USN F-14 shoots down USAF RF-4C

Springer

Well-Known Member
#22
I'd like to recognize a wonderful RF-4C 69-381. A great jet that took a missile 30 years ago today and although dying, held together long enuf for SPLASH and I to get out. Sleep well 381. You were a great jet!
Thx to the SAR folks from the USS SARATOGA for dipping us out of the drink! They deserved our Name Tags, etc. SQUID
Is that you Mike Ross? I flew 381 ten years before Timmy shot you down.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/friendly-fire-victim-outraged-over-navy-officers-admiral-promotion/

Friendly-fire victim outraged over Navy officer's admiral promotion
  • (CBS News) A U.S. Navy officer named Timothy Dorsey is up for promotion to admiral.

Whether he gets it may be determined by something he did a quarter century ago as an airman -- something so bizarre, even he can't fully explain it. But, it changed forever the life of a fellow airman, Mike Ross.


This photograph shows Mike Ross when he was a young Air Force pilot.
CBS NEWS
Ross was a young Air Force pilot flying reconnaissance missions in an F-4 Phantom jet. Grainy video taken by a Navy F-14 shows his plane during an exercise 25 years ago over the Mediterranean.

After taking a closer look, the F-14 pilot did the unimaginable. He shot Ross down.

"It took the tail off the airplane," Ross said.

He ejected at 630 miles per hour causing leg, shoulder and spine injuries, which have degenerated over the years requiring 32 surgeries. Ross said it "ruined his life," and he is still in physical pain.

"It basically made me 100 percent disabled by Air Force standards," Ross said.


Navy officer Lt. Junior Grade Timothy Dorsey
CBS NEWS
Insult was added to injury last year when the Navy nominated the pilot who shot him down -- then Lt. Junior Grade Dorsey -- for promotion to admiral.

Ross said his reaction was "almost visceral."

"I almost got sick," he said.

Ross claimed he had been under the impression that Dorsey had been let go.

An investigation determined Dorsey had received an order -- "red and free" -- which according to his sworn statement he thought "would never be used unless it was a no-kidder, a real-world threat situation." He interpreted "red and free" as permission to open fire, an inexplicable decision since everyone else in the exercise understood it to mean a simulated shoot down. Dorsey himself admitted "it was a bad decision."

He was never allowed to fly again, so he became an intelligence officer. The Navy kept promoting him despite the black mark on his record.

Dorsey declined to be interviewed, but Navy officials say he was selected for admiral because his performance as an intelligence officer made up for that one terrible mistake early in his career.

After the promotion became public, Ross received a letter from Dorsey saying, "I was unaware you suffered from any lingering injuries.... I am truly sorry for the incident and even sorrier for its impact on you."

Ross believes he got the letter 25 years after the incident because Dorsey was nominated for admiral.

Ross complained to members of Congress, who have the power to block Dorsey's promotion. He said he forgives him, however.

"I forgive him because if I don't forgive him I'll carry him with me for the rest of my life, and he's not worth that," he said.

Two pilots whose flight paths crossed so disastrously 25 years ago -- only this time it's Ross trying to shoot Dorsey down.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 
#25
I stumbled upon this post while doing research for an article about this same unit which had accidentally shot down one of their own aircraft during our '78 Med cruise onboard USS Forrestal, CV-59. I was copilot of an S-3A and just happened to be underneath the area. I spotted a large fireball descending rapidly & we heard an emergency beacon on UHF Guard freq. We spotted the 2 crewman in their chutes, assumed on scene SAR command, & put a smoke marker down near the pilot's raft. Once he got in the water, we couldn't locate the RIO. The ship was about 50 nm away & the sun was going down. We had the rescue helo on the way before the F-4 crew entered the water, but it was still going to be close to nightfall. Fortunately, the helo, showed up right as th sun was setting and the RIO, who was also the VF-74 Aviators Equipment Branch Officer, had double the number of pyrotechnics and set up his own personal fireworks display. The crew got rescued & we headed back to recover onboard Forrestal. Turns out the fighter squadron's USAF exchange officer, a former Thunderbird, had turned his Master Arm switch on to perform a tone check on his AIM-9s, but had forgotten to turn it back off. Our fighter units always carried live heaters during cruise. During his engagement, he went full switchology and the missile worked as advertised. Fortunately no one was hurt. But I have been unable to find anything on the web about it. Not something any unit wants to be remembered for. Especially twice. But in '78, they were a great bunch of guys.
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
#27
As MikeD pointed out to me some time ago here is a photo of the RF-4C that was shot down by the Navy pilot. Photo was taken in '79 by my wingman on what I believe was my last flight before exiting the AF. The a/c was based at Bergstrom, then moved to Alconbury then to Zweibrucken where it met its demise.

