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A (very) short history of jet fighters
A (very) short history of jet fighters. We love to fly a jet fighter. Fighter aircrafts are amazing machines, powerful, fast, yet delicate and precise, requiring concentration, physical fitness and mental sharpness. For years, fighter pilots have had to adapt to their changing aircrafts, from biplanes to flying the F-22 Raptor. So here is a very short history of jet fighters and their evolution with time. Fighters were developed in World War I to deny enemy aircraft and dirigibles the ability to gather information by reconnaissance. Early fighters were very small and lightly armed by later standards, and most were biplanes built with a wooden frame, covered with fabric, and limited to about 100 mph. As control of the airspace over armies became increasingly important all of the major powers developed fighters to support their military operations. Between the wars, wood was largely replaced by steel tubing, which became aluminium tubing, and finally aluminium stressed skin structures began to predominate. By World War II, most fighters were all-metal monoplanes armed with batteries of machine guns or cannons and some were capable of speeds approaching 400 mph. Most fighters up to this point had one engine but a number of twin engined fighters were built, however they were found to be defenseless against single engine fighters and were relegated to other tasks, some becoming night fighters, fitted with very primitive radar sets. By the end of the war, turbojet engines were replacing piston engines as the means of propulsion, further increasing their speed. Since the weight of the engine was so much less than on piston engined fighters, having two engines was no longer a handicap and one or two were used, depending on requirements. This in turn required the development of ejection seats so the pilot could escape and G-suits to counter the much greater forces being applied to the pilot during maneuvers. In the 1950s Radar was being fitted to day fighters since the pilot could no longer see far enough ahead to prepare for any opposition, and since then the capabilities have grown enormously and are now the primary method of target acquisition. Wings were made thinner and swept back to reduce trans-sonic drag which requiring new manufacturing methods to obtain sufficient strength. Skins were no longer sheet metal rivetted to a structure, but milled from large slabs of alloy. The sound barrier was broken, and after a few false starts due to the changes in control required, speeds quickly reached Mach 2, but this has proven to be the limit at which the human body can tolerate even with the assistance of G-suits - any faster and the aircraft is unable to maneuver to avoid attack. Air-to-air missiles largely replaced guns and rockets in the early 1960s since both were believed to be unusable at the speeds being attained, however the Vietnam War showed that guns still had a role to play and most fighters built since then are fitted with cannon (typically between 20 and 30 mm in caliber) as an adjunct to missiles. Most modern combat aircraft can carry a pair of basic air-to-air missiles and some of the larger fighters such as the Sukhoi Su-27 can carry as many as 12. In the 70's, turbofans replaced turbojets, improving fuel economy sufficiently that the last piston engined support aircraft could be replaced with jets, and making multi-role combat aircraft possible. Honeycomb structures began to replace milled structures and the first composite components began to be used on components subjected to little stress. With the steady improvements in computers, defensive systems have become increasingly efficient and to counter this, stealth technologies have been pursued by the United States, Russia and China. The first step in this was to find ways to reduce the aircraft's reflectivity to radar waves by burying the engines, eliminating sharp corners and diverting any reflections away from the radar sets of opposing forces. Various materials were found to obsorb the energy from Radar waves, and were incorporated into special finishes which have since found widespread application. Composite structures have become widespread, and include major structural components, reducing the steadily increasing weight - most modern fighters are larger and heavier than World War 2 medium bombers. Now that you know more about jet fighters, please come fly with us and experience the thrills of being a fighter pilot for a day.
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A tribute to Charles
We would like to pay tribute to Charles Crépin who passed away just a few days ago. Charles had been suffering from cancer for many years, pushing himself to the limit for him and his family. He tried out new tests and programs for years to hope for a better life without cancer. Unfortunately Charles lost his battle a few days ago and we are all saddened by this news. We came across Charles path at the end of last year when his wife contacted us to help him achieve his dream of flying into space. We came as close as possible by organizing a jet fighter ride in the Mig 29 to the stratosphere, the edge of space. Charles cleared the medical tests and was able to fly the Mig 29. Being a pilot himself, Charles even took controls of the jet fighter to feel the Mig 29. We are all saddened by Charles’ passing away. But we would like to pay tribute to his courage and will to live, to experience, and to achieve his dreams. Let it be a lesson to us all. Charles, have a good flight!
