aircraft type, loadout, atmospheric conditions, and flight profile, but usually not very far or for very long. Does an SU-25 have afterburners? The SU-25 (NATO reporting name Frogfoot) has no afterburners, so that part ...


41

The reason for not using full aircraft parachutes can be stitched together by looking at the many related questions. Let me do this for you: Parachutes will only help when something essential fails at sufficient altitude for parachute deployment. As paul said here, most accidents happen at take-off and landing where a parachute cannot be successfully ...


41

Technically yes. But I am unaware of any attempt to do this with airliners. But there were several designs in the past which used a big airplane or a Zeppelin as a mother ship, which took fighters with it for air defense. The B-36 was involved in several such designs. In all cases the docking was made from below, because this gave the fighter pilot the ...


41

The guns of modern fighter jets are fixed to the airframe—they can't be moved in any direction; the pilot has to maneuver the aircraft to bring the guns to bear. The image shows the mounting of General Electric M61A1 Vulcan cannon in an F-16. Gun installation in F-16; image from designer.home.xs4all The pilot aims the guns using an optical representation ...


40

An afterburner is a secondary combustion system which burns additional fuel downstream of the combustion chamber, to further increase thrust at the expense of much higher fuel consumption. This is the Pratt & Whitney F100 afterburning turbofan, variants of which power the USAF's 4th-generation fleet of F-15s and F-16s: The final spoke-looking thing ...


40

In a word, yes. There is a switch which controls this and the default position is "both". If any handle is pulled (pull down over the face or the one between your legs), then both seats fire. If solo, the switch is turned to "solo" so that the rear seat is not ejected and the front seat gets to leave a little bit quicker. If the switch is left on solo, ...


38

I'm not in the military, so you could say I'm talking out my rear end here, but based on my experience as a pilot: yes, military pilots use the autopilot all the time. Here's my reasoning, in order of most to least convincing evidence: Punching the autopilot off takes about a fifth of a second. The button is right there on the yoke, for crying out loud. ...


38

Short answer, yes. However, it is important to note that the WSO is not a pilot. The WSO is trained to operate the weapons systems, not fly the aircraft, but does have basic flight controls including throttle, stick, rudder pedals, compass, HSI, etc. He does not have good forward visibility and would likely have to be talked in on final approach by the ...


37

The short answer to both your questions are Yes. The long answer is, it's not so simple. The ATR 72 you have pictured has a top speed of 276 knots and a range of 1,300 miles. It can carry around 70 passengers. This document provides detailed comparisons of burn rates. So we can see the ATR 72 burns about 810 Liters per hour (about 214 gallons/hr). A Boeing ...


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