2nd May 2018: Made famous thanks to its starring role alongside fighter pilots ‘Maverick’ and ‘Goose’ in the 1986 Hollywood blockbuster Top Gun, the mighty Grumman F-14 Tomcat has long carried cult status and adoration among those who flew it, wanted to fly it or kept it flying.
This month, publisher Haynes pays homage to this big, bold and brash Cold War era aircraft by releasing the Grumman F-14 Tomcat Owners’ Workshop Manual. More than a decade after its retirement from US Navy fleet service, the manual offers readers a fitting tribute by providing a rare insight into flying, fighting and fixing this mighty aircraft.
Supported by more than 300 photographs, author Tony Holmes not only describes in detail both operating and maintaining the Tomcat, but also provides a concise history of the jet’s service in Operation Desert Storm (Kuwait, 1991), Deliberate Force (Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1995), and Allied Force (Bosnia and Kosovo, 1999). In 2001, F-14s led some of the first strikes into Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom), and in Iraq in 2003 (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Its service with the Imperial Iranian Air Force/Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force is also described.
Talking about the ‘Big Fighter’, as it was known to those who either flew or maintained it, Tony commented: “The US Navy’s ultimate fleet fighter epitomised what Naval Aviation was all about throughout the jet’s three decades of service with its primary operator. Although acquired as a single-mission interceptor, the Tomcat had evolved into a multi-role precision strike bomber by the time it was retired by the fleet in 2006.
“As impressive as the Tomcat was in its natural environment flying from a carrier, the aircraft relied on highly trained Naval Aviators and Radar Intercept Officers to get the best out of Grumman’s final fighter when performing its many operational roles. They were in turn supported by a veritable army of maintainers who were required to keep the F-14 operational in often the harshest of working environments.
“Its demise, more than a decade ago, is therefore still very much lamented by those who flew it, as well as those like myself who idolised the aircraft. It is therefore fitting to now share with readers a rare insight into what exactly went into the operation and maintenance of the US Navy’s legendary variable-geometry carrier-based air superiority fighter.”
The manual also shares just some of the fascinating experiences of those who truly were the ‘owners’ of the F-14 during its front-line services, including both air- and groundcrew.
About the author
Tony Holmes is a publishing professional and author with a specialist interest in aviation. He established Osprey Publishing’s critically acclaimed ‘Aircraft of the Aces’ series. Tony is widely published in the book and magazines worlds. He lives in Kent.
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