On a wing and a prayer...
October 4, 2006 5:11 AM   Subscribe

An Israeli military training mission gone bad. A mid-air collision during a simulated dogfight. An A4 Skyhawk goes down, and an F-15 Eagle decides to try and make it the 10 miles back to base. When the pilot lands, he finds out that he has definitively answered the question, Can this aircraft fly on just one wing? [video]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow (28 comments total)

 
Wing a prayer? No. Every pilot knows that prayer isn't nearly as useful as a string of obscenities.

The F-15 was originally built as a high altitude interceptor. Thus, it has far more wingspan than it needs at low altitiude. As a fighter, it needs to be vastly more manuervable than a regular jet, so the control surfaces are very large, and move quickly. As an interceptor, it needs to be fast, so it has a little extra in the way of engines.

So, it has the spare lift it needs and the ability to deal with the offset drag of losing a wing. So yes, an F-15 can fly with one wing gone.

Indeed, an F-15 can climb with *no* wings in certain configurations -- the engine thrust exceeds the weight of the plane, thus, it can fly like a rocket. It doesn't do this often, because that's expensive in fuel, but a stripped down F-15, the Streak Eagle went from brake release on the runway to 98,425 feet in 208 seconds, then coasted without thrust (flameout, lack of oxygen) to 103,000. MTOW of the Streak Eagle was 56,000 pounds, she was powered by two Pratt & Whitney F-100 turbofan engines, each putting out 25,000 pounds of thrust. The plane flew a max climb rate profile until about 30,000 feet, then pointed the nose straight the rest of the way.
posted by eriko at 5:24 AM on October 4, 2006


The music in that video makes me want to barf.
posted by thirteenkiller at 5:26 AM on October 4, 2006


Hey, nothing wrong with a little Joe Satriani, especially when it's accompanying supersonic fighter jets.
But, this is not exactly as advertised - no *actual* video of the accident, just cobbled-together stock footage and a few still photographs. And we never do find out how well the F-15 can deal with the MIG-25
posted by Flashman at 5:53 AM on October 4, 2006


I generally skip video posts, but this was worth watching. That is an awesome airplane (and quite a pilot as well)
posted by TedW at 5:56 AM on October 4, 2006


Flashman, I certainly saw what looked like video of a one winged F-15: the plane flying starting at 2:55 (just before the commercial break) and some landing video starting at 3:45. There was also a lot of what looked like stock footage, though.
posted by TedW at 6:01 AM on October 4, 2006


What's worse is the modified footage, where they've clearly "erased" the wing of a flying F-15. Only the stills on the ground are the real aircraft.

Still, an interesting tale.
posted by Dunwitty at 6:02 AM on October 4, 2006


TedW, that's the faked footage I was talking about. Note that it's pro film, stable, wide, not normal gun camera footage.
posted by Dunwitty at 6:02 AM on October 4, 2006


I'll have to go back and check it out more closely, then. It is certainly harder to spot altered video when it has been compressed for internet use.
posted by TedW at 6:57 AM on October 4, 2006


From mazola early this morning: wingless F-15. Unless that wing got sheared off on the ground, landing that plane is damn impressive.
posted by caddis at 7:38 AM on October 4, 2006


Caddis, that's the same F-15. Amazing to think it made it 10 miles in the air, isn't it?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:52 AM on October 4, 2006


Also, the Fifteen's fuselage is a lifting body, so few surprises here. I'd swear I've read something before about a USAF Strike Eagle (a two-seater attack bird) that lost half a wing and some of a stabilator yet RTB'd easily...ODS, maybe?
posted by pax digita at 8:00 AM on October 4, 2006


Man, fighter jets are cool.

The F-16 also has more thrust than weight, allowing it to accelerate vertically.

Cool.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:18 AM on October 4, 2006


That's some impressive flying.
posted by dazed_one at 9:54 AM on October 4, 2006


The F-16 also has more thrust than weight, allowing it to accelerate vertically.

A "clean" Fifteen, though much heavier, can also do this, supersonic straight up in full burner, from the airspace above the end of the base's active runway to way too high to see in (mumble) seconds. I'll have to look around YouTube and elsewhere to see if I can find video of this. Basically, the bird rotates off, retracts the gear, goes vertical, gets real tiny, disappears.

I think the all-time champ at speed-to-altitude may be the MiG-25 or its successor, the -31, which were designed specifically to intercept American strategic bombers In The Event (Which, Thank God). An experimental version of the F-104 Starfighter, the NF-104, could do this too, and one damn near killed Chuck Yeager on a test flight, as described/depicted in the book and movie The Right Stuff.

