Saturday, August 8

Still Get the Thrill

(Original of photo and lots more F-5 info may be found here)

On the bike commute home recently, seen in the skies above Fort Worth Alliance Airport, a Northrop F-5 flew overhead several times. The F-5 is my second-favorite fighter of all time. I still cheer whenever I see one. When I saw "Top Gun," I rooted for the "Migs." My first job at Northrop, in 1978, was working on composite parts for the F-5 and T-38.

There are definite common threads between aviation and cycling. To adapt a famous aviation quote from Captain A. G. Lamplugh, substituting "bicycling" for "aviation" and "motoring" for "the sea," we get:

"Bicycling in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than motoring, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect."

I still get a thrill bicycle commuting as well. We're headed into one of the best times of the year for it as Labor Day approaches. Aviation and cycling are both safe and fun. Both are best approached with recognition that the safety is dependent on the pilot. Thanks to the aviation and cycling "Johns" that gifted this to me...


For those somewhat interested in aviation, the photo shows a clear application of the Whitcomb Area Rule. Note the narrow waist of the F-5. This is to reduce total cross section of the combined body and wing where the wing makes things "fat." The F-5 is an early application of this rule and substantially reduces transonic drag. For a much later application, note how the "hump" of the 747-400 fairs out as the wing starts. Personally, I think it adds to the beauty of the F-5. It certainly has added to its longevity, now 50 years and counting. The 747 has also proven to be long lived, now at over 40 years with a new model just coming out...


Chandra said...

That's a really cool looking airplane!

As a kid, I used to love to watch airplanes. I think I still watch'em like a kid :) The big difference is that now I understand their role during war.

Do you still work on improving materials used to build aircraft, Steve?

Great adapted quotation, BTW!

Peace :)

Steve A said...

Yup. And it flew out of Alliance again today. Made one pass on its way south, as I turned off Old Denton Road.

I still work on improving materials and structure used in aircraft airframes.

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