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dfwjim1
Topic Author
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Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 3:17 pm

Not sure if this has been asked and answered before but I am curious to as why Thunderbird pilots wear oxygen masks while
Blue Angel pilots do not?

Thanks for your responses.
 
boeingfixer
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 4:07 pm

Quoting dfwjim1 (Thread starter):
Not sure if this has been asked and answered before but I am curious to as why Thunderbird pilots wear oxygen masks while
Blue Angel pilots do not?

The quick answer is that the BA's don't need them.

It probably also has something to do with the fact that they don't wear G-Suits as well. The G-Suit interferes with fine stick control and I would think the lack of an O2 mask reduces mass above the body central core and also reduces strain on the neck for when they do the Anti-G Straining Maneuver (AGSM).

Cheers,

John
Cheers, John YYC
 
NBGSkyGod
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 6:45 pm

The quick answer is that the Blues are just simply better in every way.   
Pilots are idiots, who at any given moment will attempt to kill themselves or others.
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 7:14 pm

Quoting boeingfixer (Reply 1):
The quick answer is that the BA's don't need them.

Niether do the Thunderbirds. It boils down to the fact that years ago when both teams were flying F-4s, the Blue Angeles convinced their higher ups that wearing the O2 masks and G-suites were a pain in the [email protected]@ and asked if they could dispense with them. Some smart admiral said OK, and that's the way it's been since.

The T-birds would like to shed theirs also, but their generals wanted the pilots to to appear with equipment that they wear normally during training or combat and nixed the copycat.

The g-suit isn't really a problem. The O2 mask is annoying during high-G manuvers as it pulls down on your nose and traps sweat. Don't believe the BS about interfering with the stick that is even on the Angel's website. I won't argue who fly's better formation, but the the fact is they both fly precision within a couple of feet of each other and sometimes overlapping.

Now I can't prove that's how it happened, but that is what I was told by a former T-bird pilot who later on was a 747 FE when I was an FO.
 
checksixx
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 7:36 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 3):
The g-suit isn't really a problem. The O2 mask is annoying during high-G manuvers as it pulls down on your nose and traps sweat.

Kevin Davis would probably challenge your opinion if he was alive to do so...
 
cargotanker
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 7:47 pm

Quoting checksixx (Reply 4):
Kevin Davis would probably challenge your opinion if he was alive to do so...

An awful comment that doesn't need to be here. Enjoy dancing on other people's graves?

For those of you not aware: Lt Cmdr Kevin Davis was a Blue Angel killed in a crash in 2007. The cause was assumed to be G-induced blackout. Checksixxxxxxxxxxx seems to think that is worthy of his snark.

[Edited 2016-05-04 12:50:44]
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 7:50 pm

Quoting checksixx (Reply 4):
Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 3):
The g-suit isn't really a problem. The O2 ......
Quoting checksixx (Reply 4):
Kevin Davis would probably challenge your opinion if he was alive to do so...

My intent in that statement was to state that the G-suit is not really a problem when wearing it and interfering with your hand coordination on the stick.

The accident board in the tragic accident of Kevin Davis concluded he had a GLOC incident. I have limited knowledge of the accident and wouldn't know if wearing a G-suit might have prevented it.
 
mmo
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 7:57 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 3):
Now I can't prove that's how it happened, but that is what I was told by a former T-bird pilot who later on was a 747 FE when I was an FO

We're not talking about Howard we?????
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 8:18 pm

Quoting MMO (Reply 7):
We're not talking about Howard we?????

I can't remember his name, but he was the one that slipped in the shower in Mumbai and tragically died in the hotel. The more I think about, I might have flown with him on the -10. I did an FO stint on that aircraft for little over a year.
 
checksixx
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Wed May 04, 2016 9:08 pm

Quoting cargotanker (Reply 5):
An awful comment that doesn't need to be here. Enjoy dancing on other people's graves?

For those of you not aware: Lt Cmdr Kevin Davis was a Blue Angel killed in a crash in 2007. The cause was assumed to be G-induced blackout. Checksixxxxxxxxxxx seems to think that is worthy of his snark.

An awful comment? What, that he would challenge the opinion given here if he were alive to do so? Not awful at all...most likely completely true. You're trying to instigate rather than think about what I posted, don't bother trolling, it won't work. You should be shocked that the Navy blamed him, going even further and saying the g-suit and oxygen mask most likely would NOT have prevented the accident. Yet you take issue with my comment? Go get yourself some knowledge. Its out there for the taking.
 
AAR90
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 12:03 am

Quoting dfwjim1 (Thread starter):
I am curious to as why Thunderbird pilots wear oxygen masks while Blue Angel pilots do not

IMHO.... tradition more than anything else. The Thunderbirds were created in 1953 with their first aircraft being the F-84G Thunderjet. Use of supplemental O2 was standard in tactical jets by that time and... the TB's have used O2 masks ever since.

The Blue Angels were created in 1946 flying the F-6F Hellcat. Use of supplemental O2 was not standard in tactical propeller aircraft at that time. Since a demonstration flight is conducted solely at low altitude, the decision was made to NOT mandate use of the (at the time) bulky/heavy and potentially unreliable supplemental O2 system when the BA's transitioned to tactical jet aircraft for demonstration flights. The BA's do use supplemental O2 for all non-demonstration flights.

