Hypothetical Blue Angels F8
Modeler's Concept of a Blue Angels F8
All images copyright of Ron Cline; permission requested.
Click to see modeler notes: Ron Cline's Blue Angel F8 concept
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[Webmaster's Notes: The link to Ron Cline's webpage of photos and model notes was provided by Cdr. Dave "Bio" Baranek USN (ret.), F-14 RIO and author of Topgun Days (Amazon.com). In addition, the following discussion of the pros and cons from former Crusader pilots provides interesting insights if the Blue Angels had selected a F8 for its demonstration team:]
How would the F8 been for the Blue Angels?
[Webmaster's Note: The following assessment was formed on the basis of the F-8 fighter pilot discussion on the F-8 for the Blue Angels.]
Concern for inverted flight, aleron rolls limited to just one at a time, and loop on takeoff were mentioned as the first limitations. Other pilots mentioned that the F-8's variable incidence wing caused inherent problems of section takeoffs. "It was too hard to go through the wing-up/wing-down routine in real close formation and look good." Another pilot colorfully questions, "Can you just imagine what a Blue Angel F8 diamond takeoff would look like when the leader calls for "wings down -- now" It would probably look like four hound dogs jumping out of a pickup truck going down the road at forty miles an hour."
Another concern F-8 pilots had was the difficulty of flyng F-8s in tight formation such as the Blues fly. One pilot commented, "One finds out his own wing tip is almost touching the UHT of the other aircraft. You simply cannot get these machines that close. We had to fly farther out---it looked pretty good but is much harder to maintain exact position. Just place two F-8 models together and this reality is easily seen."
Another mentioned problem is at the time the Blue Angels were trying to replace their F-11s, the F8 was hard to obtain, perhaps because of the ramping up of the Vietnam War or other production impedements.
Additionally, the F8 had a hard-lighting afterburner and might cause a section takeoff to look uncoordinated with one aircraft or another changing lead position.
With these concerns, many F8 pilots believed that the issues could be worked out, as they were for the various aircraft used by the Blues. For example, the flight control system of the A4 was completely redesigned for their use.
One pilot put it in good terms: "Good airshow planes need three things: noise, smoke, and danger (imminent chance of an accident). F-8 had all in spades. I like the current F-18s but they don't look very dangerous."
Another pilots adds, "We all forget how really good the F-8 was and how far ahead of its time performance wise. I stand by my earlier two cents worth that the F-8 would have been a great bird for the Blues and . . . the "Team" would have worked out all of the quirks, just like with every other aircraft they have flown."
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Created on ... January 01, 2013