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The names of the planes

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posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 12:19 PM
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Here's another one of my 'train of thought' efforts again, if you don't like them or find them boring look away now
;

I was considering the names given to fighter aircraft just now, and in particular the aptness, or otherwise, of some of them.

The first thing to consider is that Air Forces in general and fighter pilots in particular are extremely image conscious and, for all the sensible and sober talk they give about the most important things in a fighter being capability and reliability, which is of course true, it is also of importance to them that their fighter looks mean (look at all those shark mouths and tiger stripes!), and its name sounds mean.

This doesn't concern bomber pilots as much, they are a far more pragmatic bunch, thats why we see bombers nicknamed such as SLUFF, BUFF, Warthog, The Fin, etc. Such as this just wont do for a fighter though.

Some names you cannot argue with, they project just the right image. among these are Eagle, Hornet, Jaguar, Mirage and Lightning, all perfect. One of the best names ever for a naval fighter was the 'Sea Fang' which never saw service, instead the RN got the much more feebly named 'Attacker' from the same company.

Some others are less fortunate. General Dynamics meant well when they came up with 'Fighting Falcon' but its just too unwieldy, two word names are definitely a complete no-no, unless of the course the first word is 'Super'!
I also believe that some people who suggest aircraft names should be taken outside and shot, my evidence for this is that while the BAC TSR2 was to have become the BAC Eagle upon service entry (years before the F-15 existed) one alternative being seriously considered was the 'BAC Velvet' !?!?!?
I rest my case, m'lud.

Some names have, over time, come to signify 'greatness' by dint of the exploits of the aircraft they are applied to, despite being completely innappropriate in themselves.

Two examples of this are 'Spitfire' and 'Tomcat'; for example, 'Spitfire' conjures up all the right images of grace, beauty, bravery etc. However it actually means ' a highly emotional girl or woman' and R J Mitchell hated it! On being informed that the name Spitfire had been selected, he commented 'thats just the sort of bloody silly name they would give it!"

Likewise Tomcat, through the F-14 we have no problem with the name today, it immediately suggests a big awesome powerful fighter, to plane buffs anyway.

However consider this, tracing its lineage through the Grumman line of naval fighters, after you have seen the Tiger, Hellcat, Wildcat etc, then 'Tomcat' must be the tamest name ever applied to a naval fighter!

In WW2 the RAF used a weather motif, therefore we had the Hurricane, Typhoon, Tornado, Tempest and Whirlind, two of which are in use as names today. Interestingly the use of 'Tsunami' which I think is a great name, was banned because it was 'too japanese'!

One of the biggest gaffes, name wise, today is, in my opinion, calling the F/A-22 the Raptor.

For a start it is not even a real word, but a shortening of 'Velociraptor' and was clearly inspired by the creatures from the Jurrassic Park movies, but THAT is the problem! TYou see the image used in the movie was utterly wrong and now we have what is, without question, the worlds greatest fighter plane named after an animal that was basically a scavenging prehistoric chicken, complete with feathers, not really a great choice.



An F/A-22?




[edit on 24-10-2005 by waynos]




posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
One of the biggest gaffes, name wise, today is, in my opinion, calling the F/A-22 the Raptor.

For a start it is not even a real word, but a shortening of 'Velociraptor' and was clearly inspired by the creatures from the Jurrassic Park movies, but THAT is the problem! TYou see the image used in the movie was utterly wrong and now we have what is, without question, the worlds greatest fighter plane named after an animal that was basically a scavenging prehistoric chicken, complete with feathers, not really a great choice.



An F/A-22?



An excellent summation regarding fighter names, and I would also add that the "F" names assigned to Soviet fighters tended to down play any aggressive thought (who would be afraid of a "Fishbed?")

But I must disagree regarding the Raptor. Long before Jurassic Park was fattening Spielberg's wallet, the term raptor was well entrenched in the world of biology's vocabulary.

dictionary.reference.com...



rap•tor ( P ) Pronunciation Key (rptr)
n.
A bird of prey.


www.etymonline.com...



"predatory," 1825, from L. raptor "robber," from rapt-, pp. stem of rapere "seize" (see rapid). Raptor in ornithology is first attested 1873.


Sounds like a good name to me.


Raptor Monkeys, not just for terrorizing small islands anymore…



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 12:55 PM
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I would also add that the "F" names assigned to Soviet fighters tended to down play any aggressive thought (who would be afraid of a "Fishbed?")


That is completely true and a case in point is that the reporting name originally assigned to the MiG 15 in 1954 was 'Falcon'before the ASSC had a rethink and it became the 'Fagot'.

Regarding the Raptor, well, that told me didn't it. I have clearly been labouring under a misconception ever since I first read that the Raptor was named after the Jurrassic Park villain. That was clearly written by someone else who had never previously heard the term used for a bird of prey either.


