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Fantastic Dassault Rafale Flight Test Article  
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 16006 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Flightglobal just posted a fantastic flight test of the Rafale:

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...assault-rafale-rampant-rafale.html

My favorite quote:

-------------------------------------------
“A final level acceleration from 200-500kt in full afterburner at 5,000ft and 1.8t fuel weight can only be described as brutal, with the aircraft increasing speed at about 30kt/s and the force of acceleration hurting my spine as I was pressed backwards against the ejection seat.”
-------------------------------------------

Oh, to experience acceleration that hurts my spine...

Does anyone know of any similarly-detailed flight reports of other military aircraft?

2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
60 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 938 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 15838 times:

That is a really good account, nice find.

User currently offlineMD-90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 8508 posts, RR: 12
Reply 2, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 15726 times:



Quote:
The classic definitions of aircraft combat roles really do not do justice to this aircraft; the Rafale is Europe's force-multiplying "war-fighter" par excellence. It is simply the best and most complete combat aircraft that I have ever flown. Its operational deployments speak for themselves. If I had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, I would, without question, choose the Rafale.

He needs to fly the F-22 and write about it so we can get a comparison.


User currently offlineCHRISBA777ER From UK - England, joined Mar 2001, 5964 posts, RR: 61
Reply 3, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 15671 times:

I hope the UK sees sense and bins the F35s for the carriers in favour of a few more Rafales instead.

I love the Rafale. Got to be the best looking fighter plane of modern times. Just absolutely stunning to look at, and stunning to fly it would seem.



What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 15462 times:

I have only ever seen a Dassault Rafale once, ...it was at the Paris Airshow in 1991 and for me the French pilot and his machine completely stole the show. ...When he taxied in he had very definitely taken it from the F16 and even the controversial new Russian machines.

I was a guest in the Dassault enclosure and it remains one of those enduring memories that I will never forget. The French are very patriotic and the Tricolore was fluttering everywhere around me. ...Well that Rafale test pilot had stopped his beautiful machine once only and exclusively in front of the Dassault enclosure. Slowly the sideways opening canopy had lifted away to the left, whereupon the Frenchman saluted his countrymen. It was very theatrical and perfectly timed and it seemed like hundreds of people around me arose to wave and cheer him. Then the canopy slowly closed again and he taxied away. ...I suppose many of the crowd around me would have been French and probably also Dassault employees, but nevertheless the Rafale had clearly made a grand impression and it's pilot must have been feeling famous on that day.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Chris Lofting


...Dassault has been building very fine aeroplanes for many years.


User currently offlineWalter2222 From Belgium, joined Sep 2005, 1303 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 15224 times:



Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 4):
Slowly the sideways opening canopy had lifted away to the left

Are you sure it lifted away to the left?

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Walter Van Bel


Here it can be seen, opening to the right.

Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 4):
...Dassault has been building very fine aeroplanes for many years.

 checkmark   checkmark 

Best regards,

Walter



canon 340d ;-) - EFS10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - EFS18-55mm - EF28-105mm f3.5/4.5 - EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6l is usm - ...
User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 15164 times:



Quoting Walter2222 (Reply 5):
Are you sure it lifted away to the left?

I think I should have considered myself one of the luckiest guys in the World mate if I had been watching that canopy lift away to the right, ...in which case I would most likely have been the pilot. However, like hundreds of other people I was just an observer stood facing the machine head-on and that canopy lifted away to "my left" as it did for everybody else.


User currently offlineWalter2222 From Belgium, joined Sep 2005, 1303 posts, RR: 28
Reply 7, posted (5 years 1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 15107 times:



Quoting Ferrypilot (Reply 6):
like hundreds of other people I was just an observer stood facing the machine head-on and that canopy lifted away to "my left" as it did for everybody else.

Ah, my bad, that explains it!  Smile Observing the aircraft from close by is still a nice experience!

Best regards,

Walter



canon 340d ;-) - EFS10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM - EFS18-55mm - EF28-105mm f3.5/4.5 - EF100-400mm f4.5-5.6l is usm - ...
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14521 times:

He needs to fly the F-22 and write about it so we can get a comparison.

