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http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-0...vy-tomcat_x.htm

Posted 2/16/2006 11:07 PM  Updated 2/17/2006 1:20 AM

Navy's F-14 fighter jet flies its final mission

By Steven Komarow, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — The F-14 Tomcat, the fighter jet that soared into the national imagination in the movie Top Gun, has flown into the danger zone for the last time.

An F-14 Tomcat launches from the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Nov. 30, 2005. Posted Image

U.S. Navy/HO, AP

The Navy announced Thursday that the last F-14 combat mission was completed Feb. 8, when a pair of Tomcats landed aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt after one dropped a bomb in Iraq.

Capt. William Sizemore, who flew on that last mission, said the Tomcat will be missed.

"This is one of the best airplanes ever built, and it's sad to see it go away," Sizemore said in a Navy report from the ship. "It's just a beautiful airplane. And it just looks like the ultimate fighter."

Although still swift and deadly, the F-14 is a victim of changing times. For example:

• Sophisticated missiles have made its specialty, aerial dogfighting, obsolete. Opposing aircraft target each other from miles away, often before the pilots can see each other except on radar.

• Precision bombing is the new priority, and despite modification, the Tomcat can't carry the loads of the new F/A-18 Super Hornet.

• It's too expensive in the long run. The jet that flew its first combat missions in September 1974 requires 50 hours of maintenance, compared with five to 10 hours for the Super Hornet, for each hour of flight time.

The F-14 and its Navy pilots were at the heart of the 1986 movie Top Gun, in which Tom Cruise played Maverick, an impetuous pilot training at the Navy's elite flight school in Miramar, Calif.

Top Gun enhanced the reputation of an already legendary jet, said Adm. William Fallon, the U.S. Pacific commander and a former F-14 weapons officer.

"Potential opponents, at the mere thought there might be Tomcats around, would head off the other direction," he said.

Although the Navy is better served by the newer jets, the beautiful F-14 will be missed, Fallon said. "It was the last of the pure fighters."

One of my favorite jets of all time.

I used to fantasize about this jet all the time when I was a kid. I just though the swing-wing setup was awesome.

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Tose swing out wings were so damn cool... I have many a fond memory as a kid holding one in my hand and staring into that little 1:60th scale cockpit.

EDIT: anyone else have danger zone stuck in their head now? What a great song!

Edited by Sixty8panther

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EDIT: anyone else have danger zone stuck in their head now? What a great song!

:yes: Even before I saw the caption that says the jet was in the movie top gun.. I hear the song...

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:( One of the last few planes designed for actual dog fighting. It will be missed. Shame its getting replaced by a slower plane not designed for dog fighting, the Hornet. What's really sad is Im hearing "We dont need planes anymore that can dogfight, we can shoot a target from many miles away now"

Yea thats nice and all but many seem to forget the debacle of the F4 Phanton. It had no onboard cannon for close combat and would out turned in low level altitude fights agains the Vietcong Migs in Vietnam. I hope for some of our pilots sakes, the military realizes that dog fighting will come up sooner or later in aerial combat.

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Speed doesn't mean a lot in dog fighting! Check it out in Top Gun. Most of the dog fighting is done wings extended (slower speed) for manuverability. Dog fighting is mostly a thing of the past. While it was a mistake to design the Phantom without a gun, that mistake was fixed in the Tomcat and the Hornet, they both have guns for closeup dog fighting.

The F-14 Tomcat was designed to fight with it's Phoenix missiles first, at long range. Then if all failed, it could engage in a dog fight.

The F-18 is more agile, and more state of the art, than the Tomcat at less cost. It's more reliable and can be used as a fighter or as an attack aircraft. It suffers slightly as a "long range fighter".

Since many of the posters here are taxpayers, what would you want to pay taxes for, an expensive to buy, expensive to repair out of date single function aircraft; or a cheaper to fly, state of the art aircraft that can serve many roles (fighter or attack)?

Heres some stats: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/f-18.htm

I fondly remember a Tomcat at the big airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1989. It was the day after the show closed and the aircraft were all leaving. One Tomcat, from a national guard unit, took off, did a 360 spin through a cloud, cutting a circle in the cloud and was gone a minute later.

The Tomcat is a great airplane, but so was the P-51 Mustang, and it was removed from service when it became outmoded.

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So, Rich, why do you have to steal waht I was going to say? :P

Seriously, he's right. The F-14 and the USAF's F-15 Eagle are that last of our true interceptors designed to engage Soviet bomber fleets and their escorts at long stand-off ranges of dozens and dozens of miles.

In today's multimission combat environements, the F-14 simply cannot be adapted as well as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, which is actually an all-around 20% scaled-up variant of the standard F/A-18. The 1990s 'Bombcat' upgrades gave the F-14 air-to-ground capabilities, but as it was never envisioned for such a role (back then, the A-6 Intruder was the strike jet) and making it capable would require such a large investment on an aging airframe, the Super Hornet makes better financial sense.

The F-15 itself is also going to be replaced by the F-22 Raptor, what many (including myself) consider to be the last pure interceptor.

