McDonnell Douglas YF-15A-4-MC, s/n 71-0287, made its first flight on 25 August 1973. Assigned to Edwards AFB for testing, 71-0287 was part of the first 12 Category I pre-production test aircraft and was used as the test aircraft for spin recovery and angle of attack trials and fuel systems tests. For spin recovery purposes, the aircraft had a small box-like structure attached to the rear fuselage which housed the anti-spin recovery parachute. Part of this device has been located by the museum, but it will not be reinstalled until all the missing parts are located. The original nose cone, and test boom, were also located on Edwards about three years ago and have been reinstalled on the aircraft.
During its testing years, 71-0287 was used by the combined McDD/USAF F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, California between 1973 and November 1975. 71-0287 was later loaned to NASA as 835 on 5 January 1976 and became N835NA in 1986. As part of an F100 engine improvement program, NASA used 71-0287 for research into the F100 EMD (Engine Model Derivative), which saw quite an improvement over the old engine. It was also used in HIDEC program (Highly Integrated Digital Engine Controls).
Unfortunately, much of the aircraft has been stripped out over the years, including the engines and cockpit. It is the hope of the Flight Test Museum to eventually restore the interior, but for now the aircraft is in need of paint. Our plans are to return the aircraft to it’s original white and orange paint scheme as it appeared while flying at Edwards AFB. And once again, your help is needed.
Help preserve this historic aircraft and place it on public display.
The Flight Test Historical Foundation is a private organization. The FTHF is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no government status.