Every once in a while I am looking for things to include in the blog from previous photographic outings. I was discussing an aircraft with an unusual radar installation which will now show up in an upcoming blog post as well. However, it triggered another thought about some radar testbed aircraft that I used to see quite regularly. For a number of years I was working in Washington DC on a regular basis and I would fly in to BWI airport. Aside from being a popular hub for Southwest, it is also the home of a Northrop Grumman radar plant.
They have a hangar on site which not only deals with their corporate aircraft but also their testbeds for the airborne radar programs. This hangar is located along a tree lined taxiway so everything is pretty obscured from view (unless you are airborne when you can see in a lot more clearly). The two testbeds that I saw quite frequently were a Sabreliner business jet and a BAC 1-11 airliner. The 1-11 was a regular sight when I was a lot younger but now they are almost all gone. Therefore, this was the one I was always pleased to see.
Sadly, I often saw them when I was without a camera or the camera was away. No electronics below 10,000’ in those days. However, I did catch them occasionally so these shots are a reminder of what was there. I suspect that the 1-11 is no longer in use. I imagine it was becoming a pain to maintain but I don’t know for sure whether it still is around. If you know, please do tell me.
Follow this link for the aircraft’s current registration status with the FAA (N-number from your photo):
At the very least, Northrup Grumman still owns the aircraft, and my guess is it is still active.
I do hope so. Thanks Bob.