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F-104N #812, F-15A #287 and YF-17 #569 in formation.

Photo Number: EC86-33524-02
Photo Date: 1976
Formats: 640x621 JPEG Image (190 KBytes)
1280x1241 JPEG Image (656 KBytes)
3000x2908 JPEG Image (3550 KBytes)
F-104N #812, F-15A #287 and YF-17 #569 in formation.
NASA accepted three specially built F-104s in late 1963 for use as pilot proficiency aircraft, low lift over drag trainers, and chase planes. These received the designation "F-104N." N812NA appeared at the Flight Research Center (now the Dryden Flight Research Center) on September 30, 1963, and was retired in January 1987, after 4,442 flights. Through the years, Dryden has used a variety of chase and support aircraft. First acquired in August 1956, F-104s were the most versatile work-horses in Dryden's stable of research and support aircraft, with 11 of them flying mostly research missions over the next 38 years. Tail number 826 flew the last of these missions on 31 January 1994. By then the 11 F-104s had accumulated over 18,000 flights at Dryden in a great variety of missions ranging from basic research to airborne simulation and service as an aerodynamic testbed.

The F-15A, NASA aircraft number 835 (USAF Serial #71-0287), was used by NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility (now Center), Edwards, California, for digital electronic flight and engine control systems development in the early 1980s. The aircraft was used to develop the digital electronic engine control (DEEC) system now used on many current fighter aircraft. Research programs flown on the testbed aircraft have demonstrated improved rates of climb, fuel savings, and engine thrust by optimizing systems performance.

From May 27 to July 14, 1976, the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, flew the Northrop Aviation YF-17 technology demonstrator to test the high-performance U.S. Air Force fighter at transonic speeds. The objectives of the seven-week flight test program included the study of maneuverability of this aircraft at transonic speeds and the collection of in-flight pressure data from around the afterbody of the aircraft to improve wind-tunnel predictions for future fighter aircraft.

NASA Photo by: NASA
Keywords: F-104, F-104N, 812, N812NA, F-15A, F-15, YF-17

Last Modified: September 28, 2006
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