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Old Viper Tester

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About Old Viper Tester

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    Dayton OH USA
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    Military flight test, R&D, and prototype aircraft.

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  1. AFFTC C-17 T-1 at Edwards AFB

    Some detail shots of C-17 T-1 s/n 87-0025, at Edwards AFB in 1991, "T" indicating test... In the proposed Euro One camo of the early '80s... Flight test nose probe... Main gear sponson showing the positions of the opened gear doors... Main gear flight test instrumentation wiring (orange) Tufting was a plied to visualize the airflow under the wing root. Here it looks like the tufts have been removed, but the tape to hold the individual tufts remains\ Vertical tail with static pressure cone hanging from the top. Explosives warning triangle on the tail cone for when the departure recovery chute is installed. and the reel in the cabin for extending and retracting the static cone. This is just ahead of the cargo ramp blocking the right paratroop door. Flap actuator fairings. The red and black are adhesive residue from transducers and associated wiring that were attached for measuring air pressure. Winglet with photo tracking marks for flutter testing Left paratroop door and retracted spoiler, flap deflection reference marks Crew entry door and original C-17 logo. Note the explosives warning triangle below the data block. The explosives warning is for the "ESCAPE SLIDE & DOOR". Yes, there was/is a slide behind the pilot and co-pilot seats so that the crew could bail out in a hurry. I assume that they would be wearing parachutes during hazardous testing, having to stand up and don the chutes before bailout would defeat the purpose of the slides. I also guess that whoever thought up this arrangement assumed that any emergency would only involve positive Gs, other wise the slides would be useless. I'll post pictures of what she looked like when she arrived at the Air Force Museum in 2012 anon. Thanks for looking, Sven
  2. SLCM Chase

    Don't know that any aftermarket decals are available. In 1/72 scale, this kit gets you the closest, but it is essentially an F-4E rather than an RF-4C: All of the basic markings for any Edwards Albino Rhino are provided. The box top photo doesn't show them but the kit decal sheet provides the "ED" tail codes. They even have the red conspicuity panels. They don't provide the AF Systems Command shield, and since it's an F-4E kit, it doesn't have the warning triangles for the photoflash doors on the RF-4C aft fuselage. You'd still have to cobble up the serial numbers. Maybe a bit much if your not a Phantom Phanatic. Cheers, Sven
  3. SLCM Chase

    Well, it was supposed to be a SLCM chase mission in 1992... that's a Submarine Launched Cruise Missile. We were going to chase a Tomahawk missile from an underwater launch position off the coast of California and chase it to impact on the Utah Test and Training Range. We were providing two NRF-4C chase aircraft and a "business effort" tanker to chase the Navy missile. The business effort tankers were temporarily at Edwards AFB for a week at a time to supplement the test center tanker. On our way to the coast... When we got to the designated launch position, we orbited waiting for a countdown from the Pacific Missile Test Range controller. Waiting... waiting... then we were notified that there was a delay and asked if we could hang around. We called the tanker in and began refueling... The tanker was from the 185th Aerial Refueling Squadron of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. On the boom and "in the green"... '384 got a pressure disconnect trying to get as much fuel as he could... Normally, the boom operator in the tanker would initiate the disconnect and stop the flow of fuel at the same time that the boom disconnected. That would result in just a little bit of fuel going into the air. With a pressure disconnect, the system detects an increase in fuel system pressure, indicating the receiving aircraft is full or that there is some kind of problem. The boom disconnects automatically, but there is still some excess fuel at the receiver, resulting in a spray of fuel as shown here. (How do I model that?) In any event, the delay evolved into an aborted launch, so we headed home... (Guess I should have flipped the image so that it looked like we were heading east.) For USAF cruise missiles, we would normally have used the NF-4Es (ex-Thunderbirds). Those jets had missile flight termination equipment in case something went wrong with the missile flight profile. For the Navy missiles we only provided safety chase, presumable to watch for aerial traffic (which should have been cleared) and mark the position if it crashed en route to the range, so any pair of F-4s would do to provide observers and be able to take turns air refueling to cover the length of the flight profile. Thanks for looking, Sven
  4. Northrop's AX Contender, the YA-9