I’ve read more books than I can count about it but would love to hear first-hand: what was flying the Phantom like?
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
#28
I’ve read more books than I can count about it but would love to hear first-hand: what was flying the Phantom like?
In a nut shell, easier than you or I might think. In my case, the first time I saw an F-4 was in my college senior year. Local base let us ROTC guys sit in the cockpit and climb all over the a/c. It looked BIG and COMPLICATED...I came away dejected with a hugh dose of a lack of confidence thinking I could never fly that. So no one was more shocked than me when I was a DG graduate from UPT and had my pick of airplanes. The T-38 was a great stepping stone as the F-4 flew at similar speeds. Takeoffs were straight forward, hold the stick full aft and move it forward when the nose began to rise. We rarely flew the plane clean so when you light the burners you are not thrown back in the seat. However, flying along at 300 Kts and light it, the acceleration is pretty impressive. It is a rudder airplane (unlike my RV-8). On the "C", hard wing model which I flew, at low speeds or at high AOA there is quite a bit of adverse yaw when using only the ailerons to turn. So much so McDonald Douglas installed an aileron/rudder interconnect when the flaps are down. Move the aileron to the left, the rudder moves to the left. At high AOA with the flaps up you better be using the rudder to roll or it will depart and will not recover without using the drag chute. We rarely flew it greater than Mack 1 due to environment issues and most of my flying was low level which I thought was a real kick (650 KIAS @ 500') and why I took the Recce version over the Fighter (big career mistake). I didn't think acro was that much fun as loops took 10K feet and was all G. 6 G's was the limit and it would sustain that in a turn. Rolling G's was limited to 4.8. With the high wing loading it was a very stable a/c, good formation platform and rarely felt much turbulence. We didn't like to fly it much slower than 230 kts without flaps. Like the F-104 it had a boundry layer system that would take hot air off the compressor and blow it over the flaps making the plane think it was fly faster than it actually was. Keeping another a/c in sight doing ACM was difficult due to the canopy vs modern fighters. Landing was easy and I felt comfortable after the second ride...just fly it into the ground with minimum flare and little x-wind correction. I think I had about six or so flights with an instructor before I was sent on my own. Recce flew mostly single ship so at 24 I was an A/C of a Mach 2 jet with little supervision ie no flight leader watching over me. Pretty cool! Pssst, don't tell anyone but flying the lowly A-37 (T-37 w/T-38 engines) was sometimes more fun.
 

