Grumman F-14 Tomcat (Aero Series 25)
By James Perry Stevenson
Publisher: Aero Publishers 1975 104 Pages
PDF 64 MB
This book was supposed to be a quaint picture book about the Navy's latest jet fighter. I had little idea of what would unfold as I started my research. It was my honest belief that the project could be done in six months. In fact it took a year and a half. One of the reasons it took this long was the complexity of the aircraft itself.
The amount of time necessary to learn fighter aerodynamics turned out to be much longer than it takes simply to study the forces on a wing that most private pilots learn. Fighter pilots need to know turn rate, turn radius, Ps, instantaneous G and other now familiar terms. I became convinced that there was a need for an explanation of this kind of information in order to fully understand the F-14. There seemed to be no middle ground between the simplified private pilot aerodynamics and that taught to aeronautical engineers. Hopefully there is now.
The small size of this book was a frustration. I would like to have gone into more detail and covered wider areas in the history of the F-14. One friend criticized the book for making the Navy and Grumman look too good. He alluded to contract problems, and the politics that one might imagine goes on with a contract involving large amounts of money. Another friend complained that I didn't have any information on the engine problems. This is a small book. To deprive the reader of all the positive information about the F-14 to put in information that casts a shadow on it will have to be saved for another book. I didn't mean to ignore the problems that the F-14 has had, but when it is compared with previous aircraft during the development stage the F-14 stands way out in front.
The pleasure of doing a book on a contemporary aircraft is the availablility of research data. The frustration is that every week adds new information that can make your book passe unless the information is included. I decided that the former route was for me. I'll leave the history of the F-14 for someone in the future. Hopefully, however, the research I've done while the retrieval was easy will make his or her job easier.