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November 01, 2006

Air Force Gun Pr0n

I've waited a long time to find something that aviators can relate to on what is, you have to admit, a pretty "green" web site. Of course, I don't want to take anything away from John's superb conceptualization, creation, management and continued improvement of what is a perennial favorite in the annual milblog competition. Far be it from me to complain. And yet...

Some of the trivia stuff, complete with pictures...well, I suppose I should appreciate it more. The "guess-what-THIS-is" trivia games like the close up photo of a thingie that turns out to be the Japanese variation of the fuse/arming mechanism of a 1917 Tarkington-Crapspray Experimental Foot Grenade (or whatever...most guess wrong anyway) sort of goes over my head, er, cranium.


Something caught my eye on YouTube that aviators can relate to. I'm sure BillT and Lex will bear me out. Especially Lex. I think Bill's air-to-air gunnery was usually the .45-rounds-out-the-right-door-window variety...which is perfectly OK since we did it too from O-1s and O-2s in the 'Nam (you know, where John Kerry served, remember?). But Lex and I both have learned that shooting an object that's moving in three dimensions from a platform that's also moving in three dimensions takes some getting used to.

Back in the Old Days, before radars and computers and HUDs, the best air-to-air guys had at least two advantages--good eyes and an unusual ability in what was called, at that time, "deflection shooting." In short, their brains could figure out where the enemy was going to be at bullet flyout and put the bullets there while the bad guy, for lack of a better description, "ran into" the rounds.

So how did they practice this skill without burning precious avgas and putting unnecessary hours on the limited airframes? Trap and skeet. Many Ready Rooms/alert shacks had a makeshift range behind them and guys would go out and practice putting the shot where the clay pigeon was going to be. Hint: Don't shoot AT the target, shot in front of it. While we don't have skeet ranges behind squadron buildings anymore, we do have gun clubs, simulators...and the occasional dart shoot in a real airplane.

You want gun pr0n? Here's some that warms the heart of fighter jocks everywhere. Yes, it may have been done on the ground, but it is the essence of air-to-air gunnery, believe it or not. Enjoy. -Instapilot

Update. [Snerk - Dusty, um, does *this* look familiar? Geez, thinks he can snark me *that* easily... Dusty gives you videos... I give you... artifacts.]