Flying High

Flying High

Those of my friends who've hung out with me when touring aviation-related sites like the Yorktown know my taste in airplanes is odd. Sure, I love the feisty little F-16, appreciate the sleek beauty of the F-18, and the power and form of the F-15. I've even had models of most of them.

Nevertheless, my favorites are quirky.

Sure, the P51 Mustang is a beauty, but I'd rather rebuild my modeling collection with an ungainly Vought F4U corsair, the FW-190, or the tubby F6F Hellcat. Going into the jet age, I truly love the A-10 Thunderbolt, the Vought Crusader, and the Corsair II, and am inordinately fond of two Swedish jets that are no longer made, the Viggen, and the Draken.

Draken's design incorporated a distinctive "double-delta" configuration, with one delta wing within another larger delta. The inner wing has an 80° angle for high-speed performance, while the outer 60° wing gives good performance at low speeds. Propulsion was provided by a single Svenska Flygmotor RM 6B/C turbojet (Rolls-Royce Avon 200/300). A ram turbine, under the nose, provided emergency power, and the engine had a built-in emergency starter unit. The Draken could deploy a drag parachute to reduce its landing distance

There were several interesting factors in the Swedish-designed jets in general. They had to be able to takeoff and land on improvised runways composed of stretches of highway. They also had to be designed for quick turnaround and general refuel/rearm by relatively untrained conscripts. Also, if I recall, and I think this applies more to the Viggen, they took advantage of the fact that these were not general-environment planes to optimize them for use in northern climates.

Update: due to a quirk of how the NodeBB plugin works combined with post ID changes when they were reimported, this and a couple other of the posts had their comments threads orphaned, and are no longer connected to it. I apologize for the inconvenience.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.