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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Wow cool! Tesla is among the very few cars fast enough to catch up with jet planes as a chase car to guide the planes during landing and take off! Some planes have a very hard visual orientation that it is so hard to land them or take off. The driver of the Tesla is also another pilot familiar with the plane and is guiding the plane's pilot using radio, telling height, speed, alignment, yaw, orientation, flares on the plane to safely take off or land.

https://electrek.co/2017/07/27/tesla-model-s-chaser-car-launch-spy-planes-royal-air-force/
 

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Sounds like a solution in search of a problem.

About as useful as my cat when she "guides" me through the kitchen.
 

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I saw a recent documentary on the history of the U2, I think they have either always, or at least for many years, used a chase car. Although I agree, a way cool use for Tesla, not really "the only car" that can do the job (hmm, and not a fighter, the U2 is for reconnaissance).
 

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I saw a recent documentary on the history of the U2, I think they have either always, or at least for many years, used a chase car. Although I agree, a way cool use for Tesla, not really "the only car" that can do the job (hmm, and not a fighter, the U2 is for reconnaissance).
What does a chase car do?
 

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I have talked to an American U-2 pilot about this procedure, and the way he described it, the cars are used for landing. In the article and pictutres, it looks like they are using the cars for take off as well. He did not mention that part, but it is probably similar. During landing, the pilot has almost no forward view of the runway and it is nearly impossible for him to tell his precise height or estimate when he will touch down. The chase car (often a camaro) drives along the runway behind the landing aircraft. The driver is another U-2 pilot talking on the radio and giving instructions to the flying pilot on height, power, flare and runway alignment. The plane is known as the hardest type to land. I am sure there are youtube videos showing comical landing attempts and the use of the chase cars.

Oh yes, and as previously stated, U-2 is not a fighter, but it is a single-seat military jet aircraft. Used for taking spy pictures from extremely high altitude.
 

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I saw a recent documentary on the history of the U2, I think they have either always, or at least for many years, used a chase car. Although I agree, a way cool use for Tesla, not really "the only car" that can do the job (hmm, and not a fighter, the U2 is for reconnaissance).
For sure it was used for other hard to land jets as well, fighter or not.
 

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Cool. The Tesla Model S with it's 2.9 second 0-60 time is the perfect car for this. The driver/pilot also doesn't have to talk over vehicle noise.
 

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For the U2 program: As of a few years ago they were using recent model Camaros.
 

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I'd like to see them try chasing the Tomcats and Hornets when the fleet is practicing touch-and-gos at Fentress Field...

 

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I hope that these are gifts from Tesla. I would hate to think that the government is buying a Tesla when a Camaro would do.
 

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I'd like to see them try chasing the Tomcats and Hornets when the fleet is practicing touch-and-gos at Fentress Field...
Weren't Tomcats retired a long time ago?

I've seen video of a Formula1 car racing a Hornet down a runway. Yes, kind of silly, but the car wins for quite a long time (jets take time to spool up and get going). Eventually, of course, the jet lifts off and stays low and blows by him.
 

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I'd like to see them try chasing the Tomcats and Hornets when the fleet is practicing touch-and-gos at Fentress Field...
Exactly, even those Navy jets have relatively high speeds at landing, probably as high as around 130-140 knots or 150+ mph (note they actually use angle of attack (AOA) which changes the landing speed with weight and other factors, but that's a detail).

The U2 is almost a glider optimized for high altitude loitering. I think the originals were extended wing span versions of the F-104 starfighter.
 

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Weren't Tomcats retired a long time ago?
The Tomcat was retired from the U.S. Navy's active fleet on 22 September 2006, having been supplanted by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The F-14 remains in service with the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, having been exported to Iran in 1976.

Source: Wikipedia
 

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Weren't Tomcats retired a long time ago?

I've seen video of a Formula1 car racing a Hornet down a runway. Yes, kind of silly, but the car wins for quite a long time (jets take time to spool up and get going). Eventually, of course, the jet lifts off and stays low and blows by him.
I'm showing my age...there were Tomcats doing touch-and-gos when I was in Norfolk...:)
 

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Well, it helps a lot if the car is silent inside the cabin.
I don't think the noise level is important for this use. Aviators have radio communication equipment that works perfectly well inside cockpits that have deafening noise levels. A car would be no problem with a common aviation headset. And even a Tesla would be noisy when it is right next to a jet that is landing or taking off.

But as to cost, several commenters to the original article speculated that the Tesla was only in use for the airshow and probably was not the usual vehicle.
 
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