By Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Brief History of the F-111B Flight Test Program

I thought I had posted this before but I can't find it.

151970 Stricken Dec 1969.  Stored at the Naval Surface Weapons Center, Dahlgren VA for vulnerability testing. Transferred to Pax River for potential display at the museum. Subsequently sold to a scrap dealer in the Washington, D.C. area and destroyed in 2000.

151971 crashed Sept 11, 1968 off California coast, reportedly due to a component failure or disconnect in the rudder control system. Test pilots Barton Warren and Anthony Byland killed.

151972 Ferried to NAS Lakehurst NJ in late 1971. Stricken in Dec 1971.  At least the fuselage was shipped to China Lake for vulnerability testing and remains there in outdoor storage.

151973 crashed on takeoff at Calverton, Long Island Apr 21, 1967 due to an incorrect inlet cowl position switch setting—as a result, the translating inlet cowls closed when the landing gear retracted causing both engines to compressor stall. Test pilots Charles Wangeman and Ralph Donnell killed.

151974 transferred to NASA Ames for wind tunnel testing following at-sea carrier trials aboard Coral Sea  off the west coast, based at Point Mugu, CA. Ferried to Moffett Field from Point Mugu on Oct 10, 1968 and stricken the next day. Following the wind tunnel test, the wings were removed to be used as the test article for a jet/deflected flap concept. The fuselage was trucked to China Lake, where it was stripped of usable parts for the ongoing Hughes test program and the carcass eventually scrapped. 
152714 ferried to Davis-Monthan AFB from Hughes and stricken on 25 May 1971. It was shipped to McClellan AFB, California for potential use in battle-damage repair training. (McClellan was the Air Force repair depot for the F-111.) It was eventually sold to a scrap dealer and for several years the fuselage resided in a junkyard two miles east of Mohave, California. It was acquired by the Cactus Air Force museum and is now located at Silver Springs, Nevada near Reno.
152715 ferried to China Lake from Hughes in April 1971 for desert exposure testing and stricken in May 1971. It still resides today.

1 comment:

J. Nelson said...

For many years, I believed (but wasn't positive) that I'd seen 152714 on the west side of McClellan AFB back in the early 1980's, and here you've confirmed it. Thanks! It was complete and certainly in much better shape than shown in the Mojave scrapyard picture.