He needs to fly any comparable aircraft ......

Combat Aircraft suggests that Collins’ lack of experience of contemporary fast jets meant that he did not really have sufficient basis for comparison, and that his gushing praise was a little unqualified.

See: RAFALE, AS GOOD AS ITS PRESS?


http://www.combataircraft.net/reports/rafale.php


User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7709 posts, RR: 8
Reply 9, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 14499 times:



Quoting MD-90 (Reply 2):
He needs to fly the F-22 and write about it so we can get a comparison.

Unfortunately, they were made too expensive so enough of them do not exist to give joy rides, besides, what would be the point, congress has already voted to "kill" the project, now if they had given "joy rides" a couple year ago, you never know where we would be today  Smile

Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 3):
hope the UK sees sense and bins the F35s for the carriers in favour of a few more Rafales instead.

Depends on what they want numbers wise, spending, making, or putting a/c on the deck  Smile


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 938 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 14482 times:

Quoting Par13del (Reply 9):

Quoting MD-90 (Reply 2):
He needs to fly the F-22 and write about it so we can get a comparison.

Unfortunately, they were made too expensive so enough of them do not exist to give joy rides, besides, what would be the point, congress has already voted to "kill" the project, now if they had given "joy rides" a couple year ago, you never know where we would be today Smile

Lets not forget the lack of a dual seat F-22 variant. If there were such a thing (as the initial design was intended to make possible), possibly derated and cheaper to produce as it need not be stealthy, I suspect we would have seen key personalities going for a ride, but as it stands, the USAF is not going to pay for an outsider to get type rated in the sims and let them go up on their own in the most expensive fighter on their roster.

EDIT: It isn't entirely the case, I know of at least one RAF pilot on exchange who flew the F-22, but that is massively different.

[Edited 2009-11-25 06:30:02]

User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7709 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 14412 times:



Quoting GST (Reply 10):
Lets not forget the lack of a dual seat F-22 variant. If there were such a thing (as the initial design was intended to make possible), possibly derated and cheaper to produce as it need not be stealthy, I suspect we would have seen key personalities going for a ride, but as it stands, the USAF is not going to pay for an outsider to get type rated in the sims and let them go up on their own in the most expensive fighter on their roster.

A dual seat version of any fighter going forward should at least be built as a demonstrator, based on the prices and items companies need to use military projects to fund, taking some "influential" folks up for a "promotional ride" will only benefit in the political arena where most battles are now being fought, at the very least it won't hurt and will be charged in the normal cost of the project.


User currently offlineTGIF From Sweden, joined Apr 2008, 277 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 14359 times:

Dassault are definitely taking advantage of the article in an attempt to get a good word in Brazil.




User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (5 years 1 month 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 14329 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 8):
Combat Aircraft suggests that Collins%u2019 lack of experience of contemporary fast jets meant that he did not really have sufficient basis for comparison, and that his gushing praise was a little unqualified.

It's unclear whose name and what their personal qualification is to make such criticism.

And quoting the last paragraph:-

Quote. ...The evaluation was rather cursory and the concluding superlatives are more journalistic than real conclusions and recommendations. If he would risk his life in any combat situation based on the evidence of what he actually saw...... words fail me! ....Quote

This unknown person is taking a very high and mighty attitude and in fact his second sentence above is no more or less than the controversial journalism he is accusing Peter Collins of in his first sentence.

The way I see it is, ...even if the Rafale is only the third best fighter in the World that still must make it pretty damn hot and worthy of gushing superlatives.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13253 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 14128 times:

The Rafale is clearly an extremely potent and versatile machine.
On reading the article in the magazine though, I did wonder just what the pilot was comparing it to.
Now we know.

This is not a problem in itself, but it would have been useful to have a few notes to accompany the article about the pilot's own experience with modern military aircraft.
It was I think a significant lapse to omit his lack of experience with current generation aircraft, just for the purposes of context.

It's a bit like a car reviewer gushing praise of a modern vehicle, when his previous experience is only with cars, at best from, the early 1980's.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 14059 times:



Quoting GDB (Reply 14):
It's a bit like a car reviewer gushing praise of a modern vehicle, when his previous experience is only with cars, at best from, the early 1980's.

