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Barnstormers Logo ISSUE 444 - August 2016
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AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 - The Jets - US Military
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada
Always popular at any aviation event or airshow are
the jet aircraft and the U-2 was certainly no exception.
As we've seen, there were many aircraft that made the trip to AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, both civilian and military, and in many different aircraft types including various jet aircraft. The US military had their F-15, F-16, C-5, KC-135, T-38, a quick 2-pass visit by a U-2 and even two of the much loved F-4 Phantoms. The US Navy had their powerful F/A-18 Super Hornet in both single and 2-seat versions attend AirVenture.
The F-15 Eagle, left, still flies as an active aircraft with the USAF.
The F-86 Sabre, right, formerly of the USAF now flies as a privately owned, civilian aircraft.
There were an assortment of privately owned, civilian jet aircraft as well including F-86 Sabres, MiG 17, T-33s (Silver Star and Shooting Star), an Alpha Jet, L-39s Albatros, A-4 Skyhawk and a couple of Marchetti S.211s and a special appearance of an American Airlines 737. All these jet aircraft were displayed at some point during their tenure at Oshkosh and heads were turned skyward for every pass.
The U-2 "Dragon Lady" still flies with the USAF more
than 60 years after the first flight of the aircraft in 1955.
Arguably, probably the rarest of these jets was the U-2, which made only 2 passes before it throttled up, pointed its nose skyward and disappeared into the murk of low, grey sky. The U-2 is a single engine, ultra high altitude reconnaissance aircraft used by the USAF, flying at altitudes of 70,000', to gather intelligence. Designed and built by Lockheed at their "Skunk Works" facility, it first flew in 1955 and was used by the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) as an information gathering tool. The U-2 was utilised in that role to photograph military installations in Russia, China and Eastern Europe. Later, it was used to gather information over Vietnam and, later still, Cuba. The U-2 has a maximum service ceiling of more than 70,000' at a maximum speed of 434 knots (Mach 0.67) and a stall speed of 80-90mph with a flight endurance time of 12 hours.
The F-15 Eagle/Strike Eagle is expected to continue to
serve with the USAF until at least 2025.
The F-15 Eagle was built by McDonnell Douglas and first flew in July of 1972, first entering service with the USAF in January of 1976 as an all-weather tactical fighter aircraft and air superiority fighter. It is considered one of the most successful of modern fighters and has recorded over 100 victories in aerial combat with no losses. Further development of a strike aircraft, the F-15E Strike Eagle, entered service in 1989. The F-15 is still in production and is expected to be in service with the USAF until at least 2025. It has a service ceiling of 65,000' with a combat radius of over 1,000 nautical miles and, with "conformal" fuel tanks and three external fuel tanks, a range of over 3,400 nautical miles. At high altitude, the F-15 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.5+ and Mach 1.2 at low altitude.
The USAF flew their F-16 Viper in, what ended up as, a short demonstration before the display was cut short by a maintenance issue.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon, also referred to as the Viper, from the USAF flew a very short display before it went unserviceable with a sudden maintenance issue. The F-16 was designed and built by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) as an air superiority day fighter for the USAF. From that original requirement the aircraft has since evolved into a very successful all-weather, multirole aircraft with over 4,500 having been built since production first began in 1976. The aircraft is currently in use by the USAF, Air Force Reserve Command, the Air National Guard and the US Navy. It is probably most well known as the aircraft used by the USAF as their demonstration aircraft with the US Air Force Thunderbirds. The F-16 first flew in 1974 and entered service with the US military in 1978. It is still being produced today for some of the other 25 foreign air forces around the world that also use the aircraft. The F-16 has a service ceiling of more than 50,000' with a combat radius of over 340 miles. At sea level it has a top speed of Mach 1.2 and at altitude Mach 2.0+.
The US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet was a popular aircraft and both a
single seat and a two seat version made an appearance.
The US Navy F/A-18E/F Super Hornet made an appearance in two different versions. The Super Hornet is a twin-engine carrier capable multirole fighter aircraft and is based on its predecessor, the F-18 Hornet. The Super Hornet can carry air-to-air and/or air-to-surface missiles, has an internal M61 rotary cannon and can carry up to five external fuel tanks and can be configured to operate as an airborne tanker by means of an external air refueling system. It first flew in 1995 and entered service with the US Navy in 1999, eventually replacing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat which was retired in 2006. The Super Hornet has a maximum speed of Mach 1.8 with a service ceiling of more than 50,000'. It has a combat radius of 390 nautical miles and a ferry range of 1,800+ nautical miles. Currently, the only other country operating the Super Hornet is the RAAF.
