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  1. Another test support fleet phantom with the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB. June 1983 in Air Defense Command Gray October 1983 with the ED tail code added, leading F-4C 64-0727 March 1985 in the test support albino scheme with patchwork external tanks May 1985 January 1989 with an unusual white radome May 1989 during a formation proficiency mission July 1990 September 1990 Thanks for looking, Sven
  2. F-15 77-0139 was assigned to the F-15 Combined Test Force (CTF) at Edwards AFB for its entire career. Its primary mission was engine testing of various modifications to the P&W F100 and how the engine behaved in the F-15. The F-15 CTF comprised cadre from AF Systems Command, McDonnell-Douglas, Pratt & Whitney, and occasionally, Tactical Air Command. The F-15 CTF was one of several CTFs (A-10, B-1, C-17, etc.) under the 6510th Test Wing of the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards. The designation of the Systems Command CTF component changed a few times throughout its life. Originally just identified as the AFSC component, in March 1989 it was given the designation 6515th Test Squadron. In October 1989, the new Chief of Staff of the Air Force decreed that all 4-digit unit designations be abolished, and the 6515th became the 415th Flight Test Squadron, assuming the heritage of the 415th Bomb Squadron. The parent wing, the 6510th Test Wing, became the 412th Test Wing. In 1994, F-15 flight test at Edwards had diminished and the 415th was absorbed into the 445th Test Squadron. Testing the A/A37 Aerial Gunnery Target System (carried by F-4E 66-0368), 1980 On static display for some VIP visitors, April 1983. Flying a bombing proficiency mission, July 1984. Most 6510TW aircraft were given "ED" tail codes in early 1984. Testing the new -229 variant of the F100 engine, April 1988. A single -229 was installed in the left engine bay and -100 in the right. On the F-15 CTF ramp in February 1989. Thanks for looking, Sven
  3. Some images of Full Scale Development F-16A 75-0750 Advanced Fighter technology Integration test bed. During display at three Edwards AFB Open House. October 1982 Stores separation camera housing beneath the rear fuselage. October 1984 - sensor pods added at the wing roots. October 1991 - Ejection seat upgrade and IRST added between the radome and cockpit. Thanks for looking, Sven
  4. 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
  5. F-16Cs 83-1143 and 88-0445, 6516th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. Ready to taxi out for a radar test mission. '445 is the test jet and carries a centerline pod containing high-speed radar data recording equipment - the orange stripe indicates the pod carried unique test equipment. While '143 was a test jet in its own right, on this mission it is being used as a radar target for '445. General Dynamics crews and maintenance personnel were part of the F-16 Combined Test Force at Edwards (part of the "Combined" unit monicker) - and they still are today as Lockheed Martin Fort Worth. The F-16 test fleet was split between General Dynamics and USAF maintenance teams, '143 and'445 were GD maintained jets at this time. The pilots are USAF assigned to the 6516th Test Squadron. The Israeli jet (301, USAF s/n 86-1598) in the background was testing the Peace Marble II (Block 30) configuration for that Foreign Military Sales program. Cockpit checks. GD crew chief on the intercom. Engine start. Chocks away. '445 crew chief signaling brakes/hold. '143 crew chief signaling begin taxi. Brakes checked and out of the parking spot. The crew chief has done the check for leaks and gives the thumbs up. Thanks for looking, Sven
  6. F-16Cs 83-1143 and 88-0445, 6516th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. Ready to taxi out for a radar test mission. '445 is the test jet and carries a centerline pod containing high-speed radar data recording equipment - the orange stripe indicates the pod carried unique test equipment. While '143 was a test jet in its own right, on this mission it is being used as a radar target for '445. General Dynamics crews and maintenance personnel were part of the F-16 Combined Test Force at Edwards (part of the "Combined" unit monicker) - and they still are today as Lockheed Martin Fort Worth. The F-16 test fleet was split between General Dynamics and USAF maintenance teams, '143 and'445 were GD maintained jets at this time. The pilots are USAF assigned to the 6516th Test Squadron. The Israeli jet (301, USAF s/n 86-1598) in the background was testing the Peace Marble II configuration for that Foreign Military Sales program. Cockpit checks. GD crew chief on the intercom. Engine start. Chocks away. '445 crew chief signaling brakes/hold. '143 crew chief signaling begin taxi. Brakes checked and out of the parking spot. The crew chief has done the check for leaks and gives the thumbs up. Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. 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
