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About cmayer

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    WWII, Vietnam-era U.S. Jets, Post-Vietnam to Present Day U.S. Jets
  1. The most disappointing part of the Testors kit, at the time of its release, was how badly they messed up the forward cockpit/windscreen/canopy shape and proportions...our little airplane group in Minnesota had copies of the SR-71 drawings that John Lear had done for Testors, and they were fantastic(!); and we collectively were so jazzed for that kit with much anticipation...then when the plastic was released, it didn't resemble John's drawings at any location...but I always thought the worst was the front canopy. That is where the eyes are drawn first, when looking at the overall airframe, and defines the 'sinister' look of the Blackbird. Would be great if someone captured the shape and proportions of the Blackbird, in any scale. Just putting a black dagger-shaped chunk of plastic on wheels and calling it a Blackbird is just such a disappointment.
  2. For color schemes: yes, all USAF F-15C/Ds in Desert Storm were still painted in the 1970s-era "Compass Ghost" (lighter) 2-tone gray scheme; specifically, FS36375 and FS36320. I don't think the "Mod-Eagle," or "PACAF-Eagle," darker 2-tone gray scheme started to appear until ~1992, a year or more after Desert Storm. The Eglin jets had a mix of "original" color national insignia and the newer, tactical black outline national insignia. Recall the color U.S. insignia were the "borderless" full-color blue disc/white star/red white bars, without the overall blue outline surround, as applied by McDonnell in the factory-paint scheme, and maintained by USAF paint shops until they began the black-outline insignia. Check photo references for the specific airframe you want to do. I recall some of the full-color aircraft had their 2-tone gray camouflage so faded that it nearly looked like one color overall; which would make an interesting model. As to "MSIP" upgrade: also yes, all the C-models in Desert Shield/Storm had the MSIP upgrades and would have had the cockpit layouts and antennas associated with that. The Eglin jets, specifically, were 85 and 86 models, and were MSIP configured from the factory...but that is completely separate from the camouflage/color schemes at the time...so "Light Grays" and MSIP configuration for all the Eglin, Langley, Bitburg, and Soesterberg F-15C/Ds in Shield/Storm...also: AMRAAM AIM-120 missiles did not get to the theater until the end of hostilities with Iraq...F-15 CAPs in April 91, and maybe as early as March, began carrying AIM-120s, but during air-to-air engagements of "Desert Storm" proper (Jan-Feb-early March), ordnance loads were AIM-7Ms and AIM-9Ms...hope that helps. Cheers.
  3. Anyone know why the current owners (Texas Flying Legends?) removed the vertical fin fillet?
  4. cmayer

    F4 Phantom

    Gents - I've thought about this discussion since the last response in September 2015. Today, a guy on Facebook posted the photo below, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Bolo. Not sure, but I assume this is a version of the photo that Darren Howie may have sent to some of you as PMs nearly two years ago(?). This photo is purported to show Olds taxiing back to parking at Ubon after landing from Bolo on 2 Jan 67. It's a black and white half-tone, taken from a magazine or book (is it from the '97 Air & Space issue Pete talked about earlier in this thread?), and isn't as clear as one might hope. Further, there's no absolute way to establish the provenance of the serial number or the actual date the photo was taken. But I think it establishes it more likely than not (to borrow a term from the NFL) that 63-7680 had a "slick" radome on or near 2 Jan 67. Note also the ECM pod on the right outboard station, and the obvious slick nose (no IR/RHAW chin pod), and the white numbers "680" visible on the vertical stab. The ECM pod is likely the detail to make the date more believable (I'm not aware of any other missions in 1966-67 where 8 TFW F-4s carried ECM pods on the right outboard station). I also want to add to Pete's theorem about fighter pilots not being prone to remember the minute details of configurations and markings: I agree completely with his assessment and experience that most pilots would not reliably remember details like this...unless, they had a *reason* to remember a detail like this...the second photo Darren described was of Olds having a cigarette underneath a slick radome F-4. That photo was auctioned off with a description that it was a framed photo from Olds's personal effects; and that it had a description on the back of the frame that said it was Olds, just prior to launch on Bolo. Now, that does not *prove* that the photo was actually taken on the morning of Bolo; and it does not show the tail number, or the nose gear number...but if Olds himself looked at that photo on his desk for untold years after the event, it's possible that *he* believed it was in fact a photo of himself, having the last smoke before launching on Bolo. That is, I think Olds believed he remembered that detail (the slick nose radome) because he had a memento and reminder in front of him every day that showed that exact detail. For all we know, it may be that he actually "requested" a slick-nose jet when building the schedule for Bolo...I know that many Phantom pilots believed that the slick radome gave them a speed advantage, because of the cleaner air flow. Even if there was only a nominal speed advantage of a few knots, if Olds and JB Stone tried to build a 4-ship of slick-nosed Phantoms to lead Bolo, that would be a reason to remember that detail, i.e., if the slick radomes were part of the plan, and not just a random detail that didn't contribute to the mission planning, that would be a detail he would remember. Let me emphasize that I don't have any source that says Olds, or any of the Bolo planners, specifically asked for slick-nosed F-4s. I'm just using that as an illustration of why a detail seemingly so mundane or random in most instances would stand out in Olds's memory that he would have been so insistent when he discussed the Bolo painting with Keith Ferris. I believe, that whatever the reason, he in fact *had* a reason that made it an important enough detail to impress upon Ferris to include in the painting. Finally: is this photo "proof" that 680 had a slick nose on 2 Jan 67? I don't know. I can't verify the provenance, or that it is even AF37-680 on that vertical stab. But to me, it makes it more probable than not, that 680 had the slick nose when Olds flew it during Bolo. I'm still hopeful that someone will come forward with clearer photos and provenance of dates to establish that 680 had a slick nose (or that it didn't). Thanks for letting me be a part of the discussion. It's really fascinating the details that you guys are able to dig up 50 years after the events we try to understand. Photo via Michael France/Facebook (probable Official U.S. Air Force Photo) Photo downloaded from online auction site (2015); auction description said from Robin Olds's personal effects; inscription on back reads "Morning of Bolo"
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