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F-106 Delta Dart


Murph

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Apparently a great aircraft, and also one VERY sought after to fly by pilots.  A friend's father flew them and he said it was the last "real pilot's" aircraft.  He told us that they regularly embarrassed F-4's and other aircraft in mock dog fights.  For what it was designed for, it apparently did it very very well.

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16 minutes ago, Murph said:

Apparently a great aircraft, and also one VERY sought after to fly by pilots.  A friend's father flew them and he said it was the last "real pilot's" aircraft.  He told us that they regularly embarrassed F-4's and other aircraft in mock dog fights.  For what it was designed for, it apparently did it very very well.

Writer of this book did like it very much:

https://www.amazon.com/Topgun-American-Story-Dan-Pedersen/dp/0316416266

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Pedersen

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While it is entirely believable that as a delta-winged bomber interceptor the F-106 had superior high altitude performance, I doubt it would have been generally better than a F-4 in a dogfight / BFM at medium-to-lower altitudes with its large delta wing and comparatively poor visibility, especially rearward. Let alone the poor performance of the AIM-4 missile. I never understood why these aircraft soldiered on so long. Like the EE Lightning the type was a bit of an anachronism at the end of its service life.

Edited by Daan
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1 hour ago, Daan said:

While it is entirely believable that as delta-winged bomber interceptor the F-106 had superior high altitude performance, I doubt it would have been generally better than a F-4 in a dogfight / BFM at medium-to-lower altitudes with its large delta wing and comparatively poor visibility, especially rearward. Let alone the poor performance of the AIM-4 missile. I never understood why these aircraft soldiered on so long. Like the EE Lightning the type was a bit of an anachronism at the end of its service life.

According to my friends father, it was a VERY forgiving aircraft to fly, it was very manuverable, and according to him, it was just so fun to fly that pilots were working hard to get a chance to fly one.  Not being a pilot myself, I trust him since he retired as an Air Force LtCol, who had lots of flight hours, and then flew for Southwest Airlines for many years.   His comments were that it was his very favorite aircraft to fly.  Also guys in Air Defense Command got orange flight suits.....

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Oh yeah, it probably had an impressive roll rate and its light wing loading and large delta wing should have given the plane a good initial turn radius as well as rate. Though the delta wing and its thrust to weight ratio must have reduced its sustained turn rate and negatively affected its BFM performance after the initial turn. Of course, it was never intended as a dog fighter, but as a Soviet bomber interceptor.  

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10 hours ago, Daan said:

Oh yeah, it probably had an impressive roll rate and its light wing loading and large delta wing should have given the plane a good initial turn radius as well as rate. Though the delta wing and its thrust to weight ratio must have reduced its sustained turn rate and negatively affected its BFM performance after the initial turn. Of course, it was never intended as a dog fighter, but as a Soviet bomber interceptor.  

The EE Lightning has similarly been described as being basically a delta wing with cut outs. 

They probably could have been interchangeable in that they did the same thing, in the same way, in the same timeframe.

The Lightning had the chance to 'play' with a couple of interesting 'targets', that included the U-2, and the Concorde.  The Lightning had a fair chance of dealing with either.  Was the F-106 ever allowed to play with the B-58 Hustler or the U-2 to see how effective it would have been?
 

 

Edited by DougRichards
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Many pilots considered the F-106 a "one trick pony", being really good as an interceptor (and the same in close combat due to delta wing). In 1961 USAF setup an exercise to compare it with the Phantom called Project High Speed. It took place during Robert McNamara's tenure as Defense Secretary, as he wanted to optimize the investment. F-4 Phantom proved better in most fields.

Earlier this year I interviewed a pilot who flew the F-106:


 http://alejandro-8en.blogspot.com/2022/01/interview-with-usaf-pilot-who-flew-f.html

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While both the F-106 and Lightning were designed as interceptors to counter Soviet bombers, they were dissimilar aircraft, the former being a much larger and heavier design with a much greater endurance (a notorious weakness of the Lightning) and semi-active radar guided missiles. In addition , it was tightly integrated in the SAGE GCI system. The Lightning had a superb climb rate, a better T/W ratio, better cockpit visibility and was praised for its handling. The missiles on both types seem to have been rather questionable. Furthermore, neither had an RWR, nor chaff or flare dispensers, showing their age and focus on bomber intercepts.

