Two F-106B aircraft were assigned to NASA as part of it's research projects:
F-106B 57-2516 as NASA NF-106B using serial numbers N616NA and N816NA
F-106B 57-2507 as NASA NF-106B using serial numbers N607NA and N607NM
Each NASA Research Center had it's own Aircraft Tail Number Assignment Designation code for the aircraft assigned at the time. This was the 'lead number' for their assigned aircraft tail number. However, it is expected that the aircraft may have flown with different Centers with an actual number change. While the aircraft did spend a lot of time at Langley Research Center, a NASA tail number of 516 has not been found (5 being Langley).
Courtesy of Langley GIS Team
NASA used F-106B 57-2516 for 30 years designated at different times as NASA 616 and 816. It served as the test vehicle for a series of important Air Force and NASA research projects
and was transferred to the Langley Research Center in January 1979. While at Langley it was associated with buildings
7 x 10-Foot High-Speed Tunnel, the Full-Scale Tunnel, and the
hangar. Prior its retirement in May 1991, making it the last known manned F-106 passing from active service,
it was utilized in projects for:
- Research and Development Testing for U.S. Air Force
- Supersonic Transport Program
- Storm Hazards Research
- Vortex Flap Flight Experiment at Langley Research Center
- Off-Surface Flow Visualization System
- Landing Systems
Now on display at the Virginia Air and Space Museum
NASA used F-106B 57-2507 at the Langley Research Center in several different research projects to include:
- Upper Atmosphere Particulate Sampling Research
- Ocean Color Scanner System
- And for its final mission it was used to create the NASA Wind Tunnel model in 1988 for Vortex Flap and In-flight Visualization Research where NASA cut it in half lengthwise so that the
left hand side could be mounted in the wind tunnel to test the vortex flap used on F-106B 57-2516 NASA N816NA.
- Tom Luck writes on 4 Mar 2014 "I worked on a number of jobs at NASA Langley's full scale wind tunnel and they jokingly referred
to this 'Cut in Half' F-106 as the F-53, which is 1/2 of 106". Upper Atmosphere Particulate Sampling Ocean Color Scanner System NASA Chase Plane
Underwing Supersonic Cruise Exhaust Nozzles at Transonic Speeds Research
Transonic Speeds Research and Airbreathing Propulsion Program / Underwing Supersonic Exhaust Nozzles
F-106B 57-2516, NASA NF-106B N616NA 1966-1979, Langley Research Center, Hampton VA
Underwing Supersonic Cruise Exhaust Nozzles at Transonic Speeds Research program was the first project 57-2516, NASA N616NA, participated in after arriving at the
NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland OH on 31 Oct 1966. The first mod doen was to change its tail to the Lewis centers NASA numbering system. Each NASA research center has a different lead
numbering system for thier assigned aircraft, with '6' being that number at the Lewis Research Center. So F-106B 57-2516 became NF-106B N616NA (616) while assigned to the Lewis Research Center,
Cleveland OH. The Langley center used '8' as its lead number so later in its NASA career when N616NA was transferred to Langley it became NF-106B N816NA (816), Langley Research Center, Hampton VA.
The first modifications done to N616NA was to remove the entire Weapons System and all it's wiring, over 700lbs of wiring. Then came the installation of the new underwing nacelles.
Vortex Flap Research begins at 08:15 minutes of this video. NASA Research pilot Bill Brown, former USN Fighter pilot
It was intended to test various engine
inlet and exhaust configurations for the future U.S. SST program, which was
later cancelled. The test aircraft use was F-106B 57-2516 (NASA
N616NA and later renumberd as N816NA). To fit the nacelle mounted
engines under each wing, where the external drop tanks were normally mounted,
the elevons were split to clear the engine exhaust. Auxiliary fuel tanks were
mounted in the missile bay along with extra instrumentation. The engines used in this progam were J-85-GE-13 and some
other slightly smaller (diameter) variants. Those who spent time in FLYTAF
(ATC pilot training) might remember them from the T-38 Talon, MAAG people will
remember them from the F-5A/B and another variant in the F-5E as well as in
some AT-37s. These engines were not much larger in dia. size than the supersonic
external fuel tanks used on the F-106.
This F-106B is now on museum display at the Virginia Air & Space Museum Hampton, VA
From NASA Test Pilot Earle Boyer [15 July 2013]
This is just a short recap of the NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC), now Glenn Research Center, study of propulsion system performance in the transonic speed range. The objective was to determine
propulsion system effects for a wide variety of air breathing inlets and nozzles, to aid in the development of Boeing's proposed SST. Most of the information is taken from previous publications along
with some of my personal reflections.
Because of model size limitations, data obtained in wind tunnels were suspect due to the required large corrections for scaling effects.The F-106B was selected as a suitable test bed because of it's delta wing configuration and suitable underwing nacelle mounting capability,similar to proposed SST configurations. This information was necessary to make any future SST economically competitive,because of the excessive fuel required accelerating through the transonic speed range.
NF-106B 57-2516 (NASA 616) was acquired from the Air Force and flown to the LeRC, Cleveland, Ohio, in October l966.
Extensive modifications were initiated to include the removal of all MA-1 associated wiring, which I recall was about a thousand
pounds. All the missile bay rails and launchers were removed to provide room for an elliptical fuel tank holding 2100 pounds
of A-1 fuel for the test engines. Aircraft and test engine fuel systems were separated and JP-4 was retained for the aircraft's J-75
engine. Fuel for the J-75 engine was reduced by 1443 pounds in each wing due to test engine mounting structure and research hardware.The forward electronics bay equipment and radar antenna were removed and replaced with data recording equipment andlead ballast. Lots of ballast was required to account for the aft CG tendencies with the test engines installed.