    As I noted in the Icing a Hog posting, when the A-10 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB was shut down, we were told to do what we wanted with what remained after the engineering and history offices had retrieved what they wanted. I had found a number of slides in the back of a desk drawer. Here are more of those slides, cleaned up as best I could. This is one of the Northrop YA-9 aircraft, s/n 71-1368, used in the fly-off competition with the Fairchild A-10. The YA-9 lost the "Attack - Experimental" (AX) competition and both airframes eventually ended up on display. '368 is on display at March AFB. Its sister ship, '367 was on display at Castle AFB and has since been moved back to Edwards AFB as part of the Flight Test Museum. Left console and throttles Right console The YA-9 has been the subject of two 1/72nd scale models: a vacuform from Maintrack Models Project-X series and a resin kit from Anigrand. The only 1/48 kit I am aware of is a card model. I have the Maintrack kit in my stash (somewhere), maybe I'll get to it one day. Thanks for looking, Sven, still cleaning retrieved A-10 slides!
  5. F-4C USAF s/n 64-0727

    This was one of my favorite Phantoms at Edwards AFB. '727 was one of the most reliable Phantoms in the 6510th Test Wing Fleet. Operated by the 6512th Test Squadron as a test support bird, she rarely cancelled a mission for maintenance (CNX MX - I don't think she ever cancelled when I was scheduled to crew her), and usually came back Code 1. Not bad for a 15 to 25 year old jet. This is a USAF photo showing her chasing the YC-15 in 1976. She wears light gull grey top sides and white undersides. Unlike the US Navy scheme, her control surface uppers are grey. Note the US Bicentennial 'pretzel' logo on the vertical tail and the external tanks in SEA camo. The McDonnell-Douglas YC-15 was an Advanced Manned Short Take-Off Technology (AMST) prototype being evaluated at Edwards along with the Boeing YC-14. The YC-15 is fitted with a flight test nose boom and is trailing a static cone from the top of the vertical tail. The static cone is a way to more accurately measure the static pressure in the area of the aircraft - the theory being that large aircraft create such a large pressure disturbance around the aircraft such that it is impractical to make a nose boom long enough to get out in front of the aircraft pressure envelope. The cone is normally deployed about 150 to 200 ft behind the aircraft. Quite a family resemblance with its younger cousin, the C-17. Enough about the YC-15... This is '727 when I first met her in 1981. The pretzel is gone and the radome is now Air Defense Command Gray, as is the rest of the airframe. National insignia are smaller and the serial presentation on the tail has gone tactical. 1984, and I got to chase her on a training mission. Wrap-around camo, some paint touch up on the underside, and the ejection seat warning triangles sun-bleached to a distinctly pink color. One wing pylon in original SEA camo, the other in wrap-around. Aircraft serial number on the canopy frames. One of my favourite shots. Had a large framed version displayed in every one of my offices until 2016 In the shadow of our F-4 over the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range. 1989. Painted in the test support scheme that was phased in between 1986 and 1988. What we referred to as the "Albino Rhinos" and part of the "Bozo Fleet". That's the Air Force Flight Test Center shield on the intake, the Air Force Systems Command shield on the vertical tail, and the full serial number on the front nose gear door below the landing/taxi lights. Thats the serial on the forward frames of the canopies as well. In 1990, she was retired to the Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration Center, AMARC (now AMARG), more familiarly known as "The Boneyard" (they hate it when you call it that). She was eventually sold for scrap and broken up (big sigh). Thanks for looking Sven
  6. Visit to the USAF side of Carswell AFB during trip to General Dynamics. the 457th had just transitioned from F-4E Phantoms to the Viper. They also traded their "TH" tail code for "TF". Depending who you talked to, TF stood for Tarrant Field, the original name of the airfield, or Texas Falcons... 85-1420 84-1272 84-1268 84-1248 84-1245 84-1235 84-1227 84-1226 84-1216 84-1215 83-1158 83-1157 83-1153 83-1147 Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. Test Pilot School de Havillands

    So much for my proofreading...
  8. Test Pilot School de Havillands

    '781's records showed that it was delivered to the USAF in 1954. Mostly had a lot tours as a station hack. According to the maintenance guys, it was excessed and sold to a private owner in the late '60s but was bought back specifically for the USAF TPS by 1979, which explains the civilian paint scheme. The aircraft was put up for sale again in 2004 and is now registered to a private owner again. As for the Twin Otter, its mission was taken over by a C-12 and the aircraft excessed in late 1993. I think it went to another US government agency. Sven
  9. Test Pilot School de Havillands

    During the 1980s, the USAF Test Pilot School operated two DHC aircraft. The first was an NU-6A Beaver, USAF s/n 53-2781. This bird was used to familiarize TPS students with the peculiarities of a tail-wheel aircraft and to demonstrate the effects of propeller torque. The other de Havilland was the UV-18B Twin Otter. This aircraft was acquired in early 1982 and was used to demonstrate single-engine operation and test techniques for a twin-engine aircraft. Here is ‘781 as it looked in 1981. A ‘civil’ paint scheme and registration, N384M. The only hint that this is a USAF aircraft is the Air Force Flight Test Center 6510th Test Wing tail band and a very small USAF serial beneath the tail band. It wore this scheme until at least 1985. By 1988, the Beaver acquired the white and red scheme that had become standard for the 6510TW test support fleet The Twin Otter was unusual in that it operated in a civil guise until 1987, displaying the civil registration N300LJ. The only visual indicator that it was USAF was the Test Pilot School emblem on the vertical tail. Interestingly, a bogus USAF serial number was used for administrative purposes, 74-0437 being used on its USAF fuel card. This same serial number appears in my flight records for a couple of hops in the Spring of 1982. When a USAF serial number was issued for the airframe, 87-0802, national insignia were added in the prescribed manner, along with standard unit markings of the USAF Systems Command shield on the tail along with the abbreviated serial number, tail code and tail band. The 6510TW shield is on the outer portion of the engine nacelles and the U.S. Air Force legend was added to the nose. The US Naval Test Pilot School also operated a Beaver as BuNo 150191, shown here in 1982 And an Otter, BuNo 144670, shown undergoing maintenance when my TPS class visited Pax River in 1982. Thanks for looking, Sven
  10. Sacramento Talon

    Nachtwulf - Yes, I've seen the Wolfpack kit, but it's just not my scale. I don't remember all the problems with the Sword kit, and admittedly all the problems are minor but I just wasn't up to playing with them 12(?) years ago. That was well before I retired from being an F-15 test manager and had an additional duty as the F-15E Flight Manual Manager. The flight manual stuff was giving me grief as we were adding new stores and stores combinations to the Mud Hen in response to feedback and new operational needs for Operation Enduring Freedom. A lot of hours and headaches back then and just never got back to the Talons. Here's what I remember: - No exhaust shroud - incorrect nose gear (F-5?) - Something not right about the main wheels. - All four that I started (way too optimistic) could not get a good fit between the resin lower fuselage and the plastic fuselage parts. My rationale for starting four was I wanted to build the Sacramento bird, an Edwards Test Pilot School bird, and a Holloman (46TG) Roadrunners bird. The fourth was undecided between a support jet for either: Beale AFB SR-71, Palmdale logistics jet (also SR-71), or an Eglin 3246 Test Wing bird. Sven
  11. Space Shuttle Landing Simulators

    Stand corrected. Guess I was thinking of the first space launch. Sven
  12. Space Shuttle Landing Simulators

    Hi David, At first your comment surprised me - didn't think they had been doing these ops that long before the Enterprise free flight. But then, why not? They knew what the design looked like in 1976 and they certainly needed to figure out the approach profiles for Kennedy, White Sands, and Edwards at some point. Better sooner than latter. Thanks, Sven
  13. Icing a Hog

    As noted, I wasn't a participant for these. Just happened to find the photos. Been there... reading just requires too much effort sometimes . When these tests were being done at Edwards, I was a technical intelligence analyst at Wright-Patterson. In mid-1980, I was stationed at Nellis AFB as an operational test manager for F-4s and F-15s. Made the move to Edwards in 1981.
  14. Icing a Hog

    Yep, that's the idea. That's one good thing about flight testing over the Mojave Desert, even in winter the temperature at lower levels is rarely above freezing. So yeah, just descend, using the seeing-eye chase aircraft if necessary, and the ice melts away pretty quickly. It does get cold there though, Edwards AFB field elevation is about 2300 ft MSL. I've got a picture somewhere of a 5-ft snowman my boys and I had made one day at Edwards, but by afternoon it was gone. And that was the only snow in our first four years there! Sven
  15. Icing a Hog

    A disclaimer: this set is from my collection but are official Air Force Flight Test Center photos. The AFFTC reference numbers are on the images. When I moved from the F-16XL Combined Test Force (CTF) in 1984 to the 6512th Test Squadron (Test Ops), there were two clean-outs taking place. The A-10 CTF was closing, in part to make room for the Advanced Tactical Fighter CTF, the YF-22/YF-23 competition, and because A-10 development flight test was pretty much coming to an end. A quarter mile away, Test Ops was making room to accept the two remaining A-10 test programs that had to be completed before the last of the Hogs were traded to Eglin in exchange for a couple of A-7Ds. The Hog trade was a logistic consideration to consolidate A-10 test operations at Eglin with the 3246th Test Wing, while consolidating A-7D test support operations at Edwards with the 6510TW. A-7D testing was rarely required at this point in the SLUFF's life cycle, but the SLUFF was still a valued support aircraft and part of the USAF Test Pilot School curriculum as a systems bird and spin instruction airframe. At the A-10 building, we were told to throw out anything that we didn't want - apparently the engineers and history office had already picked over the vacating offices. I found these pictures in the back of a desk drawer. At Test Ops, in closing a door that had apparently been propped open for 25 years, on the back of the door was a map showing all the X-15 emergency landing sites from Utah down to Southern California, with appropriate notes. I don't know what I was doing that was so important, but I made a mental note to come back to save the map for myself. When I got back about 30 minutes later it was GONE! Of course no one knew what I was on about when I asked where the map went - "Map? What map?" Pulling of hair, rending of flight suit - you get the idea... Anyway, the pics. One from 1979, the rest from 1980. Icing tests of what I am quite sure is Full-Scale Development (FSD) jet, s/n 73-1667. This is the 1979 picture. Note the camera mounted on the right wing tip. I think it is focused on the right engine intake. The orange outline of the access panel aft of the cockpit indicates special test instrumentation is located there. There is also a non-standard outlet mounted proud of the panel. Several ice measuring probes are visible on the aircraft nose, the landing gear sponson, the wing leading edge, and at the front of the Pave Penny shape. As usual, the water from the icing tanker has yellow dye for in-flight visualization. Into 1980... Wing-tip camera removed. With A-37B chase, showing the typical icing test set-up. Approaching the icing rig at the end of the tanker boom. Some ice build-up Probably near the limit for ice on the wing leading edge. The little orange rectangles are the attachment points for the ice probes. Often published October 1975 photo of three FSD jets with the two YA-10 prototypes at the back. That's '667 up front. Behind her is '666, later to become one of my test jets for Nitramine ammunition trials and terrain avoidance system tests. The next, with the "1" on the tail is '664, eventually modified to the two-seat Night/Adverse Weather configuration. then 71-1370 and 71-1369. Thanks for looking, Sven