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Irregular warfare offers new role for propeller driven aircraft
Flight International ^ | 26/10/10 | Stephen Trimble

Posted on 10/25/2010 9:06:30 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Irregular warfare offers new role for propeller driven aircraft

By Stephen Trimble

Bringing back the propeller-driven fighter in the age of counterinsurgency may seem to some a belated no-brainer or to others a wasteful diversion with potentially suicidal risk to the pilot.

As late as early 2008, the leadership of the US Air Force sided firmly with the sceptics. Lt Gen Donald Hoffman, then the USAF's top-ranking acquisition official, implied to a group of reporters in April of that year that the idea of deploying propeller-driven aircraft in modern combat is too risky.

"We can rebuild the [North American] P-51 - great airplane," said Hoffman, citing the propeller-driven Second World War fighter. Then, however, the former Lockheed Martin F-16 pilot pointed at each of the journalists. "All we need is you, you, you and you to go fly it into the threat zone," he said.

The Second World War P-51: a template for a modern-day propeller-driven fighter? Picture: Staff Sgt Jeremy Smith/US Air Force

Propeller-driven aircraft fly lower and slower than fast jets such as the F-16, and carry less cockpit armour than the "titanium bathtubs" surrounding pilots in the Fairchild A-10 or the Boeing AH-64 Apache.

It is this combination that drove the type out of the USAF inventory immediately after the Vietnam war, with the retirements of the Douglas A-1 Skyraider, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster and the de Havilland C-7 Caribou.

Paradoxically, however, the propeller-driven aircraft's ability to fly low and slow for long periods is responsible for a rebirth of enthusiasm within the USAF since shortly after Hoffman made his remarks about reintroducing the P-51.

The USAF leadership's position on the light attack mission would quickly

(Excerpt) Read more at flightglobal.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aerospace; coin; irregularwarfare; p51
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first 1-5051-78 next last

1 posted on 10/25/2010 9:06:33 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Actually the best platform I can see for close in fire support would be the Skyraider.
2 posted on 10/25/2010 9:10:51 PM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Why not UAV A-10's... or even UAV P-51's...
Maybe a stealth modified A-10...
3 posted on 10/25/2010 9:11:41 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: Eye of Unk

The Apache chopper and the A-10 ain’t too bad.


4 posted on 10/25/2010 9:12:14 PM PDT by Dick Bachert (The upcoming election is the most important in our lifetimes!!! BE THERE!!!!!!!)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Bad argument. P-51 is a bad design, for today.

a) Composites make for a stronger, lighter AC.

b) Turbo vs. the Allison or RR. 'nough said.

c) Much less cockpit clutter on the keeping the airplane in the air part.

d) Much more room for advanced avionics.

I'm fairly technically happy with the new AT-6 variant. How they do the operational doctrine, I haven't seen much of that.

/johnny

5 posted on 10/25/2010 9:16:21 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

6 posted on 10/25/2010 9:17:33 PM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: Eye of Unk

Right on. The able dog was a tough airplane, packing plenty of firepower.


7 posted on 10/25/2010 9:17:41 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: Eye of Unk

8 posted on 10/25/2010 9:19:22 PM PDT by SnuffaBolshevik
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To: sasportas

I was training in the AD when the Navy nixed the airframe...I loved that bird ...


9 posted on 10/25/2010 9:21:10 PM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: hosepipe
Don't need stealth A-10s if you have air superiority. And air superiority HAS to remain the #1 USAF goal. We own the high ground.

As a former zoomie, I sorta stand with the Marines on ground support.... It needs to go organic. Army should own the A-10s.

Perhaps I wouldn't be so opinionated if the AF didn't make TSgt cooks study Clausewitz and all the others if they want to make MSgt. ;)

/johnny

10 posted on 10/25/2010 9:21:52 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

http://www.802u.com/ offers an interesting concept at a very low cost. Much more cost effective than helicopters for many missions that don’t really need a helicopter.


