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Thread: MiG-21 versus Mirage III/IAI Kfir and F-4

  1. #61
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGmBdqxrwbw

    Just found to verify my claims from memory before.

  2. #62
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    I surely thought the subject of "Poorly maintained aircraft" in the Red Eagles was an issue that had been settled. Obviously, I'm incorrect. I guess the years I spent helping to put the unit together from Day One and maintaining the acft was all a dream. Sure did seem real tho.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by donno21 View Post
    I surely thought the subject of "Poorly maintained aircraft" in the Red Eagles was an issue that had been settled. Obviously, I'm incorrect. I guess the years I spent helping to put the unit together from Day One and maintaining the acft was all a dream. Sure did seem real tho.
    Hi Donno,


    Since you`ve visited the forum, could you please do me a favour and fill up some parts missing about how did you handle maintenance issues experiencing during the Constant Peg program? Especially, I`d like to know how did you run heavy maintenance and repairs on the type Mig-23 aircraft, meaning also the scheduled maintenance after accumulating prescribed flight hours on the airframe and systems. I wondered whether you were executing it according to book in the first place. Did you have to read through all those technical manuals, job cards and maintenance events, operating instructions for every aggregate installed on the aircraft and the ground testing equipment delivered for the engine, fuel, flight control/autopilot system, radio and avionics, weapon systems?
    Could you please describe how your maintenance depot worked on faulty aggregates and parts, meaning overhauling, reverse engineering and testing prior to installing back on the aircraft. Frankly speaking, when using replacements all the correct safety precautions had to be taken into consideration. To what measures your maintenance depot had been driven the most on the Mig-23, what parts you were struggling with mostly when doing overhaul and refurbish due to wornout, damage for example parts in engine itself, other aircraft systems when realizing that different material standards were used on Soviet aircrafts? How many testing stands, ground equipment and tooling and spare programs were needed to develop and manufacture in order to proper maintain this foreign aircraft.
    Many thanks for your answer.
    Last edited by martinez; 28th February 2012 at 23:30.
    <Find a job you like doing, and you'll never have to work a day in your life>

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levsha View Post
    Well, martinez, the main reason why I also posted the second page of the article is because it both completes the list of all MiG-23s which have served in the Czechoslovak air force, but also it gives a figure on the number of hours flown "nalet" by each aircraft. It would appear that each MiG-23 flew an average of around 90 hours a year during the cold war and that most of the aircraft had flown over 1000 hours at least. Total flying time of the MiG-23 type in Czechoslovak service would be around 80,000 hours - but feel free to provide a more accurate figure!
    That would give an aircraft loss of 1 for every 10,000 hours or so? It's certainly a lot better than the Indian AF record, who have lost dozens of MiG-23s and MiG-27s in the last 30 years.
    I was never much interested in this statistics stuff, bcs there is a saying about three levels of lie differentiations. The first is a lie, the second is an outright lie and then there is the statistics. Hopefully, I translated correctly
    As you probably heard before, after Czechoslovakia split in 1993, Czechs kept all Floggers also due to a fact that they wanted to make trades with them to the middle east. Well, war conflicts in 90ies, sanctions, embargos burried theses plans with only one outcome for them to immediatelly ground a half of the Mig-23 fleet in 1994, bcs flying all of them was uneconomical. Last delivered Mig-23ML were flown till reaching the end of its calendar service life. Pilots had flown 50 or less per years, growing number of mishaps, incidents and maintenance problems as the date of aircraft retirement was closer. Not a good time for making summarizations and statistics of the aircraft "glorious" service life, do not you think? Anyway, half of that table describing Czechoslovak Mig-23 above is not showing flight hour values and I dont have better ones at hand right now. Do you have similar info about east German Mig-23fleet?


