Talk:Republic F-105 Thunderchief

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Good article Republic F-105 Thunderchief has been listed as one of the Warfare good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Date Process Result
December 30, 2006 WikiProject A-class review Not approved
January 5, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
July 9, 2008 Good article reassessment Kept
Current status: Good article
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Designed for hi-lo-hi[edit]

The article text claims the Thud was designed for the hi-lo-hi mission, to penetrate Soviet defences at low level. I find this very difficult to believe. The idea of low-level penetration did not become a design criterion until the late 1950s and especially after the Powers shoot-down. The fact that TFX was started specifically to replace the Thud with an aircraft designed to penetrate at low altitudes is strong evidence of this. It seems much more likely that the lo portion was simply because tactical aircraft almost always deliver their weapons at low altitudes, because that's their mission. Can someone with access to the reference check to see if this is what it actually claims? Maury Markowitz (talk) 13:43, 8 January 2010 (UTC)

I recall that the F-105 was developed to fly UNDER the enemy's radar to deliver NUCLEAR weapons, hence the lo level. It was because of the RADAR avoidance that it was lo level. I also seem to recall that the pilots could do "toss bombing". There's also something called "Over the Shoulder" toss bombing, which is a crazy bomb delivery manouver. Republic started the F-105 venture on its own as a speculation aircraft, under the design team of Alexander Kartveli in Farmingdale, New York, in 1951. Hope this helps and gives you some leads to work on. Also, as an interesting side note, the F-105 silver aircraft were not bare-skinned aluminum, that was actually aluminum lacquer paint that was applied to help prevent corrosion and leaks! There's about a hundred F-105's on static display around the world, none flying that I know of. The F-105 pilots carried "barf bags" in case they threw up during in-flight refueling because the jet fuel fumes would enter the cockpit. The TFX F-111 had Terrain Following Radar (TFR) that could be set at different altitude increments by a rotating switch, as low as 200 feet above the ground. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:15, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

I can't cite any references right off, but it was during my F-105 training by a Republic Tech Rep in 1968 that I first learned about many of the unique design features of the 105. According to him, the elevators were placed below the flight plane of the main wings specifically because that enhanced the low-altitude stability and speed of the aircraft. And yes, the original design concept was that in a nuclear conflict the aircraft would fly at low altitude toward it's target. At a certain point before reaching it's target, the aircraft would open it's bomb bay doors, "pop up" in a sweeping arc and toss it's nuclear bomb toward the target. The aircraft would continue to arc on over backwards into a descending angle and accelerate as fast as it could away from the target. Meanwhile, the bomb would arc over toward the target and explode at a pre-programmed point in midair on it's downward fall. Since the aircraft would likely still be within proximity of the bomb when it detonated, the cockpit was equipped with black "flash" curtains that the pilot could pull forward to shield himself from radiant heat effects of the blast.

Also, in regards to low-altitude speed, although it had a higher top speed--I've heard from more than one F-4 pilot that they simply could not keep up with an F-105 when exiting North Vietnam at relatively low altitudes. Perhaps one or more of them could chime in here to confirm. Biscuiteater57 (talk) 02:12, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

    • I've heard that sometimes the F-105 could go Mach 1.5 on the deck. (talk) 12:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

890 knots at low-level, is what I've read - 1024 mph. That's about Mach 1.3Dukeford (talk) 23:12, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

"affectionately called"[edit]

Dear BilCat, I see that you removed my comment that the F-105 "...was affectionately called the 'Thud' by it crews..." and your note was "Removed peacockish claim". I'm curious about the basis of your decision. Having worked on Thuds and with their aircrews for many years, I can personally vouch for this statement (for what that's worth). Also, I was a little surprised at the negative tone of much of the article, especially in contrast to the article that I read about the F-4, which had numerous "peacockish" comments in my opinion. (I also worked on RF-4s for several years.) Both were very good aircraft, each with it's own features--and shortcomings.