11 posted on 10/25/2010 9:24:02 PM PDT by SeaHawkFan
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To: sukhoi-30mki

A lot of the article whizzed right on by me but there is a reason that many successful demo derby drivers still run contact-point ignitions.

When all the high-tech stuff is breaking down, what with directed energy weapons and whatnot, the last guy running wins...


12 posted on 10/25/2010 9:25:56 PM PDT by One Name
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To: sukhoi-30mki
We don need no steenking P-51s.


13 posted on 10/25/2010 9:26:13 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Defund National Peoples Radio!! Democrats are for free speech. Just not for you.)
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To: One Name
Yes exactly what we should have, an airframe thats redundant with cables, has a superior protection for the pilot, is basically built around one honking bad ass gun. Oh wait, I just described the A-10 Warthog. The problem is its not "sexy" and almost all through history if it doesn't have a sexy, macho image when it comes to procurement times it won't get built. One of the reasons the Warthog was almost shut down several times, its too friggin ugly. But arguably its a very effective airframe against low tech warfare. And the recent upgrade package has given it more lethality against smart weapons.
14 posted on 10/25/2010 9:36:25 PM PDT by Eye of Unk (If your enemy is quick to anger, seek to irritate him. Sun Tzu, The Art of War.)
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To: VeniVidiVici
It is not unusual to favor your own aircraft. In fact, it is a bit common. We probably all look at this in a different way, and in a different light. And if you didn't get to fly both the Jug and the Mustang, you were at a decided disadvantage. Here are my dozen reasons why the T-bolt was the superior fighter of the two.

1. The Republic Thunderbolt had a radial engine that could take hits and keep on running. I know of an actual case where a Jug brought a pilot back from Borneo after 8 hours in the air. The pilot landed with the master cylinder and three other cylinders blown out of commission. But the Jug kept chugging along, running well enough to bring its pilot back safely to his base at Morotai. I was there.

2. The Jug's radial engine was air cooled, instead of liquid cooled with a radiator system, like the Mustang's V-12. This is significant because one small caliber hit on an aluminum cooling line in a Mustang would let the coolant leak out, and when the coolant was gone, the engine seized, and the show was over.

I took a small caliber hit in a coolant tube over Formosa (Taiwan). When I landed back at base, my crew chief said, "Lieutenant, did you know you got hit?" I replied, "No." He continued, "You took a small caliber shell in the coolant tube on the right side of the engine. I'd give you between 10 and 15 minutes flying time remaining." I had just flown from Formosa, over nothing but the Pacific Ocean, to our fighter strip on Okinawa.

3. The P-47 could fly higher than the P-51. With its huge turbocharger, it could climb to over 40,000 feet. You could just look down at your enemy in a stall and smile. 4. The Jug could out dive the Mustang. As a matter of fact, it could out dive any enemy fighter, and at 7.5 tons loaded, it dove fast! I have personally been in a dive at what we called the "state of compressibility," at nearly 700 mph indicated air speed. I was scared to death, but with a tiny bit of throttle, I pulled it out at about 2,000-foot altitude, literally screaming through the sky.

5. The Thunderbolt had eight .50's. The Mustang had six. That's 33 1/3% more firepower. This made a major difference.

6. The later model Thunderbolt's could carry and deliver 2,500 pounds of bombs. (One 1,000-lb. bomb on each wing, and one 500 lb. bomb under the belly.) This was a maximum load and you had to use water injection to get airborne. But it would do this with sufficient runway. I have done this myself.

In addition to being a first class fighter, it was also a superb fighter-bomber and ground level strafer. Jugs practically wiped out the German and Italian railroads. I have strafed Japanese trains, troops, ships, gunboats, warships, airfields, ammo dumps, hangers, antiaircraft installations, you name it. I felt secure in my P-47.

7. The P-47 was larger and much stronger, in case of a crash landing. The Jug was built like a machined tool. Mustangs had a lot of sheet metal stamped out parts, and were more lightweight in construction. One example was the throttle arm. You can see the difference. What does all this mean? The safety of the fighter pilot.

8. The Thunderbolt had no "scoop" under the bottom. You can imagine what happens during a crash landing if your wheels would not come down (due to damage or mechanical trouble). On landing, it could make the P-51 nose over in the dirt as the scoop drags into the earth. In water (and I flew over the Pacific Ocean most of my 92 combat missions), it could cause trouble in a crash landing because the air scoop would be the first part of the aircraft to hit the water. Instead of a smooth belly landing, anything might happen.

9. The Thunderbolt had a much larger, roomier cockpit. You were comfortable in the big Jug cockpit. In my Mustang, my shoulders almost scraped the sides on the right and left. I was cramped in with all my "gear." I could not move around like I could in the P-47. I found the ability to move a little bit very desirable, especially on seven and eight hour missions.

10. The Mustang went from 1,150-horse power Allison engines to the Packard built Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that had 1,590 hp. The Thunderbolt started out with a 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney engine, and ended up with 2,800 war emergency hp with water injection. That's close to twice the power.

11. The Jug had a very wide landing gear. This made it easy to land just about anywhere, with no tendency to ground loop. Many times we had to land on rice paddies and irregular ground. When you set the Thunderbolt down, it was down. In the Far East, England, Africa, and Italy, this helped you get down and walk away from it. To me, that was very important for the safety of the pilot.

12. The Jug's record against all opposing aircraft is remarkable. The ratio of kills to losses was unmistakably a winner. Thunderbolt pilots destroyed a total of 11,874 enemy aircraft, over 9,000 trains, and 160,000 vehicles.


But, the big factor, above all else, it saved pilots in great numbers. Ask most fighter pilots who flew both in active combat and they will tell you that, given a choice to fly either one in combat, it would be the Juggernaut hands down.

Now one last thing: the P-51 Mustang was a superb fighter. I am fully aware of that! But, considering that I flew about every kind of mission the Pentagon could dream up, and a few they didn't know about, I will rate that 8 tons of destruction first as long as I live, and no one can change my mind. I was there. Simply walk up to one of them and see for yourself. http://www.chuckhawks.com/p47.htm
15 posted on 10/25/2010 9:42:47 PM PDT by flowerplough (Thomas Sowell: Those who look only at Obama's deeds tend to become Obama's critics.)
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To: VeniVidiVici

The dumbest thing the airfarce did was can the thunderbolt(P-47) for the p-51 for ground attack during the korean war.WTF?over.A BB will knock down a mustang whereas it would take another thunderbolt to knock down a thunderbolt.Mustangs are just hair dressers airplanes anyway.


16 posted on 10/25/2010 9:49:06 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: flowerplough

I read a quote from a WWII pilot, can’t remember which one, (Maybe Frances Gabreski?) that went something like this.

“If you wanted to pick up dames at the dance, you flew a P-51. If you wanted to fly in combat, get hit and survive, you flew a P-47.”


17 posted on 10/25/2010 9:50:14 PM PDT by Tailback
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To: Eye of Unk

No matter what gee-whiz night vision, blackberry-enabled scope and weapon system a Marine carries, I bet every last one has a knife.


18 posted on 10/25/2010 9:50:56 PM PDT by One Name
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To: Eye of Unk

Just paint a sharks mouth on the front of it and she will be beautiful.


19 posted on 10/25/2010 9:50:56 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Interesting article.

I actually thought of the t-6 when I saw the headline. The aircraft would be a success, I believe, and USAF pilots would like it (better than a drone anyhoo).

.

20 posted on 10/25/2010 9:51:33 PM PDT by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: flowerplough

That was a fun read! I’m glad you are still around to tell the story!


21 posted on 10/25/2010 9:55:33 PM PDT by Sicvee (Sicvee)
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

The one true advantage the Mustang had was range and it was also cheaper. Range is always important, but was it a decisive factor in Korea?


