Lt. Gen. Robert M. Bond

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TC

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Unread post17 Oct 2004, 01:25

Does anyone else remember this guy? He was vice-commander of the old Air Force Systems Command. In 1984, he was killed in a crash at the Nevada Test Site (aka "Area 51"). Some say he was killed in an F-117 prototype. Some say he was killed in a MiG-23. Either way (and I'm thinking the former, rather than the latter) after his death, someone said no more generals will perform flight tests...er...well, unless your name is Chuck Yeager. To this day, General Bond's death has been a very big mystery, and is highly debated in aviations circles. Anyone else remember this incident? Your thoughts please.
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IDCrewDawg

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Unread post17 Oct 2004, 08:51

probably still classified.
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parrothead

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Unread post17 Oct 2004, 08:56

TC, I could be wrong, but didn't the F-117 enter service in 1981? That makes me think it wasn't an F-117 prototype. I recently saw a documentary on Aera 51 on the Discovery channel which showed video of a MiG-29 over the base. We've had MiGs in our posession for years. Not much news from that area would surprise me.
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TC

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Unread post18 Oct 2004, 00:20

Oh you're absolutely correct. The 117 did enter service around 81-82, but I think the jet that he was or wasn't flying in (depending on your point of view) was supposedly one that was being used for operational testing. I may be wrong about the prototype part though. Have Blue was the original technology demonstrator for the 117, and then there were one or two YF-117s if memory serves me correctly. In Ben Rich's book "Skunk Works" he states his belief that Bond died in a 117 mishap. However, another book called "Dark Eagles" lends some credence towards the MiG-23 side of the debate. Yes, we've had MiGs in our possession since the '60s. Top Gun and AF Weapons School have used them as "Real World" adversaries. I'm still thinking Bond was killed in the 117, but as you just said parrothead, nothing from there would surprise me either.
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Gums

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Unread post18 Oct 2004, 03:39

Salute!

Pretty sure it was a Flogger, not the 117.

Rumor has it that he had a hydraulic problem or worse and ejection was unsuccessful.

We have a section of road here named after Gen Bond.

out,
Gums
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Unread post18 Oct 2004, 19:51

To my knowledge no official version of the accident has ever been released. It is generally accepted that Bonds was flying a captured MiG-23 (or -27) that disintegrated in flight while at high speed. The 'secrecy' surrounding the accident evolved from the Air Force not wanting to publicly admit they were in possession of - much less flying - Soviet designed and built aircraft.

All of the attritted F-117 airframes, and the two Have Blue prototypes, have been accounted for.
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TC

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Unread post19 Oct 2004, 01:37

Makes sense to me. There are some that don't like the fact we have MiGs. A little piece of trivia: we are the world's most frequent operator of the Mi-24 helicopter. We also made a large purchase a few years ago of several MiG-29s from Ukraine. There was an article concerning the purchase in Air Force Magazine. I've heard, but am not certain whether we will buy Germany's Fulcrums as well. Anybody know something about this. Did you ever fly with Gen. Bond, Gums? He flew SLUFs at Korat, but I'm not certain when.
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Roscoe

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Unread post19 Oct 2004, 04:16

Actually, I believe the MIG-29s were from Moldavia...One was parked in the parking lot by the Air Force Intel shop for "Family Day". I drove by and nearly carshed when I glimpsed it...
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Unread post19 Oct 2004, 04:49

TC, I saw the Mi-24 on a discovery channel program. I wasn't aware that we had actually purchased Migs. Way back when Top Gun was still at Miramar, I asked one of the aggressor pilots about why we hadn't bought a few examples of each type of MiG and Sukhoi for use as aggressors? He said that Congress thought the maintenance would be too expensive. My personal opinion is that we should use the same type of planes as our adversaries if at all possible for training. Train like you fight and fight like you train!
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kmceject

