Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is Stealth and how does it work.
A. Stealth is the technique of making a plane (or any other object) less visible to the enemy by reducing it's radar and IR (infra red, heat) visibility. Reducing the IR image of a plane can be accomplished by directing the hot exhaust gasses to the top of the plane and mix them with cold air (the B-2 uses this technique). Reducing radar visibility can be accomplished by deflecting the radarwaves in such a direction that they don't go back to the emitting radar (F-117 uses faceting, the B-2 uses continues curving) or making use of less radar reflecting materials (composite material, plastic) and/or radar absorbing coatings (e.g. B-2). The active substance in these coatings is mostly carbonyl iron ferrite. Because of this most of the radar absorbing coatings aren't very water-resistant. In this article you can find a more detailed explanation of the stealth features used in the F-117 and B-2. An in depth technical explanation is given in this pdf-file.

The Russian approach towards stealth is also quite interesting. They are developing a system to make a plane invisible to radar by using a sort of a plasma torch on the nose of the plane. The idea behind is, this 'torch' creates a ionized 'cloud' around the plane which will absorb radar waves. But there are many difficulties making it work 'in real life'. Have a look at this article describing some attempts to reduce the head-on radar cross-section (RCS) of a Sukhoi Su-35 fighter.

Q. What are hardpoints, and what is an afterburner?.
A. Hardpoints are pylons under the planes wing (or body) where external ordnance (rockets, bombs, fuel tanks) can be carried. An afterburner is used to give a jet extra thrust. A modern jet turbine engine is so efficient there will still be a lot of oxygen available in the exhaust stream. The idea behind an afterburner is to inject fuel directly into the exhaust stream and burn it using this remaining oxygen. This heats expands the exhaust gases further, and can increase the thrust of a jet engine by 50% or more.

Q. Can I search the site?
A. Yes, see the Search engine :)

Q. How is the plane called that can take off and land vertically?
A. That's the Harrier "jump jet".

Q. What do the letters in (US) plane designations stand for?
A. The letter describes the function of the aircraft;
A for attack (as in A-10)
B for bomber (as in B-52)
C for Cargo (as in C-130)
E for special Electronic installation (as in EF-111)
F for fighter (as in F-16)
K for Kerosene tanker (as in KC-135)
P for Patrol/Persuit (as in P-51), later replaced by the 'F-series'
R for Reconnaissance (as in SR-71; Strategic Reconnaissance)
T for Trainer (as in T-6)
U for utility (as in U-2)
Y for prototype (as in YF-23)
X for Research (as in X-15)

Q. What is the FASTEST plane?.
A. The fastest plane on the site is the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane, the fastest 'real Fighter' on the site is the MiG-25 Foxbat. The fastest manned 'plane' ever flown was the rocket powered X-15, which reached Mach 6.7.

Q. What is the BEST plane?
A. I really don't know, depends what you want to do with it... I personally think the best US plane is the F-22 Raptor, best European plane the EuroFighter Typhoon, best Russian plane the Sukhoi SU-37 Terminator. In a close dogfight however, I think the Sukhoi SU-37 is close to unbeatable. The F22 has the best BVR capabilities, the EuroFighter a good combination of both, plus the best air to ground capabilities of the three.

Q. Why is there only one picture for every plane?
A. There is a very simple reason for that; when I started this site I didn't have the disk space for it, also would the traffic being generated be to much... But as you probably noticed I moved to a new server and diskspace isn't an issue anymore, so possibly I will expand my site later on with multiple pictures per plane. I'm still thinking how I can use multiple pictures per plane without destroying the current site layout. Any suggestions?.

Q. Where are the Helicopters, X-planes, Bombers?.
A. There are no helicopters because the site is called 'Fighter Planes'. There are however some bombers and and experimental planes on this site (B-2, F-117, Vulcan, X-15, etc). A better name for the current site is 'Fighter Planes & Military Aircraft'. At the moment I'm thinking of starting a separate helicopter and/or X-planes site. But I still need to do a LOT of research...

Q. Can you send me a notification when your site is updated?.
A. No, I stopped with this service. To receive the update notification you could fill out the FeedBack form but many people where putting fake/wrong email addresses in. Just visit once in a while to check if the site is updated.

Q. Can I link to your site?.
A. Yes. Please do!.

Q. Can you put my link on your Weblinks page?.
A. Only if it's related to Fighter Planes, has some good content, and isn't (too) commercial. Just send me the URL/site title and I will review it before putting it online.

Q. What's the best way to look at this site?.
A. The screens are designed for a high resolution (1024 x 768) and hicolor (at least 64K) mode. The site should look fine in any browser e.g. Mozilla FireFox, Opera (version 5) and even Internet Explorer (version 4 and up),

Q. What software did you use for your site?.
A. I use TextPad, or sometimes a very simple HTML editor, called HTMLed. I prefer such a simple 'non wysiwyg' editor because you have control over the complete designing process. For editing / scaling pictures I use Paint Shop Pro and the great Adobe Photoshop. If everything is finished I use WS-FTP to upload the site to the server(s). The fighter planes logo on top of this site is made by Graham Ward. He's specialized in animated gifs and aircraft graphics, he even offers to make them for free if he likes the subject of the banner. Contact him if you are looking for something fancy.

Q. How do I save pictures and/or info files to my harddisk?
A. To save an image just right mouse click on it, and select 'Save image as'. To save a textfile, left mouse click on the frame you want to save, then select 'File', 'Save frame as'.

Q. Are the pictures on this site copyrighted?
A. Some are copyrighted others are (as far as I know) public domain. To see if a picture is copyrighted look at the info file of a particular plane if it mentions a name beside the thumbnail it's a copyrighted one (for example the EuroFighter).

Q. Can you tell me what the requirements are to get in the US air force?.
A. Believe it or not, many (young) people do ask me this question. I don't have a clue what the requirements are, but you could have a look at the Air Force Academy Admissions or the U.S. Airforce site.

Q. Do you have any info on [insert aviation topic here]?.
A. I know a lot about (fighter) planes, but I don't have a huge research library at my fingertips. Most people ask me questions without even making a modest effort to get the information themselves by using a Search engine. Use them! That's what I do! Sure, it's time-consuming. But why should I do your research for you?. If you took some effort to find the information you are looking for and still didn't find it THEN write me a line... And PLEASE, don't ask me questions that require very involved answers (like "Can you send me some information about the technological and design changes in spy planes since 1950"?). Please write your own term papers...

If you have very specific question you can always post your question on the Fighter Planes Forum.

Q. Who are you, and why did you start this site?
A. I'm a 33 year old aviation fanatic, living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, near the 'Welschap' air base. Maybe you know this airbase from the C-130 Hercules crash in 1996. I earn a living as a Software Engineer, currently I'm working as a software integrator with ASM Lithography. The fighter planes obsession started in the army were I was part of an Air Defence Unit (1994/1995). We had to recognize dozens of plane silhouettes, learn to fire Stinger missiles, operate a Flycatcher radar unit etc.

Since the first version of the site in march 1996 it had more than 7.5 million visitors from over 215 countries. Nowadays www.fighter-planes.com is visited by about 2500 people a day. Absolute peaks were 28 July 2002 (SU-27 airshow crash in the Ukraine) with 24315 visitors and the first day of the War on Iraq (20 March 2003) with 9413 unique visitors.

Q. Do you have mirror sites?.
A. Yes, I (did) have several, but these mirrors will not be updated anymore as of october 2006!. I recently started a new site about lossless data compression software called, Maximum Compression. Please pay it a visit :)


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