Of course, its still sad to see any weapons system like this be required. F-14s represent the US Navy as much as any aircraft carrier or submarine and its presence in the skies and in the fleets will surely be missed by many.

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The Grumman plant in Calverton, NY that made the F-14 is about five miles from my house. You used to be able to see one take off several times a day in the 1980s. The F-14 meant a lot to Grumman, and consequently the Long Island economy. Afte rthe Navy stopped buying them, Grumman went through repeated downsizings....the Bethpage plant I worked in (E2C Hawkeye) as an intern 8 years ago is now a popcorn factory.

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Sorry Fly!

I'm a liitle goofy today. Attended an EAA meeting last night, where the speaker was a B-17 pilot with 40 missions over Europe in WWII.

He was a little confused and suffering from his age. His navigator was Henry Bloch, the founder of H&R Block. It's kind of sad to see these flyers, who were once young men just like you and most of the posters, become old men. Still, he was a dentist for 40 years and built 3 homebuilt airplanes in his garage.

I do love airplanes as much as I love cars.

Will be down your way on Thursday. Going to Ocala on Friday, the back to Clearwater on Monday or Tuesday. If Marie spares me a few minutes, I'll give you a call.

Rich

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Tomcats are and always will be awesome. :metal: I hope the remaining planes are made available to air shows, museums, etc. I'd love to see one up close, never have. I wonder if any wealthy airplane hobbyists would be allowed to buy one, and if so, if I could get a ride? :bowdown:

When I was a kid I received as a Christmas gift the GI Joe "Skystriker", an F-14 fighter in the 3-3/4in.-scale. It was huge, and totally awesome, if not exact in its details. Still have it somewhere, I should refurb it.

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Tomcats are and always will be awesome.  :metal:  I hope the remaining planes are made available to air shows, museums, etc.  I'd love to see one up close, never have. I wonder if any wealthy airplane hobbyists would be allowed to buy one, and if so, if I could get a ride?  :bowdown:

When I was a kid I received as a Christmas gift the GI Joe "Skystriker", an F-14 fighter in the 3-3/4in.-scale.  It was huge, and totally awesome, if not exact in its details.  Still have it somewhere, I should refurb it.

There may be an F-14 at Oshkosh in July. Check out www.eaa.org for an air show near you. Click on "Major & Regional fly-ins" near the top of the page.

Also, the Navy removes engines and weapons from all aircraft donated to museums. None, that I know of, are sold to civilians. I think they're afraid of another 911. Our museum in Bollingbrook, Illinois, got a beautiful T-2 Trainer about 2 years ago and we restored it. Engines were removed and fuel and some electrical lines were cut. It looks better now, than when it was flying.

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One was turned into a Monument for display inside the Grumman park in Calverton. I have a picture of it as a backdrop behind my Cobalt. I'll post it tonight when I get home.

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Speaking of jets, I love Saab's new commercial. I've only seen it once, but I think it's a B9 Tribeca that is morphed from a jet and it's truly amazing..

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Speaking of jets, I love Saab's new commercial. I've only seen it once, but I think it's a B9 Tribeca that is morphed from a jet and it's truly amazing..

Ummm...isn't the B9 Tribeca a SUBARU??? :blink:

Don't you mean the 9-7 SUV?? :lol:

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The F-14 is a pretty cool plane, for sure... But how many of people would've know about it if it hadn't been for Top Gun? That movie did a lot to bring the F-14 into the spotlight.

Come to think of it, though, I'm a little surprised they've phased it out in favour of the F/A-18. Won't the F/A-18 itself become obsolete when the Joint-Strike Fighter comes out in 10 years or so?

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As promised:

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I like ya car, but you're going to have to get some eyebrows for it or something..

Or paint 'em body color like this person did:

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Edited by NOS2006

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Very sad...

I can remember wanting to be an F-14 pilot when I was a kid. In fact, I was a huge plane buff before I discovered cars.

The F-14 was always my perennial favorite because of Top Gun.

:(

Oh, and BTW, SHARP Cobalt z28luvr01.

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Come to think of it, though, I'm a little surprised they've phased it out in favour of the F/A-18. Won't the F/A-18 itself become obsolete when the Joint-Strike Fighter comes out in 10 years or so?

Remember, there are two F/A-18s - the original multirole Hornet that's been in active service for 15 or so years and the much newer F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet. Here's a good comparo between the two:

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The Super Hornet mainly replaces the F-14s in long-range, high payload roles and the A-6 Intruder in attack roles since it carries more fuel and more ordinance.

As far as the X-35 JSF goes, the Navy expects to supplant and replace their older A/B and /C variants of the F/A-18 with X-35s eventually (the JSF has something like twice the Hornet's range on internal fuel) while the U.S. Marine Corps wants to replace all their Hornets and[/b] AV-8 Harriers at some point with X-35s.

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I like ya car, but you're going to have to get some eyebrows for it or something..

Or paint 'em body color like this person did:

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Those are aftermarket bezels. I want them, but they cost a small forutune after labor--if you want to keep your warranty intact.

I wanted a sunroof too, but noooooo.. that's an LS-only option they say. :angry:

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