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alberchico
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F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:11 am

This might seem like a really stupid question, but if the F-117 stealth jet was technically a light bomber why was it given a fighter designation. It should have logically been called the B-117 like its stealth cousin the B-2. ??? Anybody know why that happend ???
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Blackbird
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:39 am

Well first of all, it wasn't a bomber, it was a ground-attack airplane. Ground attack airplanes among other things are of a tactical nature, where as bombers are strategic.

Additionally the fighter designation was used deliberately to mislead our enemies into thinking it was a fighter development not a ground attack airplane.


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BladeLWS
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 2:44 am

I believe the "B" designation is reserved for heavy strategic bombers, IE the B-52, B-1, and B-2.
 
TGIF
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:37 am

I was told by my professor (and I've heard it from other sources) that the F-designation was used to attract the best pilots in the AF who were needed because of the flight characteristics (or lack of them). The best pilots will however not settle for a A-117/B-117 since it gives them little bragging rights among their pilot buddies.

Maybe just a urban legend. I'm as curious as the OP about the 'F'.
 
Oroka
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:06 am

'F-117' was to throw any spys off of the trail of this program. The higher 'F-11X' numbers were being used as designations for foreign aircraft that the USAF was evaluating. So if 'F-117' slipped up in a document somewhere, it would be lumped in with the other evaluation aircraft.

Technically it is not a fighter, but I am sure there was an aspect of bluff with the Fighter designation. The Soviets were scared of the F-117, and the idea that it was a fighter too probably made it more intimidating.
 
Blackbird
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:11 pm

TGIF,

Are all fighter pilots better in skill than all bomber pilots though?


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DODCFR
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:16 pm

Ever hear of the F-11?
 
DODCFR
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 4:17 pm

Sorry, that's F-111
 
j.mo
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:15 pm

According to one of the chief designers, from a program on the Military Channel, the Air Force wanted fighter pilots to fly the F-117. If it was a FB-117 they would not attract the fighter jocks. Same reason it was painted Black, so he said.

Jmo
 
TGIF
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:13 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 5):
Are all fighter pilots better in skill than all bomber pilots though?

That I'm not so sure of. But as Jmo said, it's perhaps easier to attract many pilots if they know they'll be flying a 'fighter'. With a large group to select from, it's probably easier to find the person best suited for the task.

I'm in now way saying one type of pilot is better than the other. This was just the reason I was given by my professor.
 
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Moose135
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:28 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 5):
Are all fighter pilots better in skill than all bomber pilots though?

To hear most fighter pilots tell it, yes.  Wink
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Blackbird
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:05 am

Moose135,

Quote:
To hear most fighter pilots tell it, yes.  Wink

Yeah, well they're going to say they're the best. What I want to know is -- are they *actually* better in skill than all bomber pilots...


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PhilSquares
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:12 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 11):
What I want to know is -- are they *actually* better in skill than all bomber pilots...

How long is a piece of string? It is a very subjective question and there is no empirical evidence to suggest any group is "better" than another.
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Blackbird
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:13 am

Then how do they decide (in the old days at least) who ended up in TAC, SAC, ADC, and AMC (Now they have different command set-ups which I forgot, I know there's ACC, AMC... but I don't know if there's anything else)?


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PhilSquares
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:01 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 13):
Then how do they decide (in the old days at least) who ended up in TAC, SAC, ADC, and AMC (Now they have different command set-ups which I forgot, I know there's ACC, AMC... but I don't know if there's anything else)?

When I went through UPT, everyone in the class was ranked by using academic and flying scores. The highest person was number one and the lowest person was at the end of the list. On assignment night, the top guy got his choice and as the list got smaller and smaller the choices dwindled. Finally, the last guy got the one remaining aircraft.
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Blackbird
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:46 am

PhilSquares,

So the first guy got his pick, then the second guy got his pick based on what was left, and so on?

