Flying fast and low...

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Senior Airman
Oct 18, 2006
I was talking about the joys of flying fast and low with my old roommate, and here is one of his contributions on the subject:

"Ah yes…the ole need for speed. It makes me think back. The fastest I've ever flown a jet down low came about while I was flying the F-14A Tomcat in VF-114. It happened during a 2v2 against F-106's over the Gulf of Mexico. Our squadron was TAD to Tyndall AFB conducting some DACT training in an exercise called 'College Dart'. We were hosted by the F-106 Fighter Weapons School, equivalent to our NFWS.

Fighting the Delta Darts wasn't a very big challenge, either in the beyond visual range (BVR) arena or in a dogfight. Although the F-106 was a good machine in its day, technology and simple aerodynamics made it no match for the Turkey. We routinely cleaned their clocks. Although, when we played the BVR game, the F-106's Genie Air2Air Nuclear Rocket and Hughes Aim 4 Falcon missile presented an interesting challenge, but overall, the F-14's AWG-9 weapon system and AIM-54 Phoenix missile prevailed.

This particular day, on our first engagement we merged with our adversary at about 40,000 feet and 1.6 mach. At 3000 knots of closure, it doesn't take long to close the 60 mile setup range. The delta wing of the F-106 did give the Air Force jet one big turn, but that was about it. After about 90 seconds my section (me and my wingman) had killed both F-106s. We knocked it off and set up for our second engagement. The second engagement went pretty much the same, except one F-106 did manage to hold off my wingman and was attempting a bug out. I was in position to pursue and not wanting to pass up a possible second kill, I gave chase. Both aircraft unloaded and headed for the deck. Damn, that Delta Dart accelerated pretty quickly downhill, but the Tomcat did pretty well too. The next thing I knew I was between 200-500 feet above the water and hauling ass, but I wasn't closing on the F-106. I glanced at my airspeed indicator and saw 850KIAS!! Yowza...the jet had a 780KIAS NATOPS limit and I instantly began to wonder what the limit was for…was the windscreen going to implode or what???"
Don't like being low down. Probably safer if they are shooting at you but things happen too fast down there.
We had 2 GAF F4's hit the water in level flight the way they identified the 4 guys was by the the different types of DNA the biggest bits they found of the aircraft was the noses on the drop tanks also you are are about a second behind the aircraft and would not even realize you hit the surface

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