milleR

Well-Known Member
#29
In a nut shell, easier than you or I might think. In my case, the first time I saw an F-4 was in my college senior year. Local base let us ROTC guys sit in the cockpit and climb all over the a/c. It looked BIG and COMPLICATED...I came away dejected with a hugh dose of a lack of confidence thinking I could never fly that. So no one was more shocked than me when I was a DG graduate from UPT and had my pick of airplanes. The T-38 was a great stepping stone as the F-4 flew at similar speeds. Takeoffs were straight forward, hold the stick full aft and move it forward when the nose began to rise. We rarely flew the plane clean so when you light the burners you are not thrown back in the seat. However, flying along at 300 Kts and light it, the acceleration is pretty impressive. It is a rudder airplane (unlike my RV-8). On the "C", hard wing model which I flew, at low speeds or at high AOA there is quite a bit of adverse yaw when using only the ailerons to turn. So much so McDonald Douglas installed an aileron/rudder interconnect when the flaps are down. Move the aileron to the left, the rudder moves to the left. At high AOA with the flaps up you better be using the rudder to roll or it will depart and will not recover without using the drag chute. We rarely flew it greater than Mack 1 due to environment issues and most of my flying was low level which I thought was a real kick (650 KIAS @ 500') and why I took the Recce version over the Fighter (big career mistake). I didn't think acro was that much fun as loops took 10K feet and was all G. 6 G's was the limit and it would sustain that in a turn. Rolling G's was limited to 4.8. With the high wing loading it was a very stable a/c, good formation platform and rarely felt much turbulence. We didn't like to fly it much slower than 230 kts without flaps. Like the F-104 it had a boundry layer system that would take hot air off the compressor and blow it over the flaps making the plane think it was fly faster than it actually was. Keeping another a/c in sight doing ACM was difficult due to the canopy vs modern fighters. Landing was easy and I felt comfortable after the second ride...just fly it into the ground with minimum flare and little x-wind correction. I think I had about six or so flights with an instructor before I was sent on my own. Recce flew mostly single ship so at 24 I was an A/C of a Mach 2 jet with little supervision ie no flight leader watching over me. Pretty cool! Pssst, don't tell anyone but flying the lowly A-37 (T-37 w/T-38 engines) was sometimes more fun.
That’s awesome, thanks for sharing. I’ve always loved the F-4 and am envious of those who got to fly it. I stumbled across one for sale and it got me dreaming lol.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
#30
In a nut shell, easier than you or I might think. In my case, the first time I saw an F-4 was in my college senior year. Local base let us ROTC guys sit in the cockpit and climb all over the a/c. It looked BIG and COMPLICATED...I came away dejected with a hugh dose of a lack of confidence thinking I could never fly that. So no one was more shocked than me when I was a DG graduate from UPT and had my pick of airplanes. The T-38 was a great stepping stone as the F-4 flew at similar speeds. Takeoffs were straight forward, hold the stick full aft and move it forward when the nose began to rise. We rarely flew the plane clean so when you light the burners you are not thrown back in the seat. However, flying along at 300 Kts and light it, the acceleration is pretty impressive. It is a rudder airplane (unlike my RV-8). On the "C", hard wing model which I flew, at low speeds or at high AOA there is quite a bit of adverse yaw when using only the ailerons to turn. So much so McDonald Douglas installed an aileron/rudder interconnect when the flaps are down. Move the aileron to the left, the rudder moves to the left. At high AOA with the flaps up you better be using the rudder to roll or it will depart and will not recover without using the drag chute. We rarely flew it greater than Mack 1 due to environment issues and most of my flying was low level which I thought was a real kick (650 KIAS @ 500') and why I took the Recce version over the Fighter (big career mistake). I didn't think acro was that much fun as loops took 10K feet and was all G. 6 G's was the limit and it would sustain that in a turn. Rolling G's was limited to 4.8. With the high wing loading it was a very stable a/c, good formation platform and rarely felt much turbulence. We didn't like to fly it much slower than 230 kts without flaps. Like the F-104 it had a boundry layer system that would take hot air off the compressor and blow it over the flaps making the plane think it was fly faster than it actually was. Keeping another a/c in sight doing ACM was difficult due to the canopy vs modern fighters. Landing was easy and I felt comfortable after the second ride...just fly it into the ground with minimum flare and little x-wind correction. I think I had about six or so flights with an instructor before I was sent on my own. Recce flew mostly single ship so at 24 I was an A/C of a Mach 2 jet with little supervision ie no flight leader watching over me. Pretty cool! Pssst, don't tell anyone but flying the lowly A-37 (T-37 w/T-38 engines) was sometimes more fun.
Did they ever retrofit the RF-4s to soft wing? My times in the F-4 were only in the E model, so I have no comparison to the C/D.
 

Springer

Well-Known Member
#31
Did they ever retrofit the RF-4s to soft wing? My times in the F-4 were only in the E model, so I have no comparison to the C/D.
No Mike, all were hard wing with the last ones built in Dec, 1973. We didn't turn and burn so no need for slats. Didn't realize you flew them...did you have adverse yaw problems with the E? Did you have BLC as well? I heard they capped it off and landed at half flaps due to maintenance issues.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
#33
No Mike, all were hard wing with the last ones built in Dec, 1973. We didn't turn and burn so no need for slats. Didn't realize you flew them...did you have adverse yaw problems with the E? Did you have BLC as well? I heard they capped it off and landed at half flaps due to maintenance issues.
I only had a few flights in them, and indeed a fun jet to fly. Would've loved to have flown in an old C model.

One of the interesting things I'd heard was the G models were considered single pilot, as with the Weasel gear in the back instrument panel that went all the way up to the canopy sill, there was no forward visibility at all. For a qual/instrument check, the IP would be in another jet as opposed to being in the back seat.
 
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