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OLY-M4gery
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:14:07 AM
B-1
A-10
F-14
SR-71
Don't be afraid of BDU pants, they are just pants after all.

Sheriff Taylor had access to rifles, why can't I? He worked in Mayberry......
DriftPunch
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:28:36 AM
Do it old school. Nobody had more balls than these guys...

Sopwith Camel with twin interupted Vikers guns.

I hope to be powerful enough to deserve a pie in the face.
TimJ
That's MISTER Grunt to you...
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:29:48 AM
F-4 Phantom II all the way, baby...........
..a Communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And...an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin.
Ronald Reagan
lasertech
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:36:17 AM
I always preferred the mud movers. A-10s, B-52s, B-1s, FB-111s, A-6s, A-7s and possibly my favorite just for sheer ass-kicking, the AC-130.
IRONsite
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:37:45 AM
F-22
photokirk
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:38:08 AM

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Do it old school. Nobody had more balls than these guys...

Sopwith Camel with twin interupted Vikers guns.

img.photobucket.com/albums/v477/DriftPunch/sopwith.jpg



...except for the guys who had uninterupted guns with bullet deflectors on the prop.

skid2964
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:45:24 AM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 11:39:05 AM by skid2964]
Dont know, its a toss up between this: (P38 Lightning)


and this: (F14 TomCat)


CHeck out the video ..............
www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/jet.mpeg

special mention: (Il2 Sturmovik)
"Wanna buy some wood?"

-- George W Bush
wedge1082
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:45:31 AM


B1-B
I lost all my lightsabers in a tragic boating accident.
2A373
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:52:31 AM
tagged
Leisure_Shoot
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:54:12 AM
Finally, The Bone... I would have think it would have come up sooner in the thread.
Islam wants you dead. Take appropriate actions. triburst1

Isn't there already a law against Murder? Lets just keep tacking on more until we are completely socialist. sgthoskins
osprey21
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Posted: 10/26/2004 10:56:32 AM
sobekra70
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Posted: 10/26/2004 11:08:42 AM
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !
"Good , bad , I'm the guy with the gun."
skid2964
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Posted: 10/26/2004 11:11:18 AM

Originally Posted By sobekra70:
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !



"Wanna buy some wood?"

-- George W Bush
Zack3g
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Posted: 10/26/2004 11:17:36 AM

Originally Posted By lasertech:
I always preferred the mud movers. A-10s, B-52s, B-1s, FB-111s, A-6s, A-7s and possibly my favorite just for sheer ass-kicking, the AC-130.





+1 for the AC-130, that thing can lay down some serious hurt.
Ranger689
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Posted: 10/26/2004 11:58:17 AM

Originally Posted By lasertech:
I always preferred the mud movers. A-10s, B-52s, B-1s, FB-111s, A-6s, A-7s and possibly my favorite just for sheer ass-kicking, the AC-130.



Most definately the AC-130
followed by the MC-130
and then the C-130
Garand06
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:07:27 PM

Originally Posted By MuRDoC:
F4u Corsair www.daveswarbirds.com/glennill/images/vccorsai.jpg



+1

A close second would be the F4 Phantom.


Tim
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:12:02 PM
Ain't she purdy?



"I would love to fix your 15 year bad marriage in 20 minutes, but my Frappuchino is melting folks!"
Alien
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:15:00 PM
YF-23 and B1
I keep it handy... for close encounters.
Janus
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:15:49 PM
"Stand aside--I have experience with this on AR15.com. I'll handle this liberal pussy!"
- thebeekeeper1
TheRedHorseman
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:16:05 PM
The XB-70



Kerry is a fucking pussy and the troops know it- GreyGoose
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:20:49 PM
I've always wanted to go up for 20 minutes in a modern fighter and trap on a carrier followed by a cat-shot. And I just rovvvvve the sound of those four giant radials on the B-17! But for me, it would be the first jet I jumpseated in, and taken a few trips in the front since...the 727. Here's a photo of the actual aircraft, it had a newer paint job when I flew in it. It was later sold to America Trans Air, and I don't know where it went after that.



klutz347
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:27:38 PM
All time favorite.


Next in line.


Fav bomber.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have realized that it bears a close resemblance to the first.
Brisk322
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:38:25 PM

Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Do it old school. Nobody had more balls than these guys...

