Chronicle Aviation > 1970 - 1990


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< 1950 - 1970
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the United States, May 25 1971

It is finished. Nearly eight years after president Kennedy launched the program of supersonic aircraft, the SST, the project come to be buried, perhaps for always. Among partisans of the SST, as in the superintendents of project, Boeing for the cell and General Electric for the engines, it is consternation. Program SST was in fact dying man since last 27 March, dates to which the Senate confirmed by 51 votes against 26 the decision of the Room of the representatives to refuse to allocate additional appropriations with research on the SST. It remained with the defenders of the project only one negligible hope to save the supersonic one, but Boeing, preferring to limit the damage, declared fixed price.

Edwards AFB, July 27 1972

When it posed the prototype of the F-15 Eagle on the track of the air base of Edwards, in California, Irving Burrows, the test pilot, had the smile. In 50 minutes of flight, with the orders of the new plane of air superiority theDouglas one, Burrows understood that it had to make with a thoroughbred airs. The F-15, intended to replace gradually F-4 Phantom within the US Air Force, is a single-seater with fixed geometry equipped with two afterburning and dual flow jet engines Pratt & Whitney. In spite of its relatively high weight (18 T), this apparatus, capable of a maximum speed of Mach 2,5, is the first hunter to be had a thrust/weight ratio higher than 1, which enables him to accelerate more quickly than any other hunter.

Strong Worth, February 2 1974

the first flight of F-16, the Fighting Falcon of General Dynamics, lasted 90 minutes, it was held without problem. It will have been necessary less than two years to design this apparatus, which enters the competition of the new light hunter required by the US Air Force. The war of Vietnam completely modified the American strategy. Finished the heavy and not very handy planes which do not manage to come to end from the Mig one. The last fixings in Israel confirmed the value of the new theories. F-16 will have to be measured with the YF-17 of Northrop, which should fly soon. F-16 is a single-seat single engine of 16 T maximum mass on takeoff. It weighs only 7 tons with vacuum. It has a very particular form with a large ventral air intake and a careenage with the connection of the wing with the fuselage. The seat of the pilot is tilted towards the back with 30°.

Federal German Republic, August 14 1974

Fruit of a remarkable co-operation between three European countries, the fighter multirôle Tornado, which has just accomplished its inaugural flight, is a challenge with the American technological superiority. It is as the proof as while cooperating, Europeans are able to produce a plane as effective as those carried out in the USA. Built by FRG, the United Kingdom and Italy to meet the needs for their air forces, Tornado, very general-purpose plane, is equipped with two Rolls-Royce engines and wings with variable geometry getting an excellent handiness. Fighter equipped with orders of electric flight (like American F-16), Tornado will be able to carry air-to-ground loads in service in the RAF, Luftwaffe and the Italian air forces. It is intended to replace growing old Phantom and Starfighter of these three countries. The appearance of Tornado leaves whole the problem of the modernization of the air forces of the European countries having given up taking part in the Tornado project. Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Denmark will have to choose between the F1 Mirage, Swedish Viggen, F-16 and the Franco-British Jaguar.

the United States, December 23 1974

Its mission: to be an invisible shell. The first flight of the prototype Rockwell B-1, American strategic bomber, announces a frightening successor of the B-52. Its effectiveness lies in its character of furtivity: its signatures infra-red and radar are very weak (the latter is equivalent to 1 % of that of a Boeing B-52). Indeed, vis-a-vis with ground-to-air missiles able to reach altitudes of 30 000 m and speeds of Mach 6, the only possible solution for the bombers is to make them undetectable. But B-1 has other master cards: variable geometry, possibility of launching an attack to less than 60 m of altitude and to more than 950 km/h. Its armament (up to 57 000 kg of bombs) traditional or nuclear power makes a bomber of it has general-purpose.

Rio de Janeiro, January 21 1976

"the passengers of the flight Air France 085 are requested to present itself at the door of loading." It is by this message diffused one midday in the satellite number five of the airport Roissy Charles-of-Gaulle that to begin for 100 passengers one the from most formidable adventures from aeronautics. The flight 085, which left Paris for Rio via Dakar at 12 noon 40, is not an ordinary flight: it acts of the first commercial flight of Harmony. Among the passengers, there is an about sixty French, eight American, six Germans, two Spaniards, two Scandinavians, four Italians and Switzerland. The senior is Toulouse 82 years, Aurélie Ouille. To symbolize 13 years of Franco-British co-operation, a Harmony of British Airways flew away at the same time of the airport of London-Heathrow will be able inaugural flight in Bahrain. The commander of flight 085, Pierre Canon, posed his apparatus in Dakar at 15. 27, where the supersonic one was accomodated by president Léopold Sédar Senghor. Then, at 4 p.m. 45, the Harmony took again its flight above the South Atlantic. It is at 8 p.m. 06 (Paris time) that the supersonic one landed with the airport of Rio-Galeao. The Harmony of Air France thus traversed the few 10 000 km which separate Paris and Rio de Janeiro in 7 hours and 26 minutes exactly.

