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[Have Blue #1002.(????)]

Aircraft Losses

Have Blue 1002
July 11, 1979
Pilot: Norman K "Ken" Dyson (USAF)

On July 11, 1979,the Have Blue 1002 had completed 52 sorties. United States Air Force test pilot LTC Norman K. "Ken" Dyson (later chief test pilot for the Northrop B-2) took the aircraft up for some tests against the US Air Force's best fighter radar,the air to air radar on the F-15. Above the northern part of the Nellis range, a weld in a hydraulic line cracked, spraying fluid onto the hot section of one of its J85 engines. The fluid ignited and the blaze became uncontrollable.

Ken Dyson recalled the crash in a TV interview years later:

"(It) happened in rather rapid succession. I had a fire light, pull the power back, the fire light stayed on, and almost immediately, just a few seconds, (I) shut the baby down. I still had one engine taking me back home. Then I began to loose hydraulic system number 2.
I expected a rough ride, but I did not know what rough ment until the airplane began to pitch down very violently to somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 g's, stopped, quickly then pitched back up. (In otherwards the aircraft was following a rollercoaster up and down motion.) My arms in the negative S cycles went from up like this (Raising hands up above his head), and positive down like this (Arms between his legs).
We had a stencil seat in the airplane with (a) between the legs ring, which my hands were able to get to and pull. I found myself soon went up the rails, with a couple of pops, the rocket motor firing, the canopy going, the chute coming open immediately. It really felt good to be hanging in that chute, looking down."

The aircraft crashed close to the Tonopah Test Range (35 miles NW of Groom) in an area mainly used for checking the drop characteristics of nuclear shapes. The pillar of smoke attracted the attention of some workers at Tonopah, who boarded trucks and raced for the crash site.

The F-15 pilot knew that the Tonopah people had no business seeing the wreckage of a top secret aircraft. He took his Eagle down to the deck and headed toward the oncoming trucks at over 600 knots. One of the trucks ran off the road as the F-15 went by, and the drivers took the hint that whatever was out there was not something that they needed to know about. The trucks turned around and a rescue helicopter picked up Dyson walking, carrying his chute. According to P. G. Kaminsky (former undersecretary of Defense, acquisition and technology), the program was within "two or three sorties of planned completion" when HB1002 crashed.

Dyson later flew the Tacit Blue, which demonstrated radically different stealth technologies from Have Blue. On October 12, 1997 Lt. Col. Norman K. "Ken" Dyson, USAF was honored with 4 other world-renowned test pilots in Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor.

The following is an excerpt from the article published in the Antelope Valley Press on October 12, 1997:

[Ken Dyson. (??)]"It's no mystery why Lt. Col. Dyson was nearly undetected until radar-evading aircraft became declassified.
Dyson was testing secret aircraft that as recently as 1996 became declassified. These secret aircraft had one thing in common - groundbreaking work on how to make a aircraft evade notice on radar.
Dyson flew "Have Blue," a highly secret prototype for the F-117A stealth fighter, and Tacit Blue, which demonstrated radically different technologies.
"On reason I was chosen to work on Have Blue is I was looked at as someone who could keep a secret . . . I figured it would never be revealed to the public eye. It had been secret so long. It was revealed for a good reason, to show taxpayers this is something we did that was successful," Dyson said.
"I flew the last test flight on Have Blue number two. Bill Park ejected from number one. I ejected from Have Blue as the airplane experienced a double hydraulic failure. No more hydraulic power made it unstable in both pitch and yaw."
Dyson said of the secret project: "It was exciting to turn out a product that could do some mystical things, just unbelievable things. Think back to the 1970s when we put together a machine and made it nearly invisible," he said.
"Part of the challenging was to do something in total secrecy. It was more than just interesting," Dyson said.
It's still hard to talk about a project that was so secret for so long, he said.
"I was not that pleased on the talking aspect," Dyson said. "I don't relish talking about it. I imposed limits on it. The government imposed limits on what we could say. It was a bit uncomfortable, but it was good for teams to get recognition. It felt kinda good, but I had mixed emotions."
Dyson was a tactical fighter pilot for four years and then attended the Air Force Aerospace Research Pilot School. He tested weapons on the F-100, F-101, and F-4 aircraft.
He had flown the F-100 and F-4 aircraft in the Vietnam War before returning to Edwards as an instructor at the Test Pilot School. His tenure at Edwards also included test piloting the F-15 and directing the F-15 Test Force.
His classified work began in 1976, when he began testing the Have Blue and Tacit Blue until 1982.
After retiring from the Air Force, Dyson joined Rockwell North American Aircraft Division, now a Boeing division, to test the B-1B.
"It was a new world to fly a bomber. It was hard work and very interesting. It was a hell of an airplane," he said.
"I enjoyed flying the B-1 in a different way. There were multiple crew members and it was a low G airplane. It could fly all day long on the deck short of Mach one. I sure put in a lot of hours flying around desert skies. Terrain-following made it about bulletproof."
He also flew the first flight of the X-31 in 1990 and through its early testing.
"What a hot machine. It actually ended up being better than we thought. It could maneuver in amazing ways. I did go to Paris to watch it go through its paces. Rumors are that the remaining X-31 might be brought back for tests on vectored thrust. It's instrumented and ready to go if they can just find the bucks, get it fed and happy while flying," Dyson said.
X-31 proved thrust vectoring could allow a fighter the maneuverability to do aerial cartwheels. He retired as chief test pilot and director of flight test in 1993.
Born in Texas, Dyson earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Texas A& M in 1960 and a masters in aeronautical engineering from the University of Alabama in 1971.
Dyson is a distinguished engineering fellow of the University of Alabama and a distinguished alumnus of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. He is a fellow and former president of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Dyson was awarded the Iven C. Kincholoe Award in 1989 for test flying Have Blue and in 1996 for Tacit Blue after those programs were declassified. He also received the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, nine air medals, and Aviation Week & Space Technology's Aerospace Laurels."

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