Sopwith Camel with twin interupted Vikers guns.




+1 for the A-10, though I see the undersides more than any other part.

My house is in line with their runway. Fortunately, the A-10 is a fairly quiet craft.

Not so quiet when the Blue Angels are in town....
Having no unique or profound knowledge of rifles, politics, women, or children, I had to come up with something.

Posting Peculiar Plus-Ones since 13:30:15 7/1/04
CFII
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:40:06 PM





1. B1b
2. F4 Phantom II
3. F-18 baby
"We need to hit these terrorists hard. Every place over there is a 'Holy Site'! Screw that! The most holy site in the world is an elementary school full of kids on the first day of class, and those animals desecrated one."

Dennis Miller
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:41:51 PM
F-14 saw/felt one in action at an airshow a few years ago. wow, what an incredible machine.
uncle_frank
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:45:02 PM
P-39 King Cobra. Never got a chance to prove itself. The 37mm cannon kicks ass!
Zaphod
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:45:41 PM

Originally Posted By wedge1082:
img95.exs.cx/img95/359/B1B_FNT.jpg

B1-B



Damn! I was expecting you to say one of these:



Yeshua u ackbar!
eodtech2000
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:47:30 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 12:50:25 PM by eodtech2000]
The Bf-109.


Here is a little IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles, A IL-2 is about to get a coup de grace from my Bf-109.
The Real heros were the Yards and the folks who didn't make it home.

11/29/91 Franklin D. Miller (MOH)
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LWilde
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:48:35 PM

Originally Posted By skid2964:

Originally Posted By sobekra70:
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !



www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/ta152-4.jpg



Pretty sure that is a Dora-9. I believe the TA-152 wings were longer and thinner. My CPU is giving me fits right now...and my search engine is crashing. Can't locate any pics to substantiate my claim...but it does look like an earlier FW-190 D-9
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." Dwight D. Eisenhower
eodtech2000
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Posted: 10/26/2004 12:57:34 PM

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By skid2964:

Originally Posted By sobekra70:
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !



www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/ta152-4.jpg



Pretty sure that is a Dora-9. I believe the TA-152 wings were longer and thinner. My CPU is giving me fits right now...and my search engine is crashing. Can't locate any pics to substantiate my claim...but it does look like an earlier FW-190 D-9



One of the TA-152 versions (the C model IIRC)sported shorter wings like the Dora but packed 1 30mm MK108 and 4 MG151 20mm Cannons.
The Real heros were the Yards and the folks who didn't make it home.

11/29/91 Franklin D. Miller (MOH)
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shootemup
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:02:11 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 1:02:59 PM by shootemup]
Extra 300

PennvilleBill
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:12:40 PM


Regards, PB

I've been called a lot of things, but the one I like best is "Gran Pa".........
MiG-21
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:15:33 PM

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

Originally Posted By avengeusa:

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Those are little planes....


THIS is a plane!


www.intercontal.com/b52.jpg


Sgtar15



all hail king of planes

BUFF



There ain't but two kinds of planes in the world. Fighters and TARGETS! That is a very nice target you have there.



Targets, you say?




Dec. 18, 1972. In a throwback to past aerial combat, SSgt. Samuel O. Turner, the tail gunner on a Boeing B-52D bomber downs a trailing MiG-21 with a blast of .50-caliber machine guns near Hanoi. Six days later, A1C Albert E. Moore, also a B-52 gunner, shoots down a second MiG-21 after a strike on the Thai Nguyen rail yard. These were the only aerial gunner victories of the war.




fallingwrench
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:32:05 PM
It is impossible for me to narrow it down to 1.

A-10
F-4U Corsair
P-51B (then D) Mustanf
F-4 Phantom
P-38 Lightning
Mess. ME-109
F-86
F-22
F-15

All amazing aircraft....
"We will never disarm any American who seeks to protect his or her family from fear and harm." -- President Ronald Reagan
Red_Label
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:42:41 PM
Favorite military plane is undoubtedly the SR-71. Is there ANY plane on the face of the earth that's cooler?

