Category Archives: jet fighters

“The Real Thing” For The Real Fling

In the mid-1950s,  the US aeronautical engineers and designers were struggling with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.  That is, no matter how hard they tried, they could not get their latest fighter aircraft, the F-102 Delta Dagger, to break the sound barrier.

The shock waves encountered in the transonic realm proved too formidable…..until someone re-visited the theory of The Area Rule.  That simply meant that the cross-section area of the aircraft had to progress smoothly from tip to tail, without abrupt changes.

In practice, it meant that the fuselage had to be “pinched” in to takr on a Coke-bottle shape – in order to compensate for the cross-section area of the wings. 

Once they had “The Real Thing” designed in, everything went smoothly – the re-shaped F102 easily slipped past Mach 1,2 and they had a real fling from thence on. 

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Tutors Turned Stingers

That was “How It All Began”, when in 1967, RMAF received its first combat aircraft – putting real ‘tentera’ into TUDM.

The 20 machines were Canadair CL-41G Tutors – basic jet trainers that could double up as light ground attack fighter-bombers. TUDM called them ‘Tebuan’ (meaning ‘Wasp’).  These remained in service until 1985.  They probably stung the CPM out of existence.

I remember seeing some of them flying over my old kampong house in Butterworth – sometimes low enough to make out the two airmen seated side-by-side in the cockpit. 

However, it was only in 2013 when I finally got to see a specimen really up close.  That was during a visit to the Muzium TUDM in Sungai Besi.  Oh, by the way, there is another exhibit at the Muzium Tentera Darat at Port Dickson.

Sabre-rattling Over Butterworth

Living just 4km from the airbase in Butterworth from birth till 1973 “enrolled” me into an Early Childhood Aircraft Appreciation course.

The F-86 Sabres were the earliest jet fighters from the RAAF to appear in the skies.  They had clean body design, with a prominent bubble canopy.  As they circled the area low in their landing approaches, I remember I could even see the pilots inside them.

Later I learned that these RAAF fighters played a prominent role during the Confrontation with Indonesia, where Butterworth-based Sabres chased off marauding MiG-21 fighters.   No shots were fired in anger; perhaps the kill reputation of the Sabre (from the earlier Korean War) was enough to dissuade the intruders.

p/s : Am wondering to this day, why these RAAF aircraft wore RAF decals on their wings.