Eagle Inlets

B11I2311.jpgThe F-15 came onto the scene in the 1970s and it has been a major force ever since.  As a kid growing up fascinated with planes, the F-15 and F-14 were two of my favorites.  They each had features I loved.  One of the cool things about the F-15 for me was the inlets.  Big ramp inlets were in vogue at that time.  They combined an angled profile with complex ramps and doors to take flows from above Mach 2 down to subsonic speeds to feed the engines.  (Interestingly the F-16 went with a simple pitot inlet and could still just about make Mach 2.  It used the fuselage to redirect the air into the inlet rather than raking it.)  The F-14 inlets were very sharply angled.  The F-15 didn’t have such a sharp angle but instead took a different approach.  The inlets rotated down towards the approaching air.

B11I5733.jpgThis always struck me as a cool feature and whenever I see F-15s now, I am always looking at the angle of the inlets.  Since they are often at lower speeds when I get to shoot them, they are at higher angles of attack and this means the inlets are rotated down.  McAir’s engineers did a great job of the joint so the top surface doesn’t look too discontinuous.  I include a shot of a parked jet to show the difference.  Even after all these years, I still get a kick out of this.

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