22 posted on 10/25/2010 9:56:58 PM PDT by Boiler Plate ("Why be difficult, when with just a little more work, you can be impossible" Mom)
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To: flowerplough

Wow! Just getting a post like this, real first-hand stuff, alone makes my $10 a month worthwhile!


23 posted on 10/25/2010 9:59:01 PM PDT by tanuki (O-voters: wanted Uberman, got Underdog....)
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To: flowerplough

I also can attest to the construction of the thunderbolt from being involved with rebuilding one that had bellylanded in a plowed field.The property owner said he was fine with the ditch that the bird made as he would just lay pipe in it.I have a friend who is rebuilding old 49th fighter group thunderbolts(3) in australia.Were you ever at finchhaven or dobodura?I am a big 49th FG fan.Thanks so much for what you did and did quite well.


24 posted on 10/25/2010 10:01:40 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: VeniVidiVici

My Uncle as well as Wife’s Uncle flew P-47 “Jugs” in WW-II.

They weren’t the greatest fighter apparently, but they were one heck of a ground support vehicle and were about the closest thing to a flying tank they had back then.

Pretty decent dive bomber too, it seems.

The P-47 IIRC was one of the first to use A2G rockets extensively and effectively.

If one were to resurrect a WW-II design - an appealing but probably impractical option - I would think that replacement of the piston engine with a turboprop would be requisite for fuel compatibility with other aircraft and ground vehicles, as well as much less maintainance required on the turbos.
These planes were pushing the envelope on speed at which you could safely bail out - ejection seats would have to be incorporated IMHO.

Some kind of STOL capability would be a plus for operating in remote areas.

One nice thing about the A-10 or other jets; you don’t have a prop to shoot through. A machine gun can be synchronized, but can that work with a Vulcan system?
Mounting heavy gun pods out on the wings might be tough on the airframe I would think.

Any prop plane is hard to keep quiet; the A-10 has a reputation for being “silent death” to the enemy, we’re told.

As much as I would love to see a turbopropped P-48 or P-51, I don’t really see it in the cards for serious military application.


25 posted on 10/25/2010 10:02:30 PM PDT by George Varnum (Liberty, like our Forefather's Flintlock Musket, must be kept clean, oiled, and READY!)
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To: Seaplaner
The Iraqi Air Force is getting an AT-6. Personally, I am a fan of the Super Tucano. Already developed, built for hardpoints instead of having them added later.

We aren't talking about a replacement for tactical aircraft, we are talking about a mixed ISR/FAC(A)/light attack aircraft to be used in a specific permissive counter insurgency environment.

There is the opportunity to procure the Tucano, but it was shot down in Congress because it wasn't a U.S. produced aircraft. This was an all but done deal and now the troops this aircraft was supposed to support have to go without.

26 posted on 10/25/2010 10:05:59 PM PDT by USNBandit (sarcasm engaged at all times)
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To: flowerplough

Great post. Thanks for the education.


27 posted on 10/25/2010 10:15:07 PM PDT by StAntKnee (I keep thinking I'm gonna wake up from this dream theatre of the absurd.)
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To: USNBandit
[the Super Tucano is] Already developed, built for hardpoints instead of having them added later.

Excellent points.

.

28 posted on 10/25/2010 10:22:12 PM PDT by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: Boiler Plate

Where did you hear it was cheaper?Did you know that Packard had to pay royalties to rollsroyce of $5000.00 US per merlin built under licence?That was a boatload of money that did not stay here in America whereas Pratt&Whitney was an American company that supplied the engines for the P-47s as well as the Corsair,P-61,Hellcat,B-26 and on and on and on. Maintainence was also better on the thunderbolt than the mustang.Just ask any mechanic that works on them today.


29 posted on 10/25/2010 10:37:48 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: flowerplough

thank you for all this info. We are lucky to have Freepers with your kind of personal experience, and lucky that you fill us in knowing we are your friends here on FP. What a great online community.

and, thanks for your service.


