The F-100 was the first operational aircraft designed to be flown faster than the speed of sound at sea level (760 mph) in level flight. The prototype attained supersonic speed in its first flight on May 25, 1953. On October 29, 1953, Frank K. "Pete" Everest set a new world speed record of more than 750mph in a YF-100A, flying a little more than 100 ft. above a course set up over the Salton Sea. The first production aircraft were delivered to fighter wings in 1953, but a series of accidents caused by "yaw-roll inertia coupling", more commonly known as "Dutch roll", led to their grounding and redesign work by North American. An increase in wingspan and an increase in the height of the vertical fin plus addition of a yaw damper were done to control the problem and 200 F-100As equipped several fighter wings. The F-100A was an air superiority fighter, armed only with four 20mm cannon.
The F-100C was the first fighter-bomber version, with a more powerful engine and six hard points under the wing which could carry external fuel tanks, bombs, rockets or missiles in various combinations. 476 F-100Cs were built. They were followed by the F-100D, which added ECM equipment and a "toss-bombing" system for delivery of nuclear weapons. More Ds were built than any other version. The last version was the F-100F, a two seat model which was used for training, reconnaissance and as an armed forward air controller. The C, D and F models saw extensive service in the early years of the Vietnam war. The Thunderbirds USAF aerial demonstration team flew F100Cs and Ds for most of 13 years and over 1,000 shows. Super Sabres were retired from USAF service in 1972, but remained in service with the Air National Guard until 1980. They were also flown by Taiwan, Denmark, France and Turkey.
The aircraft on display is the first production F-100C. It was completed in October, 1954 but remained at the North American facilities at Los Angeles Airport and Palmdale until August of 1956. It was then transferred to Edwards AFB and assigned to NACA, the predecessor of NASA. It was assigned to the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, CA, but also spent time at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB. It became a "Variable Stability and Stability Augmentation" research aircraft and, somewhere along the way, acquired the vertical tail surfaces of a D model. The data from the research was applied to the design of several later aircraft. In 1969 a number of NASA aircraft were placed on the civil register and it became N703NA. NASA retired it in 1972 and gave it to the Aviation Department of San Jose State University at San Jose airport. The aircraft was towed from Moffett to San Jose early on a Sunday morning in September, 1972. It was used as a hydraulic systems trainer for the university's aircraft maintenance programs. In mid-2004, the university modified their program and no longer required the F-100. The state agreed to loan it to Castle Air Museum and our volunteers dismantled it and it was trucked to the museum hangar to be restored for display.
It displays the markings of the commander's aircraft, 531st Tactical Fighter Squadron, 21st Tactical Fighter Wing when the wing was assigned to Pacific Air Forces at Misawa AB, Japan.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 15:34:46