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  1. In 1984, I was assigned to the 6512th Test Sq at Edwards, also referred to as Test Ops. Test Ops provided most of the test support functions at Edwards: safety chase, photo chase, and conducted what one would call “cats ‘n’ dogs” test programs – test programs too small to warrant a dedicated Combined Test Force. I guess you could call this one of the dogs… I don’t remember all of the details (I suppose I could Google it), but apparently political pressure forced an evaluation of the turbine powered version of the P-51 Mustang. To be fair, it kind of looked like a Mustang, but beyon
  2. F-16XL-2, 75-0747, arrives at Edwards AFB, 8 November 1982. The 'cross-country' flight from Fort Worth was made by Lt Col "Joe Bill" Dryden (FCP) and GD test pilot Alex Wolfe (RCP). Joe Bill, as everyone called him, was the only Tactical Air Command pilot assigned to the F-16XL Combined Test Force and would later become a GD test pilot when he retired from the USAF. Alex Wolfe was an ex-USAF pilot with Thud time in Route Pack Six. XL-1 was used as the escort aircraft and was piloted by Lt Col "PC" Burnett, one of two Air Force Operational Test Center (AFOTEC) pilots assigned to the CTF. They m
  3. F-16XL-1, first time on display at the Edwards AFB Open House, October 1982. Note the relative position of the intake compared to the cockpit. The 1/72 Monogram kit has the intake too far forward, about mid-canopy. Monogram also left out the three-degree tilt up of the tail and the main gear bay is too far aft. The so-called "semi-conformal" carriage pylons. The suspension used T-lugs, so no sway braces were required. The base "bomb dump" guys didn't like them because it meant pulling the standard, closed suspension lugs and installing T-lugs ev
  4. F-16XL-1, 75-0749, arrives at Edwards AFB to begin the combined test program and competition with the F-15E in the Derivative/Dual-Role Fighter Competition. The XL had accomplished several flights at General Dynamics Fort Worth to demonstrate basic airworthiness before being delivered to Edwards by GD test pilot Jim McKinney. 18 July 1982. That's a gun butt in the background (right). Never did find out why an 8th Tac Fighter Wing aircraft was used to escort the XL, or if it continued on to South Korea or went back to Fort Worth. The entry
  5. F-16A 78-0064, F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. F100 engine Digital Electronic Engine Control development program. February 1983. August 1983. Thanks for looking, Sven
  6. F-16B 81-0817, 6516th Test Squadron/F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, 1989. On the F-16 CTF ramp, January 1989. 23 February 1989. Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. An FB -111A, 68-0254, came to Edwards AFB in the late 1980s, at first for an F-111 Avionics Modernization Program then an F-111 Digital Flight Control System test program. The aircraft was assigned to the 6512th Test Squadron, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center. Some sources say that by this time she was an F-111G, but as far as I can remember, she was listed as an FB-111A on the Test Operations schedule board and the crews logged FB-111A time. Mission recovery in 1989 with test nose boom and the aircraft named "Pappy's Passion", no unit markings applied.
  8. T-38A 65-10363 of Detachment 6, Air Force Logistics Command. On the Edwards AFB transient ramp, November 1981. Det 6 was responsible for depot maintenance on SR-71s. Based at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale California. This Talon was used as a hack and safety chase aircraft. Fündekals made a sheet on NASA T-38s in 1/48 scale that included this scheme even though it is an ex-NASA jet. Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. My first safety chase mission for the F-16XL program, 22 July 1982. We were in an F-4. XL-1 was doing basic performance and propulsion test points. Some of my images are oddly framed or cropped, but my agreement with all of the pilots I flew with was that my photography was on a non-interference basis with the missions. Tracking test points, keeping tabs on the test aircraft and watching for potential conflicting traffic were my duties so my "little camera (Canon A1) better not get in the way". Notice the "angle iron" brackets holding the aft AIM-120 missile shapes in place
  10. F-4E s/n 66-0289 is an ex-Thunderbird and served as a test support aircraft at Edwards AFB, 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. Safety chase proficiency mission, August 1984. That's a deer silhouette in grey on the left intake vari-ramp. In January 1984 we took '289 to Eglin AFB. On landing we took a deer down the left side damaging the external tank and the main gear door. We left the jet for repairs and
  11. F-15B, 77-0166, modified as the test bed for the Integrated Flight and Fire Control (IFFC) system. The IFFC tied the fire control system to the flight controls. In theory the system would automatically maneuver the aircraft to an "optimum" weapon employment position on a locked radar or targeting pod bogey (the pilots loved that idea) or it would provide steering cues in the HUD for the pilot to follow. The targeting pod used was an ATLIS pod. The system made news when '166 made a guns kill on a PQM-102 drone in what was essentially a head on engagement. A tracking camera caught a photo of '1
  12. F-4D 66-7483 operated by the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB during a formation proficiency mission in February 1985. Thanks for looking, Sven
  13. USAF s/n 65-0713 is the prototype for the F-4E Phantom II. It was used for flight test evaluations of the E model configuration and then used as a development test bird through the 1970s and finally as a test support aircraft at Edwards AFB through the 1980s. The aircraft started out as an F-4D on the McAir production line and modified to represent the E. It is essentially an F-4E from the rear cockpit bulkhead forward and a D model fuselage from that bulkhead aft. Fitted with the J79-GE-17 engines. Here she is in the early 1970s testing development cluster bomb dispensers. She has
  14. 78-0064 of the F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center. Digital Electronic Engine Control testing, February 1983 August 1983 Penguin integration testing, 1987. Non-standard location of the AFFTC shield on the tail where the AF Systems Command shield should be located. No longer a test jet and relegated to test support with the 6512th Test Squadron, November 1991. September 1992, AF Systems Command is no more and the AFFTC is now part of AF Materiel Command, hence the change in tail shield.
  15. Most of these are USAF images recovered during the A-10 Combined Test Force shut down Wish I had dates for the USAF images. Apparently you can build this jet with production or modified vertical tails... Those pods (below) are precursors to the LANTIRN system used on the F-16 and F-15E... Those pods again... Taller tails... The museum piece on display at the 1988 Edwards Open House. No seats, no engines. Waiting for the Flight Test Museum to be built...
  16. Some time ago, I posted images of the flight test C-17 at Edwards in 1991. At that time, I also said that I would post some images of the same aircraft as it arrived for display at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB. The aircraft is now on display, but these images show it in the restoration yard in May 2012, waiting for a crew from Edwards to remove flight test equipment for shipment back to Edwards. Its pseudo-Euro One scheme replaced with the current operational Air Mobility scheme. "Mission" symbols next to the crew door. Due to its proximit
  17. F-16C, USAF s/n 83-1120, the third of a trio of F-16As modified on the production line to be the first Block 30 configured jets. 83-1118, '119, and '120 all went to the F-16 Combined Test Force at Edwards as flight test jets, testing Block 30 software and radar upgrades as well as variations in ECM/ESM fit. '120 was unique in being fitted with the GE F110 engine and high angle-of-attack mission equipment. January 1989 May 1989 Over the Trona Gap in the Mojave Desert June 1991
  18. The only images I have of this jet is with the J79 engine modification. In the late 1970s, President Carter wanted to hold back on the technology being exported from the US to some countries, encouraging development of "export" weapon systems. One of the results of that policy was the F-20 Tigershark, another was the J79-powered F-16. Needless to say, the policy was a non-starter and was quickly reversed when President Reagan came into office. Several changes were required to put a J79 into an F-16 airframe, most noticeable were the modified intake and the longer engine exhaust fai
  19. A-7D, s/n 69-6217, was a support jet with the 6512th Test Squadron 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. October 1983, loaded up for an open house static display August 1984 safety chase proficiency mission. I'm in the RCP of an F-4. During the mission we trade off providing chase coverage for each other. July 1989 during a weapons delivery proficiency mission. The trapezoid markings on top of the wing
  20. 75-0751 was the longest serving FSD F-16 in basic flight test. Primarily used for stability and control evaluations, it also was used for an early program for demonstrating high angle-of-attack and departures (spins) behavior to operational flight crews that would come to Edwards specifically for the "E-ticket" flights with test pilots serving as the instructors. July 1982, "High-Alpha" mission with the departure recovery parachute package, AKA "spin chute", carried above the engine exhaust nozzle on a quadrapod. July 1982, on the tanker during a High-Alpha mission. Du
  21. Just a few images from a proficiency mission in September 1984. Her designation would be changed to NRF-4C to indicate permanent test modifications in 1986. Thanks for looking, Sven
  22. 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 ge
  23. USAF s/n 78-0088, taxiing in to the 6516th Test Squadron ramp, August 1989. That's a General Dynamics crew chief. Crew showing hands clear in the cockpit while chocks are put in place. On the 6512TS support fleet ramp, July 1990. She carries the name MISS PIGGY inside the nose gear door With tanks, October 1991... ... and the name's been changed to "CRAZY EIGHT". Thanks for looking, Sven
  24. 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
  25. 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 runni
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