  8. The first B-1A prototype, s/n 74-0158. It's just been towed to its static spot in preparation for the 1984 Edwards AFB Open House. I don't know what's going on with the top of the vertical tail, but it doesn't look right. Ship No. 4, 76-0174. The spine fairing is part of the development program to improve the offensive and defensive avionics suites for the B-1B. March 1981. Except when it was on display, it seems this jet was always surrounded by all this support equipment... Ship No. 3, 74-0160, September 1981, ready for the open house Parked for static display at the 1983 open house. That's the Anti-Satellite F-15 in the background. Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. The B-1A program was cancelled under President Carter in 1979. The decision was based on the high cost, the success of the Air Launched Cruise Missile indicating that a penetrating bomber may no longer be required, and the promised of the Stealth Bomber (B-2) program. Faced with delays and rising costs of the Stealth Bomber President Reagan resurrected the B-1 program as the B-1B in 1981. The aircraft had many improvements in avionics capabilities and some trade-offs in high-altitude performance compared to the original B-1A. While waiting for B-1B test airframes, the USAF elected to get a leg up on testing with the original prototypes, with suitable modifications. These images show Ship No. 2, s/n 74-0159 after being painted as the program flag ship in 1983-84. Couldn't adjust the focus fast enough Thanks for looking, Sven
  10. F-4D 66-7483, a test support fleet jet of the 6512th Test Squadron (Test Ops), 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. She was re-designated as an NF-4D in 1987, indicating she had permanent flight test modifications. March 1981 Target mission for an F-15C radar test. ALQ-188 ECM pod for trying to "farkle" the Eagle's APG-63 radar. December 1983 Two formation/chase proficiency missions, February and March 1985 March 1985 On the Edwards main ramp with F-4C 63-7409 and F-4D 65-0670, May 1985. January 1989 Formation/chase proficiency mission April 1989 Waiting for the crew to show, July 1990 She left Edwards in 1991, was bailed to Flight Systems Incorporated at Mojave Airport as N430FS, and finally retired to AMARG in 2003. Thanks for looking, Sven
  11. RF-4C, 64-1004 (AKA "Balls four"), assigned to the 6512th Test Squadron (Test Ops), 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. Test support involved being used by the USAF Test Pilot School for practicing test techniques, being a photo/safety chase or being a radar target for flight test missions. She came from RAF Alconbury where she suffered a barrier engagement in 1967, and required depot repairs (sheared the nose gear, one main mount through the wing and the wing broken off). Not surprising that when the USAF requested a jet for AF Systems Command at Edwards, she was the one they gave up. Some of the test crews swear she was bent. December 1983, a few months after arriving from Alconbury. The blue and white canopy trim is a holdover from the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. March 1985 May 1985: The Blue and white canopy trim painted over with black(?!?). Apparently having a flight controls investigation evidenced by the leading edge flaps down and the hydraulics 'Mule' in front of the right wing. January 1989, the white and red "Bozo" scheme was applied around 1987, about the same time that her official designation was changed to NRF-4C. The "N" indicating permanent flight test modifications have been made. July 1990 September 1990 She was retired in early 1992 and sent to the Edwards AFB Flight Test Museum. Thanks for looking, Sven
  12. F-16A, USAF s/n 80-0550, was allocated off the production line to the F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB as a stability and control, loads and flutter test airframe. I say flutter as one of the flight test disciplines, though in the '80s, the adage was that "the F-16 did not experience flutter" but, instead, limit cycle oscillations (LCO). So when you saw that wing tip vibrating away, it was the digital flight controls unable to keep up with the aerodynamic forces that were bending that wing - still looked like flutter to me. October 1982 - fitted with engineering mock-ups of the LANTIRN navigation and targeting pods testing aircraft flying qualities with the pods fitted and the airframe structural response. A lucky shot as we barrel rolled over him to set up for a test point. Gives a good view of the arrangement of load distribution straps and attachment fittings for the spin recovery parachute quadrapod. January 1983 - Continued LANTIRN pod effects testing. October 1983 - After being fitted with an F-16C vertical tail. February 1990 - Deeper pylons to accommodate AIM-7 Sparrows for testing compatibility with the F-16C configuration. January 1991 - Fitted with the spin recover parachute quadrapod Not '550 (she is in the background), but an image of the full spin recovery parachute apparatus. The red and blue canister contains the parachute and the deployment mortar. The parachute attachment harness comes out of a slot beneath the red canister section and attached to the quadrapod. The attachment fittings and straps on the fuselage distribute the forces from the deployed parachute so that the aft fuselage doesn't get ripped away when the chute yanks the tail up while the aircraft is falling through the air out of control. Thanks for looking, Sven