30 posted on 10/25/2010 10:41:56 PM PDT by moodyskeptic (Cultural warrior with a keyboard)
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To: VeniVidiVici

The P47 was better than the P51 at ground attack. No coolant lines or radiator.


31 posted on 10/25/2010 10:42:47 PM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage http://www.appleseedinfo.org)
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To: Boiler Plate

Sorry,I didnt answer your question fully.All the range in the world does you no good at all if the motor craps out on you on the way home.Round motors brought alot of guys home.Mustangs didnt fair that well in korea as they were not used for what they were designed for.It was politics pure and simple.


32 posted on 10/25/2010 10:43:48 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Maybe somebody here can answer this. I wonder how a P-47 would stack up against a skyraider AD-1? I realize we are talking two very differently designed airplanes. The former was an attack aircraft originally designed to operate off carriers. Certainly not designed as a fighter, whereas the P-47 was a fighter-bomber.


33 posted on 10/25/2010 10:49:59 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: flowerplough; HANG THE EXPENSE; George Varnum

Wow! I’m in awe. I love firsthand posts and flowerplough, yours was one of the best in awhile!

I was fortunate enough to have a chance to interview General Doolittle at his home in Carmel, CA in 1985. Of course it would be silly NOT to ask about the raid and I’m sure by 1985 he’d only told the story a hundred thousand times, but he told it like it was his first time. My cohort and I were held spellbound as he gave us his firsthand account.

Anyhow, reading your P-47 post made me think of that interview!

For anyone who is interested, and I have a feeling Flowerplough may have seen it, but there is a History Channel upload on YouTube about P-47 dogfights. It’s a series of five videos, very well done, each about 10mins. I left each link open so you can cut and paste the link easily if you need to.

Dogfights: The Thunderbolt Part 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0WQV-f-dV8&feature=related

Dogfights: The Thunderbolt Part 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owwUq7yirfE&feature=related

Dogfights: The Thunderbolt Part 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhGlTAtkwLI

Dogfights: The Thunderbolt Part 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUU9oAuG06Q&feature=related

Dogfights: The Thunderbolt Part 5
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBNmBHh53Fk&feature=related

As far as bringing back some sort of prop aircraft; they kick the idea around every so often. I think as late as 1995 there still were some (props) organic to the Army or USAR. Anyone know if they still have some that are actually being used?


34 posted on 10/25/2010 10:54:16 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Defund National Peoples Radio!! Democrats are for free speech. Just not for you.)
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To: VeniVidiVici

I can blow the whole night watching Dogfights.I pull them up on youtube and the history is researched very well.The picture of the T-bolt you have is that of the fighter collection of Duxford England by the way.Thank much


35 posted on 10/25/2010 10:59:28 PM PDT by HANG THE EXPENSE (Life is tough.It's tougher when you're stupid.)
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To: flowerplough

Roger that....MA...Well done!


36 posted on 10/25/2010 11:00:01 PM PDT by M-cubed
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To: Eye of Unk

Would love to see them bring back the Skyraider.

37 posted on 10/25/2010 11:02:19 PM PDT by smokingfrog (Because you don't live near a bakery doesn't mean you have to go without cheesecake.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

I haven’t flown any of these planes. From the perspective of the guy on the ground, I would want one of those puppies overhead for as long as possible with as much ordinance as possible. That makes Spooky the Gunship a contender, especially if it has artillery rounds.


38 posted on 10/25/2010 11:09:49 PM PDT by Kevmo (So America gets what America deserves - the destruction of its Constitution. ~Leo Donofrio, 6/1/09)
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To: sasportas

Correction, this sentence should read: the latter (the AD-1, not the former, the P-47) was an attack aircraft originally designed to operate off carriers.


