Kudos . . . from a knowledgeable fan

"How To" by our Pilot Staff
LeadSolo2002
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Kudos . . . from a knowledgeable fan

Post by LeadSolo2002 » Sat May 21, 2005 1:41 am

LawnDart and the rest of the VT Team:

I have watched your website and message boards for some time now, and wanted to pass on my congratulations to all of you for creating a team and website/game environment worthy of the Thunderbird name and squadron patch. The standards you have set for the professionalism and precision of your site, videos, artwork etc. are truly remarkable. But, it is your passion for the flying, and the constant quest to find the best team members with the most highly honed skills in their area, that makes the VT so close to the real deal.
I would like to provide insight and advice in any way that would enhance the accuracy or realism of your efforts. I can assure you, the first time through the middle of the Bomb-Burst, or at the cross in the cross-over break, or pulling seat cushion out after a bad Delta Roll was more incredible than I can ever describe to folks . . . but your efforts have made it a lot easier for folks to have that experience in a virtual environment. And that is awesome.
I am certainly not a computer expert, and I don't have any of the right equipment to fly with y'all, but I would be happy to take questions on formation references or comm or parameters etc., or just general BSing about what life is like on The Team.
Again, I salute your effort and passion. That kind of contagious enthusiasm is what has made the USAF and the Thunderbirds the best in the world.

Sincerely,

Shawn "Norm" Pederson
Thunderbird Solo, 2001-2002
NormF15E@yahoo.com
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Lawndart
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Post by Lawndart » Sat May 21, 2005 2:04 am

Norm,

We are the ones honored by what you and your fellow Thunderbirds do and have done for us! We take pride in trying to model our flying as closely as possible using you and all the other current and past Thunderbirds as our measurement stick! Reading your post here is quite frankly more than awesome, it's amazing! Totally made my day!!!:D

I'll definitely take you up on your offer! (O'boy, do I have many questions for ya! :wink: ). On behalf of the entire squad, we look forward to giving something we all can be proud of in return!

Sincerely,

LawnDart
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Kudos

Post by Viper » Sun May 22, 2005 10:35 am

Wow, a real T-bird on here......how cool is that!. Welcome aboard LeadSolo2002!
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lieutfunaki
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Post by lieutfunaki » Mon May 23, 2005 2:08 am

Well, I'm pretty much broke after spending my last dime on a hotas, but shoot I'd throw in a few bucks to get him the equipment he needs to hop in the seat and show us a few things ;-) What an incredible offer to share your insight! Thank you so much for posting.
With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good.®

Athlon 64 3200+, 3 GB DDR 400, GeForce 7600GS 512MB, 21" monitor
LeadSolo2002
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Post by LeadSolo2002 » Sun May 29, 2005 11:52 pm

You're all very welcome. Fire away!
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Lawndart
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Post by Lawndart » Mon May 30, 2005 11:03 am

Ok, here goes... A few Qs off the top of my head:

1. What exactly does the "Let's hack now" call involve when it comes to the solos? (Timing...)?

2. Setting up for the sneak pass and burst through on the High-BB. What technique is used to climb after the Opposing 4-point, turn around, dive and hit 0.94-0.96 (I guess) by show center? And during the burst through, how far behind is the trailing solo pilot as the diamond pitches up for the break (speed and timing)?

3. The callout sequence for a solo pass would go something like: ..."Sloooow rooooll..., 6 clear..., 6 out (basket?)" with the clear being when the solo clears the showline, smoke off and completes his rollout, but what parameters or location is referenced for the "6 out" call?

4. During the Roll on takeoff, what speed and attitude is attained before initiating the 360 degree aileron roll?

5. Speaking of speeds... Everything being flown in the 400-450 knot range most of the time, with 450 used for timing reasons and effect I suppose. What is the most typical speed used during the Calypso and Reflection Pitch or even the x-over break while the two solos are in formation?

6. What control inputs are used during the Max Climb and Roll to get the corkscrew effect on the smoke trail? I'd imagine you park the stick somewhere towards a corner, since on some videos the solo really gets that barrel type roll as he's climbing.

7. I find the rotation of the solo pilots between each season interesting, yet somewhat confusing (especially since "Tales" flew three years on the team). Correct me if I'm wrong, but you'd always fly the maneuvers you start out flying your first season, even as number 5 the following year AND if you started as right wing solo you'd be doing the 5 ship formations, where as if you joined as left wing you'd fly the solo routines. Is there any maneuver that you swap any time between seasons (or has there been)? (Reason I ask is cause during the 2002-2004 seasons seems like "Tales" did a few variations of all or a few of the maneuvers. Did he swap wing at some point?).

8. What was your favorite maneuver as a Thunderbird (I'm sure they were all a blast! :D )?

9. What if any maneuver did you dislike or find the hardest to fly during your two seasons?

Ok, hope I didn't use up too much of your time. I was just brainstorming and as I'm sure you can tell, that can be a dangerous thing... :wink:

A huge thanks for helping us out Norm! We have a new web design underway, starting to record for our next movie now as well as working on making a live show sometime in the future (this is why we're trying to find out all about the timing procedures)!