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 3):
...but that is what I was told by a former T-bird pilot who later on was a 747 FE when I was an FO.

Not true.

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 6):
My intent in that statement was to state that the G-suit is not really a problem when wearing it and interfering with your hand coordination on the stick.

Again, not true for a Blue Angel demonstration flight.

TB's fly the F-16 which utilizes a "side-stick" controller. The controlling hand/arm is to their side on an "arm rest" allowing control of the side-stick using hand/wrist muscles only. Inflation/deflation of the G-suit (abdomen and legs) does not affect the hand controlling the aircraft.

BA's fly the F/A-18 which utilizes a traditional central "control stick" located between the legs. In order to obtain the very minute control inputs required during a demonstration flight, the pilots rest their right forearm against their right thigh allowing for their hand/wrist muscles to control the very small stick movements. Inflation/deflation of the G-suit would dramatically move the controlling hand/wrist causing significant uncommanded aircraft movement with catastrophic results.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 12:44 am

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 10):
TB's fly the F-16 which utilizes a "side-stick" controller. The controlling hand/arm is to their side on an "arm rest" allowing control of the side-stick using hand/wrist muscles only. Inflation/deflation of the G-suit (abdomen and legs) does not affect the hand controlling the aircraft.

BA's fly the F/A-18 which utilizes a traditional central "control stick" located between the legs. In order to obtain the very minute control inputs required during a demonstration flight, the pilots rest their right forearm against their right thigh allowing for their hand/wrist muscles to control the very small stick movements. Inflation/deflation of the G-suit would dramatically move the controlling hand/wrist causing significant uncommanded aircraft movement with catastrophic results.

Absolute BullSh**. The T-birds, prior to the F-16, were flying center stick aircraft and wearing G-suits. And if you've actually worn one, you'd know that the routing of the G-suit hose nor bladder inflation interferes in anyway with stick movement even with a center stick.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 3:43 am

Well, it's clear that like "how many [blue] angels can dance on the head of a pin," this one may never truly be settled.
 
AAR90
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 7:27 am

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 11):
Absolute BullSh**. The T-birds, prior to the F-16, were flying center stick aircraft and wearing G-suits. And if you've actually worn one, you'd know that the routing of the G-suit hose nor bladder inflation interferes in anyway with stick movement even with a center stick.

1. Relax. Neither you nor I have flown TB or BA demonstrations.
2. The BA flying technique REQUIRES resting you right arm on your right thigh to compensate for the approx. 40 lbs of nose-down force on the control stick that comes from setting full nose-down trim prior to every demonstration flight/practice.
3. G-suit bladders are located directly over the pilot's thighs... exactly where a BA pilot places his right arm.

You may not agree with the BA flying technique, but that is what they use and have used since they transitioned to jet aircraft in 1949. This information comes directly from the 9 BA pilots I personally knew (former airwing cohorts including CAG/ex-"Boss") over a 10 year period. The BA flying technique has not changed in decades and remains in place today. Being able to hold stick position against a continuous 40 lbs force for a minimum of 50 minutes remains one of the more physically demanding tests every potential demonstration pilot must pass.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
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moo
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 11:55 am

Red Arrows pilots use g-suits with a centre stick and have utterly no problems with them interfering with the control systems.
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 12:11 pm

Quoting ssteve (Reply 12):
2. The BA flying technique REQUIRES resting you right arm on your right thigh to compensate for the approx. 40 lbs of nose-down force on the control stick that comes from setting full nose-down trim prior to every demonstration flight/practice.

Sorry but you're buying a line of BS that is the stock answer from the pilots and public affairs officer that has been floating around the internet for 15-20 years. And that question (why no g-suit) is frequently asked. The Blues and the T-birds are the only two squadrons in the military that have dedicated public affairs officers and a large portion of their job is put the right spin on the teams' operations and infrequent 'screwups'.

And I'll say it again: The reason they don't wear g-suits is because of comfort and their bosses agreed years ago when both teams flew F-4s . The T-birds stuck with the g-suits.

PS. A little nose down trim while flying tight formation is a good thing, but don't get me started on '40pounds' of force for the entire flight. Their right arms would have to be the size of Hulk Hogan's thighs.
 
apfpilot
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 1:20 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 6):
The accident board in the tragic accident of Kevin Davis concluded he had a GLOC incident. I have limited knowledge of the accident and wouldn't know if wearing a G-suit might have prevented it.

The official report says that the G-Suit wouldn't have prevented the accident in this case:

[Edited 2016-05-05 07:17:44]
Opinions are my own and do not reflect an endorsement or position of my employer.
 
apfpilot
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 1:37 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 15):
Sorry but you're buying a line of BS that is the stock answer from the pilots and public affairs officer that has been floating around the internet for 15-20 years. And that question (why no g-suit) is frequently asked. The Blues and the T-birds are the only two squadrons in the military that have dedicated public affairs officers and a large portion of their job is put the right spin on the teams' operations and infrequent 'screwups'.