Out of curiosity, I took a quick look at your page. I like your sense of humor--and was extremely impressed by your many accolades. I hope you are feeling better soon! Biscuiteater57 (talk) 01:43, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

Wording like that is not really encyclopedic. Peacockish refers to WP:PEACOCK (Words that may introduce bias). -Fnlayson (talk) 20:26, 12 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, I worked on Thuds--we'd call them "nickels" too (for the five in F-105). We'd call C-130's "Herky Pigs". If a C-130 needed fixing, we'd put both hands on the radome, bow our heads and intone "Herky Pig, Big and fat, Tell me where your trouble's at". We called the demo team Thunderbirds the "Thunderchickens". I think "affectionately" is appropriate. When you go through a war together and your life depends on that airplane, you develop a relationship with it. I suppose an article on the psychological relation between a crew and its airplane might be interesting. Crews named their planes, after all. And people love flying. (talk) 10:39, 29 July 2011 (UTC)

I edited the article a few minutes ago. A very few minutes after that Fnlayson removed not only the forbidden phrase "affectionately called" (which I didn't know was so toxic to him and others when I used it) but also *the entire edit*, which moved the mention of the nickname to the section about size and weight, which is where the entry should be because THAT'S WHY IT GOT THE NICKNAME. As presently written the article "isn't very encyclopedic" because of the bald insertion of information without context in this and other cases. Uncle Bubba (talk) 15:36, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

The wording should be neutral per WP:Neutral point of view. Besides the F-105 got nicknames for multiple reasons, including "Thud". Details on the nicknames are covered later in the article in the Design section. -Fnlayson (talk) 16:10, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

Understood, and very well, then. However, in order for the article to be encyclopedic all the nicknames should be listed with 'Thud' at that point followed by a link or reference to the Design section, or there should be no mention at all of the nicknames until the Design section since they're covered there. As presently written the mention of one of its nicknames at that point is just partial information without any context. Uncle Bubba (talk) 16:39, 20 March 2013 (UTC)


The F-105B was used briefly for the Air Force's demonstration team. One of them did a pitch-up for landing and snapped in two, and the demo F-105 idea was scrapped. Did anyone ever figure out why a fighter jet just snapped in two coming in for a landing? --A plane like that would not survive in combat. It must have been a pre-existing condition (I heard the plane had been in a prior air accident). Why would the Air Force scrap the F-l05 demo planes just because one of them was faulty? (talk) 20:08, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

I have not come across much detail on this in my books. The F-105 was really an attack aircraft, not a fighter, as in primarily for air to air combat. Given that it was not really designed for a lot of maneuvering along with some leftover defect probably did that one in. I'll look some more to see what I can find on this... -Fnlayson (talk) 23:41, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
  • FN, the thing about the USAF Thunderbirds is this, they do not get to have the latest spanking new planes from the manufacturer but rather those aircraft rotated out from frontline squadron usage (especially those rotated back to the stateside after tours in Vietnam/SEA), hence there always existed a possibility that those very ex-squadron aircraft could have sustained damage without anyone even knowing about it until things happen. Thoughts? --Dave ♠♣♥♦™№1185©♪♫® 00:05, 15 March 2013 (UTC) Thunderbird Two, Air Force serial number 57-5801, had been involved in an air-refueling incident. During an aborted hook-up attempt, turbulence dragged and pounded a drogue basket into the fuselage, damaging the aircraft's spine. The damage to the spine was repaired, but no direct evidence was uncovered that this incident caused a defect or weakness in the fuselage. But the suspicion remains that there may have been some connection between this, and the untimely destruction of Thunderbird Two. Much later during routine maintenance of the F-105, structural engineers began to find cracks in the upper part of the aircraft just behind the cockpit. ... The defect was found to be a trapezoidal-shaped manufacturing joint - a plate that was designed to strengthen the connection between the forward and aft fuselage. It should have been rectangular. However, the investigation also turned up some very interesting side information on the particular aircraft the Devlin flew that day.

Thunderbird Two, Air Force serial number 57-5801, had been involved in an air-refueling incident. During an aborted hook-up attempt, turbulence dragged and pounded a drogue basket into the fuselage, damaging the aircraft's spine. The damage to the spine was repaired, but no direct evidence was uncovered that this incident caused a defect or weakness in the fuselage. But the suspicion remains, that there may have been some connection between this, and the untimely destruction of Thunderbird Two.

