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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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F-14 gets one more chance?

Museum's fighter called back to duty

Published: July 18, 2006

The News Register
McMinnville, Oregon

The Evergreen Aviation Museum was poised today to take the first step toward addition of a choice piece to its collection -- an F-14D Super Tomcat, the fighter plane Tom Cruise flew in the hit film "Top Gun".

But the flareup of violence between the Israeli army and Hezbollah and Hamas militias in Lebanon and Gaza led to a change in plans. The Navy, which had been planning to replace the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt's F-14 Tomcats with newer, more multi-dimensional F-18 Hornets, has decided to instead dispatch the carrier to the Middle East with its current squadron of F-14s -- including the one promised to the museum.

According to Colin Powers, Evergreen's director of air restoration, the museum is still in line for the plane, which will be flown into Portland, dismantled there, and trucked down to McMinnville for reassembly. But not until its new unscheduled tour ends and no one yet knows when that will be.

The Navy had originally planned to fly the plane directly into town. It would have been the largest and most powerful jet fighter ever to touch down at the McMinnville Airport.

However, officers eventually concluded that the airport lacked sufficient runway length and that setting up the cable-hooking mechanism used for F-14 carrier landings wasn't feasible. They decided they would have to fly it into Portland instead.

The plane had been scheduled to make the cross-country flight from Virginia's Naval Air Station Oceana to Oregon's Portland International Airport today, then undergo dismantling in preparation for shipment on to McMinnville by truck -- a process expected to take about two weeks.

A four-member crew from the Titan Corporation had already been dispatched from Norfolk, Va., with all of the necessary equipment. But that mission will have to be rescheduled in light of the developments.

When the plane joins the collection, it will be on permanent loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation. It will join the HK-1 Flying Boat seaplane, SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, and Titan II missile among top museum showpieces.

Last used in the bombing of targets in Iraq in October, the plane destined for the museum runs 62 feet in length, 16 feet in height, and
38 to 64 feet in width, depending on whether it has its wings fully extended or in swept-back position.

Crews will have to remove its wings, horizontal stabilizer, and vertical fins for manageable truck transport and its engines, armaments, and ejection seat mechanism for safe museum display. The disassembly in Portland is expected to take about two weeks and the partial reassembly for display is expected to take a like period once it reaches McMinnville.

The plane is part of fighter squadron VF-31, whose insignia features the cartoon character Felix the Cat. The squadron has long been assigned to the Roosevelt, which had been supporting U.S. military operations in Iraq prior to being called home for re-outfitting with F-18 Hornets.

The F-14 was designed to provide air superiority over Soviet fighters in dogfights staged in defense of U.S. aircraft carriers. Thus, it did not transition well to other roles, such as the precision bombing called for in Iraq.

VF-31 is one of only two squadrons in the U.S. Navy still flying Tomcats. The Navy, which began taking delivery on them in the early 1970s, has been steadily swapping them out of its carrier-based squadrons in favor of the more versatile Hornets.

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-19-2006, 09:58 PM
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Cool info ALLAN.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2006, 02:29 AM
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"Highway To The Danger Zone," BEST....80'S....SONG....EVERRRRR!!!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2006, 05:07 AM
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I never really realized how big those fuckers are until I saw one sitting next to a Hornet in Iraq. We had two fly in and I thought all of them were already replaced. The one day I didn't have my damned camera

They are very cool aircraft and they scream 80's just about as much as that song. LOL!!!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2006, 09:43 AM
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An F-14 is only 10 feet shorter than a B-17! LOL
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2006, 09:58 PM Thread Starter
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Well pooo.

F-14 delay all about war games, not war
Published: July 20, 2006

Of the News-Register

The F-14D Super Tomcat loan program has been put on temporary hold, but not because the aircraft carrier serving as home base for the Navy's final active squadron is headed for standby duty in the Middle East as reported Tuesday.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt, Navy sources confirmed Wednesday, is actually headed out to sea to engage in a series of long-planned set of multi-national war games with the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and an array of other Navy vessels.

The erroneous report came from the Evergreen Aviation Museum, which is eagerly awaiting a Tomcat, the jet fighter made famous by Tom Cruise in the movie "Top Gun," under permanent loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation.

Nicole Wahlberg, the museum's director of marketing and public relations, said, "I am very sorry for the false information." She said museum officials did not realize it was a second-hand account when they put it out.

Contacted Wednesday, Helen Watson, loan manager for the Museum of Naval Aviation, confirmed, "All F-14 flight deliveries have been put on hold." She declined to say why.

However, Cmdr. Chris Sims, public affairs officer with the Navy's Atlantic Fleet, said it was definitely not a new call to duty. While some Navy vessels have reportedly been dispatched in response to the recent eruption of combat in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, he said the Roosevelt was not among them.

Sims said the Roosevelt would be participating in Operation Bold Step off the East Coast. He said the exercise, slated to run July 21 to 31, involves 16,000 military personnel from five nations.

The Navy has been gradually swapping out the F-14D in favor of F/A-18E and F/A-18F Super Hornets.

The Roosevelt's VF-31 squadron is the only one still left flying Tomcats. He said it will be getting Hornets after completion of the current exercise.

The F-14D last saw combat on Feb. 8, when a pair from the Roosevelt engaged in a bombing run in Iraq. The carrier landings currently being conducted will probably be the last for the craft.

Katherine Huit, director of collections at Evergreen, said the museum signed its loan agreement with the National Museum of Naval Aviation on June 23.

Evergreen was expecting to take delivery Tuesday in Portland. Plans seemed firm enough that a team of aircraft mechanics flew out to dismantle the Tomcat for trucking south to McMinnville, a process that was expected to take about two weeks.

It was not clear when, how or why those plans got scotched. Nor was it clear how the reported last-minute change of plans squares with the Roosevelt's longstanding commitment to participate in the war games exercise with its VF-31 squadron on board.

However, museum officials have been assured the loan remains in the works. It's just going to take a little longer to take delivery than they had initially hoped.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 07-20-2006, 10:10 PM
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You never leave your wingman !!!

That movie is in my top 3 favorites . Gotta love the 80's
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