A portion of each elevon was fixed to permit the nacelle additions, each housing a J-85 engine with afterburner. Each nacelle
was supported by two attachment links and a load cell assembly permitting direct thrust measurements of each engine. Each
nacelle included a forward and aft interface permitting various types of inlets and nozzles to be tested. The starboard engine/
nacelle was normally flown with a normal shock inlet and reference nozzle to provide a constant base for thrust comparisons
with the research engine.
Additionally, the standard pitot boom was replaced with a research boom containing pitch and yaw vanes. This necessitated
recalibrating the airspeed system, conducted at WPAFB in June of l968. A pacer aircraft supplied by the Air Force was used
for subsonic and supersonic comparisons. Two tower flybys at 600 knots and 100 foot altitude by the F-106 was also
Taxi tests were performed at Cleveland to determine elevon effectiveness with a portion of each elevon fixed, and to determine angle of attack landing limitations with the test engines installed. Flutter tests were conducted to 1.5 mach on a 100NM supersonic corridor established over Lake Erie, beginning near Buffalo and ending near Cleveland. Chase was provided by a NASA Edwards F-104.Another 100NM corridor was subsequently established over Lake Hurron, beginning near Alpena,MI, when flight operations were conducted out of Selfridge AFB.
The aircraft was configured such that the front seat pilot flew the test plan and the rear seat pilot operated the test engines and data recording system. A chase aircraft was required on all flights. Myself and Clifford Crabs flew all the missions generally alternating between the front and rear seats,except on occasions when we flew the chase aircraft. On those occasions the rear seat was occupied by another LeRC research pilot. Depending on mission requirements either J-75 or J-85 fuel limited test time and on many occasions the RTB was flown with the test engines suppling most of the thrust. On some flights the TOGW exceeded 42,000 pounds. Since the landing GW was also heavy, final approaches were flown at 200kts with touchdowns not exceeding 10 to 12 degrees angle of attack to avoid test engine nozzles contacting the runway. Landings were typically made with less than 1000 pounds of J-75 fuel, enough for an aborted landing closed pattern.
Over 300 missions were flown on a variety of nozzles and inlets at various speeds,power settings,"G" levels and Reynold numbers.The lowest Reynolds number reached was on a flight requiring full pressure suits that reached an altitude of 57,000 ft. The program terminated with the transfer of the aircraft to the NASA Langley Research Center and re-designated NASA 816. Following completion of a Storm Hazards program and later a Vortex Flap program, the aircraft was ceremoniously retired on 17 May 1991. It is currently on display at the Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton, VA. --- Earle Boyer 15 Jul 2013
Seven Original Mercury astronauts trained at
NASA Langley Research Center. They are standing here in front of F-106B 58-0158 on
20 Jan 1961 [Date on photo is in error, read below...].
While familiarizing the astronauts with the Mercury set-up, Langley employees helped them to specialize
in the technical areas crucial to the overall success of Project Mercury. Langley people also guided and monitored the astronauts activities through the many
spaceflight simulators and other training devices built at the Center expressly for the manned space program.
Photo Date Discrepancy [Updated 16 April 2002]
The photo indicates 1971, but as Charlie Gindhart pointed out, knowing 58-0158 was not at Langley during that time, he sent an e-mail to the
NASA Langley Research Center inquiring. The real date was uncovered to be
1961 thus a typo. Read below that the center will be changing the photo caption to reflect the real date so any photos you see with 1961 was a dircet result of Charles' actions.
Some give-aways this could not have been in 1971? 1) Gus Grissom was killed on 27 January 1967 along with fellow astronauts Ed White and Roger Chaffee during a training exercise and
pre-launch test for the Apollo 1 mission at the Kennedy Space Center. 2) Glenn, Schirra, Cooper and Carpenter had already left NASA by 1971. 3) Buzz numbers were not used in 1971
as is painted on the fuselage of 158 here.
Alicia V. Tarrant, NASA JSC, writes about the photo date error:
"My JSC contact has indeed confirmed that S61-01250 (aka L71-2971 and EL-1996-00090) was photographed on 01/20/61. It was originally photographed here at Langley by JSC people and the
photo was taken back to Houston. We received a copy negative from them in 1971 of this photo and I guess that is where the 1971 date came from. My thanks to Mr. Gindhart for finding
the error so that I can correct it. I will be editing STILAS and LISAR soon. The new caption will read: The original seven Mercury astronauts standing beside a Convair F106-B aircraft.
They are, left to right, M. Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper Jr., John H. Glenn Jr., Virgil I. Grissom, Walter M. Schirra Jr., Alan B. Shepard Jr., and Donald K. Slayton. Photographed on 01/21/1961
at Langley Air Force Base. Thanks, Alicia V. Tarrant, NASA JSC"
Advanced F-106 Sky Scorcher Inlet
Atmosphere Sampling & Ocean Scanner Sys
Boeing NONAXISYMMETRIC Nozzle Proposal
NF-106B NASA N816NA Retirement Ceremony, 17 May 1991 [NASA Langley film #6543] This video includes remarks by program directors Joseph Chambers, Richard Whitcomb, Fred Wilcox, and Norman Crabill.