The F-15 Eagle is celebrating its 50th birthday this month with events planned across the country.
The McDonnell Douglas YF-15A MC Eagle, with company test pilot Irving L. Burrows at the controls, made its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on July 27, 1972.
There will be a celebration at the Boeing plant in St. Louis, Mo., where all the F-15s were and are still being produced on July 27, 2022.
The following day, July 28, there will be a static display at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and a celebration for program office personnel. On hand will be retired Col. Cesar Rodriguez who has the most MiG kills since the Vietnam War. He shot down two MiGs during the Gulf War in 1991 and another one over Kosovo in 1998.
On July 29, will be the F-15 Expo at the National Museum of the United States Air Force as well as a Gathering of Eagles banquet that evening.
Finally on Aug. 5, the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, Ga., will host a festival with a cake ceremony, scavenger hunt and community events honoring the F-15.
The events all mark a half-century of undefeated air dominance operations for the fighter that has never been shot down in combat.
Greg “Sherlock” Watson, who is an IPT lead for the F-15 Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, and Craig “BJ” Hunnicutt, a program manager for the F-15 Division at Robins AFB, joined on an episode of AFLCMC’s Leadership Log podcast to discuss this extraordinary platform. They have more than 5,000 hours combined in the F-15E.
The F-15 was designed back in the late 1960s by a then-McDonnell-Douglas team aiming to make a revolutionary leap forward.
“It was designed with energy maneuverability in mind with the most power we could put on an airplane with two Pratt & Whitney F-100 engines at the top of their game and with the biggest radar that we can put on an air-to-air fighter in the APG-63 out of Hughes which later became Raytheon,” Watson said.
They mixed that with a 20mm gun and as many missiles at they could carry.
“We could fly further, we could fly faster, we could fly longer than any other fighter out there,” Watson said.
June 24 marked the date in 1979 that Israeli F-15s shot down three Syrian MiGs starting the aircraft’s 104-0 combat record.
“In addition to being revolutionary, the jet has been very evolutionary as well,” Hunnicutt said citing the transition from analog to digital computers, moving from dials and knobs to touch screens and the addition of GPS.
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at https://youtu.be/uth1r3mju9Y. You can also listen by searching “Leadership Log” on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Radio Public or Breaker.