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Found 68 results

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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.)
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. Another from the 6512th Test Squadron Bozo Fleet Over the then new Edwards control tower Thanks for looking, Sven
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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. The forward shapes had bolts running through the missile bodies themselves to fasten them to the airframe. I'll post more as I clean my slides and get them scanned. Thanks for looking, Sven
  20. 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
  21. 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 '177 and the flaming drone in the same frame passing each other. Anyway, I got to do a formation proficiency flight with this jet in June 1983... The orange fixture over the missile launcher is the suspension rig for the ATLIS pod On a similar mission in 1985 The IFFC project emblem ... and some McAir images of the same jet Thanks for looking, Sven
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
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