Friday, March 16, 2012

Phantom Eye - Dayum ... That's Ugly!

Boeing rolled out its Phantom Eye unmanned aircraft for a high speed taxi test at Edwards AFB on March 10. No problems were reported.

Except, that is, it's so damn ugly.

I admit to not knowing much about this aircraft except that it is supposed to be a hydrogen powered, high altitude, long endurance test bed, and the guppy shaped mid section contains about a ton of hydrogen fuel.

I was trying to think of other aircraft or combinations of aircraft that would approximate what this thing looks like, and I failed. It's just yuck ...

Photo credit NASA.

Here's a link to a Boeing produced video of the taxi test ...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Nice Day At The Local Airpatch

A nice sunny day out at NAS Ft. Worth recently produced some very nice aircraft. Pretty busy day, lots of traffic.

Lockheed-Martin flew two F-35As on test flights. 09-5001 and 09-5002 were already carrying the markings of their soon to be owners, the 58th Fighter Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, at Eglin AFB.

One of L-M's chase Vipers, F-16D 90-0848, provided escort duties during the test flights.

L-M is in the midst of a production run of F-16s for the Morroccan Air Force. 08-8015 was beating up the field on pre-acceptance test flights.

The home based US Army C-12 outfit was conducting normal training flights, with three different models of the C-12 being airborne.

A pair of 64AS, 57Wg aggressor F-16s were present. The Nellis AFB based aircraft were in helping the home based 457th Fighter Squadron during an ORI. 86-273, above, is carrying a beautiful arctic camoflage scheme, applied while the jet was based up in Alaska for aggressor duties. 84-1301, below, is an old friend. I have photographed this aircraft now with 3 different units - the 64th AS (current owner), the Ft. Worth based 457th FS, and the Houston based 111th Fighter Squadron.

A grey on grey camoflage scheme cupled with a Red Star on the tail on this VFA-204 F-18A+ Hornet denotes its main mission as an aggressor. The jet is based at NAS New Orleans, was apparently in to do some local missions out of Ft. Worth.

A nice surprise was this Dyess AFB based B-1B, which dropped by for a touch-and-go approach.