44 Replies to “And How Was Your Day?”

      1. The Tomcat has a single clear canopy over both seats, which was the giveaway for me.

          1. Coincidentally the two aircraft behind the Vigilante are Tomcats. Note the twin tails as opposed to Vigilante’s single tail. Also the one furthest wears the distinctive VF-2 markings on the tail surfaces.

          2. C:

            I thought those fins looked familiar. That would mean that the photo would have been taken in the 1970s. The F-14 entered service near the end of 1970 and the Vigilante was retired in 1979, I think.

          3. B:

            That makes sense, in the late 70s (I think) was when USN was switching to the low visibility paint scheme (second aircraft) from the glorious colorful preceding scheme (third aircraft)

  1. There are some mistakes in that comment.

    That’s not a Tornado. It looks more like an A-5 Vigilante, which was used by the USN from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

    Second, the USN never used the Tornado in its air fleet.

      1. The Vigilante was originally a nuclear bomber with the ordnance deployed rearwards, the weapons bay being located between the engines.

        The reconnaissance version, the one you referred to, saw service in Viet Nam.

        I knew that my interest in building plastic models when I was a schoolboy might come in handy one day. A Vigilante wasn’t one of them, though.

        1. Neither did I ever got the Vigilante. Getting models of western planes behind the iron curtain was next to impossible. And if you got a western plane it would be WWII something Lend Leased to Soviets like a P-39 with red star decals. In 1989 we finally got passports and my father (and academic) went to Norway to paint houses for a summer. He brought me a Matchbox F-14 an Airfix A-7 and an Esci F-104 all in 1:72 scale. Such models were literately unobtainable until then.

          1. Most of the kits I built were of American military planes, though some manufacturers produced models of Soviet fighters. Details of those planes were, understandably, a bit hazy.

            Names such as Revell, Monogram, and AMT were familiar to me while I was growing up.

    1. I stand corrected, it is an A5 Vigilante since when I googled it that exact photo turned up, so clear confirmation.

  2. My triplet granddaughters 9th birthday. A backyard barbecue with all the Vancouver family 3 uncles, 2 aunties, 2 granddads, one mother and one grandmother.

  3. Looks like a fantastic day for the crew. No ejection seat spine compression. No cold salt water bath, only the sticky accident investigation board. Maybe a quick ride out of the Navy, but you can always fly for FedEx.

  4. BA Deplorable@10:04 pm, thanks for bringing Revell into the conversation! My biggest achievements were a nuclear sub with an open side so that you could see inside and a complete Apollo 11 with the lunar module on the moon and the command module. Good ol’ days!

    1. You’re welcome.

      When I was younger, I simply glued the kit pieces together, not bothering to paint them. Later, I discovered that there were people who made those models look realistic, making sure that the colour schemes were authentic.

      I started on that with a couple of kits, but I never finished them. I had many other interests at time, including building models that flew. Once I started university, my interest and ambition waned.

      I came across them, along with the remaining models I had, during my work on settling my father’s estate. Maybe I’ll put them on my “round tuit” shelf, along with all the other items and projects I plan on putting there.

      1. BA, I didn’t need the reminder that my whole house, (as the missis reminds) is a round tuit file) 🙂

        1. My apartment has so many “round tuit” spaces that my floor is a bookshelf. Time to move…..

    2. I had the same submarine and a Nimitz. They were both really cool. Like BA I wasn’t much interested in painting them. I tried but alas I lacked the patience and frankly the glue made me fuzzy.

      My older brother took them one day and he and his friends tried to blow them up in the Whitemud creeek ravine. Strips of red caps didn’t really blow anything up, more of a loud smudgy stinking plastic fire.

      I’d forgotten all that and now wonder if I need couselling. 🙂

  5. What a beautiful aircraft i remember standing next to one when a USN carrier visited Plymouth (the real one)in the early 1970s there were boat trips out to her and a visit to the flight deck she was actually to big to get into the sound so she moored outside the breakwater an absolutely amazing day out for a kid from a rough as rats council estate it kickstarted an interest in aviation that lasts to this day.

    1. Marc, I live in western Canada now, but I too, grew up on one of those rough as rats council estates. Mine was/is located just north of London about five miles outside of the town of Watford Hertfordshire. It’s name was South Oxhey. Thanks for the memories.

      1. The council estates of England were definitely let’s say character building,my daughter lives in a place called Ridgeway not far from Niagara in Ontario,i should be at this moment on a short visit to her and then the plan was to hire a motorcycle and ride across Canada dipping in to Oshkosh in the US to see an old mate of mine and ending up in Vancouver and flying back home,well unfortunately that never happened maybe next year eh!

  6. Rumour has it the MiG-25 was built to counter the Vigilante. I recall western analysts being amused with the MiG-25 that Viktor Belenko defected in; it was made of steel and the radar had tubes. But others pointed-out that the Russians had fielded the MiG-25 in years, vice the decades that new western aircraft usually took. And that radar was enormously powerful, which is a lot easier to do with tubes; the Foxbat was intended to get-off the ground quickly, close with the incoming Vigilantes under ground control, burn-through their jamming with its monster radar, fire its missiles and get back on the ground. The Foxbat that Belenko defected with was still Soviet property, so after their examination the U.S. returned it to the Soviet Union. In crates.