I would assume nobody on the top would have ever picked ADC, SAC, MAC, over TAC (the olde commands), huh?


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PhilSquares
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 7:10 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 15):
I would assume nobody on the top would have ever picked ADC, SAC, MAC, over TAC (the olde commands), huh?

In my block of assignments we had 2 F-4, 1 T-33, 3 T-38, 2 T-37, 5 C-141, 5 C-130, 5 KC-135 and 2 B-52. The F4 slots went to the first 2 guys, the 141 and went next, then the T-33. IIRC, the 135s went at the end. Everyone has their reasons for picking their aircraft, but the system seemed to work then. Not quite sure how it's done now.
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jgarrido
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:53 pm



Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 14):
When I went through UPT, everyone in the class was ranked by using academic and flying scores. The highest person was number one and the lowest person was at the end of the list. On assignment night, the top guy got his choice and as the list got smaller and smaller the choices dwindled. Finally, the last guy got the one remaining aircraft.

I'm sure you'll be indifferent to know that i still works that way  Smile At least it did 4 years ago when I was stationed at a UPT base.
 
bjornstrom
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:12 pm

Eurobonus Gold | BMI Gold | http://my.flightmemory.com/bjornstrom/
 
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Moose135
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:32 pm



Quoting Jgarrido (Reply 17):
I'm sure you'll be indifferent to know that i still works that way. At least it did 4 years ago when I was stationed at a UPT base.

Really? Because I went through UPT in 1984, about 7 years after PhilSquares, and the process was different then what he described, although I flew with guys who went through that sort of selection system.

About half way through T-38 phase, we were rated as "Fighter/Attack/Recon" (FAR) qualified or "Tanker/Transport/Bomber" (TTB) qualified. You submitted a "dream sheet" listing your choices of aircraft, in order, along with broad geographic preferences - there were about 30 spots on the form, and you had to fill them all in. Actually, you filled in the "dream sheet' before you found out if you were FAR/TTB. The personnel types at HQAF went through the list of assignments and matched up people based on available aircraft, class rank, FAR/TTB rating, and other factors.

What usually happened was the top 2 or 3 in the class got their choice of assignment, then the next bunch were siphoned off to be FAIPs (First Assignment Instructor Pilot) back at your base, then from there it was mix and match to get people assigned. Although I had a number of fighters up top on my sheet, I was TTB, and got my first choice in that group, the KC-135. Other than stating our preferences on the "dream sheet" we didn't have much say in our assignment. And you are wondering, if you were FAR qual, but requested a heavy, you usually received it - unless they FAIPed you, as was the case with my first T-38 IP.

For the final portion of UPT, the FAR guys got more formation rides, the TTB did more instrument work, but that was about the only difference. These days, from what I understand, they make a similar type of rating determination after the T-6 phase, and the fighter types (actually I think that includes bombers now also) go on to the T-38, while the heavy guys fly the T-1 Jayhawk.
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studedave
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:46 pm



Quoting Bjornstrom (Reply 18):
I found a F117 parked at Holloman AFB:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=s...&z=18

Digg all the F-4s on the other side of the base!!! Look to the North East...
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jgarrido
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Sun Aug 31, 2008 1:21 pm



Quoting Moose135 (Reply 19):

From my conversations with the pilots it was my understanding after the T37's each class was ranked on their performance up to that point. The top of the class got his choice, and it went down from there. The guys that got cargo/tankers went to the BE40's and the fighters/bombers went T38. Perhaps, though, it's just as you described the top few get their choice and rest of the details are more complicated.
 
f4wso
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RE: F-117, Why Wasn't It Called B-117?

Mon Sep 01, 2008 12:41 am

The nice thing about going to UNT or UPT from a Guard unit is you know what you are going to get. The downside for pilots is if you don't get FAR'ed, then you have to find another unit. When I was in UNT, it bummed out my active duty classmates to hear that I could finish last in the class and still get an F-4 while they were destined to ride in the belly of the Buff.

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