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The Fighter Pilot Who Shot Himself Down

On 21 September 1956, test pilot Tom Attridge was flying Grumman's new F-11F-1 Tiger. He fired a burst from his 20mm cannon while diving and accelerating. The cockpit was then struck by an outside object. Attridge immediately radioed that he was returning to base. While attempting to land, the jet lost power and crash-landed on the runway. Attridge, thankfully, escaped safely. A subsequent examination found three bullet impacts and one intact 20mm bullet in the plane. Attridge had managed to shoot his own fighter down:

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..


Link via View From The Porch | Photo: Military.cz

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Thanks Edward, that makes more sense. I mean the rounds' 2600 km/h velocity combined with the aircraft's 900 km/h velocity has the rounds leaving the aircraft at a minimum of 3500 km/h. Catching up to those rounds in an aircraft whose top speed is 1200 km/h seems difficult enough (even taking into account the rounds' deceleration and any facilitating arc)and then breaking ahead of them ... geez.
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As I remember the story from physics class, the bullets were sucked into an engine and that is what caused the crash. The rounds are 3/4 inches across and have an explosive charge so maybe just running into them would cause damage.

For what its worth, Wikipedia lists the plane as having a cruising speed of 900 km/h and maximum speed 1200 km/h. The 20 mm cannon has a muzzle velocity of 2600 km/h.
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3 bullets get on a train heading east. 1 plane gets on a train heading west. If the first train leaves at 12:45pm and goes 128mph and the second train leaves at 2:11pm and goes 94mph. Assuming the wind is blowing 12mph from the east, what time does the pilot of the plane pull the eject lever?
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Okay has this been debunked? Catching up to your own rounds under these conditions seems plausible. What seems implausible is the relative velocities of aircraft and rounds on interception that would enable the rounds to penetrate the aircraft. It seems that the decay in projectile velocity combined with the speed the aircraft had to reach to overtake them would render relative velocities that wouldn't allow the rounds to penetrate. Does anyone know about this?
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