Aviation - Avions NASA-Prototypes
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This photo shows a BQM-34 Firebee II drone being carried aloft under the wing of NASA’s B-52 mothership during a 1977 research flight. The Firebee/DAST research program ran from 1977 to 1983 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. This is the original Firebee II wing. Firebee 72-1564 made three captive flights--on November 25, 1975; May 17, 1976; and June 22, 1977--in preparation for the DAST project with modified wings. These were for checkout of the Firebee's systems and the prelaunch procedures. The first two used a DC-130A aircraft as the launch vehicle, while the third used the B-52. A single free flight using this drone occurred on July 28, 1977. The remote (ground) pilot was NASA research pilot Bill Dana. The launch and flight were successful, and the drone was caught in midair by an HH-53 helicopter.