Tomh From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2 Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 3546 times:
The B-45 series was a significant aircraft in the early stages of the cold war, and it has not received its proper share of historical inquiry. One could write a small book, Mr. Spaceman, to answer your question and to fill in the service history of the Tornado. The first production American jet bomber, it was used as a bomber by TAC in USAFE until replaced by the B-66 in 1958. Forces other than American operated the aircraft on cold war missions, and several served as a flying engine test beds until 1970. This is just a start.
To digress a bit, aircraft naming can be an interesting exercise, and at times a controversial one. I was surprised when the Panavia swing-wing fighter was named Tornado, because I immediately thought of the B-45. I once read a USAF explanation of "Fighting Falcon", the awkward name given the F-16. The officials said, more or less, that they didn't want the new fighter's name confused with the Dassault Falcon bizjet. Apparently they never heard of the very successful Army Air Force Curtis 0-1 Falcon series of the 1930s. Having botched the assignment of the rightful military fighter name of Falcon, it's no wonder the F-16 went on to become known by two other less appropriate names.
They have a B-45C, S/N 48-010. The airplane is not currently on display and is in the restoration shops being converted to a RB-45C. It will go back on display as a RB-45C in the Spring of 2003 when the Kettering Gallery is opened. The airplane was received from Pratt and Whitney Aircraft where it had been on loan as an engine flying testbed. As an experimental engineer at P&WA, I had a little exposure with the airplane when we were using it to flight test versions of the TF-30. It was used to test in-flight starting and the afterburner.
The B-45A had a surface ceiling of 46,250" and the B-45C was only 43,200'; so I don't think it could be considered an high altitude airplane. Operationally it seems to have been used up to about 37,000'. It did have some notoriety as it was used by both the USAF and the RAF for overflights of Soviet and Chinese airspace. See "Spy Flight of the Cold War" by Paul Lashmar (1996). Other older sources of information that I have, include; "The Jet Aircraft of the World" by William Green and Roy Cross (1955), "American Combat Planes" by Ray Wagner (1968), and "U.S. Bombers" by Lloyd S. Jones (1974).
Mr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2786 posts, RR: 9 Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3425 times:
Thanks for your replies. That's great information, and now I know what the RB-45C is called...the Tornado!
>Broke, regarding whether or not 43,200 ft can be considered "High Altitude" or not....well I don't know. Those are words from the article I read about the RB-45C (which didn't give it a name), so maybe during the time period of the Korean war, 43,000 was thought of as high altitude. Of course, the first thing that pops into my mind now is when Gary Powers was shot down in his U-2 spy plane...aka "Dragon Lady" over Korea.
The U-2's missions normally involve flying at 70,000 ft. Now that's high Altitude!
>Tomh, I agree with you about how aircraft naming can be very interesting. Another example is the Rockwell B-1B Lancer and the MIG-21 Lancer (certain versions). Why would Rockwell give their supersonic bomber the same name as a MIG-21? Obviously the MIG-21 was around first. I think that's controversial!
LY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 10 Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3428 times:
The NATO code name for the MiG-21 has always been "Fishbed". It is meaningless, and certainly is not meant to flatter the a/c. All NATO code names given to fighter jets begin with an "F", and (I believe) having two syllables means the a/c is jet powered, or was it supersonic? "B"'s indicate bombers (Blackjack for Tu-160 etc), "C"'s are transports (Cargo, Condor=An-124). "Lancer" was probably given (definitely not by NATO) to the MiG-21's that were heavily upgraded in recent years, by the IAI mainly (indeed all your pics are of Romanian Fishbeds, Romania being a big [only?] customer of the program). These upgrades took place in the mid to late 90's, long after the initiation of the B-1 program.
Mr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2786 posts, RR: 9 Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3427 times:
Thanks for that information.
It makes perfect sense that NATO would have named the MIG-21 the Fishbed, instead of the former Soviet Union, because like you mentioned, that name isn't to flattering. It sounds more like a joke.
Also, Thanks for clearing up the fact that the B-1 was named the Lancer first. Not the MIG-21. I thought something smelled fishy about that......do you get it, Fishbed...Fishy...hahaha! Don't worry, I won't give up my day job.
Lt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3401 times:
yea ditto that, same thing with the F-16 it is called the 'Viper' not 'Fighting Falcon (or lawn dart in an F-15 sqd. ). Don't run around an AFB using these names incorrectly or you will be corrected and have to buy beer in club.
