The spectacular picture above was (reportedly) shot high above the set of a movie. Producers for an unknown movie paid a couple of Russian pilots to fly their SU-35UB jet at speeds past Mach 2.0... without a canopy! After the flight, the pilot said, "While on this speed I even managed to pull out my fingers in glove for an inch or two outside - it became heated very fast because of immense friction force plane undergoes with the air."
The script also required one of the pilots to eject from the cockpit, as seen below.
Whatever movie this ends up being part of, I'd buy my ticket now if I could. I hope it's in 3-D.
Wow Russians will do anything haha. Hats off to you comrades.
They must really have a surplus of fighters to even attempt something like that. I am fairly sure they were not tested to sustain flight at speeds exceeding Mach 2 without a canopy.
You amaze me everyday Russia.
Thats just crazy.
You won't catch U.S. pilots crazy enough, or even aloud to perform such a stunt.
Thats pretty cool though... Working as an aviation maintainer the noise alone is crazy out there on the flight line, I couldn't begin to imagine how deafening it would be at mach 2 with canopies off.
Hmmm...1300 mph wind blast in an open cockpit? I don't think so. If your helmet weren't welded to the seat your neck would snap in an eyeblink. Maybe the script calls for mach 2 without a canopy, and maybe they filmed a closed canopy flight at mach 2 (with a really fast chase plane--hah!), but I'll bet they filmed the open canopy a little closer to 0.2 mach. Still, Russian test pilots are much more aggressive than others. Maybe it's something in the vodka.
laurenra7 educate yourself.
laurenra7 is absolutely correct, there is no way this actually happened. animemaster, you have no idea what you are talking about, and should educate yourself. The slipstream has nothing to do with this.
Just because the script says the plane flew at Mach 2 does not mean they actually went Mach 2 to film the sequence. Just because a script says bad guy gets shot and dies, does not mean the actor actually gets shot and dies. Come on people. And both of you are correct, slipstream has an affect, but not like animemaster thinks, just like laurenra7 suggests, there would be extremely turbulent flow inside the cockpit. These aircraft are designed to be survivable in case of a canopy malfunction, but not at speeds of Mach 2.
I am pretty sure that anyone who trolls around on PopSci realizes that this was not actually attempted at Mach 2. It is fun to speculate the "what if's" though...and to call Russian pilots crazy because, well frankly because they are.
The pilot is completely protected by the front part of his canopy. The airflow inside the cockpit is not moving at mach 2 - or even close to it - for the same reason a guy driving down the highway in a convertible at 90 MPH isn't experiencing 90 MPH winds inside his car.
"Producers for an unknown movie paid a couple of Russian pilots to fly their SU-35UB jet at speeds past Mach 2.0... without a canopy!"
Where do you see "the script says"?
The guy cited by PopSci is a test pilot. He participated in making the "unknown movie". In his interview he actually said that any jet fighter in Russian air force has to pass a test flight with opened canopy to determine critical flight speed and how the cabin is affected by air flow. He said that he personally reached the speed over 2 Mach in one of such tests. He tried to pull his finger outside and felt how it was heated by airflow. :)
The "unknown movie" is actually called "Mirror Wars". Frankly speaking, it is not as cool as "Top Gun", but there are coupled of amazing scenes with jet fighters.
This is the movie:
Big deal. They use Sukhois for their movies. We use F-22s for ours.
However, seriously big deal on the friction burn effect with finger tips outside the jet at Mach 2. That had to feel awesome (if not be a little scary).
"Welcome! to the Federation Starship SS Buttcrack!!!"
What is the point of filming at Mach 2? On a movie screen, 100 knots can be made to look like 100,000 knots, so why endanger an aircraft and flight crew by booming without the lid on?
why did they do that for a movie? well at least no one died.
As we debate the speed of the SU-35UB in the photo, we're forgetting to ask one question:
"Who took the picture?"
That close-up image of the pilot is rock-steady, and that means the camera plane had to be flying at about the same speed as the SU-35UB.