The C-5M Super Galaxy is a massive aircraft and looks
just as large in the air as it does on the ground.
The largest of the jet aircraft that attended AirVenture 2016, and the largest operational aircraft in the United States, is the C-5M Super Galaxy. Once the largest aircraft in the world, the C-5 has been in service with the USAF since late 1969 as a strategic airlift aircraft and can carry oversized loads. Though it was designed to have a maximum allowable payload of 220,000lbs, however, that was reduced to 190,000 lbs in the early 1970s due to wing failure at 128% of limit load, falling well below the required 150%. In the mid 1970s cracks were discovered in the wings of several aircraft during static & fatigue testing and the fleet was restricted to 80% of its maximum load limit. In the 1980s, payloads of the aircraft were restricted to general cargo loads as low as 50,000lbs (peacetime ops). A new wing design was introduced through the 80s allowing the Galaxy to return to carrying heavier loads. Today, 52 aircraft have been, or will be, upgraded and modernized with newer avionics, and updated engines, among other upgrades, making them "Super Galaxies." The Galaxy has a service ceiling of 35,700' with a range of more than 2,700 miles. Its maximum speed is Mach 0.79 (579mph) and a cruise speed of Mach 0.77 (571mph).
The KC-135, though very similar to the Boeing 707 airliner,
was actually structurally different than its civilian counterpart.
Another of the larger jet aircraft displayed at the show was the USAF air-to-air refueling KC-135 Stratotanker. Though the KC-135 didn't land at Whittman Field, it made several passes despite the rainy, wet, dull and dreary weather. The Stratotanker was developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype 707 and is the most common variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft. It was also the first jet-powered refueling tanker of the US Air Force and first flew in 1956, entering service with the USAF in 1957. Though very similar in appearance to the Boeing 707, it has a narrower and shorter fuselage and is structurally different from the airliner version. The Stratotanker has a maximum speed of 580mph and a cruise speed of 530mph at 30,000'. Typical range with 150,000lb load is 1,500 miles though it has the capability of flying 11,000+ miles under ferrying conditions. The aircraft is crewed by a pilot, co-pilot and boom operator though will occasionally fly with a navigator during some missions.
Making, what could be its last public appearance,
were a pair of F-4 Phantom IIs of the USAF.
Probably the most popular of jet aircraft at AirVenture was the venerable McDonnell Douglas USAF F-4 Phantom IIs. The F-4 is a supersonic jet interceptor that was originally designed for the US Navy and first entered service in 1960. Eventually, the Phantom was also adopted by both the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force. It is capable of carrying 18,000+ pounds of assorted weaponry by means of 9 external hardpoints which includes air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles and an assortment of bombs. Originally, the Phantom was built without an internal cannon however, later models had the M61 Vulcan rotary cannon incorporated into the design. The F-4 has a maximum speed of Mach 2.23 (1,472mph) at 40,000' with a normal cruise speed of 506 knots/585mph. It's combat radius is 367 nautical miles with a ferry range of 1,403 nautical miles and a service ceiling of 60,000'. The Phantom IIs that flew at AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 were set to be retired before the end of July 2016.
This week we had a look at some US military airpower with aircraft such as
the US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet, left, and the USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon, right.
Next week we'll return to Oshkosh to have a look at the civilian, formerly military, jet aircraft that flew during the 2016 event. In future weeks we'll return to Oshkosh to have a look at the other aircraft that flew during the event including various warbirds, a firefighting flying boat, various aerobatic acts and more.
Make a visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and you can get up close and person
with aircraft such as the C-5M Super Galaxy of the USAF.
For more information on AirVenture Oshkosh visit:
The USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon

For more information on the USAF visit:

The US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet

For more information on the US Navy visit:

The U-2 "spyplane" has seen much controversy over the years
but continues to serve in an assortment of roles.
The last of the Phantom IIs in a nice formation pass.
The USAF Super Galaxy is a massive aeroplane!
The F-15 in afterburner!
The KC-135 Stratotanker is expected to serve with the US military for many years yet.
Next week we'll have a look at some of the civilian jets such as the MiG 17......
...... and the fabulous F-86 Sabre.
The F-4 Phantom II in afterburner!
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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