Dragon DRW50314 US Navy McDonnell Douglas F/A-18E Super Hornet Strike Fighter - CAG, VFA-27 "Royal Maces" (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The F/A-18 Hornet is the true multi-role aircraft. It can vault from a carrier deck, bomb a target and stay to dogfight even the best enemy aircraft without missing a beat. It's the Navy's first modern-era jet intended for double duty against air- and ground-based adversaries. Armed to the hilt with Sparrow and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, an internal cannon, and laser-guided bombs, this modern warbird was an outstanding performer in Operation Desert Storm. Strapped into a digital cockpit described as a cross between Star Wars and a video game, pilots of the F/A-18 Hornet take on the ultimate aviation job: blasting this single-seat, high-performance jet off the deck of a carrier, dropping bombs, and firing air-to-ground ordnance. Offering unmatched agility, the Hornet is the choice aircraft of the US Navy's elite Blue Angels aerobatic team.
Dragon Warbirds has a beautiful 1/72 scale model of an F/A-18E from VFA-27 'Royal Maces' available for collectors. It is done up in the colorful black and yellow markings of the CAG on the upper half of the fuselage. Detail on this miniature is exemplary, with panel lines cleanly and finely molded. The distinctive markings of the CAG are expertly rendered, including the 'NF' tail code, a hand bearing the royal mace, and the characteristic saw-tooth markings on the tail rudder. Apparently, the first officer to introduce these saw-tooth markings painted them on a plane and then afterwards sought his commander's approval. After being told to remove them and not to paint the planes without permission again, the commander then proceeded to order that they be repainted back on! This Dragon Warbirds F/A-18F is outstanding in quality, and it will make a high-impact presence in any aircraft collection.
Wingspan: 7.5 inches
Length: 9 inches
Release Date: June 2008
Historical Account: "Helmet Fire" - "Helmet fire" is an expression for a mental state characterized by unnaturally high stress and task-saturation and loss of situational awareness. The term originates in the military pilot community: military pilots are trained in high-performance aircraft and wear helmets to protect their cranium and muffle out engine and wind noise. A fire aboard any aircraft is considered a serious emergency, and the term helmet fire is used jokingly to say that the pilot is undergoing so much stress that his brain is on fire or smoke is coming out of his ears.
Pilots most frequently get task-saturated when flying instrument approaches, especially in actual instrument meteorological conditions. A complex procedure must be flown while making radio calls, changing the speed and configuration of the airplane, and maintaining assigned altitudes, all while flying by reference to instruments. When the sum of these tasks exceeds the pilot's capability to deal with them effectively, he becomes task saturated and unable to perform any one of the tasks proficiently. The pilot may lose situational awareness, become confused, disoriented, may stammer on the radio, may forget how to fly the approach or what his last clearance was, and this can rapidly develop into an unsafe situation, in many cases leading to missed approach, airspace violation, mid-air collision, controlled flight into terrain or any of a number of disasters.
While seasoned pilots occasionally (though rarely) experience helmet fires, they are very commonly seen among student pilots, especially military student pilots who are learning to fly IFR for the first time. Fortunately, the experienced instructor in the aircraft with the student applies Crew Resource Management to keep unsafe situations from developing. However, the episode can frequently be embarrassing for the student.
Experienced pilots rarely experience task saturation due to the ability to perform more simultaneous tasks and also due to better task prioritization. When task saturation becomes imminent, lower priority tasks should be deferred to a time when saturation is less likely to occur. A well-known mantra in dealing with any unexpected situation in an airplane is to fly the airplane. This is a reminder that, under all circumstances, maintaining control of the aircraft supersedes all other tasks. Such deferral is no substitute for raw ability to perform multiple tasks, but provides an important lifeline in unexpected circumstances.