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For aircraft enthusiast: how a game of pool led to the most produced jet of all time.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Blazer, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer

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    Well as we all know, German aviation technology found good use after the ending of the second world war with both the western allies and the Soviet union producing aircraft which owed a lot to the Germans' groundbreaking work.

    Although the first Jet fighters that Soviets produced were actually nothing more than converted Piston fighters with reverse engineered BMW and Junkers engines.
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    This is the Yakovlew Yak-15 "feather" which was a Yak-9 fighter with a BMW engine.
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    This picture of a Yak-15 without its engine cover shows how crude the conversion to fit the jet engine was.

    Things improved with the MiG-9 which was the Soviet Union's first proper jet Fighter, being designed as such.
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    The MiG-9 was a toe in the water for the Design Bureau led by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhael Gurevich (MiG: M.I.G. Mikoyan I Gurevich, Mikoyan and Gurevich) Thanks to it's Reverse engineered BMW engines which were tempramental and unreliable, the MiG-9 proved to be a moderate success and was produced in limited numbers.

    Regardless it gave Mikoyan and Gurevich the much needed experience in producing Jet fighters. So when the high command of the Soviet air force issued an order for a faster and more powerful yet they came up with a very graceful looking prototype called the I-310.
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    The I-310 utilized the German research on swept wings and it resembled the never build Focke-Wulf Ta-183 "Huckebein" The I-310 was powered by two BMW engines which also powered the MiG-9.
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    It was those German engines which still kept giving the design bureau and the pilots which flew the I-310 headaches, certainly when they found out that contemporary American and British made engines which more reliable and twice as powerful as the BMW and Junkers engines the Soviets were using. They lacked the expertise to develop a more powerful engine of their own.

    So the decision was made to send out two diplomats to arrange a deal with Rolls Royce. In the end the deal was settled over a game of pool which won the Russians the licencing rights to produce what was then the most advanced Jet engine of its day, the Rolls Royce Nene.
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    MiG wasted no time fitting the Nene to the I-310 and created what to this day is the most produced Jet-fighter of all time.
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    The MiG-15 of which in total 18.000 were build, of which 12.000 by MiG alone.

    With the MiG-15 the whole set up was: make it as simple as possible, make it easy to fly, easy to maintain and make LOTS of it. When a MiG-15 was captured in South Korea, American pilots were baffled at how crude it was.
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    The Radio was tube powered as opposed to the solid state radios the USAF were using, the rivets weren't smoothed over as was customary on USAF fighters and the Cannon muzzles were sticking out as opposed to them being recessed into the fuselage.

    But when they took it out for a spin, they found that, although crude, the MiG was a force to be reckoned with, it had a faster climb rate than any American made fighter at the time (Including the Sabre), was more agile and better armed.

    The fact that the MiG was outperforming every USAF fighter certainly was a shock to the USAF high command who basically were caught with their pants down. The fact that USAF pilots had a higher kill rate in the Korean war owed more to their experience and being hardened WW2 veterans.

    But before the Mig-15 began making quite a splash in the Korean war, MiG was already working on an improved version. Russian aeronautical research had improved dramatically as did their R&D towards engine development. Using the MiG-15 as a base, they created a new type of wing and a more powerful version of the Nene which now also came with an afterburner.
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    The result was the MiG-17.
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    This picture with the MiG 17 on the left and the MiG-15 on the right, shows to good effect the difference in the engine and the shape of the wings.

    The MiG-17 came too late to play part in the Korean war but it would play a part in another conflict where it would face the USAF: Vietnam.
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    When Vietnam came around, the USAF was training its pilots to intercept high flying Soviet bombers, so their planes had to be fast and armed with heat seeking or radar guided missiles, like the Sidewinder and Sparrow, most if not all all their fighters were designed to fit that need. Most of them also did away with cannon armament because if you have missiles that will never miss their target, what do you need a gun for?

    However, when USAF and USN flying the F-4 Phantom encountered MiG-17 fighters over Vietnam, their pilots quickly found out that a nimble subsonic fighter which could dart all over the place, is something completely different than a Russian bomber which flew stationary.

