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Last Fighter Aces


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Post #1 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:11 PM

The latest Smithsonian Air & Space edition features an article on the amazing F-4 Phantom dubbed "The Last Ace Maker".  As hard as it might seem to believe, the Phantom was the last aircraft in which an American pilot achieved the magic five victories needed to be designated as an ace.  Thus while the US has produced and flown many superior fighters since the Phantom, the best an American has done since the Phantom is to record 3 kills in an F-15.  

 

So that got me thinking, if not for us then what fighter since the Phantom has taken its pilots to ace status.  Not surprisingly, the IAF has a number of Aces that have recorded 5 or more kills in modern aircraft. Retired IAF General Amir Nachumi has 14 kills, 7 in Phantoms and 7 in the later F-16, so he is an ace in both aircraft.  Many others are Phantom or Mirage III aces but the Mirage is the same vintage as the Phantom.  The IAF (mostly F-16s) shot down over 100 Syrian aircraft over Lebanon but I can't find out how many of those resulted in IAF aces.

 

For other aircraft,Jalil Zandi of Iran claimed 11 kills as in a F-14 and Mohommed "Sky Falcon" Rayyan of Irag claimed 10.5 in a Mig 25, both in the Iran-Irag War.  Iran also had a number of other F-14 aces from that war (most trained by us). Yadollah Sharifirad of Iran downed 5 in an F-5

 

So does anyone know of any other aircraft besides these four that have carried their pilots to acedom?



Post #2 valmy33

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:46 PM

I think to Falklands war with the harrier but no :
http://aces.safariko...b-falkland.html

" The war, it is the war of the men ; the peace, it is the war of the ideas. " - Victor Hugo


Post #3 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 04:54 PM

Yeah, I was wondering about the Falklands but no aces on that list, unless any of those had prior kills, which are not shown.



Post #4 Firebat

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 07:20 PM

You got me.....Were you the last Phantom Ace  :D


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Post #5 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:03 PM

NO, NO,NO, not by a long, long shot.  I only catch flew the Phantom with some flight school mates of mind that had that assignment.  I only flew one for a total of under 10 hours and NOT in combat.  We all used to sneak flights between our various aircraft but some were obviously more popular than others.  My SEA combat flights were in a C-130, again with a old flight school roommate but they shot at us, not the other way round. 

 

Now to your question, the last US Phantom ace was retired General Steve Richie, who once downed two Mig 21s in 89 seconds.

 

LastAmericanAce.jpg

 

Here's a nice painting of that exploit, amazing fighter pilot really.

 

Richie_1st_Pass__8_July.jpg



Post #6 Firebat

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 08:08 PM

Boy the Phantom is awesome.

 

I always remember the show on the History Channel about Randall Cunningham 


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Post #7 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 27 January 2015 - 09:24 PM

To me the Phantom remains the coolest jet fighter of all time.  There is just something about making such a big hunk of metal with lines like this fly so fast and turn so well.  There are many better fighters by all metrics but for its time (and a long time at that) it was a stone cold killer.



Post #8 Neil

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Posted 28 January 2015 - 10:53 AM

I was lucky to see the German airforce f4 at the Berlin airshow which was very cool
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Post #9 Firebat

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 07:58 AM

Wasn't there something about the Phantom that it use to have a smoky exhaust or something like that.

 

 

If so was it a bad problem ?


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Post #10 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 09:30 AM

Most Vietnam era Phantoms did have the GE engines that emitted significant smoke in most power ranges. Most jets of that era had a similar smoke problem but not as bad as the Phantom. The E model was equipped with a smokeless engine but not deployed until 1972 and thereafter many Ds were retrofitted with these.  To mitigate the issue, pilots tried to fly tactical missions in zone 1 afterburner. That eliminated the smoke.  It was a disadvantage but not as much of one as some of the F-4s other issues.
 
It's turn ratio and roll rates were not nearly as good as the light and agile Migs it usually faced.  In Vietnam, it was generally not allowed to use its long range Sparrow missiles due to concerns about friendly fire.  Its side winders were difficult to target and often required two for a kill.  The pod mounted guns were inaccurate unless constantly resighted.  It had a nasty stall that was just about unrecoverable.  I was reminded of that recently when I tried the Air & Space full motion Phantom combat simulator, nearly put one in the dirt.  On the plus side. there was nothing that could touch in it the vertical realm.  It had so much excess power that it could hold its speed in just about any turn and use its vertical energy advantage to make it pretty nimble side to side.  Thus its air to air tactics tended to all be based on turns through the vertical plain.  Up to the stall, it actually flew very well at all speeds.  It also could come home with damage that would have destroyed a F-8, F9F or any British or Soviet fighter of the era.
 
So was the smoke a problem, yes but not in the power range generally used for a dog fight and not enough of one to offset the Phantoms strengths.  While the actual rate remains classified there is evidence that the F-4 had a 3-1 kill ratio.  That statistic is likely very low since it includes losses to SAMs.  

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Post #11 Firebat

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 09:52 AM

Interesting...Thanks !


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Post #12 Neil

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 04:33 PM

To me the Phantom remains the coolest jet fighter of all time.  There is just something about making such a big hunk of metal with lines like this fly so fast and turn so well.  There are many better fighters by all metrics but for its time (and a long time at that) it was a stone cold killer.


What interesting in RAF service the phantom had rolls Royce engine
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Post #13 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 29 January 2015 - 09:08 PM

Funny I refueled some of those guys but I don't remember if I saw any engine smoke.



Post #14 tfsweeney

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 11:29 PM

I remember Phantoms flying close support for us poor grunts  Snake and napalm off the deck  Loved those Marine pilots

 

 

Tom 


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Post #15 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 10:36 AM

They were pretty effective in ground support, which is impressive given they were designed for air superiority.  



Post #16 Neil

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 12:23 PM

They were pretty effective in ground support, which is impressive given they were designed for air superiority.

The payload of the skyraider is very impressive for it day
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Post #17 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:07 PM

Ah nothing could match a Sandy or  "Crazy Water Buffalo" for close air support at that time.  With a max takeoff weight more that double its weight, most of which could be carried on external pylons, it was an anachronistic force to be reckoned with.  Amazingly versatile and with an impressive length of service.   It is hard to believe it did everything from night attack (3-4 seat version). electronic countermeasures (2-3 seat version), airborne early warning, and of course ground attack and served from 1946 to 1987.  Quite a career for such a slow, chunky, prop aircraft entering service at the dawn of the jet age.  Honestly if they had been given pod 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger cannons and laser targeting, I think they would have been nearly as effective at chewing up Iraq's armor as the A-10s (which is more or less the jet equivalent).



Post #18 Firebat

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:08 PM

I forgot about the Skyraider...Cool aircraft !


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Post #19 tfsweeney

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:30 PM

Spitfrnd    You can't leave Puff out of the mix    

 

 

Tom



Post #20 Guest_Spitfrnd_*

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Posted 01 February 2015 - 01:43 PM

NO the Puff was impressive for sure.  A bit of a different approach to ground support by air.  To elaborate, the original AC-47 gunships were highly successful and proved the concept.  They are soon replaced the the AC-130 Spectres, supplemented by AC-119 Shadows.  The Spectres were nearly four times as effective as the AC-47s or 119s but there weren't enough of them to go around.  Eventually though, the vulnerability of each of these to SAMs dramatically reduced their roles.  The Sandys were mission effective through the end of the war.





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