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Air-Minded: the First Precision Weapons

Most of us think of precision weapons as smart bombs and associate such weapons with military air forces, but they’re employed by navies and armies as well.

The accurate term is precision-guided munition. Definitions differ. Wikipedia says a PGM is a guided munition intended to precisely hit a specific target and to minimize collateral damage. […]

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Air-Minded: Cookin’ with Gas

When you’re flying fighters, or any kind of aircraft, fuel is everything. You have to know not only how much fuel you have remaining at any time, you have to know how far you can go on it and how much you’ll need if things turn to shit and you have to divert. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a short training flight in the local area or part of a multi-jet package flying a 12-hour long overseas deployment with air refueling tankers as escorts, fuel is never far from your mind. […]

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Air-Minded: Bitchin’ Betty

When Sexy Sally started warning B-58 Hustler crews about engine fires in the 1960s, it was a major innovation, and using a woman’s voice was considered a brilliant stroke: human factors researchers thought a woman’s voice—rarely heard on the radio and never on the intercom—would cut through other chatter and get the crews’ attention. […]

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Air-Minded: CAF Museum Photoblog

Our son, who lives in Las Vegas, turned 50 last week. Since he had to be in Phoenix yesterday for a business meeting, we drove up to have dinner with him. I’ve been wanting to visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field in Mesa, so we left Tucson in the morning and spent […]

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Air-Minded: Heritage Flight Photoblog 2016

Selfie with F-22s and F-35s

Once a year, rich guys with extremely expensive toys train alongside active duty USAF fighter pilots and jets at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona. The annual program at DMAFB is called the Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course, and over the course of a few days civilian and military […]

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Air-Minded: Sweeping Changes

When I take visitors around the outdoor aircraft on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, I always say a few words about these Republic F-84s, early jet fighters that show the evolution from straight to swept wings:

F-84C Thunderjet, left; F-84F Thunderstreak, right (photo: Paul Woodford)

The aircraft with the barber-striped tail […]

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Air-Minded: Non-Starter Option Revisited

In July, I posted an Air-Minded Diary titled The Non-Starter Option. In it, I proposed purchasing new F-15s, F-16s, and F/A-18s (all of which are still in production) for the USAF and USN. My argument was that new F-15s, which are far more capable that the older models currently in use, are needed to […]

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Air-Minded: Vliegbasis Soesterberg

I don’t know when Veterans Day turned into Veterans Week, but it has, so I don’t feel too bad posting a little of my own veteran history one day early.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was stationed at Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands, a brand new F-15 Eagle pilot in the […]

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