    Belenko’s book is good reading. One of the despicable capitalist things Glorious Sowiet Junion had no need for was hydraulic fluid – the Foxbat used pure ethanol instead, 14 quarts of it, and it was all changed-out after every flight. The ground crews did not throw the used ethanol away, oh no…

    1. There was another reason to use vacuum tubes, namely that they could better withstand the electromagnetic pulse that’s produced by a nuclear detonation.

      I remember hearing about the defection, plane and all, in the news. It caused quite a stir at the time. Also the method of “disposing” of the “hydraulic fluid” was well-known to the western military, though not always confirmed.

      1. One of Belenko’s other examples – he originally flew the SU-17.

        Two filmmakers showed-up from Moscow, they were tasked to shoot a propaganda film of the SU-17 to encourage recruiting. They briefed the pilots on what they had in mind, which was ~an hour of flying various interceptions, pursuits etc overhead the Base while the filmmakers stood on the ground and worked their cameras.

        But there was a major problem with this – it was high Summer on the Steppe, and massive thunder clouds were marching majestically overhead. The pilots pointed this out, and the filmmakers’ response was roughly “Yeah so what? – Moscow says ‘get on with it!'”, but like all good fighter pilots can and do, the SU-17 pilots very emphatically filled-them-in on the extreme danger of flying in & around thunderstorms, which (yes, boys ‘n girls) can tear fighter jets wing-from-wing just like any other aircraft.

        So a compromise was worked-out – the filmmakers managed to persuade the SU-17 pilots to launch two aircraft and fly a single interception right overhead, and the filmmakers would do the rest. This was done, and Belenko says the two flights lasted literally, five minutes – and he saw the resulting film and it was riveting, twenty+ minutes of “Top Gun” worthy footage. Few people did propaganda films quite as well as the Soviets.

        The only remaining clean-up from the whole episode was, what to do with the leftover jet fuel? 8,000 litres (if I remember correctly) of jet fuel had been allocated for the film, and the two jets had only used-up the merest fraction of this in the five minutes’ time they’d been airborne – what to do with the rest? To nobody’s surprise who’s lived under the Soviet system, the remaining fuel was taken out back of the hangars and dumped.

        1. Have you read Viktor Suvorow books by any chance? I think you would enjoy them, especially The Liberators but others are good too.

          1. LOVE his books! Especially the Liberators. For those of you not in the know, the guy who signs himself ‘Viktor Suvorov’ is a GRU defector living under an assumed name in the U.S. His book “The Liberators” deals with the crushing of the Prague Spring by Soviet forces, and what a clambake it turned into.

            An example. A couple of motorcycle dispatch riders are hanging-out in a Czech gas station awaiting orders, and one of them decided to clean his motorcycle with some gasoline. This was not the smartest thing he could’ve done, and the motorcycle caught fire and was pretty well destroyed. Ooooops…

            His Corporal comes running over. “You saw them, didn’t you?” “Errr, saw who?” ‘You SAW them! Those four Czech terrorists who drove by in the Tatra and shot-up your motorcycle!” “Did they?” ” – Yes. They did.” “Oh – oh yeah, they DID, didn’t they? Did err… did we get their license plate number?” No – happened ‘way too fast, we were… umm, we were inside studying our maps and we came running out but they were gone already!” “Oh, okay – yeah sure, that’s what happened alright – I’ll start writing-up a report.”

            So the Corporal handed-in the report to his Sergeant, and the Sergeant looked at it and handed it back to him: “Rewrite it – there were three rifles leaning against the motorcycle and they got destroyed too.” “Were there?” ” – Yes. There were.” “Oh – umm, okay, yes, of course there were. Three rifles. Yes, they were leaning against the motorcycle and they got destroyed, too – do we know the rifles’ serial numbers?” “Yes, we do – right here…” “Yep, that was them – I’ll rewrite the report and get it right back to you.”

            Then the Sergeant passed the report up to his unit’s admin officer, and the officer said “Rewrite it – the motorcycle was parked beside one of our staff cars, and the car caught fire and was destroyed as well.” “Was there?” ” – Yes. There was; here’s its registration number.” By the time the report got to Moscow, those four Czech terrorists had wiped-out half an armored division; they’d destroyed more equipment than the Wehrmacht in the opening months of the Great Patriotic War. A famous Czech victory!

          2. LOL, yeah remember that part.

            It was the MiG-25 ethanol story that reminded me of The Liberators. BTR-60 was the primary APC of Soviet mechanized infantry units flooding into Czechoslovakia. It had two engines, but since they were moving on roads there was little need to use both. So soldats quickly developed a practice of filling up one radiator with alcohol. Results were entirely predictable. Entire columns of those massive 8×8 10 tonne vehicles were often seen zigzagging through mountainous Czechoslovakian countryside, playing bumper cars with each other, getting stuck in ditches, smashing trees and buildings.