Product Spotlight

Product Spotlight: Altitude not Attitude

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale USAF Lockheed F-104C Starfighter Interceptor – “World Altitude Record”, Capt Joe Jordan, Edwards Air Force Base, California, Dec. 14th, 1959

Fifty-eight years ago, USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan zoomed a modified USAF/Lockheed F-104C Starfighter to a world altitude record of 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level. The flight originated from and recovered at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

On Tuesday, July 14th, 1959, the USSR established a world altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft when Soviet test pilot Vladimir S. Ilyushin zoomed the Sukhoi T-43-1 (a prototype of the Su-9) to an absolute altitude of 94,661 feet. By year’s end, the Soviet achievement would be topped by several American aircraft.


FAI rules stipulate that an existing absolute altitude record be surpassed by at least 3 percent for a new mark to be established. In the case of the Soviet’s 1959 altitude record, this meant that an altitude of at least 97,501 feet would need to be achieved in a record attempt.

On Sunday, December 6th, 1959, USN Commander Lawrence E. Flint wrested the months-old absolute altitude record from the Soviets by zooming to 98,561 feet. Flint piloted the second USN/McDonnell Douglas YF4H-1 (F4 Phantom II prototype) in accomplishing the feat. In a show of inter-service cooperation, the record flight was made from the AFFTC at Edwards Air Force Base.

Meanwhile, USAF was feverishly working on its own record attempt. The aircraft of choice was the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter. However, with the record now held by the Navy, the Starfighter would have to achieve an absolute altitude of at least 101,518 feet to set a new mark. (Per the FAI 3 percent rule.)

On Tuesday, November 24th, 1959, the AFFTC accepted delivery of the record attempt aircraft, F-104C (S/N 56-0885), from the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico. This aircraft was configured with a J79-GE-7 turbojet capable of generating nearly 18,000 pounds of sea level thrust in afterburner.

Modifications were made to the J79 to maximize the aircraft’s zoom kinematic performance. The primary enhancements included increasing afterburner fuel flow rate by 10 percent and maximum RPM from 100 to 103.5 percent. Top reset RPM was rated at 104.5 percent. Both the ‘A’ and ‘B’ engine flow bypass flaps were operated in the open position as well. These changes provided for increased thrust and stall margin.

An additional engine mod involved reducing the minimum engine fuel flow rate from 500 to 250 pounds per hour. Doing so increased the altitude at which the engine needed to be shut down to prevent over-speed or over-temperature conditions. Another change included increasing the maximum allowable compressor face temperature from 250 F to 390 F.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

The F-104C external airframe was modified for the maximum altitude mission as well. The compression cones were lengthened on the bifurcated inlets to allow optimal pressure recovery at the higher Mach number expected during the record attempt. High Mach number directional stability was improved by swapping out the F-104C empannage with the larger F-104B tail assembly.

USAF Captain Joe B. Jordan was assigned as the altitude record attempt Project Pilot. USAF 1st Lt and future AFFTC icon Johnny G. Armstrong was assigned as the Project Engineer. Following an 8-flight test series to shake out the bugs on the modified aircraft, the record attempt proper started on Thursday, December 10th, 1959.

On Monday, December 14th, 1959, F-104C (S/N 56-0885) broke the existing absolute altitude record for turbojet-powered aircraft on its 5th attempt. Jordan did so by accelerating the aircraft to Mach 2.36 at 39,600 feet. He then executed a 3.15-g pull to an inertial climb angle of 49.5 degrees. Jordan came out of afterburner at 70,000 feet and stop-cocked the J79 turbojet at 81,700 feet.

Roughly 105 seconds from initiation of the pull-up, Joe Jordan reached the top of the zoom. The official altitude achieved was 103,395.5 feet above mean sea level based on range radar and Askania camera tracking. True airspeed over the top was on the order of 455 knots. Jordan started the pull-up to level flight at 60,000 feet; completing the recovery at 25,000 feet. Landing was entirely uneventful.

