Posts Tagged ‘F14 Tomcat’

I saw this post on my Facebook account. A big thanks to the folks. You can also see them on Facebook at

This brings back another one of my favorite military aircraft. The F14 Tomcat. I also have some fun information about Dal Snort Snodgrass a very well lets just say he is experienced  flying the F14.( Enjoy

F14 Tomcat

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat flew for the first time forty-two years ago today. The F-14 emerged from the failed F-111B, which left the Navy without a successor for the F-4 Phantom in the air defense role. Variable geometry swing-wings combined high-speed performance and supersonic maneuverability with docile low-speed handling. The Tomcat was well ahead of its time – the Central Air Data Computer used to control wing sweep was the first microprocessor design in history and it’s design was not made public until more than 20 years after the F-14 first entered service. The Hughes AN/AWG-9 radar was capable of detecting and tracking 24 targets flying at different airspeeds, altitudes and directions while engaging six targets simultaneously at a range of 100 miles with the AIM-54 Phoenix missile. A Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) was designed for use on the Tomcat in the carrier-based photoreconnaissance role as the RA-5 Vigilante and RF-8 Crusader aircraft were retired. TARPS allowed the F-14 to deliver real-time photos to theatre commanders, providing surveillance and Bomb Damage Assessment imagery. The Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night (LANTIRN) system allowed the Tomcat to transition to the “Bombcat,” enabling it to fly at low altitude, at night and in all weather conditions to attack ground targets with a variety of precision-guided munitions. The Tomcat did it all – long-range carrier-based fleet interceptor, tactical reconnaissance platform and fighter-bomber aircraft. Here is a picture of a flight of four F-14s from the “Tomcatters” of Fighter Squadron Thirty One (VF-31) at the 2006 Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show during the Navy Air Power Demonstration. Fly over to our full website at for more aviation and air show memories!

F-14 Tomcat Formation


I have seen Dale fly at a few air shows, and hopefully next time I can meet him in person. He will have alot to share . I saw him perform with the L39 Jet Demo Team, the only Civilian Team known to exist at the time. Thats what Rob said at the show . -Ryder (Airshow Announcer Said)

Now here it the information i mentioned about Dale Snort Snodgrass –

Captain Snodgrass’ Biography:
Born in 1949 and the son of a Test Pilot, Dale Snodgrass grew up in Eastern Long Island NY. He attended the University of Minnesota on a NROTC Scholarship, was as a member of the Varsity Swim Team, graduating in 1972 with a BS in Biology. Receiving a regular Commission, Ensign Snodgrass entered Naval Flight Training in September 1972. After 26 years of decorated Naval Service, Captain Snodgrass retired in June 1999.

With over 4900 flight hours and 1200 plus carrier landings in the famed Grumman F14 Tomcat, Snort is the most experienced Tomcat pilot in the world and a highly decorated combat veteran. At the end of Desert Storm, then Commander Snodgrass was promoted to Navy Captain and was selected to command all Tomcats in the US Navy.

CAPT Snodgrass joins a very small select group of pilots that are allowed to fly with active duty modern fighters at air shows throughout North America and Europe. In 2011 Snort will be the only pilot approved to fly in both the Air Force Heritage Flight Program and the Navy Legacy Flight Program.

Tomcat and Captain Dale “Snort” Snodgrass fans….

This is my most recent build and an ambitious attempt at recreating one on the most iconic Tomcat moments in history. The model replicates what is affectionately know as “The Shot”

I’m sure many Naval aviators are familiar with this image. For those who may not be familiar with it, this short blurb from John Sponauer’s interview with Captain Snodgrass sums it up nicely.

“…it was my opening pass to a Tomcat tactical demonstration at sea. I started from the starboard rear quarter of the ship, at or slightly below flight deck level. Airspeed was at about 250 knots with the wings swept forward. I selected afterburner at about 1/2 mile behind and the aircraft accelerated to about 325-330 knots. As I approached the ship, I rolled into an 85 degree angle of bank and did a 2-3 g turn, finishing about 10- 20 degrees off of the ship’s axis. It was a very dramatic and, in my opinion, a very cool way to start a carrier demo. The photo was taken by an Aviation Boson’s Mate who worked the flight deck on the USS America. Just as an aside…the individual with his arms behind his back is Admiral Jay Johnson, the immediate past Chief of Naval Operations for the Navy.”

“The Shot”

A living national treasure.

” Captain Dale Snodgrass, (better known by his call-sign: “Snort”), is a living national treasure and among the greatest fighter pilots of our times. I’ve flown with Snort, watched him teach and groom generations of fighter pilots, and the way Snort is able to articulate those skills to others is like no one I’ve ever seen. There aren’t many people on this earth that I hold in higher regard than Captain Dale “Snort” Snodgrass. “

~ Admiral Jay Johnson, (26th Chief of Naval Operations and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Clinton and Bush).

Navy highlights include:

  • One of the first two Navy Flight School Graduates to be selected for F-14 Tomcat training.
  • First non fleet experienced pilot to carrier qualify in the F14 both day and night.
  • 12 operational Fighter Squadron/Wing tours.
  • Navy Fighter Weapons School Graduate and Instructor (Topgun).
  • Selected as the Navy’s Fighter Pilot of the Year in 1985.
  • Selected by Grumman Aerospace as “Topcat of the Year” / best F14 Pilot in 1986.
  • 12 operational Fighter Squadron/Wing tours including Command of Fighter Squadron 33 during Desert Storm.
  • Led 34 combat missions in Desert Storm as overall Strike or Fighter Lead.
  • Wing Commander for all of the Navy’s F-14 Squadrons (14), totaling over 300 aircraft and 5000 personal from 1994-1997
  • Highest time F14 Pilot, with 4900 hours in the Tomcat.
  • 7800 hours in Fighters including 1287 Carrier Arrested Landings.
  • Tomcat Flight Demonstration Pilot 1985-1997.

Military Decorations include:

  • Legion of Merit (3) for superior performance in positions of great responsibility.
  • Bronze Star (1) for Leadership and (1) for Valor during Desert Storm.
  • Meritorious Service Medal (2) for exceptional service in the position of Senior Leadership.
  • Air Medal (2) for Valor during Desert Storm, (1) Strike.
  • Navy Commendation Medal (3).
  • Various Service and Campaign Ribbons and Award.

Civilian Aviation and Air-show highlights include:

  • Volunteer instructor for the Kenya Wildlife Service Pilots in Kenya bush 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006.
  • Over 12500 total hours which includes 7800 Navy Fighter hours and 2500 hours in Vintage Fighters (Warbirds).
  • Just exceeded over 1000 hours in F-86 Sabre.
  • Surface Solo and Formation Aerobatic qualified in:
1) F-86 Sabre
2) Mig 15 Fagot
3) Mig 17 Fresco
4) L-39 Albatross
5) MS760 Paris Jet
6) P-51 Mustang
7) F4-U Corsair
8) P-40 Warhawk
9) T-6/SNJ Texan/Harvard
10) 8KCAB Super Decathlon
  • Designated one of only nine civilian USAF Heritage Pilots.
  • 25 Years of Airshow experience and over 1000 low level performances in high performance aircraft.
  • Single / Multi-Engine / Instrument Instructor (CFI).
  • FAA designated Aerobatic Competency Evaluator and Designated Formation Check Pilot.
  • 20 years providing Low Altitude (Airshow) Aerobatic Instruction.

Let me say thanks to Dale and hats off to his career as a Navy Pilot with the F14 Tomcat and many military aircraft.

See Dale in action at the Cleveland Airshow

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