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From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Plane question - one vs two crew
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 14:16:45 GMT wrote:

>>Ed Rasimus wrote:>>
>>>Walt Bj snips and says: Been there, done that.
>With 3000 hours in single seat interceptors (F86D/102/104) I gotta
>say the 2man crew is better if the crew stays together so they
>literally read each other's mind.

No argument there, but how often does a crew have the luxury of that
kind of pairing . I've known of some Weasel units that had that kind
of stability, but I was never lucky enough to see it in Phantoms.

>  And in ACT - those extra eyeballs, once trained, were worth gold!

There again, the essential modifer is "once trained."

>  Anecdote - At Homestead we got quite a few 100 jocks to cjeck out in the
>F4. They didn't want anything out of the backseater. With 3000 hours S/S
>S/E time, who needed him? That went along until ACT time. We'd brief the
>gib - not one word unless it's safety of flight. Split 60 miles apart,
>come head on, we'd split 20,000 feet low and have the hun pilot on the
>radar by 50 miles. Next he knew we'd immelmanned into hs six for a Fox2,
>Fox3, thank you, break and set up again! After four in a row they'd
>reluctantly come around, at last realizing that radar set and its
>operator might be worthwhile after all . . . Not every hun pilot was like
>that, but there were enough of them.

No doubt about it. But you are mixing equipment and personnel. If you
took the Hun driver and put him in an F-15 where the cockpit was
designed for single seat ops, i.e. he had control of the
radar--search, tilt, gain, mode, then the outcome would be different.

The irrational superiority mindset of the SS/SE Hun driver that he
didn't need the system is not the same as functioning without the WSO.

Anecdotes: Cruising into Hanoi with my new back-seater trying to
flythe jet,  lead the flight, and simultaneously calm my whimpering
WSO everytime he gets a twitch on the RHAW. Or, killing a 23MM in
Cambodia under an 800 foot ceiling while telling him to shut up and
lock on and I promise not to get him killed. Or leveling at FL200 on
departure out of Torrejon and finding that my trust WSO is saving
electricity by not turning the RWR on since there is not threat in
Spain--I explained carefully that it is part of total SA to know who
is looking at you when in a fighter. Or cruising down the med without
TACAN in range while the "navigator" blindly trusts the INS, until I
tell him to go to 200 mile scope and paint Cyprus to verify his

If the cockpit isn't properly designed, give me a WSO (ala F-4). But,
if the cockpit is setup for it, let me go alone (ala F-105.)

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

From: (Ed Rasimus)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
Subject: Re: Plane question
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 1998 13:56:04 GMT

Dweezil Dwarftosser <> wrote:

>Ed - you forgot "'Made' man in the Fighter-jock Mafia" as part of your
>   tagline !   :)

Ahhh, that it were so. I never spent a minute in that basement corner
of the Pentagon. I never had the pleasure of a permanent party tour at
Nellis. I never went to the Fighter Weapons School.

Nope. Not even a bush league "capo" in the Fighter Mafia.

>Seriously, though: While I should just defer to your experience here,
>I still maintain personal reservations about the one man/two man
>From the technical-integration standpoint, funneling many branched modes,
>sensors, and operating conditions into a very small number of screens and
>switches *has to* present more problems than doubling the number of hands
>and eyes.

Partially true, providing the second pair of hands is trained,
enthused, aggressive and competent. Unfortunately that ideal pairing
seldom occured in my two-seater experience.

When the job requires not only managing my own aircraft, navigating to
the target, assessing the threat, jousting with the weather, leading
the flight and saving my precious butt I can get by. (barely). When I
also have to "request" radar searches, demand that systems be
activated, beg for channel changes that the WSO heard at the same time
I did, explain what I'm doing, debate my choices, calm his fears about
RWR interpretation, assure him that he isn't about to die, and tell
him to shut up now because I have to lead the flight then I've got

It is so much nicer if I have the switches at my fingertips and I can
omit the conversion of commands from mental to verbal.

If the mission is single ship there are some benefits to multi-place
aircraft, hence we have B-52, B-2, F-111 and even A-6. But, designed
properly, even that can be done in a one-holer such as F-117.

 Ed Rasimus                   *** Peak Computing Magazine
  Fighter Pilot (ret)         ***   (
                              *** Ziff-Davis Interactive
                              ***   (

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