    P.S. statistics from time frame 1971-1980, Czechoslovak Airforce, a table showing regiment flight hours per one:
    NH/1K.... fatal accident
    NH/1KL....fatal accident due to pilot error
    NH/1H.....non fatal accident
    NH/1HL....non fatal accident due to pilot error
    NH/1P.....incident, damaged a/c
    NH/1PL.....incident, damaged a/c due to pilot error

    Regiments
    4.slp..........Mig-21F,MA,MF
    5.slp..........Mig-21F,MA,MF
    9.slp..........Mig-21F,PF,PFM,MA,MF
    6.sbolp ...Mig-21MF,UM
    20.sbolp....Su-7BM,BKL,U, L-29,R,
    28.sbolp....Su-7BM,BKL,Mig-23BN
    30.sbolp....Mig-15,SB,SBbis

    word "bez" means "without"
    Last edited by martinez; 4th September 2012 at 06:53.
    <Find a job you like doing, and you'll never have to work a day in your life>

  5. #65
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    HuAF - small fleet: 12x MiG-23MF 4x -23UB

    Delivery in 1979, to The Fall of Berlin Wall: only one aircraft lost, pilot ejected succesfully.

    In the next period to 1997 the same situation >

    Quote Originally Posted by martinez View Post
    Pilots had flown 50 or less per years, growing number of mishaps, incidents

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by sainz View Post
    HuAF - small fleet: 12x MiG-23MF 4x -23UB

    Delivery in 1979, to The Fall of Berlin Wall: only one aircraft lost, pilot ejected succesfully.

    In the next period to 1997 the same situation >
    "Spain's air force, the Ejercito del Aire (EdA), acquired 18 F-104Gs and 3 TF-104Gs from Lockheed through MAP beginning in 1965, with the Starfighter being given the designation of "C.8" in Spanish service.
    In May1972 the quadron was disbanded ending the short career of the F-104 within the Spanish Air Force. The Spanish Air Force kept the best Starfighter operation safety record figures when during the 7 years they did not loose any aircraft."

    ... and the deeper sense of such claims about the safety of the F-104G in general?!

  7. #67
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    Just a few specific comments, largely based on book "MiG-21 in Finnish Air Force", which was written by Engineer Lt.Col Jyrki Laukkanen, who flew over 1200 hours in MiG-21. I will mostly reply to points where what I have read and heard differs from what has been written elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    Israeli pilots test-flew the MiG-21, entering into mock combat with their own Mirages. The MiG-21 was found to be underpowered, though fairly maneuverable at high altitude. The MiG possessed excellent acceleration which was achieved through its small size and aerodynamic refinement rather than through a high-thrust engine. Its range was also very limited.
    Finnish experience was pretty much totally opposite. MiG's engine was somewhat slow to response to throttle and pilots were adviced not to throttle back too much, especially in low altitudes. By contrast, climb speed and high altitude performance were very good. From the brakes, 10 000 metres was reached under three minutes. This was with F-13 and BIS had better performance. By contrast, the Draken had very good acceleration and was very fast at low altitudes, but its performance wavered quickly at high altitudes. MiG did not have a great range, but with drop tanks it was apparently not seen as major problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    In August 1966, an Iraqi pilot defected to Israel in a late-model MiG-21F-13 (Fishbed-C). The IAF began studying the plane. The first to fly it was - who else - Danny Sha-pira, the IAF's veteran chief test pilot.
    The systems in the cockpit were bulky and unwieldy. The pilot's view of the out-side world was almost completely blocked off, and turning his head sideways was difficult. The Russians believed that the pilot should look forward at all times.
    According to Laukkanen, visibility from F-13 was "fairly good" (it got worse in subsesquent models). Criticism about the cockpit is true though, Laukkanen mentions that even after intense training, pilots would sometimes mess up some switches with semi-amusing results (such as premature deployment of brake chute).

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    On August 16, 1966, an Iraqi defector landed a MiG-21 in perfect working order on the Hazor tarmac and Dani Shapira, the IAF’s chief test pilot, took the MiG through every nook and cranny of its flight envelope. “We found out that at high speeds it had trouble maneuvering as well as the Mirage, which meant that we had to try to get it into tight turns at high speeds. Also, at slow speeds it had a tendency to spin out, and at tight turns at low altitudes it would snap and flick into the ground.”
    Part about the spin sounds like complete baloney. Laukkanen says the aircraft is "very spin resistant" and almost impossible to get into any kind of post-stall gyration, unless pilot specificially wants. No accidental spins ever happened and spins were not trained at all. This was in stark contrast to Draken, which had very dangerous stall maneuver.