Favorite plane that I could actually ride on or fly? Gulfstream V (now G550). Doesn't get any classier than that one!
LWilde
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:43:11 PM

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By skid2964:

Originally Posted By sobekra70:
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !



www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/ta152-4.jpg



Pretty sure that is a Dora-9. I believe the TA-152 wings were longer and thinner. My CPU is giving me fits right now...and my search engine is crashing. Can't locate any pics to substantiate my claim...but it does look like an earlier FW-190 D-9



One of the TA-152 versions (the C model IIRC)sported shorter wings like the Dora but packed 1 30mm MK108 and 4 MG151 20mm Cannons.



Not in dispute...I just can't locate any proof. The diff between the "C" model TA-152 and the later Doras was pretty small.
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid." Dwight D. Eisenhower
eodtech2000
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Posted: 10/26/2004 1:56:47 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 2:09:21 PM by eodtech2000]

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By eodtech2000:

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By skid2964:

Originally Posted By sobekra70:
That is tough for me. I 'd have to put the respected planes in their Era and country. I really think my favoeite is the Focke-Wulf TA 152 H. If someone could post a picture of it I would appreciate it !



www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/images/ta152-4.jpg



Pretty sure that is a Dora-9. I believe the TA-152 wings were longer and thinner. My CPU is giving me fits right now...and my search engine is crashing. Can't locate any pics to substantiate my claim...but it does look like an earlier FW-190 D-9



One of the TA-152 versions (the C model IIRC)sported shorter wings like the Dora but packed 1 30mm MK108 and 4 MG151 20mm Cannons.



Not in dispute...I just can't locate any proof. The diff between the "C" model TA-152 and the later Doras was pretty small.




Here you go LWILDE:www.luftarchiv.de/flugzeuge/focke-wulf/ta152.htm

TA-152C-0, WkNr.110007


TA-152H-0, WkNr.150005


Ta 152 H-1, WkNr. 150167


TA-152C-1 Specs.

The Ta 152C-1 was powered by a Daimler-Benz DB 603LA twelve-cylinder liquid cooled engine rated at 2100 hp (2300 hp with MW 50) for takeoff and 1750 hp at 29,530 feet (1900 hp at 27,560 feet with MW 50). Armed with one engine-mounted 30-mm MK 108 cannon with 90 rounds, two fuselage-mounted 20-mm MG 151 cannon with 250 rpg, and two wing-mounted 20-mm MG252 cannon with 175 rpg. Maximum speed was 227 mph at sea level (356 mph with MW 50), 436 mph at 37,730 feet (460 mph at 32,810 feet with MW 50). Initial climb rate was 3050 feet per minute and service ceiling was 40,350 feet. Weights were 8849 lbs empty, 10,658 lbs normal loaded, and 11,733 pounds maximum. Wingspan was 36 feet 1 inch, length was 35 feet 6 1/2 inches, height was 11 feet 1 inch, and wing area was 290.89 square feet.


TA-152H Specs

Engine: Junkers Jumo 213E-1 twelve-cylinder liquid-cooled engine rated at 1750 hp for takeoff (2050 hp with MW 50 boost) and 1320 hp at 32,800 feet (1740 feet with GM 1 boost). Maximum speed: 332 mph at sea level (350 mph with MW 50 boost), 465 mph at 29,530 feet with MW 50 boost, 472 mph at 41,010 feet with GM 1 boost. Service ceiling was 48,550 feet with GM 1 boost. Initial climb rate was 3445 feet/minute with MW 50 boost. Weights were 8642 pounds empty, 10,472 pounds normal loaded, 11,502 pounds maximum. Wingspan 47 feet 41/2 inches, length 35 feet 1 2/3 inches, height 11 feet 0 1/4 inches, wing area 250.8 square feet.
The Real heros were the Yards and the folks who didn't make it home.

11/29/91 Franklin D. Miller (MOH)
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DPeacher
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:07:12 PM

Originally Posted By MiG-21:

Originally Posted By DPeacher:

Originally Posted By avengeusa:

Originally Posted By sgtar15:
Those are little planes....


THIS is a plane!


www.intercontal.com/b52.jpg


Sgtar15



all hail king of planes

BUFF



There ain't but two kinds of planes in the world. Fighters and TARGETS! That is a very nice target you have there.



