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Found 14 results

  1. 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!
  2. 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
  3. Chasing a Falcon

    The 6512th Test Squadron, aka "Test Ops", at Edwards AFB was responsible for providing test support to the major test teams under the 6510th Test Wing. While a test team like the F-16 Combined Test Force 'owned' their own test pilots and test aircraft, Test Ops provided support aircraft and crews as required. In the 1980s, Test Ops aircraft were primarily A-7Ds, A-37Bs, NKC-135s (often on detachment from the 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson), various models of the F-4, and T-38s. Test Ops also performed what was referred to as 'Cats 'n' Dogs' testing. Usually small test programs that didn't warrant creating a large, dedicated test force. The HU-25B was one of these test programs, sponsored by the US Coast Guard. The original HU-25 flight testing was performed by Dassault, certification for the USCG relying heavily on the FAA certification of the Falcon 20 biz jet, from which the HU-25 was derived. Addition of mission pods is not normally covered by the FAA, so when the HU-25B was proposed, a separate test program was required to cover the effects of carrying Side-Looking Airborne Radar and other sensor pods under the wings and fuselage was required. The program was assigned to Test Ops in 1983. The aircraft provided (2118) was fitted with special instrumentation to collect data for aircraft performance, flying qualities, and structural loads. I got to participate as a safety chase observer for one of their missions in May 1983... 2118 with a Yaw and Pitch sensor nose boom installed. The silver strips at the base of the vertical tail are strain gauges covered with silver "speed tape". That big pod mounted under the forward fuselage decreases the lateral stability of the aircraft, thus the vertical tail might work harder to keep the aircraft on its intended path. The nose legend reads "EDWARDS" beneath the aircraft number. The left side view show additional speed tape covering the wiring and sensors to measure rudder hinge loads. They also did an icing test for the pods at some point... That's NKC-135A, s/n 55-3128, the long serving icing tanker. '128 belonged to the 4950th Test Wing, which is why it carried the Aeronautical System Division (ASD) blue tail band outlined in yellow. The aircraft could still serve as a refueler, but it had its plumbing modified so that a fuselage fuel tank could be isolated and filled with water. A control station was installed to vary pump speed/droplet size. A spray ring is installed at the end of the refueling boom - installation similar to fitting a refueling drogue. The water contained dye for better visualization of ice build-up, hence the yellow ice adhering to the sensor pods. As for 2118, when the test program was over, the flight test instrumentation was removed and the aircraft eventually found its way to the Sacramento USCG station. It's since been retired and is now in the Aerospace Museum of California. Thanks for looking, Sven
  4. YA-7F

    I see that TheRealMrEd is working on a "Super SLUF" over in the WIP section: Maybe the pics below will provide some additional information/inspiration. The YA-7F was an attempt to create a faster close air support platform to supplement or replace the A-10. The old TF41 turbofan was replaced with a P&W F100 engine, the fuselage lengthened, the vertical tail enlarged, a leading edge root extension (LERX) added, and the horizontal tails "flipped" to create anhedral vs the original A-7's dihedral. In the end, the proposal was rejected in favor of using F-16s for fast response and soldiering on with the A-10 for heavy lifting and loitering. Here is USAF s/n 71-0344 showing the un-shrouded F100 exhaust. Note the orange wiring and strain gauges along the nozzle fairings at the 12,3,6,and 9 positions. The orange wiring and components in the avionics bays are also test instrumentation. Nose on showing the horizontal tail anhedral. '039 and '344 with shrouded exhaust. USAF s/n 70-1039 used for high-AOA testing with spin recovery chute assembly surrounding the engine exhaust. Spin chute load distribution straps running the length of the aft fuselage. Spin chute attachment assembly at the top of the exhaust shroud. The cable connecting the the chute running around the left side and into the compartment below the shroud housing the spin chute itself. Thanks for looking, Sven
  5. Tigers in the Sky