Istres, 10 Mars 1978

the Mirage 2000, last-born child of Dassault, has just accomplished its first flight with Istres. This single engine with delta wing, already qualified better fighter of its generation, is the first French apparatus with being equipped with electric drives. The pilot is not mechanically any more related to the control surfaces: if they are always actuated by hydraulic servos, the muscles of the apparatus; its nerves are electric cables from the computer to which the pilot gives his orders by the intermediary of the handle. Any plane with delta wing suffers from instability in flight, but the electric drives reduce the response time to the orders while increasing the handiness. Other favours, the removal of the power-controls reduces the weight of the apparatus. The test pilot Jean Coureau appreciated: "it is a plane hyperstable: you can all release, it does not leave its line of flight."

Saint-Louis, November 18 1978

the chief controls theDouglas one, Jack E Krings, made take off the first prototype of the YF-18 of the track of the airport of Lambert-Saint-Louis. Escorted by F-4 Phantom and a F-15 Eagle, the flight lasts 50 minutes, during which the fighter-bomber carried out the way Saint-Louis Springfield and return, with the altitude of 7300 m and the speed of 555 km/h. It is on May 2 1975 which Navy, which wants to replace its F-4 Phantom, selected the YF-18, baptized Hornet in homage to the aircraft carrier having borne this name. McDonnell-Douglas and Northrop conceived this joint project. The first obtains the control of work of the program. Northrop is thus nothing any more but a one subcontractor and produces the back of the fuselage. Navy ordered 11 prototypes.

Istres, 9 Mars 1979

Developed in order to compete with with the export of the F-15 and American F-18, Mirage 4000 has just flown for the first time to the hands of Jean-Marie Saget. This twin-jet aircraft, of the same aerodynamic formula as the Mirage 2000, should make it possible France to enter the international market of the twin-jet aircrafts to high performances. Mirage 4000 is a general-purpose fighter, capable of missions of air defenses and air superiority. It can also carry out air-to-ground missions and attacks with very long operating range. For the engineering and design department of the planes Marcel Dassault, it is not only better in air superiority than the F-15, but has in more one operating range higher than that of Mirage IV. It would thus exceed, in two types of missions, the two American planes.

Strong Worth, July 3 1982

General Dynamic develops its own research program on the F-16 hunter. After having rented with the US Air Force two cells of F-16, a turbofan Pratt & Whitney and a two-seater cockpit, it launched out in the construction of two prototypes to the new airfoil, the F-16XL. The difference essential compared to the basic model relates to the wing: the aerofoil out of arrow become giant goes to the tail, increasing the wing surface moreover of the double. Its coating, fact of composites containing graphite, reinforces its rigidity and its robustness. The F-16XL acquires astonishing performances thus: reduction of a third of the landing and takeoff distances, doubly of the load of armament and increase of 82 % of the fuel load. The prototype presented today is the single-seat version of the F-16XL.

Soviet Union, August 22 1982

Code name NATO of Known-27: Flanker. But its pilots call it la Grue. A disgracieux qualifier for this hunter which is undoubtedly the most powerful interceptor in the world. Its development meets the imperative need for Soviet air defense to have an apparatus which can counter the tactics of attack at low altitude of the bombers of the West. Known-27, it is the first flight, has the most sophisticated equipment, in particular of a radar of a range of 240 km for research and 185 km for the continuation. Its basic armament is made of six missiles air air with average carried, which it can carry with 2495 km/h maximum and on 1450 km. But it does not resemble any more that by far Sukhoi T-10, the first prototype discovered by the West since 1977 but of which supersonic stability was insufficient.

Italy, May 15 1984

It is youngest of all European aerospace industries of the post-war period. It is also most dynamic. While choosing to gear down its participation in the foreign programs, the Italian aircraft industry starts a remarkable rectification which also enables him to benefit from this co-operation. The presentation in flight of the first prototype of the AMX in is an example: this attack aircraft was designed to replace Tornado, too heavy and too expensive of Aeronautica Militare Italiana. It is the fruit of a program of development and production carried out jointly by Italy (with AERITALIA and Aermacchi) and Brazil (Embraer). The Brazilian participation is there 29,7 % against 46 and 7 % for AERITALIA and 23,6 % for Aermacchi. The Brazilian prototype should fly in one year.

