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The Cornfield Bomber


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Re-reading the story of the F-106, some theorised at the time that the force of the ejecting seat+pilot shocked the plane out of the flat spin by pushing it's nose down. I would think the fact that it then flew itself to a reasonable landing would have a lot to do with it being a delta wing. Trimmed right, it would be like those folded paper planes that glide a long way. I have my doubts a normal wing aircraft would have flown the same; too many airflow variables at play. I wonder if the deployed speed brakes had any influence on the outcome.



Edited by willedoo
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They mention speculation about the ground effect.  Apparently it was trimmed to a take off configuration and the throttle was set to idle. Maybe as it got low enough, the ground effect combined with the speed brakes to level it out. In the photos, the starboard flaps aren't down, but it was possibly bumped out of position by contact with the ground. One article said he bailed out at 15,000'; another said 8,000'. 8,000 is probably more likely as it's getting close to the bail out limit in a flat spin, given the descent rate. I think from memory the USAF level for a F-4 Phantom is 7,000'.


It's a rare thing that they were able to repair it and put it back in service.

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