Losses and Aviation Safety

A-10 pilot tells the story of when he “oversped” the Warthog. And he explains why the A-10 can “shrug off” just about anything including going too fast.

‘Neither my wingman nor I had ever heard of anyone overspeeding in the Hawg. It was more of a theoretical thing,’ Lynn Taylor, former A-10 Warthog pilot.

In aeronautics, air brakes or speed brakes are a type of flight control surface used on an aircraft to increase the drag on the aircraft. When extended into the airstream they cause an increase in the drag on the aircraft.

How effective are they?

‘The barn doors on this baby are incredibly effective. Usually,’ Lynn Taylor, former A-10 Warthog driver explains on Quora.

‘It’s one of the few jets I know of that will make you lean forward in the straps when you open the barn doors all the way.

‘(I know, the Hawg is an exception…)

‘You wouldn’t think that something that takes bird strikes from the rear would need help going even slower.

‘However, they really help when you want a really short landing roll, or when doing a really steep dive bombing attack. Note that these surfaces double as the ailerons. When used as brakes, the ailerons split open… see how they spread out both above and below the wing?’

Taylor recalls;

‘”There I was…” I actually oversped the A-10 on a dive attack once. In Alaska, in the dead of winter. Not that my airspeed was that fast (hey, it’s the Hawg), but the temperature was such that the Mach speed was pretty low that day. I exceeded the max allowable Mach number (around 0.56M IIRC), saw the barber pole on the airspeed indicator, and heard that strange beeping sound in my helmet telling me that something was wrong.

‘It actually took me a few seconds to dredge up from the recesses of A-10 training what all of those things meant. My indicated airspeed was good on the attack, but the Mach number was what bit me.

‘Remember, this was with full boards out in a steep dive.

‘So, we knocked it off and, not knowing how serious this really was… (after all, neither my wingman nor I had ever heard of anyone overspeeding in the Hawg. It was more of a theoretical thing)… and drove home without declaring an emergency. I wrote it up in the forms and went to debrief.

‘I got pulled out of debrief to talk to the maintenance crew. “Uhm, sir, I know you wrote it down in the forms, but what exactly happened again?”

‘They didn’t see anything in the maintenance manuals explaining what to do in the event of an overspeed. So, they called the depot maintenance shop at Hill AFB, UT and asked them. They scratched their noggins and said “Let us get back to you.” Then those guys talked to some engineers.

‘When they finally called back to the Alaska maintenance folks, they asked “did any panels come off?”


‘”Did anything get bent out of shape?”

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. A-10C Thunderbolt II 355th FW, 354th FS Bulldogs, FS/82-684. Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ – 2015

‘”Uhm, no.”

‘”Did it pop any rivets?”


‘”Then it should be good to go.” *shrug*’

Taylor concludes;

‘So, two lessons here:

‘1. Speed brakes won’t keep even the A-10 from going too fast.

‘2. The A-10 can shrug off just about anything… including going too fast.’

Photo credit: Tech. Sgt. Michael D. Morford / U.S. Air Force

This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

View Comments

Recent Posts

Northrop Grumman to develop SiAW, a new Stand-in Attack Weapon for the F-35 and possibly the B-21

The F-35 is the initial platform for the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW), and the USAF… Read More

9 hours ago

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works tests U-2 new advanced capabilities in first flight of the Dragon Lady’s Avionics Tech Refresh program

Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, in partnership with the US Air Force, completed the first flight… Read More

1 day ago

When the Warthog became Snowhog: the story of the A-10 that received a unique arctic camouflage

Not long after arriving at Eielson, A-10 Warthog 80-221 was repainted in an arctic camouflage… Read More

1 day ago

The story of the Royal Air Force CF-105 Arrow All-Weather Fighters that Never Were

It was on the basis of the Arrow’s future potential, more than CF-105 then-current design,… Read More

2 days ago

The Argentine Air Force may buy surplus CH-46 Sea Knight medium-lift helicopter stored at 309 AMARG

The Argentine Air Force may give new life to the Boeing CH-46 medium-lift helicopter, retired… Read More

2 days ago