Edwards AFB, December 14 1984

the configuration of X-29 is completely single: its wings are directed forwards. There NASA starts a new research program to study this type of arrow which involves, during the transonic operations, a trail weaker than that of the traditional configuration. Its wings are out of carbon fibre but, for the remainder, X-29 does not have anything revolutionist: it is built starting from the fuselage of Northrop F-5 and the engines of the F-18. Its instability was desired, in order to check if it were controllable, which would confer a remarkable maneuverability to him. Chuck Sewell controlled X-29 for its first flight.

North Carolina, January 31 1985

the Navy finally took delivery of their first planes of attack on vertical takeoff of second generation, Harrier II. They could thus form their operational first squadron on AV-8B, the VMA-331, stationed in Cherry Point (North Carolina). Regarded as the last word in the single-seat attack aircraft, this apparatus was developed by McDonnell-Douglas and British Aerospace to fill the deficiencies of Harrier of first generation. Harrier of origin posted an insufficient operating range and had a primitive system of navigation. Harrier II takes again what there was the best at its predecessor while combining new techniques of construction and a aerodynamics refined with an ultramodern avionics and a more effective armament. The principal difference of the AV-8B, or Harrier GR. Mk 5 for the RAF, relates to the wings, of quite higher scale (20 %) and of increased surface, which makes it possible the plane to be equipped with additional tanks. The new aerofoil comprises large shutters with slit and composite material ailerons which increase the bearing pressure. The new capacity of maximum carrying is close of the double of that of Harrier of origin.

London, April 15 1986

the United States Air Force attacks the HQ of Kadhafi. The mission decided by president Reagan, after a recent Libyan terrorist attack counters G.I. in Berlin, was an almost total success. On the 41 planes of the US Air Force left yesterday around 18 hours their bases to England, only a F-111F Aardvak did not return. It is the single loss undergone by the US Air Force during a complex mission made by the refusal of Paris and Madrid to authorize the overflight of their territory by the American planes. In order to conclude their raid counters objectives in Libya, the planes left England, 18 F-111F equipped with the system of bombardment per laser Pave Tack, three apparatuses of electronic war EF-111A Raven and 20 flying cisterns KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10A Extender had to borrow the Bay of Biscay, to skirt the Iberian dimension, then to oblique by Gibraltar before being able to put the course on the Libyan coast. The planes of attack had to supply with flight four times before being able to launch their bombs on Tripoli. For US Navy, the task was less complex. Left aircraft carriers USS America and USS Coral Sea, crossing with broad of Libya, 8 A-6E Intruder and 12 F-18A Hornet rammed the military airport of Benghazi, destroying on the ground at least 4 Mig-23, 2 Semi-8 Mil helicopters and 1 Fokker F-27 of transport. All the apparatuses of Navy landed without incident.

the United States, May 31 1986

He was not only the first man in the world to have crossed the wall of the sound. Chuck Yeager, fighter pilot since 1943, also carried out 64 missions. The memories, which it has just published, prove that this large professional, which adds up 10 000 hours of flight on 180 types of apparatuses, is before a whole man remained very modest.

Istres, July 4 1986

"It will fly well because it is beautiful." This small sentence pronounced by Marcel Dassault, before his death on 18 April last, proved just. The Rafale A, last-born child of the military know-how of the Dassault company, flies well, very well. Guy Mitaux-Maurouard, the test pilot which has just carried out the initial flight of the Rafale, a demonstrator of technologies, is satisfied with the behavior of the apparatus. This true cocktail of advanced techniques, able to fly at Mach 2 and to be posed like a feather in less than 300 m, is equipped with entirely digitized electric drives. A quarter of its structure is made up of new, lighter and more resistant materials. For better boxing accelerations, the pilot occupies a lengthened semi position and has a holographic posting high head. Ultimate refinement, the pilot can dialogue with the plane: it is enough for him to question the computer of edge which provides him with high voice the necessary information.

