Time for my favorite F105(B) story for you Thud buffs. I worked at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale Long Island 1956-1958. Mostly on the F105 Thunderchief and also on the ill-fated, never-flown, monstrosity the F103, lovingly known as the Thunder-Blunder. Anyhow, The engineering building was situated, crosswise at the head of the longest runway. Work started at 7:30am and ended at 3:30pm when the sun was such that a landing aircraft would cast a shadow through the overhead skylights that ran the length of the building. The engineering departments were laid out corresponding to the aircraft .. Right wing on the right, left wing on the left, engine & inlet in the middle, flight controls, etc. This was convenient because every part and every drawing had a key number that corresponded to its location on the aircraft, so if you had to talk to somebody about something, you could easily get to within a few desks of the responsible person. We all knew that layout, and so did the test pilots. Flight testing generally ended at about 2pm. Now the 105 had a humongous engine -- J75 with afterburner. It is a very loud engine. Especially with the afterburner on. If a test pilot had a problem with the aircraft, his usual procedure was to do a flyby, buzzing the engineering building, with afterburner on, just barely subsonic .. buzzing the specific desk for the responsible engineers. Those pilots were good. They had the speed, altitude, and all other parameters worked out to the point where they never broke a window. And everybody knew just which department had goofed. Once the building stopped shaking and the guilty parties hearing was restored, the section chief would call flight test to find out what the beef was. It was a great way to inculcate a deep appreciation for quality assurance. Once you've been buzzed by an afterburning J75, it is a quality lesson you never forget. Yes. I was buzzed once. Working on the cabin environmental control system. Pilot did a sudden near vertical climb from the deck (on a very hot, humid day) to maximum altitude and found himself surrounded by snow, falling inside the cockpit. Including little white streaks going across his face .. inside the cockpit. Fortunately, as a member of the CCNY physics society, I had participated in the construction of a continuous diffusion cloud chamber, which is what his maneuver had inadvertantly converted the cockpit environment into. The streaks were the tracks of alpha particles, relatively plentiful at altitude. Minor adjustments to environment controls fixed the problem .. at least we had no further reports of internal snowstorms that I know of. No small part of the F105's legendary ruggedness and viability, was due to attention paid to such quality issues and no doubt the close, if painful, interaction between the engineers and those very excellent test pilots.
------------------------------------- Boris Beizer Ph.D.
1232 Glenbrook Road Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
TEL: 215-572-5580 FAX: 215-886-0144 Email bsquare "at" earthlink.net