That would suggest a second SU-35UB, or something in that class.
The problem is, a high performance fighter aircraft doesn’t have enough room for a large-format motion picture camera –and- camera operator. A second SU-35 couldn’t do it, nor could any other fighter aircraft anywhere in the world.
What else could they have done? Load remotely operated camera gear into the bomb bay of a Tu-22 Backfire? Unlikely, but even if they did wouldn’t that have made part of the story? A Tu-22 flying in formation at Mach 2 with an uncanopied SU-35? That's right up PopSci's alley. But there's no mention of the camera plane in the article.
That leaves only one other possibility I can think of: the photo was taken from a camera plane large enough to house a motion picture camera and operator. That would suggest a much –slower- airplane, almost certainly subsonic.
Is it possible to fly without a canopy at Mach 2 and survive? Maybe. Is it possible to do it and get photos like this, or usable motion picture footage?
I don’t think so.
Where does it say that these pictures were taken while he was doing mach 2? Is it inconceivable that he flew mach 2, then slowed way down to give the camera man some good shots?
Besides that, I think it's fairly obvious that (at the very least) the second picture was shot sub-mach, since ejecting at 1400+ MPH would have turned that guy into a blob of jelly. There are some things even crazy Russian pilots won't do.
Weeeellll I'm 50/50 on the ejection scene. At first I was gonna call photoshopped BS on that but the top photo shows some burn marks aft of the back seater's location and the rails are right.
I'm not familiar with Commie ejection systems but I AM familiar with American and British systems and that's an AWFUL big flare on a rocket propelled seat.
I DO know he was down to 120 knots or so. High speed ejections are very, very dangerous. I've seen arms and femurs broken at 300 - 400 kts. much less mach speeds. The only fighter we ever had that had a high speed seat was the F-106 (and F-102?? I forget). The 111 had a pod so theoretically they coulda punched at mach speed.
Most pilots and stunt men would want a perfect "zoom and boom" 120 kts and 20-30% nose high attitude.
Man, the last thing in the world I would want to stake my life on is a Commie seat; big balls.
Prepare for a geek moment.
So while I agree with all the other people's points that the photo could not have been taken at mach speeds, there are some phenomena associated with supersonic flight which actually make it plausible that the jet could have gone Mach 2.0 without a canopy (just not in the photo).
Aircraft designed for supersonic flight generally have the characteristic delta shape. Part of this is because when a plane breaks the sound barrier, air molecules pile up on the nose of the plane creating a V shaped shockwave. The key to traveling at mach speeds is to keep as much of the airplane inside this shockwave as possible. Because the destructive forces are mostly contained within the shockwave, and the cockpit is not subjected to it, the cockpit and fuselage only need to be able to withstand subsonic wind speed and air pressures. In fact, if the story is true, the pilot's fingers were not experiencing supersonic air, as they were well away from the boundary of the shockwave. Still, winds at near-sonic speeds would definitely warm his fingers VERY quickly, and probably felt almost like pressing against a solid object.
The pilot on the picture never said that the jet was flying at Mach 2 during filming. He said that he flies at supersonic speed up to Mach 2 with opened cockpit during regular tests. He gave interview to a Russian magazine couple of years ago.
Uhh I believe your argument would be sound if the question was about the jet flying at .09 Mach, not Mach 2.
At Mach 2 the shock wave would be behind the plane? no?
No. The plane is always at the nose of the mach cone, no matter how fast it's moving past mach 1. The only thing that changes is the angle of the cone (the faster you go, the smaller the angle). Check this out: http://paws.kettering.edu/~drussell/Demos/doppler/doppler.html for a good explanation of the Doppler effect.
Damn Russians are getting desperate for cash. I can understand having jets in a movie...but ejecting from one all just for a movie is absurd. Not only will the guy be slightly shorter than before, but his life was put on jeopardy for a B-movie, at best.
