By Tommy H. Thomason
Monday, February 2, 2009
All the prior stuff about RATs was foreshadowing and vamping while I tried (and failed) to find a better copy of this McDonnell XF4H picture, which is a scan from a tattered Aviation Week cover. Although the long-lost cover caption may have identified what those open doors were for on the leading edge of the wing, it was a mystery to me until I recently read a Vought competitive systems analysis of the F8U-3 and the F4H and discovered that the latter originally had two RATs, one in each wing as shown. When the leading edge slats had to be extended inboard for slower landing speeds, this arrangement was no longer viable. The F4H RAT that I was familiar with as a McDonnell flight test engineer extended from the left side of the upper mid fuselage.