Aviation Tales

Aviation Tales are a collection of true stories from the past, some had a happy ending some did not.  But they should pique the interest of any aviation enthusiast and draw attention to any non-aviation enthusiasts.

The One-Degree Error

Many years ago at the beginning of the jet age, a jetliner was scheduled to fly from Australia to Honolulu. The technology of the day required a Navigator in the crew to plot the course as they flew.

As with many crew positions, a student Navigator was being trained by a veteran but the veteran Navigator got a little complacent like Captain Smith of the Titanic. The veteran crew member let the student do most of the work, periodically checking him. Unbeknownst to the veteran, the student had made a 1-degree error shortly after take-off.

After several hours it became apparent that the flight might be off course a little. They were off-course big-time with just a 1-degree error, so they ended having to land at Guam over 3,000 miles West of Honolulu.

While a 1-degree error did not seem like a big deal it sent the jet so far off-course that they had to land at an airport thousands of miles away from their destination.

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McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom

F-4 & F-5 USAF #4


The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom is a two seat, twin engine supersonic interceptor/fighter/bomber that was adapted by USN, USMC and USAF. The F-4 is a large fighter type aircraft with maximum speed of Mach 2.2 that can carry 18,000 lbs of bombs (World War II/Korea B-29, the biggest of it’s day,  could carry 20,000 lbs.)

The aircraft crew had a single pilot who sat in the front seat and the RIO (Radio Intercept Officer) sat in the rear seat.   There were 5,195 F-4 Phantoms of all models built at a cost of $2.4 million (1965 $$).

The first flight of an F-4 was 27 May 1958.  The last active U.S. military F-4 was retired in 1996.

The F-4, in 1959 set 13 different performance records including an absolute speed record and an absolute altitude record.


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