At the entrance to the base was this grand old B-52. This 0008 plane was used by NASA to launch the X-planes. Lit by the orange rays of the early dawn light.
In the hangar on base, a B-1B bomber - otherwise known as the BONE.
A view of the rear thrusters on a Bone; this one outdoors.
NASA had on display their 747 which was used to carry the Space Shuttle piggyback style.
As a treat, Edwards had their recently refurbished SR-71 Blackbird out on display.
Looking a bit odd sporting its new gloss black paint. Supposed to be a cost saving measure...
Still, an awesome plane with an equally awesome history!
This unusual F-15 S/MTD with large forward canards is a NASA technology demonstrator. It flew a demo at the last Edwards show in 2006.
A head on view of the highly maneuverable F-15.
Another interesting and unusual aircraft there was the F-16XL. With a cranked arrow delta wing, it had twice the wing area of a standard F-16.
Don't know much about this, just thought it was a cool picture!
Update: It's a Lockheed YO-3 'Quiet Star'. Designed for night battlefield observation during the Vietnam war. It was a very quiet plane, and can fly as low as 200 ft over the enemy without being heard. Thanks to Charlie Baumann for the ID!
Christian Jacobsen had this to add about this plane: "One of the programs I saw while I was at NASA was a project for developing quieter helicopter rotors (or for downtown VTOL public airports). They would mount microphones on the wings of the YO-3 and follow our helicopters around to do real-world testing of the various rotor designs. (A Blackhawk, an Apache, and a Little Bird.) Because it could fly slowly, silently, and close to the helicopters, it was the perfect platform for the audio testing aspect of the project."
"Every aspect of the plane was developed to be as quiet as possible... which was part of the reason it had that odd looking wooden propeller. Apparently it was the quietest prop ever made!"
Got the following from Kurt Olney, who was a crew chief on a YO-3A in Vietnam, and was helping out at Edwards with the plane: "The elements that made the plane ulltra quiet--some might say silent when it flies 800-1000 feet overhead--were the following 1. Slow turning prop 700 rpm (minimizes tip noise.) 2. An exhaust system that runs the length of one side of the airplane, 3. IO-360 continental engine enclosed in acoustic deadening cowling and silicone in the rocker box covers 4. 12 v-belts--reduction drive- (we use to call them rubber bands) that eleminate gear noise. 5. A streamlined plane. (plane is based on a Schweizer 2-32 glider but greatly modified.) 6. Duct tape. Before planes went on a mission, they would fly about 300 feet over the maintenance shack. If we heard whistles, rattles etc, we would bring her in put some tape on her. After a while we pretty much knew where the problems were likely to be so we taped her before she went up."
NASA has its version of the U-2, looking much more friendly in gloss white.
A Hughes Loach helicopter. Reminded me of the one flown by T.C. in Magnum P.I.
P-40 Warhawk with its awesome sharkmouth paintjob.
The T-33 Acemaker was also there at Edwards.
Here's a British Spitfire. I have no idea which Mark!
update: It's a replica Mk IX Spitfire (registration # N1940K). Hand built by Robert Deford, and took 8 years to complete. Uses the real Spitfire gear, canopies, and control stick. The plane has a steel tube frame covered in wood and metal. Uses a Allison V-12 engine and the prop off a DC-3. Thanks to Greg (the Acemaker pilot), and others who've sent me info on the plane!
CAF was out in force. Here's their shiny B-17 Sentimental Journey.
Browning 0.50 cal machine guns. Not candycanes.
Also shiny is the B-25 Pacific Prowler. It's been pointed to me that the Pacific Prowler is not part of the CAF, but operated by Jim Terry. Jim currently keeps the plane at the Vintage Flying Museum in Fort Worth, TX.
Rear view of the B-25.
Used by the military as a heavy transport in WWII, planes like this Curtiss C-46F Commando 'China Doll' flew the 'hump' from India-Burma to China.
Looking like a Gooney Bird, this is actually a AC-47 Spooky gunship!
C-130J props as art!
This modified F-16 is used as an in-flight simulator. It can be programmed to have its flight response mimic that of any aircraft. The dorsal hump housed the computers and electronics needed for that simulation. Of course, the same computing power can be performed nowadays by something the size of a cell phone! :-)
As the sign sez - a CH-46.
A mean looking B-52 on the ground.
Brute power never goes out of style! An A-10 Warthog sporting some bling.
I 'think', the chromed out GAu-8 Avenger is not standard fare on combat aircraft!
There were quite a few Edward planes on display and in the air. Just look for the 'ED' on the tail! This F-16 is loaded up and surrounded by various weapons it can carry.
Here are a couple of GPS guided GBU-31 2000lb JDAM bombs. Guaranteed to ruin someone's day!
Early in the morning, a pair of F-16s take to the sky. Here in the backseat is General Chuck Yeager!
They overflew the base and broke the sound barrier at exactly 10am. The double sonic boom reverberated through the open hangar in a loud and most shocking manner, scaring the crap out of me! Love it!!
A A-10 takes off on the newly constructed 4L runway - which is half the distance to the spectators. This only made it 'far' away, as opposed to 'in the next county'!
Makes a close pass with the gear down.
Click the play button to hear the unique sounds of the A-10!
Turning away, retracting the gear.
Shot of the A-10 banking.
Sounds of the Warthog making a strafing run!
An unexpected treat was the use of pyro to simulate bomb drops!
Yeah baby! Bring the heat!
The Warthog makes several attack runs.
That was a cool pyro and A-10 display!
Flying inverted through the smoke...target destroyed.
Next up was a Doolittle raid re-enactment. Here's the CAF B-25 Pacific Prowler on its low level approach...
Click play button to hear the B-25 on its bomb run. The thumping sound is the pyros going off. Looks better than it sounds!