Targets, you say?

www.strategic-air-command.com/patch/combat/myster4.gif


Dec. 18, 1972. In a throwback to past aerial combat, SSgt. Samuel O. Turner, the tail gunner on a Boeing B-52D bomber downs a trailing MiG-21 with a blast of .50-caliber machine guns near Hanoi. Six days later, A1C Albert E. Moore, also a B-52 gunner, shoots down a second MiG-21 after a strike on the Thai Nguyen rail yard. These were the only aerial gunner victories of the war.







So, Ya got shot down by a tail gunner?
Semper Fi


Dave_A
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:14:18 PM

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
I need to know what plane gets your jollies guys.

For me, its the OV-10 Bronco!
Hell, among many other things, this can even drop a team of SPEC OP paratroopers!
www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/ov-10-nog.jpg
www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/ov10-front.jpg
www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/ov-10-dvic252.jpg
www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/ov-10-line.gif
www.fas.org/irp/program/collect/ov10-armed.jpg
www.scaleworkshop.com/workshop/images/OV-10D_UU-01.jpg

Coming in 2nd place for me if the F-18 Super Hornet


perso.wanadoo.fr/aeronautique/photosalon/f18-1.jpg



How about you guys?



F-22 Raptor...

The best, by far...

Runner Up: B-1B 'Lancer'
I *am* a neo-con, & proud of it: What's the point of (the US) having all this power if it's never used to our advantage?
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"We will double our special forces to conduct terrorist operations" -Kerry
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BAN BALZAC72
The_Sgt_Rock
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:20:52 PM
The A-10 Warthog.....the tank buster. How can one not fall in love with this aircraft? Talk about kicking ass and taking names!
Gunner1X
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:25:02 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 2:26:37 PM by Gunner1X]
Bklyn_Irish
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:27:46 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 2:28:52 PM by Bklyn_Irish]
knightsar
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Posted: 10/26/2004 2:30:04 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 2:32:09 PM by knightsar]



Our F15-E
No free man shall ever be de-barred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain their right to keep and bear arms is as a last resort to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

Thomas Jefferson
Silver_Surfer
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Posted: 10/26/2004 3:26:49 PM
F/A 18 super hornet
jurys still out on #2 F23
BlackDog714
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Posted: 10/26/2004 3:50:22 PM
P51
P47
A1
F105
F4
F14
A6

Any variant of Wild Weasel

The F18/Super Hornet is a joke... Its a do it all bird that cant do anything well
There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy. -- George Washington
Carbine_Man
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Posted: 10/26/2004 4:57:29 PM
[Last Edit: 10/26/2004 5:01:49 PM by Carbine_Man]

Originally Posted By Tras:





dem·a·gogue /'de-m&-"gäg/
Function: noun
1 : a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power
2 : John Kerry
RiffRandall
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Posted: 10/26/2004 5:19:30 PM

Originally Posted By alloy6061:
www.rebelscum.com/swsaga/sw02afmillennuimfalconloose.jpg



I like the Serenity (Firefly class) myself.


toss up between
A10 Warthog
P47 Thunderbolt
A1 Skyraider
Il2 Sturmovik
AC130 Spectre
B-36 Peacemaker

for some reason I've always kinda liked the looks off the Ju87 Stuka.
2A373
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Posted: 10/26/2004 7:19:36 PM

magnumtc
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Posted: 10/26/2004 7:31:21 PM
Agree with you on the F18 Super Hornet!
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Posted: 10/26/2004 7:34:16 PM
Skyraiders: either the AD-4B (Nuclear bomber that used loft bombing) or the AD-4N (which was the night fighter version)

AD-4N

AD-4B


Great Article:

Carrying a Nuke to Sevastopol
"Like I said, I was a 24-year-old Marine lieutenant at the time, and I wasn't afraid of anything"--Jay Velie, Dallas, Texas
What should you fear? Well, see how this fits:

You're Breakeven Four Zero One--one man, one engine, one bomb. The year is 1957, the month February, the hour 0200. You're sitting on your parachute in the tidy cockpit of a Douglas AD-6 Skyraider, better known as the Able Dog, checking its systems by the small gooseneck flashlight that hangs from a chain around your neck. A Wright R-3350--the engine that powered the B-29 super-bomber of World War II--swings a four-bladed propeller through a circle almost 14 feet in diameter. Just behind the whirling blades, there hangs a slenderized version of the Fat Man atomic bomb that on August 9, 1945, laid waste to Nagasaki.

The MK 7 weighs 1,700 pounds and measures 15 feet long by 30.5 inches in diameter. If you need to return to USS Forrestal with it still on the centerline--tires flat and oleo struts compressed--the nuke will clear the steel flight deck with six inches to spare. You're sweating beneath your pressure suit, flight suit, survival vest, and inflatable life preserver.

On the angle to your left, the jet pukes in their A4D Skyhawks are being shot into the night like so many rockets. Breakeven Four Zero One doesn't rate a catapult: you circle the flashlight, the flight-deck officer gives you the okay, and you push the throttle to the stop. With a bellowing growl, that 3350 drags you toward a marker that's invisible until you're moving fast enough to pop the tail up. Then all you can see is the red light that glows on the far end of the flight deck, which first leaps toward you and then disappears beneath the nose. The oleos thump off the end of the deck, and you descend to your cruising altitude.

World War III has come, and Breakeven Four Zero One is at the pointy end of the spear, heading for Russia at a fuel-thrifty 140 knots. You switch from internal fuel to the 300-gallon drop tank beneath the port wing. Then inflate the rubber doughnut that cushions your butt. Every three minutes, by the red glow of your flashlight, put a time tick on the chart, closing the distance from Crete to Rhodes. Every 15 minutes, calculate the fuel you've burned. Watch your altitude!

"In our squadron of 22 pilots, we lost three killed by flying into the ground or water during a 20-month period. I thought this was normal."--Tom Beard, Port Angeles, Washington

The clock on the instrument panel is set to Zulu--what the military calls Greenwich Mean Time. Here in the eastern Mediterranean, the day is two hours ahead of Greenwich, and by 0300 the sky has softened from black to gray. You turn north, threading between the islands, each more visible than the one before, meanwhile smoking a cigarette from the sleeve pocket of your flight suit.

At 0312--right on schedule--the Turkish port of Bodrum appears before you, with its palms and fishing boats and pretty castle on a point of land. Remembering the Naval aviators who splattered themselves onto the brown cliffs of Turkey, you advance the throttle, pull back on the joystick, and clear the castle at a cautionary 200 feet and 170 knots. Feet dry! You power the canopy open, lose a section of chart into the pines, and unroll the Turkish flight chart from the toilet-paper core that keeps the route organized. Your course lies northeast, between the mountains. Legalized flathatting!

At 0407 you leave the town of Usak to starboard, rewarding yourself with an apple from the box lunch supplied by Forrestal's galley. Just after 0500--full daylight now, on a cloudy spring morning--it's feet wet and 50 feet again, across the Black Sea toward Sevastopol.

On your right-hand console is the Black Box. You toggle the switch labeled INSERT/EXTRACT, whereupon the green light goes out and the yellow light comes on. In the MK 7, a battery-driven screw gear moves the 10-pound capsule of uranium 235 into a soccer ball of tamper and explosives; when detonated, they will squeeze the capsule and make it "go critical." Long minutes later, the yellow light goes out and the red light comes on. The MK 7 has become a bomb.

Despite the rubber doughnut, a pain introduces itself to your right buttock. You shift weight to the left cheek, pop an aspirin, and wash it down with orange juice from your thermos, sucked though a tube. The 3350 coughs: port drop tank empty! You gain altitude, switch to internal fuel, tickle the primer, and when the engine sounds okay you switch to the starboard drop tank. You could lose the empty into the Black Sea, but the drag doesn't amount to much. Anyhow, you're supposed to bring the tanks back to Forrestal, in case there's a second launch.

It's 0600. In training, you saved lunch for the long flight home, but this isn't training, and the pain is climbing your spine and spreading into your right thigh. You break open the sandwiches. While chewing the ham-and-cheese, which seem especially dry this morning, you practice flying with your right eye closed.

"We didn't have goggles that went opaque until the 1960s. Shut one eye and then open it after the flash was the idea."--Ron Pickett, Phoenix, Arizona

The military calls it "monocular occlusion." Old-time navigators used the technique, too, closing the right eye while staring into the sun with the left, when finding their latitude with a Jacob's staff. You could walk down a London street in 1600 and spot the old sea captains, their left eyes dead as agate marbles.