Jordan’s piloting achievement in setting the new altitude record was truly remarkable. His conversion of kinetic energy to altitude (potential energy) during the zoom was extremely efficient; realizing only a 2.5 percent energy loss from pull-up to apex. Jordan also exhibited exceptional piloting skill in controlling the aircraft over the top of the zoom where the dynamic pressure was a mere 14 psf. He did so using aerodynamic controls only. The aircraft did not have a reaction control system ala the X-15.

Look for Hobby Master’s rendition of Captain Joe B. Jordan’s zoom-climbing F-104C (HA1038) to charge the heavens this coming April.

 

 
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Product Spotlight: Naval Aviation Gets Tricked Out

 

If you’re a fan of naval aviation, and would prefer to display your fleet favorites in a non-standard format, then we have some good news to share. At long last, we have taken delivery of TSM Model Wings aircraft accessories sets, all of which were first announced back in 2015.

Responsible for licensing and releasing a pair of 1:72 scale Top Gun F-14s, TSM has finally “called the ball” with a 1:72 scale aircraft carrier deck (TSMWAC001), launch crew figures (TSMWAC002) and several deck servicing vehicles (TSMWAC003-5). We are already starting to run low on several of the sets, and will likely run out as we near the holidays. 

 
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Product Spotlight: On the Wings of Icarus

Hobby Master’s 1:72 scale Russian Sukhoi Su-35S “Super Flanker” Multirole Fighter – “Red 6”, 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 303rd Guards Composite Air Division, 11th Air and Air Defence Forces Army, Khmeimim Air Base, Latakia, Syria, 2016

We’re getting close to the release of Hobby Master’s first-ever Sukhoi Su-35S Super Flanker (HA5701), a warbird clad in a garish yet functional camouflage scheme that makes the aircraft stand out a bit more in test bed flights, particularly when flown low to awe the crowds and gauge its prowess in high speed maneuvers. That said, we are of the opinion that the second scheme chosen for this elite generation 4+ fighter will likely do the warbird proud since it represents a scheme currently seen over the skies of Syria and built from the ground up to fight at altitude.

While it isn’t designed to be stealthy, it is, nevertheless, quite deadly, especially in the hands of a capable pilot

“Red 6”, as it is known, is a Super Flanker Multirole fighter that was originally attached to the Russian Air Force’s 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment, 303rd Guards Composite Air Division, 11th Air and Air Defence Forces Army, but now deployed to Khmeimim Air Base, Latakia, Syria.

Khmeimim air base was built in mid-2015 adjacent to the Bassel Al-Assad International Airport to serve as “the strategic center of Russia’s military operation against Islamic State”. The existence of the Russian strategic base was revealed by the United States in early September and American officials expressed concern over the possibility of escalation of the conflict in Syria. The airbase became operational on September 30th, 2015.

The Super Flanker can carry a wide range of ordnance, as can be seen by this underside shot of the aircraft

During September 2015, the air base came under rocket attack by local Syrian rebels apparently using Grad missiles.

At the end of September 2015, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, General Philip Breedlove, said that the kind of military infrastructure that Russia had installed in Syria, which included anti-aircraft defense systems, was a de facto no-fly zone: “As we see the very capable air defense (systems) beginning to show up in Syria, we’re a little worried about another A2-AD (anti-access/area denial) bubble being created in the eastern Mediterranean.” (Russia’s third denial zone around Europe)

The Su-24 shoot-down by Turkish fighters on November 24th, 2015, was reported to be when the Russian jet was on its way to return to Khmeimim.

The military Tu-154 that crashed with loss of 92 lives on December 25th, 2016, was on a flight from Sochi to Khmeimim.

Look for “Red 6” to appear over the skies of the diecast community this December.

The nose-on view of “Red 6”
 
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Product Spotlight: PMA’s Rockets Red Glare

PMA’s 1:72 scale German V-2 Long-Range Guided Ballistic Missile with Meillerwagen Launch Trailer and Brennstand – Checkerboard Pattern [Test Scheme]
“Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That’s not my department.”
– A quote attributed to Wehrner von Braun, head of the German rocketry program

According to our distributor, PMA’s eagerly awaited pair of V-2 Long-Range Guided Ballistic Missiles are on the launch pad and expected to hurtle down on the diecast community in a matter of days.

