008 – Aircraft Nomenclature

Ever notice that a B-52 Stratofortress is a bomber, an F-14 Tomcat is a fighter, and a T-45 Goshawk is a trainer? What a coincidence!

…well, not really. And it’s also no coincidence that we in the West call the Chinese J-8 fighter and Russian Tu-160 bomber the FINBACK and BLACKJACK, respectively.

Lieutenant Commander Josh “Popeye” Larson
Lieutenant Commander Josh “Popeye” Larson

On this episode, retired US Navy Lieutenant Commander Josh “Popeye” Larson helps explain the alphanumeric naming conventions used to describe US, European, Russian, and Chinese warplanes. Be sure to stick around until the end of the episode, after the flyby, to learn the designation of the airplane we all know as Air Force 1.

In the announcements we mention the Wings Over South Texas airshow featuring the US Navy Blue Angels at NAS Kingsville, March 24-25, 2018. During the Q&A segment, listener Wolfgang from Germany asks whether anyone has ever stolen a military jet for a short trip. Click here to read about the time a young US Marine decided to take an A-4 Skyhawk out for a joyride–at night!