Mig 21 - note


Personale a Terra
14 Gennaio 2014
Le prossime note sono tratte dal libricino: MIG-21 Units of the Vietnam War

-MiG-21 pilots initially got accustomed to ‘combat’ by intercepting American Ryan Firebee unmanned reconnaissance drones, the first of these being downed on 4 March 1966. (about 18000 m)

-The VPAF also found that ‘Fishbeds’ operating in pairs were more successful when they went into combat armed with a mix of weapons. A typical mission fit would see the lead pilot’s aircraft armed with two infra-red guided R-3S AAMs, while his wingman’s MiG-21 would boast two UB-16-57 pods loaded with S-5M unguided rockets.
And it was with this weapons load that a pair of MiG-21PF ‘Fishbed-Ds’ attacked two F-105s at an altitude of just 500 m on 7 June 1966. The trailing MiG opened fire from 1500 m, but the Thunderchief initially evaded the fusilade of unguided rockets by making an evasive left turn. Undeterred, the communist pilot pressed home his attack, firing two more salvoes of missiles from 500 and 200 m, which reportedly destroyed the F-105

-Senior officers in Hanoi also stipulated that aircraft flying in pairs would remain between 50 and 200 m apart. In flights of four, each pair would maintain a distance of between 300 and 700 m from the other. However, this was later modified to 500-800 m and 800 m respectively, as it was found that a widely spread formation presented intercepting US fighters with a more difficult target.Such open formations only became possible after the ‘Fishbeds’ began operating above altitudes of 2500 m.

-In an effort to make the MiG-21 more manoeuvrable, a choice was also made in favour of the R-3S missile instead of the unguided S-5M carried in bulky UB-16-57 pods.

-These new tactics called for MiG-17s and -21s to jointly conduct combat air patrols (CAPs) in airspace most often used by incoming US fighter-bombers. The MiG-17s would patrol at a low altitude (up to 1500 m), while the MiG-21s from the 921st’s base at Noi Bai would fly above them (at altitudes in excess of 2500 m). Anywhere between 1500 and 2500 m was considered to be an intermediate zone where both types could take part in dogfights.

-Due to the ‘Fishbed’s’ heavily framed canopy, detecting an AIM-9 Sidewinder being launched was much more difficult for MiG-21 pilots than for those flying MiG-17s. It was the job of the MiG-21 wingman to watch his back, and that of his flight leader, and if he spotted a missile closing on either of them he would yell out a warning so they could perform a high-g turn into and below the round. This manoeuvre would usually break the lock of the AIM-9’s infrared seeker head on the MiG-21’s tailpipe. If the pilots performed this turn quickly enough, they would be able to dodge the missile.

-when dealing with the MiG-21, F-4 crews were told to lure the ‘Fishbed’ pilot into a horizontal dogfight, and to avoid vertical manoeuvring.Flying with an increased combat spread of 900 m, a pair of Phantom IIs could keep a far better look-out for each other, and sound a warning in the event of an imminent MiG-21 attack. By this stage the Americans had also discovered that the ‘Fishbed’ could out turn the F-4 at medium and high altitudes, but that the Phantom II had the advantage ‘down low’. F-4 crews were duly instructed to dive to a lower altitude as soon as they encountered a MiG-21.

- (1972) In an effort to counter the new US tactics, the VPAF introduced attack flights patrolling at altitudes of between 300 and 800 m, operating in conjunction with deception flights at ceilings of 8000 to 10,000 m. The two-aircraft sections would patrol some ten to fifteen kilometres apart. While aircraft in the ‘dummy’ flight would fly at just 900 km/h, the attack group would patrol at 1200 km/h. Both flights stayed in airspace under radar control, receiving their orders from the command centre.

-"...Targeting the lead aircraft, Thu’s high speed and angle of attack was too great for his AAM, and the missile failed to make contact."

piccola citazione della controparte:
"One of the challenges the flight lead has, particularly with a flight of four, is manoeuvring the formation. In combat, you do not want to keep your aeroplane flying in a straight line for any longer than half your altitude above the ground in seconds. Today, that equated to ten seconds. Because the threat was from the air, our flight lead modified this to 15 seconds, which meant we were moving the aircraft frequently, and not just cruising around. Not only did this provide a less predictable target to any North Vietnamese threat, but it allowed us to roll up on a wing and check below the flight. This constant manoeuvring, added “g” to make the manoeuvre and the addition of power to the engines meant we used up fuel fast. An additional problem for “blue four” was that always being on the extremes of the turns meant more throttle jockeying to maintain position. This caused us to have the lowest fuel state in the flight".