For those of you unfamiliar with their newest piece of diecast, the V-2 (German: Vergeltungswaffe 2, “Retribution Weapon 2”), technical name Aggregat 4 (A4), was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile with a liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed during the Second World War in Germany as a “vengeance weapon”, assigned to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first artificial object to travel into outer space by crossing the Karman line with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on June 20th, 1944.

Research into military use of long range rockets began when the studies of graduate student Wernher von Braun attracted the attention of the German Army. A series of prototypes culminated in the A-4, which went to war as the V-2. Beginning in September 1944, over 3,000 V-2s were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets, first London and later Antwerp and Liege. According to a 2011 BBC documentary, the attacks from V2s resulted in the deaths of an estimated 9,000 civilians and military personnel, and a further 12,000 forced laborers and concentration camp prisoners died as a result of their forced participation in the production of the weapons.

PMA’s 1:72 scale German V-2 Long-Range Guided Ballistic Missile with Meillerwagen Launch Trailer and Brennstand – Dark Green [Operational Scheme]
As Germany collapsed, teams from the Allied forces — the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union — raced to capture key German manufacturing sites and technology. Wernher von Braun and over 100 key V-2 personnel surrendered to the Americans. Eventually, many of the original V-2 team ended up working at the Redstone Arsenal. The US also captured enough V-2 hardware to build approximately 80 of the missiles. The Soviets gained possession of the V-2 manufacturing facilities after the war, re-established V-2 production, and moved it to the Soviet Union.

PMA is releasing two versions of the V-2: one in a black and white test scheme (P0321) and the other in a dark green operational scheme (P0322). Both come with a Meillerwagen launch trailer and Brennstand (firing stand). Please note that the Meillerwagen and Brennstand are composed of diecast metal while the V-2 is made of plastic.

 
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Product Spotlight: Across the Pond and On It

Corgi’s 1:72 scale RAAF Short Sunderland Mk. III Flying Boat – W3999/ RB-Y No. 10 Squadron, RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth Sound, Devon, England, Early 1942

Ever since its launch in 2015, Corgi’s Short Sunderland flying boat has proven to be extremely popular among the aviation community, combining heft, depth of detail and legendary storytelling not often seen in today’s market. Their latest version replicates a ship flown by the Royal Australian Air Force, particularly one attached to No.10 Squadron, then deployed to RAF Mount Batten, Plymouth Sound, Devon, England, in early 1942 (AA27503). 

There’s no question that the latest Sunderland will sell out as quickly as its previous two iterations.

The majestic Sunderland flying boats of RAF Coastal Command were some of the most impressive aircraft of the Second World War and performed vital duties in protecting Britain’s sea lanes from enemy attack. With crews having to endure long and arduous patrols, they would often be sent to rescue downed airmen in perilous situations, with little thought for their own safety. Such an incident occurred on June 21st, 1942, when the crew of Sunderland W3999 took off from RAF Mount Batten to try and locate a dinghy containing the crew of a ditched Coastal Command No.172 Squadron Vickers Wellington. On reaching the search area, the Sunderland, along with an accompanying Whitley patrol aircraft, were attacked by a German Arado Ar 196 float plane, with the Sunderland taking a number of hits. Losing height immediately, the flying boat effected a landing on the open sea, but at the end of its landing run was seen to explode and sink beneath the waves. Coming under further attack, the Whitley took evasive action, before setting course for home, with the crew having the unpleasant task of confirming that there were no survivors from this tragic incident.

Look for Corgi’s rendition of this fabulous legend to dip its wings some time in November.

Corgi | Short Sunderland Mk.III W3999/ RB-Y No.10 Squadron RAA…

Coming soon, the majestic Short Sunderland Mk.III! Available to pre-order from corgi .co.uk or your local stockist. http://ow.ly/gK0F30fsFnX

Posted by Corgi Die-Cast on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

 
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Product Spotlight: Forces of Valor’s 88 – Pitted, Peeled and Ready to Serve the Desert Fox

 

Forces of Valor’s German 88mm Flak 36/37 Anti-Aircraft Gun with Trailer – Deutsches Afrika Korps, North Africa, 1942

“The peril of the hour moved the British to tremendous exertions, just as always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas.”