Have a good one!
LawnDart

P.S. You back in the Strike Eagle now?
Last edited by Lawndart on Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
LeadSolo2002
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Post by LeadSolo2002 » Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:21 am

LawnDart:

Great questions, that in some cases illustrate the difficulty you guys face trying to cut through the PR videos to get to what is really happening and being said. I will just take them in order and see what I can do:

1. The Solo hack pt. is 4 NM away from show center on a line 30 degrees behind the line, (behind the crowd). The full solo timing basket sequence is
“Solos check ground” all opposing maneuvers are in Ground speed
“5’s turning 90 out”
“5’s turning 90 back”
Those last two are rarely used except in training season.
Usually it is just “solos, point at your hack” “Got it 5”
“Stand by hack . . . let’s hack now”
Goal is to hit the hack point at 450 G, 90 deg off show heading, on time
Each solo repeats the “let’s hack now” part to himself, at exactly the speed of 5’s radio call, and then snaps the second hand of the big stopwatch on the glare shield to zero
“90 to the line” at 10 seconds after the hack
at 12K’ on the line, (and 30 seconds after the hack, the maneuver “knife edge” 6 repeats (knife edge” Plus a timing correction call if needed. “tight” or “stretched”
This is where the magic happens. Tales, or any good opposing, could tell by the tone of my voice in every call prior to this, what I was trying to adjust in the show timing.
“8 thousand smoke”
“6 thousand”
“solos ready hit it, roll out, and pull”
“5 clear” “6 clear”
“Solo’s check Cal” To go back to calibrated airspeed for individual maneuvers



The entire show is now based essentially on 15 second intervals. Our goal in 2000-2001 when the show was shortened from 42 minutes to less than 30 was to take out the dead time. Never want more than 10-15 seconds from smoke off on one maneuver to smoke on in the next.

2. Setup for the sneak pass and the BB hit timing are two of the harder things to get right every time. Sneak pass ground track takes you out in the left basket to about a 3nm arc to get the tally on the diamond, and fall in with proper spacing. I like to set about .8m, throttle back, with nose on to the crowd in a slight descent (to keep em from seeing/hearing you) and then light the burner about 4k’ prior to crossing the crowd, and play the g and altitude to hit 150’ at show center at .94m. Clear the line, roll out and go to the moon.

BB hit changed when we started letting the solos out at the bottom of the delta loop. Mil power out to about 4nm, 30 deg in front of the line, to keep diamond in sight through their reposition. I aimed to be between 12 and 8k’ show left as the boss called the smoke on for their pull, at .94m . . . . or sometimes a little bit more . Used min AB if I need it to make up for a slow run in/early. Min AB is all you can use and still have smoke! With the diamond about 40 deg high on the canopy start the pull. Strive to be vertical for as long as you can prior to the hit. It looks very different (better) than if you just get to vertical at the break point. I have gone through their break with less than 2 ship widths opening. It looked phenomenal . . . but felt like I hit a freight train in their jet wash, and got me an ass chewin from JV. 8 sec min interval after their break is in the reg.
The g for the vertical rolls must be 0 to .8 to avoid F-16 roll coupling (bad news) same on the aileron rolls. Makes a nice spiral if you do it right and don’t have to rest the g while rolling.

Sun is the primary reference for heading to flip out at the top and clear the line.
This shit still gives me chills and I am just typing.

3. Some confusion as to your question. “6 out” would only be a call for 6 telling the boss or 5 that he is out of formation . . . or “stand by 6, 6 out ready now” on the cross over break.
Every solo maneuver is designed to have smoke on at 8k’ from show center.
The flip turn is a 5 g pull to 28 deg with a float to 30deg for a .8g flip turn.(270 roll away from the crowd)

4. ROTO was never my deal. I was Max climb/split-s before Elroy’s accident. I will ask Tales but I think he shot for gear up, 200kts min, and 100’ before initiating the roll. I’ll look at the reg.

5. 450G for opposing, 450C for individuals, 550C for knife edge, most diamond in the 380-430 range. 5 ship show that all goes out the window. Light your hair on fire and go.
450 on a 4nm showline = 30 sec. Easy math under a lot of g.
I like calypso and reflection >420 to make the inverted set more stable (no sink) too pitchy above 480. X over break, I liked 475 to show faster closure and end game speed to clear the line.

6. covered it earlier. Set .8g, then a pure left push is essential. Or you won’t get past three rolls before the jet departs

Gonna have to quit for now. I’ll pick up with rest later. Hope this helps.

Solos Rule!


