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Convair and the Delta Wing...


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#1 Double T

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 11:41 PM

My readings indicate the Delta-winged Convair F102/F-106 were a direct result of the appearance of the Mig21.
Classified as Interceptors, not Fighters, the F-102 served in SE Asia but it's role as a fighter was mixed. One aircraft was shot down by a Mig21 if memory serves. Pilots training for duty with the B-58 flew familiarity flights with the F-102 before transitioning to the Hustler.
The F-106 was a different beast, redeisigned and the result was a major improvement over the F-102... complete with a multi-barreled cannon worthy of a true dogfighter. Pilots reported very favorably on it's performance and handling characteristics.
So, could the Delta Dart and/or Dagger hold their own with a dogfighting Mig 17/21?

Tim

#2 GregP

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 02:51 AM

The F-102 was not designed after the MiG-21 at all.

The roots of the F-102 go back to late WWII when the USA started looking into delta wings. The research culminated in the Convair XF-92A, a delta wing research aircraft.

Among the things pioneered by the XF-929A was a completely hydraulic control system, which had never before been attempted. The XF-92A had its faults, but these were studied until they were understood, and the resulted in the F-102. The proototype first flew in Oct 1953. It entered service in 1956.

Early F-102's were not supersonic, and it remained subsonic until area ruling was applied to it. It was never very fast. Even when it became supersonic, it was only a Mach 1.25 (525 mph) aircraft. It had the distinction of being the frrst sujpersonic aircraft un US service (that is, supersonic in level flight).

The MiG 21 was a Mach 2 aircraft and could easily outrun the F-102. The design study was finished in 1954, and several aircraft were built. The Ye-1 and Ye-2 were swept wing aircraft and teh first delta wing design was the Ye-4 which made its public debut in June 1955, well after the F-102 had flown and more than 5 years after the XF-92 was well known.

As an intercelptor, the Mig-21 was good. So was the F-102.

As a dogfighter, the MiG-21 was terrible, primarily due to VERY POOR visibility. The actual turn performance wasn't bad, but the pilot could not see very well, making it difficult. If he DID see the target, then the MiG-21 was a good ambush platform. It was, after all, designed as an interceptor, and it did pretty well at that role. It was abysmal in at least one respect; range. When the aircraft was fully fueled, just before engine start, it was in a state of fuel emergency. Without external tanks, the pilot would be on the ground again 35 minutes after engine start ... IF he practiced good fuel management techniques.

The F-102 had a variety of armament, mostly in an internal bay. As a result, although it could easily out-turn the MiG-21, it had no gun and thus was NOT a good dogfighter unless the prey flew as expected and was right in the missile's envelope, as the F-102 pilot expected it to be.

Also, the MiG-21 could break off combat at will due to superior top speed.

The F-106, on the other hand, was a superb fighter. It was fast (Mach 2.5) manreuverable, and could fly higher and faster than the MiG-21 ever could. It also had a gun, at least in later models, and a lot more fuel as long as the pilot stayed out of afterburner.

Now to your question:

My take is the MiG-21 and the F-102 would have had a hard time with each other, with the winner being the better pilot, or NO winner due to the difficulty of not have a gun (F-102) and poor visibility (MiG-21). If I had to choose, i'd take the MiG-21 over my home airfield due to performance and the F-102 anywhere else due to more gas than in the MiG, and better maneuverability. In the F-102, you could probably get and stay behind the MiG until the MiG driver accelerated away.

The F-106, on the other hand, would surely be a winner due to a combination of higher performance, lower wing loading, having a gun, and having more gas tp play with than the MiG.

Of course, that's just MY opinion. We might remember that there are MiG-21s still in service. Can't say that about the Convairs, so I could be wrong or maybe the MiG-21 is MUCH cheaper to own and operate! Also, the Soviet Union would sell a MiG-21 to anybody. The USA did sell the F-102, but not the F-106.

Edited by GregP, 05 April 2010 - 02:56 AM.


#3 Double T

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:03 PM

Greg:
Good comments.
I realize the F-102 and F-106 were completely different animals, but I lumped them together for the sake of arguement. (I also love the look of an F-102 in SE Asia, 3-color camo... but that's another story.)
Convair's redesign of the F-102 resulted in the F-106 Delta Dart. Everything I've read states the pilots just loved the F-106. The addition of a multi-barreled cannon to some aircraft in the production-run also sweetened it's potential as a dogfighter though it was never tested in combat.
I've read that it could hold it's own with an F-4 Phantom in a dogfight.

Tim

#4 Kutscha

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:12 AM

Greg, why do you say the MiG-21 had poor visibility? With at least 89 claims in Viet-Nam, cockpit visibility could not have been that bad nor does indicate a terrible dogfighter.

There was at least 16 VPAF aces with 6 or more 'kills'.

#5 Double T

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:11 PM

I have tried multiple times to reply to this thread without success.
Each time I post it says I have not logged in.
You might have more comments on these boards if it wasn't so difficult to stay logged in long enough to compose a post.

Tim

#6 GregP

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:43 PM

I say the visibility is VERY bad because I have been in the cockpit of one as well as in the cockpit of an F-86, T-33, and even an F-4.

The MiG-21 had some kills because a ground controller vectored it in on some unsuspecting flight and it got off a missile shot that worked. I am unaware of a MiG-21 gun kill, except maybe for an ambush where the target just didn't know the MiG was there.

The actual airframe isn't bad, but they stuck a thick, not-quite-clear piece of armor glass in front, with imperfections in it. If you can see anything the size of an A-4 at 3 miles, you see better than I do. The Phantom is a slightly different story because there is a big, thick smoke trail leading right to the exhaust end of each J-79 engine, If it weren't for that, ditto on the MiG driver not finding a Phantom, either.

Heck, if the MiG-21's in Viet Nam had not had a ground controller vectoring them in on target, they would not have been a factor except in the hands of a few extraordinary pilots. They mostly ambushed from below using missiles.

Again, jusy MY opinion. The acutal MiG-21 airframe is not a bad one considering when it was designed, but they COULD have given the pilot MUCH better visibility, even out of the front windscreen!

Ill say this for the Communist pilots, they were VERY good at emergency fuel management because they were ALWAYS in an emergency fuel state.

Edited by GregP, 09 April 2010 - 01:31 AM.


#7 GregP

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 02:21 AM

Hey Double T,

You may not remember it, but I had the same problem and complained to Paolo several times to no avail. In the end, after several months, turned out I had to run antivirus, anti-spyware, and registry-cleaner on a back-to-back basis to clean my system ... and the problems all went away.

I hope you don't have the same issue but, if you do, only a clean system will fix it.

In advance, I wish you the best of luck!

#8 GregP

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 04:29 AM

Bye the way,

Why is this post in "General Aviation?"

Just curious ...

#9 Ricky

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 06:59 AM

Because it is not WW2

#10 Lightning

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Posted 09 April 2010 - 03:51 PM

Hi Greg,

Early F-102's were not supersonic, and it remained subsonic until area ruling was applied to it. It was never very fast. Even when it became supersonic, it was only a Mach 1.25 (525 mph) aircraft.



Mach 1.25 = 525 mph? Typo?

Regards,

Lightning




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