snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Military

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04 April 2010, 08:17 PM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 108,702
Airplane Fighter shoots itself down

Comment: For years after I enlisted in the USAF in 1964 and to now there is a
legend about an aircraft, usually said to be an F-104 Starfighter,
shooting itself down by outrunning his fired bullets and running into
them.
Is this true?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 04 April 2010, 08:45 PM
Eddylizard's Avatar
Eddylizard Eddylizard is offline
 
Join Date: 15 June 2006
Location: Tonbridge, Kent, UK
Posts: 17,859
Default

Different aircraft, similar tale veracity unknown.

And another (PDF warning)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04 April 2010, 09:07 PM
JoeBentley's Avatar
JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
Join Date: 23 June 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 21,798
Default

As EddyLizard said, a incident like this did occur.

http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/Tiger138260.htm
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06 April 2010, 12:35 AM
E. Q. Taft's Avatar
E. Q. Taft E. Q. Taft is offline
 
Join Date: 30 July 2003
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 12,567
Default

In Chuck Yeager's autobiography, IIRC, he says that the first time they test-fired heat-seeking air-to-air missiles, they headed straight for the sun...
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06 April 2010, 09:19 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
Join Date: 04 November 2005
Location: Borlänge, Sweden
Posts: 11,397
Default

Sounds a bit like this story:

http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/The-Cool-Cam.aspx

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12 April 2010, 02:35 PM
Cyrano's Avatar
Cyrano Cyrano is offline
 
Join Date: 01 September 2005
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 2,859
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
As EddyLizard said, a incident like this did occur.

http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/Tiger138260.htm
The story with the F11-F Tiger has been cited by the French magazine "Le Fana de l'Aviation", one of the most serious aviation publications I know. I'd say at least this one's real.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 18 February 2011, 10:35 AM
Dweezil Dwarftosser
 
Posts: n/a
Default

While such things do not rise to 'legend' status, most fighter aircraft with internal guns (20mm Vulcan M61-A'x' standard in USAF) do indeed have the capability to shoot themselves down. Since the projectiles slow down after firing (and begin tumbling after a few thousand feet of travel), 'target fixation' is a real problem for low-experience pilots firing against ground targets.

They forget to stop firing when they 'pull up' from the target. Worse yet, some may continue in a straight line past the target, neglecting to turn away from the projectiles that are (relatively) 'just hanging in the air' waiting to intercept his path.

It wasn't much of a problem flying out of Korat during the Vietnam War, but was a real danger over the ranges of Florida for 'students' in replacement training units at MacDill during that war.

There were quite a few F-4Es that returned with holes that weren't there when they took off. Had they been using something other than TP ball ammunition (a non-explosive round; essentially a lead bullet) they could easily have shot themselves down, when they flew into their own projectiles. (Either fired while pulling up, or a stray ricochet from the ground.)

The physics were different for Air-to-air gun runs against a towed aluminum dart (precluding almost all contact with fired ammo) but the answer is 'Yes". A fighter aircraft could indeed shoot itself down, if the 'stick actuator' badly screws up.

DD - former Msgt, USAF, and career F-4E Weapons Control Systems tech.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 19 February 2011, 01:41 PM
DesertRat's Avatar
DesertRat DesertRat is offline
 
Join Date: 02 May 2004
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 6,282
Default

Thanks for the info, and welcome to the board, MSgt!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 21 February 2011, 04:01 PM
mouse goddess's Avatar
mouse goddess mouse goddess is offline
 
Join Date: 30 November 2000
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 3,225
Default

We have a family friend who was a POW during Vietnam. His story was that he shot off his live ammo before a carrier landing. One of the missiles malfunctioned exploded in front of the plane (A4) and was sucked into the engines, sort of shooting himself down.

Here's a link.

http://www.pownetwork.org/bios/s/s122.htm

This one says that he was shooting at something specific, but the story I'd always heard was that he was dumping his live ammo.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09 March 2011, 04:26 PM
Smoke & Mirrors Smoke & Mirrors is offline
 
Join Date: 11 February 2007
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 446
Default

DOH! Dweezil Dwarftooser beat me to it.


*cough*
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 22 November 2011, 10:02 PM
Onetap
 
Posts: n/a
Default

There was an incident, I think in the '70s, in which a UK aircraft (I think it was a Bucaneer) was firing at targets on the ground on a range. One of the rounds ricochetted off a metal object on the ground and bounced back up into the air, hitting the aircraft after it had passed over the targets.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01 December 2011, 02:07 PM
Lost_Cavalier Lost_Cavalier is offline
 
Join Date: 03 August 2011
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 277
Default

I've heard this quite a few times about an SR-71 Blackbird that was modified as a fighter jet. However, while there was a few SR-71s (or its predecessor, the A-12) converted for testing as a fighter (the YF-12), they were only ever armed with missiles, not guns.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
9/11 Canadian fighter pilots patrolling US skies snopes Military 2 09 September 2009 05:53 PM
Nazis salute tortured French resistance fighter snopes Military 18 01 October 2008 07:33 PM
New Russian Jet Fighter Su-30 snopes Fauxtography 15 23 March 2008 03:04 AM
Man shoots his own hand with a gun nineballer77 Fauxtography 15 24 June 2007 02:07 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 10:22 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.