– Generalfeldmarschal Erwin Rommel

At long last, Waltersons, the new owners of the Forces of Valor brand, has begun to draw back the curtains on some of the 1:32 scale military vehicles collectors can expect to lay their mitts on this holiday season. The first vehicle they have lassoed from the dressing room is the venerable 88mm FLaK gun, this time around painted in the desert scheme colors of the Deutsches Afrika Korps. As you can see by the close-up image, no detail has been left out, including a pitted gun shield and kill tally, as well as a dual display mode, so collectors can show the gun in either a transported mode or ready to do battle atop its cruciform mount. While the accompanying figures were omitted from these test shots, the DAK version will include 8 figures – seven crewmen to serve the weapon and the Desert Fox himself, Erwin Rommel. We’re getting close to a release date, which will hopefully make it available around Turkey Day.

Observe the pitted marks on the gun shield and some of the kill markings on the lower portion of the gun barrel signifying this gun has seen its fair share of battle.

No doubt a Sd.Kfz.7 prime mover, adorned in the desert colors of the DAK, will follow suit, so collectors can proudly display in the gun in a towed mode with the crew seated within the vehicle\s passenger compartment.

The wheel assemblies can be detached enabling collectors to display their gun in either a transport or action mode. Notice too the burnished barrel indicating lots of wear and tear and heavy usage on the battlefield.

German 88mm Flak 36 anti-tank gun

No wonder why FOV has earned its unique status in the hobby industry! FOV offers more than just a static model, take this 88mm Flak gun as an example; it can be re-packed as transportation mode or shooting mode, retractable support arms, rotating gun elevation wheels, manually recoil main gun, main body, main gun and shield are made by die-cast metal… and in transportation mode it probably rolls smoother than your matchbox car 🙂

Posted by Forces of Valor on Saturday, September 23, 2017

 
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Product Spotlight: Bloody Biscay

Corgi’s 1:72 Scale German Junkers Ju 88C-6 Medium-Bomber – F8+BX, 1-3/Kampfgeschwader 40, Lorient, France, 1943

The Luftwaffe’s Junkers Ju 88 was a twin-engine, multi-role aircraft. Among the most versatile planes of the war, it was used as a bomber, close-support aircraft, nightfighter, torpedo bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. A solid aircraft with great performance, it went on to be one of the Luftwaffe’s most versatile aircraft. It carried out almost every kind of mission ever imagined, even as a giant flying bomb. It was used in every theater, with many nations, including nations allied against Germany.

Kampfgeschwader 40 (KG 40) was a Luftwaffe medium and heavy bomber wing of World War II, and the primary maritime patrol unit of any size within the World War II Luftwaffe. It is best remembered as the unit operating a majority of the four-engine Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor maritime patrol bombers. The unit suffered from the poor serviceability and low production rates of the Fw 200 bombers, and from repeated diversion of its long-haul capability aircraft to undertake transport duties in various theatres, especially for the airlift operations to supply encircled forces in the Battle of Stalingrad. Later in the war, KG 40 became one of several Luftwaffe bomber wings to use the Heinkel He 177A heavy bomber.

The wing was formed in July 1940 at Bordeaux-Merignac under the control of Fliegerfuhrer Atlantik. The unit flew reconnaissance missions in the North Atlantic searching for Allied convoys and reported their findings to the Kriegsmarine’s U-boat fleets. On October 26th,1940, Oberleutnant Bernhard Jope bombed the 42,000 ton liner Empress of Britain, the ship later being sunk by U-32. Between August 1940 and February 1941, the unit claimed over 343,000 tons of ships sunk. The newer Fw 200C-2 was then available and differed only in having the rear ventral areas of the outer engine nacelles recessed with dual-purpose bomb racks fitted to carry a pair per aircraft of the quarter-tonne SC 250 bombs, or standard Luftwaffe 300 litre (79 US gallon) drop tanks in the bombs’ place for longer ranged patrols.