[edit on 24-10-2005 by waynos]



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 01:33 PM
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The name "Tomcat" for Grumman's F-14 fighter was intended to honor Admiral Tom Conolly Deputy Chief, Naval Operations for Air. The aircraft was dubbed "Tom's Cat" long before the official name of "Tomcat" was ever adopted.
Quote taken from Ironworks

The book Ironworks is a history of Grumman aircraft. I may not have the quote 100% accurate as I am quoting from memory, but the information is correct.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 02:53 PM
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Using the name raptor i dont see as too bad. Raptor being a bird of prey is kinda kool seeing as its a fighter. Going up against a plane that is named after the ablity to kill other "birds". Also the raptor when used in jarassic park was highly intelligent and deadly. Plus from my love of dinos as a kid seeign that freakin huge claw on its foot is kinda kool. I do agree it doesn't have the same feel as phantom or viper but i still like it.

[edit on 24-10-2005 by Canada_EH]



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 03:00 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499

The name "Tomcat" for Grumman's F-14 fighter was intended to honor Admiral Tom Conolly Deputy Chief, Naval Operations for Air. The aircraft was dubbed "Tom's Cat" long before the official name of "Tomcat" was ever adopted.
Quote taken from Ironworks

The book Ironworks is a history of Grumman aircraft. I may not have the quote 100% accurate as I am quoting from memory, but the information is correct.


Yes, that is the true derivation of the name Tomcat in the case of the F-14, it still doesn't change the fact that it is very tame, for a fighter, compared to Grummans previous names.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 03:12 PM
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Has anyone heard any names that are being considered for the JSF program plane? or will it forever be known as JSF?

[edit on 24-10-2005 by Canada_EH]



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 03:52 PM
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Waynos, I see your point behind the post, but we cant name every plane we make, the f-22 Terminator, the f-18 Terminator, or the f-15 Terminator which would imply they terminate all the competition. Or we cant name it the f-14 murderer. Or f-4 throat slasher. Even though this would be cool, they aren't politically correct.

I would go for F-22 Sergant Slaughter, J/K

Train



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 04:04 PM
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Consider that the best color for visual stealth is pale pink, but the Air Force doesn't want pink planes.....heard that somewhere,


Gotta agree that Tomcat is pretty lame, especially considering the Cruise/Holmes connection these days (which despite what ANYONE says still gives me the uber creeps...) eewww....creepy...



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 05:47 AM
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Here's something that has always puzzled me -

In the West, we know Soviet aircraft by the supposedly-random NATO 'F' and 'B' designations - 'Fulcrum', 'Foxbat', 'Blinder' and so on. By what names do the Soviets themselves refer to their aircraft?



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 07:06 AM
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A very nice thread indeed...
You always surprise me with them...
And yes, I can defenetly see the how you got the bird in the thread...
very nice, I didn't even think about those names, untill now at least...




[edit on 25-10-2005 by Figher Master FIN]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 07:50 AM
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Originally posted by Snoogans
Here's something that has always puzzled me -

In the West, we know Soviet aircraft by the supposedly-random NATO 'F' and 'B' designations - 'Fulcrum', 'Foxbat', 'Blinder' and so on. By what names do the Soviets themselves refer to their aircraft?


The Russians have (or had - it may have since changed) a system whereby the manufacturer designates the aircraft for intternal identification but if selected for service is given another identity by the Air Force.

Examples of this include the Badger, which was developed as the Tu-88 but was called Tu-16 by the Sov AF, the Bear (manufacturers ID Tu-95, Air Force ID Tu-20, and Blinder (Tu-105 & Tu-22) The simple explanation for this is that obviously not every design is produced for service so the manufacturers number soon gets way ahead of the air force ID.

MiG never used a 'MiG number' in the development stage, hence the designations MiG 15, 17, 19, 21 etc all refer to operational service types. Instead MiG applied designations prefixed with 'Ye'. Therefore the MiG 19 was followed by the MiG 21 in service despite the exitance of another swept wing fighter prototype between them (MiG 20 was never an option as they always used odd numbers for fighters and even numbers for bombers) Thus the MiG 19 was followed by the Ye-2 and Ye-5 prototypes and after evaluation the Ye-5 became the MiG 21, had the Ye-2 prevailed it would still have become the MiG 21, as indeed NATO believed it had for several years.

The Russians also applied names, but only to transports, but many of these fell into disuse, For example the real name of the Tu-114, known to NATO as 'Cleat' is Rossiya, The An-10 'Cat' is really called the 'Ukraina' and of course the one well know example in the west is the An 225 Mryia.

