Flying an injured Warthog by the seat of her pants
April 13, 2003 10:45 PM   Subscribe

"It's been a rough few days for the A-10," the pilot told her father after she landed, but she assured him that the A-10 'Warthog' is a "a durable and reliable plane." It. Sure. Is. But the pilot brought it back from Baghdad in this condition with dead hydraulics, using only manual controls, and landed safely. The A-10 may be slower than birds, but it's loved by the Army.
via The Cellar's Picture of the Day
posted by Slithy_Tove (29 comments total)
Glad to see women flying combat missions, at least.

Are women in combat roles in the other branches of the military?
posted by MiG at 11:19 PM on April 13, 2003

[ Meh. My brain isn't engaged yet... I was wondering what they'd done wrong on the Thundridge Bypass this time... ]
posted by twine42 at 1:09 AM on April 14, 2003

Great links Slithy_Tove, i've always had a soft spot for that plane. It has a wonderful 'form follows function' philosophy that makes my geek heart swell with joy whenever i see one. In a perfect world, all vehicles would be as well built.

Kudos to Capt. Campbell for her safe landing.
posted by quin at 1:57 AM on April 14, 2003

Thundridge? I thought we were talking about the A10? :)
posted by viama at 1:59 AM on April 14, 2003

Warthog? Why do people insist on calling it that? It's an unofficial nickname, nothing more.

It's the A-10 Thunderbolt II. It's not officially known as the Warthog at all. It was named for the legendary P-47 Thunderbolt of WW2.

When I was about 12, I went to the Imperial Air Museum at Duxford in England. Two A-10s from a neighbouring field were coming back from an excercise and decided to buzz Duxford at low level. It was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced.
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:06 AM on April 14, 2003

It's the A-10 Thunderbolt II. It's not officially known as the Warthog at all.

Surely the name the pilots use is every bit as appropriate, if not more so, as the name a pentagon committee chose for the plane?

See also "thud" instead of thundercheif... "double ugly" instead of phantom, "Huey" instead of Iroquios. Hmm.... prolly the last one most of all... I'm pretty sure that 'the man in the street' is going to be more familiar with huey than iroquios (he says, extrapoliating his personal experience without statistical justification.)
posted by adamt at 2:51 AM on April 14, 2003

viama.. don't get me all paranoid! I was convinced I'd just moved a villiage in from Leicestershire! ;)

posted by twine42 at 3:10 AM on April 14, 2003

I understand it flys like a beast (warthog?) because it is so heavily armored. Nice to see the manual system over-ride working, redundancy is the key to any system outage, but redundancy that actually works on fail-over is an engineers pride and joy (see Chernobyl).
posted by stbalbach at 6:36 AM on April 14, 2003

The A-10 may be slower than birds, but it's loved by the Army.

The problem is, of course, is that it's loved by the Army -- but flown by the Air Force. The Air Force loves sexy fast supersonic fighters, and hates slow planes that have to interact with the Army to be effective.

The smart thing to do is to move the A-10 program over to the Army, to work in concert with the Army's close-support helicopters, but politics dictate that armed fixed-wing craft fly for the Air Force, not the Army.
posted by eriko at 6:57 AM on April 14, 2003

That plane is pretty amazing. They call it a "flying Gatling gun" - basically it's designed around the seven-barreled 30mm gun. It can fire 4,200 shells (2 lbs each) in a minute. Damn. Makes my inner gizmo-kid do a war dance.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2003

The Air Force loves sexy fast supersonic fighters, and hates slow planes that have to interact with the Army to be effective.

Not true, at least not in all cases. I was stationed at RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge (waves to tomcosgrave) back in the late '80s and the pilots LOVED the A-10. Pilots transferred from other aircraft (including one I know of personally from the SR-71) just to get to fly the A-10 which is more like flying and less like being a passenger to the computer.
posted by m@ at 7:43 AM on April 14, 2003

struggling to keep the anti-tank aircraft from crashing as it limped away from an ambush over Baghdad.

How exactly does one get "ambushed" by air defences???
posted by xiffix at 7:49 AM on April 14, 2003

Didn't the DOD decide to cancel A-10 production about 5 years ago? The Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to replace it.

If you can explain the logic of that decision, I'd love to hear it.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 8:29 AM on April 14, 2003

Great post Slithy_Tove - and thank you for introducing me to the Cellar which I had never heard of before. They really have some great stuff on there. Amazing pictures.
posted by vito90 at 8:45 AM on April 14, 2003

Too bad that the A-10 sprays depleted uranium all over the battlefield.
posted by mark13 at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2003

adamt: Iroquois IIRCis the "official" nickname for one version of the UH-1 series, Huey being a nickname for another --of course, Huey is far more common, but my point is that it was official at some point.

One point about the A-10: the sturdiness is built into the design (I had to study the A-10 for my senior design project back in my aero engineering college days). It shouldn't surprise you that a machine is doing what it's supposed to :-)...

