Author Topic: Question about chase planes and where they fly near the shuttle.  (Read 2149 times)

Offline Zoomer30

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I was watching the STS 1 landing on YouTube and noticed how close the chase planes seemed to get to the shuttle.  The shuttle being a delta wing aircraft would be putting out nasty vortexes out each wing (your can sometimes see them on landing when the tire smoke gets pulled up into them)

I also remember what happened to Joe Walker and the XB-70 Valkyrie when he got a bit to close and got pulled into the wing, flipped over the top and tore off the rear tails.   Is this not a danger with the Shuttle??  Are the pilots told "Don't fly in this area""?

Offline Jim

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It is in the following threads

Offline hmh33

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Walker's F-104 was in tight formation with the XB-70.  The shuttle chase planes don't get anywhere near that close.  I don't know the distance but I would be surprised if it were within a mile.

Offline simonbp

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hmh33 - 9/10/2007  12:29 AM

Walker's F-104 was in tight formation with the XB-70.  The shuttle chase planes don't get anywhere near that close.  I don't know the distance but I would be surprised if it were within a mile.

Also, the XB-70 had massive tip vorticities (nearly the size of the aircraft) which picked the the 104 and slammed it into the wing. Shuttle wouldn't have vorticities nearly that big.

Simon ;)

Offline Zoomer30

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I could not find the Shuttle QnA, seems like I never see it on the list :)  It seemed like on STS 1 the CP went under the shuttle to look at the tiles or check for any obvious damage.  

Its ironic since Walker was against doing that flight with the XB-70 since it was being done solely for GE.  They wanted a photo with all these different planes in it in tight formation, all powered by GE engines.  It would have looked nice on GEs next quarterly report cover.  Walker did not like flying near that ship, he pretty much foretold the accident.

Offline nathan.moeller

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Quote
hmh33 - 9/10/2007  2:29 AM

Walker's F-104 was in tight formation with the XB-70.  The shuttle chase planes don't get anywhere near that close.  I don't know the distance but I would be surprised if it were within a mile.

I would guess the T-38s were within 250 feet or so when they flew down with the shuttle on final approach during those early flights.  And yes one of them flew underneath the belly to check for damage on STS-1.  They got some pretty good pictures that way.  But I don't blame them for not doing that for very long.  They have the STA fly down with the shuttle now but it's usually pretty far away until they're over the runway.  It's kind of rare for the two to even be seen in the same frame in a photo or video, if that's any indication of how far apart they are.
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