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Found 40 results

  1. Old Viper Tester

    F-4D 66-7483

    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
  2. Old Viper Tester

    YF-4E 65-0713

    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 store separation cameras under the outer wing panels, a flight test nose boom, and the early short cannon fairing. Note that she also has a Boron composite construction rudder for a long-term durability evaluation. Late 1970s in the test support mission, here used as a tow target tractor with RMK-19 target suspension/towing equipment. Note the shark mouth and the long cannon muzzle fairing. Because the shark mouth was not officially authorized by the USAF, every time she went to Hill AFB for Programmed Depot Maintenance, she cam back to Edwards without the shark mouth. The Edwards maintenance personnel would eventually replace the shark mouth each time - here with fewer and larger teeth than the earlier version. Here she is in September 1981 after being put on static display for the Edwards Open House. December 1983 April 1984, returning to Edwards from Hill AFB after a practice B61 delivery profile mission. The store is an instrumented B61 Flight Test Vehicle. because she had no external tanks, we flew the delivery profile on the Utah test and Training Range and then landed at nearby Hill AFB to refuel before heading back to Edwards. Blow up of the B61 FTV We were a little fast on the rejoin, so we barrel rolled over '713 so's not to over-shoot her. May 1985 on the Edwards main ramp January 1989 January 1990 over Edwards November 1991 (I know the copyright notice says 1981, I have to fix that), shortly before being retired as a display aircraft for the Flight Test Center Museum at Edwards. Serial number on the tail is smaller than the previous years. Thanks for looking, Sven
  3. Old Viper Tester

    NF-4E 66-0289

    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 when we came back ten days later, the Eglin maintenance troops had applied the deer kill marking and the legend "DEER SLAYER" in 2-inch block letters on the cannon fairing - barely visible in the image above, beneath the air conditioning ram air scoop. Practice weapon delivery, rolled inverted and pulling to the desired dive angle. Formation final approach to Runway 22 Taxiing in after a few fly-bys at the Edwards Open House, October 1989 July 1990 The deer kill marking. That's me in a posed "hero" shot for the squadron album in 1984. '289 is now on display in thunderbird colors at the Castle Air Museum. Thanks for looking, Sven
  4. Old Viper Tester

    F-16A 78-0064

    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. Thanks for looking, Sven
  5. 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... Thanks for looking, Sven
  6. Old Viper Tester

    F-16C 83-1120

    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 Thanks for looking, Sven
  7. Old Viper Tester

    Test Support A-7D - 69-6217

    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 are for optical tracking during TPS spin training/evaluation missions, making it easier to identify the top of the aircraft with ground-based cameras. TPS would spin the A-7 both upright and inverted. On the run-in to the target Just released a BDU-33 practice bomb January 1989 September 1992 - all will be gone in 1993 Thanks for looking, Sven
  8. 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. During these missions it wasn't unusual to hit the tanker in between test points several times in order to keep the aircraft center of gravity within a specified range. Engineers in the mission control facility used a fuel-burn "map" real-time to determine the center of gravity location based on total fuel quantity. Center of gravity location is critical in most all aircraft as the further aft the CG, the more longitudinally unstable the aircraft. November 1982, with 'yarn' tufts installed on the wings and vertical tail to visualize air flow over the flight surfaces. Note the aircraft still has the original Stencel ejection seats. I don't think she ever got the ACES II seats installed. June 1983, ready for another High Alpha mission March 1984, yet another High-Alpha mission March 1990, ready to taxi November 1990, on the tanker's wing during another High-Alpha mission. The characteristic red head rest covers of the Stencel seats. Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. 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
  10. Old Viper Tester

    RF-4C 63-7744

    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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Old Viper Tester

    B-1A Ship #2

    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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Old Viper Tester

    F-16XL Images

    I had previously submitted some F-16XL images to Pappy's Skunk Models F-16XL WIP Unfortunately, with the Photobucket third party posting debacle, all of those image links have been broken. Anton K55 asked if I would repost them for reference in his build. Here is my best guess of what was posted earlier - I'm still working on cleaning up my XL slides for a more coherent posting. I had been posted as a flight test engineer to the F-16XL Combined Test Force after graduating from the USAF Test Pilot School. Made a right pest of myself with my camera from mid-1982 to early 1984... T-lug suspension in the stores pylons, hence no sway braces Underside of XL-1 showing shadows of pylon locations. That's a spin recovery parachute quadrapod and canister mounted above the exhaust nozzle XL-1 with BDU-38s. Note the brackets fore and aft of the mid-body fins of the AMRAAM shapes. The ARAAM dummies were bolted to the airframe as there was no missile suspension/launcher equipment installed in the airframe. XL-1 with CBU-58s. Most of the CBU store load outs used what were then call Tactical Munitions Dispensers, later became the CBU-87 series of canisters, which were painted gloss OD . XL-2 tucking in with the T-38 safety chase XL-2 aerial refueling Belly shot of XL-2 in Heater-Ferris scheme Some detail shots XL-1 inlet antennas XL-2 UHF antenna relocated near the tail hook Total Temp probe and raked cooling inlet - this intake is vertical on stock F-16s Two left-side AOA probes on the XLs This shot was after the aircraft was repainted in overall camo, the shadow of the blue spine remaiins Thanks for looking Sven
  18. Old Viper Tester

    F-4C USAF s/n 63-7408

    Another test support fleet phantom with the 6512th Test Squadron at Edwards AFB. April 1985, aerial refueling from NKC-135E, s/n 55-3135, from the 4950th Test Wing, Aeronautical Systems Division out of Wright-Patterson. In the pre-contact position waiting for the boom operator to clear him in. On the boom, in the green, and taking fuel May 1985 and she's been misbehaving... roped off and getting maintenance on the Eddie ramp. That notice taped ahead of the forward formation slime light says the aircraft is impounded. Jump to 1988 and, like the rest of the Rhinos, she's gone albino and her designation has been formally changed to NF-4. This image from June 1990. September 1990, retired and waiting to go to AMARC. She is one of the fortunate ones, going to the National Museum of the Air Force inventory, eventually ending up on display at Tyndall AFB in Florida. At Tyndall, she's in Southeast Asia camouflage and has an Air Combat Command shield on the tail even though she spent her entire operational life with Air Force Systems Command. Thanks for looking, Sven
  19. Old Viper Tester

    U-Boat: AC-130U

    Some images of s/n 87-0128 of the 6518th Test Squadron, Spec Ops Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB in 1991. I assume that's some kind of IR suppressor above and behind the engine exhaust. In the end they went with this, seen on 89--0510 which joined the CTF a year later Thanks for looking, Sven
  20. Old Viper Tester

    NC-131H TIFS

    This is a highly modified Convair C-131 Samaritan, the Total In-Flight Simulator. The aircraft is a variable stability research platform for investigating flight control designs with the test cockpit in the forward drooping nose and the safety cockpit in the production cockpit. But the aircraft is also capable of doing sensors research via a modular nose unit that replaces the test cockpit with a large bulbous radome nose. The aircraft was assigned to the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, but was operated and maintained by the Calspan Corporation out of Buffalo New York. These images were taken on the Edwards AFB Transient Ramp in November 1984. Just a few reinforcing straps behind the cockpit sides and atop the fuselage... And one from the damaged slides box taken at Wright-Patt in 1979... Thanks for looking, Sven
  21. Old Viper Tester

    B-1A Ships #1 and #3

    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. 3, 74-0160. 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... 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
  22. Old Viper Tester

    Test Support Viper: 81-0688

    Shortly after arrival at Edwards with the 6516th Test Squadron, February 1990. Moved to the 6512th TS, Test Ops, as a dedicated test support jet, October 1991. Someone forgot the Flight Test Center tail band. On static display October 1992, Systems Command is no more and the AF Materiel Command shield is now on the tail. Safety chase training mission, December 1992. That's the AF Flight Test Center shield behind the canopy on this side. The 6510th Test Wing shield is on the opposite side. Over the Sierra Nevada foothills. Over the Boron mines, a prominent rejoin landmark just north of Edwards. He's now on our wing. Aero-braking on Runway 22 Hasegawa released a 1/72nd scale F-16B in these markings back in 1999, but I don't think anyone else has bothered with it. I think I read somewhere that all of the white/red test support Vipers are now gone. '688 went to AMARC in 1995 according to Baugher. Thanks for looking, Sven
  23. Old Viper Tester

    Call Sign: Opus

    Images of the MC-130H Combat Talon during flight test at Edwards. Many of the test organizations experienced name changes during my second tour at Edwards between 1988 and 1993. In the case of the Special Operations C-130s, they started out as the Special Operations Combined Test Force, or SpecOps CTF. Around 1989, a squadron structure was added to the CTFs. in the case of SpecOps, this was the 6518th Test Squadron. The 6518TS identified the Air Fore Systems Command contingent in the CTF working beside AFOTEC (operational test contingent), and the Lockheed/Raytheon (or was it still Hughs back then?) contractor test contingent. In July 1992, Systems Command was merged with Logistics Command to form AF Materiel Command and all the unit numbers changed. The 6518TS became the 418th Flight Test Squadron, the parent 6510th Test Wing became the 412th Test Wing. USAF s/n 84-0475, 1988... Not usually a fan of showing my air show pictures. You never know what's going to show up on the ramp in California - and I'm not referring to the aircraft. But these show the best nose detail from the images I have. What are those kids doing inside the ropes? 1989 and I got to fly in a safety chase for one of their test missions Opus was the call sign for the MC-130H at Edwards, a reference to its "beak" and the similarity to the penguin (?) character in the comic strip Bloom County. to complete the reference, the control room for MC-130 missions used the call sign "Bloom County". Normally, mission control rooms used the aircraft call sign and the word control, e.g. Zoom Control for an F-16 mission, so it imparted a bit of whimsy when you herd Bloom County over the air. 1990 saw the addition of a second test bird, 83-1212. Here is '475 moving into pre-contact position from the tanker '1212 front right quarter '475 front right quarter '475 rear quarter '1212 rear quarter '475 making a pass down the Rogers lakebed tower fly-by line. Tower fly-bys were used to calibrate the pitot static system at lower altitudes. There was a sighting grid in the tower used to determine the actual altitude above the lakebed and those numbers were compared to what was indicated in the cockpit. 1991, '475 Thanks for looking, Sven
  24. Old Viper Tester

    A-10A Test Jet, 73-1666

    One of my A-10 flight tests in 1984-85 with the 6512th Test Squadron. The A-10 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB was shut down at the end of 1983. The remaining A-10 test programs and two A-10s were turned over to the 6512th. When the test programs were completed in mid-1985, the A-10s were sent to the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin AFB as part of a consolidation of Systems Command A-7Ds at Edwards and A-10s at Eglin. '666 was my Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS, pronounced jip-wiz) test jet. A program aimed at reducing controlled flight into terrain incidents. The A-10 GPWS consisted of a black box processing radar altimeter (RADALT) data and making voice and HUD warnings. Because of the low altitude maneuvering of the A-10A in prosecuting close air support, RADALT transmit and receive antennas were installed on both vertical tails as well as under the horizontal stab. An attitude sensor switched which RADALT pair were active at any given time to preclude a sidewards proximity, like a canyon wall, creating a pull-up warning. '666 prior to GPWS installation After. GPWS antennas at the base of the tail. You can just make out the GPWS antennas beneath the horizontal stab GPWS evaluation essentially consisted of throwing the jet at the ground in various attitudes and verifying that the "roll-out" and/or "pull-up" warning came on when it was supposed to. Not the best camo for the Mojave Desert... Approach to a touch 'n' go at nearby George AFB Refueling from the 'Business Effort' tanker from the Illinois Air National Guard With test events completed, joining up with a 6512TS 'Vark Return to base. South end of Rogers Dry Lake flooded - not unusual in the winter/spring. Always check the status of the lakebed runways before stepping to the jet! Thanks for looking, Sven
  25. Old Viper Tester

    The Elder: F-4C s/n 63-7407

    '407 was referred to as "The Elder", being the first F-4C built for the USAF. It spent it's whole life as a test and test support jet in USAF's Air Force Systems Command bouncing between the 3246th Test Wing at Eglin AFB and the 6510th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, finishing up at the latter. All of the air-to-air shots were taken on May 3, 1985. '407 transferred to Edwards in Feb 1985. The Armament Division tail code, AD, had been modified to the 6510th Test Wing tail code, ED, by painting over the A and replacing it with an E. The maintenance forms binder that follows the jet typically just has the serial number in large characters on the cover. '407's book had the serial number and the legend "THE ELDER" in large block letters. Refueling from NKC-135E s/n 55-3135 of the 4950th Test Wing out of Wright-Patterson AFB. The 4950th was part of AFSC's Aeronautical Systems Division, hence the ASD tail band. 1990 and now an "Albino Rhino" as part of the Edwards test support fleet. Gave up the Euro 1 paint scheme in early 1988. Name on the nose gear door... 1991 and retirement: The Elder was saved and is now on display outside the Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB. Thanks for looking, Sven