Anything notable in that? Hcobb (talk) 02:34, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

  • HC, ALL I can say is... for once your nose dug in the right pile. Well done! (PS: BTW, that joint is called a fishplate, something the early aviation borrowed from the railways.) --Dave ♠♣♥♦™№1185©♪♫® 03:31, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Removed from Combat[edit]

There doesn't seem to be a section in the article to support this sentence from the opening paragraph: "it was the only U.S. aircraft to have been removed from combat due to high loss rates.[2] "

There is a citation, but that doesn't tell much of the story - it sounds like an interesting point, and worth leaving in, but it seems like it should be supported better. Does anyone know the story? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

The text in the Lead (or Intro) is a summary; it seems to stand on its own, imo. There's info more later in the article. The heavy losses combined with a better fighter-bomber to replace it led to the withdrawal of F-105 from combat. -Fnlayson (talk) 23:33, 14 March 2013 (UTC)
It should also be noted that they weren't making F-105's anymore, only 833 had been built, so there were no replacements available. As for getting shot down a lot, I seem to recall that more F-4's were shot down than F-105's in the Vietnam War, but I'm not sure, I'd have to research the matter. (talk) 00:20, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Here's the stats--382 F-105's were lost in Vietnam but more F-4's were lost in Vietnam (445). (talk) 00:31, 24 May 2014 (UTC)

Air and Space Power Journal is a questionable source?[edit]

Is the problem that it is from Air University or the close connection to the USAF? Hcobb (talk) 10:46, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

You posted a broken link [] this appears to be the correct version, although the Air University website is desperately slow today.Nigel Ish (talk) 11:18, 15 March 2013 (UTC)
I had thought the info with the cite was already covered in the article, but it does not seem to be. The AF removed some survivability features from the design to cut costs. Many of these had to added back after -105s went to SE Asia. -Fnlayson (talk) 15:37, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Okay, so now that we're reading the same pages, should my paragraph be merged up in the text a bit so the sequence becomes clear? I think it would go something like this...

  • Need seen for tac nuker.
  • F-105 rushed into service for this mission.
  • Vietnam happens. F-105 sent into theater as is and suffers.
  • Design upgraded with combat exp.
  • Improved record in combat.

Right? Hcobb (talk) 17:56, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Water injection[edit]

The F-105 had water injection for take-offs with a heavy bomb load; it increased the thrust and this should be annotated. They couldn't carry the water at altitude since it would freeze so it would just be used for take-offs. (talk) 23:34, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Low frontal radar signature[edit]

The F-105 could be invisible to GCA (Ground Control Approach) radar because it's front profile was narrow and rounded and the jet engine was internally located. --This necessitated the installation of a unit on the front landing gear to make the plane detectable to GCA. The plane would also evade SAM missiles by flying directly at them and veering away at the last moment. (talk) 12:35, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Tall landing gear[edit]

The F-105 was perched high up in the air on tall landing gear to provide clearance for the centerline bomb rack when fully loaded, according to what I've heard but I've been unable to confirm this. (talk) 18:00, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

What the heck are "operational losses"?[edit]

More to the point what is a non-operational loss? From the 2nd paragraph: "The F-105 was one of the primary strike bombers of the Vietnam War; over 20,000 Thunderchief sorties were flown, with 382 aircraft lost (nearly half of the 833 produced) including 62 operational losses." I deduce from this that 320 aircraft were lost to non-operational losses, so what happened to them? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:12, 9 March 2014 (UTC)

If you work your way through these where all the losses are listed:
Glad I could help--an "operational loss" is a non-combat loss. Say you're operating your airplane and you accidentally fly it into a mountain--that would be an operational loss. (talk) 00:35, 24 May 2014 (UTC)


Why was the F-105 designated as a "fighter" when it was designed solely to deliver a bomb to a target? Was it a matter of getting funding, or was it because it was against the USAF's policy to call an aircraft that could carry offensive air-to-air armament a "bomber"?.45Colt 09:20, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

It looked like a fighter, was flown by fighter pilots, and the USAF never put a "B" designation on a sexy, single engine airplane that goes the speed of stink! --Hildenja (talk) 18:39, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

May 1968 US Air Force Academy Dedication Ceremony[edit]

