Of all the fighter planes to ever take to the sky, perhaps none is more recognized, or more revered, than the venerable Grumman F-14 Tomcat. Made popular by movies such as The Final Countdown and, of course, Top Gun—not to mention real world heroics off the coast of Libya in the 1980s and Desert Storm in the early 90s—the F-14 is no stranger to attention.
But what was it like to fly? Why is it so big? Why did the A model have one brand of engine and subsequent models another…?
On this episode, former U.S. Navy F-14 pilot and Radar Intercept Officer. An NFO who crewed the backseat of an F-4 Phantom or F-14 Tomcat. crew Commander Roy “SYFH” Wylie (retired) and Captain John “Cosmo” DePree address these questions and many more—including several listener questions such as the rivalry between Tomcat and Hornet squadrons, bird strikes around the carrier, the procedures for when a weapon fails to release, and large explosions.
Episode artwork by Janek Krause, using F-14 photograph by Rob Tabor. Bumper music by Slater Aiello of Jam & Slate.