Saturday, November 27, 2010

Raptor's Claws

I recently had the opportunity to view a F-22 demo. This was the fourth time I've seen one, and it is always a thrill. This is one incredible aircraft, a huge fighter with unbelievable raw power. If you ever have the chance to go to an airshow that is featuring a F-22 demo, please go. You will not be sorry! (Don't cheat and go Youtube ... there is no way a small screen can do it justice!)

I have seen purpose built aerobatic aircraft do somersaults in mid air. I have seen them float down like a leaf. I have seen them hover in mid air, held up by the skill of the pilot and the thrust of the engine.

To see a 22 ton fighter aircraft do these things is, well, unreal.

The F-22's weight is listed at a bit more than 43,000lb. The combined thrust of the two engines is over 70,000 lb. This, plus the thrust vectoring nozzles, equals some serious go power and incredible turn capabilities. While in afterburner, the engines put out a long, beautiful shock diamond pattern, and looking into the engine exhausts while in burner is like looking at the proverbial gates of hell. I've seen a lot of military aircraft, and I can say without a doubt that no other aircraft has ever had an afterburner that was so bright, so vibrant, so angry looking as the Raptor's.

The F-22 is a stealth aircraft, at least to radar and other sensor technologies. It stands out a lot visibly, at least in comparison to something small like a F-16. It is also VERY LOUD.

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