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F5D-1 on ramp with Neil Armstrong preparing to fly a Dyna-Soar simulation F5D-1 on ramp with Neil Armstrong preparing to fly a Dyna-Soar simulation

Photo Number: EC62-128
Photo Date: 1962

Formats: 602x480 JPEG Image (85 KBytes)


The Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer being pre-flighted by the pilot while the crew chief prepares to pull the wheel chocks on the "hot gun" ramp at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The aircraft was one of two prototype F5D-1s obtained by NASA Flight Research Center in 1961. The F5D-1 Skylancer (Bu. No. 142350) had a red and white paint pattern with a NASA identification number of 213 which later became NASA 708.

The Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer was built by the Navy as an all-weather fighter interceptor that never made the jump to production. Four test aircraft were developed with the same basic airframe as the Douglas F4D Skyray. With increasing modifications the four aircraft were re-designated F5D-1s before their first flights.


Future Astronaut Neil Armstrong was one of the NASA research pilots assigned to support duties for the Dyna-Soar program. In addition to working at the Boeing facility in Washington state, Armstrong also tested the Dyna-Soar launch abort profile using this F5D-1, which had a similar wing shape to the Dyna-Soar. The aircraft arrived at the Flight Research Center on June 15, 1961.

After the Dyna-Soar program was cancelled in December 1963, this F5D-1 continued to be used, serving as a flying simulator for the M2-F2 and as a chase plane for lifting-body flights (providing the lifting-body pilot with an extra set of eyes to assist in emergencies and avert potential crashes) This F5D-1 left the Flight Research Center (later designated the Dryden Flight Research Center) on May 19, 1970, and was donated to the Neil A. Armstrong Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

Keywords: Douglas F5D-1 Skylancer; Edwards Air Force Base; California; NASA Flight Research Center; Dryden Flight Research Center; Dyna-Soar; Neil Armstrong

Last Modified: February 6, 2002
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