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Showing posts from May, 2020

WHAT NOW FOR THE SNOWBIRDS?

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I'm going to take a break from my "BACK TO BASICS" series to address the recent tragedy that occurred during the Snowbird's "OPERATION INSPIRATION".

As I write this, Captain Jennifer Casey will be returning home to a solemn ceremony celebrating her years of service and ultimate sacrifice.  A sad occurrence, especially for the province of Nova Scotia, which is still reeling from the recent loss of a the crew of a crashed CH-148 Cyclone and the worst mass shooting/murder in Canadian history.

A sad time indeed.  One can only take small comfort in the fact that Capt. Casey gave her life bringing much needed hope and inspiration to others in a time of global melancholy.  It is truly a grim irony that "OPERATION INSPIRATION" ended in such a tragedy.



It is a hard blow to the Snowbirds team, the RCAF, and Canada as a whole.

The question now is "What next?"

The Snowbirds themselves seem to be grounded for the immediate future pending an inves…

BACK TO BASICS: MANEUVERABILITY

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Welcome to "Back to Basics"; an ongoing series in which we will attempt to "get back to basics".  Each week (or so) we will examine one crucial aspect of a fighter and how the fighters vying for Canada's FFCP compare. 

Is there anything more thrilling than watching a fighter jet pull impossibly tight turns, loops, and rolls at mind-boggling speeds?  Maybe a few things come to mind, but not many.  Not a single person watched TOP GUN for its romantic subplot.  

Fighter maneuverability does more than excite people at airshows and make a star out of Tom Cruise.  For the kill-or-be-killed world of fighter combat, agility is requisite for survival.  Like speed, a fighter with superior maneuverability will have better control over the engagement.  A fighter without speed and agility is more likely to become the hunted instead of the hunter.  


The purpose of fighter maneuvers is simple:  Position your fighter so that it is in the firing range and arc of your weapons whil…

BACK TO BASICS: SENSORS

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Welcome to "Back to Basics"; an ongoing series in which we will attempt to "get back to basics".  Each week (or so) we will examine one crucial aspect of a fighter and how the fighters vying for Canada's FFCP compare. 

When comparing modern jet fighters to one another, one tends to focus on the more tangible aspects:  How fast they are, how many weapons they can mount, and how maneuverable they are.  Yet none of these factors really matter until a target is found, identified, and tracked.  

For years, a fighter aircraft's sensor suite was limited to pilot's vision.  Not only was 20/20 vision (or better) a prerequisite, but the design of the aircraft itself was an important factor in giving pilots a clear view of the sky around them.  Everything from cockpit position to bubble canopies have been implemented to help improve performance of the "Mark I Eyeball".  

The later days of World War II would bring a quantum leap in detection capability.  The…

BACK TO BASICS: FIREPOWER

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Welcome to "Back to Basics"; an ongoing series in which we will attempt to "get back to basics".  Each week (or so) we will examine one crucial aspect of a fighter and how the fighters vying for Canada's FFCP compare.  
What makes a fighter aircraft... a fighter?
No matter how fast or maneuverable an aircraft is, you cannot truly call it a "fighter" until you strap on some weapons.  Without those weapons, that fighter becomes either a trainer, a reconnaissance platform, or an acrobatic demonstrator.  
While all fighters have weapons, weapons alone does not make an aircraft a fighter.  One would hardly call a B-17 or an A-10 "fighters".  The reason for this is obvious, those two aircraft are designed to engage ground targets.  Fighter weaponry places the emphasis on one thing:  Air superiority.  
The first true "fighters" were nothing more than WWI biplanes with machine guns bolted on.  Eventually, rockets were added to the mix, but …