The Pilot Who Shot Himself Down

On Sept 21, 1956 Tom Attridge was test-piloting Grumman’s new flighter, the F-11F-1. In the process of testing the cannons he fired several shots in a shallow dive and then accelerated. Several seconds later the cockpit was hit by a foreign object and he began to lose power in the engines. He started to return to base where he crash landed on the way. He survived, but how did this happen in the first place?

How did this happen? The combination of conditions reponsible for the event was (1) the decay in projectile velocity and trajectory drop; (2) the approximate 0.5-G descent of the F11F, due in part to its nose pitching down from firing low-mounted guns; (3) alignment of the boresight line of 0° to the line of flight. With that 0.5-G dive, Attridge had flown below the trajectory of his bullets and, 11 seconds later, flew through them as their flight paths met.

F-11F-1 Shoots Itself Down [Aerofiles]

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One response to “The Pilot Who Shot Himself Down

  1. The Super Sabre Society, an organization of people that flew the North American F-100, publishes a magazine called “The Intake.” The latest issue mentions other cases of pilots shooting themselves down.

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