39 posted on 10/25/2010 11:20:36 PM PDT by sasportas
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To: HANG THE EXPENSE

It looks like it might be the one at Duxbury. The one on display in the American Air Museum had a red cowl at one time but this one is also tagged as being at Duxbury, so I’m not 100% sure.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P47.750pix.jpg

http://futurshox.net/aeroview.php?level=image&id=507

http://futurshox.net/planes21/ra-P47-227.jpg


40 posted on 10/25/2010 11:35:47 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Defund National Peoples Radio!! Democrats are for free speech. Just not for you.)
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To: flowerplough
I remember reading the story of a Jug pilot who was on a strafing run in Germany. He went a little low and wasn't paying attention. Before him loomed a brick wall. Unable to pull up in time, the aircraft went through the brick wall. And survived. And flew him home.

Not that is a tough aircraft!

41 posted on 10/25/2010 11:43:59 PM PDT by hoagy62 (.)
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To: hoagy62

Not=Now


42 posted on 10/25/2010 11:44:41 PM PDT by hoagy62 (.)
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To: Kevmo
That makes Spooky the Gunship a contender, especially if it has artillery rounds.

My son is on his first enlistment in the AF. He has a rather boring, mundane job (repairing runways) so whether he wants to reenlist goes from "hell ya" to "hell no" twice a day. Though I guess that's true for most :-)

Anyhow, he was on another rant one day when I told him that if he was going to get out he should check with the local Reserve unit and see what they had available for slots. On this particular day that was the last thing he wanted to hear and started off on a tangent about how if he wasn't staying active duty he sure as hell wasn't staying in the Reserves.

Then I said, "I've gotten a couple emails from the recruiter over there and he says they have a couple of Aerial Gunner slots open. You, know, the AC-130". I was just yanking his chain to see what he'd say and after this pregnant pause he says, "Well, that would be pretty cool." LOL!

43 posted on 10/25/2010 11:54:13 PM PDT by VeniVidiVici (Defund National Peoples Radio!! Democrats are for free speech. Just not for you.)
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To: flowerplough

You are awesome. Thanks for the post you made and all you taught with it.


44 posted on 10/26/2010 12:02:00 AM PDT by Weirdad ("Welcome to Zimbabwe! Now hand over your property...." -- by freeper Regulator. Mob rule is here.)
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To: Robe

My big brother flew AD1 Skyraiders during his first tour in Viet Nam. He rates them almost as high as the A6’s he flew later.


45 posted on 10/26/2010 12:06:32 AM PDT by Mogollon (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Kevmo

ping


46 posted on 10/26/2010 12:08:09 AM PDT by RJR_fan (Christians need to reclaim and excel in the genre of science fiction.)
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To: flowerplough
I will rate that 8 tons of destruction first as long
as I live, and no one can change my mind. I was there.

Thanks, for the info....
& your service to the country. :)

47 posted on 10/26/2010 12:22:20 AM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Imam Zer0: DeathCARE, Is my plan...So just die (quicky), please & save $$$$ :^)
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To: flowerplough; Homer_J_Simpson

Fascinating post. Thanks for sharing that with us!

Homer_J_Simpson, just wanted to bring flowerplough’s post to your attention since you keep a WWII ping list.


48 posted on 10/26/2010 12:23:03 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: sukhoi-30mki

The USAF did bring back the P-51 - sorta

The Piper PA-48 was built on the P-51 but with a turbine engine

30mm gun pod and all

Fly in competition with the A-10.

Cool airframe, the A-10 carries more - both are COIN A/C


49 posted on 10/26/2010 12:44:48 AM PDT by ASOC (What are you doing now that Mexico has become OUR Chechnya?)
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To: VeniVidiVici

‘Tweren’t me. Sorry. I shudda put sprinkled quotes in hear and there. Sorry. Link’s at bottom of post.


50 posted on 10/26/2010 12:55:08 AM PDT by flowerplough (Thomas Sowell: Those who look only at Obama's deeds tend to become Obama's critics.)
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