-A significant player in Operation Linebacker was the B-52, examples of which were attacking targets across the north at night. Neither the MiG-17 or -19 could touch the high-flying Boeing bomber, so it was left to the MiG-21 to deal with this deadly threat.

-"Soon I noticed another formation of aircraft, and switched on my RP-21 radar unit, but because of the jamming, I could not identify the targets. My presence did not go unnoticed by the Americans, and the B-52s increased their speed."

-"The Americans were holding formation, keeping a separation of approximately two to three kilometres. I made last-minute checks on my missiles, and when I reached the level of the third B-52, I pushed the fire button on the control stick, launching two heat-seeking missiles from a distance of two kilometres. Huge flames were visible around the second B-52 as I broke sharply to the left and descended to 2000 m, before landing at Yen Bai. The attacked formation of B-52s immediately dropped their load and returned to base. The crew of the hit B-52 was killed"


-No fewer than 50 missions were flown from the taxyway, with aircraft using SPRD-99 rocket-assist take-off (RATO) bottles to get airborne. Unable to land on Noi Bai’s bomb-damaged main runway, pilots either ejected after the mission, or recovered at another airfield.

-In the course of American air raids against Noi Bai, Kep, Kien An and Hoa Lac between January 1967 and March 1968, seventeen aircraft, three helicopters and numerous fuel trucks, buildings and runways were destroyed. In 50 per cent of the raids, the target airfield would be put out of action from as little as five hours to several days. Of all the bombs dropped, about 40 per cent found their mark, with 30 per cent hitting runways and ten per cent taxyways. In all, these four bases were put out of action on 36 separate occasions, for a total of 120 days over a period of 15 months.

-The aircraft shelters were usually positioned between 500 and 2000 m from the runway, although sometimes they were sited as far away as 3000 m. The concrete taxyways from the shelters were 20 m wide, and could also serve as runways. Jet fuel storage tanks were placed underground about 200 m apart.

-New shelters were duly constructed in their place. They looked like normal huts, although their roofs were made from rails and the steel plates used for runway construction, with 20-25 cm of soil then piled on top and covered with turf. The structure was based on the dimensions of the MiG-21, being 15 m long, 10 m wide and 7 m high, and using up 30-35 rails and 300 plates (each 4 m long). Smaller MiG-17s were never housed in the revised shelters.

Trasporto aerei con elicottero! In pratica li conservavano da altre parti e li portavano in pista per la preparazione e decollo.

-VPAF fighters would also be transported beneath Mi-6 helicopters to mountain caves up to 30 kilometres away, where they were then pushed into their hiding places by truck. A special harness was designed to protect the aircraft, with two softly-lined straps being thrown around the fuselage and attached to a trapeze. Three cables of 12 mm thickness were then connected from the hook of the Mi-6 to the trapeze, while two others were attached to the wingtips. The Mi-6 was able to lift a fully-fuelled and armed MiG-17, but in the case of MiG-19s and MiG-21s, only empty aircraft could be carried.

Potrei anche pescare qualche nota da un libro sull'f4G nella desert storm e desert shield. Ma devo ancora collezionarle...


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Aggiungo questi interessanti commenti di un pilota di mig21 da youtube (mi sembrano però plausibili e realistici)
Gaana mi avevi consigliato di mettere questo thread in un altro subforum, ma io non posso spostare la conversazione, ci pensi tu?

Peter Kandráč
I have had a honor to flight this beautiful fighter for 10 years and more than 1200 hrs in former Czechoslovak Air Force. Mostly the F-13 variant, but also MF and UM as well.
It was very powerfull but also very demanding jet. There was no problem after T/O to get the Mach 0.9 in 40 sec. after closing undercarriage and next to climb at 40° angle up to FL 400 in three minutes. But landing in poor visibility only with NDB was another challenge, because of approaching speed 450 km/h (250 kts), small windscreen and high angle of attack. Of course, we were still short of fuel, in the full manouvres the fuel last for 15-20 min. and one should go to home. Most of my flights was only 30 min. long. The longest was 1 hr 30 min. with 3 tanks, during flight over Baltic sea missile range.
Nice rememberances, but also sadness for colleagues who died in duty.

Stewie Griffin
+Peter Kandráč How did he die in duty? I'm curious.

