Celebrating 50 years of the Mighty Mighty this month. Today a closer look to the second prototype built. McDonnell Douglas F-15A-1-MC –. Better know as 71-0281, made its first flight onSeptember 26th 1972 and was the F100 engine test aircraft. Like the other prototypes, 71-0281 was used by the F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards AFB, The aircraft was officially transferred to NASA on 17 December 1975. It retained its USAF tail number throughout its time with NASA. Not much glory for this Eagle but a silent work horse within the Eagle flight test program providing valuable flight data.
71-0281 was also used to test thermal protection tiles for the Space Shuttle. 0281 was returned to the USAF in 1983 shortly after which she was retired and put on display at Langley AFB unit present day.