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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.

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19821020 10cr

 

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19821020 02cr

 

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.

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19821020 06cr

 

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19821020 16cr

 

January 1983 - Continued LANTIRN pod effects testing.

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19830100 32cr

 

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw R-2508 19830100 37cr

 

October 1983 - After being fitted with an F-16C vertical tail.

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw KEDW 19831029 03cr

 

80-0550 f-16ctf 6510tw KEDW 19831029 11cr

 

February 1990 - Deeper pylons to accommodate AIM-7 Sparrows for testing compatibility with the F-16C configuration.

80-0550 6516ts ED KEDW 19900215 29cr

 

January 1991 - Fitted with the spin recover parachute quadrapod 

80-0550 6516ts ED KEDW 19910125 10cr

 

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.

75-0749 f-16xlctf 19830303 19cr

 

Thanks for looking,

Sven

Edited by Old Viper Tester
Corrected "auto-correct"
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Agreed, thanks for posting them :thumbsup:

 

18 hours ago, Old Viper Tester said:

October 1983 - After being fitted with an F-16C vertical tail.

Apart from the obvious blade antenna fitted to the fin base, what other differences were between the two versions, please?

 

Ciao

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On 8/1/2020 at 11:12 AM, giemme said:

what other differences were between the two versions, please?

The only real external differences of the C/D series are:

- the blade antenna, as you noted

- the broader vertical tail base (or island)  that the antenna is mounted on - the larger volume base was designed to house the Airborne Self-Protection Jammer, though later, the ASPJ was not purchase by the USAF. This different vertical tail is the primary identifier between A/B and CD.

- the engine intakes were custom designed for the brand of engine installed - the original Normal Shock Inlet (NSI) for the Pratt & Whitney F100 series (Block25, most Block 30, and Blocks 32,42,52) or the Modular Common Inlet Duct (MCID) associated with the GE F110 series (late Block 30, Blocks 40, 50) . The ECS inlet above the sides of the MCID have angled intakes while the NSI has a vertical intake.

- the engine exhaust nozzles themselves are visibly different as well - the F100 series exhaust nozzle is essentially straight, giving the exhaust a conic profile (common to all F-16A/B), the F110 exhaust nozzle has curved petals, giving the exhaust an ogive profile.

 

Cheers,

Sven

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