No it's not, ...there are no test pilot schools or qualifications for car reviewers.
The whole ethos of the test pilot is to climb in to unfamiliar and cutting edge aircraft and evaluate them and it has always been so. Within that context the article is entirely valid. Moreover the pilot clearly stated his intentions for the flight, none of which were a comparison to other cutting edge aircraft. In particular he referenced his test flight to the Mirage 2000 which was relevant by lineage and with which he was familiar and so clearly he was qualified to bear witness to the Rafale's improvement over that machine and also by inference to cutting edge French technology.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13253 posts, RR: 77
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 13992 times:

But Ferrypilot, that still leaves the last sentence of the article, the one about choosing to go to war in this aircraft above any other.
Context is important here.
Reading that gives the impression that the Rafale is superior to any other aircraft in it's class available now.
Which is questionable.


User currently offlineKnid From New Zealand, joined Aug 2005, 224 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 13896 times:



Quoting GDB (Reply 16):
But Ferrypilot, that still leaves the last sentence of the article, the one about choosing to go to war in this aircraft above any other.
Context is important here.
Reading that gives the impression that the Rafale is superior to any other aircraft in it's class available now.
Which is questionable.

I agree the context is essential, however its important to remember the subtext here, a pilot who is evaluating the airframe, handling and a limited selection of the sensors for a magazine.

The final sentence should be read in the context of the whole paragraph, where the aircraft is referred to as the complete package, here I think its reasonable to think that the final sentence could be intended to mean, if he had to go into combat with only one aircraft, this would be the one that he would choose.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 13889 times:



Quoting GDB (Reply 16):
But Ferrypilot, that still leaves the last sentence of the article, the one about choosing to go to war in this aircraft above any other.
Context is important here.
Reading that gives the impression that the Rafale is superior to any other aircraft in it's class available now.
Which is questionable.

Hi GDB it is not my agenda here to defend to the hilt a man I do not know from Adam and in respect to every single word he has written. However, you might consider that there are other eminently plausible interpretations of that last sentence and the writer might simply defend himself by saying that you are putting words in his mouth.

One possible explanation or at least part of is that Dassault are a well known phenomenon in aviation for garnering permanent devotees amongst pilots who have flown their machines. If the writer has a long standing love affair with Dassault aircraft and it does appear that he has fond memories of the Mirage 2000 then he was bound to be enthralled when he found the Rafale to be even better.


User currently offlineFrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3848 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 13767 times:

I don't know if this will help this (semantics) debate, but if you look at FlightGlobal's page, the link to the Rafale test flight reads:

"Dassault's Rafale - the best and most complete aircraft our test pilot has ever flown"

(My emphasis)

http://www.flightglobal.com/sectionh...onID=179&CategoryID=10249&SlotID=2



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 13741 times:

Ferrypilot,

I salute you for your enthusiasm for Rafale. It’s a fine aircraft, a pretty aircraft, and it’s clearly ahead of many of its rivals in certain key areas.

The point about the Flight International piece is that its overall tone was gushing and uncritical, that the pilot made a great deal of particular points that really weren’t impressive, and that the piece was presented very much as being an ‘expert view’, when in fact, the author had very little expertise when it comes to aircraft in this class, and of this generation.

Yes, of course Test Pilots are trained to evaluate new and unfamiliar aircraft, but the skills of a test pilot need to be constantly polished and kept up to date, and a test pilot needs to have relevant operational experience if he is going to try to evaluate operational capabilities and competences.

The author of this piece had no such experience.

If you haven’t flown any of the teen series, if you haven’t flown MiG-29, Su-27, Gripen, or Typhoon, and if the Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 is the most up to date cockpit you’ve flown on operations, then clearly Rafale is going to look pretty darned wonderful – but wouldn’t it be better to hear the opinions of someone who has actually flown on the frontline this century, or during the 90s, and who has sampled modern fighters like the F-16MLU?

One certainly needs to understand the context in which the article was written.