The crest for Kampfgeschwader 40

On February 9th, 1941, five Focke-Wulf Fw 200 of I/KG 40 in cooperation with the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper and U-37 attacked the British convoy HG 53. The convoy lost 967-ton Norwegian freighter Tejo and British freighters Jura, Dagmar I, Varna, and 2490-ton Britannic to aerial attacks.

With the lack of suitable long-range air cover to counter KG 40 in mid 1941 the Allies converted several merchant ships to CAM ships (‘catapult aircraft merchant’ ship) as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient RN escort carriers became available. The CAM ship was equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a “Hurricat” or “Catafighter”. KG 40 crews were then instructed to stop attacking shipping and avoid combat in order to preserve numbers. Their objective was to locate and shadow convoys and continually report by radio their composition and course changes to allow the Kriegsmarine to direct the ‘wolf-packs’ of U-boats to close, intercept and engage.

 

 
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Product Spotlight: Undertaking Marita

Corgi’s upcoming 1:72 scale German Dornier Do17Z-2 Light Bomber – U5 + BH, “Operation Marita”, 1./Kampfgeschwader 2 “Holzhammer”, Tatoi, Greece, May 1941

“1. The outcome of the battles in Albania is still uncertain. In the light of the threatening situation in Albania it is doubly important to frustrate English efforts to establish, behind the protection of a Balkan front, an air base which would threaten Italy in the first place and, incidentally, the Rumanian oilfields.

2. My intention is therefore:

(a) To establish in the coming months a constantly increasing force in Southern Rumania.

(b) On the arrival of favorable weather—probably in March —to move this force across Bulgaria to occupy the north coast of the Aegean and, should this be necessary, the entire mainland of Greece (‘Undertaking Marita’). We can rely upon Bulgarian support.”

– Fuhrer Directive 20 “Undertaking Marita”, the Invasion of Greece in early 1941

Throughout the early part of the war in Europe, the Dornier Do 17 light bomber established itself as a workhorse of the Luftwaffe, able to provide close air support for advancing Wehrmacht forces and, to a lesser extent, provide strategic bombing over Great Britain in concert with other bombers. It was therefore no surprise that it would again be pressed into service when the Axis High Command deemed it necessary to invade both Yugoslavia and Greece as a prelude to Operation Barbarossa due to their leaning with the British camp.

Developed during the early 1930s under the restrictions of the Treaty of Versailles, the Dornier Do17 was originally described as a freight aircraft for the German State Railway and a high-speed mail aircraft for Lufthansa. The aircraft was in fact a new breed of fast attack aircraft, or Schnellbomber, which was intended to carry out lightning bombing attacks, at speeds making it almost impervious to enemy fighter attack. With its sleek tapering fuselage, the Do17 was nicknamed “The Flying Pencil” and whilst this design certainly prevented the aircraft from carrying anything other than a modest bomb load, its profile made it more difficult to target in the melee of a dogfight. Seeing extensive service in the early part of WWII, the Do17s of KG.2 would support Luftwaffe operations during “Operation Marita” as the Wehrmacht attempted to invade Allied occupied Greece, following a failed Italian offensive. Attacking ground and coastal targets, the Dorniers also took a heavy toll of Allied shipping in the Mediterranean theatre.

During the invasion of the Balkans, Kampfgeschwader 2 “Holzhammer” (KG 2) I. Gruppe committed 29 Do 17s with 28 operational. It participated in the bombing of Belgrade, the Battle of Greece and Battle of Crete, attacking ground and naval targets. On May 20th, 1941, the unit claimed many Allied ships sunk north of Crete. It reported the loss of 6 Do 17s and 7 damaged. II. Gruppe did not take part. III. Gruppe participated with 30 Do 17s, 29 operational. It reported losses of 6 aircraft shot down and 5 damaged during the campaign. During June 1941, I./KG 2 was partially converted to the Do 217.

Look for Corgi’s rendition of this bomber (AA38807) to take to the skies in September.