On May 31, 1968, a dedication ceremony took place at the Air Force Academy. An F-105 had been assembled using parts from ten different jets that had seen service in Vietnam and was placed on permanent static display. The ceremony included the entire cadet wing, the superintendent and commandant of cadets of the USAFA, and a representative of Republic Aircraft, among others. To conclude the ceremony, a flight of four F-105s from McConnell AFB were to fly over in formation at 1000 feet above the ground and then fly over singly at 250 feet. The formation portion happened as planned. However, when the flight leader, Lt Col "Black Matt" Matthews, came back for the single-file pass he exceeded the speed of sound at less than 100 feet above the ground. The ensuing sonic boom broke more than 300 windows in the dormitory building, gymnasium, dining hall, and chapel. Fifteen persons sustained cuts from broken glass, and the damage was estimated at over $250,000. Does anyone think this would be suitable for addition to the article, perhaps at the end of the Vietnam War section? As for references, I have two newspaper clippings of the event, plus it is described in Robin Olds' (commandant of cadets at that time) autobiography. Or is this too trivial for an encyclopaedic article? --Hildenja (talk) 19:34, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

I think it should be included. I remember the incident. The pilot broke the sound barrier because he forgot he was flying at high altitude (the Air Force Academy is high up). The cadets knew the pilot was exceeding the speed of sound when they saw him approaching for his hi-speed pass because they couldn't hear the plane; they ran for cover. A sign was later posted in one of the broken windows stating: "Air Conditioning Courtesy of Republic Aircraft". The event is part of the F-105's legacy and should be included in any encyclopedia article. (talk) 00:01, 24 May 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I added the section. Hope it withstands community scrutiny. Hildenja (talk) 18:06, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • This single event is not that notable or significant to the F-105 overall. Wikipedia policies and guidelines include WP:Notability and WP:IINFO. -Fnlayson (talk) 18:13, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
Fnlayson, did you read the policies you quote? Under Notability it actually states "Notability guidelines do not apply to content within an article" (WP:NNC. The added section is certainly not an indiscriminate collection of information either; that policy is used to keep out boring statistics and things like song lyrics. I know someone who was present at this event and he thinks it should be part of the F-105's history, owing to the performance characteristics of the aircraft, how an experienced F-105 pilot could inadvertently exceed the speed of sound for a dedication ceremony. I believe it adds to the article overall. Hildenja (talk) 18:50, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
  • WP:Notability provides policy for articles, while WP:IINFO provides similar guidelines for anything. They both provide general guidance. -Fnlayson (talk) 19:04, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Fnlayson and don't think that much details about the ceremony should be included, it's not really notable.--McSly (talk) 19:07, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Source of term "Thud"[edit]

Okay, here it is: during operational development pilots heard about the F-105 with some misgivings and called it names like "lead sled" and "Thunderthud" after Chief Thunderthud in Howdy Dowdy. "Thunderthud" was shortened to "Thud". When the pilots actually flew the plane, their attitude changed. But they still called it "Thud" because it's short and quick. I worked on F-105's during the Vietnam War (23rd Wing). (talk) 04:07, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, that's exactly the kind of contribution Wikipedia needs most: information from people who have personal experience with a subject. I found a letter, evidently from an F-105 pilot writing under a pseudonym, as a source. It's a primary source and so not technically the best for Wikipedia, but it's a totally plausible derivation that isn't the sort of thing that makes it into "the history books." And it makes so much sense that it has to be true. I added it to the article along with some discussion of the "Ultra Hog" name. I hope it's sufficiently sourced, because some mention of the Thunderthud origin deserves to be in the article. Roches (talk) 07:14, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

I change the bit about the source of the name hog- as someone had put it came from the P-47, however the P-47 was the jug. The straight winged F-84 Thunderjet was the hog and the sweptwing F-84F was the super hog. spmaiorca (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 19:02, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Highly questionable[edit]

"In December 1966, the VPAF's MiG-21 pilots of the 921st regiment downed 14 F-105s without any losses.[82]" This strikes me as unlikely. The source used doesn't carry this specific assertion, and doesn't appear very impartial or factual overall.Tomseattle (talk) 06:04, 26 April 2016 (UTC)