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Collision by the Air Force's Thunderbirds-Fiction!
Summary of the eRumor:
A picture of two Air Force
Thunderbird jets appearing to have gotten into a potential disaster
by getting to close to each other during a maneuver in their
performance at an air show. The message says one of the planes was going too fast but slowed and
changed altitutej to barely miss hitting the other.
We contacted the Thunderbird office. Staff Sgt. Katherine Garcia, chief of media relations for the
Thunderbirds says the picture is real but is not showing the planes
accurately and that the comment in the message about the picture are
She says the picture was taken from a ground perspective that
results in the planes appearing to almost collide but that in
reality they were 500 feet apart.
She says the bottom plane was actually going straight down and the
top plane was gaining altitude.
She adds that the Thunderbirds have procedures for calling a
"knock-off" to the maneuver if any of them feels that they
are too close for comfort and they simply go opposite directions
from each other for sake of safety.
A Thunderbird ground observer is on duty during each performance and
can also call for a knock-off if anything looks amiss from the
ground. Sgt. Garcia says the picture has been circulating on the Internet
for quite a while but is, in reality, a snapshot from a normal
Thunderbirds performance and that there was no danger.
Last updated 2/15/04
This is the way the picture is shown with
The planes appear to have gotten in each other's way and are dangerously
close to colliding.
In reality, according to the
Thunderbirds, the plane with the speed brakes deployed (those
flap-looking devices on each side of the tail) was going toward the
ground while the other was climbing.
The plane going down is closer to the camera than the one going up.
If we look closely, the wingtip of the climbing plane is behind the nose
of the descending plane.
If this were a video, we'd see the descending plane pass downward but in
front of the plane behind it.
A real example of the eRumor as it has
appeared on the Internet:
Thunderbirds- CLOSE CALL!
This one was really close. Big post flight hose-down.
Check out the speed brakes fully deployed on the F-16 on the left!
These guys are better than this, but close calls do happen.
the timing was off in this maneuver. In a crossover, both planes
cross each other at the same altitude going different directions.
lead plane flies a constant airspeed, and the second plane adjusts
airspeed (relative motion) to stay as close possible without
In the photo, the second plane was going too fast and pulled his
brakes (panels sticking out on tail) and idled his engine
He also was changing his altitude, based on the aeronautical law
states that two planes cannot occupy the same airspace at the same
The altitude change was what saved his butt. I still can't believe
didn't swap paint.
.......This is why people like air shows.......................
2 For 1
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