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Old Viper Tester

Test Pilot School de Havillands

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During the 1980s, the USAF Test Pilot School operated two DHC aircraft. The first was an NU-6A Beaver, USAF s/n 53-2781. This bird was used to familiarize TPS students with the peculiarities of a tail-wheel aircraft and to demonstrate the effects of propeller torque.

 

The other de Havilland was the UV-18B Twin Otter. This aircraft was acquired in early 1982 and was used to demonstrate single-engine operation and test techniques for a twin-engine aircraft.

 

Here is ‘781 as it looked in 1981. A ‘civil’ paint scheme and registration, N384M. The only hint that this is a USAF aircraft is the Air Force Flight Test Center 6510th Test Wing tail band and a very small USAF serial beneath the tail band. It wore this scheme until at least 1985.

53-2781 usaf tps N384M KEDW 19820126 10cr

 

By 1988, the Beaver acquired the white and red scheme that had become standard for the 6510TW test support fleet

53-2781 usaf tps KEDW 19911005 30cr

 

53-2781 usaf tps KEDW 19900705 35cr

 

The Twin Otter was unusual in that it operated in a civil guise until 1987, displaying the civil registration N300LJ. The only visual indicator that it was USAF was the Test Pilot School emblem on the vertical tail. Interestingly, a bogus USAF serial number was used for administrative purposes, 74-0437 being used on its USAF fuel card. This same serial number appears in my flight records for a couple of hops in the Spring of 1982.

74-0437 usaf tps N300LJ KEDW 19820407 26cr

 

74-0437 usaftps KEDW 19820407 23cr

 

74-0437 usaftps KEDW 19820407 21cr

 

74-0437 usaftps KEDW 19820407 28

 

74-0437 usaftps KEDW 19820407 29

 

When a USAF serial number was issued for the airframe, 87-0802, national insignia were added in the prescribed manner, along with standard unit markings of the USAF Systems Command shield on the tail along with the abbreviated serial number, tail code and tail band. The 6510TW shield is on the outer portion of the engine nacelles and the U.S. Air Force legend was added to the nose.

87-0802 usaf tps KEDW 19900705 36cr

 

The US Naval Test Pilot School also operated a Beaver as BuNo 150191, shown here in 1982

150191 usn tps 31 KNHK 19820208 22cr

 

And an Otter, BuNo 144670, shown undergoing maintenance when my TPS class visited Pax River in 1982.

144670 usntps natc KNHK 19820209 04cr

 

Thanks for looking,

Sven

Edited by Old Viper Tester

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It is always good to received historical info on an airframe, especially if accompanied with photographic evidence.  Thank you for posting these Sven;  I feel a new build forthcoming from one of these images.

 

Mike

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Hi  Keith

 

The Otter was stil at Pax when I did a tour of the airfield around 4 years ago.

One thing that was notable were the number of airframes up poles and on grassed area's,one of them was an A5A Vigilante if I remember correctly

 

Cheers

 

Ian

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i'm sure i have pictures of USNTPS Beavers somewhere too but later than that. Great stuff as ever

 

Andy

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On 2/6/2018 at 2:30 PM, Old Viper Tester said:

Here is ‘781 as it looked in 1881.

 

Wow, I knew Beavers were old, but I didn't know they were THAT old!  Thanks for the photo-essay,

 

bob

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On 2/8/2018 at 11:52 AM, gingerbob said:

I didn't know they were THAT old!

'781's records showed that it was delivered to the USAF in 1954. Mostly had a lot tours as a station hack. According to the maintenance guys, it was excessed and sold to a private owner in the late '60s but was bought back specifically for the USAF TPS by 1979, which explains the civilian  paint scheme.

 

The aircraft was put up for sale again in 2004 and is now registered to a private owner again.

 

As for the Twin Otter, its mission was taken over by a C-12 and the aircraft excessed in late 1993. I think it went to another US government agency.

 

Sven

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Very nice pictures, thank you. I think, Old Viper Tester, he's commenting on the wee typo at the end of the following sentence... :) 

 

Here is ‘781 as it looked in 1881.

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13 hours ago, nuuumannn said:

he's commenting on the wee typo at the end of the following sentence...

So much for my proofreading... :)

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