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  1. #1
    Join Date
    27th August 2011
    West Tennessee

    Air Force Bombardier story, may be of interest to RC flyers as well.

    My Dad is in his 90s, retired Air Force Nav Bombardier. He has some great stories, I thought I would write this one day and share it.

    Emphasize he is remembering this now, and relaying it to me, and I am relaying it you. So I may not have all the details right, but this is the gist of it.
    He had just come back from Korea 1952/53
    Assigned to Eglin Air FoBrce Base
    He was working on testing of a new radio controlled bomb project. Emphasize, not RADAR guided, not LASER guided, but radio controlled. The bomb had a flare in the tail so it was easy to see. The controller watched the bomb through the Norden Bombsight and using a joystick sent radio commands (right/left, up down) and literally flew the bomb to the target.
    He was flying in a B29 Stratofortress
    His job was to line up the target in the Norden Bombsight. Release the bomb at the appropriate altitude, air speed, and position as you would for an unguided gravity bomb, but use the stick to correct any deviation of course to put the single bomb on target.
    They were dropping 1000 lb dummy bombs. No warhead. Basically big (really big) duds.
    Mission 1
    30K feet.
    Norden bombsight on target
    Bomb release.
    Bomb immediately heads left and down.
    Dad shifts the stick full right and up.
    Bomb still heading left and down.
    Dad’s holding the stick full right and up
    Bomb still heading left and down.
    Watched it all the way down.
    Impact. 3000 feet off target, a few feet OFF the range
    BTW, this Range as 5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide.
    Debriefed, basically, “This navigator doesn’t know what the heck he is doing.”

    Mission 2
    30K Feet
    Norden Bombsight on target
    Bomb release.
    Bomb immediately heads down and left.
    Control stick full right and up
    Bomb continues down and left.
    Control stick still full right and up.
    Impact. Off the range.
    Debrief, “This navigator doesn’t know what the heck he is doing.”

    My Dad for some reason suggests they go to the range and look at the impacts.
    1000 lb bombs, even duds, make big holes when they fall from 30K feet
    They go driving out to the range.
    Impact One. left side just off the range. Big Crater. 3000 feet away from the target.
    Impact Two, left side just off the range. Big Crater. In fact, big crater overlapping Impact One. Both bombs landed in essentially the same place.
    Continue driving down the range. At the far end of the range is Drone Squadron. Drones are sent up to fly around for the fighters to shoot at. When a drone is launched, it is sent up to altitude, and put in standby mode with a radio signal that keeps it in a left hand circular track.
    Drone control tower transmits on UHF frequency. 200 watts.
    My Dad’s bomb control radar 10 watts……..You got it, same UHF frequency.

    Okay, let’s try this again. But this bombardier isn’t safe. He can’t even keep it on the range, so let’s go to a bigger range. And let’s make sure drone squadron is not transmitting.

    Mission 3. Preflight briefing,
    Target is a radar reflector pyramid in the Choctawhatchee bay. 20 feet on a side. Cost estimate $50,000 (1952 dollars.)

    My Dad talks to the Range Officer, “What happens in if I hit it?”

    Range officer, “You’re the bombardier that put the last two off the range, aren’t you?”

    Dad, “Yes.”

    Range officer, “We aren’t going to worry about it.”

    30K feet

    Norden bombsight on target
    Bomb release.
    Bomb heading for target, slightly off to left.
    Dad moves stick to right, bomb guides back onto target track
    Bomb heading for target, slightly high.
    Dad moves stick down, bomb guides back onto target.

    Impact, 12 feet short of target, into the concrete base.

    Concrete base destroyed.

    Reflector floated off into the bay.

    It is amazing what you can do when you don't have a choice.

    Smart people learn from their mistakes.
    REALLY SMART PEOPLE learn from OTHERS' mistakes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    14th March 2009
    Good for your dad!
    NAR# 92125 L1
    Total Impulse for 2018: 491.6 N/s Flights: 10
    2017: 1/2A:0, A:2, B:1, C:2, D:2, E:1, F:1, G: I have NEVER launched a G motor, H:0, I:1

  3. #3
    Join Date
    8th October 2016

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