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Unread post19 Oct 2004, 16:26

parrothead, buying one of each, with no maintainance supplies etc would have been too expensive. We bought a group of about four a/c with all the support equip and spares. What I heard was that when we expended all the spares we bought the a/c will be retired. It is WAY too expensive to set up a supply chain for parts that are not available in the US. Using my area of expertise for example, ejection seats, the K-36D uses some 40 CAD/PADs that are explosive and thus expensive to ship. They have a limited lifespan, some less than 10 years, so they have to be replaced and can't be stored in quantity here in the states (where there are no manufacturers of these types.) The software is much worse. The risers, padding, lap belts, harnesses, etc all have lifespans of 1.5 to 3 years or so due to sun damage. Having a harness made to order can cost you $75,000 (and no I am not making up that figure!). The cushions are specific to the K-36, as are all the software parts, and just getting them alone can be very expensive. Why not stick on a set of ACES II cushions? Well, the way seats are designed the cushions are very much integral to the design of the seat. 1- They can't entangle any of the mechanisms or the harness/belts. 2- they can't slip around in normal use, 3- the amount of cushioning provided has to be a balance between normal use forces and ejection forces.

How about other spare parts on the seat? It isn't the timers or other parts you worry about. It is the stupid linkage that runs somewhere that someone grabs when they lift the seat for maintainance. Or drop something in the cockpit and lower the seat onto it crushing some dodad. Then you need that part, and of course in your spares you don't have that particular link or dodad. Can you make a replacement? Maybe, but to the exact specs required? When you don't know that it needs a particular amount of clearance somewhere which is why it has that little bend in it that you can't see now because it is bent more by the handling mishap? So you have to down a second a/c, pull the part and then duplicate it. And did you make it out of a metal of propper tensile strength?

These are simplistic descriptions of some possibilities on one tiny part of the aircraft. In use pieces break, wear out, etc and need to be replaced. When shipping takes months and costs $$$$$$ it becomes too difficult to maintain the aircraft, they will be retired...

Kevin
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Unread post19 Oct 2004, 20:28

Gen Bond crash was a MiG-23 (ex Libyan jet ( MiG-23MS? ) ( defected pilot ) given to us by the Egyptians ). Flying fast jets is a dangerous biz. What can be said.
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parrothead

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Unread post20 Oct 2004, 02:10

kmceject, yeah, I see what you mean. I just wish we could use real enemy planes for training.
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TC

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Unread post20 Oct 2004, 04:32

We actually do. Top Gun and USAF Weapons School use them to give pilots some actual experience flying with and against, and being able to identify these aircraft in a "real world" type training environment. There is a program which existed in the 60s called "Have Doughnut" and "Have Drill" where Fleet pilots (read that, Top Gun students and instructors) flew and flew against MiG-17s (Doughnut) and MiG-21s (Drill). Also, a little bit of trivia concerning the F-117...Ever wonder why we have an F-111, and then we skip to F-117? This is because 112 through 116 were reserved for MiGs that were flown out of Area 51. I know we've flown MiG-15s, 17s, 19s, 21s, 23s, and 29s. Not sure about the 25, or the 27, and I have no idea about the Sukhois.
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Unread post20 Oct 2004, 19:15

I'm glad to hear I'm not alone in my thinking! I was watching a discovery channel show about a certain "non-existant base" when they showed long range video of a MiG-29 flying in the prohibited airspace. I just wish I could wander around that place and look in all the hangars :D !

You know, it's amazing what's in private hands today, too. There was a Kfir on display at Miramar, owned by a private contractor. The US Gov't pays the company to have a private pilot fly it against all sorts of US jets. Nice work if you can get it!!!
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FlightDreamz

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Unread post21 Mar 2012, 03:06

parrothead
There was a Kfir on on display at Miramar, owned by a private contractor. The US Gov't pays the company to have a private pilot pilot fly it against all sorts of US jets. Nice work if you can get it!!!

Yeah, but sadly they do earn their pay too. See http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=m ... 616669b1fa and http://www.bryanstrawser.com/2012/03/08 ... departing/
And of course parrothead's kind words at http://parrotheadjeff.com/blog/archives ... -strength/ and http://parrotheadjeff.com/blog/archives ... on-family/

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