    As an example how easy flying characteristics MiG-21 was thought to have, is that Finns soon stopped using any intermediate trainers for MiG-21. Pilot would go straight from Fouga Magister to MiG-21. Now, MiG's airspeed indicator began where Fouga's ended, so this was bit of a culture shock at first, but pilots adjusted quickly. Only challenge were the landings, MiG had high landing speeds and needed a long runway.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    disorganized, but insisted that the plane was easy to fly. The first flight confirmed his words; it was easy. To Danny, it felt like the Mirage, but was a bit faster and had a lower peak altitude of 40,000 feet. When Danny began to maneuver, he discovered how the MiG differed from the Mirage. The MiG was difficult to steer at speeds over 500 knots. Danny had to use tremendous strength on the stick to steady the plane in turns, especially in sharp ones. At greater speeds the danger increased. The nose and the right wing pulled downward.
    Again complete disagreement. F-13 could reach 15 kilometres (50 000 feet) without problems and close to 20 kilometres with zoom climbs (but such endeauvor would eat up almost all the fuel). Though, I've heard that in hot, thick air of Middle East, aircraft generally gave less performance than specified in the manuals so this may explain the discrepancy. Laukkanen's opinion about control forces are completely opposite, with exception with rudder which could get heavy at high speeds (F-13 had totally mechanical rudder - very unusual for a Mach 2 fighter! BIS had hydraulic rudder). He does mention that mechanical backup system had very heavy control forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    However, the MiG-21 was found to be highly susceptible to battle damage, having a tendency to burn or explode after being struck only a few times with 30-mm cannon fire. On the opposite, a Mirage was hit by the Soviet-built Atoll infrared-guided air-to-air missile fired from an Iraqi MiG-21 over an Iraqi airbase where the Mirage was patrolling. The Mirage’s tailpipe suffered extensive damage, but the pilot was able to return to the base.]
    Just a quick comment here, this kind of comparison is meaningless as a missile and cannon shells have totally different damage profile and proves nothing. Plenty of single-engined fighters have survived their tailpipe getting hit by an IR guiding missile. By contrast, 30mm hit is extremely destructive and I doubt any fighter could survive "few hits". Hollywood movie air combat never gets this right, they have jets armed with weak machineguns.

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    Steve Ritchie, a Phantom ace, considers the MiG-21’s speed and turning ability to be excellent, but the MiG has roll rate troubles at maximum speed, as well as longitudinal stability problems.
    I've never heard of any "longitudinal stability problems", quite the contrary, Laukkanen thinks the longitudinal stability as excellent. "Roll rate at maximum speed" sounds like relatively inconsequental, given that fighters seldom, if ever, operate near their maximum speed, much less dogfight there. Some sort of translation error?

    Quote Originally Posted by MiG-23MLD View Post
    “Modern Fighter Combat” (1987) by Mike Spick.

    The controls are heavy, to a degree where a fair amount of muscle is needed. The pilot’s view out is not good, rear vision is almost non-existent and even the view ahead is restricted by both avionics displays and a heavy canopy bow. A fairly low fuel fraction reduces the combat radius without external fuel to a ridiculously short distance. The performance above 20,000 feet was described as poor.
    The truth is that the MiG-21 is a very ordinary fighter and had it been of Western origin, it would have probably sunk without trace prior to 1970.
    At the same time, the latest MiG-21bis (Fishbed-N) has a more powerful engine and a far superior thrust-to-weight ratio. Its performance has to improve dramatically and it must be a formidable dogfighter.
    Suffice it to say that almost all there sounds like complete garbage.

    Now, most of what Laukkanen writes is about F-13; about BIS, it had more power but it was also much heavier. I've read that for pilots used to F-13 it felt very cumbersome at first, but after a while they learned to maneuver it close to what F-13 was capable of.

