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Test Support Phantom: NRF-4C 64-1004


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RF-4C, 64-1004 (AKA "Balls four"), assigned to the 6512th Test Squadron (Test Ops), 6510th Test Wing, Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB. Test support involved being used by the USAF Test Pilot School for practicing test techniques, being a photo/safety chase or being a radar target for flight test missions. She came from RAF Alconbury where she suffered a barrier engagement in 1967, and required depot repairs (sheared the nose gear, one main mount through the wing and the wing broken off). Not surprising that when the USAF requested a jet for AF Systems Command at Edwards, she was the one they gave up. Some of the test crews swear she was bent.

 

December 1983, a few months after arriving from Alconbury. The blue and white canopy trim is a holdover from the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19831208 17cr

 

March 1985

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19850316 11cr

 

May 1985: The Blue and white canopy trim painted over with black(?!?). Apparently having a flight controls investigation evidenced by the leading edge flaps down and the hydraulics 'Mule' in front of the right wing.

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19850518 18cr

 

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19850518 27cr1

 

January 1989, the white and red "Bozo" scheme was applied around 1987, about the same time that her official designation was changed to NRF-4C. The "N" indicating permanent flight test modifications have been made.

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19890100 21cr

 

July 1990

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19900717 01cr

 

September 1990

64-1004 6512ts ED KEDW 19900906 05cr

 

She was retired in early 1992 and sent to the Edwards AFB Flight Test Museum.

 

Thanks for looking,

Sven

Edited by Old Viper Tester
added mishap details
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Images of the barrier mishap in 1967 from one of the USAF safety publications. She landed short of the barrier with the hook down, bounced back in the air while the hook still caught the barrier. The BAK-12 yanked her back down on the runway.

 

64-1004 10TRW Alconbury barrier engagement 1967

 

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6 hours ago, Old Viper Tester said:

Images of the barrier mishap in 1967 from one of the USAF safety publications. She landed short of the barrier with the hook down, bounced back in the air while the hook still caught the barrier. The BAK-12 yanked her back down on the runway.

 

 

 

Wow! I dont think many other aircraft will have flown again after that!

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11 hours ago, Old Viper Tester said:

Images of the barrier mishap in 1967 from one of the USAF safety publications. She landed short of the barrier with the hook down, bounced back in the air while the hook still caught the barrier. The BAK-12 yanked her back down on the runway.

 

 

 

Was it normal to be so nose high upon landing? Or was it due to the adverse conditions that brought to the mishap? TIA

 

Ciao

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5 hours ago, giemme said:

Was it normal to be so nose high upon landing? Or was it due to the adverse conditions that brought to the mishap?

I'm guessing that she is too nose high due to the conditions. Some have suggested that he's trying to take off again - leaving the hook down would argue against that. The mishap report states that the aircraft inadvertently became airborne, so whether it was from a 'bounce' or not, I'm thinking the crew is not fully in control at this point. 

 

Typical approach attitude is like this...

65-0670 6512ts ED KEDW 19890815 37cr

 

and this attitude is held down to touchdown. The natural tendency is for the pilot to flare just before touchdown, but even USAF F-4 crews pretty much knew you couldn't go wrong if you just flew this attitude on to the runway. So very little or now flare was the norm. The Navy would tell you to just fly it into the deck (definitely no flaring on a carrier). The drag chute imparted a nose down pitching moment,  so you wanted to use longitudinal control to "gently" get the nose wheels down to the runway.

 

Sven

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Old Viper Tester said:

The natural tendency is for the pilot to flare just before touchdown

Pardon me Sven, my English fails me here: what does "to flare" mean? I couldn't figure it from googleing a translation in Italian

 

TIA

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7 hours ago, giemme said:

what does "to flare" mean?

It's a maneuver just before touchdown where the nose is pulled up slightly to slow the descent and lessen the force of impact with the runway. Pilot's who flare too soon tend to drift down the runway before touching down. Flare correctly and the result is "greasing" the aircraft on the runway. The height of the maneuver is very dependent on the size/weight of the aircraft and the approach descent rate.

 

The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook describes the flare as “a slow, smooth transition from a normal approach attitude to a landing attitude, gradually rounding out the flightpath to one that is parallel with, and within a very few inches of, the runway.” Applying back-pressure to the yoke slowly raises the airplane’s nose and increases its angle of attack. The steeper angle between the wings and the relative wind increases lift, and the airplane’s descent slows as airspeed bleeds off. The wings approach their critical angle of attack in the flare and, ideally, stop flying just after the main wheels touch the surface.

 

Hope this helps.

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It does, absolutely! Thank you very much for your explanation, Keith :thumbsup: (and know I'm also very clear about the Navy attitude about flying it into the deck :frantic: )

 

Ciao

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