A former British pilot remarked:

“To be fair, the Lightning was not a dogfighting aircraft; we used to tell our students ‘get into a knife-fight in a phone box and you’ll die’. The ‘blow through/stay high and fast’ concept was the basic start point.”

This is probably as valid for the F-106.

Edited by Daan
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5 hours ago, alejandro_ said:

Many pilots considered the F-106 a "one trick pony", being really good as an interceptor (and the same in close combat due to delta wing). In 1961 USAF setup an exercise to compare it with the Phantom called Project High Speed. It took place during Robert McNamara's tenure as Defense Secretary, as he wanted to optimize the investment. F-4 Phantom proved better in most fields.

Earlier this year I interviewed a pilot who flew the F-106:


 http://alejandro-8en.blogspot.com/2022/01/interview-with-usaf-pilot-who-flew-f.html

Nice article.

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8 hours ago, alejandro_ said:

Many pilots considered the F-106 a "one trick pony", being really good as an interceptor (and the same in close combat due to delta wing).

Keep in mind that the "Century Series" fighters were all designed to be one-trick ponies. Recall that the USAF and the USN were both charter members of the "fighter of the month" club in the 1950s, when the F-101 thru 106 were conceived.

Excellent interview, BTW.

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17 hours ago, Ivanhoe said:

Keep in mind that the "Century Series" fighters were all designed to be one-trick ponies. Recall that the USAF and the USN were both charter members of the "fighter of the month" club in the 1950s, when the F-101 thru 106 were conceived.

Excellent interview, BTW.

Sure, back then there was no concept of multirole and aircraft were designed for specific missions.
Thanks for the comments on the interview, I got another one with Romanian MiG-23 pilots in the pipeline.

9 hours ago, Dawes said:

Being armed with AIM-4 Falcons was kind of like being armed with a knife in a gunfight.

Indeed. An instructor used to say that the F-106 did not carry MISSiles; they were HITTiles because they had no proximity fuses. According to pilots the AIM-4 was seriously flawed, and highly susceptible to both radar and IR countermeasures

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On 11/21/2022 at 8:30 AM, DougRichards said:

The EE Lightning has similarly been described as being basically a delta wing with cut outs. 
 

That´s - sorry - plain wrong.

May look like that somewhat.

But in reality it´s a very high angle swept back wing.

And it has rear elevators - which give it totally different flying characteristics than e.g. Mirage.

IIRC the wings gave problems with aileron inversion.

Hermann

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58 minutes ago, Arminius said:

That´s - sorry - plain wrong.

May look like that somewhat.

But in reality it´s a very high angle swept back wing.

And it has rear elevators - which give it totally different flying characteristics than e.g. Mirage.

IIRC the wings gave problems with aileron inversion.

Hermann

Not wrong. 

It looks exactly like a Delta Wing with cutouts, it's a notched delta wing.

The MiG-21 is famously a tailed Delta.  The absence of tail feathers doesn't a Delta wing make.

NACA seems to think the English Electric Lightning is a notched delta wing, you can look up any number of studies they've done on that wing form.

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On 11/22/2022 at 2:10 AM, Dawes said:

Being armed with AIM-4 Falcons was kind of like being armed with a knife in a gunfight.

I'd say that the AIM-4 was a long-range rifle. It didn't do well in the knifefights that the dogfights during Vietnam was. But it wasn't supposed to be good at that, it was supposed to shoot down russian bombers.

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2 hours ago, BJE said:

I'd say that the AIM-4 was a long-range rifle. It didn't do well in the knifefights that the dogfights during Vietnam was. But it wasn't supposed to be good at that, it was supposed to shoot down russian bombers.

The Falcon also had problems with the heat and humidity of SE Asia.  Sparrow had similar problems, but wasn't as bad as Falcon, and had the growth potential to adapt.

Had the Rules of Engagement permitted more classic missile launch profiles, the early missiles would have had a better showing.  As it was, visual ID was required, the enemy had to be actually attacking, and too often permission had to be granted by battle managers somewhere else.

Edited by shep854
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AIM-4 was such a flop in the SEA combat environment that the 8th TFW commander (Col. Robin Olds) eventually had them restricted from use on his aircraft. Not that Falcon was alone in this, of course. Combat Snap brought the AIM-9J into use, but it was also something of a disappointment compared to expectations.

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