Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Rare McAir Factory Photos

zD4E-22089zD4E-22604 Jan-24-51 Mark Nankivil sent along two very nice photos of life in the aircraft factory. The first is a control surface static load  test of the F-3H Demon. The second is of an F2H-2N Banshee (123300) backed into an outdoor muffler while doing engine run-ups. As jet engines became more powerful, a “hush house” was built for these runs. Credit: the Greater St. Louis Air and Space Museum.

Click here to view full sized photos

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Flight Test F-101A Voodoo

Flight Test F-101 This is a Fight Test F-101A #12 (S/N 532429). Note the faired gun ports and number 12 on it’s nose.

I looked at this photo maybe a half dozen times before I realized what I was seeing! The nose has an instrument photo panel in it, in order to record the in-flight data. This was the way it was done before data link came around!

Either a camera is placed in front of the panel to record the instruments or the camera shoots thru a hole in the panel into a mirror and records the data. It is hard to tell from this photo; but, it may have the center hole.

My first job in Flight Test was to calculate the required distance between the camera lens and the front of the instrument panel on F4H-1 # 8. So, this rare photo has special meaning to me.

Click here to view a larger photo

Monday, December 29, 2014

Servicing the Rolls Royce Spey Engine

Scan2790 Rolls Royce put out a nice brochure on the ease of servicing their Spey engine. This engine was used in the F-4K & M.


Click here to see brochure

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Factory Floor Photos - Part IV

xD4C-116726-3 Sep-23-75Scan0448 Fifty four new MDC factory floor photos, including XP-67, FH-1,F-101assembly.

Click here to view photos

Saturday, December 27, 2014

RAF Hendon Museum

Untitled 4Untitled 1 During a trip to England in 1998, I stopped at the RAF Hendon Museum. The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly called the RAF Museum, is located on the former Hendon Aerodrome outside of London. They have a V-1, V-2, Me-109 and a lot of other German WWII aircraft!  I went there mainly to photograph their V-1. The museum has a good web site at here.. An excellent place to visit!

Click here to see photos

Interactive tour of RAF Henden here

Friday, December 26, 2014

No 1 Israeli F-15 Unpainted

F-15 Nude3 Another unpainted F-15 doing final prep for flight. This is the first Israeli F-15. Credit: Israeli Air Force

Thursday, December 25, 2014

F-15 Fuselage Stations

Scan0001Scan0002 Two nice illustrations of the F-15 fuselage stations.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

F-15 Rollout Photos

Photos of the F-15 rollout and debut in June of 1972. (This is an update to an earlier post.)

Click here for photos

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

AGARD F-15 Performance

0001 If you are interested in F-15 aerodynamic performance, then Jack Abercrombie wrote a paper for the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research & Development (AGARD) in October of 1977 that you will like. While technical, it has good information for the lay person. Have a look!

Click here to download paper in PDF form

Monday, December 22, 2014

Forty Years of F-15 Air Supremacy

000110001200013 In 2012, Jack Abercrombie wrote several articles and a slide show to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the F-15’s first flight. They detail the challenges of bringing along a new aircraft and the changes that were required to the airframe to enable it to be the world class fighter that it became.

This is a must read for anyone who is interested in the F-15 Eagle and it’s history from the man that was there!

Click here to download the slide show in PDF form

Click here to download the slide show text in PDF form

Click here to download the beginnings in PDF form

Sunday, December 21, 2014

F-4 Wing Tuft Tests

ECN-29784ECN-29797 I found these NASA photos many years ago and kept them, as they reminded me of the tuft tests I did in the early 1960’s while in my first stint in Flight Test.

When the company didn’t want to go to the expense and time to build a model and conduct a wind tunnel series of tests, we painted the wings white, attached tufts with “500” mph industrial duct tape and flew the aircraft. The chase plane would take photos or we would mount cameras on the moldline for photos. If I remember correctly, my tests were on F-4A #9.

On the photos above, notice the straight flow over the wings except for the outer wing panel.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

F-15 Factory Tour

Untitled 0 During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Bob Pukala and myself worked on many projects with our External Relations department; such as the 5000th F-4 Booklet, answering many letters from serious enquiries, other pamphlets; etc., With the permission of our respective departments, of course. I seem to get the job of organizing many tours of the assembly line, probably as my office was mostly in Bldg. 002, where the assembly lines were. Here are some F-15 photos from a late 1979 tour.

Click here to view photos

Friday, December 19, 2014

F-15 Ejection Seat Photos

Scan0001Scan0002Scan0003Scan0001 Factory photos of the F-15 ejection seats. The first photo of a basic seat bucket was taken in Dec 1976 and is of a pre-production type as the production seats are black. The second thru fourth photos were taken in Jan 1977 showing this production seat, probably in the seat build-up area.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

McDonnell Computer Wallpapers

Bare F-18 Bare F-18aC-17a C-17bF-15 Formation 1 F-15 Formation 2F-18 Formation 1 F-18 Formation 2aTwo F-18's Two F-18'sF-18 Russian 1 F-18 Russian 2a I found six 11” x 17” photos in a forgotten folder. These large photos make good computer wallpapers. Enjoy!

Click here to download photos

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

F-15 Engine Change

Scan1379 While I was at Edwards Air Force Base, I was told that McAir had promised the Air Force that an F-15 could have one of it’s engines changed in 15 minutes. So, they arranged a demo!. They made it with a shade under 15 minutes; but, every thing was perfect for the demo. All equipment was pre-staged, all engine covers and caps were of and the crew was drilled to perfection. My good ex-air force mechanic buddy said that the fastest they ever did it was about 30 minutes in the real world! Below are some typical engine change photos.

