Research Aircraft: the North American YF-107A, Images by Wernher Krutein and PHOTOVAULT®

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Originally designated F-100B, the F-107 -- a tactical flight bomber -- was so extensively redesigned before the designation was changed before the first YF-107A (Serial #55-5118) flew in 1956. It featured a large inlet located above the fuselage for a Pratt & Whitney YJ75-P-11 engine with afterburner, a very sophisticated stability augmentation system, and a movable vertical fin. In July 1959 the YF-107A (Serial #55-5118) airplane designated NACA #207 was donated to NASA High-Speed Flight Station. The first aircraft proved mechanically unreliable and only made 4 flights before NASA grounded it.

The third aircraft built, YF-107A (Serial #55-5120) made its first NACA flight on July 25, 1958. It would complete 39 more flights during 1958 and 1959 before being destroyed in a takeoff accident on September 1, 1959, fortunately without injury to the pilot.

During this period a sidestick program was NACA's major accomplishment with the craft, after the proposed inlet and fin studies went by the wayside. The complex inlet, with its movable inlet ramps and variable inlet control, caused problems and was finally positioned in a fixed mode. Engineers at NACA modified the YF-107A NACA #120, with a so-called Sidestick Flight Control System. (Sidestick was the center stick, modified and moved to the side of the cockpit area and could be used with wrist motion only) This system had been planned for the upcoming X-15 program. North American refined the design and the designated X-15 test pilots gained experience before having to use it in the actual X-15 airplane.
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