And I'll say it again: The reason they don't wear g-suits is because of comfort and their bosses agreed years ago when both teams flew F-4s . The T-birds stuck with the g-suits.

PS. A little nose down trim while flying tight formation is a good thing, but don't get me started on '40pounds' of force for the entire flight. Their right arms would have to be the size of Hulk Hogan's thighs.

Also the accident report also confirms: The reasons for not wearing a G-Suit (inflation causing uncommanded stick movement), The 40lbs of downward force on the stick, and the arm locked to leg flying style.
Opinions are my own and do not reflect an endorsement or position of my employer.
 
AAR90
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 6:33 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 15):
Sorry but you're buying a line of BS that is the stock answer from the pilots and public affairs officer that has been floating around the internet for 15-20 years.

I've never talked with any USN public affairs officer for any reason. The pilots I knew personally are from the 30 years ago era... long before the internet. Honestly, you need to chill out. You don't believe what I know to be true from direct contact with BA demonstration pilots before, during and after their BA tours then so be it.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
RetiredWeasel
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 9:33 pm

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 18):
Honestly, you need to chill out.

Ok I'll chill out and declare myself the winner. And by the way, I'm almost 70 years old and have near a couple of thousand hours of fighter time.

Besides the former T-bird pilot that I was acquainted with in my second career in the airlines, I led or flew on the wing of 3 or 4 future T-bird pilots during my time on active duty.

You go ahead google and copy and paste the "40 lbs of nose trim, the thigh bladder on the g-suit can cause uncompounded stick movement stuff" and I'll stick to the real world. I'll be signing off this topic...but will be around to contribute to other topics.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Thu May 05, 2016 10:26 pm

Quoting checksixx (Reply 9):
checksixx

Be careful there checksixx when criticizing people here with vast amounts of experience like cargotanker has.

It is pretty standard for the USAF and USN to affix "pilot error" to an accident that is impossible to fully investigate and explain. What happened to LtCmdr Davis was tragic. Accidents have happened to both teams and the results are usually fatal (there are some who do survive). Flying fast, close to the ground, and close to other aircraft is a very dangerous business. But that is what we train all of our fighter pilots to do.
 
Max Q
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Fri May 06, 2016 1:30 am

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 13):
The BA flying technique REQUIRES resting you right arm on your right thigh to compensate for the approx. 40 lbs of nose-down force on the control stick that comes from setting full nose-down trim prior to every demonstration flight/practice.

I don't believe that for a moment, full nose down trim would not even allow the Pilot to rotate for take off, let alone fight the massive control forces during flight.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


GGg
 
AAR90
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Fri May 06, 2016 6:16 am

Quoting Max Q (Reply 21):
I don't believe that for a moment, full nose down trim would not even allow the Pilot to rotate for take off, let alone fight the massive control forces during flight.

Having done so, it is not that difficult for a short while. It is difficult for more than 15-20 continuous minutes though.
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
apfpilot
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Fri May 06, 2016 6:55 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 19):
You go ahead google and copy and paste the "40 lbs of nose trim, the thigh bladder on the g-suit can cause uncompounded stick movement stuff" and I'll stick to the real world. I'll be signing off this topic...but will be around to contribute to other topics.
Quoting Max Q (Reply 21):
I don't believe that for a moment, full nose down trim would not even allow the Pilot to rotate for take off, let alone fight the massive control forces during flight.

So you both are saying that the official accident report contains false information?
Opinions are my own and do not reflect an endorsement or position of my employer.
 
BMI727
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Sat May 07, 2016 1:08 pm

Quoting RetiredWeasel (Reply 15):
And I'll say it again: The reason they don't wear g-suits is because of comfort and their bosses agreed years ago when both teams flew F-4s . The T-birds stuck with the g-suits.

I always heard one of the reasons for not using a g-suit is that it wouldn't do much good anyway due to the latency. The Blue Angels do their maneuvers quickly in a relatively tight space versus combat where a pilot will perform similar maneuvers for a sustained period. For a Blue Angels' demonstration, the suit can't keep up and by the time the suit inflates the high g maneuver is finished.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
checksixx
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RE: Thunderbirds V. Blue Angels - Oxygen Masks

Sat May 07, 2016 11:08 pm

Quoting kc135topboom (Reply 20):
Be careful there checksixx when criticizing people here with vast amounts of experience like cargotanker has.

It is pretty standard for the USAF and USN to affix "pilot error" to an accident that is impossible to fully investigate and explain. What happened to LtCmdr Davis was tragic. Accidents have happened to both teams and the results are usually fatal (there are some who do survive). Flying fast, close to the ground, and close to other aircraft is a very dangerous business. But that is what we train all of our fighter pilots to do.

I'm not even remotely worried or concerned about his experience. My comment toward the subject of the OP was spot on. But them saying anything regarding the g-suit or oxygen mask most likely wouldn't have prevented it is hogwash. Its like your kid crashing the car, going through the windshield due to no seat belt use, and an investigator saying the same thing.

Not worried about it.

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