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Ace combat press clippings: flying a jet fighter
We were very fortunate a few weeks ago to welcome five reporters from Britain. They had been invited by Namco to feel the pulse of what a fighter pilot feels like when flying a jet fighter. This was a great day, sunny, and everyone was in a very good mood. The reporters got to play Ace Combat Assault Horizon, and then get ready for the experience of a lifetime, fly in a real jet fighter. Below are two articles that have been published, one in The Independent and the other in the Daily Star. We are very happy with their feedback, and we would like to thank Tom Green of Brands2Life, Namco’s PR Company, for giving us the chance to know them better and share this experience. This is something we love to do, and we are fortunate as more and more brands get interested in promoting their image with the once of excellence of fighter pilots and jet fighters. For us it is only natural, and it is tremendously funny to do. So do not hesitate to contact us should you want to use our jet fighters, or simply to experience a jet fighter ride.
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What is a jet fighter
A fighter jet is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets. The hallmarks of a fighter are its small size, speed and maneuverability. Many fighters have secondary ground-attack capabilities, and some are dual-roled as fighter-bombers. It is not unusual for aircraft that do not fulfill the standard definition to be labelled or described as fighters. This may be for politicial or national security reasons, for advertising purposes or other reasons. Fighters are the means by which armed forces gain air superiority over their opponents in battle. Since World War I, achieving and maintaining air superiority has been essential for victory in conventional warfare. Alternatively Guerrilla warfare attempts to find victory without air superiority but may only do so at a great cost in lives. The initial purchase price represents only small part of the total cost so that maintaining a viable fighter fleet consumes a substantial proportion of the defense budgets of modern armed forces. The word "fighter" did not become the official English term for such aircraft until after World War I. In Great Britain's Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force these aircraft were referred to as "scouts" into the early 1920s. The U.S. Army called their fighters "pursuit" aircraft from 1916 until the late 1940s. The French chasseur and German jagdflugzeuge are terms that continue to be used for fighters, and mean "hunter" and "hunting aircraft" respectively. This lead has been followed in most languages except Russian where the fighter is an "истребитель" (pronounced "istrebitel"), meaning "exterminator". As a part of military nomenclature, a letter is often assigned to various types of aircraft to indicate their use, along with a number to indicate the specific aircraft. The letters used to designate a fighter in various countries differ - in the English speaking world, "F" is now used to indicate a fighter (eg F-35) or Spitfire F.22 though when the pursuit designation was used in the US, they were "P" types (such as with the P-40). In Russia "I" was used (I-16), while the French continue to use "C". Although the term "fighter" specifies aircraft designed to shoot down other aircraft, such designs are often also useful as multirole fighter-bombers, strike fighters, and sometimes lighter, fighter-sized tactical ground-attack aircraft. For example, in World War II the USAAF and RAF would later favor fighters over dedicated light bombers or dive bombers, and types such as the P-47 Thunderbolt and Hawker Hurricane which were found to be no longer competitive as fighters were relegated to ground attack. A number of aircraft such as the F-111 and F-117 had no fighter capability despite carrying the designation but did so for political reasons - the F-111 was originally intended to fulfill a fighter role with the Navy but this variant was cancelled, while the F-117 was thus designated for national security reasons. This blurring follows the use of fighters from their earliest days for "attack" or "strike" operations against enemy troops, field positions, vehicles, and facilities by means of strafing or dropping small bombs and incendiaries. Versatile multirole fighter-bombers such as the F/A-18 Hornet are a less expensive option than having a range of specialized aircraft types. Some of the most expensive fighters such as the F-14 Tomcat, F-22 Raptor and F-15 Eagle were employed as all-weather interceptors as well as air superiority fighter aircraft, while commonly developing air-to-ground roles late in their careers. An interceptor is generally an aircraft intended to target (or intercept) bombers and so often trades speed or maneuverability for climb rate.
Gavin Ramjaun of ITV flies our jet fighter in France
We had a fantastic time welcoming Gavin Ramjaun from ITV Daybreak, in France. He came to experience the thrills of a jet fighter ride and what it feels like to be a fighter pilot. This experience was organised by Performance Entertainment and Warner Bros for the launch of the Green Lantern DVD in a few days in the UK. And it was a fun day. We are getting used to camera crews, and it is quite funny to see the presenter rehearsing and then doing his bit. Then the serious stuff started… We got Gavin dressed up with the flying suit, then seated in the cockpit for the briefing about instruments, communication and security in the jet fighter. Especially for the show, we have put the smoke system to make it more visual, and then it was engines on… The jet fighter flight started with a pass over the runway for the camera crew and then off we went for a 30mn ride including aerobatics. This was a great day and a pleasure to meet Gavin and the team. Here are a few pictures of the day. If you want, like Gavin, the fly a jet fighter, do not hesitate to contact us.