Am I wrong in thinking that maybe, just maybe, they could have achieved the same kind of footage with CGI? I mean, Robert Downey, Jr. flew up against F-22s in a movie, but not once was a real F-22 or the actor (or stunt man) himself in any kind of mortal danger because it was all done inside the confines of a render farm. Yeah, it'd probably be cheaper to go with the Russians (depending on inflation and their starting price...it's not like it was a trip to outerspace or the moon, the asking price of $20 some odd million dollars)...CG work tends to be a bit expensive...I'm also wondering how the producer cajoled the pilot or his command to allow such a thing to happen (don't they worry for the safety of their crews???). Is the pilot who ejected getting a cut from the movie or was he just "ordered" to eject from the plane by vicious commanders intent on getting their grubby hands on cash? Or was it done simply to showcase the "crazy Ivan" mentality and prove Russian pilots are more skilled than American or other pilots?
Am I missing something here? Aircraft designers fuss over flush rivets, meticulously designed curves and joint... yet this thing will do Mach 2 with a giant hole in the fuselage???
I'm not buying it.
I submitted this to Allexperts.com for their opinion:
Volunteer Expert: Mark Janus (Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering)
Hello: Popular Science currently has an article about a SU-35 flying at Mach 2 with an open cockpit,apparently as part of a movie.Is this possible,or is it BS?
I would say it's hype... while being in the wake of an object provides some "protection", at Mach 2 there would be a strong shockwave in front of the vehicle (indeed heating the flow and significantly raising the pressure), and if the flow remains supersonic the open cockpit would result in expansion fans (turning the flow and accelerating the flow) off the windshield which would attempt turn the flow into the cockpit region... also, the pilot indicating he stuck his fingers in the flow and they were warm sounds totally absurd the skin friction (shearing force) would probably be sufficient to rip a glove off a hand if not the hand off the arm... There has been some simulation of a high speed ejection that I have seen and that is pretty wild (but that was a computer simulation of what would actually happen)... and it wasn't Mach 2...
Just my 2 cents....
Yeah, until I see unedited video with corroborating evidence of it flying at Mach 2+ or whatever, then I'd believe the story. Otherwise, if a tree falls in the woods and no one's there to hear it...did it really happen? Or however that saying goes.
Sounds like a stunt you'd see in Top Gun part 2 or something. Not very realistic, but cool on the big screen.
"If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"
i believe thats the phrase, just for reference.
Big stinking deal!
It's a movie. It isn't necessary to actually go Mach 2 to make the audience believe it is going Mach 2 -- unless it's flying a hundred feet off the ground. Assuming the camera gear survives the shockwave, that *would* be something to watch! (In IMAX!)
Even when ejecting from a jet going super-sonic speeds, the ejector has the same relative speed of the jet; at least initially. So, there isn't necessarily anything visually spectacular about ejecting at super-sonic speeds. (Just look at the photo.) That is, if he or she actually ejected at super-sonic speed. It's a movie!
This *is* a stunt -- but more of a publicity stunt than a movie stunt and Dan Smith has completely fallen for it. Like he said: "Whatever movie this ends up being part of, I’d buy my ticket now if I could."
Well, I need a hell of a lot more than that to persuade me to spend $10 for a movie.
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Regarding supersonic ejection, see: \www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story.jsp?id=news/GLOCK080309.xml&headline=F-22%20Fatal%20Crash%20Blamed%20On%20High-g%20Effects&channel=defense
"F-22 Fatal Crash Blamed On High-g Effects"
Relatively incapacitated, the pilot did not begin the recovery immediately on completing the third test. The F-22 rapidly lost altitude as the dive angle steepened. At 14,800 feet, 83 degree nose-low and Mach 1.49, the pilot rolled the aircraft upright, but it was too late.
Lockheed Martin test pilot David Cooley was killed immediately by windblast forces when he ejected from the F-22 at 765 knots (~Mach 1.2) equivalent airspeed, roughly 150 knots above the Aces II ejection seat’s design limits, U.S. Air Force accident investigators say.