For those who love flight - Battle of the X-Planes

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Kim, Feb 4, 2003.

  1. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    I just finished watching NOVA's Battle of the X-Planes on PBS and it was fascinating! Lockheed Martin vs. Boeing, Phantom Works vs. Skunk Works, tried-and-test VTOL vs. new VTOL,...this doc was a marvelous and comprehensive insight on the makings of the latest x-plane turned JSF.

    Much more info can be found at the following website:

    PBS.org

    Test fighters are a rare and courageous breed.

    This documentary will be rebroadcast at 1 a.m. CST, Wednesday.
     
  2. Tim Morton

    Tim Morton Stunt Coordinator

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    I watched it as well, 20 years ago i was stationed in the navy at Pax River...man did i get home sick watching it. Great Show!!
     
  3. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I was hoping interested individuals saw this post earlier today. Needless to say, it was an excellent broadcast. I really felt bad for the older Boeing engineers (possibly on their last big project before retirement) that spent 5 years or so on the project, only to have all their hard work go for naught. But I guess some of the technology will be put to use in their drone aircraft program.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The only quibbles I had were with production issues—and the stupid use of incidental music in an otherwise sober report on the competition between the aviation giants. I also applaud the JSF herself. She will be an extraordinary bird.
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Hope so, I know people on the JSF program here. It's a pretty forward looking program, compared to some of the legacy programs over here. The F-22 development was also new, lots of new software paradigms and standards and not in Fortran or Ada either...

    I wonder how the strike at Boeing affected their development, like the program mentioned their inability (at the time) to go supersonic with the vertical landing requirement in the same aircraft?

    Jay
     
  6. Mark C Sherman

    Mark C Sherman Second Unit

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    Watched it last night as well. Wow what a fantastic program. The Boeing jet was just TOO damn ugly in my book but other wise amazing.
     
  7. Michael*K

    Michael*K Screenwriter

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  8. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Damn, I missed the show.
    I'm not totally sold on the F-22 myself despite its potential. You also gotta wonder about what the future holds for the US in terms of airpower. The F-14 will be retired leaving the navy without a high-speed, longrange interceptor. Yes the F-18 can pretty much hold its own with any other fighter jet in the world but it still doesn't have the long range punch that the F-14 has.

    Jeff
     
  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Yeah, all I could think of was the A-10

    I am a huge fan of aviation, but I still have to ask: We need this fighter why? Our current stuff is what everyone else uses, and it STILL outflies everything else in the sky. The biggest excuse seemed to be the age of the fleet.

    Wouldn't it be much more logical to just build new F-14/15/16/18s with new cockpits? Cheaper, existing, proven technology, new cockpits for the new electronics(they said this was an issue)?
     
  10. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Jeff. We could just gut and put in brand new electronics and equipment and breathe new life into older planes such as the F-15 and F-14. Its a shame the Cold War had to end. The latest Soviet/Russian planes such as the Mig-29 and Su-27 were very capable aircraft that easily equaled if not exceeded the performance of our current planes.


    Jeff
     
  11. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Mostly because it takes relatively long from development to production, you cannot really sit on a design. Plus, international customers are going to have stiff competition between the Eurofighter and the likes (not that I think most of them would buy F-22s or something due to the cost) which seemingly on specs alone is top notch.

    The JSF is also designed for STOVL, unlike the F16/14/18 so it is sort of replacing three planes, like the NOVA special mentions, including the Harrier.

    Jay
     
  12. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Well Jeff, I hope you aren't SAD the Cold War ended [​IMG]

    I should clarify, I realize that they want the Stealth factor, but we seem to be doing just fine without it, and I doubt the other guys are getting better equipped any time soon
     
  13. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Oops. [​IMG] Guess I should have clarified things a bit. Without the cold war the continued development of military technology has come to a snails pace. That is why I liked those days since there was always a newer and better plane, sub, or tank always on the horizon.


    Jeff
     
  14. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I knew what Jeff Remer meant! And I agree. Without the urgency of international tension and conflict, aviation goes into deep freeze (the same as the space effort does).

    Look at the extraordinary leaps made in aviation during World War II, and compare that with how long it takes to develop a weapons system today.
     
  15. Woo Jae

    Woo Jae Screenwriter

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    Missed the first 45 minutes, but saw the rest.

    I haven't seen too much tv but public TV always has great stuff to watch. This was both fascinating and very informative. Sort of sad that Boeing lost, though I do feel that Lockheed deserved the contract.
     
  16. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Jeff Remer is absolutely correct...the Cold War catalyzed both industry and innovation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Kennedy's vision and timetable for space was triggered by the Soviet's surprising first-move initiative with Sputnik.

    The aviation industrial landscape is dramatically different today vs. pre-90's - does anyone here remember Northrup Grumman? And did anyone learn what happened to government spending on aviation? [​IMG]

    I myself faced a detour in choosing a career as a result of a changing geopolitical zeitgeist and subsequent waning spending - I originally thought to pursue aerospace engineering at the university. A chorus of opposition by advisors and professors steered me clear.

    I cannot recall the name of the doc, but there was a incredible piece on the evolution of fighter planes during WWII - some say that given a longer war, the Germans could've resuscitated themselves with the introduction of some nearly completed jet fighters.

    As far as sticking with the F-14...you cannot assume the competition has conceded and is not secretly innovating. Tremedous historical parallels can be found in the fable of the tortoise vs. the hare.
     
  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    The Germans did completely develop a jet fighter, the Messerschmit ME-262. And, yes, the entire Apollo Project was all about responding the perceived Soviet threat from Sputnik I through Vostok 1.
     
  18. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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  19. Jeff Pryor

    Jeff Pryor Supporting Actor

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    I watched it this morning after having taped it last night while I was at work. Great NOVA program! And I agree about Boeing's JSF just being too damn ugly. I was really fascinated by the look into the construction of these birds.
     
  20. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Cinematographer

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    I thought the interesting thing was at the end, when they talked about Boeing losing the battle but maybe winning the war as the military moves toward unmanned combat aircraft, a field where Boeing is smoking the competition.
     

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