Your own bomb isn't the problem: bright suns will be rising all over Russia this morning. Not just Able Dogs, but most of the single-seat turbojets in the U.S. Navy and Air Force have been adapted for low-level attack with nuclear weapons, along with the twin-engine Canberras of the Royal Air Force. Following their strikes, the Strategic Air Command will be along with its big Boeing B-47s and B-52s, each with multiple copies of the MK 15 hydrogen bomb.

In addition to flash, there's the blast from your MK 7. A turbojet whips along at 500 knots or more, putting a respectable distance between it and the explosion, but the Able Dog at combat power is less than half as fast as the shockwave.

Not to worry! You'll honk back on the control stick and loft the MK 7 onto the target while you're still two miles away, meanwhile doubling back the way you came. This is LABS: Low Altitude Bombing System.

Back on Forrestal, you reckoned the loft backward from the target to the release point to the pull-up. Then you found an easily recognized landmark to serve as your Initial Point, which today will be Pokrovskiy cathedral in the center of Sevastopol. You've never actually seen the Sevastopol peninsula, but you've spent hours over the spy-plane photographs, and you know the place as well as Pinecastle bombing range in Florida.

Next you calculated the time that will elapse between the IP and the pull-up. This value--15.5 seconds--has been set in the Black Box. In the Hell Hole--the avionics bay on the Able Dog's belly, behind the oil-cooler flaps and therefore encrusted with half-burned oil--the ground crew set the desired release angle and G force. Now, before Sevastopol comes into view, you must accomplish the following:

On the armament panel, by your right knee, are three red switches. Each is guarded by a metal channel so it can't be moved by accident, and each controls a "store" slung beneath the port wing pylon, centerline pylon, or starboard wing pylon. Toggle the middle one hot. (It wouldn't do to release a fuel tank over Sevastopol and take your MK 7 back to Forrestal. That would ruin the Skipper's day.)
On the left side of the armament panel is the master switch, likewise guarded by a metal channel. Toggle it hot.
Now the Black Box again. Check that the mode selector switch is set to LOFT, and that the knurled knob of the timer reads 15.5.
On the left side of the cockpit, just behind the throttle, is the switch that uncages the LABS gyro. Toggle it. A red bulb glows above the glare shield on the left side of the windshield; a tone sounds in your earphones.
On the right side of the instrument panel is a gyro with two needles. The vertical needle indicates yaw--your compass heading with respect to the target. Keep it centered.
You're ready for the goofy loop.
"Manhandling that plane--low, slow, and inverted--was the best thrill around, at least while in full flight gear."--Joe Shea, Duxbury, Massachusetts

You're not targeting Sevastopol but the military airfield on the mainland beyond, to take out the MiG-15s that would otherwise intercept the big bombers of the Strategic Air Command.

There it is: cliffs, beaches, dockyard cranes, and--as you close the distance--Pokrovskiy cathedral in the center of town. The Russian anti-aircraft gunners probably know you're coming, but they can't see you in the radar clutter of the Black Sea. Anyhow, there's nothing you can do about ack-ack. The Able Dog has been stripped of its 20-mm wing guns, rocket racks, and all external armor plate.

You switch to internal fuel, push the throttle to the stop, and toggle water injection on. (You never added water in training; it boosts the horsepower over 3,000 but takes a bunch of hours off the life of the engine.) Again that bellowing growl, as the tachometer winds up toward 2900 rpm, manifold pressure gauge to 60 inches, and airspeed indicator to 275 knots. Only the radar altimeter holds steady--50 feet above the water--as you accelerate toward the Sevastopol waterfront. Fifty feet is life.

When the onion tops of Pokrovskiy cathedral flash under the port wingtip, you press the pickle button, lying comfortably beneath your thumb on the left side of the joystick. (There's another pickle lower down. Some guys tape a thumbtack to the second pickle, with the point out, but you don't bother with that. You're good.) The red lamp goes dark; the earphones go silent. The timer begins to count: one potato, two potato....

At 15.5 seconds, the red light and the tone return, and the horizontal needle slumps to the bottom of the gyro. It has become an accelerometer. You haul back on the control stick, lifting the needle back to the middle of the dial. Centrifugal force drives you into the cushion, flattening it. When you've centered the horizontal needle, you're pulling the 4.5 Gs that were set in the Hell Hole. You weigh 765 pounds instead of the 170 that showed on Forrestal's wardroom scale, and the MK 7 weighs nearly four tons.