  13. F-4E s/n 66-0291 is an ex-Thunderbird aircraft. She served as a test support aircraft at Edwards AFB from 1978 through 1991. Operated by the 6512th Test Squadron, throughout the early 1980s is was part of the Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) chase flight, hence the white upper wings with the camouflage schemes. The N prefix indicating a permanent flight test modification was installed in/on the airframe. Doing her thing (1980?)... October 1982 January 1985 May 1985 October 1989 - received the "Bozo" white and red scheme in 1987. Thanks for looking, Sven
  14. T-38A 70-1579, operated by the 6512th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. On the Edwards AFB main ramp, May 1985. Loose formation while returning to Edwards AFB after playing targets for an F-15 radar test mission, May 1985. That's the Boron mine in the background. Power Approach configuration, May 1985. On the Edwards main ramp, October 1991. Baggage pod on the centerline. Name on the forward canopy rail is "Brig Gen Roy D. Bridges", commander of the AF Flight Test Center at the time. Name on the rear canopy rail is "Maj Brett Vance", the general's executive officer. On the Edwards main ramp, September 1992. The AF Systems Command shield replaced with the AF Materiel Command shield following the merger of Logistics and Systems Commands. Thanks for looking, Sven
  15. Some shots of A-7D 69-6217 of the 6512th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, during a radar target mission in June 1992. The SLUFF was acting as a target and threat simulator for an F-16D radar test. Most of the mission was the two aircraft lining up at opposite ends of the test range - an area called Cords Road - and then flying towards each other at various speeds and altitudes. The A-7 would execute various briefed maneuvers or radiate ECM threat simulations. Typically the aircraft would merge and then fly through to the opposite ends of the area again - sort of like jousting - then repeat for as many events as the mission required. Sitting on the runway for takeoff. The A-7 would take off first fly the runway circuit and call the F-16 to take off such that they joined up immediately after the F-16 takeoff. This was to allow the A-7 to inspect the F-16 for any leaking fluids, open panels, landing gear completely up, etc. Once the A-7 called "Clean and dry" the two would separate to the ends of the test area and begin the radar jousting. After the radar testing we rejoined for some formation work while returning to base. the pod on the right wing is an ALQ-167 variant. I think it was referred to as the Bullwinkle pod. The pod under the left wing is an ALQ-188. Both the -167 and -188 are used for threat simulations. Thanks for looking, Sven
  16. F-16XL-2, 75-0747, operated by the F-16XL Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB. Images are from a mission flown on 7 April 1983, possibly the only mission with this configuration. Streamlined fairings are installed on the wingtips in place of the 16S210 AIM-9 launch rails. Over Rogers Dry Lake on straight-in final approach to Runway 22. Thanks for looking, Sven
  17. F-16XL-1, 75-0749, operated by the F-16XL Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB. Images are from two separate missions flown on 12 October 1982. Even with the CBU-58s carried in tandem, the drag penalty was terrible. Sorry about the watermarks, but some of my images have been appropriated on other sites. Thanks for looking, Sven
  18. Images of F-16B, s/n 80-0635, when it was operating with the LANTIRN Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB. LANTIRN is an acronym for Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared for Night. The LANTIRN system consisted of two pods beneath the F-16 engine intake. On the left was the AN/AAQ-113 navigation pod (NVP) containing a terrain following radar and forward-looking infra-red sensor. On the right was the AN/AAQ-14 targeting pod (TGP) containing an infra-red sensor and a laser designation system. The LANTIRN CTF tested the LANTIRN system target designation, weapons delivery, and terrain following performance. Another important evaluation was what is referred to as the "pilot-vehicle interface" (PVI), the utility and human factors of the displays and controls as integrated into the F-16. The LANTIRN CTF operated beside the F-16 CTF and was part of the 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center. The LANTIRN test force was absorbed into the F-16 CTF in 1988. March 1984 The LANTIRN logo LANTIRN CTF shield There was a large version of the shield painted on a wall in the General Dynamics maintenance office with the tank illustration replaced with red outlined mountains on either side and a red F-16 bouncing between the mountain sides down the valley. "Havoc in the Dark" indeed. January 1989 Three tank "kills" added to the intake Interesting "kill" markings... Another LANTIRN CTF bird, 81-0688 The cannon ammo drum has been replaced with a flight test instrumentation tape recorder (there's no cannon in there either). Microscale did LANTIRN CTF markings for F-16B 81-0816 on sheet 72-256. Thanks for looking, Sven
  19. YA-7D s/n 67-14584 operated by the USAF Test Pilot School, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. October 1984 May 1985 The trapezoid markings on top of the wing are for optical tracking during TPS spin training/evaluation missions, making it easier to determine the aircraft attitude with ground-based optical trackers and cameras. TPS would spin the A-7 both upright and inverted. November 1991 September 1992 Like her sisters, she was retired to AMARG in September 1992 Thanks for looking, Sven
  20. Some Sabres of Tracor Flight Systems at Mojave Airport CA in the early 1980s. Sabre Mk.6 N80FS, S6-1675, ex Luftwaffe 0113, September 1981. Sabre Mk.6 N81FS, S6-1593, August 1981 Sabre Mk.5 N86FS, S5-1157, ex-RCAF 23367, July 1984 Sabre Mk.6 N89FS, S6-1710, August 1981 Sabre Mk.5 N5592K, S5-0997, ex-RCAF 23207, October 1982 Sabre Mk.5 N5591, S5-0911, ex RCAF 23202, October 1982 Thanks for looking, Sven
  21. NC-131H Total In-Flight Simulator (TIFS). She started out as an NC-131B Control Configured Vehicle, a variable stability aircraft with NASA. When NASA was done with her, she was re-engined and redesigned as an NC-131H for the USAF Research Labs (AFRL). For as long as I can remember, she was owned by the Flight Dynamics Laboratory (FDL), but operated and maintained by The Calspan Corporation (originally Cornell Aeronautical Labs). The TIFS had a convertible nose. One nose contained an additional cockpit for a test aircrew as the aircraft flight controls could be programmed to simulate various aircraft configurations. A safety crew occupied the production cockpit, ready to take control should problems, usually instability, occurred. This configuration is shown below. The other available nose incorporated a large radome and could be used to test various sensors. The aircraft often was used for FDL flight test with the flying done be Calspan test crews. It was also occasionally used for USAF or Navy Test Pilot School student projects, with the students in the test cockpit and the Calspan crew serving as safety crew and system programmers. Here she is on the Edwards AFB transient ramp in November 1984. The variable stability cockpit. Just a few external structural reenforcement longerons... She was retired in November 2008 and is now on display in the USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB. Thanks for looking, Sven (Hope I haven't posted this before.)
  22. YA-7D, s/n 69-6191, was a support jet with the 6512th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB. It was primarily used as a trainer for the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) and as a support aircraft for other aircraft test flights, usually F-15s or F-16s. March 1981. Most of the YA-7Ds retained the US Navy probe and drogue refueling probe and were never fitted with the flying boom receptacle. July 1984. The "ED" tail codes were added to most 6510th Test Wing Aircraft in 1983 May 1985 with SUU-20 practice bomb suspension units. When the A-7s were used as target/threat aircraft for F-15 or F-16 radar testing, ALQ-131 or ALQ-188 ECM pods would be carried on the mid-wing stations. The trapezoid markings on top of the wing are for optical tracking during TPS spin training/evaluation missions, making it easier to determine the aircraft attitude with ground-based optical trackers and cameras. TPS would spin the A-7 both upright and inverted. January 1989. I had left Edwards for a posting in London in 1985. When I returned to Edwards in 1988, all of the F-4s and A-7s were in white with red visibility markings. Just as well that all the flight test A-10s left Edwards in the Summer of 1985. White and red Warthogs would be just plain wrong. Thanks for looking, Sven
  23. F-20 Tigershark #1, USAF serial number 82-0062, civil registration N4416T. At Edwards AFB for testing done by Northrop Test Operations division. September 1982, with flight test nose boom. They don't show up well, but there are pitch and yaw vanes mounted on the forward tip of the left wing missile rail. The measurements from these vanes were being calibrated against the measurements from the nose boom so they could replace the nose boom with a production radome and still collect sensitive yaw and pitch data during stability and control testing. The two rough fairings near the top and middle of the vertical tail are strain gauges and the associated wiring covered with "speed putty" - not usually painted over so neatly, if painted at all. October 1982, Edwards AFB Open House. Flight test nose boom removed in favor of the "shark nose" radome. January 1983 Enlargement of the above image July 1983, back in the "Coca Cola" scheme with her Paris Salon registration number 339. The mid-tail strain gauges have been removed. September 1983. USAF serial number replaced with the civil registration. Orange indicates flight test unique equipment or modifications. October 1983, on Edwards Runway 22. May 1984, in the middle of the "test fleet" Original canopy configuration For comparison, the production canopy configuration on ship on #2, N3986B. 82-0062 was lost in a fatal G-induced Loss of Consciousness (G-LOC) crash during a demonstration tour in South Korea, 10 October 1984. Thanks for looking, Sven
  24. I had originally posted some images of A-7D 69-6217 of the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB back in July 2018. I've since found a few more slides... August 1984 In the lead with 69-6194 July 1989 Thanks for looking, Sven
  25. Another from the 6512th Test Squadron Bozo Fleet Over the then new Edwards control tower Thanks for looking, Sven
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