USAF Museum to paint the F-15 Streak Eagle to match the record setting time period

USAF Museum to paint the F-15 Streak Eagle to match the record setting time period

By Dario Leone
Nov 16 2023
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The F-15 Streak Eagle

The National Museum of the US Air Force announced on its Facebook page on Nov. 9, 2023 that the F-15 Streak Eagle is being painted bare metal finish to match the record setting time period.

USAF Museum to paint the F-15 Streak Eagle to match the record setting time period
F-15A AF Ser. No.72-0119 dubbed Streak Eagle is being painted to match the record setting time period

Dubbed “Streak Eagle” and Flown by Maj. W.R. Macfarlane, Maj. Roger Smith and Maj. Dave Peterson, F-15A AF Ser. No.72-0119 broke eight time-to-climb world records between Jan. 16 and Feb. 1, 1975.

In setting the last of the eight records, it reached an altitude of 98,425 feet just 3 minutes, 27.8 seconds from brake release at takeoff and “coasted” to nearly 103,000 feet before descending.

USAF Museum to paint the F-15 Streak Eagle to match the record setting time period
F-15 Streak Eagle is being painted to match the record setting time period

It was flown in its natural metal finish to reduce weight for the record-setting flights.

The “Streak Eagle” is an early preproduction aircraft. Differences in internal structure and systems operation made it too costly to return to operational service.

USAF Museum to paint the F-15 Streak Eagle to match the record setting time period
F-15A AF Ser. No.72-0119 is being painted to match the record setting time period

It was donated to the museum in December 1980 after it was no longer useful as a flight test vehicle.

To protect it from corrosion, McDonnell Douglas painted it in the gray color scheme of most operational F-15s.

The Streak Eagle, the Hot-Rod Stripped Down F-15 that climbed faster than the Saturn V moon rocket
F-15 Streak Eagle in gray color scheme

The F-15 Eagle

McDonnell Aircraft formalized the concept for the F-15 in 1967 when the company was selected to enter the second phase of the US Air Force’s FX competition. Competing against Fairchild Hiller and North American Rockwell, McDonnell used lessons learned during the Vietnam War on the changing nature of jet age air-to-air combat, given that the F-4 Phantom II was earning its reputation as a formidable fighter.

The Streak Eagle, the Hot-Rod Stripped Down F-15 that climbed faster than the Saturn V moon rocket
F-15 Streak Eagle Drivers: Maj. Willard R. “Mac” Macfarlane, Maj. Roger Smith and Maj. Dave W. Peterson

On Dec. 23, 1969, after more than two years of intensive testing and evaluation, the Air Force awarded McDonnell Douglas the F-15 Advanced Tactical Fighter contract. The McDonnell Douglas team had placed first among the three competitors in all phases of the competition and had the lowest contract price.

The first US fighter to have engine thrust greater than the normal weight of the aircraft

The Streak Eagle, the Hot-Rod Stripped Down F-15 that climbed faster than the Saturn V moon rocket
F-15 Streak Eagle in her natural metal finish

The Eagle first flew in July 1972 and entered USAF inventory in November 1974. It was the first US fighter to have engine thrust greater than the normal weight of the aircraft, allowing it to accelerate while in a vertical climb.

This, combined with low aircraft weight to wing area, makes the Eagle very highly maneuverable. The Eagle was produced in both single-seat and two-seat versions.

36th TFW F-15C Print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-15C Eagle 36th TFW, 22d TFS, BT/79-051 / 1981

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

F-15 model
This model is available from AirModels – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS.

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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