The vertical needle has become a yaw-roll indicator, showing whether your wings are perpendicular with respect to the target. With skill and cunning, you fly the two needles, keeping them crossed in the center of the dial. You are now on line with the target and describing the desired arc away from the ground. Perhaps incidentally, the needles also oblige you to keep your attention inside the cockpit instead of looking outside for the green stitchery of Russian anti-aircraft fire.

When the Able Dog points 60 degrees nose high, there's a muffled bang. The Douglas ejector foot, powered by a 40 mm shell, has blasted the MK 7 off the centerline pylon.

"I viewed that thump as good news. It meant that the awful-awful was on its own, and so was I."--Al Schaufelberger, St Helena, South Carolina

Now the red lamp goes dark and the earphones go quiet. You listen to the engine's agony as it pulls the Able Dog vertical. You go over the top at 2,000 feet, by which time your speed has bled off to 90 knots and you're pulling maybe half a G--basically hanging there, upside down, trying to locate Sevastopol. By the time you're pointing 30 degrees nose-down, you've picked up enough speed to roll upright. The cockpit fills up with the stink of cordite from the Douglas ejector foot.

Though it resembles an Immelmann turn and is sometimes mistaken for one, this maneuver is a Half Cuban Eight. (The dive before rolling upright makes the difference.) It enables a pilot to reverse direction at the greatest possible speed, while simultaneously losing the altitude gained in the pull-up.

Behind you, the MK 7 describes a graceful parabola through the cloudy morning: up, up, and over, like a stone from David's slingshot. When it has fallen to within 1,000 feet of the ground, a barometric switch will turn on the radar sniffers and then (if the Russians aren't jamming) the radar altimeter. You want the bomb to explode 200 feet above Sevastopol airfield. If the Russians are jamming, the baro switch will trigger the bomb anyhow, at more or less the same altitude--and if the barometer fails, there's a contact fuse.

The flash will envelope you at the instant of the burst. The Able Dog's rudder and elevator are painted white, so they won't crisp from the heat. Long seconds later, the blast will catch up. By this time you'll be at 200 feet and heading straight out, presenting the Able Dog's skinny end to the shockwave. If it catches you straight on, and if all the assumptions were correct, you will survive.

Then you can throttle down to long-range cruise, so low and slow you can count the propeller blades as they go by. You'll grind open the canopy, clear away the stink of cordite, and fill your lungs with fresh air. About the same time, the pain will start again in your right buttock, worse than before, as if making up for the pain-free minutes from the IP to here. You'll switch to the starboard drop tank, pop another aspirin, and fly home to . . . what?

"If we had to do the real thing in a Able Dog, in my opinion, none of the pilots would have survived. And I think we all knew it." -- Ralph Davis, Palm Desert, California

First off, the assumptions might have been wrong, and the Able Dog mightn't have withstood the heat and concussion of the bomb it carried to Armageddon. Second, the Russians weren't entirely without countermeasures, even against an intruder flying at 50 feet off the deck. According to Viktor Belenko, a defector who worked for the U.S. Navy in the 1970s, the "doctrinal response" of the Soviet Union was crude but devastating: recall all friendly fighters with the radio command carpet, then explode thermonuclear bombs at 50,000 feet.

Would a Able Dog get through that? Perhaps. Would Forrestal still be on station near Crete to receive it? Not likely.

Jay Velie was 24 years old and believed himself immortal. Ralph Davis's squadron--VA-104, the Hell's Archers aboard Forrestal--sometimes had grass airfields assigned to them, in Turkey or Romania, which fantastically were supposed to be stocked with avgas. In the Western Pacific, Joe Shea had his own plan: "Some of us," he recalled, "scouted out very remote locations in Japan that would offer no appealing targets for the Russians. We figured to land on the roadway or wheels up and go live in the mountains for a while."

Some nuclear-attack squadrons didn't count on returning. Their boast: "Double the range!" If Breakeven Four Zero One didn't intend to fly back to Forrestal, he could have humped that MK 7 all the way from Crete to the Kremlin. Afterward, he'd simply open the canopy, drag his lame legs over the side, and parachute down to present himself for interment. That was the plan, anyhow.

"We didn't really worry too much about the mission. Sort of figured it would be the end of the world anyway." -- Dick Davis, Glenwood, Iowa


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