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Posted: 10/15/2004 4:33:00 AM EST




In the final analysis, was the aircraft worth the resources it took to develop it? Was it just a hobo with no real home?

I'm interested to know what you guys think about this.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:41:10 AM EST
im not Air Force, im not an aerospace engineer. but in my opinion as a pilot and lover of all things that fly....its one of my favorite planes. it was devised in an era before spy sattelites, stealth bombers and cruise missles. in its time it was the perfect solution for a long range, supersonic, nuke capable deep penetration bomber. it had a limited ability to defend itself, could fly NOE and could launch early smart weapons. i think it was the right plane at the right time but its cost effectiveness waned with the progress of long range cruise missles and stealth technology.


someone like KA3B etc al feel free to jump in and disagree/correct me
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:41:27 AM EST
Still flying here.

Served my country well and for a long time so me likey
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:43:00 AM EST
Going to the Moon was not worth the money.

But the scientific and other advancements we got from the program where very much worth it in the long run.

Without the FB-11 would the B2 been built?

SGtar15
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:43:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By FiftyCalibre:
Still flying here.

Served my country well and for a long time so me likey



So what? No one wants to invade AUS?!?!?


SGtar15
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:46:04 AM EST
I thought that airplane rocked. Loved the sight of the burners during night time on takeoff........lots of power.

How capable of an aircraft, I really don't know. I thought they got the job done. Expensive, yes, but what the heck in our inventory isn't expensive. Great plane as far as I'm concerned.



This is NOT the instrument panel of that plane. But, I'll bet ya' already knew that!!

vmax84
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:47:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By sgtar15:

Originally Posted By FiftyCalibre:
Still flying here.

Served my country well and for a long time so me likey



So what? No one wants to invade AUS?!?!?


SGtar15



Nobody except Indonesia and maybe China...

Indonesia is just too shit to invade right now
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:56:24 AM EST
And this little person is NOT an FB-111 co-pilot. Maybe someday, but for now, she's content being a Cessna Caravan co-pilot and sharing her gaterade with her favorite "captain". What a great kid. Sorry, not trying to hi-jack this thread. Just enjoy airplanes and kids.



vmax84

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:01:45 AM EST
I bet they are not very popular in Libya, and I bet Col. Qadhafi is not a big fan of them. President Reagan seemed to be a big fan of them, They did help put a stop to the terror that Col Qadhafi was supportin the 80's when we flew them from England and bombed him and his family.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:02:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By vmax84:
I thought that airplane rocked. Loved the sight of the burners during night time on takeoff........lots of power.

How capable of an aircraft, I really don't know. I thought they got the job done. Expensive, yes, but what the heck in our inventory isn't expensive. Great plane as far as I'm concerned.

img74.exs.cx/img74/7007/Jul2107.jpg

This is NOT the instrument panel of that plane. But, I'll bet ya' already knew that!!

vmax84



Thats a Caravan. Vmax84, who do you fly for? I fly one for skydivers. Ben, The_Emu
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:05:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2004 5:08:53 AM EST by PosterChild]
Ask Lybia!


Edited to add....

Damn it. 1-75Ranger beat me to it.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:07:02 AM EST
Fly for Superior Aviation out of Lansing Michigan, back and forth to Cadillac 5 days a week. We deliver the UPS next day air freight. I fly about 35 minutes in the morning, 35 minutes at night. Not really over worked by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, I get to take "co-pilots" quite a bit, which is always a blast. The girls are getting pretty good with the Caravan, but then again, it's not an FB-111 now, is it?!!

vmax84
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:19:37 AM EST
The precursor to the B-1...

Impressive plane, the jammer-version even has a MiG-29 kill from Iraq (flew the Iraqi fighter into the ground)....

Also, remember it was originally designed as a fighter, the AF counterpart to the F-14...
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:20:16 AM EST
The strenght of the FB111 was its terrain/ground following radar. At that time it could fly at tree top level at I think supersonic speeds. With todays with microminture SOA ICs, that is not a big deal, but at the time it came into service it was a big deal. The USA is always known for its cutting edge military air craft.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:23:34 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:26:21 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:30:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By FiftyCalibre:
Still flying here.

Served my country well and for a long time so me likey



I was an instructor teaching avionics on the Aardvark(T32651C). Your countrymen had a penchant for spraypainting red 'roo silouettes inside the equipment access panels. We were still finding them when I left in 1977.

Stationed at Pease AFB,NH and Lowry AFB near Denver. Both closed now.
Worked on the com/nav, ECM, TFR, and IFF gear as well as the test stations.
Some of the avionics was problematic, especially the ECM gear (RHAW and IR detectors). MTBF sometimes under a 100 hours. I wondered how many would make it to Moscow.
It took dedicated people to keep them flying.
It was one of the first almost all digital aircraft. Ever hear of DTL?
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:30:45 AM EST
VMAX,
your job sounds like heaven. im green with envy. not only would i like time in a caravan but the idea of 2 hops a day and home everynight constituting a "job" sounds like perfection.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:34:50 AM EST
the F-111 platform kicks ass!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:37:27 AM EST
I like it A LOT!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:45:50 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:48:21 AM EST
My favorite F-111 pic



Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:58:09 AM EST
Tom Connelly - "Senator, there isn't enough thrust in all of Christindom to make a fighter out of the F-111." and with that, the F-14 was born.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:59:09 AM EST
A guy I work with is a retired USAF colonel who was an EF-111 pilot. On the first night of Desert Storm, he was leading the first big strike Downtown as SEAD lead, loaded up with jammers and HARMs.

During ingress, he engaged and destroyed a couple of SAM sites...but one nearly got him.

He told me that he and his Wizzo get a late lock from an SA-6 Gainful SAM site. The Iraqi was already in the track mode and about to fire. Marty reefed the plane around in a tight diving turn while the Wizzo tried to lock up a HARM and shoot the bastard. During their violent maneuvering, they were unable to lock the SAM site up and he was losing precious energy and altitude attempting to do kill him...and not be killed in the alternative. At this time, the Iraqi must have broken lock too...because he didn't fire then. Finally, Marty just went zone-5 and evaded on the deck...and the dude fired at him. Fortunately, the missile missed...which is why I can relate to you this story.

Afterwards Marty and his other EW dudes analyzed the engagement and he and his Wizzo realized that the reason they weren't hit was because they had been corkscrewing down almost on top of the Iraqi SAM battery and were within his cone of silence for the search radar and within min range!. When they tried to egress...they almost ate it big time. The Iraqi was tracking them optically!

They won the DFC for that mission.

He also said that the plane was prone to bad compressors stalls and eating engines....but when right, it would do nearly Mach 3 at altitude clean. That is fast.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 5:59:32 AM EST

Originally Posted By QCMGR:
It was a bad compromise. Read the history of its development. Once the Navy backed out it became an FB. In the end, the AF got the F-15 and the Navy got the F-14. The only real winner was the AF with the F-15. I still think it looked cool but it was not the best design.



Ahhhh. actually it was originally designed to be a fighter bomber.

www.wpafb.af.mil/museum/research/fighter/f111a.htm

Originally known as the TFX (Tactical Fighter "X"), the F-111 was conceived to meet a USAF requirement for a new tactical fighter-bomber. In 1960, the Department of Defense combined the USAF's requirement with a Navy need for a new air superiority fighter, then launched a competition among aircraft manufacturers for the final design. In 1962, General Dynamics and Boeing were selected as finalists with the General Dynamics TFX design eventually winning out. The Navy version was known as the F-111B and the USAF version the F-111A. The first flight of the F-111A took place in December 1964, and the first production models were delivered to the USAF in 1967. Meanwhile, the Navy's F-111B program was canceled. In all, 562 F-111s of all series were built; 159 of them were preproduction and production F-111As.

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:01:30 AM EST

Originally Posted By TexasEd:
My favorite F-111 pic

users.waymark.net/0002596-1/pics/torch.jpg




That looks like they have just suffered a bad compressor stall and the engine has just blown up. That flame is unburned fuel igniting in the exhaust. Not normal...
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:03:29 AM EST

Originally Posted By vmax84:
And this little person is NOT an FB-111 co-pilot. Maybe someday, but for now, she's content being a Cessna Caravan co-pilot and sharing her gaterade with her favorite "captain". What a great kid. Sorry, not trying to hi-jack this thread. Just enjoy airplanes and kids.

img74.exs.cx/img74/5136/Jun0745.jpg

vmax84




Very cute kid.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:07:34 AM EST

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By TexasEd:
My favorite F-111 pic

users.waymark.net/0002596-1/pics/torch.jpg




That looks like they have just suffered a bad compressor stall and the engine has just blown up. That flame is unburned fuel igniting in the exhaust. Not normal...



They used to do it in airshows.

They hit the 'fuel dump', wait a second, and then punch in the afterburners.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:11:58 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:19:26 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:23:22 AM EST

Originally Posted By QCMGR:
...even the F-4 was designed as a F/B as opposed to a true "Gun Fighter."


Yep. It didn't even come with a gun when it was made operational. Just AAMs.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:29:52 AM EST
The Tornado is better. The Ardvark had to carry all ordnance on the wing pylons. The landing gear door arangement made belly pylons impossible.

That said, the day the EF-111 was retired, was a sad day for the DoD. Now Navy EA-6Bs have to do all the work, and the prowler airframe is even older than the F-111.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:30:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2004 6:32:15 AM EST by QCMGR]
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:46:25 AM EST

Originally Posted By QCMGR:


I guess, kind of. However, the F comes before the B.hter



True, but calling a F-111 a fighter because of it's 'F' designation is like calling the F-117 a fighter. It's more of a tactical bomber. The F-111's air to air capabilities were very limited compared to other fighters of the time.

Don't get me wrong I kind of liked the F-111 but after working on them they were a maintenance nightmare.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:47:37 AM EST
Overkill.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 6:58:51 AM EST
Good, Bad, and not quite Ugly.

The only complaint we ever had about the avionics on these airplanes was the NCI panel made by Singer-Kearfott, and that was likely caused by poor choices for the architecture of the various busses. This particular unit was slow and unreliable with a very short MTBF. It was slow because while the rest of the airplane was talking at high bit rates for an airplane of that era, the NCI passed serial data at 1200 baud.

The F-111 probably has the most sensitive and accurate INS system ever installed in an airplane, big time overkill IHMO, but on the other hand, backup long range navigation still relied on old fashioned methods.

Side by side crew station, two motors, lots of gas, and a swing wing - what's not to like?!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 11:50:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2004 11:51:55 AM EST by TaylorWSO]

Originally Posted By AeroE:
Good, Bad, and not quite Ugly.

The only complaint we ever had about the avionics on these airplanes was the NCI panel made by Singer-Kearfott, and that was likely caused by poor choices for the architecture of the various busses. This particular unit was slow and unreliable with a very short MTBF. It was slow because while the rest of the airplane was talking at high bit rates for an airplane of that era, the NCI passed serial data at 1200 baud.

The F-111 probably has the most sensitive and accurate INS system ever installed in an airplane, big time overkill IHMO, but on the other hand, backup long range navigation still relied on old fashioned methods.

Side by side crew station, two motors, lots of gas, and a swing wing - what's not to like?!



Maybe if you mean when it 1st came out, but that thing sucks compared to the ring laser gyros of today. I have a lot of friends (prior 111 WSOs) that flew that thing and the WSO's always talk about it shitting its self, running off and getting lost.

As far as the airframe goes- It did what is was supposed to do during the cold war- GO fast as shit on the deck, under the radars, and strike deep in the heart of bear country. Not really a air to air fighter without the A/A radar. Just a bomber.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 12:58:03 PM EST
When I was on the AWACS program back in the early '80's, I used to see the maintenance man-hours per flight hour for most of the USAF fleet. The only USAF aircraft worse than the FB-111 was the B-52G. The B-52H had a much better record.




Link Posted: 10/15/2004 1:08:03 PM EST
The F-111B was the naval version of the TFX fighter project, which had been decreed by Secretary of Defense McNamara to be designed in common with the Air Force version, even though the requirements were completely different. In retrospect, this turned out to be a serious mistake.

The F-111A and B aircraft shared the same primary structure, the same fuel system, the same pair of Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-1 turbofans, and the same two-seat cockpit in which the two crew members sat side-by-side. In an emergency, the cockpit doubled as an escape capsule which was blown free from the aircraft to parachute to the ground. However, the F-111B's nose was 8 feet 6 inches shorter than the F-111A's because of the need of the aircraft to fit on existing carrier elevator decks, and had 3 feet 6 inch extended wingtips in order to increase the wing area so that the on-station endurance time would be improved. The Navy F-111B version would carry a Hughes AN/AWG-9 pulse-Doppler radar and an armament of six Hughes Phoenix missiles. The Air Force F-111A version would be provided with the General Electric AN/APQ-113 attack radar and the Texas Instruments AN/APQ-110 terrain- following radar and would carry an armament of air-to-ground stores.

Both the Phoenix missiles and the AN/AWG-9 radar had evolved from the earlier abortive Douglas F6D Missileer program. The Phoenix missile fire-control system owed much to the USAF's ASG-18 system which had originally been developed for the abortive F-108 Rapier project.

Since General Dynamics lacked any experience with carrier-based fighters, it teamed with Grumman (an experienced builder of naval fighters) for the development and subsequent manufacture of the F-111B. It was decided that Grumman would do the integration of the naval electronics package and would assemble and test the entire F-111B aircraft. In addition, Grumman was selected as a subcontractor to build the aft fuselage and landing gear of both Navy and Air Force F-111 aircraft.

The first F-111B (Bu No 151970) was assembled at Bethpage from components produced by both General Dynamics and Grumman. It was powered by the same pair of Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-1 turbofans that powered the F-111A. Pending the availability of the escape capsule, the first F-111B was equipped with a pair of conventional ejector seats. It was rolled out at Bethpage on May 11, 1965 and transported by land to Calverton. It made its first flight at Calverton on May 18, flown by Ralph "Dixie" Donnell and Ernie von der Heyden. Aside from a problem with compressor stall (as already experienced by the F-111A), the first flight was trouble-free.

The first Naval Preliminary Evaluation was held at NATC Patuxent River in October of 1965. The F-111B was already in trouble since it was seriously overweight. Takeoff weight for a fully-equipped aircraft was estimated at nearly 78,000 pounds, well over the upper limit of 55,000 pounds as required by the Navy.

The problems with the overweight F-111B were so severe that General Dynamics and Grumman were forced into a Super Weight Improvement Program (SWIP), most of the changes being incorporated into the fourth and subsequent F-111Bs. The fourth F-111B (BuNo 151973) was fitted with an escape capsule in place of the individual ejector seats that were fitted to the first three F-111Bs. However, the fitting of this capsule more than offset the weight reductions achieved by the SWIP, and the F-111B remained grossly underpowered. Range was also below specifications and could only be increased by adding more fuel, making the aircraft even heavier.

In order to correct the underpower problem and to eliminate compressor stalls (which were also problems for the land-based F-111As), the first of 32 production F-111Bs (BuNos. 152714/152717, 153623/153642, and 156971/156978) which had been ordered was powered by a pair of TF30-P-12 turbofans, each rated at 12,290 lb.s.t. dry and 20,250 lb.s.t. with afterburning.

The third F-111B (BuNo 151972) was allocated to trials with the Phoenix missile system. Four Phoenix missiles were to be carried on swiveling pylons underneath the wings, with two Phoenix missiles being housed inside the fuselage weapons bay. The first successful firing of a Phoenix missile took place in July of 1967.

By October 1967, the Navy was finally convinced that the F-111B was a lost cause and would never be developed into a useful carrier aircraft and recommended that the project be terminated. The axe finally fell in May of 1968 when both houses of Congress refused to fund F-111B production. On July 19, 1968, a stop-work order was issued and the terms of formal contract termination were agreed upon in December of that year. This included the cancellation of 28 production F-111Bs (BuNos 153623/153642 and 156971/156978). The seventh and last F-111B (152715) was delivered on February 28, 1969, after $377 million had spent on the program.

Tests continued at Point Mugu and China Lake even after the F-111B program had been terminated. BuNo 151974 was used for carrier trials aboard the USS *Coral Sea* (CVA-43) in July of 1968. The Hughes Aircraft Corporation flew BuNo 1542715 (the last F-111B completed before project termination) until the spring of 1971. By that time, a total of 1748 hours had been flown and two F-111Bs had been lost in crashes. 151973 went down off the coast of Long Island on April 21, 1967, and 151971 was lost off the coast of California on September 11, 1968. The surviving five aircraft were permanently grounded in 1971.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 2:36:13 PM EST
My first choice out of nav school was an EF-111, but by 1997, they just hadn't gotten around to removing it from the possible choices on the dream sheet. I got a B-1B instead...
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 2:46:29 PM EST
The last EF-111 rolled off the assembly line in 1967.

The last EA-6B rolled off the assembly line in 1991.



Originally Posted By Unknown1Sailor:
Now Navy EA-6Bs have to do all the work, and the prowler airframe is even older than the F-111.

