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[STOCK] 1:1 Grumman F-14B Tomcat v3.0 - Rework


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The Tomcat has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, I used to rewatch Top Gun over and over and build scale models of the famed big fighter. Even today, I still believe it is one of the most beautiful and innovative airframes ever concieved and constructed. Even if it won't take it to the skies under US Navy roundels ever again, I have decided to give it a second life in the skies of Kerbin. Here is my replica of the F-14 Tomcat - the most successful variable-geometry fighter to ever enter service.





The "stock" part of the title is actually a bit complicated. In this replica, I've decided to opt for visual accuracy and performance over anything else, and thus I could not fit in a bulky stock bearing system that could handle the stresses on the wing surfaces properly. At the same time, a Tomcat without it's variable-geometry wings isn't a true Tomcat of course, thus, I've resorted to a different solution. Parts that make up the aircraft are completely stock and you are free to fly it out of the box. Swing-wing capabilities though are provided via a handy mod called DockRotate which I will include below. It doesn't add any parts or functionalities besides making the docking ports capable of rotation. I believe this is the best compromise I could manage. It allowed me to place the wing bearings in their correct position (I've actually read some blueprints to make sure they are correctly modelled) while maintaining the sleekness of the wing gloves themselves. The mechanism operated extremely smoothly and I'm very satisfied with the result overall.





The Tomcat has extremely comparable performance to my other jet fighters. Due to it's unconventional wing layout and behaviour it has a few small details worth knowing before you take it to the skies and buzz some towers.

1. Takeoff:

This one is pretty straightforward. Don't use excess yaw and roll as in all planes in KSP when rolling, feel free to use flaps (AG6) and rotate at about 90m/s. Tailstrikes shouldn't be possible unless you have your tailhook extended which would be unusual for takeoff.

2. Landing:

The Tomcat has some beautiful handling characteristics when landing. Remember to land with wings extended, with wings folded under 200m/s the aircraft may be very underresponsive, albeit in emergency situations landing with wings folded is absolutely viable as long as you keep your speed about 30m/s higher than usual. The stall speed depends on your fuel load but with about 50% of fuel (which is about what you will be landing with for the most part) sits at around 40m/s. Optimal approach speed sits at around 60m/s or whatever other speed that allows you to slowly lose altitude while maintaining mild nose-up attitude. AoA for touchdown should sit at about 10 degrees. You can extend the brakes (Brake buton), flaps (AG6), and the tailhook (AG5) if you need to bleed off speed. With drop tanks attached be careful not to slam down too hard as this can damage the tanks.

3. Overall flight behaviour:

Some quirks the Tomcat has: Since it uses it's elevons for roll control it can sometimes take a few tenths of a sec to achieve it's max pitch rate if coming out of a roll. Keep that in mind if you need to pull up hard from a dive for example. Other than that just keep in mind that it's a big and heavy fighter. Also be aware that flight behaviour will change depending on the wing sweep: 20 degree sweep will favor turn rate and responsiveness at low speeds while folded wings will increase roll rate and energy retention at higher speeds.

4. Operating the wing mechanism.

The wing mechanism is the central part of this replica. With DockRotate installed, AG1 and AG2 are assigned to increasing and decreasing the sweep respectively. Main guidelines are:
- Only change the sweep when not maneuvering. After the wings are locked in position you are free to push the 'Cat as hard as you like.
- Change the sweep at speeds of 240-250m/s and higher. Lower speeds will not break the pivots but they will put unnecessary strain on the wings.
- Don't try to unfold the wings when they are already unfolded or fold them when they are already folded. One click of the proper AG will put them in their correct position.






Stage - Detach the drop tanks.

Brakes - Deploys the airbrake, engages wheel brakes.

AG1 - Toggle afterburners.

AG2 - Wings folded (With DockRotate).

AG3 - Wings unfolded (With DockRotate).

AG4 - Toggle tailhook.





DockRotate (Optional, enables variable-geometry wings) (Thank you @peteletroll!):


CRAFT file:






v1.0 - Initial release.
v1.1 - Some tiny details polished out, missing autostruts added where possible.
v1.2 - Nose assembly smoothed out.
v1.3 - Ventral fins aligned properly, strutting improved.
v1.4 - Minor changes to the tail section to make it appear smoother.
v1.5 - Changes to the tail section and nacelles to make them appear smoother overall.
v1.6 - Aerodynamic improvements, top speed increased by about 5m/s overall.
v2.0 - Major overhaul of the whole airframe. Airframe reinforced, wing gloves remodelled,
wings refurbished to appear cleaner and more accurate, wing sweep corrected to match the
real aircraft, horizontal control surfaces updated. I highly recommend updating your craft if you
have downloaded a previous version.

v2.1 - Aerodynamics improvements, antennas are now modelled better.
v2.2 - Tiny changes to the positioning of the fuselage panels in some places to increase the overall smoothness.
v3.0 - Complete rework of the nose section, the replica is now fitted with a cockpit which closely resembles the real F-14.



Edited by EvenFlow
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Tomcat is by far my favorite jet fighter of all time.

Very nice job OP, looks fantastic! (I wish the swing wings were stock as well, but I understand the reasons behind the compromise.) Tom Cruise would be proud, lol!

45 minutes ago, eagle92lightning said:

@Servo Time for a build off...

Wrong. It's time for shirtless volleyball. :wink:

Edited by Rocket In My Pocket
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2 hours ago, eagle92lightning said:

@Servo Time for a build off...

Actually I'd go as far as to say that this Tomcat wouldn't be here if Servo didn't attempt it first. I always thought of the Tomcat as a near-unbuildable aircraft due to all it's technical complexity. I'd love to cooperate with Servo on some project in the future though. c:

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7 minutes ago, peteletroll said:

I'm more of a rocket guy, but your plane looks great, @EvenFlow! May I link your post from DockRotate OP?

Absolutely! Feel free to, it's an honor for me. c:


Also, thank you so much for developing DR. It's absolutely flawless and this thing would never exist without it.c:

Edited by EvenFlow
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