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13253 posts, RR: 77
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 13545 times:

Ferrypilot, indeed, I note just how loyal many are to Dassault's Falcon series of biz jets.
IIRC, the same magazine had a flight test as enthusiastic as the one we are talking about not that long ago.

As things stand right now, prior to the F-35 in service, with only the F-22 ever likely to be in USAF service, that last sentence you could argue has some traction.
I'd just rather he had also flown a Typhoon and the Gripen too. Arguably the F-18E/F and F-16 Block 60 as well.


User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 13451 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
I salute you for your enthusiasm for Rafale. It's a fine aircraft, a pretty aircraft, and it's clearly ahead of many of its rivals in certain key areas.

Hi Jackonicko,
Just for the record I am not biased and have equal enthusiasm for both Typhoon and Rafale. ...I have to think both aircraft must be truly awesome to fly.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
The point about the Flight International piece is that its overall tone was gushing and uncritical, that the pilot made a great deal of particular points that really weren't impressive,

Magazine test flights are always bound to be upbeat by nature of the beast, ...it seems odd to me that in this case some people apparently wish to discredit the writer.

Of most interest to me personally was the flight control system and the agility of the aircraft, both of which sounded most impressive and which the writer should have been able to make a valid assessment of without having flown the Typhoon or F-22.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
the author had very little expertise when it comes to aircraft in this class, and of this generation.

He appears to have flown at least three other high speed (supersonic capable) fly-by-wire military aircraft.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):

Yes, of course Test Pilots are trained to evaluate new and unfamiliar aircraft, but the skills of a test pilot need to be constantly polished and kept up to date,

It's not only about training. You can expect an ETPS graduate to fly like he was born out of an egg shell and maintain his skills at a higher pitch and for longer than an average pilot.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
if the Sea Harrier FRS.Mk 1 is the most up to date cockpit you've flown on operations, then clearly Rafale is going to look pretty darned wonderful

Bear in mind that from a handling point of view older aircraft are usually more difficult to operate than new types. Although I don't know I still very much doubt the Harrier was an easier machine to fly than either Rafale or Typhoon.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
but wouldn't it be better to hear the opinions of someone who has actually flown on the frontline this century, or during the 90s, and who has sampled modern fighters like the F-16MLU?

...or you might not hear anything at all.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 20):
One certainly needs to understand the context in which the article was written.

The article is what it is and I was most interested to read it. I am more curious about the context in which the writer is being criticized.


User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 13422 times:

The critique accurately reflects informed reaction to the piece. RAF and USAF pilots I've spoken to felt that the piece dented Flight's credibility, and that Collins' conclusions were a joke, for all of the reasons outlined.

User currently offlineFerrypilot From New Zealand, joined Sep 2006, 897 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 13414 times:



Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 23):
The critique accurately reflects informed reaction to the piece. RAF and USAF pilots I've spoken to felt that the piece dented Flight's credibility, and that Collins' conclusions were a joke, for all of the reasons outlined.

Not an easy position to defend when these other pilots are apparently not putting their own names on the bottom line.