 
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Hobby Master’s A-10 Warthog Steps Away From the Dressing Room Mirror

Hobby Master’s USAF Fairchild A-10C Thunderbolt II Ground Attack Aircraft – “Tigress”, 79-0090, 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 917th Fighter Group, Barksdale AFB, 2011 [Low-Vis Scheme] (1:72 Scale)
Its been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If that’s the case, then try telling that to the venerable A-10 Warthog ground attack aircraft — a much maligned tank buster that may have a lost a beauty contest or two over the years but more than makes up for its looks with a killer disposition.

Hobby Master’s fleet of A-10s have consistently done exceptionally well at retail so its no small wonder that they are getting set to release the 22nd iteration of the Warthog. The latest, due out in October, is dubbed “Tigress”, a fitting bad-ass name that does the plane justice (HA1324). “Tigress” was flown by the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 917th Fighter Group, then deployed to Barksdale AFB, during 2011.

Adorned in a two-tone greyish camouflage scheme that bears both a warthog nose and an image of the “Tigress” on the fuselage, and coming at a time when all of the previous A-10s have long since sold out, we anticipate brisk sales this holiday season and have set our sales goals accordingly.

 
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Product Spotlight: “The Hornet Killer”

The Iraqi Air Defense Force Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PDS “Foxbat-A” Interceptor that was piloted by Lt. Zuhair Dawood of the 84th Squadron, January 1991

“I’m telling you right now, don’t believe what you’re being told. It was that MiG that shot Spike down.”
– A pilot on the same mission as downed pilot, LCDR Scott Speicher, January 17th, 1991

Ordinarily, I’m rather loathe to pointing a spotlight at an adversarial aircraft that shot down one of our own, however, in the case of this particular incident I’ll make an exception due to its wide public nature at the time. Way back on January 17th, 1991, during the opening stages of Operation Desert Storm, Iraqi pilot, Lt. Zuhair Dawood, flying a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25PDS “Foxbat-A” interceptor, successfully downed a Coalition pilot by the name of LCDR Scott Speicher. LCDR Scott Speicher was flying an F/A-18 Hornet fighter, BuNo. 163484, from VFA-81 “Sunliners”, when he was shot down 100 miles west of Baghdad, on the first night of Operation Desert Storm. His plane crashed in a remote, uninhabited wasteland known as Tulul ad Dulaym. He was the first combat casualty for American forces in the war.

The U.S. Navy maintained in a 1997 document that Speicher was downed by a surface-to-air missile. A pilot on the same mission stated: “I’m telling you right now, don’t believe what you’re being told. It was that MiG that shot Spike down.” Subsequently, in an unclassified summary of a 2001 CIA report suggests that Speicher’s aircraft was shot down by a missile fired from an Iraqi aircraft, most likely a MiG-25, flown by Lieutenant Zuhair Dawood, attached to the 84th squadron of the Iraqi Air Force. Speicher was at 28,000 feet and travelling at 0.92 Mach (540 Knots) when the front of the aircraft suffered a catastrophic event. The impact from the R-40 missile threw the aircraft laterally off its flight path between fifty and sixty degrees with a resulting 6 g minimum load.

LCDR Speicher was initially listed as a probable MIA but later changed to KIA, on May 22nd, 1991, several months after the end of the Gulf War. Sadly, Speicher’s status was changed to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR). Navy Commander Buddy Harris, who was a friend and fellow naval aviator of Speicher’s, became a strong advocate for searching for Speicher, often meeting with U.S. officials. On August 2nd, 2009, some 18 years following his status change, the Navy reported that Speicher’s remains were found in Iraq by United States Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines belonging to Multi National Force-West’s Task Force Military Police and Marines from Marine Wing Support Squadron 271 belonging to the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. His jawbone was used to identify him after study at the Charles C. Carson Center for Military Affairs at Dover Air Force Base. According to local civilians, Speicher was buried by Bedoiuns after his plane was shot down. Senator Nelson attributed the delayed finding to the culture of the locality: “These Bedouins roam around in the desert, they don’t stay in one place, and it just took this time to find the specific site.”

 

 
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