Strong Bragg, October 1 1986

the servant boys have better moral. If US Army is committed in a European conflict, the tanks of the unfavourable forces will meet opposite them a frightening adversary: Apache AH-64 of Hughes, from which the startup in the American army began. Larger and more powerful than the Cobra used in Vietnam, this killer of tanks is extremely handy, essential quality with the attack of the tanks. The pilots will carry out a 140 hours minimum of flight annual on Apache, in more of the drive on simulator with laser system (the simulator ensures a drive of quality lower cost of both whole while reconstituting the conditions of the missions perfectly). The tactics of flight of Apache are particular. It fights in flight with the strong current of the ground to arrive by surprised on the theatre of the operations. That requires a close co-operation with the scouts OH-58C Kiowa who are the "eyes" of Apache. The pilot training to these tactics of flight and the shooting of the various missiles of Apache take place with Fort Bragg, in North Carolina.

Edwards AFB, December 23 1986

"And if were to be remade?" "It is not question, answers the young woman the journalists, since our objective was to carry out a first." It is done. It was eight hours in California when Jeana Jeager (43 years) and Dick Rutan (46 years) unloaded, exhausted, of a curious albatross to the scale of 727, on the basis of Edwards. Its wings were damaged. The light machine, out of composite materials, has as a name Voyager, and it is the prototype developped at the point by Burt, the brother of Rick and 22 000 working hour old suburbs and after step less than 69 tests. On its board, the two Americans come simultaneously to beat the record of distance, that of distance in closed loop, and that of time of flight. Left with 5500 fuel L distributed in 17 tanks and with 40 water L in large plastic bags like cups, they followed a road a little more to north that that of Ecuador to achieve their turn of the world. Nearly 41 000 km in nine days, at the mean velocity of 150 km/h, without stopover and in-flight refueling. This flight is an exploit in more than one way. In their flying bath-tub of 2 m³, the pilots will have spent 216 hours in the air, sleeping only two hours per day and taking turns with the orders every five hours, in a cockpit so inconvenient that the least movement to slacken their muscles was prohibited to them. They also had to face very bad conditions weather, especially above Africa where turbulences obliged them to fly to more than 6000 m and to carry oxygen masks. Without speaking about the unbearable noise and insects which stuck themselves on the leading edge of the wings, by decreasing the smoothness of the profile, which increased the fuel consumption. Until the last moment, they have fears to miss some. They were mistaken and even offered the luxury to land one day earlier than envisaged with a little reserve.

Bretigny-on-Barley, 31 Mars 1987

the pilots speak with the planes. On board the hunter Mirage III, which has just taken off of Brétigny on Orge, a small block box step larger than a shoe box. Conceived by the Crouzet company, this instrument allows the pilot, in spite of the noise of the cabin, to manage all the simple functions of the plane by orally requiring them of the computer. These vocal orders are not a simple gadget. It will be an invaluable system for the military pilots: at the time of a combat without mercy, it will be enough to ask the plane to arm a missile or to know if it remains enough of fuel, that without leaving the sky of the eyes. Soon, all the planes will be able to answer the voice of their Master.

Washington, November 10 1988

the US Air Force finally raised a corner of veil on its most secret plane. For the first time, a photograph of the furtive plane of attack Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk, deliberately over-exposed and deformed by the recourse to a wide-angle lens, was published. One sees there an astonishing plane, cut like a diamond. It evokes the science fiction, with its color noirâtre and its strange form. Not the least round-off, all its lines end in angles, to the edges of the cockpit, realized in small broken lines to break the rays of the beam radar. The F-117A thus scatters the waves in all the directions instead of returning them towards the transmitter like does it a normal plane. The recourse to composite materials, containing carbon, of silica and resins, enables him to be not electric conductive. Its covered structure of a material containing resins, absorbs a part of the electromagnetic waves. The plane, which costs 650 million franks, is almost invisible with the infra-red detectors: its coating absorbs a maximum of calories and its engines General Electric F404-400 without afterburning release only one very weak thermal signature. According to the Pentagon, 52 F-117A are already operational within the 4450e Tactical Group based in Tonopath, in Nevada. The secrecy being raised, they will be able from now on to steal during the day...

California, July 17 1989

Its fuselage deprived of empennage is hardly longer than that of a F-15 Eagle whereas its scale is as important as that of a B-52 Stratofortress. Contrary to his/her cousin, furtive hunter F-117A, the shapes of the future furtive strategic bomber, B-2 de Northrop whose US Air Force ordered 132 specimens, are all in roundnesses. 500 million dollars, B-2 costs 20 times more chèr that a F-15. It took off for the first time of the ground of Palmdale at 6 a.m. 37 for a trial flight two hours above the Californian desert. The mission of this hang-glider, able to carry 22,7 T of armament, whose nuclear bombs, is the penetration at high altitude (15 000 m) and at low altitude. Propelled by four engines General Electric F118-100, B-2, of an operating range quite higher than the B-52, largely calls upon composite materials.

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