Click here to view all photos

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pratt & Whitney F100 F-15 Engine Press Release

Scan1373Scan1374 This is the initial press release and photo for the P & W F100 engine for use in the F-15 Eagle.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Misc F-4 Model Designations and Family Tree Info

Scan1853Scan2544Scan2545 In any collection, you have certain pieces that don’t fit into niches very well. For the historians, I present some xeroxes of the F-4 family tree up to the F-4F and two pages of model designations and build numbers thru the F-4m..

Sunday, December 14, 2014

F-4E-67-MC, 78-0741 Walk Around Photos–Part I

Scan1434 A nice walk around tour of a factory fresh F-4E taken on the company flight ramp in October 1979. (Korean E-model #34-company #5065)

Click here to view all photos

Saturday, December 13, 2014

F-15 Speed Brake Development

Scan0333Scan0334Untitled 1bUntitled 2a One of the three main visual differences between pre-production and production aircraft is the length of their speed brakes. Short for pre-production and long for production. Jack Abercrombie (Former McAir Chief Aerodynamicist) has written a great article on the history of the F-15 speed brake development.

BTW: The other two are the clipped wing tips (covered below) and the notched horizontals.

Click here to read article and view photos

Click here for great large speed brake close-ups

Friday, December 12, 2014

Unpainted F-15’s and F-18’s

F-18 Bare 3 Even after coming out of the paint booth (Bldg 48), McDonnell aircraft still had a lot of finish work to be completed before they could be delivered. We were issued and required to wear “booties” when ever we had to climb around on the aircraft; but, still the new paint jobs were scuffed, marked and scraped resulting in an inevitable paint cleaning and touch-up cycle having to be preformed! . After many years of complaining (Including yours truly), it was decided to finish the aircraft, flight test and then paint them. This resulted in unpainted aircraft flying around. A very strange sight to us long time employees conditioned to seeing painted flying aircraft; but, one can clearly see the different aluminum, composite or fiberglass sections of each aircraft. These planes have their own beauty!

Here is a selection of photos of these “naked” aircraft.

Click here to view photos

Click here to view a video of unpainted planes flying

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New Warpaint for the F-4 Phantom Article

Scan3872 A very nice article by Ed Yarbough discussing and illustrating the F-4’s “new” Compass Ghost and all gull Gray schemes.

Click here to view article

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

F-4 Phantoms in Profile Chart

Scan1850 (2) An early report illustration of the differences from F-4B to RF-4B aircraft, including the F-4K/M. I have several copies of this chart; but, this is from the McDonnell Engineering news.

Click here to view the illustrated chart

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Joe Dobronski F2H Banshee Photos

F2H-3 126344 D4E20285THE LAST BANSHEE 2 Joe Dobronski sent along two more F2H Banshee photos for posting. A better photo of F2H-3 126344, which was one of the items I posted yesterday here. And a photo of the last Banshee produced.

If you don’t know Joseph Dobronski Sr., you should, as he is an important part of McDonnell Douglas Flight Test history.

Test & Research Pilots, Flight Test Engineers web site gives a very good biography:

“After graduation from the (Northrop Aeronautical) Institute in 1951, he joined McDonnell Aircraft in St Louis as a Flight Test Engineer; became a production test pilot in 1953 flying the F2H Banshee, and was promoted to experimental pilot after graduation from the USAF Test Pilot's School in 1954.

As an experimental test pilot, and later in 1966 as Chief Test Pilot, he helped develop the Demon, Voodoo, Phantom II, Eagle, Harrier, Hornet and other experimental aircraft along with a three jet helicopter. Joe became Director of Test Operations in 1972 and Director of Flight Test and Operations in 1976.

After retiring in 1984, Joe served as Chief Pilot for Wings of Hope, a humanitarian organization where he spent the next fifteen years flying medical missions in Central America and delivering aircraft for missions in Belize, Botswana South Africa, and the Galapagos Islands. With over 1700 flight instructor hours, he is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.”

Read the web site for the complete biography.

Click here to view Joe's photos

Monday, December 8, 2014

F2H Banshee Photos #1

Untitled 1 Over 30 F2H photos from the William Rudolph collection. I am pretty sure that most of these photos haven’t been seen before. A lot of them are poor quality; but, as I have said before, any photo is better than no photo!
Click here to view photos

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Saga of the F-15 Wing Tips (To clip or not to clip)

Untitled 4Strakes and Fences3[6] Clipped Tip2 If you never noticed, the pre-production F-15’s started out with “Square” wing tips – while the production F-15’s had “Clipped” wing tips!

Jack Abercrombie was in the middle of this problem and had these words:“The attached document describes the buffet problem and the solution.  Not noted is the fact that the first "clipped tip" for the airplane was achieved at Edwards in the dark of night by sawing off the tip, smoothing the ragged edges with wooden tips and duct tape.  And, it worked wonders! The alternative was to incorporate a combination of strakes and fences (a St. Louis developed configuration)--unfortunately, the alternative resulted in too much drag to be viable. Both configurations are shown in the above sketches.”

My only part in this as a Flight Test Engineer was to coordinate the production, distribution and delivery of the Mod Kits sent out for incorporation in all of the pre-production aircraft.

No matter if you call them clipped, modded or raked wing tips, Jack has written a very interesting saga about their history!

Click here for the document in PDF form

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Additional McDonnell F-4 Spin Chute Mystery Info

Spin F-4[3] Pat Rodgers confirmed that the F-4E in this photo was a “Photo Op” bird. This is F-4E 66-0287 #2280, which was bailed to McDonnell for tests. Note the photo target on it’s side. Pat goes on to say “The flight crew in the photo, Gentry and Rutan, flew all the F4E spin flights, and in addition some CAT 2 F4E A/C that were in Flt. test at the time.The spin program was complete without a resolution for an A/C configuration recovery mode.”

Click here for original posting Top 50 blog award!