+Peter Kandráč
+Stewie Griffin There is probably some misunderstanding. I am still alive, though no so agile, slim and fresh as in eighties when I had flown this beauty :) But many colleagues has no such good luck. If I remember correctly, there were about 20 guys, who died in duty during 80-ties in cockpit of MiG 21 in Czechoslovakia.  As I had stated previously, the pilots´ workload was enormous and there wasn´t a time for a bigger error correction. The 60°delta wing is good for high speed, but on the smaller speed or higher AoA it has inherent speed instability. I.e. it has tendency increase AoA at higher G manouvres and loss airspeed rapidly, with inevitable stall if you don´t react in a flash. What was really dangerous, you can even get the nose of A/C over horizont, it looks that you recovered a diving or spiral, but vario shows you e.g. - 50 m/s (-10000ft/min) vertical speed. Most of lost pilots were the victims of this handling feature. I had personally seen the finish of my wingman during a live fire diving attack. He probably observed the result of his fire, lost the situational awareness and begun recovery of diving too late (cca 1 second later than normal). If you had speed about 600 kts at diving angle 20°, opening fire at a distance about 1000 m, your height was about 340 m over target and vertical speed - 90 m/s, so you have had 2 sec to fire and recover diving at least 100 m over targets. The difference between succes and death was really short. He begun recovery, but too late, he get the nose up, but his trajectory collided with surface. The controller of firing range was shouting to radio, so despite of my own recovery (about  4 G) I had look over arm to my wingman and I had seen just fireball, right on the targets.
Sad to remeber, only 25 years old lieutenant, at the start of his career.
But overall, it was a great time and a great jet to enjoy.

Raymond Ellis
+Peter Kandráč Im an airline pilot and shooting NDB approach is hard enough I can not imagine doing it low on fuel at 250 kts. That is for a young man with balls.

Peter Kandráč
+Raymond Ellis  Thanks for response. You are right, the instrument landing was really for a young man with balls, but better with training and experience. Of course, ours personall minima was not comparable with the airline pilots, e.g. my personal best was 300 m/3 km (1000 ft cloud base/vis. appr. 1,8 NM) and 400/4 in night. Sometime it was inevitable to land, because of fuel, under worse conditions, but it was more about a good luck. However, we trained blind approach (under canopy cover) on two seater UM with instructor up to inner marker, roughly 100/1 and most of them were succesfull. But in real bad weather, few guys crashed when they tried the same performance.
My personall worst conditions for landing happened during fall of 1989, nice Indian summer day, anticyclone weather. I had the scramble from the alert, roughly 1 hour before sunset. The visibility for T/O was acceptable, about 5 km, there were no clouds. Visibility in height was excellent, I could see Alps as well as the Danube river inside Germany.  Of course as  Sun went down, I had observed that the ground is misty, darker and darker, so I had asked for return, to avoid the evening fog, typical for a Bechyne AB, surrounded by moors. After short delay, the controllers approved it. As I´d descend for visual approach to RWY 30, I´d seen that I see nothing. The Sun was almost directly against me, low over horizont and as I descend down, the fog thickened. I had balls to go to 100 m by radiometer, but I have no contact with ground, thus I did go around. I had fuel for another attempt and at the best, to take some altitude for safe ejection. Fortunatelly, the Radar Control guy in duty was former experienced pilot and he immediatelly realized, that the landing against the sunshine is not good idea. He took control, and commanded me on opposite direction , for RWY 12, what was with the Sun from behind. The visibility improved, but noticeable only in direction to bellow, in front I had seen only grey wall. But I´ve been on my parent airbase and been familiar with every detail of approach. So, I´d kept the visual contact with the markings on ground, like the edge of wood, group of challets etc. At height app. 100 m (we used to fly by QFE) I´d noticed the treshold lights, thank God in good direction and I had landed softly. When I vacated the strip, the RWY lights begun to light, a little bit late :). The Radar Control asked to lit them early, but the responsible sergeant was out of duty (on lavatory) and argued, that there was still a daylight at the moment of my landing. What details are important for your  survival, aren´t are? The rest of my fuel was about 300 kg, what was enough for a go-around and 3-4 minutes of flight to safe ejection zone.
Consider, please, that it was rather extemption, it was investigated. The light operator was punished, the Radar Control Guy was, worthily rewarded and me? The squadron comm just said, that it should been my decision to take the favourable RWY for landing, not to wait for help from ground. I think, that he was right.

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