25 Jackonicko : Collins is a civilian, free to say and write what he likes, and enjoys having a platform provided by a major magazine. Serving pilots have no such fre
26 Francoflier : Interesting, and I understand why they believe the article would dent FG's credibility (I tend to agree). But unless those pilots have flown the Rafa
27 Ferrypilot : That's a very convenient excuse for guys with big mouths and sloping shoulders. It was a stand alone account of a flight test that didn't actually we
28 Jackonicko : It balanced unqualified, uncritical gushing by Pete Collins with a small dose of reality. You might prefer to read gushing and inappropriately exagger
29 Ferrypilot : Or people might just wonder why there is such a determined agenda to discredit an ETPS graduate and former Red Arrow pilot.
30 Jackonicko : Collins is an ETPS graduate from the 80s who has NO operational experience of modern multirole fighters (yes he's flown supersonic jets operationally,
31 Flagon : Hi Jackonicko I thought he had also flown the Mirage 2000? Well, not that strange actually, I am sure a lot of people who criticize this article have
32 Jackonicko : I wasn't counting an aircraft he flew only on his ETPS course. Had he had an exchange tour, that would be another thing. As to the quality of the arti
33 Post contains links and images Ferrypilot : And yet you continue to describe his Rafale article in a manner that is most likely to give offence to both Collins and Dassault. Rather silly to inf
34 Jackonicko : Rafale is much more than an FCS. To properly evaluate it, you'd need operational experience on a similar type, of the same broad generation, with simi
35 Ferrypilot : It's seems most likely that Collins built the bridges himself to get his hands on that Rafale and which can only be construed as a unique opportunity
36 Jackonicko : Seldom have I seen so much value laden, judgemental and hysterical over reaction in a single post. Nor so much speculation. And this on top of your sn
37 Ferrypilot : ...Ah yes that would be the pilot with no name and who hasn't actually flown Rafale. Collins had test flown two other Dassault aircraft for Flight ar
38 Jackonicko : You say: The Combat Article is calculated to detract in almost every single word and sentence from Collins writing. ...Ultimately it is a negative qua
39 Ferrypilot : I am inclined to think that if a psychologist was asked to give consideration to the Combat Aircraft article it would be determined that the unnamed t
40 Jackonicko : And there you go again...... Ignoring the substantive points made and again resorting to ad hominem attacks on those who have dared to write something
41 Arthuro75 : regardless of the content you can't say that JL article is neutral. It is a tribune for BAE to answer Collins article which is to my mind a good fligh
42 Jackonicko : Arthuro, Thank you for your courteous input. I can't answer for the authors, but surely the point of the Combat piece was not to be balanced itself, b
43 Ferrypilot : You've changed your tune!
44 Jackonicko : No change of tune from me, Ferry. Reply 28: The Combat Aircraft piece balanced the unqualified, uncritical gushing of Flight's 'flawed flight test' wi
45 Ferrypilot : Oh well I beg to differ. ...I think that here you are in full steam ahead to "God Save The Queen and the F-35" :- Whereas here you seem to be backped
46 Jackonicko : I haven't mentioned the Queen, or the F-35, and my points have not changed. This isn't about 'knocking' Rafale, and NEVER HAS BEEN! It's about support
47 Ferrypilot : (The words below comprise text quoted exactly from the Combat Aircraft article and that seeks to discredit former Wing Commander Peter Collins in his
48 Jackonicko : Mate, you are breaching copyright. That form of words is undoubtedly Lake's, Massalla's, or Combat Aircraft's and your quoting it en masse goes beyond
49 Ferrypilot : The text quoted has been defined as written by a British military pilot and therefore any copyright over it lies with the British MOD who are in actu
50 Jackonicko : "And looking into the Flight flight test more carefully, it became clear that the glowing praise was based on flimsy foundations, as an RAF test flyin
51 Jackonicko : Finally, to address your post: Firstly, let me get this straight. You, as some anonymous internet enthusiast, think that you have the qualifications t
52 Ferrypilot : It does belong to UK MOD, but as it is already exposed by the author they will not seek to maintain a copyright over it.
53 Jackonicko : No, it doesn't. Only had the nameless pilot written it, as part of his official duties (assuming he was an MoD employee), would the MoD have had any c
54 Mandala499 : As to his concluding comment: I'd say that if the choice was to fly the MiG-21, F-101 Voodoo and the Rafale... And his job is???? Test flying aircraft
55 Post contains links Arthuro75 : If you really wants to talk about the content of JL article, while acknowledging it is not a neutral work it still has some shortcomings. Here are my
56 Ferrypilot : If that is true and I am not taking your word for it, the unknown test pilot is off the hook. ...A man's words "frequently" sound completely differen
57 Post contains links Arthuro75 : I would dare to add that another test pilot from flight global flew the rafale a few years ago (Chris Yeo) and he also flight tested the gripen and I
58 Jackonicko : Arthuro, A fundamental mistake that you make is to try to judge the Lake piece on the Combat Aircraft site as though it were a proper, full scale, pri
59 Ferrypilot : Those are all very good points Arthuro.
60 Flagon : Thanks for sharing this piece of information Arthuro, this is interesting indeed.
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