‘A guy who received his wings at the same time as I did, was in the F-4 training squadron with me. Being new to the aircraft, and especially one with an afterburner, he did a very dumb and costly thing.’ John Chesire, former US Navy F-4 Phantom II pilot.
The development of the General Electric J79 turbojet began in 1952 as a more powerful follow-up to the General Electric J47 turbojet. The engine generated a maximum of 17,000 pounds of thrust (-15 version) with the afterburner operating.
Fuel consumption was about 35-40 gallons per minute at full dry power, and the afterburner adds about 50 to that number.
The engine was used on the Convair B-58 Hustler, the first US bomber capable of maintaining speeds in excess of Mach 2. The J79 also was used by some fighters developed during the late 1950s. The two most famous examples are the Lockheed F-104 and McDonnell Douglas F-4, which were both capable of flying at Mach 2.
The twinjet, all-weather Phantom II, with top speeds more than twice that of sound, became one of the most versatile fighters ever built also thanks to the J79 engine.
‘A guy who received his wings at the same time as I did, was in the F-4 training squadron with me. Being new to the aircraft, and especially one with an afterburner, he did a very dumb and costly thing.
‘During some Air Combat Maneuvering (ACM) training off the coast of San Diego, he failed to monitor his fuel quantity. Being in afterburner too long, and burning fuel rapidly by massive bucket loads, he ran out of fuel, flamed out, and had to eject over water.
‘He was grounded for awhile as his record was reviewed. Eventually he was reinstated into flight status again.’
‘His was a good lesson for the rest of us. I watched my fuel quantity while using afterburner thereafter, like a hawk.’
Photo credit: U.S. Navy