Most modern military fighter jets require thousands of feet of runway to takeoff and land, or else a complex and dangerous system of shipboard catapults and arresting gear. The AV-8 Harrier is unique in that it retains high forward speeds but is capable of taking off and landing in extremely short distances—or even vertically—thanks to swiveling exhaust nozzles and augmented flight controls. This feature, originally adapted for a cold war scenario, is particularly useful for shipboard amphibious operations.
On this episode, retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jeff “Magwa” Scott explains how the Harrier came to be, what it’s like to fly (and hover), and how it is in some ways preferable to the F-35B Lightning II currently replacing it.
During the listener question segment, Jell-O and Sunshine discuss Generic term for any aircraft crew member, whether at the flight controls or not. interactions with other aircraft carrier personnel, mental exercises prior to flight, whether aircraft float, and how speedbrake placement is decided during aircraft design.