Flightline: 14/TBD

Illustration for article titled Flightline: 14/TBD
Photo: NASA
Illustration for article titled Flightline: 14/TBD
Photo: NASA
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Illustration for article titled Flightline: 14/TBD
Photo: NASA

An F-14 with day-glo orange flashes and a pop-out canard? The NASA worm logo should tell you when and where this was.

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Bearing serial number 157991, this YF-14A was transferred to NASA and redesignated F-14-1X. The aircraft was flown by Navy, NASA and Grumman pilots during a long series of test flights beginning in 1979 to research improvements in the Tomcat’s high-angle-of-attack characteristics, especially spin-recovery and wing rock.

991 was specially modified for these tests, with Grumman and NASA adding a battery powered APU, the extended nose boom, an emergency spin parachute, and a pair of hydraulically actuated canards. 

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This Tomcat was also involved in testing a flush air data system for gathering data about air speed; providing an updated aeromodel which used in the Navy F-14 training simulators; created natural laminar flow baseline data for many of NASA’s later laminar flow programs; and tested low altitude, asymmetric thrust.

1X was later painted in the standard early Eighties F-14 scheme (though it retained the NASA worm logo):

Illustration for article titled Flightline: 14/TBD
Photo: NASA
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And was returned to the Navy in 1985, though apparently it wasn’t ever assigned to an operational unit, and was scrapped in 1990.

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