posted on Jun, 11 2006 @ 02:27 PM
To Cobra or not to Cobra? That is the question.
I went to the Farnborough Airshow in 1988, when the Soviet Union first showed off the MiG 29 in the West. A big deal was made in the British media of
the Cobra manoeuvre and how spectacular it was. Well, I went on the last day of the Airshow, the Sunday, and the MiG display pilot was obviously
bored with his set routine, because what he put on show was anything but his set routine. It was reported he got a roasting from ATC, because he
abandoned the planned display from the word go, and so broke a whole host of safety regulations.
The thing is, it looked way more impressive showing off the tight, fast manoeuvrability of the non-FBW MiG, giving an amateur like myself an idea of
how it compared to the F16 and F18 displays earlier. Plus, it showed that the MiG pilot wasn't above one-upmanship. In the end, the Cobra manoeuvre
has no tactical use, much in the way the "VIFF' capability of the Harrier. Sure, it looks impressive to the uninitiated, but all it does is make a
fast plane into a very expensive, static target.