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 2:50:06 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2004 2:53:21 PM EST by davidenorth]
F-111's use to fly over Hahn AB in Germany in the late 80's while I was stationed there. Usually, they came in low and fast, impressive. I will never forget the whine of the F-16's that Hahn had stationed. A friend of mine got to go on a incentive ride in a D model down the Mosul River valley low and fast.

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 2:50:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By LWilde:

Originally Posted By TexasEd:
My favorite F-111 pic

users.waymark.net/0002596-1/pics/torch.jpg




That looks like they have just suffered a bad compressor stall and the engine has just blown up. That flame is unburned fuel igniting in the exhaust. Not normal...



Nope, look where the fuel dump is located at:



Best photo I've ever seen of an F-111 doing this.

Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:05:12 PM EST
A while ago, the defence minister wanted to get rid of the F111's, so a crew did a little "run" over his house and taped the bomb sight vision thingy, of them "dropping a bomb" into his bedroom window.

The next day he stopped trying to get rid of them.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:08:06 PM EST

Originally Posted By FiftyCalibre:
A while ago, the defence minister wanted to get rid of the F111's, so a crew did a little "run" over his house and taped the bomb sight vision thingy, of them "dropping a bomb" into his bedroom window.

The next day he stopped trying to get rid of them.



Very well done!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:10:07 PM EST

Originally Posted By Phil_in_Seattle:
Best photo I've ever seen of an F-111 doing this.

www.elchineroconcepts.com/F111_FuelFlame.jpg



HOLY CRAP!
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:10:51 PM EST

Originally Posted By PointlessSilly:
Tom Connelly - "Senator, there isn't enough thrust in all of Christindom to make a fighter out of the F-111." and with that, the F-14 was born.



>> Adm. Connelly is said to be the namesake for the F-14 Tomcat. Others have said that the F-14 was also named for Adm. Tom Moorer, but given Tom Connelly's involvement in exposing the F-111B as an overweight fiasco (as a naval fighter) and his developing the essential requirements for a fighter that became the F-14, I believe the folks at Grumman named the Tomcat for Adm. Connelly.

The F-14 ended up inheriting the F-111B's radar, Phoenix missiles, and unfortunately the F-111's TF30s.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:12:08 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/15/2004 4:13:07 PM EST by Stryfe]



Mmmmm... Electric Fox
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:14:29 PM EST

Originally Posted By TaylorWSO:

Originally Posted By AeroE:
Good, Bad, and not quite Ugly.

The only complaint we ever had about the avionics on these airplanes was the NCI panel made by Singer-Kearfott, and that was likely caused by poor choices for the architecture of the various busses. This particular unit was slow and unreliable with a very short MTBF. It was slow because while the rest of the airplane was talking at high bit rates for an airplane of that era, the NCI passed serial data at 1200 baud.

The F-111 probably has the most sensitive and accurate INS system ever installed in an airplane, big time overkill IHMO, but on the other hand, backup long range navigation still relied on old fashioned methods.

Side by side crew station, two motors, lots of gas, and a swing wing - what's not to like?!



Maybe if you mean when it 1st came out, but that thing sucks compared to the ring laser gyros of today. I have a lot of friends (prior 111 WSOs) that flew that thing and the WSO's always talk about it shitting its self, running off and getting lost.

As far as the airframe goes- It did what is was supposed to do during the cold war- GO fast as shit on the deck, under the radars, and strike deep in the heart of bear country. Not really a air to air fighter without the A/A radar. Just a bomber.



I almost agree, but INS is more than the gyro, or even the entire inertial measurement unit. On the other hand, I never worked on a B1 or B2 INS, so I can't compare the F-111 to them.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:20:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By QCMGR:
Remember, at that time (early 60's) the only real "Gun Fighter" was the F-104 and possibly the F-8 Crusader. Everything else as either an Interceptor or a F/B. The interceptors were designed to shoot down Soviet Bombers


F104 was an interceptor, hence the big engine, small airframe, short legs setup. Detect incoming attack, launch F104, engage bombers, return to base.

even the F-4 was designed as a F/B as opposed to a true "Gun Fighter" .

The tactics at the time the F4 was designed revolved around long range missile engagements.
Some blue on blue incidents in VN caused a change in the ROE that required visual confirmation. This is not what the F4 was designed for and it was hurt because of it. This lead to the introduction of the gun to the E models.
Link Posted: 10/15/2004 4:23:18 PM EST


Zero feet at the speed o' heat

They used to fly these out of Upper Heyford not too far from were I live… an unforgettable sight and sound.

Andy
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