We welcome your
may be edited for
brevity and clarity.
Top Ten Fighter Argument:
; You’ve really started us readers thinking! Here’s
still one more opinion on which aircraft should
be in the “Top 10” (April 2017 issue). I must differ
with Ken Ramsey’s nomination of the F-100 to represent the “Century Series” on a couple of grounds.
First, you did put in a Century Series fighter:
the F- 4. The U.S. Air Force (USAF) variant was
designated F-110 before it became clear that two-designation systems were too hard for Robert
McNamara and his “whiz kids” to understand.
Second—and most important—the F- 8 (F8U)
was in many ways the most significant. It convinced a doubting Eisenhower and others that the
Navy fighters were not automatically second best.
It was quicker, climbed faster, flew higher, and
flew farther than the F-100. It demonstrated its
capabilities by setting a 1,000mph speed record;
by two of them flying from a carrier off the coast
of California to land on one off the coast of Florida in front of the president in 3 1/2 hours; and by
John Glenn flying one coast to coast faster than
the speed of sound, taking pictures on the way.
Third, it was operationally more significant
than the F-100 or F- 4.
While F-100s may have been at the ready during the Cuban missile crisis, the F-8s did the critical low-altitude picture taking, facing the threat of
SAMs, AAA, and MiGs.
In the Vietnam war, the F- 8’s record in air-to-air
combat was 18 victories against three losses. No
other Century Series fighter comes close.
Please give the F8U at least an honorable
Frank OBrimski, NavAir Advanced Design,
Retired, Garrett Park, MD
Air Age Media
88 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT 06897
We agree with you. ’Saders started it all.—BD
A Problem with Counting
; I have enjoyed your magazine since your first
issue was released.
I received the June 2017 issue. and I have a
question. The sentence on page 52 reads, “The
stencil on each of the four blades reveals sequential serial numbers.” When did an F6F- 5 have a
Doug [no last name given]
I’d laugh if that weren’t so embarrassing! I guess
higher math has never been my strong suit. Plus, the
“ 3” key is right next to the “ 4” key.—BD
Vigilante, Yes; RA-5C, No
; There’s an incorrect caption on the photo
spread between pages 30 and 31 for Barrett Tillman’s article on the U.S. aircraft carriers (June
2017 issue). The photo is credited to Barrett and
I’m sure he knows what the photo really shows,
but I’m betting it’s the person who relayed it to
you who made that boneheaded error. The caption says those are RA-5Cs on the deck of USS
Enterprise. The carrier is correct, but those are the
original nuclear bomber version A-5As, which
didn’t work very well (if at all) and resulted in
North American rebuilding almost all A-5As into
RA-5Cs along with all the newly built ones.
Stephen F. Zink
Even our resident Vigi pilot missed that one!—BD
The Controversy That
Refuses to Die
; Regarding your February 2017 article “High
Diver: Combat Drama in the A- 36 Apache” and the
question of the aircraft’s proper moniker, here
is what correspondent Ernie Pyle has to say in
Chapter 12 of his 1943 book, Brave Men:
“Our dive bombers were known as A- 36 Invaders.
Actually they were nothing more than the famous P- 51
Mustang equipped with diving brakes. For a long time
they didn’t have any name at all, and then one day
in Sicily one of the pilots in the squadron said, ‘Why
don’t we call them Invaders, since we’re invading?’
“The name was carried home in newspaper dis-
patches, and soon the company that made them
called them Invaders. The pilot who originated the
name was Lieutenant Robert B. Walsh, of Felt,
Idaho. I didn’t meet him because he had com-
pleted his allotment of missions and gone back
to the States. His younger brother was then a
replacement pilot in the same squadron.”
Whatever she’s called, the aircraft is a solid
beauty from any angle or point of view.