Norm

P.S. Yes! Back to the Strike Eagle in July. Lakenheath in September. Can't wait.
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Lawndart
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Post by Lawndart » Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:15 am

LeadSolo2002 wrote:. . . but felt like I hit a freight train in their jet wash, and got me an ass chewin from JV.
:shock: :lol: JV is our incognito idol on our team I think (from hearing some of the funniest radio comms known to man).

Good gravy!!! WOW!!! :D This was totally awesome Norm! I'm spellbound by your info and hearing the stories from the real deal. This has been more than helpful already and I'm also relieved that for the most part our maneuvers are eerily similar to the real thing, even without having any of the actual facts at hand (until now of course!). Animal has been helping us some, since he's friends with one of our team members and every bit of help we get is just an invaluable asset!

I certainly hope I didn't take up too much of your time bombarding you with all those questions, but I sensed you enjoyed talking about it as well! :wink:

Once again, a huge thank you is in store! If you have more stories to tell, just know you have plenty of Thunderbird "nuts" and your own fan-club here now! 8)

You rock!

LawnDart
LeadSolo2002
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Post by LeadSolo2002 » Thu Jun 02, 2005 10:36 pm

All right where was I?

Oh yeah . .
7. The rotation of the Solos is never meant to be from one side of the formation to the other. The hiring is supposed to replace half the Delta at once, ideal being 1,3, left solo then 2,4, right solo the next year. We have been out of phase since Russ Mack in 99. Then Elroy, now some other stuff . . .
My mantra was that the solos should be able to fly every maneuver with the exception of the takeoffs (own the one you got, for obvious reasons) and the five-card, line break. Tales and I had totally rewritten the show sequences in 2002 to make the 5-ship shows more similar. Left solo 5-ship used to be way shorter than right solo 5 ship with 5 card, Line break, Hi-lo hit etc. We had it all fixed. . . and unfortunately that’s all I can say about that. Tales just did his best to make the show the best it could be in the midst of a bad situation post Elroy accident. A great friend and Teammate.

8. Favorite . . . tough one. A perfect slow roll is the hardest and most gratifying maneuver any good pilot can hope to do. Making it truly straight, even, and most importantly flat is an art. A really good cross over break would make me laugh my ass off for at least a minute . . then you shake for at least a minute. BB hit was always the maneuver I dreamed of. At 12 yrs old I pointed to the Lead Solo as he went through the BB and said “ Dad . . . I want to be that guy.”

Dreams do come true. . . . and Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

9. Never much cared for the Wing Walk. Doesn’t prove anything. I suggest you guys bring back the high aoa pass or the solo spiral (see Dawg Lewis ’94)

I can’t say enough about timing. When you guys have it right, with your eyes closed you should be able to point within 10 degrees of where everybody is. Working on tightening that up is the key to a great show.

Take care,

Norm
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STRIKER
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Post by STRIKER » Fri Jun 03, 2005 7:49 pm

Norm,

Thanks for the invaluable info on all that you described, in so much detail too! When I get back from my vacation here in the sunny and truly warm Florida keys I will get back in the saddle and fine tune the info. I heard you are going to RAF Lakenheath, best of luck! I did two tours at RAF Mildenhall 10 minutes down the road and got to hang out a couple times out on the flightline with those mostly brand new E models...quite a treat. Hopefully in the near future we can get online and chat on some other details regarding the real Thunderbirds. Thanks again!

Flying the Friendly, (SOLO'S RULE!)
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ztrl
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Post by ztrl » Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:18 am

I dont want to be bitch about this, but why do Thunderbirds communicate with stupid voices and annoying calls? Seems like #1 is spamming the freq and everyone is allowed to express scream there.. My experience is based on two audio clips from real show that is hosted on virtual Thunderbirds site.

Hmm. i watched some videoclip from 70`s thunderbirds and man, they didnt have any rules of min altitude or distance to audience, which made that sneak pass interesting.. Some of the audience had to take bend over due suprise fly by in some 100 feet above crowd.
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Jarhead
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Post by Jarhead » Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:47 am

ztrl, what kind of question is that? cant you think of a more appropriate way to ask why the T Birds use those voices.

Anyways, its called a diddy and meant to keep everyone in sync with what the lead is doing. They use callouts and the tone of there voice to express what they want the other jets to do. some of that audio is just them messing around which is ok but its all up to the boss to decide how comms should be handled.
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TBT_Piper
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Post by TBT_Piper » Sat Jun 04, 2005 2:57 pm

That is ignorant ztrl. :(
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ztrl
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Post by ztrl » Sat Jun 04, 2005 3:16 pm

Sorry if that came out so harsh, but what is it with singing and shouting in comms? Isnt that little dangerous in the air, where you have to pay attention to flying and not making funny sounds or silly songs? Is that some tradition or just leaders choice?
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Jarhead
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Post by Jarhead » Sat Jun 04, 2005 3:30 pm

well if the boss doesnt want to hear sounds then there wont be any, but you can really get into it up there and it becomes second nature so sometimes they will throw in some weird noises or sounds in between manuvers.
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