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Eclipse

Dryden supported and hosted a Kelly Space and Technology, Inc., (KST)/USAF project, known as Eclipse, which demonstrated a reusable tow launch vehicle concept. The goal of the project was to successfully tow in flight a modified QF-106 delta-wing aircraft with an Air Force C-141A transport-type aircraft.   Eclipse Home Page

DFRC Photo # Photo Date Image Description
  Skip links in main table Eclipse Photo Collection Contact Sheet
EC98-44471-1 February 17, 1998 Pilot Mark Stucky in Eclipse Simulator
EC98-44398-10 January 28, 1998 The Eclipse projectís modified QF-106 under tow by a USAF C-141A.
EC97-44357-8 December 20, 1997 Eclipse project QF-106 and C-141A takeoff on first flight December 20, 1997
EC97-44357-9 December 20, 1997 Eclipse project closeup of QF-106 under tow on takeoff on first flight December 20, 1997
EC97-44357-10 December 20, 1997 Eclipse project closeup of QF-106 under tow on first flight December 20, 1997
EC97-44357-13 December 20, 1997 Eclipse project QF-106 and C-141A climbs out under tow on first flight December 20, 1997
EC96-43755-4 September 26, 1996 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft
EC97-43932-8 February 12, 1997 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft taxi at airport in Mojave, California
EC97-43932-7 February 12, 1997 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft takeoff from airport in Mojave, California
EC97-43932-12 February 12, 1997 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft in flight
EC97-43932-16 February 12, 1997 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft in flight, view from tanker
EC97-44159-8 August 1997 Eclipse program F-106 aircraft in flight, front view
EC97-44233-4 September 1997 Closeup of F-106 release hook for Eclipse program
EC97-44233-5 September 17, 1997 F-106 tow cable attachment and release mechanism for Eclipse program
EC97-44233-11 September 17, 1997 View of F-106 aircraft cockpit for Eclipse program

Additional Information

Dryden was the Responsible Test Organization and had flight safety responsibility for the Eclipse project. Dryden was also supplying engineering, instrumentation, simulation, modification , maintenance, range support, research pilots, and chase aircraft for the test series.

The Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) supplied the C-141A transport aircraft and crew and configuring the aircraft as required for the tests. They also provied general engineering support and assuming flight safety responsibilities for the C-141A.

KST provided concept and detail design and analysis as well as hardware for the tow system and QF-106 modifications. Dryden performed the modifications to convert the QF-106 drone into the piloted EXD-01 (Eclipse eXperimental Demonstrator -01) experimental airplane.

KST will use the results gleaned from the tow tests in developing a series of low-cost, reusable launch vehicles. These tests demonstrated the viability of towing a delta-wing aircraft having high wing loading, validate the tow simulation model, and demonstrate various operational procedures, such as ground processing, in-flight maneuvers, and emergency abort scenarios.




Last Modified: October 16,2006
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