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F-107A—VAID is the word

26 December 2016



F-107A with its rakish good looks and unique dorsal air inlet which aided its 40,000 fpm climb rate—USAF photo

The North American F-107A lost in the competition where the Republic F-105 Thunderchief prevailed but its Variable-Area Inlet Duct (VAID) technology was utilized in two equally rakish subsequent North American designs—the A-5 Vigilante and XB-70 Valkyrie. Evolution of VAID technology made its way to Lockheed’s SR-71, as well.

J. Terry White has penned an excellent piece in his blog American Aerospace on the F-107A here and is well worth the read.

DAYTON, Ohio -- North American F-107A at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

F-107A showing its cannon locations as well as semi-conformal ventral weapon station (there are also six hard points on the wings) —USAF photo


F-107A’s cockpit—USAF photo by Ken LaRock


F-107A relatively uncomplicated cockpit by today’s standards—USAF photo by Ken LaRock


F-107A in flight—USAF photo


F-107A being moved to the new building of the National USAF Museum—USAF photo by Ken LaRock



8 Comments leave one →
  1. Bruce Kay permalink
    26 December 2016 11:43

    I had forgotten about this one. The article you linked in your photos was an excellent summary of this excellent aircraft. Too bad North American didn’t make it in competition with the F105 and the later F-22 competitor the F-23. NAA made many great, notable aircraft ;

    ► F-86 Sabre‎ (14 P)
    ► North American P-51 Mustang‎ (1 C, 16 P, 1 F)
    ► X-15 program‎ (17 P)

    North American A-5 Vigilante
    North American A-27
    North American A-36 Apache
    North American AJ Savage
    North American XA2J Super Savage

    North American XB-21
    North American B-25 Mitchell
    B-25 Mitchell aircraft in Catch-22
    North American XB-28 Dragon
    North American B-45 Tornado
    North American BT-9

    North American DC-3
    North American F-82 Twin Mustang
    North American F-86 Sabre
    North American F-86D Sabre
    North American F-100 Super Sabre
    List of F-100 units of the United States Air Force
    North American F-107
    North American XF-108 Rapier
    North American FJ-1 Fury
    North American FJ-2/-3 Fury
    North American FJ-4 Fury

    North American MQM-42 Redhead-Roadrunner
    North American NA-16
    North American NA-35
    North American NA-64 Yale
    Ryan Navion
    North American P-64
    North American O-47
    North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
    North American P-51 Mustang

    North American Sabreliner
    North American XSN2J

    North American T-2 Buckeye
    North American T-6 Texan
    North American T-6 Texan variants
    North American T-28 Trojan

    North American X-10
    North American X-15
    North American XB-70 Valkyrie

    North American YF-93

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      26 December 2016 12:57

      Thanks for the listing…it speaks for itself. NAA was one of the great ones, no doubt.

  2. 27 December 2016 09:04

    Sometimes aircraft ‘lose out’ for aesthetic reasons. Sometimes, those in higher command just don’t like the look of a machine. In the case of the F-107A, this quite possibly true!

    As to the N.A. aircraft list….it has always been a puzzle to me why they didn’t stay with the proven Packard/Rolls-Royce Merlin engine for the F-82, rather than reverting to the Allison engine. I know that there would have been a licensing fee to pay R-R, but it would have been a far better aircraft in my opinion.

    • 27 December 2016 11:25

      Can you imagine what the P-38 could have done with Merlins? Outstanding with the turbocharged Allisons, but one has to wonder what the performance specs would have been if they stuck Merlins in it.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        27 December 2016 12:11

        What an airplane that would have been. And wasn’t it decided to not super or turbo charge the P-39’s engine? Another inexplicable design decision place upon a manufacturer.

    • 27 December 2016 11:33

      You have to admit, the F-107 would not have won any beauty contests. Hangar talk had it being a “pilot eater” if you had to eject with that huge intake behind the cockpit, but in fact it worked, and was one of the first that would blow the pilot right through the canopy without jettisoning it first.

      Speaking of the USAF and esthetics. Camouflage research shows the best color for disguising the shape of an airplane at night is a mottled baby blue to darker blue livery. The USAF did not want to paint their fancy stealth machines any powder blue, so they went with a more “manly” black. Ever notice what color Russian warplanes are painted?

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        27 December 2016 12:12

        Yes. I agree completely. Blue cammies have one disappear into the night better than black ones–but black is the western fashion choice 😉

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      27 December 2016 12:09

      The possibilities are varied. Politics? Economics? Personal bias?

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