Finally, such was the dramatic impact of the Su-27 'Flanker' globally that Sukhoi actually started to use the name 'Flanker' in its own advertising. This is a unique occurrence of the Russians adopting a NATO name for their own use.

[edit on 25-10-2005 by waynos]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 08:11 AM
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Further to my original post I have been researching som of the very worst names ever to be applied to fighter aircraft. These are British aircraft so I would appreciate any US reader replying with their own worst ever names.

Would you believe that the following were not merely suggested names but were actually applied to real aeroplanes!;

Gloster Gnatsnapper - only good for fighting a very small enemy perhaps?

Boulton Paul Bobolink - whatever a Bobolink is, its doesn't sound scary.

Sopwith Snail - so, not an interceptor then?

Hawker Hawfinch, A.W. Starling, Gloster Grebe - just three of far too many distinctly un threatening bird names supposedly indicating nimbleness?

Short Gurnard - Gurnard is a nice place for a quiet holiday but in no way makes you think of fighter planes.

Blackburn Nautilus - suggests this naval fighter is rather inclined to spend more time under the sea than over it.

Fairey Fantome - Phantom is an admirable name, but using the French spelling in order to couple it with Fairey is just pretentious, how can a fighter with a pretentious name be taken at all seriously?

All of the above are pre 1939 fighters and the sense of impending peril must have been inspiring because the very best fighter names in history emerged from that conflict, as noted at the top of the thread, however as soon as 1945 and peace swing into view we suddenly see the extremely naff sounding Supermarine Spiteful which was clearly intended to tap into the national Psyche with its close relationship to the now legendary Spitfire. The arrival of the Jet age (and the marvellously named D H Vampire put paid to that one rather quickly.



[edit on 25-10-2005 by waynos]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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Originally posted by waynos

Finally, such was the dramatic impact of the Su-27 'Flanker' globally that Sukhoi actually started to use the name 'Flanker' in its own advertising. This is a unique occurrence of the Russians adopting a NATO name for their own use.

[edit on 25-10-2005 by waynos]



Yeah, but Flanker is an infinitely cooler name than... Fishbed



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 09:36 AM
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I seem to remember the F-16 with various monikers, such as "The Electric Jet", and the Viper. Even the F-22 was initially dubbed the Lightning II

Also, the A-10 is officially the Thunderbolt II.



Worst unofficial monikers?

F-105 THUD (the sound it makes hitting the ground)

U-2 Dragonlady (known for her high morality rate)


[edit on 10/25/2005 by soulforge]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 11:42 AM
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The worst name that I have ever heard of for a fighter has got to be the Ryan FR-1 Fireball





posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 12:12 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499
The worst name that I have ever heard of for a fighter has got to be the Ryan FR-1 Fireball




Yes, Fireball does rather suggest 'crash and burn' doesn't it.

Come to think of it, Peashooter doesn't strike fear into your heart either


[edit on 25-10-2005 by waynos]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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BTW, why do the Navy guys call the super Hornet "Rhino", any ideas...?

[edit on 25-10-2005 by Figher Master FIN]



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by waynos
... I also believe that some people who suggest aircraft names should be taken outside and shot, my evidence for this is that while the BAC TSR2 was to have become the BAC Eagle upon service entry (years before the F-15 existed) one alternative being seriously considered was the 'BAC Velvet' !?!?!?
...


I disagree with you on this one. Actually I find most of the "agressive" names given particularly to modern fighters very superficial even kind of immature. I dont think a plane needs a name that symbolizes a strong and aggressive quality, because if it is not impressive and threatening enough by itself, the name wont make it better. A name should symbolize the spirit of the aircraft. If the name "Velvet" fit the styling and, on a metaphorical level, the intended mission profile, I dont see anything wrong with it.

Take for example the AH-6 "Little Bird" - not exactly thratening, eh? And yet its the perfect name. Or AC-130U "Spooky" - again, it doesnt say anything about its capability or strength, and yet "Sopoky" is a good symbol of the aircrafts capabilities. Anyway, IMO the best name of a plane I know of, be it the sound of the word, the originality or the symbolism, is the Mirage you mentioned.



posted on Oct, 25 2005 @ 04:10 PM
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I agree, Mirage is one of the best fighter names around, that may be why the French use it so much.

You know, the tone of the original post is not to be taken too seriously, it is merely flippant commentary and hopefully will stir discussion like this. I agree with your Little bird and Spooky examples too, but I am specifically referring to fighter names and which ones appear to work and which ones don't. Its not really a crusade.

Regarding Velvet, in a simplistic mind like mine (
) the word conjures up an image of softness and fluffiness, surely a mach 2 strike bomber cannot be soft and fluffy too?


That doesn't make your opinion wrong and mine right, just different



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