The Let's Play Archive

Strike Fighters 2

by SelenicMartian

Part 57: S08E05: 1968.08.31 - 1968.09.16 (The Mad, the Lazy, and the Stupid)

S08E05: 1968.08.31 - 1968.09.16 (The Mad, the Lazy, and the Stupid)


Oh, look, another one of those.

The mission video

In which the best AI kill ever is recorded

Impressive, Marshall. Now don't do it again.


And here's were I just start skipping forward. This has hilarious consequences, as I quit missions, before the ground battles are resolved, and the attacking Reds score victories by default.
Sometimes they don't attack, but two weeks later we have this.


The kill reel

16 seconds

Run away!


At this point writing about a Beagle intercept is like giving each snowflake in your town an individual review.

The mission video

In which idiocy shines through the clouds

Just some statistics and the sheer magnitude of our failure

The end roster

And that's that. The defeat screen is the usual German/Israeli one, with NATO resorting to nuking stuff.

P.S.: I dug up some three-views and made a scale comparison between the Lightning and the thing, I talk about in the third video. Spoiler alert.

You might be curious about the larger bird having a waistline: the body is noticeably narrower at the root of the wings. This is caused by the application of the "area rule", a method for reducing the supersonic drag. The subsonic and the trans-/supersonic aerodynamics work quite differently. In fact, some of the key formulas of the classic aerodynamics outright shoot themselves with division by zero at the speed of sound.
One of the peculiar phenomena you encounter close to and at the speed of sound is, that the drag starts to depend not just on the shape of the plane, but on the way the area of the cross sections changes from the nose to the tail. The plane must start pointy and narrow, gradually become fatter, and then gradually get pointy at the end, completing the perfect "Sears–Haack shape". If the changes in the area veer off from <o0O0o>, you get massive shockwaves, extra drag and a miserable flying experience.
The wings are a problem, as they add to the area of the cross sections. To compensate for it the fuselage is slimmed down, where it is required. Also, sometimes it is necessary to add bulges to reduce supersonic drag. Like those gondolas on the big bird's wings: they don't have to be there, or to be as long as they are, to fit the equipment in. No, they are there first and foremost to add to the cross section area.
Gas and liquid behaviour is very


Soup Inspector posted:

Regardless, have the tale of Wing Commander Walter 'Taffy' Holden and his accidental ride in a Lightning:

In 1966 at RAF Lyneham, one of the Lightnings stationed there was suffering a mysterious electrical problem on take-off. In an attempt to ascertain what was wrong, Taffy (the commander of the maintenance unit based at Lyneham) tried to reproduce the issue. The aircraft had safeties installed on its ejection seat to prevent accidental ejection, the canopy had been removed, and the undercarriage was locked in position. The Wing Commander was not wearing a helmet, either. This will all become important in just a short moment.

Taxying up and down the spare runway failed to reveal the issue, so Walter tried moving the throttle more forcefully and accidentally put the Lightning's engines into reheat, causing the jet to streak forward. Walter attempted to get the engines out of afterburner, but for whatever reason he could not.

As if this wasn't bad enough, up ahead there was a fuel bowser crossing the runway (and futher along there was a large transport preparing for take-off on the main runway). Luckily, the wing commander managed to miss both of them, but he was starting to run out of room (the perimeter fence was getting uncomfortably close). Pulling back on the controls he took to the air.

The good news: he had undertaken some flight training.

The bad news: it was in Chipmunks and Harvards (the RAF version of the T-6 Texan). So he had ended up taking a massive leap from elderly machines that could only barely kill you at worst to what was frequently described as the "Ferrari of the Skies". And he had no choice but to attempt to land it.

He decided to test the controls (having remembered how to remove the throttle from the military power setting), and found that it was controllable even for a complete novice like himself. Flying it in the circuit the wrong way around (though he could hardly be blamed for it), he tried landing but was too fast and high. His second shot ended just as poorly. On the third go he managed to land, albeit cutting the braking parachute because he tried to land it like a tail-dragger.

The Lightning came to a stop 100 feet away from the end of the runway, and the wing commander promptly fainted after shutting down the engines. Unsurprisingly his nerves were shot to pieces afterwards for quite some time. As for the aircraft, it's now on display at Duxford.

So the moral of the story is as follows: you too can fly the English Electric Lightning (if you have some rudimentary flight training and an intimate understanding of its systems).

Cooked Auto posted:

The radio interview about the accident is a short but great listen: