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Found 75 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.)
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Another from the 6512th Test Squadron Bozo Fleet Over the then new Edwards control tower Thanks for looking, Sven
  16. F-16A 80-0550, F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. Evaluation flights of handling qualities (stability and control) of the aircraft with LANTIRN targeting and navigation pods. The pods and pylons are engineering mock-ups. October 1982 and January 1983. Lucky shot as we re-joined and barrel rolled over him to avoid overshooting. Good view of the general arrangement of the spin recovery parachute attachment fittings and associated fuselage reenforcements Straight-in approach to Runway 22 over Rogers Dry Lake. The Boron mines in the background. '550 was a dedicated Performance and Flying Qualities (P&FQ) test aircraft, hence the spin recovery chute fittings for high angle-of-attack and departures testing. '550 would later have an F-16C vertical tail installed to evaluate the effects of the enlarged fairing that was intended to house the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer, which, as it turns out, was never accepted by the USAF. Thanks for looking, Sven
  17. F-16B 81-0817, F-16 Combined Test Force, 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB, August 1986. Can't say much about this one. USAF images. Thanks for looking, Sven
  18. 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 beyond that it was pretty much an all new aircraft. It started with proposals from Cavalier Corp for a counter-insurgency (COIN) platform and garnered political support as an adjunct to the A-10. Cavalier eventually folded but the concept wouldn’t go away and, somehow, Piper was left holding the bag with the model PA-48 Enforcer. A Test Ops pilot and his trusty engineer (me - a test pilot once quipped at me "Engineers are great, everybody should have one!") were sent to the Piper facility at Lakeland Florida to evaluate Piper's Enforcer test program prior to the aircraft coming out to Edwards for evaluation. Without further comment, this is some of what we saw… Ship #1, N481PE Ship #2, N482PE In the Edwards boneyard in 1990 Thanks for looking Sven
  19. 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 made a formation takeoff from Ft Worth which was not briefed to the GD-FW team - the crews did brief it among themselves - made bit of a commotion in the mission control room when they did that. '747 was originally a Full Scale Development F-16A airframe that incurred significant forward fuselage damage during a takeoff roll (a story in itself). The airframe aft of the cockpit was used for XL-2 using a completely new production forward fuselage. Pinning the under carriage. Shut-Down. "Joe Bill" in front, Wolfe in back. State flag of Texas below the FCP instrument coaming. The GE F110 engine exhaust cone. XL-1 had a P&W F100 engine. As on XL-1, dummy AIM-120s bolted to the fuselage. Being pushed back into the hangar for acceptance inspections. Thanks for looking, Sven
  20. 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 every time weapons were ordered for the XLs. Thanks for looking, Sven
  21. 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 stairs are unique to General Dynamics and had two different configurations corresponding to single-seat and two-seat F-16s. The AMRAAMs are just shapes with no upper wings/fins. As the XLs never had missile launchers installed, the AMRAAM shapes were bolted to the fuselage. Preparing to swing her around and push her into the maintenance hangar for acceptance inspection. Thanks for looking, Sven
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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. I was fortunate enough to fly a safety chase mission on her a year later. The test nose boom has been replaced with a production pitot probe, the ED tail code and AFFTC tail band have bee applied, and the aircraft name is now "Future Shock". Thanks for looking, Sven
  25. 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
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