    Just a few images of Northrop flight test operations at Edwards AFB in the 1980s... F-5E, USAF s/n 71-1418, seen in 1983 with YAPS test nose boom fitted: Test missions without the nose boom in 1984: RF-5E, s/n 71-1420 I know its fuzzy, but it shows the placement of the camera aperture covers. Tiger motif on the vertical tail... Was it Airfix that did an RF-5E in 1/72? RF-5E, s/n 80-0334, in Malaysian markings. Ready to take Runway 22... RF-5E, s/n 84-0199, with refueling probe and Saudi markings: F-5E, s/n 72-0891. Okay, this one as shown is no longer a Northrop test bird, but it retains the double tiger tail markings and F-5 operators flag panel beneath the windscreen from its test days with Northrop. Here, it is with the 425th Tactical Fighter Training Squadron, 405th Tactical Training Wing stationed at Williams AFB Arizona. Thanks for looking, Sven
  6. NF-15B STOL-MTD Eagle

    Just noticed that Sprue Brothers have the Hasegawa 1/72 NF-15B ACTIVE/IFC in stock. The Box photo shows it in NASA markings. When the aircraft first showed up at Edwards AFB it was as the Short TakeOff and Landing - Maneuvering Technology Demonstrator (STOL-MTD). I assume the Hasegawa kit has the stock cylindrical engine exhaust nozzles and some F-18 horizontal tails for the canards. Probably a lot of work to back date it to the STOL-MTD, but I'd like to try it some time. Here are some images of the aircraft arrival at Edwards in June 1989 - original configuration with two-dimensional vectoring exhaust nozzles and YAPS nose boom... Couldn't swing my camera fast enough! Note the canard actuator fairings on top of the intakes. At the Edwards open house four months later... 2-D nozzles replaced with circular nozzles and the YAPS boom is gone. Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. Edwards ALCM Chase Phantoms

    The rest of the story here: Thanks for looking. Sven
  8. 6510 Test Wing ALCM Chase Mission

    I wasn't sure whether to put this topic here or in the photography forum where I usually post. This one has a lot more words than images, so thought it should go here. Between 1977 and 1987, flight test of the AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) was accomplished for full-scale development of the missile and subsequent upgrades. Many test launches took place in the Western Test Range off the California coast, the missile threading its way between population centers to impact on one of the land test ranges in the western United States. A typical mission would have the missile follow a pre-programmed mission profile, going “feet wet” near Vandenberg AFB, through the Sierra Nevada mountains into the Edwards /China Lake operating airspace, then north to targets in the Utah Test and Training Range near Hill AFB. Safety chase aircraft were required to accompany the ALCM along its flight path to ensure the missile didn’t deviate from its programmed profile or to ‘mark the spot’ if the missile crashed at some point during the mission. The safety chase mission was assigned to a dedicated group of aircraft under the 6510 Test Wing under the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB. The aircraft were flown by the 6512 Test Squadron (Test Ops). Between four to six aircraft were required, depending on the mission profile, plus a spare, and a tanker. The aircraft selected were F-4Es and comprised what was often referred to as the ALCM Chase Flight. Normally, finding such a group of similarly configured aircraft on the Edwards ramp would be difficult, but the 6510TW had inherited the F-4s previously operated by the USAF Aerial Demonstration Squadron, AKA the Thunderbirds. These F-4Es were relinquished by the team in the wake of the 1973 ‘oil crisis’ in favor of the T-38A. The aircrafts had no radar fitted, the original short cannon muzzle fairing was retained with the aperture faired over, the rear most fuselage fuel tank (tank 7) was isolated to carry smoke oil, and several other modifications that made them less than desirable for operational Phantom units. The only modification needed for the ALCM mission was a missile destruct radio control unit in the rear cockpit to be activated if the missile deviated from the planned flight path towards, say, a population center or a condor preserve. These aircraft were USAF serial numbers: 66-0286 66-0289 Note: in 1984/85, ‘289 carried a deer kill on the left splitter plate in light grey. 66-0291 66-0294 66-0315 66-0319 66-0329 – Note this jet had a production “long” cannon muzzle fairing during this time. 66-0377 An ALCM chase mission basically consisted of two aircraft at the launch point. They would watch the ALCM separate and launch from a B-52, then proceed to chase the ALCM to monitor the flight path and watch for any anomalies. In the meantime, up ahead, at altitude, would be the KC-135 tanker with additional chase jets in tow. These F-4s in the tanker formation would take fuel as necessary to stay ’topped up’ ready to replace the chase birds when low on fuel (“Joker”). This is what the relief birds would look for: Hence the white upper wings – easier to spot than a full camo jet or the missile itself against the terrain. The relieved jets would climb and join the tanker formation for aerial refueling. The procedure would continue until the ALCM reached the target area or its flight was terminated. Markings Already mentioned the white upper wings. The white on the wings wrapped around the leading edge and wing tips. Before 1979, these jets wore standard SEA camo with the light grey undersides. The blue tail band with the white borders and X’s was indicative of the 6510 TW. The national markings were in full color. No tail codes. Between 1979 and 1981, the aircraft received the wrap-around camo treatment and all but ‘377 carried segmented/stenciled national insignia. ‘377 retained the full color star and bar. Some aircraft had black canopy rails yet few carried crew or maintainer’s names. The “ED” tail codes were applied in late 1982. In 1984, someone had the idea to name the jets after Snow White and Seven Dwarfs. Unfortunately, they started with “DOPEY” on ‘291. The name was in black two-inch block letters on either side of the nose cannon fairing. Before any other names could be applied, the wing CO went out to fly ‘291. When he saw the name that was the end of that. I mentioned the deer kill on ‘289. On a deployment to Eglin AFB the jet hit a deer on the runway when landing. The deer was taken down the left side going between the main gear and the external tank…. lost the gear door and killed the fuel tank. The deer didn’t survive either. When we went to pick up the jet (on the way back from the Piper Enforcer visit) the Eglin maintainers had painted the silver deer “kill” on the left intake splitter and the name “DEER SLAYER” in 2-in black block letters on the cannon fairing. When the dedicated ALCM chase mission went away, so did the camouflage. I left Edwards for a posting in London in 1985, by the time I returned to Edwards in 1988, all of the F-4s had gone “albino” – overall white with red conspicuity markings on the wingtips and tail surfaces. They had also been formally redesignated as NF-4Es. And ‘329 got its short muzzle fairing back… Your humble scribe with the DEER SLAYER - “Hero” portrait for the squadron photo album – many years (and pounds) ago. Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. Weathering of a SLUFF

    YA-7D, USAF s/n 69-6195, recently transferred from the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin AFB FL to the 6510th Test Wing at Edwards AFB CA. At the time, the 3246th belonged to the Air Force Armament Division at Eglin, the 6510th belonged to the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards. That’s the Armament Division shield on the forward fuselage. The Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) shield is on the other side. Surprised that the paint shop replaced the Armament Division tail band (white with red diamonds) with the AFFTC band (blue with white Xs), but didn't remove the shield at the same time. Note the US Navy style air refueling probe aft of the nose radome characteristic of the YA-7D. Images from a practice safety chase mission in 1984. Armament Division shield removed, surprised it wasn’t replaced with the AFFTC shield. Camo has certainly weathered over the three years since the above photo, including faded national insignias… The red portion of the insignia is the first to be baked away by the desert sun. Seen this effect on many F-4s stationed at Nellis AFB in the 1970's as well. Just a touch of staining beneath the aft fuselage... Left side, well-worn national insignia. That’s the AF Systems Command badge on the forward fuselage peeking out beneath the wing pylons. Turning final over Rogers Dry Lake. Note the RAT is deployed. Looks like the right wing flap and the outboard leading edge flaps have been replaced from a bird with wrap-around camo. Marvelous what depot maintenance and a coat of paint can do. In 1985 as the AFFTC commander’s aircraft… travel pod at the ready on the inboard wing pylon. Thanks for looking, Sven
  10. USAF Test Pilot School NA-37B

    In the 1970s and '80s, the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) used the A-37B for both aircraft performance test and departure/spin test instruction. For the performance test portion of the curriculum students would collect test data to define takeoff and landing, cruise, and climb performance. To make it interesting, all the up and away testing was accomplished single engine. For departure/spin instruction, the A-37 was used for demonstrating departure entry techniques and handling peculiarities of wing-loaded (as opposed to fuselage-loaded) aircraft. Spin instruction began with glider flights using the Blanik L-10. Instruction then moved to the A-37 with TPS instructors in the right seat for student test pilot flights, instructors in the left what for student flight test engineer flights. Student test pilots would then progress to the YA-7D to demonstrate departure, spin, and spin recovery techniques. The spin program is the reason for the black stripe on the right wing. This was to aid ground-based optical trackers determine aircraft attitude during the maneuvers. The A-7s had black triangle outlines on the wing upper surfaces to distinguish between the top and bottom of the aircraft during tracking. Hasegawa/Minicraft issued the A-37B kit in the late 1970's with TPS markings. As I remember it, the markings in this kit were pretty crude and did not include the Yaw and Pitch Sensor (YAPS) boom that replaced the nose-mounted air refueling probe. Ready to take Runway 22. No mini-gun muzzle outlet - flight test instrumentation has replaced the mini-gun in the nose compartment. Cruising to the designated spin area. Fuel jettison the aid ground-based optical trackers acquire the aircraft on the run-in to the spin area. Good views of the nose mounted YAPS boom. Return to base. Over the north shore of Rogers dry lake looking south. Lakebed runways and compass rose (bottom of image) are marked with a black oily mixture. Thats the approach end and "last chance" area for Runway 22 to the right of the left tip tank. Thanks for looking, Sven
  11. McDonnell-Douglas (McAir) and the Naval Aviation Test Center (NATC) deployed to the Edwards AFB to conduct stability and control flight test near Rogers Dry Lake. While a relatively rare occurrence, it was possible that engines might "flameout" due to compressor stall as a result of high angle of attack and/or yaw disturbing the airflow into the intakes. The Edwards airspace had four test areas designated within flameout landing distance of the local dry lake beds (Rogers or Rosamond) should the need arise for an emergency landing. While the "spin areas" might also be within flameout landing distance of the Edwards 'hard' runway (R22/04) The lakebed landing areas allowed greater tolerances for approach and landing. Images from from four safety chase missions All are fitted with a spin recovery parachute assembly on the tail... 7 May 1984 - On this mission, the jet has mounting pads for cameras above the wing roots, just inboard of the flaps. 8 Jun 1984 - Cameras installed on the mounting plates. Confirmed that the cameras are facing aft to record a planned deployment of the spin chute. Note the loads distribution strap running along the aft fuselage from the spin chute assembly to the wing root... 13 Aug 1984 - Cameras and mounting plates removed. Lower light grey areas repainted white? Previously camouflaged upper wing areas now painted white. 19 Jan 1985 - The orange-red and white scheme is to aid determining aircraft attitude by ground based optical trackers. Note the stripe on the lower right wing. An image of the AV-8B spin chute assembly taken at the 1884 Edwards Open House: Thanks for looking, Sven
  12. Tigershark Test Drives

    In 1983, Northrop was on a sales drive to sell their F-20 Tigershark while flight test was continuing at Edwards AFB. What better way to end a sales pitch than with a flight in the aircraft - complete with prospective national markings for photos suitable for framing. The sales flights were chased by the the Northrop F-5F crewed by Northrop test/instructor pilots... Jordan, 26 Jan 83 Pakistan, 7 Feb 83 Philippines, 10 Feb 83 Kuwait, 14 Feb 83 UAE, 18 Feb 83 Turkey, 22 Feb 83 Luftwaffe, 11 Oct 83 There were probably others, but I had my own test programs to tend to... Thanks for looking Sven
  13. AV-B Harrier Safety Chase Photos

    These images were taken in 1983 and ’84. McDonnell-Douglas brought AV-8B ship #2 (USN Bu. No. 161397) out to Edwards AFB a few times to accomplish stability and control evaluations. Three different missions are shown here. The January 1983 mission has two Mk 82 500-lb Snakeyes on the centerline station. The June 1983 mission has the Snakeyes on the two outboard wing stations. On the February 1984 mission, all the pylons are empty. From our T-38A on his left wing over Tehachapi foothills. We do a ‘clean ‘n’ dry check”’ before test maneuvers are executed. No leaks, no loose panels, or anything else out of place. As I recall, all test maneuvers were accomplished in the lower southwest corner of the R-2508 complex north of Edwards AFB. The weapons are inert. I don’t know why they have a gold band around them rather than the usual blue nose bands. Maybe they are instrumented? Note the soot has been cleaned away from the fuselage star and bar. Descent to enter the Edwards pattern. Entering base leg of the Edwards pattern for Runway 22. Rogers dry lake below. Rejoin over one of the dry lakes. Taking position on our right wing. Over the east "shore" of Rogers Dry Lake. Thanks for looking, Sven
  14. Phantom Parts and Edwards AFB decal shields Hypersonic Models 1:48 Hypersonic Models, also known as Jeffrey K on Britmodeller have/has been kind enough to send us some of his latest additions to the HM range. The parts, in a dark grey resin, are all well cast, with little clean up required once they have been removed from their moulding blocks and the details are very nicely done. Instructions are very clear, if basic, but this is a one man operation and whilst this shows in the packaging, (poly bags of parts stapled to the instruction sheet), don't let that put you off as the quality is excellent. The stabiliser sets are meant for all manufacturers releases such as Academy and Hasegawa and are direct replacements for the kit parts. The sets for the slotted, (HMR 48012), and un-slotted, (HMR 48013), stabilisers also come with a jig to set the desired angle of attack and a sheet of etched parts for items such as the cover plates around the axle, and the additional plates on the top and bottom of the stabilisers for use on USAF aircraft. As per the stabilisers the Auxiliary Intake set provides direct replacements for the kit parts and once removed from the casting blocks and cleaned up they should slot straight into the recesses on the kits nose. The intakes are handed, so make sure you fit them to the correct sides. There are two sets of ejector seats, one, (HMR 48014-1) for a US Navy aircraft and the other, (HMR 48014-2), for a USAF aircraft. Both are Martin Baker Mk5s, but they differ in the style of harnesses, The oxygen supply is different - the Navy seat has a hose connector terminal in the rear corner, while the Air Force seats have the oxygen bottle (cover) there. There is an oxygen pressure gauge in the seat cushion on the Navy seats that the AF ones don't have, and there is an additional adjustment lever on the AF ones that the Navy ones don't have. The front ejection handle and the shape of the cushion is also different. . Detail is very good, certainly an improvement on the kit seats. The seat firing handles and moulded separately and from the look of them great care will be required to remove them from the moulding block. The gaps inside the handles are flashed over so more care will be needed to remove this without breaking the fragile resin. Finally a length of wire is provided to make up the pipework on the side of the seats. The decal sheet Jeffrey sent us provides a good selection of shields used on aircraft based at Edwards AFB and the Flight Test Centre from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. There are four different sizes on the sheet, 7mm, 10.75mm, 15mm, with the "Ad Inexplorata" shields also available in 17.5mm. The decals are well printed, in good register and with minimal carrier film, as they should as they are printed by Microscale, There are no instructions on which aircraft wore which shield, so research is the key in marking up your chosen subject. Conclusion Hypersonic Models are completely new to me, but the quality in the parts reviewed here show an excellent attention to detail and Jeffery deserves to do well. Being drop in replacements they should be ok for all levels of modeller that have at least some experience of using resin and etch, plus the adhesives they require. Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of