An F-15 driver asked me about my 10-23 story where I tucked in behind a Phantom then stayed with him through the first part of a lazy eight. He didn’t think a B-52 could do a lazy eight. Then I told him how we used to WIFF during AR. He said he’d have to see a video or picture to believe it. Can you believe that? He thought I was making it up.
The WIFF was a confidence maneuver designed to separate the men from the supermen until the end of the Cold War.
Some of you have to be old enough to remember the WIFF from Castle. (Heck, some of you are old enough to remember Polesti.) My first time was in mid-1987. Al Doi (remember him?) was my instructor on three of my five sorties, so he’s the one I remember most. I also flew with Smith (the famous dragging brake during takeoff into the overrun Smith) and another guy, I think it might have been Gordo Balanski but my memory is cloudy there.
Anyway the WIFF wasn’t exactly a lazy-8 like in pilot training, we adjusted power during the maneuver. We pulled some power on the downside after the turn to keep the speed from building too much and we pushed it in at the bottom as we came back up. We weren’t looking at the attitude indicator back in the bomber, eyes were on the tanker. But it sure looked pretty much about 90 degrees as we sliced down.
After I was at Castle and assigned to the 330 CFIS–around 1989–they changed the regs and tried to limit the bank to 55 degrees. I remember the initial scoffing at the limit, because the airplane couldn’t slice down until at least 70 degrees. The maneuver became outlawed after SAC was foreclosed-on and we weren’t based with the tankers anymore.
If I remember some more details of the maneuver correctly, the tanker started to roll with about 20 degrees of pitch. But I can’t remember how nose high we wound up. I do know that we stayed within aircraft limitations at the time (now the bank is limited via regulation).
Portable cameras weren’t as common back then. The only picture I have is the one posted–taken from a tanker and used on the going-away plaques at CFIC for years.
Anybody have any better pictures–Andy or Britt or Yak? Anybody got any better stories–Ponch or Doug or Larry? Anybody remember when they first started doing the WIFF–Elwood or DB or Dragon? Anybody know if WIFF stands for something–James or Bob or Moses? Maybe obscene–John or Pat or Ted? Or is it just a variation of wifferdill?