Oh, and I have to say that after weeks and weeks of 5 groups of very competitive GaTech aero engineering seniors trying to out-design the A-10, we all pretty much submitted A-10 knock-offs. That Gattling gun built into the airframe and its need ofr survivability pretty much dictates its design. Got to respect that plane...
posted by costas at 9:06 AM on April 14, 2003

And it is too bad that Depleted Uranium had to be mentioned.

Why does this myth continue to propagate?

Since you posted that link from that site, how about posting more from the same site?

When breathed or eaten, small amounts of depleted uranium are carried in the blood to body tissues and organs; much the same as the more radioactive natural uranium. Despite this, no radiological health effects are expected because the radioactivity of uranium and depleted uranium are so low.

"(N)o evidence is documented in the literature of cancer or any other negative health effect related to the radiation received from exposure to natural uranium, whether inhaled or ingested, even at very high doses." - RAND 1999

"Taking into account the pathways and realistic scenarios of human exposure, radiological exposure to depleted uranium could not cause a detectable effect on human health (e.g. cancer)." - European Commission 2001 Report

"The radiological hazard is likely to be very small. No increase of leukemia or other cancers has been established following exposure to uranium or DU." - World Health Organization 2001 Report,
posted by da5id at 9:44 AM on April 14, 2003

Didn't the DOD decide to cancel A-10 production about 5 years ago? The Joint Strike Fighter is supposed to replace it.

The last A-10 rolled off the assembly line in 1984, and the company that made them (Fairchild Republic) stopped making airplanes in 1987. Here's more info on Fairchild's history and history of the A-10's production.

The Air Force wants to fly the A-10 until 2025. Replacing them with the JSF may be possible with its ability to hover, but I doubt it'll be half as tough as the A-10.
posted by zsazsa at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2003

Didn't the DOD decide to cancel A-10 production about 5 years ago?

Significantly longer than 5 years ago. I worked for Fairchild Republic for just over a year in 1986-87, production was already halted when I was there.
posted by a3matrix at 10:09 AM on April 14, 2003

I hope I got my dates right, a3matrix...
posted by zsazsa at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2003

I was running a ski lift on a crowded Saturday at a ski resort in Vermont when we got buzzed by a pair of A-10s. The noise was unbelievable and the planes looked like something out of Star Wars. Everyone looked up and cheered. The memory still makes me smile. I have a soft spot for A-10s now.
posted by swerve at 11:42 AM on April 14, 2003

The JSF will "hover" in the sense of being able to land vertically, but it's not as if it will hang motionless while loitering around the target area. Fuel consumption and handling problems alone would make that impractical as well as making the JSF one hell of an easy target.
posted by alumshubby at 11:52 AM on April 14, 2003

M@ & tomcosgrove, you were both at BW & WB?
posted by Juicylicious at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2003

da5id - interesting, I've read a lot about DU being a major problem and military protocol not allowing soldiers near burning tanks. Each shell is 10 pounds of Uranium that gets turned into 10 pounds of micro dust. It's made from spent nuclear reactor fuel and that's pretty darn hot. But your post seems to refute that I wonder why we keep hearing about DU seems like an open question.
posted by stbalbach at 2:18 PM on April 14, 2003

stalbach, you're grossly mistaken about what DU is. It's uranium as found in the environment MINUS the more radioactive bits. It's mined uranium "depleted" of the radiologically useful isotopes. It never got anywhere near a reactor. In fact, it exists specifically to be kept out of reactors, because it was not radioactive enough to support a reaction.
posted by NortonDC at 2:52 PM on April 14, 2003

I'll never forget the first time I called a CAS mission. I love those planes. When the gatling kicks you can see the plane slow down from the recoil. Friggin' awesome. It may be slow, but it makes makes impossibly sharp turns. When it comes down to it, the A-10 is the right tool for CAS and it's not often you see things work out that way in the land of military procurement. The day they retire the A-10 will be a sad one indeed.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:23 PM on April 14, 2003

I got buzzed by a pair of A-10s several weeks ago. They are a semi-regular sight around where I live. The A-10 was my first model airplane (2 generations of family in aerospace, you get the idea) and I will never forget her. She flies in this beautiful and thick yet nimble and fast way like nothing else.

posted by Tystnaden at 5:59 PM on April 14, 2003

I see DU sites like this and this and I don't know who to believe. This DU FAQ seems to shed some light and this BBC FAQ definatly points to potential harm. This probably deserves a FPP if not one allready.
posted by stbalbach at 8:37 PM on April 14, 2003

M@ & tomcosgrove, you were both at BW & WB?

I was stationed there. TomcosgrAve (my apologies for the misspelling) apparently was in the neighborhood.
posted by m@ at 7:14 AM on April 15, 2003

« Older Wait, I thought we beat 'em already!   |   Nationalise Google? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments