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Old Viper Tester

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About Old Viper Tester

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

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  1. Old Viper Tester

    Test Support Viper - 78-0085

    Pretty sure 78-0085 came to Edwards from Luke AFB. 78-0085 carried the name FIREBIRD on the inside of the nose gear door when it arrived and the name remained when she was repainted. December 1991, we are on a solo mission in F-16D s/n 83-1176, and were called to join up with '085, also on a solo mission, because they had an unsafe gear indication in the cockpit. Nose and left gear up and locked, right gear indicating still in transition. Here, we've come aboard. Note the gear doors aren't completely closed The gear is up, but the right main gear door is still open Selecting gear down and checking the gear extension The gear looks good. Don't remember if they had a down and locked, i.e. "three green", indication or not. Elected to return to base. On our wing over Rogers Dry Lake on straight-in final for landing. Note that we had a wing tip launcher from one of the Bozo Fleet jets and '085 had two grey launchers. Giving them the lead to land while we continue our mission. Saw them through to safe landing and then we continued into the operating area for our mission. Thanks for looking, Sven
  2. Old Viper Tester

    C-141A in Counter-Shading Camo

    USAF s/n 67-0021 of the 438th Military Airlift Wing supporting Red Flag 81-1 at Nellis AFB, November 1980. Thanks for looking, Sven
  3. Old Viper Tester


    NC-135A, USAF s/n 60-0371, of the 4950th Test Wing, Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command. October 1983, taking off from Edwards AFB Runway 22 with the Integration Facility for Avionics Systems Test (IFAST) in the background. Making a pass over the runway. Smoke generator running between the main gear wells? Optical resolution patterns on the forward fuselage. Sensor aperture in the raised panel? Aeronautical Systems Center shield below the cockpit windows - Systems Command shield is on the opposite side.. Thanks for looking, Sven
  4. E-4A NEACP (pronounced kneecap), USAF s/n 75-0125 at Edwards AFB in September 1981. Thanks for looking, Sven
  5. Old Viper Tester

    Some Sentries

    USAF s/n 77-0365, Nellis AFB, November 1980 75-0557, Nellis AFB, November 1980 76-1604, 964th Airborne Warning and Control Squadron, Nellis AFB, June 1984 71-1408, 962nd Airborne Warning and Control Squadron, Nellis AFB, July 1980. One of the first two prototypes and was originally designated as an EC-137D. 75-0560, 964th Airborne Warning and Control Squadron, Nellis AFB, July 1990 81-0005, 965th Airborne Warning and Control Squadron, Edwards AFB, October 1989 Thanks for looking, Sven
  6. Old Viper Tester

    Test Support Viper - 78-0007

    Another from the 6512th Test Squadron Bozo Fleet Over the then new Edwards control tower Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. Stopped in at Luke AFB in August 1988 while traveling between postings from MoD(UK) back to Edwards AFB. Here's the 302nd TFS Vipers with tail code LR for Luke Reserves. The tail emblem is a devil profile on an outline of a map of Arizona. The unit has since been relocated to Elmendorf AFB in 2007 and is now an associate unit flying F-22s. 86-0212 Those are portable cockpit entry ladders in the foreground. Never really saw them used much. Thanks for looking, Sven
  8. Old Viper Tester

    384th Air Refueling Wing KC-135R

    KC-135R, s/n 61-0315, at Edwards in January 1985. Came to Edwards to participate in Minimum Interval Take-Off (MITO) tests with the 6510th Test Wing prototype KC-135R. Of course, once they were in the air they had to make themselves useful... Refueling NF-4D 66-7483 of the 6512th Test Squadron. The prototype KC-135R, 61-0293, ready for the Edwards Open House in October 1982. Wonder why they referred to her as Pinocchio? Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. Old Viper Tester

    Green Flag 81-3: 353 TFS

    353rd Tac Fighter Squadron Warthogs at Nellis AFB for Green Flag, March 1981. 77-0200 77-0203 77-0204 77-0205 77-0207 77-0210, squadron CO aircraft 78-0622 78-0623 78-0663 78-0664 79-0096 79-0097 79-0098 Thanks for looking, Sven
  10. Old Viper Tester

    Just Passing Through: TA-4J Skyhawks

    Sorry, not a one. Those were hacks for the Red Hats, and even though I doubt they had anything classified to them, we were told to give them a wide berth and not take any photos - probably more concerned with getting the crew than the plane. It was the same way with the "Janet" Boeings. Sven
  11. Family-model Skyhawks on the Transient Ramp. BuNo 153486, VT-4, F375, Nellis, August 1980 155230, VT-86, F230, Wright-Patterson, February 1980 156891, VT-4, F366, Nellis, November 1980 156925, VT-86, F235, Andrews, November 1987 156928, VT-22, B214, Nellis, March 1981 156932, VT-86, F233, Andrews, November 1987 156937, VT-25, C521, Nellis, October 1980 158122, VT-22, B225, Nellis, March 1981 158125, VT-7, A725 Nellis, November 1980 Thanks for looking, Sven
  12. Old Viper Tester

    F-16A 75-0746

    May 1985: Just a little off the beaten path... a USAF F-16 with a parabrake housing. 75-0746 was a Full-Scale Development airframe built to the original Norwegian AF specification - hence the tail fairing. It was also used for a lot of structures testing, so the airframe took a beating. All of those g's took their toll on the airframe. They were always replacing panels and patching fuel leaks. Gotta love the putty job on the back. They are tough to see, but there are wedge shaped blocks on top of the noses of the external tanks with wiring running back into the pylons - those are accelerometer housings used to measure the frequency and amplitude of the tank motion (wing deformation) during maneuvers. Refueling from NKC-135E, s/n 55-3135 April 1983, testing Penguins Things under wings: In 1983, '746 was used to evaluate what was called an MPP (Your guess what it stood for is as good as mine). The MPP was an attempt to increase the weapons carriage of the F-16. The MPP didn't catch on. Don't know what this suspension unit was, but it may have been a competitor with the MPP. Looks like an ancestor of the BRU-61 Small Diameter Bomb rack. Thanks for looking, Sven
  13. Old Viper Tester

    Chasing a 'Vark

    May 1984 and F-111E, s/n 68-0058, from the 3246th Test Wing out of Eglin AFB was visiting Test Ops at Edwards. I don't remember what they were there for, but I was able to finagle the back seat in an T-38 as a safety chase for one of their missions in the R-2508 operating area over the Mojave desert. Here she is on an earlier visit in 1982. Note she doesn't have any formation ("slime") lights and the reference marks on the rear fuselage are white on the green portion of the camouflage and red on the tan area. The 3246th tail band is white with a series of red-orange diamonds running across. 1984 and she has slime lights now. The reference marks on the left side are all red-orange (or is it orange-red?). At this time, the 3246th came under the Armament Division of AF Systems Command, hence the AD tail code. A few years later, Armament Division would become the Munitions Systems Division and the AD would change to ET for Eglin Test. Moving close aboard to check her over. Those orange fairings ahead of the cockpit on the sides and lower centerline house cameras to record weapons separations. Reference marks are two-toned on this side. Over the Boron mines. Separation cameras under the tail fairings as well. Power Approach configuration with everything hanging. Landing on Eddie's runway 22. We were in pretty good position to get the touchdown. I never liked carrying the zoom lens in the cockpit, so the 50mm had to do. Here she is in 1993, retired to the USAF Armament Museum outside of Eglin. Not sure why she has the AF Material Command shield on the tail, I thought she retired before Systems Command and Logistics Command merged to form Material Command. That's the 3246th Test Wing shield ahead of the star and bar. By the end of 1993, the USAF had got rid of most of the 4-digit unit designations and the 3246th became the 46th. Thanks for looking, Sven
  14. Old Viper Tester

    F-16XL Images

    True, as the TSaGi comparisons show (I can't remember the last time I really looked at a PsubS chart!), in many ways the XL design had many advantages over the basic F-16. And some of the performance points were better than the F-15E. XL-2 did 'super-cruise' in Mil power with the GE engine, but just barely. I'm sure with the F110-GE-129 version the super-cruise performance would be better. And maneuverability with the weapons configuration cited was also very good. But these are point design considerations. A DoD source selection often takes into account a lot more than the aircraft performance. The ins-and-outs of many source selections have been the subjects of post-graduate courses, and, as I noted above, I probably don't know all of the factors in the XL vs. F-15E decision. I'll offer for consideration: The rules did change when the evaluations moved from a "Derivative Fighter" to a "Dual-Role Fighter". The F-15B Strike Eagle test bed already offered more of what the USAF was looking for than the XL at the end of the competition - though General Dynamics promised a lot more if the design went into Full-Scale Development. By 1983, the USAF was not only looking for an F-4 multi-role replacement, which the F-16A was already taking on, but also an F-111 replacement for the tactical penetration, AKA strike, mission. I've already mentioned the range issue for the latter mission, but there was also the payload and variety of weapons required. Twelve Mk 82s for a Warsaw Pact scenario were not always going to fill the bill. Consider that if the load called for any of the 2000-lb class weapons, the XL was immediately at a disadvantage, add to that the logistics issue of having to change out all of those "tangential carriage" pylons when going from 500-lb to 2000-lb weapons. Then there is the tangential carriage arrangement itself. The spacing of all of those pylons was optimized for the Mk-82, after all, that was one of the original specifications for the DRF. That arrangement allowed for the oncoming airflow to wend its way around and between the bombs with little drag penalty. But then the evaluation started looking at weapons dispensers... The CBU-58 added considerable drag and they didn't even try to carry 12, it was bad enough with three in tandem on each side. Then came the Tactical Munitions Dispenser (TMD), or SUU-65 dispenser, what eventually became the dispenser for the CBU-87 series of weapons. The flatter nose of the TMD added considerably more drag and the proximity to the wing with the stub pylons did not help. General Dynamics went so far as to try this: That's an aerodynamic cone that shields the nose of the TMD - note the cutout to allow the nose-fuse assembly to clear - though I'm pretty sure they never tried weapons separation with these things. And once you did drop the weapons, there is a base drag penalty for having that open space behind that cone that was supposed to help the drag situation. Granted, the F-15E has similar, but not as great a drag penalty carrying twelve CBU-87 and all the follow-on CBUs, but the weapons spacing is better and the F-15E is a brute rather than the elegant solution that is the XL. In addition to the TMD aero fairing, there were also mentions of a "fin fairing" in the XL test plan, but I never saw it or if it ever even showed up at Edwards. In any case, any unique logistics pieces associated with an aircraft are more points against it in a source selection. And finally a word about radar: all other factors being equal, the amount of radiated power coming out of the front end is proportional to the size of the dish, or the aperture for electronically-scanned arrays. This is one of the reasons the F-15 was so large to begin with for the air superiority mission. The more power radiated, the better the range and resolution capability. For the strike mission, the APG-70 with added air-to-ground modes offered much better performance over the APG-66/68. The XL design would always be restricted to a smaller radar than the F-15. There were a lot more comparisons that swung the decision to the Strike Eagle, but it would fill a book. vr, Sven
  15. Old Viper Tester

    Speckled Trout

    I don't remember all the details, and there's probably a Google answer somewhere. I was told it had to do with someone who was there when the detachment at Andrews was formed, last name Trout, and that person having a lot of freckles. Stranger than truth? Sven