Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My top 10 Carrier Aircraft.

So Xtended did another list this time of the Top 10 Carrier aircraft.   So it had a decided Euro bent.  Ok so the historian needs to do some corrections. 

Their list was;

10. Sea Fury
9. F/A-18 Hornet 
8. Dauntless
7. Rafale
6 F-4 Phantom
5. Hellcat
4. Sea Harrier 
3. A6M Zero
2. Swordfish
1. F-14 Tomcat

The Rafale does not even remotely belong on that list, what on earth were you all thinking?

The Grumman F6F Hellcat shot down 5223 aircraft. The majority of them were A6Ms.   I do agree with the Zero/Zeke a 12 to 1 Kill/loss ratio, deserves to be on the list even if it was outclassed quickly. So we need to reverse their places.  

The SBD deserves to be on the list, it was the carrier killer.

 Likewise, though you might not believe it’s me who’s saying this, so does the Sea Fury FB.11.  The Sea Fury kept up and occasionally outclassed the jets it was serving with and fighting against.

The Swordfish, while I understand why it’s on the list, it  doesn’t really qualify, I know a sentimental favorite. How many ships were credited to the Stringbag compared to the TBF/TBM Avenger/ Tarpon to the RAN,  which didn’t even make the list, which I will correct.

So that leaves four.   Let’s start with the Sea Harrier, I think I agree with a  change, Drop the Sea, keep the Harrier.  RAF harriers fought off ships in the Falklands.  It was also the thought of two LHAs with Harriers sitting off the coast of Kuwait that helped the “left hook” armor attack succeed. So yes the Harrier has changed naval aviation.

So we are left with the Tomcat, Phantom and Hornet.  The Phantom is easy it stays.  It flew for two Navies.  It was Recon Attack and a Fleet defense fighter.

The Tomcat definitely not number 1.  Not really sure why it gets the top. It never scored a kill in combat by its primary weapon system the Phoenix Missile. It’s another sentimental favorite.  The Hollywood weapon system.

Lastly the Hornet, this is the ”I just don’t know”. It’s in the middle of its career and will be around a REALLY long time. It entered service in 1983. The Supers entered service 15 years ago. The F-35 ain’t yet around the corner so there’s a lot of history left to be written.

So since I ditched the Rafale, it needs a replacement.  This naval aircraft with be flying with at least the Brazilian Navy to beyond 2030 not bad for design from the early ‘50s. Yes I own a tail hook off one, and will be accused of bias  The A-4 Skyhawk needs to absolutely be on the list. Also how many pilots became “Naval Aviators taking their first trap in an A-4.

I do have some also-rans.
·         The Grumman A-6 Intruder.
·         The  Chance Vought F-8 Crusader  France and the USN flew it
·         The Vought F4U Corsair
·         The Dassult-Brequet Super Etendard
·         Lastly an aircraft still in production from its introduction in 1964 The Grumman E-2/C-2 family of aircraft. It just makes the good guys better. 

So here’s my "revised" list. 
10.) Sea Fury
9.) F/A-18 Hornet
8.)  TBM/TBF Avenger
7. A6M Zero/Zeke
6.) .SBD Dauntless
5.) F6F Hellcat
4.) F-14 Tomcat
3.) Harrier
2.) A-4 Skyhawk
1.) F-4 Phantom

So this David M. Vanderhoof  your Airplane Geeks Historian signing off.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Honour Flight

 Today I am attending the Bucks County Honor Flight with my Father.  On the way home we will be having "Mail Call"  below is the letter I wrote to him.  

Date: 22 September 2014

Dear Dad:

I know that when you are reading this, I will be sitting next to you, that makes it even harder to write a letter to you.   As I have gotten older I have had more opportunities because of what you have instilled in me. 

You have showed me what it means to be a good husband, not once but twice.  I am a better manager and employee because of the examples you set.  “Always talk to your boss about something other than work.” “Don’t always come with problems, make sure you have a solution first.”  These words I hear whispered in my ear often, in your voice.

I am grateful for the love of country you have instilled in me.  It’s ok to well up during the National Anthem, or when you see military come home to their families.  Our family has a long history of serving for this nation.  While I didn’t get the chance, I do try and tell the stories of those who did.

 I am sure today was really emotional. Almost as emotional as the day, we spent together in Omaha Nebraska.  There are days, in your life that stick with you forever.   I will never forget the spring in your step or the way you climbed the ladder to the Con of the LSM.  You were so excited.  The stories poured out of you like a fire hose.  It was a bit overwhelming.  Baked Eggs in the Mess for breakfast.  The map table, and the Captain’s “dyslexia.”  Shooting Stars and ending up “in a lake in Peru.”   I also remember when we were below decks, you saying “I’m not sure I have ever been in this part of the ship.”  It was something I will never ever forget!  Years of stories became real and tangible.

Sacrifice, is a term we tend to overuse when we talk about Vets.  Your war experiences were different than many others.  I remember Mom and the other wives always saying “It’s amazing we won the war” However I realize you did give up your youth.  When I was 20 I was trying desperately to figure out who I was, what I wanted in life.  You were fighting for your country, you were sailing a ship, whose mission was to purposely run a ground. When it was most important, the Captain wanted you by his side!  He could count on Vanderhoof!  I try to have that spirit in my own life.  The one you can count on when it’s all hands on deck.

Yes I always credit my love of aviation to Mom and you. This summer as we walked you to the sea, you commented, “It’s nice to watch the sea and not be tossed around in it.”  I am happy at an airport or watching planes fly by.   I am at peace when I am near the sea.   Be it a lake or the shore or a river, it is there where I find my center.   The best days of my life are near the sea.  I have been very lucky to found  Shell, who shares that love.   However I realized that my love of the sea stems from you.  

  It’s taken years to figure it out, though I always knew, I am the son of a Sailor, and the sea is my home.
I am proud to be the Son of a Sailor!   

Thank you Dad, for setting my course, and providing me a star to shoot for.