View Full Version : F-107A

13th Nov 2009, 14:54
For a magazine article that I'm doing, I'm trying to figure out whether a certain something about the North American F-107A is or isn't a myth.

It has long been said that pilots feared the -107, calling it "the Man-Eater," because they were afraid of being sucked into the engine intake if they had to eject.

Is it actually possible that professional test pilots in the mid-1950s (i.e. the only people ever to fly the F-107A) feared their bang seats weren't powerful enough to clear the intake? I find that hard to believe; if so, why weren't they equally afraid of hitting the vertical fin on conventional jets?

Few pilots ever actually flew an F-107A, since there were only three made and their total flight time was just over 176 hours, most of it in the hands of the same tiny group of USAF test pilots, that I think this is either phony or was a nothing more than a joke.

Anybody out there have any actual knowledge (as opposed to theorization no more solid than mine...) of this airplane?

Double Zero
13th Nov 2009, 18:54
I don't know about the F107A, but some ejection seats, until relatively recently, had a ' Plan B ' manual unstrap & bail out with 'chute option ( as in warbirds etc ) in case the seat failed to function...Maybe that was the scenario which bothered Test Pilots; as you say the fin would be a definite worry too !

13th Nov 2009, 21:00

Could it have had a downward-firing ejector seat?

I believe the Lockheed F-104 featured one, largely because it's role was high altitude, high speed with a high fin/tail.

Also, I believe the early ejector seats couldn't manage the progressive acceleration that can be achieved today. The Lightning caused many pilots who ejected spinal damage for that reason: the darned great bang and acceleration to clear the fin was colossal. Clearing the F104's fin would have been similar to avoiding those intakes on the F107.

I'm sure I'd rather have gone out below.

BTW,Liked the 10 beat landings article.


13th Nov 2009, 23:38
they were afraid of being sucked into the engine intake if they had to eject.From what I've read they tested the ejection seat to clear the dorsal intake using a rocket sled.

http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/4330/f107.jpg (http://img35.imageshack.us/i/f107.jpg/)

13th Nov 2009, 23:47
You people are amazing, coming up with things like the rocket-sled seat-test photo. Multi thanks!

The F-104 did have a downward-firing seat briefly, and it was actually used at least once in anger, but they did change it pretty quickly to a conventional seat. Looking at diagrams of the F-107A structure, I suspect the problem would have been that the nosegear retracted forward and up, and the truck ended up right under the pilot.

Thank you for enjoying the 10-best-landing piece. Look for my slightly controversial Amelia Earhart article in the current issue of Aviation History.