MiG across Yalu River

October 2, 2007 at 8:01 am | Posted in aeroplane, war | Leave a comment
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Lieutenant John Boyd and his flight leader saw the dozen-odd MiGs take off in the distance from an airfield North of the Yalu River. They were going to chase and shoot them down for an easy victory. Boyd was certain of it; already he had gained a reputation as a great fighter pilot, even as a wingman. But Boyd never would be a combat flight leader; it was 1953, and the war would be over in a few months. He had only 22 of the necessary 30 combat missions to qualify.The MiGs continued to climb, and Boyd stayed close to his leader, ensuring that he covered his “six.” The silver prey eventually saw the hunters and began to react. One of the enemy planes maneuvered expertly and gained an advantage on Boyd. But because of his keen sense and an early “tallyho,” Boyd executed a series of quick maneuvers, forcing the MiG to overshoot.

The MiG could out-climb, out-turn, and out-accelerate the darling of U.S. military aviation, the F-86 Sabre Jet.1 What the F-86 could do better, however, was transition between maneuvers more quickly than the MiG. The hydraulic boost to the flight control surfaces on the Sabre allowed the F-86 to transition quickly in the roll, pitch, and yaw axes. These fast transients and energy maneuverability (the ability to lose and gain energy quickly) stuck with Boyd and led to some of his most important concepts in both fighter combat and maneuver warfare


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