September 27th, 2011 by adminTags: , , ,
Posted in All, Fly fighter jets
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Flying the Jet Provost
Fly the BAC Jet Provost in the UK. This trainer plane was in use by the Royal Air Force from the 50s to 1993 and still used by private companies to train pilots at flying fighter jets. Going to Mach 0.7, the Jet Provost has been a successful jet trainer and has served more than 10 air forces around the world. Its twin seating makes it a convivial plane. It is also easy to fly and agile, and very impressive at low altitude. There are still many Jet Provost flying in private hands, and this your opportunity to get in the hot seat. If you want to know more about how to fly the Jet Provost, contact us and we will get you in touch.
The F-22 Raptor is back in the air
As jet fighters are concerned, the F-22 Raptor is simply the best. So we were a bit surprised to hear a few months ago that this incredible jet fighter was grounded because of oxygen problems. The system actually did not work on several occasions causing hypoxia for some pilots who nearly crashed due to the lack of oxygen in the cockpit. This problem was so serious that the F-22 Raptor was grounded for 4 months, which is a very unusual move. But it reflects the positive view of the US officials not to put lives at risk, even though the F-22 represents America’s power. As a consequence, it did not participate in the Libyan War. We are now pleased to see that the problems have been fixed as the F-22 Raptor has been cleared for take-off. This is one amazing jet fighter, and we are all sad not to be able to fly this jet fighter unfortunately, but very happy to see this beauty in the air again. The F-22 benefits from thrust vectoring, allowing the jet fighter to change direction of the nozzle, and hence increasing maneuverability. Check out this video of an F-22 spinning flat. This is amazing. We may have to wait for a long long time, when the F-22 is decommissioned to be able for a private individual to buy one and offer jet fighter rides on the aircraft. In the meantime, you can enjoy to fly a jet fighter with us in one of our jets, the L39 Albatros or the Fouga Magister. Which is also an awesome experience.
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Jet fighter ride for Ace Combat
We had a fantastic time last week with the presentation of the Ace Combat Assault Horizon new video game to the press. We were thrilled to participate, and more importantly to get the reporters in the cockpit of our jet fighter. The aim of the event was to get a feel of what it means to be a fighter pilot, to feel what a pilot would feel when engaging in combat. So we got the reporters in our Fouga Magister, so they could take the controls a little bit – which they enjoyed – and then pushed a bit to let them feel and experience the Gs. It was a beautiful day, and we all had a great time.
Jon Egging will be missed
We would like to have a thought for Jon Egging who died at 33. Jon was one of the best pilots in the world, and crashed his Hawk T1 after a demonstration of the Red Arrows at the Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset, England. Jon was part of the elite of fighter pilots jets. He joined the Red Arrows in 2010 and was Red 4, flying on the right hand of the Nine Diamond Formation. We are all saddened by this loss and our thoughts go to his family and friends. Earlier in the year Jon spoke to his local newspaper about being part of the Red Arrows, and how privileged he felt to be a member of such an elite team. He totally deserved to be part of the team as Jon was a fantastic pilot and a true team player. All the pilots of the Red Arrows are jet fighter pilots from frontline Royal Air Force squadrons.
fly a jet fighter the 10th and 11th Sept in Abbeville
Save the date: we will be flying the Fouga Magister in Abbeville on the 10th and 11th September. This is good news for anyone who wants to experience a great jet fighter ride – the Fouga Magister is simply awesome – but also for a unique chance to fly on the coast. I mean, along the coast, just meters above the waves, and along the white cliffs of the Channel. A 30mn jet fighter flight is enough to get you to the coast from Abbeville, whereas it requires a one hour ride from Beauvais, where our jet fighter is usually stationed. Another great thing about Abbeville is that we can do aerobatics right on the airfield as there is not a lot of traffic at this airport. This is great for you, but also for the people who accompany you and share the experience as they can see you in action! The airfield is also very friendly, good and simple food, so all in all, it is a great day out. So save the date, the 10th and 11th September in Abbeville in the Fouga Magister. Check out the pictures!