    The Sidewinder and Sparrow missiles weren't meant to pull maneuvers to get to their intended target and needed a certain distance to be fired. Once again the USAF was caught with its pants down. And it took three years before the protocol was changed and Gun pods were being fitted.

    It was a step in the right direction but the pilots also needed to be taught how to dogfight again and for pilots to know their enemy, was to become the enemy.
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    Several MiG-17's were bought from neutral countries such as Indonesia and Egypt as well as war bounty from Israel, which were used to simulate air battles and tactics.
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    Eventually, it was decided to use the Northtrop F-5E Tiger which has similar performance to the MiG 17 and the later MiG-21 as substitutes. The training program which resulted from those tests still exist, as "Red flag" and "Top Gun"

    Currently none of the 18.000 MiG-15 and 10,200 MiG-17 fighters are in active military service but have become popular War Bird planes, ensuring that Mikoyan and Gurevich design which twice trumped the USAF will remain a familiar sight in the air for many years.
    [​IMG]
  2. tplyons

    tplyons

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    Always love reading your "For aircraft enthusiast" threads. Have you considered compiling these on the web somewhere?
  3. bassteban

    bassteban

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    The I-310(apparent prototype/early MiG-15)looks to have a single engine as opposed to the stated two- Im guessing that's the previous articles typo, not yours. Fascinating stuff though, please keep it coming. :)
  4. Blazer

    Blazer

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    The I-310 had its engines placed side by side, I couldn't find a picture of the plane from behind to show how the engines were fitted. But you can kinda tell by how narrow the waist of the plane is compared to the production version, since the BMW engine is much smaller diameter than the Rolls Royce Nene Engine.
  5. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

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    Thanks! Great info.. I am forwarding to my enthusiast friends.
  6. bassteban

    bassteban

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    I stand corrected. :)
  7. stingray2112

    stingray2112

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    This is definatley one of the coolest threads I've read on talkbass. Thanks for all the information and it's some really great stuff!
  8. mpdd

    mpdd Supporting Member

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    thanks for posting, i remember my dad giving me a copy of mig pilot in elementary school and being obsessed with these planes as a kid
  9. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for posting. I love aviation and it's cool history.
  10. GKon

    GKon Supporting Member, Boom-Chicka-Boom Supporting Member

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    Thanks for posting this! I thoroughly enjoyed it.
  11. Relic

    Relic Cow are you? Supporting Member

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    "But when they took it out for a spin, they found that, although crude, the MiG was a force to be reckoned with, it had a faster climb rate than any American made fighter at the time (Including the Sabre), was more agile and better armed.

    The fact that the MiG was outperforming every USAF fighter certainly was a shock to the USAF high command who basically were caught with their pants down. The fact that USAF pilots had a higher kill rate in the Korean war owed more to their experience and being hardened WW2 veterans."

    Wasn't it the case where the original F-86 designed was improved to the point where the Mig-15 vs F-86 was a near even match? The later F-86 version (F-86D or F maybe?) had a higher thrust and had definite performace parameters better than the Mig-15. I think that the only thing that the Mig-15 had consistently better was a higher ceiling and climb rate. The guns on the F-86 were actually better as well, no?
  12. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Supporting Member

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  13. Blazer

    Blazer

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    Maybe so Mark but as one USAF Phantom Pilot once claimed

    "I could have shot down 50% more MiG's if they had fitted a gun on the Phantom."
  14. TBird1958

    TBird1958 As a matter of fact....I am your Queen! Supporting Member

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    Which, as you say they did........

    This one's just 10 minutes up the road from my house at Seattle's Museum of Flight.
    Note the 3 N.V.A kills on the splitter.

    [​IMG]
  15. Blazer

    Blazer

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    Raising this one up because I found pictures of another MiG-15 derivative prototype, the I-320.

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    This is a much larger twin engine prototype with the engines in a very unusual configuration: one underneath the cockpit and the other in the tail end of the fuselage.
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    This pictures the two exhaust pipes, one under the cockpit and the other in the tail to good effect.

    The I-320 was meant to be a long range all weather interceptor but after only two prototypes having built of which one crashed, the project was abandoned.
  16. bobba66

    bobba66

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    Thanks for posting this. Great stuff!

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