2H4
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Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 3:12 am

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So apparently, this aircraft is currently being operated by Raytheon for some Naval research and development program. What I can't figure out is how it could possibly be advantagous to unearth and maintain an old dinosaur like this, when any number of cheaper and easier-to-maintain testbed aircraft are widely available. For example, I'm sure it would be a lot easier to find an old 737-200 on which to mount the special nosecone and canoe fairing. Also, I've seen pics of Sabreliners with F-16 nosecones. Certain Sabreliner parts may be difficult to come by, but finding EA-3 parts must be like hunting down parts for an '83 Renault Fuego.

Obviously, it was determined that this aircraft is ideal for their test purposes. My question is, what does this aircraft bring to the table that others can't?

It could possibly be due to its cockpit configuration, but if you need a cockpit equipped with ejection seats, there are more economical options. The other unique advantage this aircraft offers is the ability to operate from carriers....which I can't imagine it's currently doing.....

What gives?


2H4
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SlamClick
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:15 am

We don't know, but this aircraft might have been flyable and not rusting in the boneyard.

Just off the top of my head I can think of one advantage this airframe might have over 737, T-39 etc. is a tailhook.

If they intend to use this testbed at sea, that might be useful.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
SATL382G
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:28 am

If the aircraft is exercising with the fleet, the ability to plug a tanker would be a plus.

Honestly though I don't know enough about this aircraft to tell if it's still (or ever was) capable of tanking. Or maybe it IS the tanker...  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
"There’s nothing quite as exhilarating as being shot at and missed" --Winston Churchill
 
aeroweanie
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:33 pm

RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:38 am

Modifying an airliner for test purposes can be quite difficult, as their structures are optimized for airline usage. The A-3 on the other hand is built for carrier use and the structure is incredibly strong and hence easy to modify. The A-3 also has a lot of electrical generation capability and usable internal volume.

Raytheon uses the A-3s for all kinds of airborne electronics testing. 74 has an F-15 nose, 75 has a big ventral radome and 77 has an F-14 nose. Raytheon also has a 727-200 with an F-15 nose, while Northrop Grumman has three BAC 1-11s and a 737-200 that they use for airborne electronics testing. Thales has a DC-9 that they use for similar testing.


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efohdee
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:00 am

Those A-3's have been used as test beds for some time. They were originally used by Hughes Aircraft, based at the now obliterated Culver City airport. They were the original launching platform for the Hughes AIM-54 Phoenix missile during testing by Hughes and the Navy. Raytheon inherited the A-3's when they acquired Hughes Space and Electronics years ago. They probably have low airframe hours since they dont fly much and are likely well taken care of.
 
pilotpip
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 2:34 pm

For higher speeds that these aircraft are capable of?

Boeing uses a P-80 to record test flights. It's painted red. It's been in STL a bit lately flying with the F-15E program. The airforce also has boneyards full of old F-4s, and other dinosaurs pickled out in the desert that are being converted to target drones and pillaged for parts. They flew two into STL freshly painted for the Boeing family picnic this past summer.
DMI
 
SlamClick
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 2:51 pm

Pilotpip are you sure the Boeing plane isn't a T-33? The P-80 is an extremely rare airplane. I've only seen three of them in my life, and not one of these had flown in thirty years.

P-80 is a single seater, with the tip tanks slung under the wings instead of at the midline. They might not have the louvers above and below the intakes as duct rumble was discovered after they went into production.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
aeroweanie
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Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:33 pm

RE: Flight Test Question

Sat Jan 22, 2005 3:49 pm

Its a T-33 (N416X). Its actually a Canadair Shooting Star....
 
nra-3b
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RE: Flight Test Question

Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:39 am

Try doing some air to air combat maneuvers with a 737 or 727. Or simulating the behavior of a missile, air-to-air or air-to-ground. The A-3 comes closer than any other non-fighter aircraft for this job. They might be old, but they still fly well and get the job done quite a bit cheaper than the larger testbeds.

Cheers,
Bob
 
aeroweanie
Posts: 1577
Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:33 pm

RE: Flight Test Question

Sun Jan 23, 2005 1:42 am

I goofed - N416X is a Canadair Silver Star, not Shooting Star

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