Tomh From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3408 times:
I remember 48-010 well. That B-45 was based at Rentschler Field for ten years or more, wasn't it? In 1969 I worked at the Hamilton Standard Lab for a short spell, and parked right across the fence from it. Throughout the early 1960s I used to see it over Western Mass at altitude. You could sometimes tell by the contrail change when the TF30 was running. I heard that years later it went to the USAF Museum.
Honestly, I never heard the MiG-21 called the "Lancer" before. The more common "Fishbed" name was from the NATO identification scheme, as has been mentioned.
I bought a tape on the B-45 about a year ago. It was put out by a Canadian videographer. Lots of talking heads (OK, oral history) but also some good vintage 47BW footage at Langley and Sculthorpe.
Broke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3 Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3396 times:
When the B-45 was being used to test TF-30 inflight afterburner light-off's. The crew used to fly over the area when the A/B group Assistant Project Engineer (APE) lived. They figured that if the A/B spit any parts out, they just would drop into his backyard and he would be the first to know if something broke.
The flight crew used to practice touch and goes at Westover AFB, during one session, the linkage between the power levers and the engines on one side became disconnected during the go round. It got a little exciting, but they saved the plane.
At Rentschler Field (The airport at P&WA's East Hartford Plant), when they were heavy; they would back the airplane right up to the fence at the end of the runway to get the maximum runway length for take-off.
Eventually, we got F-111A number 9 for propulsion flight test. It was kept in an old hangar across from the terminal at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, CT.
If I remember correctly, the test engine was installed on the left side. One night when I was covering the airplane, it came in with a write-up that they couldn't get max A/B on the test engine in zone 5. The engine had a fuel control for the gas generator and another one for the A/B.
Trimming the A/B fuel control had a slow safe method and a quick tricky method. The slow method was to run up to zone 5 and take a performance reading; then back to ground idle, manually trim the A/B control and then back to zone 5. This could take quite a while. The quick way was to tie the airplane down, open the engine bay, and lay under the airplane while it was in zone 5 trimming the A/B fuel control until someone signaled to you that it was on point. Hot, noisy, with a lot of vibration from the jet blast bouncing off the tarmac; but pretty quick. I only did that once.
Tomh From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2 Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3385 times:
Yeah, I remember that -'111 in the little hanger at BDL during the early 70s, maybe 1973/1974. I never saw it outside the hangar, so assumed it was flown infrequently, or at night. So you did run-ups, including A/B work on the ground at BDL at night? Whoo-ee, those big bucks folks up in Suffield must have loved that! At the time I am describing, the -'111 had been around for about 6-7 years, so I'm guessing you were working on later block engines, like for the FB. I think the aircraft was in service for a decade before I heard it called the Aardvaark, but then maybe I was the last to know, not being in a -111 unit.
Broke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3 Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3374 times:
My primary responsibility was compressor development for the TF-30-P-100 on the F-111F. We completed the certification runs in early 1971 after destroying an engine and badly damaging the test stand at the Wilgos test facility. The run-up that I described on the F-111 probably occurred in 1970. The thing that really hurts is that all the USAF F-111's are now parked; I'm a volunteer at the AF Museum in Dayton and we have a F-111A, a EF-111A, and a F-111F. I'm not old enough to have worked on museum pieces, honest!!
RayPettit From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 608 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (11 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3348 times:
Just to clarify, the Lancer and Fishbed are not generally alternative names. The Lancer is an IAI updated MiG-21 which was supplied to Romania (possibly Cambodia too?), but the Fishbed is the NATO reporting name for all MiG-21 types (Fishbed-A, Fishbed-B and so on) that started off at the end of the 1950's.
I suspect that the Lancer also has the Fishbed NATO reporting name though. Now are you confused?!
Also, are you aware that there were once a handful of RB-45's that wore RAF markings but USAF serials? Not sure who they were really crewed by, but I think it was all to do with politics !
Tomh From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2 Reply 15, posted (11 years 3 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 3307 times:
Thanks for the clarification on the Lancer name. When I mentioned above that "Forces other than American operated the aircraft on cold war missions" I was alluding to the RAF RB-45 flights, which were manned by RAF crews. I didn't want to give the whole story away up front, so I'm glad you mentioned this item.