When a high-performance jet aircraft does this imitation of a ballistic missile, t's accelerating through most of the ascent, too, by burning off a lot of (fairly heavy) fuel in a hurry and ascending through progressively less dense air. It's a neat trick, but putting the engines in full burner for sustained periods can be kinda hard on them -- you wind up pulling the engines and sending them off to be rebuilt every x flight hours.

AFAIK the first aircraft ever built specifically to perform the feat of getting way up high in a hurry was the F8F Bearcat, designed largely with the kamikaze threat in mind.
posted by pax digita at 10:29 AM on October 4, 2006


So there are no actual pictures of teh wing damage? Lame.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on October 4, 2006


Ah... it's right at the end of the video clip. Typical of the history channel.
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM on October 4, 2006


no *actual* video of the accident, just cobbled-together stock footage

Worse, footage they use for the inverted bogey aircraft is not an A-4 Skyhawk, but a F-100 Super Saber, which is damnably annoying.

This pilot is a lucky son of a gun. It's surprising to me that his fuel didn't ignite. Take a look at what happens to an A-4 when a F-18 accidently takes of its wing (905 kb wmv file, more videos like that one here).
posted by moonbiter at 1:26 PM on October 4, 2006


I am reminded of two things: the amazing feats of modern engineering, and the horrible dramatized-footage crap places like the Discovery Channel and History Television use to fill half of their schedule. And don't even get me started on TLC.
posted by chrominance at 1:50 PM on October 4, 2006


Pretty awesome, but I just want to complain publicly about posts that link to link sites. At least just link to the video on youtube?

but yeah, that music, man. I think I'll be sure to avoid Heavy Metal if I'm browsing the History Channel.
posted by Phantomx at 4:37 PM on October 4, 2006


I realize it wasn't a real video, but was anyone else creeped out that they showed a missile actually firing in a training exercise?
posted by JMOZ at 4:55 PM on October 4, 2006


JMOZ - Well, atleast it wasn't clusterbombs.
posted by Artw at 5:08 PM on October 4, 2006


Besides this new F-15 information, I learned two things today:

1. The History Channel, at some point during the day, manages to broadcast shows that aren't about Nazis.

2. Fighter pilots don't wear anything under their flight suits.
posted by redteam at 5:48 PM on October 4, 2006


I remember reading about this in a fark thread the other day. Coincidence? ;-)

The F-15 is a pretty darn cool aircraft. Most aircraft are more sturdy than one might think. A 747's wing can flex in 60 feet either direction before snapping. It can have an engine fall off into Lake Michigan and nobody notices until landing. A DC-8 can have 18' of wing lopped off and still turn around and land.

Yet I'm still afraid to fly most of the time.
posted by drstein at 9:03 PM on October 4, 2006


PhantomX: but I just want to complain publicly about posts that link to link sites. At least just link to the video on youtube?

I don't understand this attitude toward "link sites" WTF is MetaFilter if not a "link site". Often these "link sites" provide a bit more in depth commentary than what is available from the video hosting site.

Disclaimer
posted by Dag Maggot at 9:40 PM on October 4, 2006


Dag, you shouldn't have commented on that, it just makes you look like a total asshat.

Unless it plays an integral part in a larger narrative, Metafilter FPPs should not be linking to threads on Slashdot, Digg, Plastic, or wherever else the kids are congregating these days. I don't see any justification for linking to any of the many poor digg-clone youtube/googlevideo embed sites, least of all yours.
posted by blasdelf at 10:52 PM on October 4, 2006


I am a total asshat. I have an ass for a hat and I wear it everywhere.
posted by Dag Maggot at 12:29 AM on October 5, 2006


I remember reading about this in a fark thread the other day. Coincidence?

Seeing as how I haven't been on Fark in a couple of years, yes.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:47 AM on October 5, 2006


I just now remembered to reply to this.

I don't understand this attitude toward "link sites" WTF is MetaFilter if not a "link site". Often these "link sites" provide a bit more in depth commentary than what is available from the video hosting site.

My problem isn't with the link sites. It's linking to the linking sites. It started when the external players for those sites wouldn't work on my browsers. Now that they work, I still think it's kind of pointless. And it's more direct to have the direct link to youtube or google video since then the relevant videos and such are right there.

And yes, this: "posted by pho3n1x 71 days 2 hours 15 minutes ago

this video is ranked 248 out of 5840

tags: flying, f-15, eagle, collision"

Sure does sound more in-depth.
posted by Phantomx at 1:02 PM on October 6, 2006


« Older A new voting protocol from Ron Rivest [pdf]...  |  Whether it's mislabeling his a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments