The XF-84H ‘Thunderscreech’ Made Ground Crews Vomit-Pretty Wild Stories
USAF - USAF Museum
No Thank You.
Republic’s XF-84H was an experimental propeller driven plane derived from the F084F Thunderstreak. Powered by a 5,850 hp turbine engine, it made the props spin so fast (supersonically actually) and cause so many problems that it ultimately contributed to the program being canceled.
Because the prop was connected to such a powerful engine, the blades were spinning at supersonic speeds creating a visible shockwave around them. Now here are some stories from crews and pilots that had to work with this thing.
The nicknames given to this plane as a result of its sound were “Thunderscreech” and the “Mighty Ear Banger.”
The sonic boom that was continuously going around the propeller was powerful enough to knock down any person that was near it. Even when the engine was on idle. There’s also a story of a crew chief in a nearby plane that was incapacitated for 30 minutes as the XF-84H was taxing around during testing.
Other stories include ground crews getting nauseous and as you can imagine, getting headaches. One engineer even got a seizure because he got too close to that prop.
To give you a taste of what this plane is about, we found two clips. One is a general rundown of the plane and the other a soundbite of what it sounded like. The problem is that you can’t actually feel what it was like, but that’s probably a good thing.