Tomcat Tribute

The Navy’s fearsome fighter retires.

Feathers ruffled, a "Turkey" rests on the deck of the Harry S. Truman while a Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk hoists in supplies for the carrier population. (PHA Gregory A. Pierot, USN)
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To park an F-14, the pilot had to put the wings into "oversweep," a setting five or six feet beyond the swept-back position they could assume during flight. The wiring needed to command the wings into oversweep broke-a lot. "Sometimes you would have to jury-rig it," says Winters. "And you're doing this while you're on top of the airplane. It's still running, the engines are hot, and the [flight crew] are still in there. You've got panels open, and the boss is yelling over the loudspeaker, 'Get the wings back!' Jets are landing right beside you at 150 miles an hour. And taking off. And sometimes it's raining.">>>Diane Tedeschi, Air & Space


Engine Trouble

That business about flying the engines instead of the wing, that was really true with the TF30 [the F-14's original engine]. Any aggressive move you wanted to make, you had to worry about how the engines would like it. Like you had to ask their permission.>>> Hank "Butch" Thompson, VF-11


Parade Rest

We've flown airplanes to museums all over the country. People are going to be able to eyeball these beauties for a long time. We had one going to Allentown, Pennsylvania, to a VFW display there. I spent two full days talking to permit people. I could not get them to believe the size of the jet, that you can't fold the thing up any less than 33 feet across. The main gear was wider than some of the roads we needed to use. Then they insisted we move it from the airport at 10 a.m. We told them we always do this after midnight because of traffic. Nope-10 or nothing. We shut down Allentown cold. Everyone got into it, made a parade out of it. And the display is magnificent-up on a cliff over the city, all lit up, lots of flags flying. Go see it.>>> Bill "Taco" Bell, VF-14, -101, -102, -41


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