The Most Controversial Plane Photo Ever

You may have seen this F-14 photo—which is real. It was taken aboard the USS America in 1989. All the online rumors that "the insane maneuver" got the pilot time in the brig, a suspension, and/or court-martial: Just rumors. In fact, the pilot, Navy Captain Dale "Snort" Snodgrass, was asked to perform the maneuver again the following day, in a demonstration at sea. The resulting photo is shown below.

Snodgrass later co-authored a book, Anytime, Baby!: Hail And Farewell to the Us Navy F-14 Tomcat, in which he explains the maneuver:

“It’s not risky at all with practice… It was my opening pass to a Tomcat tactical demonstration at sea. I started from the starboard rear quarter of the ship, at or slightly below flight deck level. Airspeed was at about 250 knots with the wings swept forward. I selected afterburner at about ½ miles behind and the aircraft accelerated to about 325-330 knots. As I approached the ship, I rolled into an 85 degree angle of bank and did a 2-3 g turn, finishing about 10 – 20 degrees off of the ship’s axis.”

For tons more plane/drone/rocket pix, see the Birdwatching album.

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