Re: What did I see?

Date:         31 Jan 97 14:29:23 
From:         Anandeep Pannu <>
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, School of Computer Science
References:   1
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John ,

No doubt you saw the Convair NC-131 variable stability aircraft of the
US Air Force Test Pilots School. This aircraft is used for training
test pilots and trying out the test characteristics of new aircraft.

It has a regular cockpit in which the safety pilots sit and the test pilots
are in the extended nose cockpit. The software translates the pilots inputs
and makes the plane behave as though it is a different plane. For example it
could be made to resemble the F-16s responsiveness (by magnifying the pilots
pitch, yaw and roll inputs) and sink rate etc. The fins are there to give
sufficient side force response so that this resemblance is more realistic
(after all the Convair can only do so much).

I was under the impression that the Convair had been retired and that the USAF
Test Pilot's School was using a variable stability F-16 these days. Did you
happen to see what was on the sides of the plane? Any one else know about the
current operators?

Anandeep Pannu
Project Manager
Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University