    About the maintenance, MiG was not designed to be maintenance-friendly at all but F-13 was so simple that the maintenance demands were pretty modest - about 20 hours of maintenance for 1 flight hour, after routine was estabilished. Draken, by contrast, was designed for easy maintenance but the '60s era electronics were so unreliable that maintaining the plane was much more laborous. I've never read of any specific engine problems for the MiG's, outside of some poorly built MiG-21UM's which were turned down. However, Draken's engine seems to have been more reliable overall.

    FAF loss stats: 2 Drakens out of 48 lost (1 to pilot error, 1 written off due mechanical problem), 11 MiGs lost out of 54, to all causes. Don't have the breakdown here, probably about 6 to 8 were mechanical problems, mostly engine.
    Last edited by Yama; 1st March 2012 at 00:27.

  8. #68
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    At least thank you for that info. But all your claims do not differ from the Israeli findings from 1966 about the MiG-21F13. The Israelis were training for operation Moked for some years already. They were intrested in the strong and weak points of that MiG-21 in general and at low level and medium level especially. Here they were most relieved when they had no problem to rate the MiG-21 over the Mirage in the interceptor and high altitude role. Both the Mirage IIIC and the MiG-21F13 are limited to ~40000 feet in combat ceiling with dry thrust only. Going into the transonic range with burner the controls of the MiG-21 did stiffen compared to the Mirage and so the Israeli pilots were advertised to start a combat with the MiG-21 with higher speeds whenever possible. To cut a longer story about that findings short. The Israelis rated the MiG-21 in performance close to the own Mirage III and came to the conclusion that the pilot will make the difference at first. The MiG-21 could not be used in a way similar the Israeli Mirage III were used and may have demanded a change in tactics from that. All the Israeli lower performance fighters have a fair chance to survive an attack from that MiG-21 when alerted in time - staying low and avoid an energy fight with that. All that findings were given to the pilots and the squadron leaders had the chance to verify that against the real thing.

    OSPREY Publishing - ISBN 978-1-84603-947-8
    Mirage III vs MiG-21
    Six Day War 1967
    Shlomo Aloni
    gives a good reading about that.
    Design and Development
    Technical Specifications
    The combatants
    ....
    all in some deepth the both fighters only.

  9. #69
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    Yes, I suppose that if I got to read the whole book, instead of just snippets out of context (often mistranslated/otherwise misrepresented from original source), overall picture would not be that different. Finnish test pilots got to fly Mirage III in 1961 and recommended its acquisition, but it was much too expensive.

    Unfortunately very little information of FAF's dissilar air combat training has been released in public. I presume such information is still classified, even if the fighters in question have been long retired (Finnish military is very secretive). One tidbit which has been mentioned in literature is that Folland Gnats totally waxed both Drakens & MiG-21's in dogfights.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinez View Post
    I was never much interested in this statistics stuff, bcs there is a saying about three levels of lie differentiations. The first is a lie, the second is an outright lie and then there is the statistics. Hopefully, I translated correctly
    "Lies, damned lies & statistics".
    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian

  11. #71
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    Pilot dies in Israeli-Made Jet ATAC F-21 Kfir crash at Fallon Naval Air Station in Nevada.



    An Israeli-made military jet fighter went down Tuesday morning at Fallon Naval Air Station in northern Nevada, resulting in the fatal injury of the pilot.

    Authorities say a pilot for a defense contractor is dead after an Israeli-made military fighter jet crashed at Fallon Naval Air Station in northern Nevada.

    The airplane, an F-21 Kfir fighter (pictured) which was owned by defense contractor Airborne Tactical Advantage Co. based in Newport News, VA, went down just inside the west gate of the base, according to a report in the Associated Press. The weather was snowy and foggy, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Doug Harvey. Base and company officials say the F-21 Kfir (kuh-FEER) aircraft crashed just after 9:15 a.m. Tuesday inside the west gate of the military airfield, about 60 miles east of Reno.

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